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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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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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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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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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