By anguillian January 18, 2013 11:45



Father of the Nation Mr. James Ronald Webster at his residence

Anguilla’s Revolutionary Leader, and “Father of the Nation”, Mr James Ronald Webster, has withdrawn from the official celebrations undertaken by the Government to mark his birthday which is a public holiday on the island.

Mr. Webster’s decision was communicated in a letter this week to Chief Minister, Hubert Hughes, copied to Executive Council, the Anguilla National Celebrations Committee and the Media.

In his letter, Mr. Webster, who will be 87 on March 2, requested that the public holiday for his birthday should continue to be observed. However, he called for the public celebrations, such as the Official Parade, Official Speeches, the Official Cake procurement and cutting, the Official Boat Race and Motorcade to be discontinued.

Among the reasons for his decision, he cited the high cost on the island’s public finances; the closeness of the event to Anguilla Day and the overlapping activities; and his desire to remain peacefully in communion with God who led him during the island’s revolutionary days.

The full text of Mr. Webster’s letter is as follows:
Hon Hubert Hughes Seafeather’s
Chief Minister and Leader Anguilla
of Government Business

January 10, 2013

Dear Sir:


As may be generally known my 87th birthday is coming up on March 2, 2013, and I am thankful to God for the long life He has blessed me with so far.

I am also grateful to the Anguilla United Movement Government,and all the people of the island, for honouring me as the “Father of the Nation” and celebrating my birthday with a series of special commemorative activities.

Those activities have included an Official Holiday, an Official Parade at the Ronald Webster Park, Addresses by Government and Opposition officials and others, procurement and cutting of a Birthday Cake, a Boat Race and a Motorcade.I have been deeply touched by such a genuine show of loyalty and patriotism and I have repeatedly expressed my gratitude and appreciation for that honour bestowed on me.

I do not wish to downplay this national event, or to disappoint anyone who looks forward to it, in any way. I have however given the matter much thought and have come to the conclusion that the time has come to review the arrangement.Accordingly, I now wish for the above activities to be discontinued with effect from March 2, 2013, the date of my birthday as mentioned above.

My life has always been a simple and humble one. That said my desire now, is that, from henceforth, my birthday should be observed with a public holiday ONLY rather than with the elaborate activities described above.

The following are the main reasons for my decision:

• Although I am being celebrated as “The Father of The Nation” and the “Leader of the Anguilla Revolution”, the Revolution was not about me. It was for the freedom and prosperity of the people of Anguilla: those who lived during that period; those who are still alive today; and those of our generations yet unborn. I believe I have laid the foundation for others to take up the mantle of leadership from where I left off, and over the years I have attempted to point both our leaders and people into the direction I think Anguilla should go. My desire is towithdraw fully from any form of public life and celebration, and to devote theclosingdays of my life in communion with my God who has always been with me in the difficult years of our Revolution.

• I am of the view that the official celebration of my birthday on March 2nd is too close to the annual observance of Anguilla Day, May 30. The preparations for both occasions are quite elaborate and costly. As such, theyare also a source of much strain for the organisers, the uniform organisations, and others participating in the various activities.

• In these days, in particular, and in the foreseeable future, the financial and economic situation in Anguilla is too difficult to sustain two big events coming together in such quick succession.I can only imagine the high cost that both events impose on our Treasury Department. My instincts and better judgments haveurged me to step away from the burden that the official activities for my birthday are placing on our island’s scarce public finances.

• The observance of Anguilla Day should be the sole occasion for focus and celebration as it embodies all of ourpast struggles, our accomplishments, our pride, and our future hopes.That realisation and observance should outweigh all other celebrations.
• There has been some indication that the official observance of my birthday, with a number of activities, can become a source of political rivalry and disunity in Anguilla – all in my name. My aim, as Revolutionary Leader, hasalways been to unite all Anguillians towards a common goal and my desire is for this to continue.

• I am satisfied that I have done my full share of work in leading Anguilla and our people along a journey towards freedom and prosperity. I must now take my leave, and commit our island and its people into the guiding hand of Almighty God. I want to settle down from the official clamour of celebration, revelry, partying and engagement.

Once again, I reiterate my gratitude for the honour and respect accorded to me by the Government and people of Anguilla by annuallyholding a series of official activities in observance of my birthday. It will bring me the same measure of recognition to have my birthdaysimply listed as an Official Holiday on the island’s annual calendar of holidays.
Yours sincerely,

James Ronald Webster
Copies:All Members of Executive Council
Members of Cabinet
Members of the Opposition
Members of the Anguilla National
Celebrations Committee
Members of the Media

By anguillian January 18, 2013 11:45


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