By anguillian January 8, 2018 11:43 Updated



2017 began as a difficult year for Anguilla with the economy still in shatters but, as time progressed, there were signs that the situation was changing and soon the economy was expected to rebound. Then came the devastation by Hurricane Irma in September, sending Anguilla cascading into an unfortunate spiral downhill.

The island’s upmarket tourism industry infrastructure was suddenly halted with considerable damage and the closure of the main hotel resorts. In addition, vital areas of the Government’s infrastructure, in terms of electricity, education and health facilities and the Blowing Point Port, were seriously destroyed. At present, there is a considerable degree of resilience and rebuilding on the island – and the term ‘Anguilla Stronger’ is a rallying cry for the restoration and forward movement of our lovely island. We salute and thank those who were, and continue to be, in the vanguard of this great and commendable effort.
But what about 2018 as we stand on the threshold of the New Year? Obviously, the hope is that the fever-pitched resilience and resolve our people and Government have shown will result in 2018 being a year of significant prosperity and fulfilment. Luckily, for us, we have received substantial financial assistance from the British Government for rebuilding and repositioning Anguilla to the extent that probably, for the first time, we feel well suported by our Mother Country and its taxpayers.

We don’t think that this is an exaggeration or overstatement. We believe there is reason for much gratitude and hope as an Overseas Territory with an abundance of needs and wants especially at this period of calamity and distress. Our responsibility is to carefully sort out our priorities for rebuilding Anguilla, and create new opportunities for economic development and employment particularly for the large numbers of our young people graduating from school every year, but with no gainful or meaningful jobs in sight.
While we must cultivate and demonstrate much hope and faith, as we look to the New Year, as human beings we are doing so with some trepidation and uncertainty. The fact is that we have been ushered into the unknown and are powerless to decide our own fate. Given the lamentable passing of multiple numbers of our people over the past year, and even now, our very lives are in question and uncertain. But we must not panic. A positive and strong disposition, and an unswerving faith, may well be all it will take to calm our fears and give us the fortitude and renewed resilience to press on, to achieve, and to delight in what we would have achieved. At the risk of being unnecessarily philosophical, our darkest days may yet turn out to be the genesis of a brighter future.

As we tread into the unknown we are reminded of the popular poem entitled “The Gate of the Year” (1905) by Minnie Louise Haskins (12 May 1825-3 February 1957), a British poet and an academic in the field of sociology. A quotation from that poem reads:

I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year, ‘Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.’ And he replied, ‘Go out into the darkness, and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be better than light, and safer than a known way.’

If we, the people of Anguilla, and our leaders, adopt the above truism with a sense of confidence and hope, we will certainly have no fear as we traverse from 2017 into 2018.

By anguillian January 8, 2018 11:43 Updated


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