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PRINCIPALS EXCITED ABOUT NEW SCHOOL YEAR – The Anguillian Newspaper – The Weekly Independent Paper of Anguilla

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The Department of Education held a befitting ceremony to welcome back its teachers to school, last Friday. With that, schools on the island reopened of Monday, 5th September. The Anguillian paid a visit to all public schools to get the views of the Principals in terms of their hopes and aspirations for the new school year.

Mrs. Mavis Fleming-Webster

Vivien Vanterpool Primary
The first school we visited was the Vivien Vanterpool Primary in Island Harbour. This school is dubbed the Home of the Green Gathers, and the students in their green uniforms appeared to be as fresh and new as the school year itself.
In speaking to Principal, Mrs. Mavis Fleming-Webster, she said: “I am happy to be alive and proud to be an educator and the Principal of this school. The Vivien Vanterpool Primary School has come a long way. We are a small school that endeavours to provide the best educational service to our community.

“This year we really want to enhance the quality of our academics. We are focusing on English and Mathematics. We have specialist coaching teachers in both areas who run special workshops for the students. They will meet the students at the point of their needs and develop them to be proficient particularly in Mathematics and English.”

“Here at Vivien Vanterpool Primary,” she said, “my teachers work hard and we are like a family. There is a real bond between us, and we endeavour to maintain this bond with the aim of serving our students with the best educational experience possible.”

Teachers and Students of the Morris Vanterpool Primary School in their new uniform

Morris Vanterpool Primary
We then moved over to East End at the Morris Vanterpool Primary School, the Home of the Red Dragons. There we greeted the Principal, Ms. Shauna Connor, and her Deputy, Ms. Ayisha Bellot. The students had just changed into a new style of uniform for the new school year. Ms. Connor expressed her pride over the new attire saying: “Our new uniform was realised as a result of a dedicated community effort. I wish to express my gratitude to the parents and members of the East End community for their zeal in raising funds to purchase the students’ new uniform.”

MVPS Principal Shauna Connor

Then, in describing her goals for the current school year, she said: “This year I am looking forward to hard work. Our focus will be on the area of Reading. We have what we call a ‘Reading Buddies’ programme where each child will take home a book to read each day and report on their reading experience the following day. It is our goal to have every child reading proficiently at his or her level.”

“We will be focusing on Mathematics as well,” she said, “and we are hoping to get the parents involved so that they can help to guide their children in their Math projects. We really want the parents to partner with us more meaningfully for the development of their children this year.”

Orealia Kelly Primary
At the Orealia Kelly Primary School, the Home of the Pink Panthers in Stoney Ground, we met with Principal Marcia Brooks. She said: “We are indeed happy to be back to school again, under almost normal conditions. Technology has afforded us a new tool which is used by our teachers in each of our classes. This is the new promethean board which has replaced the old white board or blackboard.

OKPS Principal Marcia Brooks

“Quite a lot has been invested in this new venture of learning through the use of this board. It is well in line with 21st century innovations for teaching and learning, and it is our goal to have all our teachers and students embrace it for the improvement of their educational experiences.

Additionally, we look forward to maintaining a good interpersonal working relationship with our teachers, students, parents and the community at large.”

The Valley Primary
Next, we visited The Valley Primary School, the Home of the Golden Horses. The Principal there is Ms. Trisha Richardson. She said: “It is with great joy that we welcome back our Golden Horses for the new school year, 2022 – 2023. The staff and I are filled with much enthusiasm to begin what we foresee as another successful year. Over the previous school year, we have seen the goodness of God.

VPS Principal
Trisha Richardson

“Our goals are to continue to improve collaboration within the school, complete our School Evaluation programme conducted by Anguilla Community College, strengthen our community relationship, and enhance academic performance.

“In addition, we want to humbly express our gratitude to The Valley Community for its invaluable support. Special thanks to Pastor David Christmas who faithfully visits the school to share the word of God, every Friday, with all students. We look forward to maximising our collaboration.”

 

Adrian T. Hazell Primary
At the Adrian T. Hazel Primary School, in South Hill, the Home of the Rams, we were greeted by the Principal, Ms. Tiffany Thomas. She too was happy that they could return to school under virtually normal conditions: “As we commence the new school year we are enthusiastic and hopeful that we would continue to have a normal year,” she said. “This is our prayer. We thank God for bringing us safely through the last two years of the Covid-19 pandemic.

ATHPS Principal Tiffany Thomas

“All of our teachers are excited to be here. They are prepared, and they are energetic to perform their teaching efforts at the best of their abilities. Our students have also returned with a renewed purpose and for that we are happy.

“Going forward, we will be focusing on bringing our students up to par with their academic standards. It has been a challenge for the students over the past two years, but our aim this year is to aggressively upgrade our students academically. We also want to engage them is sporting activities which they missed during the two years of the pandemic.”

 

Alwyn Allison-Richardson Primary
In West End, the Alwyn Allison-Richardson Primary School is dubbed the Home of the Grey Wolves. There we met with the Principal, Mrs. Electra Buddle. She said:
“During my first year as Principal here, I was faced with several challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic which placed a number of limitations on the interaction with the students, parents and the community.

AARP Principal,
Electra Buddle

“Thank God this year is different. My main objective this year is to implement simple but interesting and exciting projects that will help students to improve academically and socially. One of my goals is to see an improvement in our reading and Math scores. It is my goal that by the time every child reaches grade 6 they are reading at, or above, their age capacity before they enter the secondary school.”

“In order to achieve this,” she stressed, “a library will be established to create a sense of excitement, interest and self confidence in the students’ ability to sit and read aloud – and to be able to share with others stories that they have read and enjoyed.”

Mrs. Buddle added: “It is also my goal to reignite an active PTA – and encourage more community involvement in the life of the school.”

 

First Form Students at the Albena Lake-Hodge Comprehensive School

Albena Lake-Hodge Comprehensive
Finally, we visited with Mrs. Rita Celestin-Carty, Principal of the Albena Lake Hodge Comprehensive School. She was extremely excited about returning to school: “This is our sixth year post Hurricane Irma,” she said. “Yesterday, 6th September, was a memorable day of that storm’s anniversary. Since Hurricane Irma, we have been operating under our current circumstances with the shift system of classes.

ALHCS Principal
Rita Celestin-Carty

“We were happy to welcome back Forms 1 to 5 on the 5th of September. The second year students of Form 6 will be returning on Monday, 12th September, and new Form 6 students will initiate their first year by means of submitting a letter of application which we should receive no later than Friday, September 9th.

She continued: “Our first two days of school went very well. The various Heads of Year organised assemblies with various guest speakers, games and other motivational activities for the students. I am happy to say that all of the teachers worked hard to plan and execute their welcome back programmes for our students. The children participated well, and all of the students were very well behaved. We are hoping that that tone is set and will continue throughout the year.”

The Principal highlighted the importance of the schools VIBES programme for acceptable school behaviour. “These VIBES,” she said, “are the expectations of all members of the school community – students, teachers and parents. We would like all to ‘value learning’, to ‘be innovative’, to ‘be respectful’, to ‘be responsible’ and to ‘be resilient’. If everyone abides by these expectations, all would go well.”



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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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Anguilla

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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