I call it as I see it

anguillian
By anguillian November 9, 2015 09:42 Updated

 

 

I call it as I see it, not wanting to offend anyone, not pointing any fingers, not playing the blame game, not throwing a pity party, just sharing a perspective as food for thought and trying to keep it real.
As born Anguillans at home and abroad, we have to broaden our minds to endear to each other, show some real love, have each other’s back, resist all attempts to divide and conquer, and for heaven’s sake, we should not be the ones to take each other’s birthright away. Yet, we often lament when the ruling class from the U.K tries to do the same, wants to control your financial sector, or whatever else is up for grabs on the home front. As quiet as it is kept, the ruling class who may be trying to launch a sneak attack on Anguilla now, are more than likely taking their cues based on their assessment of what happens among us.
During a constitutional reform meeting some years ago in my adopted hometown; I raised the issue of the Anguillan descendants by bloodline from generation to generation, becoming eligible for kinship rights in Anguilla. Oh Lord have mercy’ what did you say? Why shouldn’t born Anguillans descendants by bloodline, become eligible for kinship rights in Anguilla, when in fact folk come to Anguilla (no bloodlines) and have “Belonger” rights sooner or later? Our bloodline does not end with grandchildren, so why shouldn’t our bloodline be extended from generation to generation? We are recognizing our kit and kin wherever we may be, because almost every born Anguillan , has a family member who was born or lives abroad. So the born Anguillan’s kit and kin whose kinship rights you uphold or deny, may be one of your own.

Born Anguillans should at home and abroad, should be able to traverse the “Rock” with the feeling, that it is great time to be part of the Anguillan family by birthright. Yet, some years ago, I read in the Anguillan newspaper, how a born Anguillan woman alleged that she returned home to take care of some of her private business, and she was reduced to the status as a “Belonger”. It literally brought tears to my eyes, to know that this born Anguillan woman allegedly had to endure such humiliation on the soil that gave birth to her and her ancestors. Whereas, any Tom, Dick, Harry and Mary can come to Anguilla; by virtue of eventually being awarded “Belonger” status; they can enjoy the benefits (carte’ blanche) that her ancestors gave their lives for. Why was her right to being treated as a born Anguillan allegedly taken from her.

Anguillans at home and abroad, we are kit and kin, we are part of the Anguillan family, we are your eyes and ears too, we have got your back. So, whether born Anguillans are at home or abroad, we cannot afford, or even consider excluding born Anguillans who are living abroad from being part of the Anguillan family. How soon do we forget? It was a born Anguillan (the late Jerimiah Gumbs); who was living abroad for many, many years; yet, he ably served in the role as our very own diplomat, and was instrumental in bringing Anguilla’s plight for self-determination in the mid-sixties, before the United Nations in New York. Jerimiah Gumbs Highway is named in his honor and rightfully so.

Morever, during and post our bloodless revolution in the mid-sixties, (just ask Mrs. Eileen Niles); it was born Anguillans who were living on the island of St. Thomas, in the U.S Virgin islands, who collected weekly donations that was sent to Anguilla to keep our Treasury afloat. As born Anguillans living abroad with home grown Anguillan pride, they understood our plight, and answered the call to provide monetary assistance to the home base, they talked the talk and walked the walk.
In continuing to keep it real, I will call it as I see it on the issue of excluding born Anguillans or Anguillans who are living abroad from voting in Anguilla. I grew up, and am a veteran activist (began in my mid-teens) of the African American Civil Rights struggle. I fought for the rights of brothers and sisters to gain the right to vote, particularly those who are living in the deep Southern states. Yet, I was recently denied the right to vote in Anguilla. Yours truly experienced my name being taken off the voter rolls, so I could not vote in the recent election. Just know, that it did not break my spirit, nor did it take any skin off my back. As far as I am concerned, I applaud all those who stood in the scorching sun, knowing the importance of casting their vote for the candidate of their choice. I am sure their vote was symbolic of the one that I would have been casted. I vote in every election in my adopted hometown; so I made peace with the siutation and kept it moving. I bless and let go, whomever it may concern who made that decision, to take my name off the roles. I have absolutely no hard feelings, even though I am speaking on it. Once again, when we begin to reduce born Anguillans or those by bloodline who have lived abroad, as though we are outcasts, by the same token, the ruling class from the U.K are taking their cues from us, how to treat us. That’s all I am saying. When we begin to exclude born Anguillans (at home and abroad), from such freedom as having the right to vote, you are sending a message to the ruling class to put some law on the books, to do exactly the same thing later on.

Why does the Customs Department in Anguilla uphold a double standard for “visitors” who are mostly Caucasian, and seems to think it okay to gain their favor, and let them enter Anguilla without being searched? What a silly misguided practice it is? Yet, when Anguillan nationals or other folk of the African Diaspora are entering Anguilla at Blowing Point, they have to be searched. I personally challenged that double standard a few times for myself. For the most part, I personally have absolutely no objection to being searched, but why should “visitors” be held to a double standard and not be searched? What kind of messaging are you sending? Besides, show me a port of call post 9/11, that is not trying to protects its borders. Show me a port of call post 9/11 that is going to let anyone enters its borders without being searched?
Another example, of how I will call it as I see it on and around fairness and exclusion of born Anguillans, from receiving their due is as follows. Some of our traditional seafaring captains of yesteryear were honored with postage stamps that were displayed in the Valley Post Office last year. I commend all those who documented such an important part of Anguilla’s traditional seafaring history. By the same token, I believe every attempt should have been made, to make sure that it was done with fairness and inclusion. It is unacceptable to make some flimsy excuses, why some traditional seafaring captains were honored; and others were blatantly excluded, in spite of the fact that they too were traditional seafaring captains on the island of Anguilla back in the day, to make it what it is today. Let us make amends, and give all those traditional seafaring captains of yesteryear, who were excluded from being honored, their rightful place in Anguilla’s traditional seafaring history. “Ya mean, they did’in honor “Uncle T” (Capt. Lionel T. Lloyd)? “Ah ya looka werk”‘ None of of us are candidates for sainthood, but we must learn to put our own personal biases aside, when the time come to give our very own the credit that is due.

Lastly, born and Anguillans at home and abroad, by leaps and bounds, the current situation on the home front, will awaken the call for us to engage in a progressive unified pro-active agenda, to move to the next level. I predict that the current situation may lend itself, to some serious futuristic accountable discussions on and around the next chapter of Anguilla’s political future. Is nationhood and independence on the agenda….just asking? We can wait and see which way the wind blows, or we can join together and answer the call to become unified as born Anguillans at home and abroad. Peace be unto you, God bless Anguilla and her children at home and abroad… and may the ancestors continue to keep us in their favor.
– Contributed
(Published without editing by The Anguillian newspaper.)

anguillian
By anguillian November 9, 2015 09:42 Updated
  • I also very much agree with this. Thank you for taking the time to write it and send it in for us all to read!

  • Tyrone Hodge

    I don’t know who you are, but I hear you. I was a part of the group of people who lived in St. Thomas and who make the trip back to participate. I was also part of the Flamingoes Orchestra, led by Keith Gumbs, who after playing all night Saturday at the Sundowner Nightclub, would come back on Sunday evening and play for another six or seven hours to get money to send up to help out in any way that we could. Did anyone ever say thank you to us? no and we weren’t looking for a pat on the back. We did what we had to do. Does anyone remember my brother/cousin Beavan Hodge who flew all those missions in one of Jerry’s planes? No. Everyone was credited, but no mention of Beavan. Clayton got a lot of praise, but do we really remember who he was and what he did? Sure he was a nice guy, but we tend to give credit where it really wasn’t due, and where it was due, we hold it back. To this writer, I agree with everything you said, I just wished that you had signed your name. Tyrone Hodge

    • ronke

      Mr. Tyrone Hodge and “Anguilla 1980” I am the writer of the above article and I appreciate the fact that both of you can relate to the information that I shared. On the other hand if you had disagreed, I am mature enough to know that we all have different opinions and can disagree without being disagreeable. Mr. Hodge, there are many reasons why I do not sign my name. I trust that you will understand. “Anguilla 1980”, it is an honor and a blessing and I am humbled to have the opportunity to express my opinion in the Anguillian Newpaper that is spearheaded by my former classmate Mr. Nat Hodge.

      Thank you and all the best for 2016

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