February 26, 2020

The Editor Speaks: Ashamed

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I am ashamed to say that I agree with the condemnation of the British press to the United Kingdom’s handling of the crises in the Caribbean hitting their own territories.

It is not as if they didn’t have fair warning of Hurricane Irma bearing down on their protectorates.

We have two stories in today’s iNews with headlines:

government accused of ‘pathetic’ lack of help for Anguillans hit by Irma” – – The Guardian

“Irma: Caribbean overseas territories condemn UK Government’s ‘disgraceful’ lack of help as Hurricane wreaks devastation” – – The Independent

Dorothea Hodge, a former UK EU representative for the government of is reported as saying:

“It’s absolutely disgraceful that it has taken the whole day for Priti Patel [international development secretary] to respond to the worst hurricane we have seen in a British territory since the 1920s.

“Homes have been destroyed, schools and the only hospital badly damaged, and already one death is being reported, and more is to come as there are two more hurricanes scheduled to hit Anguilla in the next few days. Anguillans are all British nationals, as British as the Falklands or Gibraltar.

“In comparison to the French president who has set up an emergency fund, an emergency hotline and a reconstruction fund her response after the storm has passed is absolutely pathetic.”

“What is needed now is a commitment to an immediate effective humanitarian, response, food, water, shelter, emergency health care, and a long-term reconstruction fund to get the island back on its feet after this battering.”

British foreign secretary Boris Johnson said the Foreign Office was in constant contact with British overseas territories.

“There are tens of thousands of British people there and clearly we are updating our travel advice the whole time for people who are going there,” Johnson said.

“This is going to be a very big storm and we have [the landing ship] RFA Mounts Bay full of humanitarian relief supplies on standby and we will be doing everything we can to help those afflicted.”

I’m not sure that is much comfort to all the people on these devastated islands that belong to Britain, Boris.

To show the shocking public relations The British Government and its departments have with this media house compared to the US is shown by the the stories sent to us.

Three US government releases against ZERO from the UK.

Thank goodness our own government here have responded with a co-ordinated effort involving the RCIPS who have sent a contingent of sixteen police officers for deployment to the British Virgin Islands to provide law enforcement and humanitarian support.

The deployment was coordinated by the Governor’s Office, the RCIPS Senior Command Team and the crisis team in London following an urgent request from the Governor of the B.V.I. yesterday for policing support.

This was, therefore, not an initiative from the British Government.

Local lawyer/advocate Peter Polack told me, “……the fundamental basis of being a colonial anachronism is that the doting mother country should provide relief in a timely fashion when disaster is wreaked upon her children.

“This has not happened and recent displays of UK naval power on Seven Mile Beach are naught without effective implementation.

“The main foundation for remaining a colony has disappeared with the storm surges of Irma and Jose next.”

I am ashamed to say I agree with him.

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