14 March, 2010

Peter Eigen

How to expose corruption. This little video is a speech by one of my heroes. I hope you will look at it and understand what he says.
Everything he speaks about is relevant to Anguilla as to every other country in the West Indies. Our leaders are subject to absolutely no higher supervision. We are prisoners of a post-colonial system which has bequeathed to our region a constitutional regime that vests absolute power in our Prime Ministers, Premiers, and Chief Ministers.
We all need to concentrate on how we introduce checks and balances into our constitutional arrangements.


  1. Maybe our new government should tell the past and present developers to come forward and tell us if they had to pay bribes to the past government. It could be made clear that there would be no repercussions towards them if they would just give us proof of bribes, if any, were given out to local politicians or people. That would be a very good way to show that this new government is serious about stamping out corruption on our little island.

  2. To improve Anguilla's systems so as to reduce bribery, it would be useful to know what past bribes were paid for. Even just plausible scenarios and rumors would help us understand the problem and know how to deal with it.

    For example, one scenario is that developers could pay a politician to get duty free status for their project. There are rumors of this and it seems very plausible. Changing the constitution so that politicians could not grant anyone duty free status would fix this problem.

    As a general rule it seems any time a government official has the power to give one person or company special treatment compared to others (or normal laws) there is fertile ground for bribery.

    Even general information about bribery in the Caribbean, or even around the world, could help. Also, knowing what checks and balances have worked in other countries would help.

  3. No politician in Anguilla can grant duty concessions.  They must be approved by the House of Assembly.  No such approval has been given yet for Viceroy and Flag, but they have enforceable MOUs that promise this to them.  These are contracts.  A contract can't be changed by only one party.  Hubert seems to believe that an MOA can't be changed without the consent of both parties but an MOU can.  He must know this is untrue, but it sounded good to the voters.  I want to know what government is doing about these unapproved duty concessions.

    I don't believe any minister in Anguilla has ever been bribed.  I believe all such money was paid as a "campaign contribution."   It is perfectly legal for a developer to give "Minister X" a campaign contribution of any amount.  And it is legal for him to pay it with currency in a brown bag, instead of a cheque.

    And, as far as I know, there is no legislation limiting how a candidate uses campaign money, so if he wants to use it to buy a new care for his wife, or to play roulette in a St. Maartin casino, it is his to use as he wishes.

    These are just a few small things that need to be addressed when we look to "checks and balances."

  4. Volunteer work is very much alive here in the USA.   Getting the younger generation to realize that giving of  "their time" cannot be measured by monies paid is an important lesson of life. Maybe now would be a good time to get the young people of Anguilla involved in helping out and taking pride in their island.  Pride, being of a positive virtue, not the pride of arrogance.   It is never too soon to get the young involved in forging the outcome of their future "world".

    Getting the young to realize that the giving of "their time" to something greater than "themselves" is one of the greatest lessons that can be taught.  Monetary gains are fine, but the expectation of "only" monetary gain for services rendered is selfish.  (One of life's greatest lessons.)

    Egoism and self importance has never been at the forefront of "GREAT" influential leaders.  Humility is not a bad trait.  Humility is not timidness.  Humility is "strength".  Humility and the pride of positive virtue go hand in hand.

    The young are quite impressionable. 

    "I have learned silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet strange, I am ungrateful to those teachers"  ........Kahil Gibran
    "Things are going to change - that is their nature.  One day you succeed, one day you fail; one day you are the top, another day you are at the bottom.  But something in you is always exactly the same, and that something is your reality." ......Osho
    I have always enjoyed reading quotations ....  Thoughts of the wise.

    Anguilla will return to its former glory.  That day will come.  I am sure of it.

    Have a great day, Mr. Mitchell

  5. >No politician in Anguilla can grant duty concessions.

    Perhaps you mean, "no politician, on his own, can grant duty concessions"? Even if they have to pass it in the House of Assembly, that just means 4 politicians, right? And almost always the other 3 follow the Chief Minister, right?

    How many politicians signed the contract or MOU? How can a contract not approved in the House of Assembly be letting them not pay taxes, or forcing the House of Assembly to pass something? What is a MOA?

    We don't want politicians to be doing things to earn campaign contributions or bribes. We want them to be working in the public interest. So there is a real problem, even if what they are doing is not currently illegal.

  6. Don (or any other Anguillian lawyer willing to chime in):

    How can an MOU or an MOA be enforceable (or at least the provisions requiring House of Assembly approval), if the person signing the document does not have the legal or constitutional authority to grant the financial concessions referred to in the document?

    I grant you that refusing to honor an agreement negotiated in good faith could be very messy and lead to lawsuits. However, developers appear to have taken some degree of advantage of Anguilla and my guess is that their hands may not be completely clean. If they have skeletons in their closet, they may be a little reluctant to initiate lawsuits that may result in them having to air their dirty laundry.

    Moreover, if there is any documentation in existence that might show that the developer knew, or should have known, that the Chief Minister (or whoever signed these agreements) was not able to grant financial concessions on their sole authority, maybe it's worth creating the mess by refusing to honor provisions of such agreements that never received proper approval and seeking to renegotiate them.

    The rule of law should apply to everyone! These really tough times may require considering the unthinkable.

  7. This is the same Hubert who was quoted by The Anguillian: "The Hon Hubert Hughes, at his weekly press conference, stressed that he will not support the Government motion, due to go before the House of Assembly on today (Friday, 4th September 2009), to borrow EC$49 million. He said that ever since they returned from the “disastrous trip to London” they have threatened that they will borrow. He said that they have no money because they have no vision".

    It appears that the ousted criminal suspect Premier of TCI, Michael Misick, borrowed from the TCI equivalent of Social Security to cover the budget deficit. This week I hear rumours that Premier Bush in Cayman is trying to do the same thing. Using the people's trust fund money to cover their overspending seems like legalized theft to me. And now I am hearing that Hubert wants to do the same thing. Part of that money is mine and I don't want Hubert or anyone else to be borrowing it.

  8. Towards the end of Peter Eigen's talk, he refers to the need to educate Civil Society Leaders around the world and explains that is why they set up a Governance School and Centre for Civil Society in Berlin. What about sending some of Anguilla's newly elected to go for an indoctrination at these institutes, so they may be inspired to do the right thing and resist temptation? Or at least set up scholarships for Anguilla's brightest youth and future leaders to attend these institutions?

  9. Just as a piece of information, the British School of Government has held workshops in Anguilla. They teach ethics and the like. The problem is that they do not teach politicians, only public servants. So, your suggestion is very apt.

  10. Sorry, but this guy's the canonical example of an over-educated -- and over-credentialled -- moron.

    An "economy" is a geographically defined market with a nation-state's boot on its throat.

    Furthermore, the more laws, promulgated and otherwise, the more "corruption" there is.

    When you have to hire politicians to stay in business, that's fascism.

    And Lobbyists, NGOs, think tanks, etc., are merely unelected politicians.

    Their sole reason for existence is to bribe or flatter elected or appointed officials into giving one constituency or another some largess out of the state's ability to tax and regulate its captive "citizenry".

    "Governance", and "civil society" are statist code words for global slavery. It is a response to what crypto-Marxists call "globalism", which is merely the efforts of thousands of free people, acting in free markets, to shed under the increasingly yoke of the modern totalizing nation-state.

    There is absolutely no difference between this guy and the corruptocrats he's trying to control. He's just cynically disguising his own self-interest and power fantasies with "good intentions". As if intentions, and not results -- consequences -- didn't matter.

    If the curruptocrats in the third world countries he's talking about weren't propped up by all the *other* nation states of the world, they wouldn't have the money, much less the power, to spend their captive populations into penury.

    Or to demand bribes, no-show jobs for friends and relatives, and other goodies, from the contractors building these invariably self-aggrandizing monuments in the middle of nowhere.


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