Around 4000 years ago, Anguilla was a lush island covered in dense rain forest. It was discovered by Amerindian peoples who came by dugout canoes and rafts from South America's mainland. They called Anguilla "Malliouhana" which meant arrow-shape sea serpent and they developed villages, farms and ceremonial sites to their gods.
Evidence of these Amerindians as old as 3300 years has been found at the eastern end of Anguilla. Shell axes, conch shell drinking vessels, flint blades and stone objects from the pre-ceramic era have all been uncovered on Anguilla. There is no record of how long this first group of Amerindians lived on the island. By the fourth century AD, Amerindians of the Saladoid culture settled in Anguilla. The Saladoids were adept farmers, pottery makers, weavers and basket makers. Many of their creations incorporated their religious beliefs.
The Arawak Indian belief was based on the sun and moon and two sacred caverns, where they believed all of mankind originated. There is much evidence of this belief system in Anguilla's two impressive cave sites located at the eastern end of the island, Big Springs at Island Harbour and The Fountain at Shoal Bay. The Fountain is the Eastern Caribbean's most intact ceremonial site from this period and features a stalagmite carved in the likeness of Jocahu, the Supreme Deity of the Arawak people, petroglyphs and offering bowls. Big Springs, a limestone sinkhole which provides an overhang to a fresh water source, contains a large petroglyph, a small carved stalagmite and other interesting artifacts.
The Fountain is currently closed to the public. The National Parks System, administered by the National Trust, is developing this site into a historic tourism attraction. Big Springs can be viewed through the Anguilla National Trust but has not been developed into a tourist attraction. The Trust is currently raising funds to establish this site as a tourist attraction.
Christopher Columbus sailed by Anguilla is 1493 but never landed. During this time the Europeans changed the island's name from Malliouhana to Anguilla, for its long eel shape.
It was in 1650 that Anguilla first became colonized. English settlers found that the soil in Anguilla was good for growing corn and tobacco, so plantations began. When they arrived on the island there were no Amerindians inhabiting Anguilla, but by 1656 Indians from a neighboring island destroyed their settlement. In 1666 Anguilla was captured by a French expedition and settlers fled to the forests. The following year the island was returned to Britain under the Treaty of Breda. In 1744 Anguilla, assisted by privateers from St. Kitts captured the French half of neighboring St. Martin. Retaliation came on May 21, 1745, when two French frigates and some small craft attacked at Crocus Bay. The Anguillians repulsed them in less than fifteen minutes. St. Martin was returned to the French in 1748 under the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle.
Heading into the 1800's Anguilla possessed a plantation economy like most of the Caribbean. Rum, sugar, cotton, indigo, fustic and mahogany were its chief exports. Unfortunately, the soil on Anguilla was thin and rainfall was unreliable making conditions for a plantation economy unfavorable. Estates were small and could not employ many slaves. Those who were employed spent most of their time tending their own food plots rather than the plantation. Eventually, slaves began to develop into individual peasant proprietors, fisherman or sailors, which increased their personal independence. By 1833 the British Parliament passed the Emancipation Act which came into force on August 1, 1834. By this time the population on Anguilla shrunk to a mere 1,956 persons due to the island's difficult natural conditions.
Meanwhile, the 1830's brought the union of St. Kitts -Nevis-Anguilla on Britain's recommendation -- a union protested by the majority of Anguilla's freeholders. Anguilla was allowed one freeholder representative to the House of Assembly on the Island of St. Kitts and was mostly neglected by the tri-island legislature.
In 1958, St. Kitts -Nevis-Anguilla became part of the Federation of the West Indies. The Federation collapsed in 1962, which resulted in individual constitutions for most islands St. Kitts -Nevis-Anguilla was made an associated statehood, a political decision that sparked the Anguilla Revolution. Anguilla wanted its independence from the state and the proposed union was not a viable option for the island.
May 30, 1967 is celebrated today as Anguilla Day. This day commemorates the repulsion of the Royal St. Kitts police force from the island. Britain intervened and a peacekeeping committee was established. Debates over Anguilla's succession continued to be negotiated for another decade until December 19, 1980, Anguilla became a separate Dependent Territory with some measure of autonomy in Government.
Anguilla has few natural resources, and the economy depends heavily on luxury tourism, offshore banking, lobster fishing, and remittances from emigrants. Increased activity in the tourism industry, which has spurred the growth of the construction sector, has contributed to economic growth. Anguillan officials have put substantial effort into developing the offshore financial sector, which is small, but growing. In the medium term, prospects for the economy will depend largely on the tourism sector and, therefore, on revived income growth in the industrialized nations as well as on favorable weather conditions.
INCIDENCE OF CRIME
The crime rate in Anguilla is low compared to industrialized countries. An analysis was done using INTERPOL data for Anguilla. For purpose of comparison, data were drawn for the seven offenses used to compute the United States FBI's index of crime. Index offenses include murder, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft. The combined total of these offenses constitutes the Index used for trend calculation purposes. Anguilla will be compared with Japan (country with a low crime rate) and USA (country with a high crime rate). The most recent and only data available for Anguilla are those submitted to INTERPOL for year 1995. According to the INTERPOL data, the murder rate in 1995 was unknown for Anguilla, 1.02 for Japan, and 8.22 for USA. For rape, the rate in 1995 was 66.67 for Anguilla, compared with 1.19 for Japan and 37.09 for USA. For robbery, the rate in 1995 was unknown for Anguilla, 1.81 for Japan, and 220.95 for USA. For aggravated assault, the rate in 1995 was 377.78 for Anguilla, 13.92 for Japan, and 418.33 for USA. For burglary, the rate in 1995 was 866.67 for Anguilla, 186.82 for Japan, and 987.61 for USA. The rate of larceny for 1995 was unknown for Anguilla, 1035.44 for Japan, and 3044.9 for USA. The rate for motor vehicle theft in 1995 was unknown for Anguilla, compared with 28.45 for Japan and 560.5 for USA. The rate for all index offenses combined was 1311.12 for Anguilla, compared with 1709.88 for Japan and 4123.97 for USA. (bearing in mind that there was no data given for murder, robbery, larceny and motor vehicle theft)
The Proceeds of Criminal Conduct Act (PCCA) of 2000 extends the predicate offenses for money laundering to all indictable offenses, and allows for the forfeiture of criminally derived proceeds. The Act provides for suspicious activity reporting and a safe harbor for this reporting. In July 2000, the Money Laundering Reporting Authority Act came into force, and amended the Drugs Trafficking Offenses Ordinance of 1988. The Act requires persons involved in the provision of financial services to report any suspicious transactions derived from drugs or criminal conduct, and establishes requirements for customer identification, record keeping, reporting, and training procedures. The Act establishes the Money Laundering Reporting Authority (MLRA) as Anguilla’s Financial Intelligence Unit. The MLRA, with a staff of five, receives suspicious transaction reports (STRs) and is empowered to disclose information to any Anguillan or foreign law enforcement agency.
The Criminal Justice (International Co-operation) (Anguilla) Act, 2000 enables Anguilla to directly cooperate with other jurisdictions through mutual legal assistance. The U.S./ UK Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty concerning the Cayman Islands was extended to Anguilla in November 1990. Anguilla is also subject to the U.S./UK Extradition Treaty. Anguilla is a member of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) and is subject to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. The MLRA joined the Egmont Group in June 2003.
Anguilla is a transshipment point for South American narcotics destined for the US and Europe
In November 2003, the Financial Services Commission Act was passed. The Act creates the Financial Services Commission (FSC) as an autonomous regulatory agency that assumed most of the Financial Services Department supervisory authority. The FSC became operational February 2, 2004. The board consists of a director, deputy director, junior regulator, and an office manager. The Act empowers the FSC to approve the appointment of compliance officers of licensees, conduct compliance inspections, monitor activity within the financial sector, and undertake enforcement actions against persons involved in unlawful activity.
The Act also empowers the FSC to "monitor compliance by regulated persons with the Anti-Money Laundering Regulations of 2000 and such other Acts, Regulations, Guidelines, or Codes relating to money laundering or the financing of terrorism as may be prescribed." Anguilla has approximately 20 registered insurance companies. Under the new Insurance Act enacted in 2004, the FSC supervises all insurance intermediaries.
A National Committee on Drugs and Money Laundering was formed to act as the catalyst for Anguilla’s anti-money laundering/counterterrorist financing efforts. This Committee proposed Customs Declaration Forms to detect and monitor cross-border transportation of cash or bearer instruments in excess of U.S. $10,000. The proposal is currently before the Comptroller of Customs.