ANGUILLA—The country is in mourning following the death of the “Father of the Nation” Ronald Webster. On Friday December 9 flags were flown at half-mast following his death earlier in the day, and all Government officers were closed from 1.00 p. m.
Chief Minister Victor Banks spoke in an address on Radio Anguilla saying that the nation is in a state of sadness. He said that it is especially sad that Webster has died on the eve on the 50th Anniversary of the Anguilla Revolution and he is sorry he will not hear the many accolades that he will be given.
Banks said his thoughts are especially with Webster’s wife Cleopatra Webster and his prayers are with her and the entire family during this very difficult time. He said that Webster has affected all Anguillians through his service and generosity and thanked him for the humility of his leadership.
Governor Christina Scott said it was a privilege for her to meet Webster. She reported that he told her that countries do not develop people, but that people develop countries. She noted that even in recent years it was clear he had not lost his passion to see a better Anguilla. “Today everyone in Anguilla unites to remember the ‘Father of the Nation’, Mr James Ronald Webster, who has sadly passed away. Mr Webster, Anguilla’s first Chief Minister, played a pivotal role in the revolution, stepping up with courage to lead his people to a brighter, better future. He demonstrated how, through force of character, nations can be formed and grow through peaceful, purposeful actions. That by coming together, and looking to the future with common intent and for the good of all, fairness and opportunity can prevail .My thoughts and prayers are with Mrs Webster, his family and friends, and all those who mourn his passing today,” the Governor said.
Minister of Social Development Evans McNiel Rogers, who is currently Acting Chief Minister as Banks is overseas, spoke on behalf of the Government and people giving condolences to Webster’s wife and family. He noted that Webster was born on March 2 1926 under harsh conditions which led him to go to St Maarten at the young age of ten years. “Webster was firstly a good shepherd who was willing to give his life for his sheep. Secondly, he was a visionary, a man with a mission: a burning desire to see Anguilla go forward. Thirdly, he was a man of steel. All these qualities contributed significantly to his emergence as Leader of the Anguilla Revolution of 1967,” said Rogers.
Rogers said that this is the time to reflect on all that Webster has done for Anguilla. Webster will be given a state funeral at a date to be announced and that day will be a public holiday.