29 January, 2010


Haiti.  On 13 January 2010, Rev Pat Robertson famously explained that the previous day’s earthquake that had devastated the capital city of Haiti, and caused some 200,000 deaths, had been the result of a 1791 ‘pact with the devil’.  You can hear it here for yourself:
According to US fundamentalist Christian history, this satanic pact allegedly took place at Bois Caiman near Cap Haitien on 14 August 1791 during a meeting organised by several slave leaders, under the leadership of Dutty Boukman, before launching what would become Haiti’s Independence War.
On 17 January 2010, Sir Hilary Beckles, Pro-vice-chancellor and Principal of the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies, reminded us of what really happened.  This is what he wrote:
THE UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST INDIES is in the process of conceiving how best to deliver a major conference on the theme Rethinking and Rebuilding Haiti.
I am very keen to provide an input into this exercise because for too long there has been a popular perception that somehow the Haitian nation-building project, launched on January 1, 1804, has failed on account of mismanagement, ineptitude, corruption.
Buried beneath the rubble of imperial propaganda, out of both Western Europe and the United States, is the evidence which shows that Haiti's independence was defeated by an aggressive North-Atlantic alliance that could not imagine their world inhabited by a free regime of Africans as representatives of the newly emerging democracy.
The evidence is striking, especially in the context of France.
The Haitians fought for their freedom and won, as did the Americans fifty years earlier. The Americans declared their independence and crafted an extraordinary constitution that set out a clear message about the value of humanity and the right to freedom, justice, and liberty.
In the midst of this brilliant discourse, they chose to retain slavery as the basis of the new nation state. The founding fathers therefore could not see beyond race, as the free state was built on a slavery foundation.
The water was poisoned in the well; the Americans went back to the battlefield a century later to resolve the fact that slavery and freedom could not comfortably co-exist in the same place.
The French, also, declared freedom, fraternity and equality as the new philosophies of their national transformation and gave the modern world a tremendous progressive boost by so doing.
They abolished slavery, but Napoleon Bonaparte could not imagine the republic without slavery and targeted the Haitians for a new, more intense regime of slavery. The British agreed, as did the Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese.
All were linked in communion over the 500 000 Blacks in Haiti, the most populous and prosperous Caribbean colony.
As the jewel of the Caribbean, they all wanted to get their hands on it. With a massive slave base, the English, French and Dutch salivated over owning it - and the people.
The people won a ten-year war, the bloodiest in modern history, and declared their independence. Every other country in the Americas was based on slavery.
Haiti was freedom, and proceeded to place in its 1805 Independence Constitution that any person of African descent who arrived on its shores would be declared free, and a citizen of the republic.
For the first time since slavery had commenced, Blacks were the subjects of mass freedom and citizenship in a nation.
The French refused to recognise Haiti's independence and declared it an illegal pariah state. The Americans, whom the Haitians looked to in solidarity as their mentor in independence, refused to recognise them, and offered solidarity instead to the French. The British, who were negotiating with the French to obtain the ownership title to Haiti, also moved in solidarity, as did every other nation-state the Western world.
Haiti was isolated at birth - ostracised and denied access to world trade, finance, and institutional development. It was the most vicious example of national strangulation recorded in modern history.
The Cubans, at least, have had Russia, China, and Vietnam. The Haitians were alone from inception. The crumbling began.
Then came 1825; the moment of full truth. The republic is celebrating its 21st anniversary. There is national euphoria in the streets of Port-au-Prince.
The economy is bankrupt; the political leadership isolated. The cabinet took the decision that the state of affairs could not continue.
The country had to find a way to be inserted back into the world economy. The French government was invited to a summit.
Officials arrived and told the Haitian government that they were willing to recognise the country as a sovereign nation but it would have to pay compensation and reparation in exchange. The Haitians, with backs to the wall, agreed to pay the French.
The French government sent a team of accountants and actuaries into Haiti in order to place a value on all lands, all physical assets, the 500 000 citizens were who formerly enslaved, animals, and all other commercial properties and services.
The sums amounted to 150 million gold francs. Haiti was told to pay this reparation to France in return for national recognition.
The Haitian government agreed; payments began immediately. Members of the Cabinet were also valued because they had been enslaved people before independence.
Thus began the systematic destruction of the Republic of Haiti. The French government bled the nation and rendered it a failed state. It was a merciless exploitation that was designed and guaranteed to collapse the Haitian economy and society.
Haiti was forced to pay this sum until 1922 when the last instalment was made. During the long 19th century, the payment to France amounted to up to 70 per cent of the country's foreign exchange earnings.
Jamaica today pays up to 70 per cent in order to service its international and domestic debt. Haiti was crushed by this debt payment. It descended into financial and social chaos.
The republic did not stand a chance. France was enriched and it took pleasure from the fact that having been defeated by Haitians on the battlefield, it had won on the field of finance. In the years when the coffee crops failed, or the sugar yield was down, the Haitian government borrowed on the French money market at double the going interest rate in order to repay the French government.
When the Americans invaded the country in the early 20th century, one of the reasons offered was to assist the French in collecting its reparations.
The collapse of the Haitian nation resides at the feet of France and America, especially. These two nations betrayed, failed, and destroyed the dream that was Haiti; crushed to dust in an effort to destroy the flower of freedom and the seed of justice.
Haiti did not fail. It was destroyed by two of the most powerful nations on earth, both of which continue to have a primary interest in its current condition.
The sudden quake has come in the aftermath of summers of hate. In many ways the quake has been less destructive than the hate.
Human life was snuffed out by the quake, while the hate has been a long and inhumane suffocation - a crime against humanity.
During the 2001 UN Conference on Race in Durban, South Africa, strong representation was made to the French government to repay the 150 million francs.
The value of this amount was estimated by financial actuaries as US$21 billion. This sum of capital could rebuild Haiti and place it in a position to re-engage the modern world. It was illegally extracted from the Haitian people and should be repaid.
It is stolen wealth. In so doing, France could discharge its moral obligation to the Haitian people.
For a nation that prides itself in the celebration of modern diplomacy, France, in order to exist with the moral authority of this diplomacy in this post-modern world, should do the just and legal thing.
Such an act at the outset of this century would open the door for a sophisticated interface of past and present, and set the Haitian nation free at last.  
I would like to think that Pat Robertson’s homicidal god is not one that many Christians would recognise.  I would that these murderous TV extortionists would leave West Indian history severely alone.

28 January, 2010

Search Warrants

What is the proper response of a Justice of the Peace in Anguilla who is asked to issue a search warrant?  We all heard recently about a search warrant executed by the police.  The warrant had been issued by a Justice of the Peace, or JP.  The JP in question is no ordinary one.  He is the Rt Rev Errol Brooks OBE Bishop of the Diocese of the Northeastern Caribbean and Aruba.  The warrant had been sought by the police to search the offices of a young attorney.  They said she had appeared in court representing a person charged with fraud.  She is no ordinary young attorney.  She is one with a spotless record.  More to the point, she is a candidate in the upcoming general elections.  These are all issues that cried out for the application in question to be treated with strict regard to the law governing the issuing of search warrants. 

 The issuing of a warrant to search someone’s home or office is not a task lightly to be executed.  It is not a mere administrative task, to be routinely performed.  The issuing of a search warrant is a quasi-judicial function, to be performed based on the evidence presented to the Magistrate or other judicial officer.  Such a warrant includes power to enter the premises, by force, and breaking doors, if necessary, and to search the same for files, correspondence, computers, cellular telephones, flash drives, fixed and external hard drives, and to seize such items and bring them in due course before the Magistrate.  Such an application in relation to any professional such as a certified accountant, a physician or a lawyer, becomes a particularly sensitive matter.  The private and confidential affairs of possibly hundreds of innocent clients will be exposed to unauthorized eyes, and no one knows what use will be made of the information.  Such a step is clearly open to abuse.
The real reason why the police are not permitted to search a home or office without a warrant is to interpose the protection of a judicial decision between the citizen and the police.  All jurisdictions with the rule of law put constraints on the powers of police investigators.  They may not invade a home or office unless they obtain a search warrant, save where the officer is in ‘hot pursuit’.  It is a basic line of defence of the citizen against arbitrary search and seizure that such a warrant be first obtained.  Otherwise, we should all be subject to home invasion by the armed wing of the State on the slightest suspicion. 
As every first year law student learns, such a quasi-judicial function is to be performed only on the judicial officer being satisfied that the prescribed circumstances exist.  Our liberty depends on the independent scrutiny of the judiciary to protect the citizen against the excesses which would inevitably flow from allowing an executive officer to decide for himself whether the conditions under which he is permitted to enter upon private property have been met.  That is why an application for a search warrant must be accompanied by an affidavit setting out the evidence available and the grounds for the officer’s belief that further evidence is likely to be obtained as a result of the search.  Only a trained lawyer, familiar with the laws of evidence and the intricacies of criminal procedure, is likely to be able properly to perform this serious function.  No lay JP, even one as eminent as a Bishop, is qualified to issue such a warrant.  Such a warrant would only be granted by a qualified Magistrate if he or she was first satisfied that there was adequate evidence and grounds for suspicion.  This basic protection of the citizen must not be permitted to be trampled by the unnecessary use of a lay JP to avoid  the investigator having to go before a qualified Magistrate and to satisfy him that the test has been met.
So, the question becomes, how is a non-legal Justice of the Peace in Anguilla properly supposed to react when a police officer comes to him or her, in the middle of a political campaign, just before general elections, when there are two qualified acting Magistrates who could easily have been approached, and the lay JP is requested to issue a search warrant to search a professional person’s office and/or home, especially when that person is a candidate for election to the House of Assembly?  
 In my submission, the only proper thing for him to respond is, “There are two qualified Magistrates in Anguilla at this time.  You are asking me to do something that is going to have very serious consequences for the reputation and future career of a young professional.  There will be serious implications for the political campaign of this candidate for election to the House of Assembly.  You must be crazy if you think I am going to just sign and issue the Warrant without knowing what I am doing.  Leave my office immediately!
For the future guidance of all non-lawyer JPs in Anguilla, that would be the only proper reaction to such a request.

27 January, 2010


The United Front? I received a cartoon today in the mail that I thought I would share with you. It shows the members of the United Front in the best light that I know. Here it is:

I believe it is called "a nest of vipers".  Do you recognise the snakes in the grass? Will they succeed in seducing the voters of Anguilla in the upcoming elections?  Only time will tell.

25 January, 2010


What is an acceptable tourism industry for Anguilla?  Those of us who read the blogs involving visitors’ experiences read some strange things from time to time.  Sometimes, you have to wonder where we are going.  I do not hold any brief for any visitors.  Nor have I been hired by any department of government or tourist service.  That gives me free reign to attack toute munde bagaille.  I propose to do just that in relation to the following recent post on Trip Adviser.  The writer is exuberant about Anguilla.  She enjoyed the experience.  Other than the taxi driver ripping her off, she seems to have enjoyed going through Immigration at Blowing Point on 20 December 2009.  She records the reason for her pleasure in these words:
“Very nice young lady stamped us in, and this always makes us laugh – “Is this your first visit?”  “No, we have been coming since 1981”. - “That was before I was born!” Nice little touch when she also slipped us a little slip of paper with a couple of restaurant recommendations, and a big smile when I told her had several bookings at Picante already”.
You might think the slip of paper with a couple of restaurant recommendations offered to a visitor was a nice little friendly touch on behalf of an Immigration Officer.  However, to me it stinks to high heaven.  To what extent should we permit our Immigration Officers to engage in the marketing of restaurants?  They do not do it for nothing.  They are paid to do so.  This is private enterprise.  The rules that govern the private enterprise of public servants are clear.  They are found at General Orders.  In particular, Rule 3.15 and .16:
3.15 Prior permission to engage in private work must be sought from the Governor.  Full details of private work or any other work  which may create a conflict of interest for which permission is sought, together with particulars of the remuneration offered and of when the work is to be performed, must accompany the application.  Failure to obtain prior approval will render officers liable to disciplinary proceedings.
3.16 For the purpose of this General Order, where public officers possess a direct or indirect interest in a commercial undertaking or are directly or indirectly involved in private work, there shall be deemed to be a conflict of interest if such interest or work clashes with or is incompatible with the official duties.  Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, a conflict of interest includes interest or work which:

(i) impairs or is likely to impair officers’ efficiency;
(ii) brings or likely to bring the government, the public service or the officer into disrepute;
(iii) impinges or is likely to impinge on their official work or responsibility;
(iv) makes them unavailable for reasonable official duties outside normal working hours; and
(v) puts them or gives the appearance of putting them in a position where they are or would be able to use the official position for private gain.”

When I read this “trip report” all that ran through my mind was the question, “Did this Immigration Officer obtain permission before she promoted these two restaurants?”  How much money was she paid?  Or, was it a family member’s restaurant she was promoting, so she did not need payment in cash?  Is this fair to all the other tourism outlets on Anguilla?  What about the much better restaurants that she was not related to?  Should the restaurants of Anguillla that do not pay Immigration Officers to promote them get shafted?
And, finally, what will Stanley do when he reads about this abortion of an Immigration Officer’s performance of her duties?  Cute and desirable as she appears to be, will she be permitted to continue in her polluting of the tourism package of Anguilla
Or, will she, as usual, be spoken to privately, and the whole matter swept under the already very dusty carpet of Anguillian public service corruption?

21 January, 2010


System malfunction?  Overseas Report has a very interesting article by Benito Wheatley on the British Virgin Islands political culture.  Everything he says is applicable to Anguilla.  I urge you to read it for yourself.  His point is that the people of the BVI are discontented with the political system of that Overseas Territory.  He ascribes this discontent to the political culture of the Territory. 
In the BVI, as in Anguilla, recent governments can claim to have improved the territory’s progress and development.  Yet, some areas of society are worse off than previously.  Something is undermining government’s effectiveness.  He believes that the blame lies in certain political practices that have been adopted.  It is not that the politicians are particularly corrupt, it is that the system they have inherited and have continued to cultivate seems almost designed to cause suspicion and disquiet. 
The first corrupt practice he refers to is post-election patronage.  The culture of Anguilla, as in the BVI, and no doubt of every British Overseas Territory in the West Indies, is that the first thing a new government does is to dissolve the various Boards, Commissions and Committees established by the previous administration, and appoint their own political supporters in their place, no matter how inappropriate and incompetent they are.  They say it is expected of them, and they are only considering the expectations of their followers.  There is nothing further from the truth.  This is a system of British Foreign Office encouraged victimisation that has existed in our Leeward Islands since the earliest colonial times.  Political victimisation is designed to muzzle a segment of the population and to inhibit free speech in order to give the administration free reign.  It makes life easier for the Foreign Office as well as for the local administration.  It is an evil system that the British themselves have now done away with.  No politician in that country can appoint a single person to a Board or a Committee without that person being vetted by an independent body established for the purpose of ensuring that ability and merit outweighs political patronage.
He calls the second problem with our governments the “headstrong” approach to governance.  We in Anguilla well know what he means.  This is the system whereby Ministers are encouraged to believe that only they know best.  There is no need for real consultation with the people on certain matters.  They have been appointed “to rescue the people from themselves”.  Ministers, by their election to the House and appointment by the Governor, believe they have been empowered to take decisions, even when they are contrary to the opinion and advice of technical experts.  There is no need to give specific examples from Anguilla.  Every one of the public works projects, awards of licences, and granting of permits over the last ten years have proceeded under this system.  It is facilitated through the agency of compliant permanent secretaries.  The inevitable result of this style is that public confidence in the integrity of government leaches away.  The public becomes more and more disenchanted with the system of governance.  Their only pathetically inadequate remedy is the quinquennial return to the polls.  It is inadequate because the flaw lies in the system that each administration functions under, not with the individuals who happen to have been elected.
Tied to this problem of the headstrong approach to governance is the lack of transparency.  Contracts are awarded under a veil of secrecy.  Villagers wake up in the morning to find that a public road has been bulldozed through their midst in the night.  The Chief Surveyor approves the alteration of boundary marks when the affected neighbours have not been notified of the proposed change.  The public works tendering process is neither constitutionally mandated nor otherwise protected from political interference.  On the contrary, public works contracts are viewed as a political opportunity to keep contractors happy and in the right camp.  Worse, many contracts are awarded to political favourites without any consideration of the public interest in having the work done at a reasonable cost and to an adequate standard.  The standard argument in support of this approach is that if government had to consult the public on every issue nothing would get done.  Our governments fail to accept that a proper functioning democracy depends on a consistent and dependable consultative process.  People who are affected by public works decisions must be given a chance to make their input, even if it slows the pace of government.
His final criticism is the corrupting influence of the constituency system.  We in Anguilla all know about that.  The politician with the means to buy off the majority of his voters is almost guaranteed to win his seat in the House.  When most elections are won by majorities of less than one hundred, it helps if you have more relatives in your village or district than the other candidate.  We expect our politicians to favour the constituency from which they were elected.  We demand the right to approach the Minister and ask for his help with a personal problem, even if it means corrupting the system designed for the protection of the public.  Planning permission objections are overruled, work permits are granted, and residence permits are awarded, depending on who is the individual applying.  This is so routine that Ministers tout it as proof of their concern for the interests of the little man, a source of popularity.  It is not recognised for the corruption that it is.
The blame for this must be put where it belongs.  The political system, the Westminster Model, does not function efficiently in Anguilla.  We need to put more checks and balances in place.  Structural change is needed in the way we do government in Anguilla.  A course of re-education for all our senior officials in the principles and practices of transparency and accountability is urgently needed.  A legally enforceable and mandatory tendering process for all contracts above a certain level is essential.  Transparency in the award of contracts would be a first step.  The granting of permits and licences on the basis of merit only, is universally demanded.  The vetting of political appointees requires no great change in the law, only a commitment to transparency and accountability.  Island-wide elections must be provided for in the new Constitution.  These reforms are needed by all the Territory governments of the West Indies.

19 January, 2010


Normally, sentimental stuff emailed to me makes me sick to the gut, and I delete it straight away without looking at it. I was glad someone sent this to me. I enjoyed it. I hope you will too.

16 January, 2010


In conversation with a group of students at the local Anguillian High School recently, the subject of evolution came up.  One student asked me if I believed in the “theory of evolution”.  I answered that the evolution of new species is no longer classed as a theory: it is a recognised fact.  Darwin’s theory of natural selection as the engine that drives evolution may be described as a theory, but not the fact of evolution itself.  This response was met by a sea of disbelieving faces.  Disconcerted, I asked the youngsters how many of them believed that evolution was a false theory.  Every one of them nodded his or her head in agreement with the assertion.  Not a single student declared confidence in the science of evolution.  These were senior students, mind you, about to graduate from High School.  They were not small and untutored children from a junior school.  To say that I was shocked would not be sufficient.  I was stunned.  Could it be, I asked myself, that our education system in Anguilla is teaching the discredited theory of creationism as if it were science?
I was educated in a religious school in Trinidad in the 1950s and 1960s.  My biology teacher was a priest and minister of religion.  He taught us then that the evolution of species was an accepted fact.  We learned that the story of the creation, the Old Testament story of the Garden of Eden and God’s creation of all the known animals at the time of the beginning of the world, was meant to be taken as metaphor, not fact.  We were taught as good Catholics that God had made man in his image.  God had done this by breathing an immortal soul into him at some stage in the distant past when our physical bodies had evolved into homo sapiens.  I have long ago rejected as fantasy the whole structure of the Judeo-Christian myths.  I had not realized that anyone today still believed in the discredited Jewish creation story as science.
After the encounter, I enquired around.  I checked the CXC website for the biology syllabus.  I could not find it available on-line.  It would appear you have to buy it.  I checked two recent schools’ reports on the CXC exam results.  Neither mentioned either of the words ‘evolution’ or ‘creationism’.  I could not find out what the title of the recommended CXC biology text book was.  I would love to check it to see what version of science it teaches.  Maybe I can find out who the biology teacher is, and have a look at the recommended text-book.
I asked one educated mother who is a friend of mine whether she knew that the school was filling her daughter’s mind with superstitious nonsense instead of science.  She smiled.  She said, “No point fighting it, Don.  It is the duty of every parent to give their children a proper grounding.  All kinds of nonsense are taught in schools all around the world.  We have to learn as we grow up what to reject and what to keep.”  She probably gave me very sensible advice.  But, I was not satisfied.  What about the children of uneducated and unsophisticated parents?  Are they not hoping that their children are being properly taught in school so that they can compete in the outside world of ideas?  They know they cannot do it themselves.  I came away with the realization that in Anguilla it must be generally accepted that the creation version of the origin of species may be taught in our school system as science.
I know what I would do if I had a child who was being taught in school that the earth is flat, that the earth is the centre of the universe, that the sun goes around the world each day, and that God created the earth on 23 October 4004 BC.  These were all religious beliefs that were taught as science at one time by Christians in school.  I would be very angry indeed.


Columbus was warned by the religious leaders of his day that if he sailed westwards to the horizon, he would fall off the edge of the world.  The Church taught that the Bible said that the earth was flat.  Columbus ignored them and in 1492 sailed west to increase our knowledge. 


Copernicus demonstrated in 1540 that the sun did not orbit the earth as taught by the church.  He died before they could burn him at the stake, as he deserved for going against the Bible.


Galileo was condemned and imprisoned for life in 1616 for showing that the earth was not the centre of the universe, as taught at the time by the Christian Church. 
In the religiously conservative State of Tennessee in 1925, biology teacher John Scopes began teaching evolution to his students.  This was contrary to a law passed by the state legislature.  It was illegal to teach evolution in some States of the USWilliam Jennings Bryan, a conservative Christian fundamentalist, led the charge to ban the teaching of evolution in US schools.  He joined the team prosecuting Scopes for the offence of teaching evolution.  Clarence Darrow, a prominent freedom of speech advocate, joined the defence team.  Scopes was found guilty, and fined $100.00.  But the conviction was dismissed by the Supreme Court with the damming comment, “Nothing is to be gained by prolonging the life of this bizarre case”.  Since that time the creationist theory of the origin of human life has not been taught in public schools anywhere in the civilized world.  Except, it seems, in Anguilla.

Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan

The Book of Genesis is a religious tract written for credulous shepherds who lived three thousand years ago.  It preserves the narcotic-induced ravings of the followers of a sociopathic god.  The whole schema was discredited two thousand years ago by Jesus of Nazareth, who brought the New Testament to replace the earlier barbaric teachings of the Old Testament.  Human knowledge has gone a long way since both these works were put together.  Their teachings may be broadcast in church to terrify little children into submission, but they have no place in a science class in any school today.
What is the point of all this?  It is this: Anguilla has over the past hundred years produced hundreds of scholars of the highest distinction, including in the sciences.  We have produced neurosurgeons, engineers and technicians of every type.  They must have been taught real science, not myth, to have got where they did.  At some point between my sitting of O-level exams in 1964 and the CXC syllabus of today, the students of Anguilla appear to have begun to be indoctrinated in pseudo-religious beliefs that I thought had long ago been discredited.  It is with regret that I conclude that, due to the ignorance taught by our science teachers, Anguillian students are now blocked from advancement in careers founded on science. 
My fear is that we will no longer be able to produce a competent chemist, geologist, archaeologist, geneticist, or other hard scientist.  This sad state of affairs will persist so long as we continue to teach our students ‘creation science’ and ‘intelligent design’, two warped and inaccurate versions of biology, the science of life.
Educated religious teachers no longer instruct children in idiotic pre-science beliefs.  These have been so thoroughly discredited that I had mistakenly thought that only a nincompoop would teach them today. 

15 January, 2010


How come this does not happen in my market?  This has got to be one of the most charming videos that I have seen in a long time. The question is, how come this does not happen in my market?

You have to smile.  If not, you are a barbarian.  Need I say more?

14 January, 2010


Larry Franklin is highly to be commended.  Yesterday, the island was agog with excitement.  The press were at Blowing Point from early in the morning.  Live broadcasts revealed that the early-morning ferries taking passengers to Marigot had been turned back at the port and refused to land.  No one knew what the cause was, or how long it would last.  Mention was made of Anguilla having arrested a French fisherman for illegal fishing.  Was this an official retaliation by the French authorities?  When would it come to an end?  Was war between Anguilla and French St Martin imminent?  Did we have to wait for Britain to declare it on our behalf, or could we do it for ourselves?  We waited all day for news with baited breaths.

Then, at 10:21 pm the same day, Larry Franklin, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Infrastructure, which has responsibility for the ports, posted a press release on the Anguilla News website.  This revealed that there had been an unofficial blockade arranged by the French fishermen of Marigot.  These had been under the mistaken impression that they were free to fish in Anguilla’s waters without the necessary licence.  One had been arrested and charged, prompting the retaliation.  Anguilla’s government ministers and their staff had immediately ventured to St Martin to meet with their French counterparts.  The misunderstanding had been resolved before midday, and the ports re-opened.  Persons have begun posting copies of the press release on other websites and forums, no doubt to ensure it had the widest possible readership.
What is remarkable, is the prompt, clear, factual, and non-political wording of the press release from Mr Franklin.  It is a model for all civil servants and politicians to follow in the future.  You may read it by clicking on the link above.

12 January, 2010


ALHCS Debates.  The student and staff members of the Albena Lake-Hodge Comprehensive School Literary and Debating Society have organized a series of debates among the political candidates in the upcoming general elections in Anguilla.  The exercise is not only meant as a contribution to the discourse leading up to the elections, it is also a praise-worthy effort to raise much-needed funds for the members of the Society to pay their airfares and hotel expenses in attending the next Leeward Islands Debating Competition for High Schools.  The timetable for the debates among the political candidates has been published for some time.  The Anguillian Newspaper published a story on the topic in its issue of 29 December 2009.

The first debate was held yesterday.  It was intended for the three candidates from the West End constituency to show what stuff they are made of.  The participants were to be Wilmoth Hodge for the APP, Walcott Richardson for the AUM, and Kenswick Richardson for the now discredited AUF.  Only Wilmoth Hodge turned up.  The cowardly candidates of the other two parties failed to show up, leaving Wilmoth alone to field all the questions.  He answered valiantly the multitude of issues put to him by the young members of the Debating Society.  By all accounts, he acquitted himself well. 
When our young people fail to meet our expectations, we are quick to jump all over them, none more so than me.  When they do something worthwhile and creditable, they deserve all our encouragement and congratulations.  Shame on you both, Walcott and Kenswick Richardson.
Other competing and contrasting views can be read here, and here.

11 January, 2010


The gossip around The Valley was about the demand of Viceroy to bring in 70-odd Nevisians to complete the staffing of their Anguilla hotel.  Why Nevisians? you may ask.  Because Four Seasons Hotel in neighbouring Nevis trained hundreds of locals to run a hotel to the highest standard.  Four Seasons has been closed for a year.  It closed down thanks to Hurricane Omar.  As a result, there are hundreds of trained, unemployed hotel staff in Nevis.  Just 100 miles away from Anguilla.  What more obvious solution to the understaffed Viceroy Hotel than to bring the unemployed Nevisians to Anguilla?
The anticipated advantage for Viceroy was that they would be employing vulnerable, malleable immigrants.  At the slightest sign of stroppiness, or independence of mind, these foreign workers could be cowed into submission by threatening them with deportation.  That should keep them quiet!
The problem is that in Anguilla there are hundreds of young people who are out of a job.  They are demanding to know what their government is doing to look out for them.  Elections are around the corner.  Government was anxious to oblige.  The machinery of government was deployed in their defence.  Is that so wrong?
All that we asked was for our Anguillian youth to present themselves to any prospective employer in a reasonable light.  The problem is that the youth of Anguilla are unprepared for the job market.  The average Anguillian out-of-school young lady is tattooed from wrist to armpit.  She wears to the job-interview earrings that reach from her ears to her shoulders.  No one has taught either her or her brother how to handle a job interview.  Viewing the combination of her tattoos and earrings is guaranteed to frighten the s++t out of the average middle-aged, north-American guest at her hotel.  This makes her virtually unemployable.  Meanwhile, her brothers have lost the last trace of their parents’ Anguillian culture.  The present-day youth of Anguilla have been educated by BET jail-talk.  They speak a dialect, learned from US TV, that is closer to Folsum Jail prisoner-jargon than anything their Anguillian ancestors ever spoke.  They are generally unmannerly, semi-literate, and unprepared for the job market.  With their pants-waists dropping below their hips to reveal their dirty underpants, no employer, no matter how desperate, would ever imagine employing them.  They are, all of them, just not ready for the job market.  The average Anguillian High-School graduate is barely fit to be employed in the garden of a second-rate hotel, far less the front office of a Viceroy.
The joke of it all is on Viceroy.  As part of the deal for getting all the tax exemptions they were given by our generous, outgoing government, Viceroy had promised to have the necessary staff trained in time for the opening of the hotel.  They utterly failed themselves.  They dropped the training promise.  Such little training of Anguilllian staff as they provided, was perfunctory and last-minute.  The accountants who now run the hotel had decided that the promised training of Anguillian staff would be too expensive.  It would be cheaper to bring in Asians at one tenth the going West Indian rate.  Our government encouraged them to believe this was feasible.
They did not factor in the general elections that come every five years, and the ensuing upsurge in ‘patriotism’.  Sorry, it turns out that at this present time no imports are allowed.  An election has to be won first.
Good luck, Viceroy.

10 January, 2010


The Law and You.  When I was a High Court judge in St Vincent back in 1999, Parnel Campbell had a TV programme.  He called it, as I recall, “The Law and You”.  It aired weekly.  In it, he explained various areas of the law of St Vincent and the Grenadines to his viewers.  It was a very popular programme.  I thought it was brilliant.  I wondered what it would be like to imitate it in Anguilla.  So, when Wycliffe Richardson of atv3 spoke to me about doing a popular law programme for Chanel 3 TV, I jumped at it.  He has asked me to keep him at least two programmes in hand.  I readily complied.

Wycliffe now tells me that the broadcasts have started on channel 3 TV.
I know that they will not be as well done as Parnel’s.   hope they will be of some interest.  And, as people begin to ask me to cover various areas of law, they may get more interesting.