today returned more than 100 bronze medallions to the Government of Anguilla in a ceremony during the island’s 42nd national holiday, or Anguilla Day, celebrations. The medallions were presented to The Honorable Mr. Osbourne Fleming, Chief Minister, by Samuel Bryant, Jr., the FBI Legal Attaché in Bridgetown.
“We are pleased to return these national treasures to the Government and people of Anguilla,“ said Bryant. “This is an excellent example of the enhanced international cooperation that is essential in today’s war on transnational crimes that have extended their wings across the globe.”
Through a series of investigative leads, the FBI assisted Anguillian authorities with the recovery of these religious medallions, considered to be originally the property of Franciscan friars. In the summer of 1772, these friars made their way from Spain to Mexico in the 990-ton warship El Buen Consejo. Sailing in a fleet of more than a dozen ships, the warship was one of two vessels that veered off course and ran aground off the coast of Anguilla. The remains of the shipwreck, which is of international archaeological significance, reside within Anguilla’s Marine Parks system.
“It gives me great pleasure in communicating to the FBI our thanks and appreciation on this special occasion,” said The Honorable Mr. Fleming. “We look forward to our continued participation as the world turns.”
In addition to The Honorable Mr. Fleming, today’s event was attended by a number of dignitaries from Anguilla and neighboring islands, including: His Excellency Alistair Harrison, Governor; The Honorable Mr. Victor Banks, Minister of Finance; The Honorable Mr. Wilhelm Bourne, Attorney General; The Honorable Mr. Stanley Reid, Deputy Governor; and, Mr. Keithly Benjamin, Commissioner of Police, Royal Anguilla Police Force.
The FBI has made possible the return of a number of cultural treasures in recent years, including more than 100 pre-Columbian artifacts to the government of Panama; two 15th century Ptolomaic maps to the Spanish National Police and Civil Guard; President Theodore Roosevelt’s Colt revolver used in the Battle of San Juan Hill to Sagamore Hill; a 25th Indiana Volunteer Regiment Civil War battle flag to the Indiana War Memorial Museum; three 19th century Heinrich Burkel oil paintings to the Pirmasens Museum in Germany; a 1933 edition of Pearl Buck’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Good Earth; eight stone cylinder seals to the government of Iraq; and, more than 180 pre-Columbian artifacts to the government of Ecuador.