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16th April 2009

 

Honourable Osbourne Fleming

Chief Minister

Chief Minister’s Office

The Valley,

Anguilla.

 

Dear Mr. Fleming,

 

Having heard the radio announcement on the recovery of medallions from the El Buen Consejo that were illegally removed from Anguilla, the Board of the Anguilla Archeological and Historical Society (AAHS) feels compelled to provide you with a more detailed account of the recovery of the artifacts as it appears you were not adequately briefed. We are especially anxious to ensure that those persons in the USA who were instrumental in this effort should be given due credit for their invaluable assistance.

 

Through the research of AAHS Board member Mr. Bob Conrich, the board became aware that an original medallion from the El Buen Consejo was on sale on eBay by a seller in Vermont.  Knowing that any of these artifacts outside of Anguilla could only have been illegally removed, Mr Conrich contacted the seller asking her to verify that these were not replicas.  

 

She explained that her former boyfriend had been given four such medallions in payment for work done by a resident of Vermont who had connections in Anguilla.  She also offered to have the medallion radiocarbon dated by the Archaeology Department at the University of Vermont. (UVM). This we encouraged as the head of Archaeology at UVM is Dr. John G. Crock, a friend of Anguilla, a member of the AAHS, and frequent visitor to Anguill". 

 

Dr Crock was alerted of the situation and contacted us immediately he was approached by the eBay seller.  On our suggestion Dr. Crock agreed to notify the University campus police, who referred him to the local office of the FBI. The FBI visited the eBay seller, who voluntarily returned the medallion and gave valuable information which lead to the recovery of forty of the medallions in the Vermont area alone.  While investigations continued in other states, Dr. Crock and the AAHS were asked to refrain from making an announcement so as not to prejudice the investigations which it appear have now concluded.

 

The Board of the AAHS feels that the people of Anguilla owe a debt of gratitude to Dr. John Crock for his assistance in this recovery.  Thanks should also go out to the local FBI office in Vermont who acted on this matter expeditiously.   We believed that the seller was an innocent victim who appeared to be unaware that the medallion was stolen property or that she was doing anything illegal.  We think she should also be thanked for her cooperation as this led to the unraveling of the theft, illegal export, smuggling and distribution of Anguilla’s historical artifacts.

 

CM El Buen Consejo

Page 2

 

 

 

The agreement signed with AMR clearly stated that all the original medallions remained property of the Government of Anguilla and could only be removed from the island with the permission of the Government. Incidentally this is also enshrined in the Antiquities Act. We would suggest therefore that others who were involved in the removal should be prosecuted. The fact that the FBI is willing to aid in this would serve as a deterrent to similar actions not only in Anguilla but also in other Caribbean States where artifacts are stolen and exported contrary to law. This would also reflect well on the Government Of Anguilla as one willing to cooperate in the fight against international crime.

 

Yours truly,

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kenn Banks

President

 

cc        H E The Governor

            Honourable Attorney General

            The Press.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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