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MCAP and the ECONOMY

Don Romeo, Sept 13, 2013

Donaldson Romeo, Opposition Leader, Montserrat

Donaldson Romeo, Opposition Leader, Montserrat

Fellow citizens, residents and friends of Montserrat:

Monday, Sept 9th just past marked four years under the MCAP government led by our Hon Premier,   Mr Reuben T Meade;  four years in which   they repeatedly told us we elected them to make decisions for us and apparently did not need to listen to the people.   But, election is coming, so for a while there is no longer the need to publicly disgrace civil servants and to put down its own people.  All of a sudden, it is now time to listen to the people and time for some nice sweet talk.

Campaign fever is already in the air and the MCAP government is suddenly on a roll to deliver important manifesto promises; promises they have mostly ignored for four   whole years.  So, in addition to taking credit for all good things that have happened during their term of government there is now a sudden hype over a national song, street naming and more.  These things are  good and important but certainly not what the people of Montserrat are most concerned about right now.

Montserratians are concerned about the state of the economy and bread on their table.  This is the third  week since school has opened and some parents still cannot find money to buy books needed for their children.  People need work and many are behind on their rent and loan payments.  One leading retailer asked me just the other day to let him know what the GoM is going to do about the state of Montserrat’s economy.  “The economy“, he said, “has never been so dead in a long, long time“.

But I am sure you would agree that it is only fair to use MCAP’s own standards to judge MCAP’s performance with our economy over the past four years.  For there is one thing that our Government would not want to face up to and that is their own standards in handling our economy for the past 4 years.

Strangely enough, in 2005 our Hon Premier — while in Opposition — set those standards when he moved a vote of no confidence in the John Osborne Government for its failure over the economy after four years in power.  In 2005 Mr Meade, our Hon Premier now,  led the charge in accusing the John Osborne led PLM team of ‘incompetence and the inability to provide the leadership needed to arrest the continuous decline in the economy of Montserrat.’

In 2005 our Hon Premier, Mr Meade and colleagues (in Mr Meade’s own words) spoke of ‘the unbearable pressure that was brought upon the people of Montserrat through policies implemented by the PLM Government….’

Just as our Hon Premier did in 2005, it is my duty to call on our Hon Premier and government to face MCAP’s own words and to account for the constant hard times and poor state of our economy over the past four years.  Let us carefully listen to what Mrs. Roselyn Cassell-Sealy said, as Opposition Leader then, in support of the vote of No Confidence in the John Osborne/PLM government’s handling of the economy in 2005, eight years ago:

…. But, Mr. Speaker, we are back at that place again and we are back at a place that has become a worse place than the place we were in when the Honourable Chedmond Browne brought that Vote of No Confidence…. We are at a place”, continued Mrs Sealy, “where too many people are unemployed.  We are at a place, Mr. Speaker, where the economy is at a standstill.  We are at a place where we, all of us, fear that there will be a further increase in crime because we can’t see anywhere on the horizon where the situation, the economic situation, is going to get better any time soon.

So to be specific, I need to ask our Hon Premier and government just a few questions to get them back on track:

  1. In 2005 our Hon premier claimed that the John Osborne government was responsible for the poor state of the economy and the higher than normal level of unemployment. My first question is:

Was the economic situation and the level of unemployment under the John Osborne Gov worse or better in 2005 than it is now in 2013 under the present government? 

My next question is: Is the GoM willing to take responsibility for the similarly dead economy and high level of unemployment we face in 2013?  

  1. One Non-National told me that after living on Montserrat for over 18 years one still has to go in every three or six months for time.  And what has the GOM done about that in four years?  The GOM did just as it did with passports, property tax, food etc; Our Government increased the cost of work permits from $75 to $100 for Non Nationals.

So the question then is: Does our Government  forgot their promise to grant temporary resident status to all Caricom nationals who have resided in Montserrat for 3 years?  

A similar question is: Does the GoM remember promising Non Nationals during the 2009 campaign that they would extend eligibility to become residents to Non Nationals who could prove that they owned property in excess of $5,000?

  1. In 2005, Mr Meade claimed that the John Osborne government’s failure to provide the Police with sufficient funds for equipment contributed to the high incidents of crime in 2005.

My last question is: In the past four years has the MCAP government provided the police with adequate funding and equipment they require to combat crime?

With their last pay raise being 10 years ago. plus no increments under this government, civil servants are not going to fall for the one time bonus hype.  Nor can anyone expect labourers, clerks and cleaners who get the smallest pay and feel the squeeze the most to be bought with small change and one belly full gifts.  One belly full promises and gestures in the 4th year — just before elections — is certainly not going to fool those in the private sector or the civil service.

Maybe those who boast of building so many houses in four years can explain why, after 17 years (12 plus 5 MCAP years), there are still over 300 evacuees on island living in government built and other houses that are not hurricane worthy.   Why have our contractors and tradesmen had so little work for 4 years when there are so many houses and rugged vehicle destroying back roads to be built.

People need to know what is going to be done about their ever increasing light, food and other bills that force many to live from hand to mouth, week to week and month to month.

It is not good enough to boast that Geothermal has happened under this Government– especially since it fell into their laps.  For what has the government done to support those who fought for a sounder approach to energy, not only geothermal but wind, solar, bio-fuels, energy efficiency and more?  What we really need is a government that will make sure that geothermal development and other energy initiatives do not end up in the wrong hands at the mercy of deals struck behind closed doors and (at) the costly wishes of wheelers and dealers.

Time for the Br Ananci politics to go.

Time for the one belly full, hungry for the next four years voting to end.

Time for heads I win, tails you lose poly-tricks to go.

The time is ripe for good intentioned men and women to come forward and change the ‘prosperity for some’ to ‘opportunity for all’; The time is ripe to elect good intentioned men and women who will make sure that our geothermal and all other natural resources are developed by HMG to be rightfully owned and one day run by our Government and people to the advantage of each and every one of us, and our children to come.  That way we will sooner stand on our own two feet again and not be a burden and forever dependent on British tax payers.

 

 

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

MCAP and the ECONOMY

Don Romeo, Sept 13, 2013

Donaldson Romeo, Opposition Leader, Montserrat

Donaldson Romeo, Opposition Leader, Montserrat

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Fellow citizens, residents and friends of Montserrat:

Monday, Sept 9th just past marked four years under the MCAP government led by our Hon Premier,   Mr Reuben T Meade;  four years in which   they repeatedly told us we elected them to make decisions for us and apparently did not need to listen to the people.   But, election is coming, so for a while there is no longer the need to publicly disgrace civil servants and to put down its own people.  All of a sudden, it is now time to listen to the people and time for some nice sweet talk.

Campaign fever is already in the air and the MCAP government is suddenly on a roll to deliver important manifesto promises; promises they have mostly ignored for four   whole years.  So, in addition to taking credit for all good things that have happened during their term of government there is now a sudden hype over a national song, street naming and more.  These things are  good and important but certainly not what the people of Montserrat are most concerned about right now.

Montserratians are concerned about the state of the economy and bread on their table.  This is the third  week since school has opened and some parents still cannot find money to buy books needed for their children.  People need work and many are behind on their rent and loan payments.  One leading retailer asked me just the other day to let him know what the GoM is going to do about the state of Montserrat’s economy.  “The economy“, he said, “has never been so dead in a long, long time“.

But I am sure you would agree that it is only fair to use MCAP’s own standards to judge MCAP’s performance with our economy over the past four years.  For there is one thing that our Government would not want to face up to and that is their own standards in handling our economy for the past 4 years.

Strangely enough, in 2005 our Hon Premier — while in Opposition — set those standards when he moved a vote of no confidence in the John Osborne Government for its failure over the economy after four years in power.  In 2005 Mr Meade, our Hon Premier now,  led the charge in accusing the John Osborne led PLM team of ‘incompetence and the inability to provide the leadership needed to arrest the continuous decline in the economy of Montserrat.’

In 2005 our Hon Premier, Mr Meade and colleagues (in Mr Meade’s own words) spoke of ‘the unbearable pressure that was brought upon the people of Montserrat through policies implemented by the PLM Government….’

Just as our Hon Premier did in 2005, it is my duty to call on our Hon Premier and government to face MCAP’s own words and to account for the constant hard times and poor state of our economy over the past four years.  Let us carefully listen to what Mrs. Roselyn Cassell-Sealy said, as Opposition Leader then, in support of the vote of No Confidence in the John Osborne/PLM government’s handling of the economy in 2005, eight years ago:

…. But, Mr. Speaker, we are back at that place again and we are back at a place that has become a worse place than the place we were in when the Honourable Chedmond Browne brought that Vote of No Confidence…. We are at a place”, continued Mrs Sealy, “where too many people are unemployed.  We are at a place, Mr. Speaker, where the economy is at a standstill.  We are at a place where we, all of us, fear that there will be a further increase in crime because we can’t see anywhere on the horizon where the situation, the economic situation, is going to get better any time soon.

So to be specific, I need to ask our Hon Premier and government just a few questions to get them back on track:

  1. In 2005 our Hon premier claimed that the John Osborne government was responsible for the poor state of the economy and the higher than normal level of unemployment. My first question is:

Was the economic situation and the level of unemployment under the John Osborne Gov worse or better in 2005 than it is now in 2013 under the present government? 

My next question is: Is the GoM willing to take responsibility for the similarly dead economy and high level of unemployment we face in 2013?  

  1. One Non-National told me that after living on Montserrat for over 18 years one still has to go in every three or six months for time.  And what has the GOM done about that in four years?  The GOM did just as it did with passports, property tax, food etc; Our Government increased the cost of work permits from $75 to $100 for Non Nationals.

So the question then is: Does our Government  forgot their promise to grant temporary resident status to all Caricom nationals who have resided in Montserrat for 3 years?  

A similar question is: Does the GoM remember promising Non Nationals during the 2009 campaign that they would extend eligibility to become residents to Non Nationals who could prove that they owned property in excess of $5,000?

  1. In 2005, Mr Meade claimed that the John Osborne government’s failure to provide the Police with sufficient funds for equipment contributed to the high incidents of crime in 2005.

My last question is: In the past four years has the MCAP government provided the police with adequate funding and equipment they require to combat crime?

With their last pay raise being 10 years ago. plus no increments under this government, civil servants are not going to fall for the one time bonus hype.  Nor can anyone expect labourers, clerks and cleaners who get the smallest pay and feel the squeeze the most to be bought with small change and one belly full gifts.  One belly full promises and gestures in the 4th year — just before elections — is certainly not going to fool those in the private sector or the civil service.

Maybe those who boast of building so many houses in four years can explain why, after 17 years (12 plus 5 MCAP years), there are still over 300 evacuees on island living in government built and other houses that are not hurricane worthy.   Why have our contractors and tradesmen had so little work for 4 years when there are so many houses and rugged vehicle destroying back roads to be built.

People need to know what is going to be done about their ever increasing light, food and other bills that force many to live from hand to mouth, week to week and month to month.

It is not good enough to boast that Geothermal has happened under this Government– especially since it fell into their laps.  For what has the government done to support those who fought for a sounder approach to energy, not only geothermal but wind, solar, bio-fuels, energy efficiency and more?  What we really need is a government that will make sure that geothermal development and other energy initiatives do not end up in the wrong hands at the mercy of deals struck behind closed doors and (at) the costly wishes of wheelers and dealers.

Time for the Br Ananci politics to go.

Time for the one belly full, hungry for the next four years voting to end.

Time for heads I win, tails you lose poly-tricks to go.

The time is ripe for good intentioned men and women to come forward and change the ‘prosperity for some’ to ‘opportunity for all’; The time is ripe to elect good intentioned men and women who will make sure that our geothermal and all other natural resources are developed by HMG to be rightfully owned and one day run by our Government and people to the advantage of each and every one of us, and our children to come.  That way we will sooner stand on our own two feet again and not be a burden and forever dependent on British tax payers.