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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION WELCOMES TEACHERS BACK TO SCHOOL – The Anguillian Newspaper – The Weekly Independent Paper of Anguilla

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On the morning of Friday, 2nd September, the Department of Education held its annual welcome ceremony for teachers returning to the classroom for another school year. The event, under the theme “Reimagining Education in a Post-Pandemic World”, was held at the Rodney McArthur Rey Auditorium. Special recognition was given to new teachers who are entering the service at the primary and secondary levels.

The moderator of the ceremony, was Education Officer, Multi-Professional Services, Mrs. Tracelyn Hamilton. The ceremony got underway with an appreciable session of inspiring worship conducted by a melodious team led by Teacher Wenonah Lawrence, ICT Coordinator. Prayer was offered by Pastor Dwayne Adams after which the National Song was sung by all.

Mr. Bren Romney

The Chief Education Officer (CEO), Mr. Bren Romney, delivered welcome remarks and addressed the large gathering of educators. After extending his cordial greetings to the many teachers, he said: “Allow me, on behalf of the Department of Education, to welcome all of you back to a new academic year. It is a great pleasure to also welcome those who are joining us in various administrative teaching and support positions for the first time.” He then introduced the new teachers and administrators individually.

“To all of our new teachers,” he continued, “I welcome you to the Anguilla Teaching Fraternity. I hope your time as an educator would be meaningful and rewarding. Teaching is not without its challenges, but I know of no other profession on earth that brings the kind of fulfillment and personal pride like that which a teacher gains when he or she receives the fruit of his or her labour.”

Minister Dee-Ann Kentish-Rogers

“My hope for all of you is that you give of your best to the post you occupy and the students that depend on your expertise, support and guidance,” the CEO passionately charged.
In her capacity as President of the Anguilla Teachers’ Union, Ms. Cherise Gumbs also addressed the teachers: “Being a teacher, at this time, I did not have the slightest idea of the hard work, dedication and commitment that it takes to be a great teacher. My past teachers had made this job look so easy. I am sure that the image which many of us had of this profession, initially, has changed and evolved throughout our careers.

“Certainly, none of us had ever imagined a lockdown and virtual school. But this is what we had to experience over the past two years – a world lockdown, lives being lost and a plunging economy. Our education system has been strained and our teachers and administrators remain stressed. Many of us are still dealing with some level of frustration, therefore reimagining is necessary.”

Ms. Cherise Gumbs

She added: “With all of the changes that have occurred over recent years, there is one thing that will remain constant, and that will mark the importance of our world as teachers. Whether we are behind the screen, or face to face, teachers will always remain the hallmark of building and maintaining a solid education system.”

Also bringing remarks was Mrs. Aliethea Richardson, President of the Early Childhood Association. She likened the journey of the next school year to a flight that would extend over a duration of nine months. “The flying conditions” she said, “would be a mixture of forecasted clear skies with intermittent cells of turbulence, and the possibility of severe weather that would call for all teachers to rely upon the expertise that they gained through their training.”

The Honourable Minister of Education, Ms Dee-Ann Kentish-Rogers also spoke to the teachers. “Some of you may be excited, while others might be confused,” she observed. “Still, there are some of you who are tired, and I am sure some of you have mixed emotions. But despite your feelings, you are here demonstrating your dedication to our Anguillian students. For that, no words would ever be able to express how thankful we are to you.”
The Minister apologised for the fact that the new Albena Lake-Hodge Comprehensive School building, in The Quarter, was not yet ready to be occupied: “We have been faced with the unfortunate reality of having to terminate one of the contracts, and to pursue further action,” she stated. “We do, however, anticipate that we would be announcing an opening date later this year.”

In addition, she noted that her ministry is looking at increasing the teachers’ salaries, the increments of which have been remaining constant over the past twelve years. “I have always said that the teaching profession should be one of the highest paid professions in our society, therefore you do have a champion in me when it comes to making advocacy on your part.”

Mr. Rafer Gordon

Mr. Rafer Gordon, Senior Technical Specialist in Education of the OECS, presented the feature address. He spoke via video feed, and was introduced by Education Officer, Pre-Primary and Primary, Mrs. Susan Smith. Among the many bits of advice Mr. Gordon gave to the teachers, he encouraged them to think of teaching as a human affair. He asked: “Does reimagining education involve entirely new things? Or does it mean that we have to go back to the basics of what good teaching is?”

He emphasized: “Teachers must demonstrate the attribute of love. They must show a love for children and a love for learning. They must have a love for the community and they must be willing to set up the children they teach for a life of success.”

The Moderator, Mrs. Hamilton, interjected an overall admonition: “Today, I would like to challenge our more senior seasoned staff to mentor and support our new teachers so that at the end of the first year they would want to continue a second year, a third year and even a tenth year.”

Following Mr. Gordon’s feature address, the Educator’s Pledge was recited by all teachers, the song “I Believe” was sung by Ethan Connor, and the Vote of thanks was delivered by the Principal of the Alwyn Allison Richardson Primary School, Mrs. Electra Buddle. This was followed by the hymn “Lead Us Heavenly Father, Lead Us” after which the ceremony came to an end.



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Anguilla

KYLE HODGE COMMENTS ON THE GOVERNMENT- ANGLEC SAGA – The Anguillian Newspaper – The Weekly Independent Paper of Anguilla

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Mr. Kyle Hodge

In a radio interview on Klass FM on Thursday, 15th September, the former Minister of Economics Trade and Commerce, Mr. Kyle Hodge, was asked by DJ Hammer to share his views concerning the situation between the Government and ANGLEC.

DJ Hammer had made reference to a statement posed by ANGLEC’s CEO, Mr. Sutcliffe Hodge, which follows:

“Over the last couple of weeks, Germany has made available about 65 billion Euros to assist their citizens in coping with high cost of electricity. Over that past weekend Holland has announced that they are also assisting their citizens in a similar way to deal with energy costs and food. The United Kingdom also decided that they are going to be capping off the cost that their citizens would have to pay for their utility bills.

“ANGLEC, in Anguilla, has been trying to play Government [in this regard]. We have said, no, we cannot pass on the full cost of the fuel surcharge to our customers. We are now sort of getting penalised for that because Government is now saying to us that our liquidity may be at risk. Therefore, we have to rethink and see whether we should pass on the full surcharge cost to the consumer, and then the Anguilla Government and the British Government would need to come up with some way to supplement the electricity bills for Anguillians.

“We are experiencing that for us to be kind and compassionate to the citizens of Anguilla, we are putting ourselves at the risk of been taken over by the Governor. This is a real issue.

“As a consequence, I am in discussion with the Board right now and I am letting them know that we can no longer play compassionate, because to continue doing so, we may have to turn over the keys to Her Excellency the Governor. And that will hit our citizens hard if/when the British takes over ANGLEC.”

Former Minister, Kyle Hodge, responded: “That was a very sobering statement by the CEO of ANGLEC. Around the world and across the globe, Governments are taking measures to help their people who are struggling through these difficult times.

“The cost of fuel has skyrocketed lately. The fuel surcharge should be $1.00 plus, but our people cannot bear an increase at this time. Like the CEO said, ANGLEC has been playing Government over the years. Added to that, is the issue that ANGLEC is unable to collect the debt owed to it by Government.

“Over the years, Government has been involved in ANGLEC’s business. From time to time, they would recognise that there is a need to keep the fuel surcharge at a certain price point, because the consumers, in general, cannot afford an increase. ANGLEC has been shouldering that burden at 70 cents, when it should be $1.00 plus. The question is, for how long can ANGLEC afford to keep the fuel surcharge at 70 cents?

“If Government cannot come at the table and offer a solution for paying off some of the debt that is owed to ANGLEC, then ANGLEC will have no choice but to raise the fuel surcharge.

“I have recently heard the Premier say that administrations of the past have ignored the debt that the Water Corporation owes to ANGLEC. But that is the past. We are living in a time when, presently, ANGLEC cannot afford to be owed so much at this point.”

When asked what should be the way forward, Mr. Kyle Hodge said: “The way forward is simply for ANGLEC and Government to sit together as grown people – and as leaders of this country – and hold talks with a view of resolving the issues. This should have been done even before the Governor intervened.”



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EVERYONE HAS A STORY PART 2! – The Anguillian Newspaper – The Weekly Independent Paper of Anguilla

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by Mrs. Marilyn Hodge

Everybody has a story. Do you believe it? Is it true? Are you ready to share yours? Or are you too embarrassed to share it?

Here is a story that someone felt embarrassed to share. It is about a country preacher by the name of Mr. Jones who used to visit a widow in his church. Mr. Jones liked to visit her around lunchtime because she had a vegetable garden and she loved to cook fresh vegetables for her pastor. One day the pastor arrived at lunchtime, and knocked on Mrs. Jones’ door, but she did not answer. So, he walked through her garden calling, “Mrs. Jones! Mrs. Jones!” He was perplexed because the back door was open and he could see and smell the food cooking on the stove, but he did not see Mrs. Jones. Knowing her sense of humour, he left his card on her door with this note: “Dear Mrs. Jones, Read Revelation 3:20.” That verse says, “Behold I stand at the door and knock and if anyone will hear my voice I will come in and eat with them.”

What the pastor did not realise was that about the time he showed up, Mrs. Jones was getting out of the bathtub, and she was too embarrassed to answer the door, so she hid behind the door until he left. After reading the pastor’s card, she wrote him a note and left it on his desk the next Sunday. It read, “Dear Pastor, I got your card. Read Genesis 3:10.” It states, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid myself.”

Did that story make you chuckle or even smile? What do you think about that story? What would you have done? If you were Mrs. Jones, would you have answered the Pastor when he called? Well, there is a similar story to Mrs. Jones’ story that is found in the bible. Do you know that story? Who was the story about? That was Adam and Eve’s story. It is a great story; they were the most popular couple in the world. Their story has many valuable lessons for us:
1. God doesn’t force us to follow Him. God tells us what is good and bad for us. He has given us free will – meaning, we are free to make our own choices.
2. We must be familiar with Satan’s tactics. One of the best ways to defeat Satan is to understand how he works. If we know his evil devices, then we are better equipped to know how to overcome them.
3. Sin separates us from God. Adam and Eve were placed in a perfectly good environment. They enjoyed a close relationship with God, however, the moment they disobeyed, their disobedience caused a rift between God and man.
4. We must put our trust in God only. Some people would rather put their trust in people, things, and beliefs, than to trust in God, but God knows what is best for us.
5. Covetousness is dangerous. It starts with the mind, so we must be mindful of it.
6. We cannot hide from God. He knows everything about us. No matter where we are or whatever we think or do, God knows.
7. We must take responsibility for our actions and cease blaming others. Our actions always have consequences.
8. We must listen and be obedient to God, His commands are for our benefit and our protection.

Do you see the reasons why it is important for us to share our personal stories with others? Do you understand the valuable lessons our life stories can offer? We will never know whose life will be touched or changed by hearing them. By sharing our experiences, we will not only create an impact on other people’s lives – they could help us feel empowered as well. When we find our voice, we can be ambassadors of our life circumstances instead of victims. We can show the world life is worth fighting for even though it is hard. It will also show others that they are not alone in their struggles.

Not all of our stories have to be sad or depressing. Share the ones that make people laugh or smile or inspire them to take action in their lives. We also need to share all the good that life offers, and the awesome work God has done and continues to do in our lives. We live in a society where most of us are struggling with so many things but very few are willing to come forth and speak, so our stories can be that catalyst to encourage them to share theirs.

We all have a story within us – about love, courage, endurance, heartache, pain, trust, loss, and everything in-between that others are waiting to hear. Tell them, even when it is challenging.

Even when it feels like the most difficult thing to do, telling your story – with all its mistakes, failures, setbacks as well as its victories, joys, and successes – says something about what it means to be human. By telling our stories, we release ourselves from those things that bind us and give rise to an opportunity for us to connect with others.

Remember: Your Story Is Your Own. What’s done is done. What’s gone is gone. One bad chapter does not mean your story is over. It is okay to look back to see how far you have come but keep moving on. Your stories have the power to break down barriers and set people free.

About the Author: Mrs. Marilyn Hodge owns and operates the Wellness Centre in the Farrington, Anguilla. The Centre offers Counselling Services by Appointment Only and has now published Positive Living Volume 3. Contact information: 476-3517 or email: marilynb@anguillanet.com. www.facebook.com/axawellnesscentre



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MORTALITY RATE IN ANGUILLA IS CONCERNING – The Anguillian Newspaper – The Weekly Independent Paper of Anguilla

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Anecdotal evidence over the last few years shows a significant increase in the number of deaths among fairly young and middle-aged persons in Anguilla – deaths that were not the result of accidents, but were still unexpected and due to medical issues.

When you live off island and examine the number of deaths in the immediate environment in which you live and work, you seldom ever hear of people dying at such an alarming rate as you hear about in Anguilla.
In talking about this to some Anguillians who are living overseas. They say that they know very, very few people within their own work space who have relatives or friends that are dying. But here in Anguilla, not a month passes without someone dying who is connected to your circle of relatives, friends, acquaintances or co-workers. That speaks volumes about what is really happening in our small community.

We know what is causing most of these deaths – a wide range of cancers, issues of diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension and stroke. We also know that a common cause of a number of these deaths is a lack of early detection of symptoms of disease that result in death. This is likely due to persons inability to afford preventive care services, and only access or seek medical care when the symptoms become chronic. If the symptoms were detected early, some of these deaths could very well be prevented or delayed for many years.

If we drill down further, and try to understand some of the possible underlying causes of why our people succumb to these non-communicable diseases, we might notice issues of poor nutrition, use and abuse of alcohol and illegal drugs, as well as high levels of stress.

The government that we have in power today, under the leadership of a medical doctor, promised us going in to the election that health was going to be a high priority – and that this government would address the health challenges confronting our island locally, so that persons would not have to go overseas to seek medical treatment for symptoms and illnesses that could easily be treated in Anguilla.
Here we are, almost two and a half years into this administration, and anecdotally, it would appear as though the number of deaths has risen since the medical doctor was elected to office.

We know that there are some obvious contributing factors to some of the health challenges that we have in Anguilla, and most notably among them is the issue of stress. One could argue that we had the issue of the global economic challenges which led to the failure of our two indigenous banks, followed by the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma, and before we could fully recover from Hurricane Irma, we had the issues of COVID.
Most recently, we had the onset of inflation, some of which was brought on by the war between Russia and Ukraine. Persons in Anguilla have been under an enormous amount of physical, emotional and financial stress where many of them have exhausted their reserved savings just trying to survive during this period of uncertainty. This is something that clearly needs looking into.

One of the things that is also worth noting is that when people are challenged financially, they tend to engage in food substitution where they buy cheaper foods that are often of low quality and of little nutritional value.
Our current Premier is well-positioned to have this looked into, so that the data can be closely analysed and a primary care system can be implemented to better understand how to engage in early detection, diagnosis and treatment. If it is that our people need to improve their nutrition, then let’s address it. But clearly there is a lot of sickness, disease, death, and sudden death, among relatively young people, due to stress and nutrition factors.
There is a need for the issue of mortality to be given some urgent attention. Everybody in Anguilla is talking about it but nothing appears to be done about it. Meanwhile, many of these health issues are leading to a steady rise in mortality among relatively healthy-looking young people.

There is an appeal for the health system to do some investigating and see what can be done to help to save the lives of our people – our younger folks in particular. With all the stressful issues that constantly bombard us here in Anguilla – cost of living, social decline, conflict, etc – Government of Anguilla please, let’s focus on the health and well-being of our citizens as a matter of urgency.

– Contributed



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