September 27, 2005 During the past three weeks the government scheduled a series of Town-Hall Meetings to ascertain the views, opinions and concerns of the general public relative to the Physical Planning Bill and the Labour Bill. These meetings in no way reflected governmentís desire to pass these bills. Previously, when the bills were drafted in 2001 the technicians held similar meetings. It was governmentís genuine desire once again to ensure at this final stage that participatory democracy lived out its true meaning. That is why I recommended to the Members of the House of Assembly to allow the bills to go back for a second time to the public for further discussions in public fora.
To date we have had three planned meetings and based upon the consistency of concerns, opinions and views expressed these meetings have served their purpose which was to provide you the general public the opportunity to highlight your various concerns over the provisions of the bills. Consequently, the fourth meeting scheduled for West End has been cancelled and the government is arranging to have members of the Bar Association, and the wider community to participate with government to have input in the redrafting of the bills so as to reflect the concerns of the people. Government is therefore asking the public to document their concerns and submit them to the Chief Ministerís Office by the 31st of October, 2005.
I wish to express gratitude on behalf of the government for the great interest you the public have displayed in the bills and for attending the meetings in large numbers. We view these meetings as been indicative of the interests and love we all hold for Anguilla and in this regard we are definitely on the road to developing a nation of which we all can be proud. I encourage all of you to remain vigilant and to always let your voices be heard. At the same time we should never forget to do everything in an orderly and dignified manner that is conducive to harmonious and peaceful development.
Our overwhelming election victory in February has conferred a definitive mandate upon us. It is a mandate to take the lead and to put Anguilla first. We must maintain the fortitude to stay the course. We have already embarked on a course that will carry us forward and upward as a nation. It is essential that the government and people share a common understanding of the programmes and strategies that will best foster national development. As the minister responsible for Lands and Physical Planning I am committed to doing everything possible towards ensuring that the legitimate voice of you the people is heard and that your valid expectations are met. This government remains committed to openness, transparency, accountability and good governance. I thank you for listening and I pray Godís continued blessings on us as a nation.