11 December, 2009


Just last week Dominica gave $12 million to Anguilla?  It is general elections time in the Commonwealth of Dominica.  So, you cannot believe everything you read in the Dominica newspapers at this time.  What I read with a degree of astonishment and disbelief in the Dominica News Online was that Dominica, one of the poorest countries of the Commonwealth Caribbean, has just “given” Anguilla $12 million out of its hard-earned savings and out of the goodness of Prime Minister Roosevelt’s Skerrit’s heart.  Dominica in 2006 is reported to have had a GDP per capita of $4,758, while Anguilla’s was $8,310.00.  You would not easily have concluded that Anguilla could be helped financially by Dominica.
These reverse alms from the poor man to the rich man would be an outrage against common decency, if the story were true.  The people of Dominica need schools, hospitals, roads, and libraries.  Would the outgoing Dominica government, struggling to be re-elected, take its hard-earned savings and loan them to Anguilla, with a significantly higher per capita GDP?  The Chief Minister not long ago was boasting that he was the highest paid head of government in the OECS.  Why would poor little Dominica do such a thing for Anguilla?  Would their government, going into a general election, draw down funds from the ECCB, that it could well use for the development of Dominica, to bail out the government of Anguilla?  I cannot readily believe the story to be true.
PM Skerrit jokingly says that he “gave” the $12 million to Anguilla.  He must be very confident of his support by the electorate in Dominica to have made such an irresponsible assertion.  We have to assume that he is conspiring with the government of Anguilla to hide from the Central Bank the fact that he is merely loaning, not giving, the money to Anguilla, a country that has exceeded its borrowing powers, and is unable itself to make this borrowing.  It is amazing that he can be so confident that the people of Dominica will really be happy about such a state of affairs.
Yet, you can listen to an audio recording of PM Skerrit making just that claim right here:

As usual, it was a pleasure to tune in to Haydn Hughes’ call-in radio programme On the Spot last night, which dealt with this news.  Independent candidate Sutcliff Hodge was one of his guests.  Their discussion was pretty thorough, but I thought they missed raising a couple of important points.
If this was a loan, was it authorized by a Resolution of the Anguilla House of Assembly, as provided for in the Financial Administration and Audit Act?  Why is this Resolution important?  Because this is the mechanism designed by law to ensure transparency in public borrowing.  This is how the people consent to government borrowing money that we, the people, will have to repay one day.  The government of Anguilla is prohibited by law from borrowing any money that has not been authorized by the House of Assembly.  This is what section 38 says:
Authorisation of debt
38. No money shall be raised on the credit of the Government except under the authority of this or another Act of the Legislature or of a resolution of the House of Assembly.
If this loan was not authorized by law or by a Resolution, is it not an illegal loan?  If it is illegal, who committed the offence?  Will there be any repercussions?  Will the auditor take it up for comment within the next five or six years, as is par for the course up to now.  And, if and when he does, will it not then be too late to make anything of it, as is usual, since by the time the audit report is published another administration will be in office?
I always had my suspicions that the famous British contingent liability was a figment of some bureaucrat’s fevered imagination.  Is this scorning by Anguilla of the long breached guidelines, put in place precisely to safeguard Britain’s contingent liability, further evidence of the spurious nature of this alleged liability?  Or, is it just evidence of hubris on the part of our Minister of Finance?  Does he believe that he has become all-powerful, and can do as he wishes with the public purse?
For what purpose would the money be borrowed?  The standard answer is to meet government’s commitments, of course!  Elections in Anguilla are around the corner.  Could the thinking be that a Christmas bonus must be paid, despite the economic downturn, if the public servants are to be kept mollified in order to ensure their support when the day for voting comes?  Never mind the piling up of public debt upon debt, that will be for someone else to sort out, after the general elections.
If true, the further fear must be that this unauthorized borrowing may just be the tip of the iceberg.  Are there other secret borrowings and commitments that our out-going government has obligated our new administration to settle in the new year?
May I wish everyone a Super Solstice!


  1. Anguillans always think they high and mighty
    Why they cut salaries if everything os dandy
    Pretentious set of ppl
    All you get money cause the EC was collapsing
    So get of the high horses all you on

  2. And what about Skerrits "gift" to Antigua, a country bought down by the collusion of their government and the American financier, R. Allen Stanford. People in Dominica seem to be outraged except for those few that see this in a "Christian" light-as more blessed to give than to receive.

  3. You've given us some food for thought Mr Mitchell. Just last year I found out that the ECCB secretly bailed out a number of banks in the region from failing, now it seems as if they are doing the same thing for Countries.

    If this isn't enough for the people of Anguilla to get rid of this United Front Administration aka Secret Service, and the Chief Secret Service agent VFB, I don't know what is.

  4. Undated press release has just gone up on the GoA website:


  5. I am a Dominican astounded by what I heard yesterday - that Dominica 'GAVE', not 'LOANED' $m36 to Anguilla and Antigua! Dominica is itself burdened by debt, from loans taken out not just by this government but also inherited from previous administrations. Finance Minister Julius Timothy in the UWP administration (1995-2000) engineered several such loans, some at very high interest rates. This was a huge burden for the next administration to inherit. I recall when Mr. Skerrit's predecesor, Pierre Charles, went cap in hand to the IMF for yet another loan, shackled by a restrictive SAP (structual adjustment package). Mr Skerrit himself announced this year another huge loan, this time from China - and what happens when the Yuan starts to appreciate in value aganst the dollar? Loans cost money. Annual interest payments on these loans cripple our economy. Dominica's 'Consolidated Fund' is a spiraling 'black hole' of debt. Has this burden of accumulating debt suddenly and magically evaporated? If it has been paid off, who is the fairy godfather and why have Dominicans not been told the good news?

  6. Everything is explained:


    Skerrit's monetary donations to Anguilla, Antigua explained
    BY From reader
    Originally published: December 11, 2009 11:51:00 PM
    Last updated: December 12, 2009 01:55:07 AM
    Dear DNO: I am a senior officer of the Ministry of Finance in Dominica. Let me explain how this thing works.

    The ECCB (Eastern Caribbean Central Bank) is the lender of last resort to all commercial banks and to all participating governments, therefore participating governments borrow from the ECCB. The Central Bank makes an allocation to Governments in the form of CREDITS. The less a government borrow the higher the CREDITS gets.

    For the past five years Dominica has not borrowed any funds from the Central Bank, therefore, Dominica had a CREDIT allocation to the tune of EC$89 million. This means that Dominica could borrow a total of EC$89 million from the ECCB.

    What happened in this case is that Antigua and Anguilla has utilised all their CREDIT Allocation. That is they could not borrow any more money from the ECCB at this point in time.

    Dominica, having an allocation of some EC$89 million which is not being utilized, gave to Antigua some EC$24 million worth of CREDITS and last week gave Anguilla EC$12 million worth of CREDITS.

    Dominica now has a balance of EC$53 million worth of CREDITS. It is correct that the Minister of Finance had to give his consent in writing for these countries to use the CREDITS.

    Dominica did not give these countries actual cash. As a matter of FACT Dominica does not have that amount of money in the ECCB readily available. What happened is that the Minister of Finance gave written consent for these sister countries to utilise a portion of its CREDIT Allocation to borrow from the ECCB.

    The Prime Minister was talking off the cuff and may have given the wrong impression. Had a prepared speech been written, the correct technical jargon would have been used.

    The PM is not at all incorrect in stating that Dominica assisted these sister countries, but may have used the wrong technical jargon while talking off the cuff.

    I do hope you could post this explanation prominently and let us put this thing to rest.

    Thanks very much.

    ----- ends -----

    So we are to believe that Skerrit doesn't understand the different between "we gave Anguilla the cash" and "we let Anguilla use some of our unused credit"? This is "technical jargon," which only economists with PhDs could possibly understand?

    This is the kind of logic we have dome to expect from "APP Press" and "Realist Spikenice," not the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Dominica.


    I hope you understand the statement made by the Senior Officer in the Ministry of Finance in Dominica.

    However, I am a Dominican residing or living in Anguilla and do not quiet understand why Mr. Don Mitchell should slate Dominica as one of the poorest country in the Commonwealth Caribbean. Before Mr. Mitchell makes such statements, he needs to get the facts, listen and learn, apply wisdom, knowledge and understanding and then begin to write.

    Dominica (nature island) has all the natural resources needed to sustain life on earth, what else does one need to be rich? I think Mr. Mitchell needs to retract, amend accordingly and repost his comments. The millions mentioned in his statement is a joke to the richness of Dominica natural resources.

    What we have supplied Anguilla and other islands in the region worth billions within a short period. Therefore, I am of the opinion that we are the richest country in the Commonwealth Caribbean.

    Thanks from a concerned Dominican.

  8. Anguillans think they can stand on their own..
    Can they?
    Proud set of people!

  9. According to this chart by UNESCO, on page 45:
    next to St. Vincent, Dominica is the poorest country in the Eastern Caribbean. My attitude, or Don's, doesn't change this fact.

  10. well.. am sorry for all you ignorant people


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