By anguillian August 28, 2017 11:17 Updated




It is with genuine pleasure and pride that I take this oath and start my duties as Governor. As I expect to be judged on actions rather than rhetoric I will keep my words brief– but I would like to share with you three principles which I will strive to bring to the role.

First – myself and my wife want to listen and to understand as much as we can about Anguilla and its people.

We want to know the history which has shaped and defines your character and identity. 2017 is of course the 50th Anniversary of the Revolution of 1967 …. a key event in Anguilla’s journey. It’s a time to celebrate, remember and commend the heroes of those days, in particular the late James Ronald Webster – father of the nation – but it’s also a time to take stock about progress.

So we want to understand people’s current concerns and priorities; and to hear how I can best work with you, the elected Ministers and the leader of the opposition to address these. I will return to priorities briefly in a moment.

And we want to understand people’s aspirations for the future. What kind of Anguilla do you want to see in five, ten, twenty or more years from now. And what will it take to get us there.

Secondly – I will work my hardest to make two key partnerships work for the benefit of Anguilla.

I look forward to building a genuine, mutually respectful and constructive partnership with the Chief Minister and his government. I am confident that our respect for each other as individuals and our respective roles, and above all and our shared commitment to do the right thing by Anguilla will help us appreciate the other’s view and to see any disagreement as the natural dynamism of debate which leads to well thought-out and constructive decisions between partners.

More broadly, whilst my primary role is to lead the Government in Anguilla for Anguillians, not to represent the UK in Anguilla, I will work to strengthen the long-standing partnership – one which exists at many levels – between our people. The next few years will be challenging. We will need to see how negotiations on Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union evolve and to understand and respond to any implications for Anguilla. I will engage closely with London on this important issue, and I will do so with Anguilla’s interest firmly at heart, and I will be open with you on those discussions.

As I have already noted I want to hear and understand people’s concerns and the issues they want prioritised. I look forward to working with the Chief Minister on delivering these but the following immediately come to mind.

First – to continue in the efforts with the reduction in crime – in particular violent and gang-related crime. The first duty of any state is the safety and security of its people. The freedom to go about one’s life without fear is a right not a privilege. I commend the professionalism and bravery of the RAPF in its work and will work closely with them and other organizations – both within and outside government – in reaching out and offering an alternative path to young people who may otherwise been drawn into the orbit of gangs and violence. And let me take this opportunity to send my best wishes to the Permanent Secretary Karim Hodge of MICUH for his continuing swift recovery. I would also like to make clear I will work hard with the relevant authorities to adopt a zero tolerance approach to any form of white collar crime.

Secondly – as a society we have a responsibility to protect those most vulnerable and unable to defend themselves. Anguilla has done a great deal in regard of child safeguarding. I commend this work to us here today and to those in other jurisdictions, within and beyond the region. I look forward to working with the Minister of Social Development his team and the Attorney General to take sustained measures to improve our child protection legislation and make improvements to our justice system for the benefit of all, but particularly for children and the vulnerable.

Thirdly – to build a strong economy which creates jobs and supports quality public services. To this end I will work closely with the Government, the private sector and others to create an environment that attracts quality foreign direct investment and the funding for infrastructure to support a dynamic and diversified economy.

Building such an environment will require looking beyond immediate concerns and thinking innovatively to promote Anguilla’s comparative advantages with investors and donors.

But it will also require demonstrating to those investors and donors that Anguilla’s economy is built of solid foundations. That its public finances are strong based on the principles of fiscal sustainability; that our banking system is robust; and regulation of the business sector is effective, transparent, consistent and fair.

I want to work with ministers on both these sets of issues, issues which are both needed to create a positive environment for economic growth – two sides of the same coin.

I am also conscious of the natural risks to Anguilla’s safety and security. My arrival coincides with the height of the hurricane season. I look forward to working with the Disaster Management Department and all who contribute to the vital work of ensuring Anguilla is ready to face such crises.

Speaker let me close by noting that in all I do I will be guided by facts, not preconception or prejudice. And I will be driven by a desire to do the right thing, not just the expedient. I will also be guided by my conscience and my faith. In what now feels like distant years we would begin each school day with the words of St Ignatius Loyola… they have stuck with me throughout my life and seem particularly appropriate at this time, so please permit me to share them with you…..

Dearest Lord,
teach me to be generous;
teach me to serve You as You deserve;
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labour and not to ask for reward
save that of knowing I am doing Your Will.

Mr. Speaker, Honourable Chief Minister, Honourable Members of this House, ladies and gentleman thank you for your time. Let’s get to work and God Bless Anguilla.

(Published without editing by The Anguillian newspaper.)

By anguillian August 28, 2017 11:17 Updated


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