01 July, 2010


My first request under the British Freedom of Information Act:
To: Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Subject: Freedom of Information request - Borrowing guidelines for the Anguilla Government
Dear Foreign and Commonwealth Office,
I should be grateful to know if you are aware that the Anguilla government has been borrowing upwards of EC$10 million a month from the local Social Security Fund to pay public service salaries since February 2010. The Fund holds approximately EC$160 million, and stands to be depleted in less than one and a half years.
I should also be grateful to know if such borrowing has been approved as being within the borrowing guidelines.
Finally, I should be grateful to receive a copy of any letter from the FCO to the Anguilla government approving such borrowing.
Yours faithfully,
Don Mitchell CBE QC

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

29 June 2010

Dear Mr Mitchell
Thank you for your Freedom of Information request. It has been assigned a unique reference number (above) and has been passed to the relevant section within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to deal with. They will be in touch with you should your request need clarification.
We received your request on 29 June 2010 and will aim to respond within 20 working days.
Yours sincerely
Katy Shaw
Information Rights Team
Information Management Group


  1. Thank you, Mr. Mitchell, for doing this. It is shameful that the people who promised us open and transparent government are unwilling to simply announce what they're doing and the amounts of money involved.

    It is also unfortunate that the opposition is so ineffective that it falls to you to do their job.

    And that the father of both Social Security and our nation is such a gentleman that we hear nothing from him about this matter. How far we have fallen from the golden dreams and ideals of the Revolution.

  2. I suppose the lack of a response will tell you as much as a full-blown revelation:

    If the AUM proffered no such request, there will be no approval letter from the FCO, who will therefore claim to be oblivious to any unauthorized borrowing. Uh oh, I think I just answered your FOI request for you. - Scotty

  3. Thank you Don for your transparency as to what you are doing.
    If only our government was the same.
    You may be the one to singly save our social security monies.

  4. This comment is addressed to the racist individual whose intemperate comment I have just declined to publish.

    I understand that you obtained private information about the amount of money lent to government by the Social Security Board. I understand that I could make a similar inquiry and obtain similar information.

    You miss the whole point. I am not interested in the information per se. I know how to get it. My interest is to ensure that Mr Hughes' government live up to its promise of transparency and accountability.

    All that is necessary is for the government's press officer or a Minister of government to hold a press conference every week immediately after the Executive Council meeting and give the press and the public a briefing on what matters were discussed in Executive Council. We were promised no secrets and full transparency during the general elections. This is a simple and effective way of achieving that election promise. We would have known about the loan from day one, and there would be no need for anyone to speculate and to complain about lack of information.

    The "white" colonies of The Falklands, and Gibraltar do it as a matter of course. So does the "brown" colony of St Helena. Why can't we "black" colonies do so as well?

    It is the lack of transparency and accountability that makes citizens doubt the bona fides of our government. I do not want Mr Hughes' administration to continue making the same mistake made by earlier administrations.

    That is what the thrust and significance of this recent series of blogs has been about.

  5. Ok your request is for SS but what about the top high salaries that cost so much do you thing they would send down directive to have them cut by 30%

  6. The AUF opposition has forwarded questions to the Minister of Finance on the use of SS Funds. These questions were to be answered before the debate on Cap Juluca MOA. But as we all now know the Government has cancelled/postponed that debate

  7. The foriegn office must look at us with amazement, as a failed country we pay some huge salaries and there is no income tax imposed, so the take home pay is totally out of the normal world. I would think the british civil servants wish they could earn as much and not pay tax.
    When will normality return? no wonder they have to borrow all the time to pay the government payroll.
    Reduce expenses, cut spending, reduce pensions to ex ministers, apply a 4 day week, and you can bring a balanced budget to the house.
    I can't see our civil servants wanting to do this but the ministers should demand a balanced budget without imposing taxes on the rest of us and stop using social security monies.

  8. A small nit to pick. It's not "huge salaries and there is no income tax imposed".

    Taxation has nothing to do with it. It's huge *government* salaries that is the point. What anyone earns on this island is *that* person's business, nobody else's.

    If there were *no* government salaries for most of what government spends now, Anguilla wouldn't "need" an income tax.

    There's *never* a need for more taxation, except to fend off an impending foreign attack or to reverse declining public order. Since Anguilla does not face imminent invasion, or even gunfire and rioting in the streets to any great extent :-), Anguillians seem to be paying the right amount for those two things at the moment.

    The rest of the GOAs budget is theft at the point of a taxman's stamp, same as it is everywhere. Who that theft pays, how much, and why, are left as an obvious exercise for the reader.

  9. Bravo, July 02, 2010 7:18 AM has capsulated the issue. No one minds paying more if the waste handling cost go up or if water/electricity/ schools and so one (the SERVICES) which gov provides cost more. But to pay more for the bloating of the overhead cost of gov to salaries which are not standard, that is the crime of theft being committed.

  10. Thank you Don Mitchell, I don't know the amount borrowed by the Government but I hope that the Government had a LOAN from the Social Security Fund. On the other hand if the Government continues to borrow money every month to pay the public service salaries the Social Security Fund will surely be depleted. The money in the Fund is the contributors' money. Where are the voices of the contributors and the father of the nation, Mr James Ronald Webster, the founder of the Social Security Scheme? Between now and the next 15 years the contributors who are also babyboomers (born during the years 1946-1964)will be entitled to Social Security Pensions or Grants. The Social Security is expected to have the money to pay the contributors benefits even if the contributions receive in the Fund during this RECESSION will be below the targeted amount bugetted for the years ahead. People/Administrators of the Scheme make a strong effort to keep up the PUBLIC IMAGE of the Anguilla Social Security, it is an institution which always must have a GOOD PUBLIC IMAGE. Don't follow the path of some of our Cariibean Social Security Schemes

  11. From all the talk/rumors about that this Government is broke Guess the money borrowed from Social Security was an UNSECURED LOAN The Board should better now hold on to some Crown Lands or better yet the Administration Building as some form of collateral.
    What you think about that?

  12. Came across an article in the Anguillian newspaper where the Chief Minister was commenting on Social Security "There should be a psychological distance between the Minister, the Board and the Directorate of Social Security and I have decided to maintain that psychological distance" This Chief Minister Hughes was some years back also a Minister of Social Security. If the past Board Chairpersons and Members didn't make positive and meaningful decisions regarding Social Security this present Board would not be in a position today to give away the contributors' money from the Fund. 'Give Jack his Jacket' - Give credit where credit is due

  13. People of Anguilla be vigilant when making decisions. Don't make decisions without feasibility studies. You couldn't have a building without LAND. Please don't leave the name WALLBLAKE die that name too had HISTORY Historians of the country where are you? Politicians look up the HISTORY OF ANGUILLA. Put the name WALLBLAKE somewhere so that it can go back in the ANGUILLA HISTORY BOOK.


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