A Little About Little Anguilla

I have a family of six and for my husband and I, spending quality time with each almost seems impossible. We decided to go for a trip and with the many places available for visiting; we decided to go to Anguilla.

First, it is a British Overseas Territory, so we felt comfortable going there since its system would be based on Britain’s. Both my husband and I are from Wales and we were really excited about the idea of going to the Caribbean especially as we had only heard tales and read about the colonies and beautiful Caribbean islands. We had read that Anguilla was quiet, peaceful and filled with lots of extraordinarily lovely white sand beaches, resorts and a collection of cays; and that seemed ideal for us. We only needed to relax, be pampered and have some adventure.

On July 18, 2006, we landed at the Wallblake International Airport. We were taken aback by the number of airlines that served Anguilla, bustling tourists, tour operators and taxi drivers that were so eager to assist. That was indeed a promising sight and we were not the only tourists entering Anguilla on vacation.

There were so many villas, hotels, guest houses and inns to pick from. My husband, Tim, and I were surely overwhelmed. Upon arrival at our hotel, we were again astonished by the quality of service that we received. Anguillans welcomed us with warm, friendly smiles and professionalism. Who would have thought that these islanders had so much class and taste (☺).

Our hotel’s tour organizers informed us about the cays: Dog Island, Seal Island, Prickly Pears, Anguillita and Scilly Cay. These are really islets but are called cays, pronounced “keys”. They are all laden with white sand beaches, a few are privately owned and each Anguillan cay can be easily accessed by boat, kayaking, ferry and even small aircraft. Many tourists came in from St. Martin and St. Barts, which can be seen from Anguilla, just to spend a day of warm sunshine and sheer exotic bliss on these uninhabited islets. We visited Scilly Cay. We snorkeled, sun bathed and breathed in the fresh air. It was like being lost in paradise and Tim and I were really happy for the experience. To add to this, we were able to savour delicious lobster and Anguillan rum punch from the Scilly Cay restaurant, owned by an Anguillan married couple. Scilly Cay restaurant was destroyed a few years ago by one of the tropical storms, but now everything was back to normal, was bigger and even better. After all that swimming and eating, we danced to the Anguillan steel pan and calypso merry tunes played by the local musical group that gave daily entertainment to visitors.

The following day, we visited the Collection Heritage. This is a museum where many of the Amerindian artifacts and historical pieces such as guns, paintings and slave tools are on public display. Anguilla is small but big in history and beauty. The friendly historian lectured us on the history of Anguilla- it was first settled by the Saladoids who were an Amerindian tribe from the lower Orinoco River in Venezuela, it is also said that the Dutch had settled there for a couple of years, then the British came. There were constant battles with the French who too wanted a piece of the Caribbean pie but they were only successful in obtaining part of St. Martin and a few other islands, namely Guadeloupe, Martinique and French Guyana, which are further south of Anguilla.

Very interesting also, was finding out about how the island had always had a small population since it was constantly being abandoned because of its thin arid soil and lack of rainfall. Land owners either migrated back to England or went to the larger islands with more natural resources and booming sugar plantations. Because of this, the population was made up of African slaves and small land owners, who eventually gave up plantation production to manufacture salt that was extracted from Anguilla’s salt ponds, boat building, fishing and peasant farming.

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The Anguilla Revolution is one of the most important events in Anguilla’s history. The revolution took place when Britain put the country into a Federation with St. Kitts and Nevis against the will of the people. The House of Assembly for the tri state legislature was in St. Kitts and Anguilla was allowed only one representative. Anguillans were upset about this and believed that the union was not in Anguilla’s best interests. Tim and I were so pleased to learn about Anguilla’s rich historical background.

I work as a legal adviser and Tim is a computer technician. We’ve always thought of opening our own company but have been slow to do so. For all this time, our minds were limited to Britain, but coming here and getting a firsthand view and information of what tax havens are all about, we are thinking Anguilla, Britain and international. We decided to do an offshore company setup in Anguilla since the island has very developed and modernized communications facilities, economic stability and peaceful government. We think that this definitely gives Anguilla a competitive edge in developing its financial and offshore sectors; so we are going for it! During our visit, we also understood that Anguilla’s government was working very closely with Britain to develop a fully digital online company registration system. The programme is called Anguilla Commercial Online Registration Network or ACORN for short. Anguilla’s Financial Services Commission is also very much involved in regulating the offshore sector and establishing policies that would ensure that offshore laws are followed and business is done in the right manner. Furthermore, Anguilla is a true tax haven; both local (onshore) and offshore companies are free from tax! Indeed, Tim and I had gotten the vacation and rest that we had so long waited for, and Anguilla did give us a home away from home! We will be back soon and will be setting up our offshore too! Oh, and yeah, we left the kids at our parents’ home.