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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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Anguilla

History & culture of the eastern Caribbean islands

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The Eastern Caribbean is a region that includes a number of small island nations and territories in the Caribbean Sea. These islands have a rich history and culture that have been shaped by a variety of influences, including African, Caribbean, European, and indigenous peoples.

The first inhabitants of the Eastern Caribbean were indigenous peoples who migrated to the region thousands of years ago. These people included the Arawaks, Caribs, and Tainos, who were skilled farmers, fishermen, and craftsmen.

The first European explorers to reach the Eastern Caribbean were the Spanish, who arrived in the region in the late 15th century. The Spanish claimed the islands for their own and began to establish settlements, plantations, and mines. However, they were soon challenged by the English, French, and Dutch, who also wanted to control the region.

The Eastern Caribbean became a battleground for these European powers, who fought over control of the islands for more than two centuries. The islands were eventually divided among the European powers, with the English, French, and Dutch each controlling a number of islands.

During this period, the islands became a melting pot of cultures, with African slaves brought to the region to work on the plantations, and Europeans, Africans, and indigenous peoples mixing and intermingling. This led to the development of a unique culture and identity for the Eastern Caribbean, which is still evident today.

Today, the Eastern Caribbean is a diverse and vibrant region with a rich history and culture. The islands are known for their beautiful beaches, stunning natural scenery, and vibrant music and dance traditions. The region also has a thriving tourism industry, with many visitors coming to the islands to experience the unique culture and beauty of the Eastern Caribbean.

In addition to its rich history and culture, the Eastern Caribbean is also known for its natural beauty. The islands are home to a variety of landscapes, including white sandy beaches, lush rainforests, and mountains. The region is also home to a number of protected areas and national parks, which are home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, including many species that are found nowhere else in the world.

The Eastern Caribbean is also an important economic region, with many of the islands relying on tourism as a major source of income. The region is also known for its production of spices, particularly nutmeg, which is one of the main exports of the region. In addition, the islands are home to a number of small-scale industries, including fishing, agriculture, and manufacturing.

The Eastern Caribbean is also a popular destination for sailors, with many of the islands offering excellent sailing conditions and a number of marinas and yacht clubs. The region is also home to a number of major sailing events, including the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers and the Caribbean 600 race.

Overall, the Eastern Caribbean is a fascinating and diverse region with a rich history, culture, and natural beauty. The islands offer a wide range of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy, from relaxing on beautiful beaches to exploring the region’s vibrant culture and history.

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Anguilla

SDA Church Hosts Sunday Evening Concert with US Gospel Music Professional – The Anguillian Newspaper – The Weekly Independent Paper of Anguilla

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Orlan Johnson, Zina Johnson and Edmond Charles greeted
by Dwayniqua Proctor on arrival
Mr. Marcus Smith
Mr. Vernon Rogers

A team of gospel musicians arrived on the island this week from Washington, DC, to conduct a special concert at the Mount Fortune Seventh-day Adventist Church on Sunday evening, 24th July. The concert, dubbed “The Return”, is organized by a committee led by SDA’s Choir Director, Marcia Hodge.
The visiting team of musicians includes: Zina Johnson, the Choir Director and Psalmist; Edmond Charles, the Organist; and Marcus Smith, the Pianist. All three gospel music enthusiasts were meticulously chosen for the occasion by an ardent music leader of the church, Vernon Elrado “Rado” Rogers, a well known Anguillian who resides in Baltimore, Maryland. Mr. Rogers commented on his selection of the visiting musicians and expectations for Sunday evening’s event:

“The local churches Director, Marcia Hodge approached me some time ago,” he said, “asking me to assist her in organising a special musical event for the church. She wanted this to be a concert with a higher level of performance created by gospel music professionals. I sing with the Baltimore Community Choir, and I am privileged to know skilful performers in the gospel music area. So I set about selecting the best individuals with whom I am familiar.

“I think these three individuals, Zina, Edmond and Marcus, are ideal performers/ministers for what we intend to present to the public on Sunday night,” Rado remarked. “People sometimes forget that gospel music is a sermon – it is not a show. We are going to prove that on Sunday evening.

“We expect a great turnout for “The Return”, when we will reveal that gospel music is a force to reckon with, as long as it is presented with the anointing of the Holy Spirit. We intend to impact the audience with a rich gospel-oriented musical experience.

The concert, “The Return”, will take place on Sunday evening at 5:00 at the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Mount Fortune. A love offering will be collected.



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Anguilla

REVENUE-GENERATION THROUGH TAXATION – The Anguillian Newspaper – The Weekly Independent Paper of Anguilla

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As the world contemplates the issue of a global recession that could have deep and lasting impacts on how we survive – even within the Caribbean region – it is imperative that we in Anguilla become very proactive. By that, we should be considering how we can take measures to cut the overall cost of running our country – Anguilla.
It seems as though government after government has ignored the need to engage in austerity measures to reduce public expenditure and creatively expand the economy. Instead, they take the easy way out and allow the ‘status quo’ to continue.

As each successive government finds it more and more challenging to manage the cost associated with running the country, the government of the day appears to seek comfort in the ‘status quo’ approach – generating new revenue through taxation.
Notably, there are significant problems that naturally lend themselves to this approach: it increases the cost of living for the people and residents of Anguilla; it makes Anguilla seem unattractive to visitors in terms of the cost to visit; and it discourages people from wanting to do business in Anguilla – all of which have a negative economic impact on the island.
In effect, the ‘status quo’ of revenue-generation primarily through taxation displaces some of our people, especially our young people who find it more and more unbearable to live in Anguilla. In order to survive or have a decent standard of living for themselves, their families and future families, they ‘throw their hands up in the air’ and migrate to the UK or to the US. When they migrate to other lands, we in Anguilla lose generations of working-class people who are not contributing to the social security scheme in Anguilla or to the economy and overall development of this country. When that happens, the country dies – its youth move away with no real prospects of ever returning home to live.
Looking at this problem wholistically, it is important that we create and actively seek out economic opportunities that attract our young people who have migrated out of Anguilla to return home, and that we retain our youth in this country within the workforce.
Whereas, the population in most of the region has grown substantially over the years, the population in Anguilla has grown very little. There was a time when Anguilla’s population outnumbered that of the BVI, of St Maarten, and of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Instead of growing, Anguilla today is experiencing an exodus of human capital, especially among our young people who are leaving Anguilla in search of better living opportunities elsewhere.

The ‘status quo’ of revenue-generation primarily through taxation makes Anguilla less attractive as a destination choice for visitors on limited budgets. Anguilla will probably always be a niche destination for high-end vacationers who tend to purchase all-inclusive vacation packages resulting in major spending profits going off island to the hotel property owners and investors.
The ‘status quo’ of revenue-generation primarily through taxation also forces would-be investors to not come to Anguilla to do business, but instead, to choose other jurisdictions that are just as appealing as Anguilla, but where the labour is cheaper, the water is cheaper and the electricity is cheaper. While Anguilla has ‘a very pretty expensive offering’ – sun, sea, and sand – it would still be ignored for other places with ‘many very pretty affordable offerings’ – sun, sea, sand, good-paying jobs, readily available goods, easy access to essential services, and affordable living, etc.
So, when we talk about austerity and finding creative ways of cutting cost in Anguilla, it is imperative that we act on it, because to not do so is having all kinds of negative impacts on our country – impacts on the population, on inward and foreign investment, on people’s quality of life and on the overall cost of living.
There have been so many missed opportunities for the governments of Anguilla to abandon the ‘status quo’ draconian mentality of entitlement, turn Anguilla around and steady her on an upward and forward trajectory.
There have been opportunities to move some of the public service workforce into the private sector workforce. There have been opportunities to address issues of redundancy, efficiency and productivity within the public service and government statutory bodies. There have been opportunities for government to reduce the size of its ground transportation fleets and cut back on its electricity and telephone usage – especially during off-peak hours.
Post Hurricane Irma Anguilla received large amounts of money from the UK Government in relief assistance and, with it, the government of the day moved with great haste to construct a number of needed buildings across the island. However, the extravagant size of those buildings comes with an increased consumption of everything needed to keep them operating. This too, adds to the cost of running the country putting more burden on a declining population.
Unless past governments, this government, and future governments, lose ‘the status quo’ and realise the need to streamline the cost of running Anguilla, it is unlikely that the cost of living in Anguilla will improve significantly. It is unlikely that the economy of Anguilla will realise much growth. It is unlikely that we will be able to attract many people to stay in Anguilla and keep its operations going year-round. It is unlikely that investors will consider Anguilla to be an appealing destination in which to invest.
The recent introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in addition to the Interim Stabilisation Tax, and all these knock-on effects, have also added to the cost of living and doing business in Anguilla. As a result, the residents, local businesses, local and foreign investors, as well as potential investors, are all suffering. The ‘status quo’ of entitlement and revenue-generation through taxation is taking Anguilla nowhere – quickly!



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