By anguillian December 25, 2017 11:41 Updated




2017 will go down in history as one of Anguilla’s most challenging years when, had it not been for the Hand of God and the resilience of our people, particularly with the passage of Hurricane Irma, we would not have been where we are today: alive, rebuilding and filled with hope this Christmas Season. It is no wonder that many of our people appear to have become more conscious of their religious and spiritual responsibilities – and that the twin words “resilient” and “resilience” have become such a major, but common, part of our vocabulary these days.

The now vanishing year was hard enough in the first eight months – with the economy still in shatters and employment opportunities still eluding us; but when Irma struck our struggling island and people, early in September, “all hell broke loose” – to use an idiomatic phrase. The category 5 hurricane not only abruptly interrupted all immediate plans for new project development, but sought to destroy the infrastructure we already have while, admittedly, hastening the chances for planned improvement in some cases.

Our tourism plant was among the public and private sector domains which took a hard hit. As of writing this editorial, there has been an unfortunate delay in the reopening or full operation of our major hotels, and many of our workers in the hospitality industry are now unemployed and displaced. Thankfully, however, there is growing evidence and optimism that property owners are doing their very best to get our people back to work and to re-stimulate our economy. It is a long road ahead for the leadership of the island to rebuild Anguilla, given the widespread destruction of Government buildings and the demand for more and improved public services. We can only wish the Government every success in its efforts.
Anguilla and its people owe a debt of gratitude to the United Kingdom Government which quickly stepped up to its responsibilities by providing money and technical support to Anguilla and the other hurricane-affected Overseas Territories in their recovery efforts. Gratitude is also extended to the Governments of the neighbouring islands for their assistance to Anguilla; the local, regional and international agencies which were among the first responders; the work crews from various electricity companies in the Caribbean; and the Canadian linesmen who, together with ANGLEC’s team, worked so hard and diligent to restore electricity across Anguilla in record time. Through their tireless work and commitment they were able to liberate us from a dark and dismal period reminiscent of our traditional days of lamp light and bathing out of buckets with scarce water.
A group also to thank are the patriotic members of the Anguilla diaspora who gave invaluable assistance to the relief efforts in terms of building materials, food supplies, and even money. Thanks must also be extended to our own Government for its leadership, and for so ably and convincingly putting across Anguilla’s plight to the UK Government – thus receiving some substantial financial and technical assistance. Our own people must be thanked for their resilience which has been a major cornerstone in the recovery process, and for such bright, cheerful and customary activities they have organised – despite Irma – such as the current Christmas Season events.

Christmas is a time of sharing, caring, love and merriment. Unfortunately, many of our people are no longer with us to share in that experience. They have been snatched away by the hand of death in unprecedented numbers filling our hearts with much grief and sadness. But the Christmas story is there to strengthen us and to give us hope and light. As we recover from Hurricane Irma, pull our lives together, review our misfortunes during the eventful 2017, and face the unknown in the New Year, let us still muster the resilience to wish each other a Merry Christmas and the very best in rebuilding our lovely homeland, Anguilla.

By anguillian December 25, 2017 11:41 Updated


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