Whaddyadoallday? Real Life on a Desert Island Rotating Header Image

June, 2014:

Taxation with Representation

My last post (No I’m not going to apologize for time passed. I’ve got to get over that.) was about the end of an era with the sale of our original Anguilla car. In the meantime another very noteworthy change has occurred.

 Anguilla Passports

Yup. Those are ours. (No I’m not going to show you the crappy pictures on the inside. You will just have to trust me.) We are naturalized British Overseas Territories Citizens of Anguilla at last! After 10 years and 3 applications we were finally approved.  After all that time, however, we couldn’t really remember what that meant, and quite honestly all we received in reply to that question was ‘you are now Anguillian’ which is interesting because that’s not actually what we expected. We still expected to be something just a bit less than that.

We knew that we wouldn’t have to continue to pay basically $1US per person per day for a permanent residency stamp in our U.S. passports every year in order to come and go at will on the island. (Though we did have to pay, coincidentally, exactly that same amount just one more time for the naturalization.)

We knew that we would be able to use our new passports to come and go to Saint Martin thus doing away with the constant stamping of our overly thick U.S. passports that have been packed full of extra pages for that very reason.

We knew that we would no longer require a government-approved work permit in order to be employed on the island which means that we could now, far more easily, reap the rewards of earning income in an income-tax free environment – should we so choose.

We hoped that we would no longer be at risk of discriminate taxation if the government passes proposed legislation that is designed, as one of its stated reasons for being, to allow for different property tax rates for citizens and non.

But we had always been led to believe that we would still not be able to vote in political elections.

Imagine our surprise when immediately after handing us our new passports the very helpful administrator at the passport office asked if we wanted to be added to the voter registration rolls. Hell, yes, we would. She even explained to us that the administrative quarter had just ended so that our names would not appear on the published list until the end of the next quarter so that the politicians in our district wouldn’t be calling on us until after that happened.

Calling on us? Indeed, potentially in person not in a robo-call kind of way like in the States. You see there are just seven electoral districts here in Anguilla. A breakdown from 2008 lists the largest district having 1708 registered voters and the smallest district having only 503. That gives real meaning to the adage that every vote counts!

We were pondering this at a dinner party where we got into a conversation on the topic with an Anguillian.  We had always heard that, back in the day, votes and political influence were garnered in very specific and somewhat intimate ways….a new refrigerator here, a fresh paint job there, maybe a paved road in just the right location. At first our local friend dismissed such talk as archaic. And yet later in the conversation he jokingly asked if we understood why the roads in the commercial center of the island, The Valley, always remained in such poor repair. His explanation: no residents, no voters, no reason to pave. *

With elections due to be called in Anguilla in just a matter of months, this could be interesting. After all, my fridge has been acting up a bit and my road could use re-grading.

*Some views listed in this blog are not necessarily those of management