Editorial: Mere Rhetoric or Meaningful Action? Which will it be?

By anguillian August 28, 2017 11:21 Updated




Governors come and governors go. It appears that they come eagerly and leave reluctantly. The last two governors extended their stay beyond their initial three-year terms and thus prolonged their departure. Clearly, they either came to love Anguilla or the life they lived in Anguilla.

Upon arrival governors make glorious speeches and at the point of their departure they express glowing sentiments about their time among us and their hopes for us and our island. These speeches and sentimental expressions matter very little to most Anguillians who are sufficiently discerning to realise that what matters is what governors do between their arrival and their departure. Governor Tim Foy OBE, in his response at his swearing-in ceremony on Monday 21st August, 2017, seemed to recognise this when he observed that he expected to be judged on his actions rather than his rhetoric. His recognition that Anguillians will not be persuaded as to his good intentions by mere words, but rather by his actual deeds, is an indication that he accepts that we can and will demand more than mere lip service in support of initiatives which are beneficial to Anguilla.

Chief Minister Banks, while welcoming Governor Foy, observed that Governor Foy, begins his tenure at just about the halfway mark in Chief Minister Banks’ administration’s term of office. He noted that some difficult decisions have already been made by his administration and that there are more to be made – and while the Governor and his administration are likely to have different agendas, he expects that there will be some intersection in their agendas. The Chief Minister is not exaggerating when he references that his administration has had to make some difficult decisions. While individuals might have their own views as to whether the decisions made in relation to the Banking Resolution and the sale of Cap Juluca were the best possible arrangements, it cannot be denied that both matters involved huge decisions with significant implications for Anguilla.

Governor Foy assumes office with some understanding of the challenges Anguilla has faced and is facing. He recognised the significant value for Anguilla in the resolution of the Cap Juluca saga and commended the Chief Minister and his administration for the outcome achieved. The Governor identified three priorities, in his response, which appear to intersect with what the government and the people of Anguilla desire for Anguilla. These are a reduction in crime; protection of the most vulnerable in our community; and building a strong economy. Any points of contention that may arise between Governor Foy and our elected representatives are likely to relate to how these priorities are to be achieved. On these occasions, our expectation is that the right of our elected representatives to make decisions on behalf of the electorate will be recognised and respected by Governor Foy. This does not mean that Governor Foy will abdicate his responsibilities as Governor and have no input in executive matters. What it means is that having engaged with the elected officials, and having ensured that the public officers were afforded the opportunity to research and opine on policy matters, the decision will be that of our elected representatives.

Governor Foy has pledged to listen, to understand and to work in partnership with Chief Minister Banks and his colleagues. These sentiments are very important to the type and quality of work he will do in Anguilla. It has long been believed, and it is a reasonable belief, that incoming governors are briefed on the many persons they are likely to engage with or encounter during their term of office. Governor Foy has observed that he will be driven by facts and not by preconceptions or prejudices. If Governor Foy is guided by this principle throughout his term of office, Anguilla is likely to be well served and many public officers are likely to obtain a new lease on life.

Governor Foy has been welcomed by our elected leaders at his swearing-in ceremony and by all and sundry at his welcome reception at Government House on Monday evening. Anguillians are hospitable people and Governor Foy can expect to experience our hospitality, if his actions demonstrate that his words upon arrival are not mere rhetoric. In his remarks at his welcome reception Governor Foy, in expressing how he hoped his time with us would be viewed, quoted Oscar Wilde who said, “Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.” Will Governor Foy’s presence bring us more happiness than his departure? We have heard Governor Foy’s rhetoric. Now we wait to see his actions.

By anguillian August 28, 2017 11:21 Updated


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