By anguillian January 29, 2018 10:20 Updated




By and large, it appears that the series of islandwide town hall meetings the Government of Anguilla is holding, in the seven constituents, are being well received by the public. This is probably due to the fact that the meetings are not just boring speeches, by the officials, but there are rather opportunities for persons to ask some deep and searching questions either on their mind or which crop up during the discourse.

The first town hall meeting was held earlier this month at the Christian Fellowship Church on the Blowing Point Road where the elected representative for District 7 (Blowing Point) is Mr. Curtis Richardson, the Minister of Infrastructure, Communications, Utilities, Housing, Agriculture and Fisheries. The second meeting was held at the Basketball Court at East End, District 2, on Sunday evening, January 21 and was chaired by Mr. Othlyn Vanterpool, the Government’s Ministerial Assistant and former elected representative for District 1, Island Harbour.

Chief Minister, Victor Banks, set the tone of the meeting by thanking the British Government for its unprecedented financial and technical assistance to Anguilla in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma; regional and international agencies and others for their support; various persons and organisations in Anguilla, and the island’s diaspora and friends of Anguilla for helping as well. He also commended Anguillians living in Anguilla for conducting themselves properly following the hurricane.

“As a result of what happened in 2017, 2018 will be a challenging year but we will have many successes,” he went on. “Already we have received the resources to rebuild our schools which, to me, were one of the most troubling aspects of our recovery; to ensure that the hospital is up to speed and running; and that we were able to accommodate persons coming into Anguilla to support our tourism sector.

“I cannot help but mention one of the critical areas of support – electricity. I have to commend the electricity company – ANGLEC – and those persons who came from the region and the Canadian citizens who ensured that we had lights for Christmas. So, moving forward, we have the resources to rebuild the social sector: schools, the hospital; and the terminal buildings in Anguilla and St. Maarten. The hotels have recovered and a lot of them will reopen in the first quarter of 2018. A number of them were opened late last year; and a number of persons lost their jobs and will now have an opportunity to go back to work. There will still be a shortage of jobs in the tourism sector but, thankfully, there will be a number of jobs in the recovery construction sector. All these things, together, will help us to weather the storm.

“The budget for 2018 has not yet been completed. However, we have been working on ensuring that the funds for the recovery effort will be put to good use and that we are getting the projects shovel-ready. In other words, by the time the money becomes available, on March 31st /April 1st, we will be ready to go with these projects. I just want to highlight the fact that we have a lot to be grateful for. We have a lot of challenges in 2018, but we have the support to make it happen.

“The investors in our economy continue to be here. They have not walked away and we continue to give them as much support as we can. We want to give you, who had losses, support as well so we have a number of initiatives in place, and at the end of the day…the economy, to my mind in 2018, will meet the challenges that we may face with the good help of God.”

Other speakers were the Minister of Health and Social Development, Mr. Evans McNiel Rogers (District 3); the Ministerial Assistant in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Labour and Immigration, Mrs. Evalie Bradley, (District 5); the Minister of Home Affairs, Labour, Immigration and Education, Mrs. Cora Richardson-Hodge (District 2); the Parliamentary Secretary, Tourism, Sports, Youth and Culture, Mr. Cardigan Connor (District 6); and the Minister of Infrastructure, Communications, Utilities, Housing, Agriculture and Fisheries, Mr. Curtis Richardson (District 7).

Following their presentations, there was a lively and orderly question and answer period.

There were a number of important points made during the addresses and questions, some of which have been highlighted in separate news stories published elsewhere in this edition of The Anguillian newspaper. These include constitutional and electoral matters, the Morris Vanterpool and Vivien Vanterpool Primary Schools at East End and Island Harbour; the Albena Lake-Hodge Comprehensive School; and the Labour Code.

By anguillian January 29, 2018 10:20 Updated


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