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 to declare it on our behalf, or could we do it for ourselves? We waited all day for news with baited breaths. Britain
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.