Editorial: Overcoming our Differences to Secure a Stronger Anguilla

By anguillian December 4, 2017 11:33




The passage of Hurricane Irma has brought into stark relief the needs of Anguilla. These needs were, in fact, previously recounted in an editorial published in The Anguillian on 5th May, 2017, titled “Realising Anguilla’s Needs and Wants – What will it take?”
It was noted that Anguillians want the best and expect the best in all aspects of life on Anguilla. These wants and expectations, it was further noted, manifest themselves in a very extensive shopping list for the consideration of Anguilla’s leaders as they contemplate how best to utilise Anguilla’s limited financial resources. It is now apparent that the acquisition of the items on the shopping list has taken on a greater level of urgency, following the destruction caused by Hurricane Irma. It was noted in the May 5th editorial that significant cooperation and collaboration between the competing sectors of Anguilla is required – as well as a narrowing of the growing political divide if our needs and wants are to be realised. Will our current state of urgency be visibly reflected in a high level of cooperation and collaboration between all stakeholders of Anguilla, as we set about prioritising our needs and the allocation of resources?

At this time while we wait for a clear signal as to how and when the needs resulting from the destruction caused by Hurricane Irma will be met, I believe it is appropriate to remind readers of the thoughts expressed in the May 5th editorial as to the challenges surrounding the realisation of Anguilla’s many wants and needs.

“Realising Anguilla’s Needs and Wants – What will it take?
It is obvious from the comments, observations and assertions of Anguillians that Anguillians want the best and expect the best in all aspects of life on Anguilla. This results in a very extensive shopping list for the consideration of Anguilla’s leaders as they contemplate how best to utilise Anguilla’s limited financial resources. The development of a national plan is considered essential by many to guide our leaders, in the decision making process, as they seek to prioritise their response to the many needs and wants of Anguilla’s populace.
I anticipate that neither the development of a national plan, nor the subsequent adherence to a national plan, will be easy without significant cooperation and collaboration between the various sectors of Anguilla which, invariably, compete for limited resources. Another hurdle, which must be overcome, is the widening political divide which is becoming increasingly evident in Anguilla. It manifests itself in the immediate opposition to any proposal emanating from the governing party. Attitudes and behaviours must obviously change if we are to successfully develop and implement a national plan for Anguilla.
We might feel that as Anguillians we will see the bigger picture and therefore do what is required for the benefit of Anguilla. An examination of Anguilla’s shopping list will demonstrate the extent of the challenge that Anguillians must overcome, in this respect. I will attempt to set out what will, no doubt, be an incomplete list of the many needs and wants being espoused by Anguillians as basic requirements in this day and age.

Anguilla’s Shopping List
New or upgraded primary and secondary schools with appropriate and adequate space, and equipment and furniture designed to meet specific curricula needs. Each school is expected to include a cafeteria, auditorium and sporting facilities.

A new medical facility with modern equipment and appropriately qualified staff.

National and community sporting facilities including an all weather running track and an indoor sporting facility.

Theatre Arts
A performing arts theatre to facilitate rehearsals and performances, to portray the skills of the many talented individuals on Anguilla.

Air & Sea Access
Upgraded or new airport and seaports to facilitate the transportation of people and cargo.

Road Development
Improving The Valley Road Network. These improvements are expected to include adequate sidewalks, drainage and lighting. Properly surfaced and maintained secondary roads are also needed throughout the island.

Government Office Accommodation
A modern office complex to house government offices, which makes provision for shared facilities and easy access to government services, is contemplated. The perennial rental of office space for government offices throughout The Valley is not considered appropriate or cost effective. A new parliament building, courthouse and prison are also envisioned.

The above is a mere statement of the needs and wants identified by many Anguillians. No reference has been made to the likely costs to realise these needs and wants, but it should be obvious to all that it will take considerable resources, which are not currently available to Anguilla, to deliver the items listed above. I am sure that many additions can be made to the list, which will further serve to make the point that prioritising our needs and wants will be a challenge. The leaders in each of the sectors identified are likely to consider it absolutely essential that their needs and wants be immediately met. Will politicians, who are very often guided by their desire to be reelected rather than making the correct decision at the right time, be able, without the collaboration and cooperation of all sectors of the populace, to make the best decision in the circumstances?
Our needs and wants are significant. Will our desire to realise them and our recognition of our limited resources overcome our natural inclination to fight so hard to be first in line, that no progress is made? We have some difficult but essential decisions to make. Let’s hope we can, when contemplating a national plan for Anguilla, put country above self.”

In this urgently required rebuilding phase, necessitated by the passage of Hurricane Irma, will we fight like cats and dogs or will we objectively and strategically determine how to prioritise the resources we expect to receive, so that we can successfully rebuild Anguilla stronger? Hopefully the urgency of our situation will reflect itself in a state of cooperation and collaboration never before experienced among Anguilla’s many stakeholders. How well we cooperate and collaborate with each other will determine how efficiently and effectively the anticipated United Kingdom grants will be utilised in our bid to build a stronger Anguilla.

By anguillian December 4, 2017 11:33


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