Govt. Ministers hold Town Hall meeting in East End

Cora Richardson-Hodge, Evans McNiel Rogers, Victor Banks, Curtis Richardson, Evalie Bradley and Cardigan Connor.

ANGUILLA–A relaxed Sunday afternoon Town Hall meeting was held in East End for residents of District one and two with all Ministers of Government present. It provided the Ministers the opportunity to dialogue directly with constituents from Districts one and two, providing up-to-date status of the initiatives and projects within their respective departments, as well as to address the wide-ranging concerns and questions directed to them by the audience.

  Chief Minister Victor Banks led the presentations. He stated that 2018 will be a challenging year, following the emotional year of 2017. He praised the resilience of the Anguillian population, both on-island and abroad, who came together to clean up the island, to provide assistance to those in need, and aid in its recovery. He commended all the assistance from the United Kingdom (UK), Caribbean countries and others, noting that grant money awarded by Britain to Anguilla will be used to rebuild and repair educational facilities, the hospital and the ports of entry. He said that with hotels beginning to reopen, and the construction field flourishing, employment is beginning to pick up. Although 2018 will be a challenging year, he is hopeful that the island’s economy will meet the challenges facing it.

  Minister of Health and Social Development Evans McNiel Rogers recapped the damage caused by Irma to the Princess Alexandra Hospital, which strained its capabilities and highlighted the need to improve and strengthen its current structure and infrastructure. He pledged to continue to explore funding opportunities for constructing a new medical facility. He is also leading an initiative to incorporate updated technology into the Lands and Survey Department.

  Parliamentary Secretary of Tourism and Sports Cardigan Connor stated that in 2017 Anguilla was voted the number one island in the Caribbean, and what sets Anguilla apart from other islands is the Anguillian people. He said that although the hotels may be foreign-owned, it is the professional Anguillian staff at all levels of the tourist trade that resulted in Anguilla being chosen as the best.

  Ministerial Assistant to the Minister of Home Affairs Evalie Bradley stressed the need for positive, and truthful communication amongst the Anguillian public. She also mentioned that the work on the new labour code is complete, and should be presented at the next House of Assembly meeting for its first reading. This modernised labour code, which is on the Government website, will improve the partnership and relationship between employees and employers.

  Representative for District two and Minister of Home Affairs, Immigration and Labour Cora Richardson Hodge commended all Anguillans for their outpouring of assistance to clean up Anguilla after the storm saying that it was a manifestation of the public’s pride and civic responsibility for their island. She went on to discuss the technicalities and intricacies of the new labour code as well as the temporary unemployment benefits put into place for workers losing their jobs after the hurricane.

  Minister of Infrastructure Curtis Richardson provided updates on the projects within his portfolio to include replacement of Government vehicles damaged by Irma, the building of a new jetty at Sandy Ground, monetary relief for fishermen affected by Irma, and the rebuilding of the Blowing Port ferry terminal as well as new road construction.

A lively question and answer period followed these presentations, with discussion going on well into the evening.

Source: The Daily Herald