A Motion – Wasting the people’s time of confidence, importance and business

Former agriculture minister Claude Hogan

Hon Speaker Shirley Osborne set the opening of parliament to take place, successfully, on a somewhat grand scale on Tuesday, October 23 in the Sir George Martin Auditorium at the Montserrat Cultural Centre. She sought to give some prominence by holding the opening against any competing matter of the house by dedicating the day to just the opening, especially with the knowledge that the first sitting after that would include the (strange, if not ill-conceived) motion of a vote of no confidence.

Speaker Osborne had asked for and looked forward to hosting a full house at the Opening Ceremony of the Parliamentary year 2018-2019, in her continuing attempt to bring (back) long lost interest in the proceedings of the newly named eight-year old Legislative Assembly (LegAss), known before that as the Legislative Council (LegCo).

The sitting therefore set to begin on the following day Wednesday, got underway with a full membership minus PDM Government backbencher Claude Hogan, who by the way, could be considered the most senior legislator having begun his political career since 2001. On a side 2001 was the first year that the Premier Romeo had sought to show his interest in a political career.

Hon. Dr Ingrid Buffonge

Speaker Osborne, who has very early and since been trying to lift the standard of the proceedings in the house, but perhaps to her own style found early at the beginning of the session she might have discord and poor behavior from some of our far from esteemed legislators, the reason in the first place certain matters appeared on the agenda for the sitting.

She was faced right away with a motion to bring forward the motion of no confidence to the  beginning of the order of business. That began a show of ignorance and incompetence to some degree among members and some no doubt to her own difficulties of trying to be firm and liberal. The motion was defeated when the ‘ex-officio members’ (non-elected) were able to vote.

So, the order paper remained as is and the more important matters, if only for relevance and importance proceeded.

Premier Donaldson Romeo

But with some interest, not surprisingly supposedly among the public of Montserrat at the end of the second day of the sitting and the arrival of Hon Hogan, Premier Donaldson Romeo (the government) from all appearance seemed to have staved off an attempt by disgruntled opposition legislators (old and new) to bring down his administration when a key government backbencher indicated that he had no intention of supporting a vote of no confidence in Romeo’s four-year-old administration.

Former agriculture minister Claude Hogan, it is felt in some quarters held the key to the survival of the government that faced an uphill task to complete its first five-year term, but when the debate on the motion was adjourned late Thursday night to Monday, Hogan had already made his position known to legislators.

“We should withdraw the vote of no confidence.  If you want to change the premier there is a way to do it,” said Hogan.

The government hold a slim one seat majority in the nine-member Legislative Assembly and political observers had expected Hogan, who was dismissed by Romeo last year, to have sided with the opposition that included two former members of the ruling People’s Democratic Movement (PDM).

Premier Romeo has not yet made his contribution to the debate, but Hogan said while he had been disappointed when he was fired, “after a year I can’t remember what happened”.

Moreover, Hogan said he still intends to contest his present seat in the next general election, adding that the vote of no confidence is nothing more than an early start to the 2019 general election campaign.

Earlier, Dr. Ingrid Buffonge, a former member of the ruling PDM, who piloted the motion of no confidence, likened the situation to a “day of history” for Montserrat.

She said she also wanted to inform legislators, foreign investors and other stakeholders interested in the development of the volcano-ravaged British Overseas Territory that the motion does not signal “political instability” here.

“My colleagues in opposition and myself as well as others who will be elected in the next general election, and I do speak for some of them no, after four years of getting things so terribly wrong we pledge to get it right.”

She said encouraging and supporting foreign direct investment, encouraging local investors, assisting local producers with exporting the Montserrat product, securing capital projects, building equipping and appropriately staffing a new hospital   “are among the reasons behind the motion.

“In bringing this motion, I am simply fulfilling the will of the people who live on this island. A people who knows what happens in a place when you speak out against the government,” she said, adding that “people are afraid of losing their jobs and being victimised in other ways.

She said while she had sympathy for Premier Romeo this does not translate to support for his policies.

“She said he had failed to secure capital projects for the island, “his acceptance of a port project that will push as much development as the little airport that we have, his one-track mind focus on securing aid money instead of promoting investment all show his lack of vision and leave the people of this country feeling hungry.

“He claims he wants more control to be given to his government by the British government, but I ask what is it he wants more control of,” she asked.

Buffonge, who received the second highest number of votes in the September 2014 elections on the PDM slate, resigned from the party a year later and two weeks ago, called for the resignation of Health Minister Delmaude Ryan.

But Ryan told legislators that the debate was nothing more than a personal attack on her and that the government was doing its best to ensure the development of the health sector.

In his contribution, Hogan said that “we can’t make a political issue of the health sector” adding that no one has come up with a solution to the governance of Montserrat.

“Everybody should behave and try to foster a proper democracy,” he added.

Former junior minister, Gregroy Willock, who resigned from the government and the party and government earlier this month, nonetheless predicted that the vote at the end of the motion will be a 7-2 in favour of the opposition.

‘When we done it will be history and it will be a very significant day,” he added.

The 2014 general election was a victory for the newly established PDM, which was formed by Romeo on April 30 that year, in order to contest the elections.

The party defeated the then ruling Movement for Change and Prosperity, the Alliance of Independent Candidates and 10 other independents.

Much of the meanderings that went on including at least one opposition member saying he was not going to support the motion, but will after hearing some government members; reminding that it was not the two MCAP members who lead the opposition bench that brought the motion; reports that one member sitting on the opposition benches on more than one occasion pointed a hand as if shooting a gun at a member or members, on the other side of the house.

All of this really showed that the motion of no confidence in the first instance only served to show some of these members interested only in their own self-interest and well-being, and not fit to be representatives of the people’s interests and business.

There was at least one instance the Speaker was known to say to the members, “let’s have a time out,” “take a time out” or words to that effect. Earlier on Tuesday there was dead air (ZJB even cut the broadcast) as she waited for members to begin debating the motion after it was moved and seconded.

It is obvious as it has been throughout that the eventual possibility of a rushed election what ever the outcome of the vote, is not in the interest of the island, much more some of the members and particularly those bring the motion.

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Former agriculture minister Claude Hogan

Hon Speaker Shirley Osborne set the opening of parliament to take place, successfully, on a somewhat grand scale on Tuesday, October 23 in the Sir George Martin Auditorium at the Montserrat Cultural Centre. She sought to give some prominence by holding the opening against any competing matter of the house by dedicating the day to just the opening, especially with the knowledge that the first sitting after that would include the (strange, if not ill-conceived) motion of a vote of no confidence.

Speaker Osborne had asked for and looked forward to hosting a full house at the Opening Ceremony of the Parliamentary year 2018-2019, in her continuing attempt to bring (back) long lost interest in the proceedings of the newly named eight-year old Legislative Assembly (LegAss), known before that as the Legislative Council (LegCo).

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The sitting therefore set to begin on the following day Wednesday, got underway with a full membership minus PDM Government backbencher Claude Hogan, who by the way, could be considered the most senior legislator having begun his political career since 2001. On a side 2001 was the first year that the Premier Romeo had sought to show his interest in a political career.

Hon. Dr Ingrid Buffonge

Speaker Osborne, who has very early and since been trying to lift the standard of the proceedings in the house, but perhaps to her own style found early at the beginning of the session she might have discord and poor behavior from some of our far from esteemed legislators, the reason in the first place certain matters appeared on the agenda for the sitting.

She was faced right away with a motion to bring forward the motion of no confidence to the  beginning of the order of business. That began a show of ignorance and incompetence to some degree among members and some no doubt to her own difficulties of trying to be firm and liberal. The motion was defeated when the ‘ex-officio members’ (non-elected) were able to vote.

So, the order paper remained as is and the more important matters, if only for relevance and importance proceeded.

Premier Donaldson Romeo

But with some interest, not surprisingly supposedly among the public of Montserrat at the end of the second day of the sitting and the arrival of Hon Hogan, Premier Donaldson Romeo (the government) from all appearance seemed to have staved off an attempt by disgruntled opposition legislators (old and new) to bring down his administration when a key government backbencher indicated that he had no intention of supporting a vote of no confidence in Romeo’s four-year-old administration.

Former agriculture minister Claude Hogan, it is felt in some quarters held the key to the survival of the government that faced an uphill task to complete its first five-year term, but when the debate on the motion was adjourned late Thursday night to Monday, Hogan had already made his position known to legislators.

“We should withdraw the vote of no confidence.  If you want to change the premier there is a way to do it,” said Hogan.

The government hold a slim one seat majority in the nine-member Legislative Assembly and political observers had expected Hogan, who was dismissed by Romeo last year, to have sided with the opposition that included two former members of the ruling People’s Democratic Movement (PDM).

Premier Romeo has not yet made his contribution to the debate, but Hogan said while he had been disappointed when he was fired, “after a year I can’t remember what happened”.

Moreover, Hogan said he still intends to contest his present seat in the next general election, adding that the vote of no confidence is nothing more than an early start to the 2019 general election campaign.

Earlier, Dr. Ingrid Buffonge, a former member of the ruling PDM, who piloted the motion of no confidence, likened the situation to a “day of history” for Montserrat.

She said she also wanted to inform legislators, foreign investors and other stakeholders interested in the development of the volcano-ravaged British Overseas Territory that the motion does not signal “political instability” here.

“My colleagues in opposition and myself as well as others who will be elected in the next general election, and I do speak for some of them no, after four years of getting things so terribly wrong we pledge to get it right.”

She said encouraging and supporting foreign direct investment, encouraging local investors, assisting local producers with exporting the Montserrat product, securing capital projects, building equipping and appropriately staffing a new hospital   “are among the reasons behind the motion.

“In bringing this motion, I am simply fulfilling the will of the people who live on this island. A people who knows what happens in a place when you speak out against the government,” she said, adding that “people are afraid of losing their jobs and being victimised in other ways.

She said while she had sympathy for Premier Romeo this does not translate to support for his policies.

“She said he had failed to secure capital projects for the island, “his acceptance of a port project that will push as much development as the little airport that we have, his one-track mind focus on securing aid money instead of promoting investment all show his lack of vision and leave the people of this country feeling hungry.

“He claims he wants more control to be given to his government by the British government, but I ask what is it he wants more control of,” she asked.

Buffonge, who received the second highest number of votes in the September 2014 elections on the PDM slate, resigned from the party a year later and two weeks ago, called for the resignation of Health Minister Delmaude Ryan.

But Ryan told legislators that the debate was nothing more than a personal attack on her and that the government was doing its best to ensure the development of the health sector.

In his contribution, Hogan said that “we can’t make a political issue of the health sector” adding that no one has come up with a solution to the governance of Montserrat.

“Everybody should behave and try to foster a proper democracy,” he added.

Former junior minister, Gregroy Willock, who resigned from the government and the party and government earlier this month, nonetheless predicted that the vote at the end of the motion will be a 7-2 in favour of the opposition.

‘When we done it will be history and it will be a very significant day,” he added.

The 2014 general election was a victory for the newly established PDM, which was formed by Romeo on April 30 that year, in order to contest the elections.

The party defeated the then ruling Movement for Change and Prosperity, the Alliance of Independent Candidates and 10 other independents.

Much of the meanderings that went on including at least one opposition member saying he was not going to support the motion, but will after hearing some government members; reminding that it was not the two MCAP members who lead the opposition bench that brought the motion; reports that one member sitting on the opposition benches on more than one occasion pointed a hand as if shooting a gun at a member or members, on the other side of the house.

All of this really showed that the motion of no confidence in the first instance only served to show some of these members interested only in their own self-interest and well-being, and not fit to be representatives of the people’s interests and business.

There was at least one instance the Speaker was known to say to the members, “let’s have a time out,” “take a time out” or words to that effect. Earlier on Tuesday there was dead air (ZJB even cut the broadcast) as she waited for members to begin debating the motion after it was moved and seconded.

It is obvious as it has been throughout that the eventual possibility of a rushed election what ever the outcome of the vote, is not in the interest of the island, much more some of the members and particularly those bring the motion.