07 February, 2010


It is with great sadness that I report the following.  One of the many public complaints against the outgoing Anguilla Administration has been its gross over-emphasis on economic development at the cost of the under-development of our social services.  It seems that whenever there has been a choice between any of culture, social development, the environment, transparency, accountability or integrity on the one hand and the financial interest of the land developer on the other, the land developer won each time.  It appears to be the commonest complaint one hears both on the calypsos and on the opposition platforms.  Now, I hear a very sad story that I want to tell you about.  First, a little history.
Portrait of Dr SB Jones MD
Dr Samuel B Jones, famous as the first black medical doctor in the Leeward Islands, served as Warden, doctor, and Magistrate of Anguilla from August 1918 to May 1923.  He wrote the first published history of Anguilla, The Annals of Anguilla (1931).
Dr SB Jones OBE of Anguilla
During the time Dr Jones was in charge of Anguilla, the island experienced four consecutive years of drought, food shortages, a hurricane and a quarantine period.  The last of these endured for several months due to the presence of 400 contacts and 19 cases of mild smallpox imported from the Dominican Republic.  In response to the threat, Dr Jones built a quarantine station on the tip of the point of the Shannon Hill which lies to the north of Sandy Ground Bay
View of the point at Shannon Hill where Dr Jones built the Anguilla Quarantine station
All schooners returning to Anguilla bringing the annual temporary cane cutters from the Dominican Republic back to Anguilla were made to tie up to the great iron ring that still to this day remains cemented on the small cliff.  There, the crew and passengers were detained in quarantine until they were cleared of all infection and were permitted to join their families.  They were the 400 “contacts”.  Dr Jones ensured that no serious case of smallpox escaped from the quarantine station.  It is said that he built a fence across the Shannon Hill point, from shore to shore, and put guards at the gate to keep the men in and the girlfriends out.  No Anguillians died during the epidemic that raged in the islands around.  For his achievement in preserving the islanders from serious infection he was awarded the OBE.  The ruins of the foundations of the cottages that made up the quarantine hospital could, at least until about five years ago, still be seen there.  Now they have been bulldozed by some demented Philistine developer, and the site has gone back to its previous state of abandonment, but without the historic foundations.  There remained one link with Dr Jones’ historic achievement.
Bulldozed foundations of the quarantine station at the point of the Shannon Hill
The cottages that he built on the foundations at the point on the Shannon Hill were subsequently, when he finally lifted the quarantine, transported by truck and by cart to the top of Crocus Hill.  There they were installed on new foundations.  They formed the first wards of The Old Cottage Hospital.  Over the years, the original chattel house buildings were gradually replaced by the concrete and galvanized-roof buildings that are there now.
The back view of the Old Cottage Hospital
Anguilla’s hospital has moved on to its present location in Pope Hill where it is now known as the Princess Alexandra Hospital.  The Old Cottage Hospital buildings are presently occupied only by WISE and by the Anguilla branch of the Red Cross
The front view of the Old Cottage Hospital
WISE stands for Workshop Initiative for Support in Education.  The name rather conceals the purpose of the institution.  This is where Anguilla’s children who have behavioural issues, or who have chronic learning problems, come to complete their education.  Members of the public have equipped it with wood working equipment and metal working tools.  There is a modern, well equipped teaching kitchen.  Language and mathematics skills are developed.  Above all, there is shelter, care and concern showered on the students while they are there.  WISE is a division of the Ministry of Education, and is one of the most important social developments that have taken place in Anguilla over the past decade.  The management and staff of WISE are widely recognized throughout the island for their selfless devotion to, and love for, their wards.  Many of them have graduated and gone on to be productive and useful members of Anguilla society.
The WISE classrooms at the Old Cottage Hospital
Now, the school children tell me that members of a certain political party have promised the Crocus Bay Development people that, if they should win the upcoming general election, they will sell them the Old Cottage Hospital buildings.  The developers have, apparently, applied to some of these politicians for the property to be sold to them.  Once they open their villas for sale, they do not want the school to continue on their doorstep, so to say.  I am told that the original Old Folks Home on the grounds of the Cottage Hospital was turned over to the Fisheries Department when the old folks were removed to their new home at Pope Hill.  This building has already been occupied by the developers.  If this is true, there will be precedent for this proposed transfer.
The Old Folks Home at the Cottage Hospital, now occupied by the developer
Given what, in my opinion, appears to be the cattle-truck style of construction pursued by Crocus Bay Development, I doubt that there can be any question of a surplus bundle of money being available to the company for it to build a suitable replacement college building for WISE. 
The Crocus Bay Development
It is not clear whether any, and if so, how much of a campaign contribution was solicited or donated in exchange for this promise.  Given the presently apparently semi-abandoned state of the project, it is highly unlikely that there would be any substance to such a base thought.  As is apparent from the photographs, construction appears to be almost at a standstill.  On the Saturday I visited, there was one workman hammering away at the back of the site.  The fronts of the half-constructed buildings were covered with weeds.  It did not seem to be under active construction.  A July 2009 article in The Anguillian Newspaper quotes the owners as saying that the first of the buildings would have been available for sale last year.  The next seven were to be ready by December of 2010.  It would appear that things are not progressing as planned.  Even the website appears to be only partially constructed.
Weeds growing out of the front of the Crocus Bay Development, suggesting a degree of abandonment
Will WISE have to close down, or will they be able to remove their equipment, students and staff, to a new and adequate location provided to them?
Whatever the fate or fortune of Crocus Bay Development, if there is any substance to the story of the imminent demise of our Old Cottage Hospital building at the request of a real estate developer and speculator, all those who are concerned ought to be ashamed of themselves.


  1. Indeed, Don, let's mystify every single inch of this island so nothing ever happens here again.

    Better yet, let's all stop breathing the very air here, because the dinosaurs breathed it first.

  2. It would seem that nothing of our islands history is regarded as being sacrosant to any of the developers.
    Anguilla as our country means nothing to them as they only see the almighty dollar as their saviour.
    Was it not the same developers who gave our government handcuffs as a gift?
    It seems as though our government is hancuffed to this developer.
    What a disgusting gift to accept. Irony.

  3. I don’t know, but it seems to me that both previous posters, coming from different angles, have missed the point of Don’s discursive little photo magazine item.

    The issue he seems to me to be raising is neither an appreciation for our history nor the value of economic development. It is the question of whether our United Front administration has any care for the lagging social development needs of this country. If they could be trusted to demand from the developer, in exchange for giving up the Old Cottage Hospital, a first class facility for Wise and the Red Cross, there could be no quarrel. The likelihood is that some Fronter is going to make a big commission for doing the deal, and Wise will be out on its ear.

    Do I detect in the tone of the first comment a panic that a fat commission is about to be lost?

  4. It is true that the Crocus Bay Development people have occupied the former Fisheries premises. I don't know if they are buying or renting. I suspect the rest of this tale, about the Cottage Hospital, is more opposition rubbish.

  5. The Cottage Hospital where so many Anguillians were born, bulldozer-ed? The idea! That historic landmark on top of the hill given up for parking space for a handful of tourists? Oh please!
    I don't think the WISE staff or students will willingly move out of that place.

  6. I don't know what's going on at the former Old People's Home. But that's the whole point, isn't it? A building that has been government property for many years suddenly is occupied by developers and has a big sign on it and government, as usual, can't be bothered to explain why this is, the developers can only be bothered to tell us what a wonderful thing they're doing for us, and the WISEpeople don't know WHAT's going on.

    A vacuum will be filled. If no one will fill it with facts, it will be filled with rumour. Rumours, as is well known, can be true or false.

    Thank you, Don, for publishing the story as you and I see it. I shall leave room below for any who KNOW the facts to post them here instead of blaming you for their negligent arrogance and incompetence.

    I gon.

  7. Anguilla needs to inform and educate present and future generations about the history and culture of Anguilla and vicinity by collecting and preserving records of earlier generations and by exhibiting and interpreting art, artifacts, archives and places of historical interest.

  8. The rumor is true.You sleeping anguillians will find out after the election.

  9. I always enjoy reading your blog. I liked this posting on how the WISE campus came into being, and the history behind it. It would be great if, by some miracle, a new campus could be developed.

    A quick question that no one seems to know the answer to…how much does a minister in the government make? Do they also get paid for every committee meeting they attend? Someone told me that they make $30,000 EC a day! Can’t be.

    If so, is it too late to get on the ballot?

  10. The issues raised and implied in this posting stems from a much larger issue that we in Anguilla need to come to terms with and address comprehensively. The sooner the better. At the core of the issues raised and/or implied in this posting is the lack of proper, comprehensive land use planning. The need to protect and preserve buildings and areas of historic importance is an important and necessary one. The need to maximize the use of our land with spectacular ocean views for economy growth is also an important and necessary one. So the real issue becomes, how do we accomplish a harmonious balance between these two apparently competing interest? The answer is in the use of the comprehensive land use planning process. This apparent conflict should be addressed at the planning level. It should be addressed when considering whether or not to preserve the Old Cottage Hospital? For what use? How would the adjacent lands be developed? For what use? What conflicts, if any, would result? How would they be mitigated? Not after the fact. The answers to these and similar questions then forms the basis for the comprehensive land use plan, once concensus was achieve among all stakeholders. Until we embrace this level of land use planning in Anguilla, we will continue to endure this and many similar problems.

    To learn more about Comprehensive Land Use Planning and some of my views on the subject, please reference two articles I published in the Anguillian Newspaper entitled, "What is a Comprehensive Land Use Plan and Why Anguilla needs One ( February, 6, 2009) and "Zoning and its Role as a Land Control Tool" (February 2, 2009)

  11. Oops. My article in the Anguillian Newspaper entitled, "Zoning and Its Role as a Land Control Tool" was published on February 16, 2009 and not February 2, 2009.

  12. Mr. Rogers is correct.

    The Planning Dept. is limited by an obsolete Planning Act. A new one was drafted by a nice lady who is not from here and who lacked sensitivity to local customs. It was approved by the Attorney General, whose background is mostly in the Bermuda Police, and went to Planning, where the Department has an additional limitation: incompetence. They approved this abortion of legislation and sent it to ExCo, where it was approved because it was too long to read. It then went to the House of Assembly where the opposition tore it to shreads, using some truth and some lies. Opposition forces then used it to attack Government, who ran for cover instead of fixing the Bill. The lady who originally drafted it was attacked in public, the cowardly AG ran for cover instead of defending the poor woman and she quit in shame. The group of women known as "The Lawyers" don't care who they throw under the bus in their quest for vengence.

    Since then, the AG has received his just reward but we still don't have an effective Planning Act. Government won't fix it, the opposition prefers to use it as a hammer, Mr. Rogers is talking sense but this is Anguilla so he's talking to the wind and here we are.

  13. The only "planning" *any* market needs is a cash-settled auction. Anything else is an excuse for back-door graft.

  14. As I read through your blog and the comments written by others who read it,I wonder how effective our opposition has been since the last election. Could government give lease or lend the former old people's home without the action being questioned by the opposition in the House?

    The opposition seems to become active just before the election. Too much of what the government has done wrong happened without the opposition opposing the actions that are now to the detriment of Anguilla.

    When we see all of this, the question to us who must vote, will a new regime make a difference??

  15. The text below sums it up.

    One day, the leader of a known political party was crossing the street and he was knocked down by a drunken driver. Unfortuntely he died. His spirit left his mortal remains and he came face to face with Peter concerning his future…… Hell, or Heaven.
    “Welcome to Heaven!” said Peter. However, before a definite decision can be made with reference to your future, there is a problem that needs to be solved.
    It results from the fact that we are honoured by your presence, a politician of such high esteem. We are not quite sure how to place such a person in our midst”.
    “You will play a pivotal role in solving the dilemma: First you will get the opportunity to see what it is like in hell for 24 hours. After that you will get the opportunity to experience heaven for 24 hours. After the two days of experieince, as man of such high esteem you will be given the opportunity to choose whether you will prefer heaven or hell”.
    The doors to hell were opened and Peter and the politician found himself standing and facing a well kept golf course with exceptional facilities.
    In the distance he could see a club house. As he drew closer he could see many of his friends who were in politics together with him and who had passed on. They all looked exceptionally well and seemed to be enjoying it here.
    As his friends caught sight of him, they drew near and greeted him. They reminded him of the times they worked together to enrich themselves from the spoils of their constituents.
    During the day he found time to play golf with them and at evening enjoyed a sumptuous dinner of lobster and the like at the club house.
    Later in the evening lovely ladies were brought in to attend to their needs and fulfill their wishes.
    Satan too was there and he enjoyed himself with those who were present. He seemed to be a very nice person. Those present danced, drank their favourite alcoholic beverages and engaged in the usual type of rude jokes that they were accustomed to on earth.
    The politician enjoyed himself to the max! Time flew by and before long the 24 hours had gone by. They all hugged and expressed their regret that he had to leave.
    He stepped into the elevator to experience heaven.
    The elevator moved upwards and upwards when it stopped he was at Heaven’s gate and there was Peter waiting for him.
    “Now is the time for you to familiarize yourself with heaven”, said Peter.
    So, for the next 24 hours, the politician moved from cloud to cloud enjoying the music of harps and taking in the lovely singing of angelic voices.
    Before he had time to fully enjoy it all in Heaven, the 24 hours was gone and Peter was there to meet him again.
    “So” exclaimed Peter, “you had 24 hours in Hell and 24 hours in Heaven. Now you must choose where you would like to spend the rest of eternity”.
    The politician found himself in deep thought before stating:
    “I must say that I found heaven to be exceptional, however, I believe that based on what I have seen and experienced in the 48 hours, hell suits me better.
    “OK, you have chosen” said Peter.
    Peter brought him to the elevator so that he can be taken to hell.
    The elevator goes lower and lower and lower into the depths of hell and stops at the gate.
    As the door to the elevator opens, the politician came face to face with the searing heat of a desert littered with rubbish.
    He sees the friends he saw earlier. This time they were walking in soiled and dirty clothing picking up the smelly garbage and placing it in large garbage sacks.
    The devil approaches him and grabs him by the scruff of his neck.
    “I don’t undertand”, stammered the politician. “Yesterday I stood here talking to some lovely women. There was a well-kept golf-course where I played with my friends. Later in the evening we ate lobster and danced and now…. now… I am confronted with what seems to be wateland… a desert covered in rubbish. My friends seem not to like it here”.

    The devil looked at him with an evil grin and said:
    Yesterday I was campaigning!
    Today I am Elected!

  16. Among all the campaigning on this island at the moment, sure, important questions of development like this are coming up. But the thing that I just can't understand is how anyone expects Anguilla to move forward as a nation and be prosperous when TODAY, like many days on this island, some communities are without public WATER!

  17. Is there a graphical map anywhere on the Internet showing the districts (and especially the boundaries)? I can't find one online, but I am stupid and just typed in phrases like Anguilla +district +map and such.

  18. This post and its replies are interesting in that they seem to be based on speculation and rumor or “educated” guesses as to the motivations of Crocus Bay Development.

    However it seems that Bob has omitted either due to not knowing, not investigating thoroughly, or (hopefully not) on purpose very important factual information.

    As someone very much in the know I will fill in these gaps and squash the rumors:

    The land on which CBDC is building belongs to Michael. He is a member of the Gumbs family. His mother was Little Mary(Cecil Gumbs) His Grand Mother was Bread Wilson and his Great Grandfather was Samuel Anderson Gumbs. As such he is related to Jerry Gumbs, Alan Gumbs, Hudson Gumbs, Josie Gumbs and her mother and father, as well as Victor Banks, and a whole host of others too many to mention in Anguilla.

    As stated before he is the land owner and principal partner in Crocus Bay Development which includes 3 others that he has known for over 20 years in New York and has had an extremely close relationship during that time. These other individuals deal with high end construction in NYC.

    Your brief Anguilla History lesson at the beginning of this post seems to omit a very large part of history.

    Perhaps, this is due to the fact that you were not in Anguilla when it occurred, thus I shall enlighten anyone that cares to know: Michael’s Great Grandfather Samuel Anderson Gumbs donated the patch of land to Anguilla on which the current building which once was the Fisheries stands so that the old people could rest there and see the sunset. The old folks home was built thereafter until it was changed to another location and then that building was used as the department of Fisheries. The Fisheries moved out and the building was vacant before CBCD even began construction. I do not have details of the current arrangement but it is a bit presumptuous(incendiary actually, which seems to be your intention) to imply some sort of back room dealing when it was his great grand dad’s to begin with.

  19. Now, the school children tell me that members of a certain political party have promised the Crocus Bay Development people that, if they should win the upcoming general election, they will sell them the Old Cottage Hospital buildings. The developers have, apparently, applied to some of these politicians for the property to be sold to them. Once they open their villas for sale, they do not want the school to continue on their doorstep, so to say”

    First off Bob, If you admire the work of those dedicated professionals that give so much to the kids of W.I.S.E why did you not go and ask them about the validity of what the school children “now tell you”?

    Did you speak with Gabby that runs the program?

    No you did not.

    If you had, you would know that Michael has been back and forth to Anguilla at least 4 times over the past few months setting up a program for the kids of W.I.S.E and has spoken and met with Gabby a number of times working on the logistics of this program.

    A program that starts with W.I.S.E and other youth in Anguilla and then spreads through the island.

    I will not delve into the details of his program as I will let him speak for himself, but I can say that I find it interesting you don’t know anything about it whereas most people close to him on the island including people on both sides of the political fence do.

    It is a project that he shared with his great uncle Jeremiah Gumbs a few years before his passing and was encouraged to embark upon as soon as possible as it would benefit the youth of Anguilla.

    Perhaps you should seek Michael out and ask him. Or perhaps if you will blog speculative accusations as above you should go and sit on Hudson’s Porch and have him give you facts as he and Michael are particularly close and knows how to contact Michael as well as the entire history of that hill and what Michael is ultimately trying to achieve.

    I do find it curious that Michael(and presumable his partners in CBDC) would spend their money, time, and effort to offer the kids of W.I.S.E a program for their benefit for free and then plan to kick them out on the street. The fact is, this is not the case.

  20. Yes!Also ask Bankie about Michael! It should be a very interesting conversation.The Jerry Gumbs conversation is a total lie.And so is the rest about "Michael"and his Grandfather.Good luck!

  21. Sounds like Michael should be sainted.....Do you know him????

  22. Again yet another example of blight. Beautiful would be resorts and 10 million dollar developments in the hands of few workers to finish over the course of ?years? is what is killing the island.

    It is far better that this place be taken back and sold off to Individuals that could complete it from here. Bankruptcy is a very subtle thing...

    In this case it is a property with a value of 10 Million to build....for ?50? units? to be sold for what pipe dream at the time? 1 Million each for 3 months stay per year and a never ending rental pool?

    I will pay today $200,000 for one unit as is....with the right to finish it and to pay stamp tax on that unit over a 5 year period and I will finish my unit in 6 months. And I can live there...

    Figure it out people...if you want to sell real estate and get it refurbished...THEN DO SO by action. How about the derilict property on Sandy Ground under Road Bay......Cinnimon (sp) reef? How about the ladies at Forest Bay?

    Your island is not what you think it is.........when you know it to be what it is and realize how to manage that then your economy will return....

    Any takers?


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