Charmed in Anguilla


Over coffee with a bit of milk, Charm, 67, whose real name is Stedman, told how Anguilla became home ruled after breaking away from the British head island of St. Kitts peacefully, though not without drama. When he was a young man, reading by kerosene lamps, every once in a while St. Kitts would get a few new cars from England.

Eventually one or two of their old cars would make it over here, to Anguilla. There were no paved roads in his childhood. Anguilla was second class and saw it and stood up to revolt, and because he was a young man of around twenty he was a prime revolutionary.

They would demonstrate and they would strike and one tense morning England sailed in a ship full of armed men. This was in 1967, now, far removed from Britain’s muscular colonial days, but still in short order the Brits assumed positions all over the island.

Charm’s soft voice grew a little louder and he rubbed his forehead and twisted his spoon as he told the tale of the fateful day. Young men of Charm’s age put down their tools (he worked in construction) all across the island and rallied to demonstrate, and he declared that once the Brits heard Anguilla’s demands, which were non-violent, just for dignity and home rule under England and not under St. Kitts, they worked things out and not a shot was fired in anger. The day the agreement was signed, December 19th, later became his wedding day. He’s been married for 27 years now to a girl from St. Kitts.

Now that Anguilla is ruled locally it must maintain separate relations with its neighbors, both the French and Dutch sides of St. Martin, which you can see from here. Each time anyone from there or here takes the twenty minute ride across the water they have to do full immigration, passport stamps and all.

Charm has been in this job for three years, working for a resort. His day off is Monday and of course he goes to church first before work on Sundays.