Categorized | Editorial, News, Opinions

“Montserrat Doesn’t Just Need People, It Needs Many More Montserratians”

EDITORIAL

REPRINT – Sept 2002 – But is it still relevant today?

When all is said and done, one fact remains: Montserrat is a very small island now, diminished (for the time being) to just about one-third its livable space and population. While it is still a beautiful island, questions may be asked as to whether the people are still the most friendly people in the world.

However, if the question about friendliness ever brings a negative answer, a little thought would produce explanation and agreement with one American family still suffering from the trauma of the tragedy from the 9/11 events, who said those events might not compare with what is still being undergone by the people in Montserrat.

So the question remains, why is it that it seems so difficult to put things right so the present residents could breathe easily from the burdens of living?

Montserrat once enjoyed nearly all the frolic and frills, perhaps more than some of its bigger neighbours in the region, and in many areas was second to none in its ability to support itself. Challenge this all you might but serious study will show that in spite of the slippery and sometimes false economy strength, the base was always there to be made into a fortress. Of course, no fortress could withstand the natural disaster that results from volcanic activity like that experienced since 1995.

That said, there are some simple things that need serious attention if we are to improve on the present ratio of nationals and non-nationals currently living on the island, which stands at 50-50. This is so especially when the discussion rages on about a “viable population,” and we hear figures being used like 20,000 – 35,000 to make that a reality. Is any thought being given to what the ratio should be like then, or at any point in our stride towards that goal? Were these matters taken into consideration when we were discussing a new constitution? We’d better be careful what we ask for, and undoubtedly our government knows this only too well, never mind they haven’t told us about that.

True, it is suggested that this may not come within the next century, but then the idea becomes moot. That is already so when we talk about the reduction of the population, if we take the ratio of nationals and non-nationals prior to the volcano, we will find that there is a dangerously terrible imbalance.

The concentration should, therefore, be a serious effort to woo back home Montserratians and to stop the drain of young people who leave the island week after week. Complex? Is the problem a complex one? Not so complex if the problems are recognized.

Serious attention must be paid to how and for what the children are trained in school. It must not be that all we do is try to make academic scholars out of them and not take David Brandt’s recommendation, when he was still Chief Minister, which is to train our people, in addition to their academic requirements, for the requirements of the island. Until we do that, the drain is sure to continue.

Exactly 37 years ago a young man by the name of Tom Willis, who was attached to the then Ministry of Social Services, lamented: “…it cannot be said that the present state of youth organizations is altogether happy.

That surely applies more so today. He continued, “Anyone with eyes to see knows that many young people have very little to do in the evenings, while club leaders themselves speak of finding new leaders, planning programmes and keeping members in the club.”

He made reference to youth organizations such as Anglican Young Peoples Association (AYPA,) Young Christian Workers (YCW) (Catholic), Methodist youth clubs, Pentecostal youth clubs, Boy Scouts, Girl Guides, Boy’s Brigade, among others, which also included village and district clubs, school clubs and sports clubs, all of which would have an umbrella organization called a “Youth Council.”

This is just one of many issues, but the youths on this island are crying out for guidance and assistance. If it is not forthcoming, it will be quite some time before we see any progress toward a viable population, the kind that will not bring problems galore. 

Well now! Her Excellency Elizabeth Carriere has stated that among a list of five areas areas she would like to focus for the next year:

Most of the issues that emanated from Her Excellency Governor Elizabeth Carriere and the Hon. Premier Donaldson Romeo’s press conference with DFId’s Martin Dawson in attendance, were very much overlooked with the double September 2015 ‘upsetting events’, which may well be remembered for just that and perhaps greater.

Premier in his opening remarks did draw attention then that it was actually his first press conference, since a year ago when he invited the press just over a year ago immediately after he was sworn in, to witness his first act of assistance to the vulnerable gentleman in St. Peters and to the trip to Rendezvous where it is hoped a hotel to be constructed.

The Premier continued somewhat in the vein he had when making his one-year celebratory statements on radio. He talked of forging a unity/partnership between DFID, FCO and the Government of Montserrat (GoM). He presented this at the press conference with H E Governor and DFID rep Martin Dawson himself for Government.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

EDITORIAL

REPRINT – Sept 2002 – But is it still relevant today?

When all is said and done, one fact remains: Montserrat is a very small island now, diminished (for the time being) to just about one-third its livable space and population. While it is still a beautiful island, questions may be asked as to whether the people are still the most friendly people in the world.

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However, if the question about friendliness ever brings a negative answer, a little thought would produce explanation and agreement with one American family still suffering from the trauma of the tragedy from the 9/11 events, who said those events might not compare with what is still being undergone by the people in Montserrat.

So the question remains, why is it that it seems so difficult to put things right so the present residents could breathe easily from the burdens of living?

Montserrat once enjoyed nearly all the frolic and frills, perhaps more than some of its bigger neighbours in the region, and in many areas was second to none in its ability to support itself. Challenge this all you might but serious study will show that in spite of the slippery and sometimes false economy strength, the base was always there to be made into a fortress. Of course, no fortress could withstand the natural disaster that results from volcanic activity like that experienced since 1995.

That said, there are some simple things that need serious attention if we are to improve on the present ratio of nationals and non-nationals currently living on the island, which stands at 50-50. This is so especially when the discussion rages on about a “viable population,” and we hear figures being used like 20,000 – 35,000 to make that a reality. Is any thought being given to what the ratio should be like then, or at any point in our stride towards that goal? Were these matters taken into consideration when we were discussing a new constitution? We’d better be careful what we ask for, and undoubtedly our government knows this only too well, never mind they haven’t told us about that.

True, it is suggested that this may not come within the next century, but then the idea becomes moot. That is already so when we talk about the reduction of the population, if we take the ratio of nationals and non-nationals prior to the volcano, we will find that there is a dangerously terrible imbalance.

The concentration should, therefore, be a serious effort to woo back home Montserratians and to stop the drain of young people who leave the island week after week. Complex? Is the problem a complex one? Not so complex if the problems are recognized.

Serious attention must be paid to how and for what the children are trained in school. It must not be that all we do is try to make academic scholars out of them and not take David Brandt’s recommendation, when he was still Chief Minister, which is to train our people, in addition to their academic requirements, for the requirements of the island. Until we do that, the drain is sure to continue.

Exactly 37 years ago a young man by the name of Tom Willis, who was attached to the then Ministry of Social Services, lamented: “…it cannot be said that the present state of youth organizations is altogether happy.

That surely applies more so today. He continued, “Anyone with eyes to see knows that many young people have very little to do in the evenings, while club leaders themselves speak of finding new leaders, planning programmes and keeping members in the club.”

He made reference to youth organizations such as Anglican Young Peoples Association (AYPA,) Young Christian Workers (YCW) (Catholic), Methodist youth clubs, Pentecostal youth clubs, Boy Scouts, Girl Guides, Boy’s Brigade, among others, which also included village and district clubs, school clubs and sports clubs, all of which would have an umbrella organization called a “Youth Council.”

This is just one of many issues, but the youths on this island are crying out for guidance and assistance. If it is not forthcoming, it will be quite some time before we see any progress toward a viable population, the kind that will not bring problems galore. 

Well now! Her Excellency Elizabeth Carriere has stated that among a list of five areas areas she would like to focus for the next year:

Most of the issues that emanated from Her Excellency Governor Elizabeth Carriere and the Hon. Premier Donaldson Romeo’s press conference with DFId’s Martin Dawson in attendance, were very much overlooked with the double September 2015 ‘upsetting events’, which may well be remembered for just that and perhaps greater.

Premier in his opening remarks did draw attention then that it was actually his first press conference, since a year ago when he invited the press just over a year ago immediately after he was sworn in, to witness his first act of assistance to the vulnerable gentleman in St. Peters and to the trip to Rendezvous where it is hoped a hotel to be constructed.

The Premier continued somewhat in the vein he had when making his one-year celebratory statements on radio. He talked of forging a unity/partnership between DFID, FCO and the Government of Montserrat (GoM). He presented this at the press conference with H E Governor and DFID rep Martin Dawson himself for Government.