EDITORIAL: THE SPIRIT OF THE REVOLUTION IS UPON US
Historians may tell us that history has a way of repeating itself and that is perhaps why some people in Anguilla speak about a second revolution. Some of our people usually talk in that manner when there is a feeling that certain things are going wrong and there is a compelling need to do something radical or mean-spirited to rectify the situation. But it is not always necessary for some drastic action to be taken. Rather, a cool, but firm determination and commitment, to achieve a desire, or to maintain one’s stance on a particular issue, can have all the prevailing good hallmarks of a gentle and quiet people yet on fire for the wellbeing of their island nation.
This, we think, should be a qualifying and significant disposition we should adapt and continue to demonstrate as we, in Anguilla, “the mouse that roared”, journey through 2017 – the 50th Anniversary of our 1967 Revolution. The description is a borrowed phrase originally coined by the Irish-American writer, Leonard Wibberley, which is to be found in his 1955 Cold War satirical novel entitled “The Mouse that Roared”. But, because of the rebellion in a tiny and for the most part unknown island, which sent ripples across the world, the term was applied to Anguilla. Of course it is believed to be a well-liked reference because it described us as a people who should not be taken for granted. It is this defining characteristic which carried us and our leaders safely and defiantly through the Revolution, and must continue to be our way of expressing ourselves as we stand on the threshold of another fifty years in our history.
One of the factors of our success in the dark days of the Revolution has been unity – a great uniting force which we have now sadly lost. Instead, dissension, unnecessary, wilful and mischievous bickering, and a lack of cooperation have infiltrated our society, destroying its very fabric and pitting us against each other. How can we, as a people, succeed in such a state of affairs and bring hope to our upcoming generations? In his parting letter to the people of Anguilla, the Father of the Nation, the late James Ronald Webster, admonished us as follows: Let us remember those sons and daughters who are no longer in our midst, but who had made tremendous contributions to Anguilla by their dedication and loyalty. Their memories should always kindle a great sense of pride in our hearts. The question is: how do we compare ourselves with them? To wish for the failure of our own national bank, the shutdown of the economy and financial sources, the disallowance of the 2017 national budget and the overall failure of the Government, for selfish reasons, are clearly not indicative of a responsible people supportive of the forward movement and success of Anguilla.
Anguilla is facing some very challenging times ahead as we seek to create a niche for ourselves in a brutally difficult and competitive world. Imagine we could never have dreamt that something as far-fetched and foreign as BREXIT would have impacted us the way it threatens to do. Now it is a hot discussion topic for Anguilla and the rest of the British Overseas Territories and a matter on which, with Britain, our Motherland, leaving the European Union, we were not previously consulted. Only now our Chief Minister and the other OT leaders have been invited to London for talks on the issue next week. Among the matters at stake for us are possible changes in our traditional relationship with St. Martin/St. Maarten; a possible passport and travel issue; and a loss of money and technical aid from the European Union.
Those and other significant matters and questions are surprisingly not the subjects of concern or discussion on the radio talk shows. Like stuck records the players continue to rant about the bank and other financial and economic issues, but are devoid of any workable suggestions or solutions whatsoever. Nobody on the talk shows makes any mention about the progress of constitutional and electoral reform in Anguilla and other positive matters. It is all about doom and gloom and more negativity. Nobody is even talking about whether Anguilla will be affected, in some way, by the far-reaching policies of the Trump administration in the United States, in light of the Republican-dominated Senate questioning our island as a tax haven for US investors – and expressing displeasure over what it says is “clearly an abuse of American tax laws”.
The fact of the matter is that there is an urgent need for a united people of Anguilla as we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of our bid for self-determination – a movement that is still in progress. The spirit of our Revolution is upon us. Let it continue to be our guiding light into the future with “God our Help in Ages Past and Our Hope to Come”.