Anguillan youth leader makes ‘bold’ call for change

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THE VALLEY, ANGUILLA (OCT 7, 2019):  Anguillian youth leader Dee-Ann Kentish-Rogers, who a few years ago garnered world attention when she became the first black woman to win the UK Miss Universe, has announced that she will take on the island’s Chief Minister in Anguilla’s elections next year.

The candidacy of Kentish-Rogers was announced on the weekend, when a new united opposition movement called the Anguilla Progressive Movement was launched – and immediately emerged as the main challenger to Bank’s Anguilla United Front.

Kentish-Rogers will be the opposition’s candidate for District 4, which is now represented in the parliament there by the territory’s leader Victor Banks.

The APM, led by medical doctor Ellis Webster, is an amalgamation of the former ruling Anguilla United Movement of former chief minister Hubert Hughes, and a coalition of young activists such as Kentish-Rogers.

At 26, Kentish-Rogers is already a household name on her island, as an accomplished athlete who represented her country as such events as CARIFTA Games, an international beauty pageant winner and an emerging lawyer.

“Sisters and brothers, tonight is the beginning of everything. For tonight, our sights are set on the sun that shall rise tomorrow, and the hope that this should bring,” she declared in announcing her candidacy at Island Harbour.

“Tonight represents a down payment with faith on a future that abounds with possibilities,” she declared.

In advocating for change, Kentish-Rogers said it won’t come without people like her being “bold.”

“Let tonight suggest that our generation would not bow to cynicism any longer; and shall not give in to silence,” Rogers-Kentish said to loud applause. “Our generation shall no longer look at the disappointment of yesterday and allow it to become a force against fighting for something better.”

Kentish-Rogers addressed skeptics who have suggested she might be too young, by alluding to people like American civil rights leader Martin Luther King, former Grenadian leader Maurice Bishop and the students of Soweto who rose up against apartheid,  declaring: “The greatest revolutions; the greatest political movements have been inspired by young people.”

“At this moment; in this place; in this environment; this generation of Anguillian youth shall resurrect the dreams of our forefathers,” she declared.

Saying that she could not turn her back in a moment of crisis on a society that has given her a lot in her short life, Kentish-Rogers declared:  “They say that to whom much is given, much is expected. I embrace those expectations – and I have returned early – to give back.”

She added: “We shall salute the past on our way to a better future.”

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