“The people of Anguilla have responded, as I knew they would. Communities have pulled closer together; neighbours are helping neighbors to overcome the challenges, and supporting each other. Most importantly, unlike what we may have heard from other places in the region, Anguilla remains calm and Anguillians as ever, remain respectful of the rule of law.”
Full Statement from the Governor of Anguilla on the passage of Hurricane Irma
On September 5th, Anguilla has sustained very significant damage and, regrettably, loss of life. This is the worst hurricane to have hit this island in living memory and we are now bracing ourselves for Jose.
Since Tuesday morning, the Governor, Deputy Governor, Chief Minister and the other Ministers have been in constant communication, assessing the damage, identifying priorities, and coordinating the response through the National Emergency Operations Center.
The people of Anguilla have responded, as I knew they would. Communities have pulled closer together; neighbours are helping neighbors to overcome the challenges, and supporting each other. Most importantly, unlike what we may have heard from other places in the region, Anguilla remains calm and Anguillians as ever, remain respectful of the rule of law.
Throughout, I have been in close contact with the Commissioner of Police to ensure that there is a visible police presence and that any incidents of stealing or looting is dealt with swiftly, through the proper legal means. I have heard many unsubstantiated rumours, most of which have turned out to be mischievous fabrications, with no bearing in truth. That said, some unfortunate members of our community have shown the worst side of their character and they will be dealt with.
I have also heard chatter asking why I have not yet declared a state of emergency. Let me be clear: the Constitution and Emergency Powers legislation provides me with the authority to declare a state of emergency. But in Anguilla, this does not have the same legal meaning as people may draw from looking at the U.S. or even the U.K. This is not a means to secure additional financial assistance. Rather, such a declaration states that I had lost all confidence in the Chief Minister and his Government to manage this situation and would, in effect, mean the dissolution of the House of Assembly, and all administrative powers would be assumed by me, as Governor. This would be an unprecedented step, one that I firmly believe is unnecessary, at this point in time. I have full confidence in the Government and the Public Service in managing this situation.
The Chief Minister and I have spoken, on several occasions, to the Foreign Secretary and have received assurances that further significant U.K. assistance will be arriving very shortly. We have already received immediate assistance from a Royal Navy ship, and in the last two days, very significant resources have been dispatched from the U.K. to support Anguilla’s recovery. I hope to share more with you as the details become clearer.
In closing, I would like to thank the people of Anguilla for their fortitude, resilience, and calm during this most difficult time. I’d also like to thank the team at the Dept. of Disaster Management, the Police, the Fire Department, and all those persons who are working hard on the recovery programme.
May God bless Anguilla.