UKG and GoA Collaboration Required

By anguillian October 23, 2017 11:46



The Government and people of Anguilla appear to agree that Hurricane Irma has provided opportunities for new, improved and sustainable facilities to support Anguilla’s social and economic development. Based on the sentiments expressed by HE Governor Tim Foy and the UK Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Boris Johnson, in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Irma, they also share this view and, hopefully, will be able to persuade other relevant United Kingdom Government (UKG) officials to adopt the same view.

We have readily identified the opportunities provided by Hurricane Irma and these have been identified in previous editorials. We, also, generally agree that the UKG has an obligation to provide financial aid to ensure the realisation of these opportunities. Past experience, however, suggests that the UKG will not write a blank cheque and most persons would agree that it would be unreasonable to expect such a response from the UKG. It is, however, reasonable to expect a measured and responsive approach by the UKG to Anguilla’s request for financial aid. This means that the situation cannot be approached by the UKG from the standpoint that the makeshift arrangements we have implemented, to ensure that schools, ports and Government offices are up and running, can be utilised well into the medium term and there is, therefore, no urgent need for financial aid from the UK. Our resilient attitudes should not be used against us. A clear and immediate example of a remedial situation – which should not go beyond the immediate short term – is the shift system adopted by the Albena Lake Hodge Comprehensive School. Education officials and teachers must be commended for readily identifying and implementing the shift system as a viable interim solution to the devastation caused to school facilities by Hurricane Irma. It must, however, be noted that while the school day might have been shortened for some students the same cannot be said for the school administrators and teachers. For many of them the school day begins earlier and ends later. This is unlikely to be sustainable beyond one academic year. Further, a facility which was already inadequate has been rendered even more inadequate, thereby making it impossible to expose our children to the educational standards they deserve. In the circumstances, every effort should be made by the Government of Anguilla (GoA) and the UKG to ensure that a new purpose built facility is completed in time for the 2018/2019 academic year. The urgent need for a new secondary school should be readily apparent.

The Honourable Chief Minister has already commented on the manifestation of the usual bureaucracy associated with the UKG. The UKG’s bureaucratic tendencies run counter to the identification and implementation of quick and appropriate resolutions to the disaster suffered by Anguilla. The Chief Minister, his Ministerial Colleagues and senior public officials must work diligently to ensure that the relevant UK officials do not lose sight of the urgency of Anguilla’s situation.

The Anguilla Public Service has long been considered to be challenged in the areas of cooperation, coordination and communication. These shortcomings must be immediately vanquished if the GoA and the Anguilla Public Service are to successfully manage the process of convincing the UKG of Anguilla’s urgent need for financial aid – and that such aid will result in sustainable developments. This is not an easy task and will require public officers to see the big picture; to overcome the desire to seek personal credit; and to painstakingly develop and document well researched project documents which make the case for financial aid to ensure the realisation of Anguilla’s short, medium and long term goals following the passage of Hurricane Irma. Public officers cannot merely pontificate for the sake of hearing themselves speak – but must immediately get down to business as this is one occasion when their input is likely to be vital to the outcome of discussions with the UKG.

In the editorial in The Anguillian published on 21st April, 2017, I commented on the apparent unwillingness of Anguillians to actively listen to each other. I observed that, “very often, persons engaged in an argument actually desire and are proposing the same end result, while arguing vigorously with each other. If time was taken to listen and discern at the earliest opportunity that the same end result is desired, more time can be spent determining the most effective and efficient path to achieving the shared goal. While we lose time bickering, Anguilla’s problems are increasing and the costs associated with addressing them are growing.” Unnecessary arguing and bickering are traits which should not manifest themselves as we grasp this opportunity to build a stronger and more resilient Anguilla.

The UKG and the GoA must collaborate if we are to realise the opportunities presented by Hurricane Irma. The onus, however, is on the GoA, acting through the elected and appointed officials, to ensure that no stone is left unturned in our quest to convince the UKG that Anguilla’s needs are urgent and its request for significant financial aid is justifiable. We expect that diligent work on the part of senior public officers, in support of the Ministers of Government, will leave the UKG with no option but to engage in real and meaningful collaboration with the GoA. Anguillians, residents, visitors and Anguilla’s many friends are eagerly awaiting the manifestation of this collaboration in the rebuilding of the many structures required to facilitate and sustain Anguilla’s social and economic development.

By anguillian October 23, 2017 11:46


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