Greetings to you.
As an Anguillian, Leader of the Opposition in the Anguilla House of Assembly, a political leader and a mother, I write to express my deep concern and embarrassment with respect to the incident which occurred at Tasty’s Restaurant on Tuesday, 23 rd May 2023 involving three (3) Ministers of Government: Hon. Mrs. Quincia Gumbs-Marie, Hon. Mr. Haydn Hughes, Hon. Ms. Dee-Ann Kentish-Rogers and the Parliamentary Secretary Hon. Mr. Merrick Richardson.
Your Press Release and that of the Honourable Premier of today advising the general public of your and his condemnation of any form of violence, threatening or intimidatory behaviour, as well as the current investigation by the Royal Anguilla Police Force, are duly noted and appreciated.
What is particularly troubling, however, is that the people of Anguilla are yet to hear from the Leader of Government Business and IIonourable Premier, Dr Ellis Lorenzo Webster, in relation to his position on the behaviour of the Minister of Sustainability, Innovation and Environment, Mrs Quincia Gumbs-Marie. The world has seen this Minister’s behaviour, and many persons in 230526- LOO Letter to Her Excellency The Governor, the diaspora and elsewhere expressed alarm at the fact that there has been no public condemnation from the Honourable Premier’s end.
It is well known that an investigation is an entirely separate issue from the behaviour of an elected member of government. It therefore begs the question as to why the Government is awaiting the outcome of the investigation to determine whether the Honourable Minister’s behaviour is acceptable? It appears that the investigation is now being used to justify being silent on the Honourable Minister Gumbs-Marie’s behavior, or to justify not taking any action. The average citizen sees through this.
In addition, a voice recording, seemingly of the Honourable Minister Mrs Dee-Ann KentishRogers, is today in circulation and, the question which arises is whether this recording represents an official statement as a Minister of Government, a statement from a witness and participant at the scene of the incident, or a personal political statement?
Irrespective as to the purpose of the said voice recording of Hon. Mrs Kentish-Rogers, it appears that the members of this Government do not and cannot appreciate the serious nature of the incident and continue to fail to understand the roles of Ministers of Government and Leaders in our country.
Irrespective of the sequence of events, the fact is that the behaviour of the Honourable Mrs. Quincia Gumbs-Marie was disdainful, shameful and entirely unbecoming of a Minister and a leader in this country. There is simply no justifiable or excusable explanation for her words and actions during the incident.
As you are no doubt aware, the Code of Ministerial Conduct and the Code of Conduct and
Register of Interests for Members of the House of Assembly collectively guide the actions of
Ministers of Government as well as other Elected Representatives in Anguilla (“the Codes”). The Codes refer to seven (7) principles of public life which applies to all elected representatives Selflessness, Integrity, Objectivity, Openness, Honesty, Accountability and Leadership.
While all of these are important, two of these principles are applicable to the issue at hand:
(i) Accountability which states that, “[H/olders of public office are accountable to the public for their decisions and actions and must submit themselves to the scrutiny necessary to ensure this.”, and (ii) Leadership which states that “[H/olders of public office should exhibit these principles in their own behavior. They should actively promote and robustly support the principles and be willing to challenge poor behavior wherever and whenever it occurs.”
Your Excellency, the video recording showcasing Honourable Minister Quincia Gumbs-Marie has now, unfortunately, received not only national and regional, but also international attention, to the detriment of our country and the people of Anguilla. The Minister’s behaviour not only:
(i) affects the appearance of stability and good governance in our island;
(ii) creates the view that violence and the threat of violence is acceptable; and
(iii) has the potential to negatively impact potential investment, but, more importantly, it sends a negative message to our children (our future generations). Our children can easily walk away believing that such behaviour is acceptable.
The silence from the Honourable Premier on the issue of the Minister’s behaviour is
deafening. The country and indeed the world is looking on to see whether any action is taken to, disciplining this Minister, as the public sentiment is that she does not have the temperament to hold the high office of Minister of Government.
In your role as Governor with responsibility for good governance, it is expected that such negative and violent behaviour of a Minister will not go unnoticed and unattended. The people of Anguilla eagerly await the outcome of this unfortunate and embarrassing saga.
Cora Richardson Hodge – Leader of the Opposition in the Anguilla House of Assembly
cc: Hon. Premier, Dr Ellis L. Webster
Hon. Mr Kenneth M. Hodge
Hon. Ms Dee-Ann Kentish-Rogers
Hon. Mr Haydn Hughes
Hon. Mrs Quincia M. Gumbs-Marie
Hon. Mr Merrick T. Richardson
Hon. Mrs Shellya Rogers-Webster
Hon. Mr Cardigan Connor
Hon. Mr Jose Vanterpool
Hon. Mr Kyle 1. Hodge
Hon. Attorney General, Mr Dwight D. Horsford
Hon. Deputy Governor Mr Perin Bradley