Anguilla in battle with UK’s Bellingham

| 13/01/2011

(CNS): The Cayman Islands is not the only overseas territory having trouble with its budget and the UK. The Chief Minister of Anguilla, Hubert Hughes, following the refusal by the UK governor there to sign the 2011 Budget has called on the people to consider independence. In a rally held in the wake of the governor’s decision Hughes said over the years, Britain had been allowed to eat away at the country’s constitution. In an interesting parallel to Cayman the chief minister in Anguilla has said his government was trying use capital projects such as the construction of a Sea Port to attract foreign investment to stimulate economic activity after the previous government had over spent and over borrowed. Now however Hughes claims the UK is trying to destroy his plans for recovery.

He said the UK had no difficulty in allowing his predecessor to pass a budget but they refused three attempts byhis administration. In what appears to be a problem with the number of civil servants and the cost of the public sector, Hughes said the policies which the UK was trying to impose would spiral Anguilla into an irrecoverable situation.

“We have to determine whether we are going to start seriously to move towards independence or allow the British to continually increase their powers,” Hughes told the people

“This economic crisis tells us that we cannot be afraid any longer to talk about independence. I pledge to you that we will not let this matter rest anymore. …The immediate issue is that you have to raise your voices with your Government and make sure that Anguilla is the winner in this crisis,” he added.

The UK has reportedly asked the Anguillan government to step aside from the budgetary process and have two independent experts draw-up and implement a revised budget, a three year fiscal forecasts; and a three year cash-flow management.

The OT Minister Henry Bellingham has rejected the Anguillan government’s ability to balance the budget pointing to the "failure to act to reduce expenditure."

Hughes’s budget had focused on new taxes and revenue generation to limit the exposure of the public service layoffs but the UK has rejected his proposals they, Bellingham said, did not meet his conditions, and that the budget had projected an overall increase rather than a decrease in expenditure.

 

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