By anguillian April 25, 2016 09:17 Updated




“The more things change, the more they remain the same” Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr.

It appears that the clock has finally struck twelve and every last shred of hope that we, as indigenous Anguillians, had has finally turned to dust. Once again we find ourselves with our backs against the wall, and once again our so called government have let us down. Our wonderful Governor Ms Scott, whom I thought had her finger on the pulse of all things Anguillian, has caved and finally assented to Victor’s Folly. Now understand, I mean no disrespect to our Governor, for I thought in her delay to assenting to every aspect of the Banking Act, she understood what was at stake and she articulated those concerns in her press release. The question that I have for the Governor is, what caused the sudden change?
This is not democracy and I’m going to be a bit more outspoken with regard to this whole issue. This government which seem to think that they have a mandate to do whatever they please continue to do just that. So here we are once again getting the short end of the stick, this time from our own government.

We seem to be out there with nary a shoulder to lean on, for those tasked with looking out for our best interests have instead chosen to look out for themselves. This government campaigned on the fact that they were going to turn things around. “It’s all about you” they said. They were going to fix the banks and repeal the Stabilization Levy. Was this just a ruse to get elected? It’s truly all about you, for all of you have betrayed the trust that we put in you.
If one didn’t know better, one could, with certainty, posit that what is being allowed to happen to us right now is in fact deliberate. That is the only conclusion that any sane person can draw. Would I be too far off the mark in suggesting that the last thing the powers that be want to see happening is a prosperous Anguilla? I think not.
Look at what has been allowed to happen to us. Those tasked with monitoring the banks have allowed them to self-destruct, and now they are more than happy to liquidate the assets of the Anguillian people. How the devil is this allowed to happen? Our Governor, who probably means well, is the representative of the Queen. The Attorney General looks after the Queen’s interests. Who looks out for us? What the devil kind of system is this?
So Victor and his cohorts have had the last laugh. The joke’s on us. Those of us who took our hard-earned cash and bought shares in the banks now have nothing to show except a piece of paper that will be worth nothing. I get the Minister of Finance’s simplistic way of explaining how the banks work and I resent the heck out of the condescending manner in which he did it. This government will not get away with what they’ve done. It was this government, though the players are now different, who allowed a lot of what went wrong with the banks to happen. The members of government were derelict in duty.
So this day is the day – April 18, 2016, almost three years to the day – that the ECCB, with the blessing of Hubert Hughes, came in under the guise of a contracting Anguillian economy to take over our banks. The one had nothing to do with the other. They came in pure and simple to destroy the banks, and no one will ever convince us differently.

Mr. Banks you and your cohorts may think that we still go by the title of Bobo Jonnie and we are dumb as doornails – but think again. As the Minister of Finance, for some sixteen years, it was your job to see to it that things went according to best practices. Obviously, that didn’t happen for if it did we wouldn’t be in the spot that we’re in now.

We, the people of Anguilla, right now are being treated as a nonentity. No one, least of all our own government, appears to give a damn about us. What this government is more concerned with is saving its own skin.
We have been very patient with this government and I sincerely believe that sometime today that patience finally ran out. We have yet to see the forensic report. Are we not entitled to know what happened? Are we not entitled to know of the inept way in which the bank was run? Greece, Iceland, Ireland, the UK and the US all had banking failures and, with the help of the IMF they, were able to recover. What about us? Are we not entitled to the same consideration, or is this a way of putting us proud Anguillians in our place?

A bank is the lifeblood of any country, for without it the country cannot operate. Anguilla joined the ECCU only to have access to currency, nothing else, but now this banking act that our governor finally assented to trumps Anguilla’s sovereignty. Did we not fight this battle to get away from St. Kitts one time before? Are we going to have to do this again? We don’t need these people. We never have and we never will. We have ceded our sovereignty to the ECCB, a Central Bank. Have we lost our minds? Is that what my father Walter Hodge, Atlin Harrigan and so many others fought for – so that Victor, who did nothing to help the revolution, could give it all away?
Victor what have you done? Is this your way of getting back at the people because they threw your butt out of office in 2010? Is that it? I can’t believe that Mr. Duddridge is OK with this, because the British Government will be tied up in court in perpetuity by the shareholders of both indigenous banks. There are lots of unanswered questions that we still want answers to. We want to know who the board members were who let this sort of thing happen. We want to know why the British shut down the offshore banks. We want to know about the losses suffered by the offshore banks. We want to know.

The Chief Minister said that there was no smoking gun. What do you call the shoddy way in which the people’s money was being handled? Why didn’t the British government come in and do something when the Central Bank didn’t?

Folks, these are the same guys that we’ve just entrusted our country to. We have always been independent. What we have is the stuff that dreams are made of. Everyone else seems to recognize that? Why can’t we? We are the last remaining bastion of prosperity and everyone knows that and if we don’t take advantage, then all of those folks who are salivating at the thought of getting Anguillian lands for a song, I’ve got three words for you: “Remember sixty seven.”

I honestly believe that Anguilla is being punished for who we are. That we had the audacity to start a revolution for our own self-preservation, did not sit well with most Caribbean nations who were all aligned with Robert Bradshaw, because they couldn’t let some backwater country – that no one had ever heard of before – dictate the terms by which they wanted to live. So now it’s a chance to bring us to our knees. So once again, we have to fight.

With the recent release of the Panama Papers in which Anguilla was listed fifth on the list of dealing with the offshore bank, the Labour Leader in the British Parliament, Jeffrey Corbin, is asking for the Overseas Territories to be put back under direct rule by Great Britain. Isn’t that something? Britain is fighting for its life right now, trying to determine whether or not to exit the EU – and because of a banking scandal in which his own Prime Minister Mr. Cameron’s name was mentioned, is calling for direct rule of the territories. I find that amazing.
None of this makes any sense. Our government has willingly turned over our assets to foreigners. Mr. Banks, you and your cohorts need to listen and listen well. You have betrayed the trust that we put in you and you can never regain it. So enjoy the time while you might.
It’s about time that we the people of Anguilla stand up and take a stand. We cannot allow a Central Bank who is as incompetent as the ones that they’re supposed to be governing, come in and take our land. The land is in Anguilla, and I can guarantee you that no one will lose his land. To those scoundrels who are presently fronting for outsiders, you will be found out and you will not like it when that happens. An awful lot of us fought for this country and we are not about to sit idly by and watch it fritter away.
So it comes down to this. We are standing at a moment in time when we’ve been betrayed and abandoned by our own government. The reasons at this time are irrelevant. What is relevant is what do we intend to do about it? It is clear that the British who are supposed to be looking out for our best interests really don’t give a damn for, if they did, they would have waited till July when the case against the ECCB and the Anguilla government goes to trial. What has happened is the height of arrogance and someone needs to be held accountable.

The United States was born out of necessity, and I think that the time may have finally come when we, as Anguillians, will have to finally get off the fence and stand up for what our forefathers, Walter, Ronald, Atlin ,John, Bob Jerry, Wallace, Elliot and the rest of my brothers in Island Harbor, and the women fought for. We need to rid ourselves of political parties. We are Anguillians and until we recognize that we have to bury our differences, there will be nothing left to fight for and that will be a sad day. Till next time, God help us and may He continue to bless Anguilla.

By anguillian April 25, 2016 09:17 Updated


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