ANGUILLA–In an address to the nation, Chief Minister Victor Banks notes that the island has been saddened by the untimely death of Kenny Mitchell due to the unfortunate incident at a hotel in Anguilla last week. He offers his condolences to the entire family, friends and associates of the deceased. He says a US citizen Gavon Scott Hapgood was charged with manslaughter and was released on bail.
Banks stressed that the incident is a Police matter and it must be left to the Royal Anguilla Police Force to investigate and for the Court to decide the outcome. “These two agencies, namely, the Police and the Courts are at the core of our justice system and no other arm or department of government should intervene in that process,” he said.
“In my position as chief minister, as well as in the case of all my ministerial colleagues (irrespective of our personal views on the matter), we cannot properly intervene or intercede in any matter before any of these agencies and can in fact be charged or held in contempt, were we to attempt to do so. It is precisely to ensure the independence of these agencies that the concept of separation of powers between the executive, legislative and the judicial arms of government is enshrined in our Constitution. In every truly democratic society, adherence to these principles assists in ensuring that social justice is maintained and that the rights of all citizens are upheld.”
Banks said he is aware of the need for calm being critical to the effective exercise of justice and that many of the comments on social media and broadcast media can give the impression that anger goes beyond the accused to a wider group. “Anguilla has been known for its welcoming and friendly people – let us not come across as if we are spreading hate to visitors and friends of Anguilla,” he stressed.
He said he understands the anger and frustrations resulting from the fatal incident, but he remains confident that the matter will be concluded in our Courts and that justice will prevail. “I am therefore making this call to all our citizens to maintain an atmosphere of calm even as we struggle to find answers to the many questions that continue to plague our thoughts and minds during this period of mixed emotions. May God bless you all and may God bless Anguilla!”