Editorial: Anguilla: After the Revolution

By anguillian June 6, 2017 13:54




It is obvious from the various discussions surrounding the celebrations for the 50th Anniversray of the Anguilla Revolution that persons have mixed emotions about Anguilla’s progress fifty years after the 1967 Revolution. Progress can, of course, be measured by assessing different developmental issues. Some of these issues include economical, infrastructural, social, psychological and constitutional development.
I believe that it is generally accepted that, as an island and as a people we have experienced significant economical and infrastructural development since 1967. This viewpoint was conveyed by Reverend Lindsay Richardson, vividly and in his own unique style, during his message at the Ecumenical Service marking the 50th Anniveresary of the Anguilla Revolution. He noted that today we experience the constant presence of what we consider to be basic necessities – electricity and pipe borne water to our individual homes. Reverend Richardson noted that these commodities were scarcities in 1967. To reasoned thinkers there can be no denying that, since 1967, Anguilla and Anguillians have experienced significant economic and infrastructural progress.
Consideration must, however, also be given to the social and psychological development of Anguilla and Anguillians since 1967. Have we also experienced positive development socially and psychologically? I believe that persons genuinely have mixed feelings in relation to Anguilla’s development in these areas. A clinical consideration of these areas will help us to understand why.
Although we continue to complain about our Health and Education programmes and facilities, if we compare what is now available to us with what was available in 1967 the glaring difference is obvious. I believe that the greatest testimony to our social development is reflected in our young people. Many of them have grasped the opportunities now available to them to excel in various areas and are proudly representing us in various fields throughout the world. The significantly increased opportunities for Anguillians to pursue and excel in many career fields cannot be discounted and should be a source of pride for all Anguillians.
It must, of course, be acknowledged that on the social side, we have and continue to experience our share of disappointments. Violent crimes, though insignificant in number in comparison to many other territories, are now more than we previously experienced and often involve our youth. Mannerliness is no longer as prominent as it used to be among adults and children, and many neighbours no longer see it as their duty to correct and safeguard each other’s children. Are the changes in our behaviour a natural consequence of our economic and infrastructural advancement and our exposure to improved education and health programmes? Would an awakening in terms of recognising that we have so much further to go on our developmental path assist us in reverting to the psyche and therefore the behaviours, which served our people so well as they worked in concert to overcome their adversaries and to improve their circumstances, in 1967?
The Anguilla Revolution was born out of a desire shared by the vast majority of Anguillians to discontinue Anguilla’s involuntary and undesired relationship with St Kitts. Anguillians collectively agreed that the relationship was not serving the best interests of Anguillians and that in order to pursue better prospects for Anguilla and Anguillians, the relationship needed to be severed. Anguillians, with the help of others worked in concert to bring about this desired goal.
Persons familiar with current happenings in Anguilla are immediately struck by the absence of collective agreement on many issues pertinent to Anguilla’s development and by our continuous failure to work in concert to address the myriad issues facing Anguilla. What has happened in fifty years that has resulted in this stark contrast in the attitude of Anguillians? One ventures to suggest that the change is reflective of the fact that there is now significant variance in the individual circumstances of Anguillians. It appears that we are now so concerned about promoting or jealously guarding our individual achievements; or diminishing the achievements of others that many of us don’t have any regard for the collective growth and success of Anguilla and its people. Although we have so much more to achieve in terms of economic and infrastructural development, we don’t appear to be following the formula which collectively benefitted Anguilla in terms of ensuring that we experienced significant economic and infrastructural development since the 1967 revolution. While we have much to be thankful for, we appear to be in danger of losing our way.
Anguilla surprised the world in 1967 when it became “the mouse that roared”. We can surprise the world again by acting in concert to pursue the further development of Anguilla in all areas, including economical, infrastructural, social, psychological and constitutional. The ultimate surprise to the world would be the achievement of development in these areas, while minimising the many social ills that are generally considered to be a necessary accompaniment to development. I believe that we can have it all – structured development, prosperity and social cohesion, which manifests itself in love for our neighbours. The work on designing a National Development Plan for Anguilla provides us with a golden opportunity to cement Anguilla’s gains over the past fifty years and to identify and plan for the many achievements yet to be pursued. If we act in concert we will be unstoppable. This sentiment is aptly captured in the second verse of ‘Our Golden Jubilee’, a song crafted by Marvin Gumbs.
“Going forward together is the key, to climb the stairs of prosperity
Fairness and Justice must be commonplace,
Golden Jubilee
Come together as we commemorate, stand together as we celebrate,
Our strength will be our unity,
Golden Jubilee.
Let hatred, intolerance disappear, let peace reign for more years,
And love and cohesion reign for fifty more years (more years)”

The Honourable Chief Minister, Mr. Victor Banks, in his address during the official parade marking the 50th anniversary of the Anguilla Revolution epitomised the attitude that is required by all Anguillians going forward. Anguilla will be well served if we follow his example.

By anguillian June 6, 2017 13:54


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