There’s a sense of urgency whenever Kristy Richardson-Harrigan speaks, as if she can’t wait to get started. As it turns out, she can’t.
“I want to know that Anguilla has a future—not so much for me, but for the generations to come—and that we have an island that people are proud of.”
When she was a teen, a life in politics seemed unlikely to Kristy, but after she became a lawyer, the idea didn’t seem as far-fetched. Even then, waiting until age 40 sounded more realistic. But through support from the West End community, where she was born and raised, she took the fast lane into politics.
“[It’s said that] women are emotional, but sometimes you need emotion… especially when dealing with the youth.”
— Kristy Richardson-Harrigan
“I don’t know where Anguilla will be when I’m 40,” she explains. “If I’m ready now, I should just do it now.”
She’s keen on reform of the island’s Constitution, but the plight of the island’s young people concerns her most. She understands their struggle to assert themselves and find their place in the world. Kristy started and now choreographs for her church’s dance group for kids ages 5—12. She also helps coach the high school debate team, sharing a passion she had in school with the next crop.
After high school, she adventured to New York and then London instead of studying Law at the University of the West Indies. “We live in the Caribbean— Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad, they’re all pretty much the same,” she laughs. “I wanted to experience the winter, a faster pace of life… something different.”
That experience made her realize how unprepared many high schoolers were for independence. Since returning, she’s set about mentoring some of the older students. “They aren’t used to not having a teacher behind [them] all the time. Hopefully it helps with a smoother transition when they move on to university.”
Of the attitude towards women in politics: “Things are different now. Women are more empowered,” she says. “I can’t say that I’ve had any negative feedback. [It’s said] that women are emotional, but sometimes you need a little emotion… you need to be caring, especially when dealing with the youth.”
As the youngest of five children, being the youngest candidate doesn’t dampen Kristy’s enthusiasm. “Our Chief Minister (Hon. Hubert Hughes) first entered politics in his twenties,” she points out, “and Victor Banks and Edison Baird in their thirties.”
History, it seems, might just be in her favour.