By anguillian February 1, 2016 09:45 Updated




“Power concedes nothing without demand. It never did and it never will” (Frederick Douglas).

It appears that we never cease to amaze ourselves. Here we are at the dawn of the 21st century and we are acting as though we’re still in the 19th century. We, it seems, are penny wise and pound foolish, for we really don’t fully understand what’s happening around us.

Last year was a very tumultuous one for us in that we saw our government behave in a manner contrary to our best interests. A government’s job, first and foremost, is to look out for the welfare of its people. When one sees the actions of this government one can only conclude that this government is looking out for the welfare of someone else, surely not us, Anguillians. We are a people who go along to get along. When did we lose the will to fight?

Here we are once again getting ready to march into the House to pass legislation which in most cases we probably haven’t read, much less understand. And the sad part is that those same laws that we are passing sight unseen, will be the very ones that will come back to haunt us.

For a people who were once in possession of a 98% literacy rate, we have all of a sudden turned into a bunch of dolts who listen to the politicians – who are most of the time not telling the truth, or are making promises that we either can’t or won’t keep. A lot us got our secondary education at the then Valley Secondary School, and was able to walk into any four year university and excel tremendously. We chose to do away with VSS and change its name to the ALHCS, an acronym that is yet to live up to its promise. Can someone explain the thought process behind ALHCS?
Last year when we balked in no uncertain terms at what our government tried to do, I thought that the Anguillian spirit of old had finally returned. My hopes were quickly dashed when our government brought out the troops en masse complete with riot gear and the like. The message was loud and clear. Protests will not be tolerated. We were admonished as being undemocratic. I suppose being democratic means to sit back and keep quiet and give the government a free hand while they act as though they have a mandate from heaven. No disrespect to God.

It is said that history repeats itself every 500 years and, if that is so, we still have a ways to go – a little more than 300 years. We cannot continue to be a footnote to history. The time has come when we have to stand up and be counted. We have delegated our birthrights to a government which, by all accounts, show no real interest in protecting them. We consistently pass laws that we don’t understand and, as I’ve said earlier, much less read. It would appear that we lack the sophistication required to deal with the FCO, for they’ve flummoxed our governments at every turn. With our inception as an Overseas Territory, we wound up losing a part of our sovereignty every time we’ve dealt with them. We saw it with the trans shipment, we saw it with the Financial Services and the list goes on. Remember Sparrow sang in “English Diplomacy” that: “On old talk alone and England won a war.”

It is often said that if you want Anguillians to not know something, publish it in the paper for they don’t read. That’s not only condescending, but it’s downright insulting. In the words of Lord Short Shirt, “When Will We Learn?” Our government which by the way, are doing a “heck of a job,” will once again march into the House to pass the “International Corporation Treaty,” and I’d be willing to bet that no one understands the ramifications of it. I say again, when will we learn to look out for ourselves, because it is clear that if we don’t anyone else will.
My fellow Anguillians, we are slowly losing Anguilla. Oh, it may not seem that way now, but look at the sneaky passage of the Banking Act, a subtle change in the definition of a word, Anguilla, for example, the changing of our territorial water boundaries, that in most cases is being done without our knowledge, and a host of other things. We have to be ever so vigilant. We are being slowly nudged off our homeland and it’s happening right before our very eyes, only we’re so blind with hatred for each other that we can’t see it. The Bible says beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing. Believe me, they are already amongst us.
When a people do not have the ear of its government, mistrust and an adversarial relationship develops from which nothing good emerges. Everyone seems to think that the Anguillians are all talk and no action. We fuss and fume for a few months and then we return to neutral corners. Harold Wilson, under whose labor government the Anguilla crisis developed, was censured on the floor of Parliament and it was alleged by a member of Parliament that: “Anguillians like to talk, so why not hear them out and after a while they will forget about it and go back to their everyday existence.” So there you have it, they see us as nothing more than a blustery wind which soon dissipates.

The time has come for us to take stock of who and where we are. We sat idly by while our leaders continue to make one bad deal after another. The folks with whom we are dealing have no respect for us therefore they think that because we are Bobbo Johnies, we won’t get it. They think when they get us to unwittingly sign onto some treaty, that we don’t understand, that they’ve got us. Well, here it is in a nutshell: We fought tooth and nail for a better life for our people. We fought to get away from St. Kitts because it was not good for us. We have always been pushed to be with someone. Our words were never respected. Are we non-existent? Don’t we have a say in what happens to us? We have written letters to Queen Victoria and we know how long ago that was.

Now, here we are again having to do the same thing. Who will listen to our cries? We are being treated the same as everyone who comes to our shores. That’s not right. Being an Anguillian should mean something. When our government treats us the same way they treat foreigners, what does that tell us? Does being an Anguillian not matter?
V.S.Naipaul labeled us a shipwrecked community. I’d rather retain my shipwrecked community status than align myself with the likes of the rest of the little eight. We have never mattered to those folks. Why should they now benefit from our misfortune. We were always the butt of their jokes. We want no part of the OECS, or Caricom for that matter. Someone said that the Caribbean islands will never unite. How can they? The only thing we can agree on is that we’re different. Dr. Williams famously said, when he was getting ready to jettison the West Indies Federation, that one from ten leaves zero, which simply meant that once there was a fracture the die had been cast. So why then do they keep trying to bring back the Federation disguised as something else? I don’t care what you call it, OECS, Caricom or Caribana, that dog simply won’t hunt.

Folks, again I say we have our own problems. We have a government which has failed to deliver on its campaign promises. We have the British Government treating us as though we are foreigners, so much so that several years ago Andrew Rossindell, the Conservative Shadow Minister for Home Affairs, argued that the British Overseas Territories should not fall under the aegis of the Foreign Commonwealth Office since they are neither foreign or commonwealth. He further stated that they should be placed in the same category as Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man. Don Mitchell writing in his blog said: “It’s an insult for us to relate to the British Parliament and Government through the FCO.” He goes on to say that: “A more relevant and suitable British Government Department must be found to replace the FCO in managing Britain’s responsibilities in relation to the British Overseas Territories.”

Let us hope that it’s not too late for our government to turn the ship around. They’re capable. Let us hope that they understand the ramifications of what they’re about to do. Our government is one in which laws passed should be in consultation with the people. We are a small place and we cannot afford to be overrun by just about everyone. We have problems, it’s true, and they can only be solved when we come together as one. Till next time, may God bless us all and may He continue to bless Anguilla.

By anguillian February 1, 2016 09:45 Updated


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