By anguillian January 8, 2018 10:35 Updated



One of the memories of the late Winston Leonard Harrigan, formerly of East End, Anguilla, is that when Associated Statehood was granted to St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla by the British Government in 1967 he, along with other Anguillian patriots, transported a coffin in a funeral-like demonstration and then buried it.

At a public meeting, he declared that the burial of the coffin symbolised the death of Statehood for Anguilla. He was not wrong because Anguilla, unwilling to have any part with the Central Government, rebelled against the status in May that year, and was eventually formally separated from St. Kitts-Nevis in December 1980 by an Order in Council. The Anguilla Bill, as it was called, passed in both Houses of Parliament in London in record time.

Mr. Harrigan’s was rewarded for his patriotism and influence when he was selected to serve as a member of the early Anguilla Council headed by the late Revolutionary Leader, Ronald Webster. It was principally those two features of his contribution to the island that won him the Anguilla Badge of Honour and Queen’s Certificate in 2002 from the Anguilla Government.

Mr. Harrigan, a builder, churchman and retired political activist, died on November 29, 2017 at the age of 87. In view of his contribution to Anguilla, flags were flown at half-mast and on December 23 he was accorded a National Funeral which was held at St. Augustine’s Anglican Church, East End.
The Formal Remembrance was delivered by his daughter, Mrs. Merilyn Jackson, who lives in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. She traced his involvement in the Anguilla Revolution when he transported the island’s freedom fighters to guard beaches and buildings and also transported the locally-made Statehood coffin.

“His concern and interest for the welfare of the people of Anguilla resulted in him being selected as one of the twelve Councilmen to serve on the then organised Anguilla Ciuncil,” she continued. “ The Council at that time was responsible for determining the vision for Anguilla. Discussions were intense and nerve-wrecking as these loyal Anguillians wanted to ensure their decisions would be in the best interest of the people.

“In 1981, as an independent candidate, Mr. Harrigan sought a seat in the general elections in district two for the Ministerial Government, where he was defeated in the polls. Nonetheless, his love of country was evident as he continued to petition on behalf of the people of Anguilla. He influenced a policy that is still operational today with the Post Office providing a traveling branch so that persons in the out districts would have access to the mailing system.”

Mrs. Jackson continued: “Mr. Winston L. Harrigan was the recipient of many awards throughout the years. The East End Public Health Committee joined with Fair Play Management Services Ltd in 2000 and honoured him for his outstanding contribution as one of the nation’s builders of the 20th century. In 2002, the Badge of Honour and Queen’s Certificate were awarded to him by the Government. The St. Augustine’s Chorale recognised him for his sterling contribution to the life of the church in 2015. The Malliouhana Poetry Club recognised him in May 2017 and awarded him the Culture Bearer Award for his sterling contribution during the 1967 Revolution. He was profiled in the Youth and Culture Calendar during the month of November 2017.

“Like many Anguillians he travelled to many of the neighbouring islands to seek employment but, as he puts it, ‘Anguilla was always his choice of stay…and will always be home for him’. His construction skills are still evident at the three Anglican churches, the Governor’s residence and further afield in the neighbouring USVI at the University of the Virgin Islands (the then College of the Virgin Islands).

“A father of four children with diverse professions, much of which he was instrumental in shaping, Winston was extremely proud of his labour and feel satisfied by the contributions he has made.
“A staunch Anglican, he maintained a strong belief that Anguillians should be grateful to God for keeping the island free of bloodshed during the revolutionary years. He was confident that it was God’s goodness that kept the island throughout those turbulent times.”

Mrs. Cora Richardson-Hodge, who was the Acting Chief Minister at the time of Mr. Harrigan’s National Funeral, joined in recalling his contributions to Anguilla, particularly during the island’s revolutionary years. She also spoke about the official arrangements for the National Funeral and added: “It is our hope that this collective demonstration of national respect afforded to the late Mr. Winston Harrigan will bring much comfort to his bereaved family. We pray God’s divine guidance and comfort to them in these difficult times.”
The officiating Clergy were the Rt. Reverend Errol Brooks and Rev. Menes Hodge. Bishop Brooks spoke about Mr. Harrigan’s spiritual and church life. He recalled he was a member of the Brotherhood of St. Andrew and at one time President of St. Augustine’s Chapter of that Brotherhood; a member of the Reliables Club, helping to raise much-needed money for the construction of St. Augustine’s Church and other aspects of the Church’s witness; and a member of the St. Augustine’s Chorale. He praised him for the sound technical advice he gave in relation to the three Anglican Church buildings and facilities.

Bishop Brooks took the opportunity to console Mr. Harrigan’s family especially with the National Funeral taking place in the Christmas season – a time of family re-union and love.

By anguillian January 8, 2018 10:35 Updated


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