January 01, 2007
“In 2007 Human Development Must Be Our Priority”
I wish to extend a prosperous and happy new year to everyone living within as well as without the boundaries of Anguilla. I must express my gratitude to God Almighty for affording us the opportunity to see the dawning of a new day in a new year. We have not passed this way before. In my 2006 New Year’s Message entitled “Walk in the light” I implored us as a nation to ensure we do not forget the Lord our God who has brought us out of the land of bondage, through the wilderness, into a land of abundance. Anguilla’s progress and prosperity is the end result of sound and prudent management of the economy.
We as a Government pursued development not as an end in itself but a means towards ensuring that the real wealth within the nation- namely its people - can go from strength to strength. We create this development to enable an environment for you the people to enjoy healthier, more creative and productive lives. The challenge therefore for us in 2007 as a nation is not to stop the expansion of our markets and economy. The challenge is for us to find the rules and institutions for stronger governance in order to preserve the advantages and space that will ensure that all this development is working for our people and not just for profits.
2007 is the year in which we must make real the claims of a better life for all. I am committed towards ensuring that no one gets left behind in this era of unprecedented economic development. We as a Government will do all we can but I must admonish each of you to play your respective roles so that we are guaranteed maximum benefits. We have to clearly define victory for ourselves. Whilst we are grateful for the achievements of 2006, victory in 2007 is not about the economy any longer. What concerns me for 2007 is the manner of people we ought to be amidst all this success.
Firstly I want us to reflect on our collective strengths and creative potential. It is only through cohesiveness that an island becomes a nation. We must learn to support each other and intelligently pursue a better life regardless of who is in the lead. We cannot support any attempts to satisfy individualistic cravens over realistic national interests. The politicians, teachers, doctors, lawyers, contractors, other skilled persons and professionals in our midst must support Anguilla’s success. Our actions must reflect our commitment for “Building on our successes” as stressed in the Budget Speech.
Secondly, we must demonstrate in our daily living that we understand what good governance is. Good governance is not just a virtue to be attained by the leaders of Government. All of us must strive to adhere to the principles of good governance. We must be law-bidding citizens and avoid our own demise from within. Crime threatens all of us. What have taken 40 years to build can be destroyed in a single turn of events. Those among us with their sinister plans must not be allowed to succeed. Crime in 2007 has to be broadened to include any actions or plans to undermine Anguilla’s stability.
Thirdly, we must continually make preparation for leadership roles within the nation, within the region and the international community. As Anguilla attract many from without her borders we must remain vigilant and acquire the necessary skills and expertise to negotiate her way through the tough times ahead and avoid placing our nation in any precarious position. We cannot afford to mortgage the future of future generations nor infringe on their potential to develop themselves just for our immediate gratifications. We therefore have a solemn obligation to prepare our youths to be more advanced mentally, spiritually, socially, psychologically and emotionally than we are today.
Public health problems, immigrations issues, environmental degradation and broad social breakdowns are the new security challenges within the nation. Growth itself is not everything neither does it bring everything. We have a pivotal role to play in all this growth. We have a role to play in ensuring our children take their education seriously. We have a role to play in ensuring our streets are safe and free of violence. We have a role to play in ensuring that our environment is clean and we ourselves are not littering our streets. We have a role to play in ensuring that our human development far out paces our economic development. I am determined in 2007 to put people-their needs, their capabilities and aspirations at the centre of all our developmental efforts. In 2007 we have to offer our youths more than choices in televisions, cars and movies. We have to provide them with the five star opportunities and support that parallels the five star luxury accommodations being built. We must provide them with access to lead decent and more productive lives. Their developmental index must include self-respect, a sense of community and respect for life and property.
As I reflect on my own life it is evident that there are things we hold dear that economic development cannot replace nor fulfill. We all cherish freedom of speech, freedom from oppression, violence and exploitation, and a sense of belongership. As a Government we cannot guarantee the achievement of all things in 2007 but I will work hand in hand with my colleagues towards ensuring the creation of policies, initiatives and programmes like our National Health Scheme, increased financial assistance for students studying overseas, for the creation of opportunities for their fulfillment.
I thank you for listening and may God enable us to achieve a level of human development that exceeds our economic development as a priority.