The Unfinished Anguilla Revolution 2017back to stories
Standing: L-R: Dr. Wycliffe Fahie, Ms. Jansie Webster, Dr. Delroy Louden, Dr. Leroy Hill, Mr. Stanley Reid OBE and Ms. Avon Carty. Sitting: L-R: Dr. Ronya Foy-Connor, Mr. Evans McNiel Rogers, Dr. Phyllis Fleming-Banks and Mrs. Cora Richardson-Hodge
As plans continue for a special celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Anguilla Revolution in May 2017, it has been announced that this grand, national, occasion will be heralded in by a major event called the "Anguilla Country Conference" to be held from Wednesday 19 to Friday April 21. It will have as its theme: Anguilla: The Unfinished Revolution? Considering Nation-Building and Self-Determination.
It will be a collaborative undertaking by the University of the West Indies Open Campus in Anguilla and the Anguilla Community College. An interesting side line is that just after the 1967 Revolution, the university conducted what was referred to as "teach-in" sessions about the Revolution. The question is whether there is now a repeat of history?
The Anguilla Country Conference was announced on Tuesday this week, October 4, by Dr. Phyllis Fleming-Banks, Manager of the UWI Open Campus in the British Overseas Territories. Speaking at a press conference to launch the event at the Teachers' Resource Centre, she said:
"The Country Conference is significant because it marks the re-launch of the Country Conferences in Anguilla at a time when we will be celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Anguilla Revolution. The University of the West Indies has a mandate to educate and share information with the public to promote research as part of its mission and to develop and maintain the sustainability of its contributing territories. Country Conferences were established as one means of carrying out this mandate in non-campus territories like Anguilla. The conference series and subsequent publications are designed to stimulate and highlight research on each country. Each conference therefore provides an opportunity to share existing research and create new research and disseminate information about the hosting country."
She continued: "Anguilla, as some of us would recall, last hosted a Country Conference in 2011 and with the 50th Anniversary of the Anguilla Revolution, slated for 2017, the UWI Open Campus, Anguilla, felt that it was a most fitting time for us to re-convene a second Country Conference to mark this occasion. The National Organising Committee for the 50th Anniversary Celebrations in the Ministry of Home Affairs has accepted our proposal and has included it in the national activities marking the 50th Anniversary of the Anguilla Revolution. Bearing in mind the similarity of our mandates, the UWI Open Campus, Anguilla, has partnered with the Anguilla Community College and a cross-section of public and private sector committee members to host this important national event."
Minister of Home Affairs, Mrs. Cora Richardson-Hodge, said that the theme of the coming conference was quite timely. "It comes on the eve of the 50th Anniversary of our Revolution. It is not only about recognising the past, but it is also about building our future. In addition to building our roads, renovating our hospital, the ports and other infrastructural projects, it is critical that we also should invest in our human capital from an educational, social and indeed a spiritual perspective. That is one of the reasons that the Country Conference has been included as part our national activities marking the 50th Anniversary of the Anguilla Revolution.
"There is also the Constitutional Reform which is also timely, coming on the eve of our celebrations of our 50th Anniversary. The draft constitution has been in circulation on the Government's website, the Library and in different areas and the Constitutional Committee has also been having public consultations on a continuous basis. Those public consultations are due to come to an end by the end of this October month. The next step will be to take the draft constitution to the Executive Council and then to the House of Assembly. The Constitutional Committee has done quite a good job and the draft constitution puts us on the right path towards nation-building and self-determination."
Minister of Education, Mr. Evans McNiel Rogers, was pleased with the collaborative relationship and partnership between the UWI Open Campus and the Anguilla Community College. He disclosed that a letter to that effect had been sent to the UWI Vice Chancellor by the Ministry of Education indicating an interest for the two institutions to work collaboratively towards nation-building and tertiary education rather than competing against each other.
Mr. Rogers continued: "With respect to the theme of the Anguilla Country Conference, The Unfinished Revolution, I believe education is pivotal to that unfinished revolution. We have to put things in place to make sure that we are up to date with what is happening. Of course there are some issues that we have to address in our education system, but I am proud that we have produced some of the top students not only in the UK, Europe but throughout the United States and the Caribbean. Our focus and aim should be to improve the quantum of the quality of those students moving forward. This conference gives us an opportunity to reflect on certain decisions for the future."
Some of the main details about the conference were presented by Mr. Stanley Reid, OBE, who is the Principal of SEDR Legal & Consultancy Services. He is also a Member of the UWI Open Campus Council and Interim Chairman of the Anguilla Chapter of the UWI Alumni Association.
He said the Country Conference would commence on Wednesday evening, April 19, 2017 and the theme was sufficiently broad to engender a lot of discussion. He went on: "The conference will span three days, starting on Wednesday evening and going into Thursday and Friday. On Wednesday evening, April 20, we will have the full event for the opening ceremony. There will be a feature lecturer and an invited audience who will have a full opportunity to participate and engage in questions, answers and comments. On 20 and 21 April, we hope to have 6-7 panel discussions. We want to ensure that there is sufficient youth participation in the conference so we are thinking of two things: that there should be a youth session where youth actually can present papers for discussion among their colleagues, and also that there will be an opportunity for the youth to be engaged with other persons coming in to present papers at the conference."
Mr. Reid, Anguilla's former Deputy Governor, said rather than dwelling on past events, the aim of the conference would be to discuss issues that would be progressive to the island. He noted, however, that there would be persons who might wish to reflect on past events and to speak about those events. Therefore a lunchtime session would be devoted to that. There will also be an exhibition of artefacts of the Revolution as part of the conference. Plans also include broadcasting the conference for the benefit of those persons unable to attend.
Professor Delroy Louden, President of the Anguilla Community College, who is also a Member of the Planning Committee for the Country Conference, was another speaker. He said it was the second opportunity of the college to participate in such a conference along with Mr. Reid. In speaking about the focus of the conference, he stated: "We want to look retrospectively, and we also want to look prospectively where we are going and to ask ourselves some additional questions such as: Is there something we can learn? We will need to look at some hard data to see whether we have made progress, for example: in the last fifty years have we improved the conditions for children born in Anguilla? To what extent have our health services improved? Certainly, our people are living longer, but are they having a quality of life? And to what extent are communicable diseases being addressed? I think the conference is going to be a very exciting time for the island."
In addition to Dr. Phyllis Fleming-Banks, Mr. Reid and Professor Louden, the other members of the Planning Committee are: Miss Tesia Harrigan, Administrative Assistant at the UWI Open Campus in Anguilla; Dr. Leroy Hill and Ms. Carla Harris, Dean and Registrar respectively at the Anguilla Community College; Dr. Wycliffe Fahie and Ms. Jamila Gumbs, Principal Assistant Secretary and Budget Officer respectively at the Ministry of Finance; Mr. Bren Romney and Ms. Avon Carty of the Department of Youth and Culture; a representative of the Anguilla National Youth Council; Dr. Ronya-Foy-Connor, Gender Affairs Coordinator, Ministry of Home Affairs; and Ms. Jansie Webster, Anguilla Library Services, Ministry of Social Development.
Written By: ALS