Commentary: Anguillans: Have we got your attention yet? – Part 3

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Tyrone Hodge is an Anguillan currently living in California and an educator, who values education and one’s heritage. He has written extensively for the Anguillan newspaper and is a panelist of the Mayor Show, which originates in Anguilla every Saturday, in which we focus on identifying problems and offering solutions. His father was Walter G. Hodge, one of the original stalwarts of the Anguilla revolution of 1967

By Tyrone Hodge

Anguilla is unique in that we are unlike our Caribbean brothers and sisters.  You see, we own the land. If we are to survive as a people, we will have to have a plan in place for the next 50 years.  We will have to look out for the rising seas, the erosion of our beaches, and the health of our senior citizens as well as our young people.  We will have to put in place programs that involve our young men, so that they will have something to look forward to instead of hanging out under the Tamarind Tree drinking rum.

We need transparency, accountability and last but not least of which is integrity.  We can’t have the government of Anguilla spending over $700,000 on car rentals. Since when can’t we drive our own car to work?  When so many Anguillians are suffering, it’s inhumane to even think that our government is spending that kind of money on car rentals. Where is the sunlight?

We must have leadership that looks out for our people, to do for them what they can’t do for themselves.  We will need leaders versed in international communication, which can go toe to toe with anyone, leadership that has a vision not just for the next five years, but for the next fifty with a plan to execute it.  We need leaders who can clean up Anguilla’s less than stellar image on the world stage so that we can get on with the business at hand which is making sure that our people are treated with respect and are afforded the dignity for which our forefathers fought.

We know that times have changed, and it is not 1967 once more. However, now more than ever, we need to be cognizant of the fact that we are alone and if we are ever going to get out of the rabbit hole that we currently find ourselves in, we are going to have to abandon that crab barrel mentality and give each other a hand up.

In Anguilla, we don’t get over one disaster before it is replaced by another.  With 2020 just around the corner, we are once again faced with the bull in the china shop, constitution and electoral reform.  It appears that we are once again coming out on the short end of this stick. This government is moving forward with recommendations that will benefit them and all without the benefit of educating the people.  We don’t know what promises have been made by our government to the FCO. But that’s par for the course.

I wholeheartedly agree with my learned friend Don Mitchell that anyone who votes for these bills in their current iteration will be vigorously opposed in 2020.  The passage of these bills is an affront to each and every Anguillian and those who voted to pass them must incur the wrath of every Anguillian.

Anguilla right now is flying blind, which means that we can’t see what’s ahead. We need leadership that can chart a course to get us to where we need to go. We deserve leadership that will not lead us blindly over a cliff.  Anguilla needs leadership that’s here for the long haul, not those who have already lined their pockets and are running out the clock.

Backbenchers whose only job is to go along with the party line need not apply. The time has come to retire those lazy hacks who can’t point to one thing that they have done.  So in the words of one Oliver Cromwell, to his Rump Parliament: “You have stayed around too long for any good you have done lately. So to you I say, away with you. In the name of God, go.”

Given the recent events that have transpired in Anguilla, it is incumbent on us as a people to think long and hard about what’s happening to us.  What is it that the people we elected to represent us are doing? For far too long we have been too accommodating a people, and it’s about time that we stop being a passive people and become active in our democracy if it can be called that. The apathy that has overtaken us is just unbelievable. I’m not being facetious here, but given the way our government has run things, what else can one say.  

The time has come for those lazy hacks who can’t point to one thing that they’ve done for the people to seek another line of employment.  Of course, they will point to the recent activity on the island and take credit for it, but we need to remind them that it was the 60 million pounds from the British government that’s responsible for that.  At the risk of sounding redundant, we need leaders who are not indebted to anyone, and that is why the voter revision or clean up if you will, and campaign financing reform are needed now more than ever. We need to get back to the rule of law if we are to survive as a nation.

Anguilla is once again at a time and place where who we elect will decide our future.  We have been the unwitting victims of our own governments. We have seen them play fast and loose with our inheritances. We have gone from being the gold standard to being the butt of everyone’s jokes. We have gone from having two local banks founded by Anguillians to having a bridge bank which I will call Victor’s folly.  

We have paid for a banking report which we are yet to see.  Our so-called bridge bank will have to be sold but in the meantime, if you want to withdraw funds from your own account, you will have to pay a buck and a half for the privilege.  What have we wrought, or should I say what they have wrought. So you see like that jackass that I introduced you to in my introduction, we are still being beaten about the head in addition to other parts of the body, and I do believe that they still haven’t attracted our attention.

So to those who are in power right now, I will echo Oliver Cromwell’s sentiments once more. “You have stayed around too long for any good you have done lately…” so to those of you who have clogged up the halls of our House of Assembly for the last four-plus years, I say, “away with you.  In the name of God, go.” Till next time, God bless Anguilla.

Related:

Part 1

Part 2

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