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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

ARE WE WITNESSING THE EROSION OF OUR FRAGILE DEMOCRACY? – The Anguillian Newspaper – The Weekly Independent Paper of Anguilla

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Word has reached The Anguillian that many senior public officers are troubled by the level of micro-management they are currently experiencing. Reports suggest that Her Excellency the Governor is at the core of this heightened level of micro-management, and involvement in what would generally be regarded as minutiae now appears to be the norm. What appears to be even more alarming is the suggestion that this level of micro-management extends to matters that should normally command the attention of Executive Council. Whether a matter receives the collective attention of Executive Council appears to be determined by Her Excellency rather than by our elected ministers.

It appears that it is time to revisit the question raised in the Editorial published in The Anguillian of 13th December 2019 – Is Anguilla a true Democracy? It came shortly after the 2019 amendments to Anguilla’s constitution, and it appears the content might be even more significant today than it was in 2019. The editorial is reprinted in full below:

“Is Anguilla a True Democracy?

The recent Constitutional negotiations and the steady announcement of new candidates expected to vie for elected office in 2020 has brought into sharp focus, the need for a greater awareness of the Governance structure under which elected officials are required to operate. This has led me to wonder, how many of the persons seeking elected office have a real appreciation of the governance structure that will frame their decisions and actions, if elected.

A constitutional amendment now affords us the right to refer to our Leader of Government Business as Premier rather than Chief Minister. Sadly, no greater autonomy has been bestowed on our elected officials with that change in title. Significant authority continues to remain with the Governor, an appointed rather than an elected official. In such circumstances, can our governance structure be truly described as democratic? In many respects, our governance structure cannot be properly described as a ‘government of the people, by the people, for the people.’

This is glaring when we consider the two constitutional provisions set out below, which appear to accord veto power to the Governor, in respect of executive and legislative matters.

“Governor’s reserved executive power

29. (1) In any case where the Governor is required by the last foregoing section to consult with the Executive Council, he may act otherwise than in accordance with the advice given him by the Council if in his opinion it would be inexpedient in the interests of public order or public faith to act in accordance with that advice:

Provided that he shall not so act against the advice of the Council without first obtaining the approval of a Secretary of State.

(2) Whenever the Governor acts otherwise than in accordance with the advice given to him by the Executive Council, any member of the Council may require that there be recorded in the minutes the grounds of any advice or opinion which he may have given on the question, and the Governor shall as soon as is practicable forward a copy of the resulting entry in the minutes to a Secretary of State.

Governor’s legislative reserved power

56. (1) If the Governor considers that it is expedient in the interests of public order or public faith (which expressions shall, without prejudice to their generality, include the responsibility of Anguilla as a territory within the Commonwealth and all matters pertaining to the creation or abolition of any public office or to the salary or other conditions of service of any public officer) that any Bill introduced or motion proposed in the Assembly should have effect, then, if the Assembly fail to pass the Bill or to carry the motion within such time and in such form as the Governor thinks reasonable and expedient, the Governor, acting in his discretion, may, at any time that he thinks fit, and notwithstanding any provision of this Constitution or of any other law in force in Anguilla or of any rules of procedure of the Assembly declare that the Bill or motion shall have effect as if it had been passed or carried by the Assembly either in the form in which it was introduced or proposed or with such amendments as the Governor thinks fit which have been moved or proposed in the Assembly or any Committee thereof; and the Bill or the motion shall be deemed thereupon to have been so passed or carried, and the provisions of this Constitution, and in particular the provisions relating to assent to Bills and disallowance of laws, shall have effect accordingly:

Provided that the Governor shall not exercise his powers under this subsection without prior written instructions from a Secretary of State, unless in his judgment the matter is so urgent that it is necessary for him to do so before having consulted a Secretary of State.

(2) The Governor shall forthwith report to a Secretary of State every case in which he makes any such declaration and the reasons therefor.

(3) If any member of the Assembly objects to any declaration made under this section, he
may, within fourteen days of the making thereof, submit to the Governor a statement in writing of his reasons for so objecting, and a copy of the statement shall (if furnished by the member) be forwarded by the Governor as soon as is practicable to a Secretary of State.

(4) Any declaration made under this section other than a declaration relating to a Bill may be revoked by a Secretary of State and the Governor shall forthwith cause notice of the revocation to be published by notice in the Official Gazette; and from the date of such publication any motion that is deemed to have been carried by virtue of the declaration shall cease to have effect and the provisions of section 16(1) of the Interpretation Act 1978 shall apply to the revocation as they apply to the repeal of an Act of Parliament.”

Clearly, persons appointed to serve as Governor in Anguilla are clothed with significant discretion in relation to Executive and Legislative matters and possess the authority to overrule decisions of elected officials. Do our political aspirants have a clear understanding of the playing field they will be playing on? Do they have a game strategy that will allow them to engage, on that playing field, in a manner that will successfully deny the Governor the use of his reserved powers?

The statement ‘Knowledge is power’ should not be treated as trite. Our elected representatives must make every effort to use our flawed democratic system to serve the best interests of Anguilla’s populace. One can only hope that all political aspirants are actively garnering unto themselves, the knowledge necessary to successfully utilise the Constitution to deliver any mandate handed to them by the populace.”

Based on observations over the past two years, many persons question whether our elected ministers are in fact equipped to ensure that they are allowed to assume the authority the electorate anticipated it was bestowing on them when they elected them to office. Has Anguilla been subjected to greater oversight without such a declaration having been publicly made?



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Anguilla

HOUSEHOLDS DESPERATE FOR RUNNING WATER – The Anguillian Newspaper – The Weekly Independent Paper of Anguilla

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WCA’s Water Tanks at Crocus Hill

According to information from the Water Corporation of Anguilla (WCA), as much as 80% of the water that is locally produced by reverse osmosis leaks into the ground. That figure is astounding because it means that only as little as 20% of the water generated ever reaches consumers.

No wonder there are constant water shortages and outages that plague our people every week. Sharing 20% of the water produced among some five thousand households just can’t cut it – not to mention business places, offices, and some farmers that depend upon “government water”. In some cases, some households have not received running water from the WCA over a number of days on end, and they are, indeed, desperate and frustrated too.

It is clearly understood that the water distribution network in Anguilla is in a state of dire disrepair. The old metal pipes have rusted and grown thin. Leaks in deteriorating, rusty steel pipes are inevitable after being buried in moist soil for multiple years without due maintenance and attention. There is where the problem lies. Under those conditions, yes, eighty percent of water generated would most likely be wasted.

Whatever has been done by previous governments to alleviate the growing water crisis has not been enough. Now, with all this water going to loss, it means that in order for this mammoth problem to be solved, this current Government and, in particular, the Ministry of Infrastructure, will, in local colloquial terms, “have its hands full.”

During his 2023 budget address, the Honourable Premier Ellis L. Webster rightly said that food security and water security are intertwined. And during that budget address it was revealed that an amount of EC$5 million is earmarked for the island’s water distribution improvements. But the question is: Is that EC$5 million sufficient to take care of the island’s water woes? The WCA must know what its needs are to rectify this on-going, embarrassing situation.

Notwithstanding, the Premier did say that the EC$5 million investment will serve in a phased approach to solving Anguilla’s water crisis – a “phased approach”.

We do not expect this huge water problem to be rectified overnight, but The Anguillian reached out to the Honourable Minister of Infrastructure, Mr. Haydn Hughes, to get some clarity as to what this phased approach to solving the problem really means.

The Minister remarked: “The water distribution network has been in terrible and irreparable shape for many years. To that end, it was determined, based on professional analysis, that over 80% of the water is lost in leaks.

“The WCA has not been in a good financial position for well over five years. We are investing in the rehabilitation of the water distribution network as this administration seeks to remedy this untenable situation.

We are confident that water is a viable entity and it is an essential service and only significant investment can remedy the long standing issues.

We are moving ahead with the remedial action in a phased approach given government’s financial and budgetary constraints.”

Well, as the saying goes, “Half a loaf is better than no bread”. We appreciate the investment (though little it might be) that the Government has made in order to “assist” the cash-strapped Water Corporation of Anguilla and, by extension, assisting its people by making the effort to supply their water needs in a “phased” approach.

Perhaps, as Government coffers become more lucrative throughout the months ahead, by the time the 2024 Budget rolls around, Government should be in a better position, with a clearer vision, to be able to allocate at least EC$10,000,000 instead of EC$5,000,000 towards the 2024 Water Works for more speedy repairs of the water distribution network.



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Anguilla

WHO IS GUARDING ANGUILLA’S BAYS AND CAYS? – The Anguillian Newspaper – The Weekly Independent Paper of Anguilla

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As we in Anguilla continue to evolve our tourism product, it appears as though some opportunities are slipping through the cracks in our system as easily as the sand on our beaches slips through our fingers. These are opportunities that persons in the hospitality sector can otherwise capitalise on to enhance their own businesses.

Over the last several weeks, especially during the Christmas holidays and into this past weekend, a number of luxury yachts have been spotted anchored in the waters just off our shores. And while we welcome visitors to our island to enjoy its beauty, amenities and pleasures, we also expect them to contribute to the island’s economy by patronising our local businesses.

However, what has been observed is that many of these luxury yachts and power boats seem to operate in a manner that is self-contained, meaning that they offer their patrons all-inclusive packages which allow them to operate independently of anything that is happening on the island or where businesses on land can benefit from their presence. The vessels seem to be stocked with their own water sports equipment for their patrons to use – jet skis, snorkelling gear, water slides, shuttle boats, paddle boards, etc. They also provide meals, drinks and entertainment on board, not only while the passengers are out at sea, but even when the yachts drop anchor off our shores. So, other than Government getting some revenue from these vessels for cruising our waters, how do local Anguillians benefit from their presence in our bays?

Those of us who are familiar with how a cruise functions know that when a vessel goes into a cruise destination, oftentimes the operator is restricted from doing certain things when the ship is in port. For example, they have to close the shops on board the vessel and cannot sell items to their patrons, they cannot lower their own water sports equipment for their patrons’ use, but instead, everyone is expected to use the facilities that are available at the destination site.

But there is a more troubling phenomenon that has been going on for many years as well in Anguilla’s bays. Many persons are now speaking up about it and have brought it to the attention of The Anguillian newspaper. We see quite a number of catamarans and other power boats from neighbouring St Maarten cruising Anguilla’s waters and anchoring a few yards away from our beaches. They bring passengers into areas like Maundays Bay, Sandy Ground, Crocus Bay and Little Bay.

We know that there was a time when similar vessels had contracts with some of our hospitality service providers in Anguilla to bring patrons to their restaurants for lunch. This contributed some economic activity for businesses in Anguilla. But now, most of the vessels anchoring in our bays are operating as self-contained pleasure boats offering to their passengers an all-inclusive package with meals, drinks, entertainment and water sports included, all while they “find themselves and lose the crowd”. But this contributes nothing to Anguilla’s economy.

For those visitors, Anguilla as a destination is just that, a destination – a place to swim, snorkel, jet ski and take selfies. And for the boat operators, it affords the perfect background for producing real-time fun videos and photographs – perfect for advertising their own destination and sporting packages while marketing Anguilla and its cays as easily accessible “offshore cays where visitors can find themselves and lose the crowd”, then leave without ever contributing anything to the island’s economy.

It has been brought to our attention at The Anguillian that there are situations where some of these boats come from St Maarten, pick up guests from some of our hotels in Anguilla and take them on a tour of some of our offshore cays, take them sightseeing around the coast of Anguilla, and sometimes take them to St Barths and St Maarten. This activity has left some Anguillians with troubling questions.

Persons want to know if boat operators in Anguilla have similar access to guests in St Maarten? Can an Anguillian charter boat go to St Maarten, bypass customs and immigration, anchor in the harbour close to a hotel there, pick up guests, take them to St Barths or around St Maarten or, take them to Anguilla and its off shore cays, then back to St Maarten? Do all the boats coming in to Anguilla’s bays – Maundays Bay, Little Bay, Sandy Ground, etc., or to Anguilla’s offshore cays – Sandy Island, Prickley Pear, Dog Island, Silly Cay, etc., clear Immigration and Customs in Anguilla?

By the looks of what was observed by The Anguillian this past week end, these boats appeared to come from St Maarten directly into Maundays Bay without first stopping at the port at Blowing Point or Sandy Ground. How could that be? And if these boats are not first cleared through our sea ports, what prevents them from smuggling people, goods, drugs, weapons, and anything else into Anguilla? It seems as though our boarders are not only porous, but they appear to be wide open – especially to non-Anguillian boat operators. If Anguillians were deemed to be entering into Anguilla without first going through the customs and immigration process, they would be stopped and possibly arrested for illegal entry into the country.

So, is there a need for the Ministry with responsibility for Tourism, and the Ministry responsible for Immigration and Customs to look into this questionable matter – with some degree of urgency? Or, provide some explanation or feedback to the many Anguillians who are concerned about these developments?
Somehow it seems unfair for boat operators in St Maarten to just come into Anguilla, pick up passengers and transport them anywhere, and boat operators in Anguilla not have reciprocal privileges in St Maarten. And, it definitely is unfair if boats from our neighbouring island are in fact allowed to transport visitors to Anguilla, drop anchor in our waters, fully entertain the passengers on those boats and not contribute anything to Anguilla’s economic development.

On Sunday morning alone, The Anguillian witnessed at least six boats come into Maundays Bay, drop anchor directly in front of Belmond Cap Juluca, and remain anchored there for about four hours. Meanwhile, the passengers on board jumped into the water and enjoyed swimming and drinking. They engaged in pleasure activities using equipment that was thrown off the boats into the water – paddle boards, floating devices, snorkel gear, etc. After a few hours, the passengers then got back onto the boats and had food and drinks – none of which was purchased in Anguilla – as they cruised away from the bay. The boats continued to cruise around the coast, dropped anchor offshore again, this time at Little Bay, and the scenario was repeated.

While some persons might express joy and appreciation that the passengers enjoyed the pleasure of Anguilla’s natural resources – sun and sea – some persons question how does anyone in Anguilla benefit from this type of exploitation? This has been happening as far back as the 1990s, we are told, but it is now happening more frequently and in greater capacity. Many persons in Anguilla believe that these pleasure boat operators are treating Anguilla as an offshore cay of St Maarten – a place for their passengers to enjoy a daytrip or have an excursion.

Meanwhile, as the boat operators and their passengers continue to capitalise on the resources of Anguilla – at the expense of local boat operators and restaurateurs, who in Anguilla is minding our shores, bays and cays? Who is in charge and who has an explanation for what appears to be happening, really?

We, at The Anguillian, are highlighting this issue because it has been brought to our attention as an area of concern and vexation to many Anguillians. We feel it is an issue that needs to be investigated fully, discussed publicly and addressed officially.



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