Author Archives | Travis


The Calypso 2014/15 Showdown – DeBear crowned 2014/15 Monarch

Political healing ebola and national pride – themes in calypso competition

By Warren Cassell and Nerissa Golden


Jan 15, 2015 -It came as no surprise to many who after seeing De Bear performed his two songs including the popular “Got To Go”, predicted that he would leave Festival City on December 30, 2014 as the new monarch. The judges apparently shared the same sentiments and De Bear was crowned the 2014 Calypso Monarch.

De Bear performed “Don’t Forget Your Juliet” in the first round and was seen in a red suit as if he was attending a wedding ceremony.  His props featured various members of the society all reminding Romeo (who was depicted in a large photo on stage) what he promised during the election campaign.  It was in round two that he cemented his victory during his stellar performance of “Got To Go”.

DSC_2105He had several persons on one side of the stage in PDM T-shirts representing the PDM supporters who were telling him who had to “go”.  During the chorus and as he listed the persons who had to go, they were seen walking onto the stage only to be driven back off by the supporters.  Some even made cameo appearances.

Apart from De Bear, there were some other highlights. Rakatang who did not place but received a prize for being the crowd’s favorite stood out for many during his performance of “Jus Come” – a song encouraging participation in our local festival. He appeared during the rendition of that song dressed like a female troupeember.

Former Calyspso Monarch Earl “Hustler” Browne also stunned the crowd when loads of fireworks were displayed to herald his appearance and return with his hit “Back with a bang”.  Hustler who had not been in the competition for the past 12 years, performed as if he’d never left the scene.

By the end of the night Master of Ceremonies Basil Chambers known during the season as “Do you know who I am?” announced the winners.  Veteran Kandie took 3rd  place while Silk was placed 2nd.  Returning Calypsonian Hustler, first place –  the new monarch De Bear received a new Toyota Lexus for topping the night.

Many speculate as to whether the bible verse “first shall be last and last shall be first.” was prophetic of Baptiste Wallace’s involvement this year.  His songs this year were heavy and seemed inappropriate for his comical persona.  By the end of the night he seemed to have disappeared from the Calypso radar like the Malaysian Jet.

Black Rythyms band was on target and well deserving of mention as they professionally accompanied each Calypsonian.  It begs the question as to why Cepeke to date remains the only person who has to tender each year for his involvement in the Festival.


By Nerissa golden

DSC_2046– The remnants of an embattled political campaign could still be felt during the finals of the Calypso competition on Tuesday, December 30, 2014, as calypsonians called for healing and a focus on national pride in their songs.

The four-hour long show could easily have been called Battle of the Calypso Monarchs with eight of the ten competitors all being former monarchs of Montserrat’s national calypso event.

DSC_2053But, in true monarch style Keithroy “DeBear” Morson showed why he was one of the region’s top calypsonians delivering two outstanding performances during the competition. This was the first time in more than a decade that DeBear was competing in the local show. Morson had in recent years taken the calypso crown on neighbouring Antigua three times.

Earl “Hustler” Brown was also making a comeback to local competition, He was the first runner up by the end of the night. In the words of his anthem “Back Wid a Bang”, Hustler showed that years of absence hadn’t dulled his ability to present lyrics that the audience could connect He delivered and entertained with performances which were only outshone by DeBear’s magnetic stage presence and lyrical antics.

DSC_2042Former and not long ago monarch Garnett “Sylk” Thompson was second runner up, while another former monarch Silvina “Kandie” Malone, third runner up. The competitors who each received EC$2000 for competing were William “Black Jaguar” Sweeney, Davon “Rakatang”, Maxcine Lee, Kelvin “Tabu” Duberry, Herman “Cupid” Francis and the 2013 king Baptiste Wallace, who had charmed with his Dracula song.

The LIME $1000 prize for Most Improved Calypsonian went to Maxcine Lee. The youthful Stevel “Mighty Soca” Rodney was voted Best Newcomer. Rodney making it all the way to the semi-finals before being eliminated. He was also the youngest competitor at 14-years-old. DeBear received the LHNet Best Songwriter award. Cupid won LIME’s $1000 Most Creative Composition for Ebola. The Best Social Commentary prize of $1000 sponsored by Aravins Supermarket was won by Tabu for “Sincerely Yours”.

DSC_2109Commenting during the ZJB Radio broadcast of the finals, Austin Howe said the show was not exceptional as the songs this year were not memorable despite the artists’ best efforts to deliver them. He said more work needed to be put into songwriting and taking care of the writers to ensure they are paid.

The new monarch won a Lexus Alteeza sponsored by the Montserrat Festival Committee. The next top three took home cash prizes of $9000, $8000, and $6500 respectively.

The Monarch double – Road March King

Meanwhile Keithroy ‘De Bear’ Morson did a double after his 15-year sojourn away from calypso in Montserrat when he was announced winner of the road march title for the just ended Festival.

His soca song ‘Wuk Dem’ was selected as the 2014/2015 Road March song. The title he wrested also from Baptiste Wallace is given to the artiste whose song is the most popular song played during the street parade and jump up. De Bear will receive $1500 sponsored by the Montserrat Festival Committee (MONFEST).

Posted in Entertainment, Local, News39 Comments

DSC_1627 copy

Festival 2014/15 Queen and King  

Montserrat Festival Queen Show 2014

by Cleo Cassell


Jan 15, 2015 – The December chill cloaked me as I keenly stepped into the gates of Festival Village, on Sunday, December 28, 2014 around 7:30 p.m., to one of the most anticipated shows of the festival, the queen show.  DSC_1735However, I wasn’t worried about the weather threatening to spoil my plans because unlike previous years there was absolutely no sign of rain.  The crowd had not yet arrived, so making my way to the seated area was seamless.  I was professionally ushered to my seat, and used the sparseness of the place to appreciate the design of the stage which was still under construction.

Illuminated streams of soft, lycra fabric in varying colours of red, yellow, blue and green, flowed from the ceiling lights creating a tent like effect that reminded me of that R. Kelly’s Arabian styled video Move Your Body Like a Snake.  At the time, I wasn’t sure what theme the organizers were going for.  The crowd began trickling in around 7:50 as my eyes wandered through the venue, the show beginning 30 minutes later than its advertised 8 p.m. start time.

DSC_1724 copyThe Montserrat Festival Queen Show began in the customary way with God Save the Queen (sung by Miss Nadia Browne), and the introduction of the Master of Ceremonies (MCs): Mrs. Veona Alexander-Smith and Mr. Warren Cassell.  Then Grecian looking inspired dancers escorted the queen contestants on stage.

DSC_1643 copyI straightened my back as the girls twirled their way out in costumes akin to belly dancers with golden braziers, and flared skirts made from a light material reflecting individual colours representing the sacrosanct theme of Building Pillars of Character (I later learnt). A strong theme for such frivolity I thought.

Forming the line from the left, was Contestant #1 Miss Tiffany Perkins (sponsored by MUL) wearing a yellow skirt, which represented the character trait of respect.   Miss LIME’s, Nikita Cabey didn’t skip a beat and joined the horizontal line as contestant #2.  Her colour was green, and stood for responsibility.  Contestant #3 – Miss Sharissa Ryan whirled in orange (characterizing fairness) was sponsored by Tradewinds Real Estate.  Contestant #4 Fatima Florian, Miss Technology and Business Specialists Ltd. was red; a colour embodying caring.  Miss Banika Bramble who was sponsored by MS Osborne Ltd., and wore a purple skirt signifying citizenship, ended the line.  The show was finally about to “begin” with the introductory segment which, to me, would set the tone for the rest of the show.

DSC_1590 copyDSC_1621 copy   Perhaps nerves kicked in because contestants 1 and 2 forgot some of their introductory speeches and contestant number 5, Fatima Florian spoke as if she was out of breathe.  However, contestants 3 and 5 were composed and exuded confidence.  Bramble, in particular, did not rush her introduction and her animated voice kept my interest.

However, the swimwear segment was more exciting despite contestant #1’s swimwear malfunction.  Luckily, the other girls got a better fit, but it was Cheryl Cassell-Cabey’s designs that really stood out for me.  Cassell-Cabey was able to accentuate Florian’s complexion and curvy shape in her pink swimwear, just as with Bramble’s golden swimwear.  They fit perfectly and could rival any readymade garb.

Likewise, the talent segment also had its ups and downs, but here contestant  #3, Miss Sharissa Ryan sparkled, like her top, in her violin piece entitled “Love’s Symphony”.  It was like nothing I had ever witnessed before at a queen show, and was nothing less than “real” talent.  At the end of her performance I felt a bit sad because Ryan’s piece, in a sense, exposed the weakness of our own system which allows the arts to rot and fester.  Perhaps if the arts were nurtured and encouraged in Montserrat we’d see excellent expositions in the “talent” segment.   However, though Florian’s dance to Alicia Keys’  “Superwoman” was a bit sluggish it began to change my mood.  It stood out because so many stereotypes are ascribed to the Dominican woman.  Her presentation seemed to be saying that “I am more than what I have been labelled.”

DSC_1627 copyBramble’s dramatical piece on mental health, though serious, also lightened the atmosphere.  Her look and exacting depiction of a woman who “tripped out” after her husband left her (for milk and honey) added humour to the piece.  I don’t think I speak for myself here when I say Bramble was engaging.  She asked the crowd questions which got amusing responses from the audience.  Despite the amusement, at the end of the skit it made me think compassionately about what the mentally challenged go through and what might have triggered their break down.  In spite of this dazzling attempt, the refinement of the violin resonated.  It was the kind of elegance found in the evening wear section.

DSC_1611 copyPerkin’s “Cupid’s Garden” was cut in an outlined rhinestone off the shoulder mermaid styled red dress.  A heart embellished in the front, from her waist down, and was interesting to look at.  However, the back of the dress was unflattering.

Cabey’s “Shades of Green” was different in comparison to the others.  The sparkling green hues – designed and made by Jackline Dublin of So Exquisite Boutique- complemented her skin and coupled with her up do reminded me of an Indian goddess.

Conversely, Ryan’s mermaid cut turquoise coloured dress, designed by another veteran, Ms. Jeweline Roberts, seemed plain.  Although, Florian’s carnation pink dress was nice, I had seen that embedded crystal into an evening wear look before.

However, Bramble’s Calvin S design was riotous and red.  Jewels encrusted the sleek mermaid design and when she turned to give a view of her toned back no one could honestly dispute that it fit perfectly.  Things were beginning to heat up even more.

In the question and answer section, contestants were given one minute to answer one general and one specific question.  It was in Perkin’s DSC_1595 copyresponse that I recognized that the contestants had been privy to the questions and had had the opportunity to be thoroughly prepared.  My scrutiny of their answers had become even harder.  Perkins forgot her prepared answer and was unable to adlib.

Cabey’s answer was too generalized and I found myself adding “why?” at the end of her answer.  Ryan’s answer was disappointing too, because unlike the other girls she could have had an edge in that she possesses a bachelor’s degree.  Her answer was somewhat short, and did not convince me that she had any plans for Montserrat to benefit from.

Florian had the benefit of a translator and I was glad to learn that living here allowed her to “speak (learn) English”.

Although Bramble’s response had more substance in that she clearly explained why mental health was a field she’d like to get into, she floundered with fluency and mastery of the language.

Overall, despite the late start, the show flowed agreeably and I was happy to hear Ben Durant serenade the girls shortly after the question and answer segment.  The results were commendably in by 11:30.

Miss Photogenic  went to Miss Tiffany Perkins; But it was Miss Sharissa Ryan. she clean swept and  got Miss Congeniality , Best Introductory Speech, Best Question and Answer, Best Talent  and Best Evening Wear.  Miss Nikita Cabey also got a best, and won the swimwear category.

By and large, the 2nd runner up went to Miss Nikita Cabey, 1st runner up to Miss Banika Bramble and the queen to Miss Sherissa Ryan.

see pics at Facebook:

Posted in Entertainment, Local, News8 Comments

l-r pr conf May 22 - B R, Nerissa Golden, James White, Richard Aspin

Montserrat, a mess at the head

Ignorance is no excuse to the law, Governor

Governor Press conference May 2015

l-r pr conf May 22 - B R, Nerissa Golden, James White, Richard Aspinby Bennette Roach

May 22, 2015 – After continuing to maintain that he only knows in his capacity as chairman of Cabinet what is brought to Cabinet, which in relation to the Montserrat Development Corporation (MDC) were matters relating to land, Governor Adrian Davis says, “I don’t know what should have come to cabinet, only what comes to Cabinet. The only things that I of my own cognizance bring to cabinet is about the public service and appointments with it, financial services and anything to do with defense.”

After saying earlier in a response regarding £400 million DFID spend in Montserrat over 20 years in the recent UK Daily Mail article, “…Value and results for taxpayers’ money are at the heart of everything we (he as Governor of Montserrat) do, and all our programmes are closely scrutinised to ensure they are effective,” he then says: “It would not be appropriate for me to be involved in economic policy as stuff comes to cabinet. I have a voice in the formulation of that economic policy and have an opinion which I give. It is up to the government to decide what it wants to do.”

Gov Davis Gov press conf Mar 4 DSC_3988

HE Governor Adrian Davis


He noted again, “M.D.C. is a wholly owned company of the government of Montserrat of which government Cabinet is the sole shareholder,” following which I reminded: “The cabinet is the supreme body of the elected people.”

Ivan Browne speaking at Government House

Ivan Browne speaking at Government House

When asked whether he should have known about the MDC CEO, “Doesn’t it concern you that anyone (working) in Montserrat leaves this country receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars and did not pay a penny of tax?” he responded, “Well I’m glad you don’t accuse me of having a Swiss bank account, but I did not know the details of the previous C.E.O.’s pay package.”


Most of the foregoing came after he was asked. “what really is your role in Montserrat as Governor? Other than the constitutional roles whereby you are in charge of the defense and the public sector…where you sit as chairman, president of the cabinet and there are things that a Cabinet ought to do, or not do which you seem to know nothing about?”

His initial response, maintaining his status quot, “I know everything that Cabinet does.”

He was asked to address his response to the whole M.D.C. situation.

Governor press conference Kato

Dr. Kimbugwe speaking at a Governor press conference


The Governor who does claim to have oversight in Cabinet, continues to maintain, “I don’t know what should have come to cabinet. What comes to Cabinet, what should have come to cabinet is something that the previous government and the new government should have brought if they felt necessary.”

The further question is, this and other things were done under his watch, “Governor, what are you going to do about it, even now?”

Weakness in responsibilities

After listening to H E Governor Davis botch his explanation and contradicting his responsibilities as Governor to the people of Montserrat and the UK government, Martin Dawson the UK Department For International Development (DFID)’s local representative contradicts also his own role in particular with regards to the MDC (Montserrat Development Corporation.

In the meantime, both Governor Davis and DFID Dawson, both representing the UK Government and when convenient Montserrat, continue to maintain as one of the reasons if not the main one for the closure of the MDC, the absence of proper legislation, even claiming: “The M.D.C. was set up under the Companies Act – with Bylaws; it should have been set up under the M.D.C. Act of 2008 with its own legislation.”

“You just mentioned a while ago something about oversight, so one of the concerns, take for example the whole problem with spending at MDC and so on, a DFID member was always on board,” he was reminded. Dawson then went on to describe his role. “The role of the DFID representative on the MDC board was as observer status, so …was put there as an observer,” he said which contradicts the construction of the MDC board where he serves as a full member.

“I respond or I report directly to the deputy director of DFID’s overseas territories department, so he (Kimbugwe) would have also been required to do the same,” he continued.

He was asked about the July 2014 Annual MDC Review by DFID which was published with selective specific boast of the MDC achievements by the CEO. Both Dawson and the Governor said that the report was to be considered as non-existent as it was never approved.

The DFID rep explains: “I mean yeah, that report wasn’t approved. Obviously the process of the annual review that took place last summer involved a number of team members from the M.D.C. including the C.E.O. so that we would have had a draft of the report as it was still in draft that time prior in July; it was not approved because of concerns that were then raised in August September – then obviously the thought, well that annual review seems to have some other issues here. So formally it does not exist it’s not been approved by DFID as an annual review of the M.D.C.”

.That he said, with Governor adding, “…just to confirm, when the CEO released part of that report he did so actually against DFID’s wishes…we did not agree or it was not agreed that he should release that report.”

At that point, I raised the issue of the CEO’s favoured package. “But he still left Montserrat as a darling and a golden boy as against others who have been disenfranchised who were eventually terminated. People who did no wrong and people who in fact, and I want you to comment on that, both of you, who in fact did ‘good’ (work) for Montserrat and through the MDC, they were disenfranchised in different ways.”

The Governor responded, dodging whether it was a question or mere comment, after they were both specifically asked for comment:” I think it would not be appropriate for either Martin or I to answer that question if it is a question, sounds more of a comment. Well, because as we all know there is at least one set of proceedings going through the courts and anything we may or may not say in relation to that could be used and therefore it would be entirely inappropriate for us to make any comments.”

The Governor had threatened at a recent press conference, that he would be careful about answering questions if at all, because I asked, litigious questions. His response raised the comment, “That was an expected answer!”




Posted in Local, News2 Comments

Outgoing President Donald Ramotar greeting his successor, David Granger

Election change Fever continues – Guyana elections winner APNU+AFC

after 22 years – new government carrying on wave of change in regional governments


President David Granger

May 15, 2015 – Up to late Friday, it had not been official who would form the next Government in Guyana . This even after the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) had released the preliminary results for all 2,299 polling stations, giving the opposition alliance, comprising A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance for Change (AFC) a total of 206,817 votes as against 201,457 for the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C).

Guyana’s politics have been divided along racial lines with the PPP/C relying heavily on the Indo-Guyanese vote and the APNU looking to the Afro-Guyanese population for its base.Untitled-2

Three and a half years ago, November 28, 2011, General elections were held in Guyana victory for the PPP/C which won 32 of the 65 seats. The other parties APNU and AFC had won the other 33, but since they had not coalesced prior to the elections, according to the Guyana Constitution, the party with the single most seats took the reigns of Government. The result of course with the two party with 33 seats holding firm, governing was almost impossible. Eventually, to avoid an obvious successful vote of ‘no confidence, general elections were called.

Since Wednesday supporters for the APNU+AFC. For these people of Guyana they had already been celebrating as reportedly,

“Allegations reported on May 11 were investigated by international observer missions, and no evidence was found of anomalies that would have a material impact upon results.  Similarly, no evidence has been provided for allegations reported,” the British High Commission having aid it has not found any evidence to support the PPPC’s allegations.

The missions said: “We remain confident in GECOM’s ability to deliver an accurate result and urge them to produce a final tally as soon as possible. We also urge all to continue to exercise patience, support the work of GECOM, and respect its final result.”

The elections took place on Monday and counting began in the night. “Allegations reported on May 11 were investigated by international observer missions, and no evidence was found of anomalies that would have a material impact upon results.  Similarly, no evidence has been provided for allegations reported.”

Outgoing President Donald Ramotar greeting his successor, David Granger

Outgoing President Donald Ramotar greeting his successor, David Granger

The British High Commission said it has not found any evidence to support the PPPC’s allegations.


“We remain confident in GECOM’s ability to deliver an accurate result and urge them to produce a final tally as soon as possible. We also urge all to continue to exercise patience, support the work of GECOM, and respect its final result.”

The European Union (EU) became involved and called on the political parties disputing the preliminary results of Monday’s regional and general elections to settle the matter in the courts.

The EU said in a statement “The EU calls on all actors to respect the legal procedures and address any possible grievance through the channels established by the law.”

The US Embassy said, “nothing contained therein changes our baseline assessment of the electoral process. Based on our observations of the polling, counting, and tabulation process and the conclusions reached by other international observer missions, we continue to assess that the election process was free and fair.”

There were many observer missions. The Carter Center (former US President Carter), which was one of many regional and international groups monitoring the polls, had said it “is deeply concerned about the provocative rhetoric in the campaign and condemned any attempt to sow fear and distrust among Guyana’s ethnic groups or to undermine confidence in its electoral process and institutions”.

The Carter Center, had also said earlier the election is probably the most important since the watershed elections of 1992 and called on citizens and party leaders to act responsibly and exercise patience during the voting tabulation process by GECOM.

But even after Thursday, the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) having released the preliminary results the PPP/C, which had been seeking to extend its 22 years in office, called for a recount in all 10 regions of Guyana and has said that it is not accepting the results based on various irregularities.

Earlier in the week, Attorney General Anil Nandlall told a news conference that the party was within its legal right to seek the recount.

Nandlall said that he wanted to dispel suggestions that the time for calling for a recount noting “that notion which is being peddled out there is not consistent with what the law says.

Asked whether the party was contemplating going to the courts in a bid to prevent GECOM from disclosing the results of the polls, Nandlall said “I keep hearing that since yesterday…as far as I am aware as of now the party is not preparing anything to go to court.

“Not that we will not go to court if that eventuality arises if we should deem it necessary, but as of now there seems to be some view out there…the PPP wants to delay the declaration of the results we reject that notion.

As international congratulatory messages began pouring in, with the European Union saying that the elections were “largely peaceful, transparent and inclusive with a high turnout and mood performance of electoral authorities” commending GECOM “for an efficient and well-organised election process”, on Thursday, the PPP/C sent what it termed a “Memorandum to the Diplomatic Community”, outlining what it were the “irregularities (that) plagued the May 11, 2015 General and Regional Elections including specifically the voting at polling stations and the processing of the voting by GECOM electoral staff and others”.

In statements, the US Embassy, the Canadian High Commission and the British High Commission said nothing contained therein changes our baseline assessment of the electoral process.

“By today however there appeared to be a split within the (PPP/C) even though President Donald Ramaotar has failed to concede defeat in Monday’s general election to the coalition alliance of A Partnership for National Unity (PNU) and the Alliance for Change (AFC).”

At least two senior ministers have accepted the preliminary results of the regional and general elections released by the Guyana Elections Commission showing that the APNU+AFC had received a total of 206,817 votes as against 201, 457 for PPP/C.

On her Facebook page, Foreign Affairs Minister Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett told her staff she wanted to thank them for ensuring that her stay “was a rewarding and happy one. Thank you for your dedication, professionalism and cooperation, which helped to make my job an easier one and more than that move the Ministry to a higher level.”

Natural Resources Minister Robert Persaud also took to Facebook to concede defeat and call for government of national unity.

He said the victory by the opposition alliance provides “a grand, historical opportunity to change the paradigm of how we govern and make everyone feel truly a part of the future as we march to 50 years of independence.”

“Victory where all are winners, notwithstanding the showing of each party, Guyanese, all Guyanese, should feel included in continuing to build a prosperous and cohesive society,” he added.

While since Tuesday, the main opposition coalition alliance claimed victory in the general election even though the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) was yet to make an official statement on the results regarding Monday’s poll, the PPP/C were still making waves about unfairness and irregularities in the elections, there were calls on them to concede.

The new president is David Granger, and he told a news conference  that the coalition had been tabulating the statements of polls since Tuesday.

Guyana’s top diplomat Ambassador Odeem Ishmael has publicly called on the PPP/C  to concede  defeat,  adding “it is my firm opinion that the PPP should concede since any recount will not statistically change the result of the elections as announced by GECOM”.

Ishamel, Guyana’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Kuwait and a former senior member of the PPP/C’s central committee, wrote on Facebook that by conceding victory, President Ramotar will in no lesser way demonstrate the unity that is needed to take Guyana forward.

Meanwhile, Roman Catholic Bishop, Francis Alleyne, has called on the PPP/C to accept the results of Monday’s polls.

He said the “exemplary conduct of the people in turning out, exercising their civil responsibility and waiting patiently as well as the various endorsements on the electoral process” are a credit to all Guyana and that deserves the greatest respect.

Bishop Alleyne said Guyana’s faith traditions teach citizens that “the person is not only sacred but also social. How we organize our society – in economics and politics, in law and policy – directly affects human dignity and the capacity of individuals to grow in community”.

“I pray that as a people we encourage and support one another in broad-based inclusion in the governance and life of the nation.”

Posted in Local, News, Regional1 Comment

Governor says goodbye tp Pservants (13)

Gov Davis wants a magic wand

As he says, Goodbye and thanks to public servants, but laments their need to share and be good to one another. “You need to be friendly with one another; you need to help one another,” he said.

by Bennette Roach

Governor says goodbye tp Pservants (10)

Governor Adrian Davis

Jun 26, 2015 – At the Montserrat Cultural Centre on Friday, June 26, 2015 His Excellency sought and used the opportunity to speak to public servants in a forum setting, some concerns and his wishes of things he would have liked to tell them before.

He began by recalling his understanding of his role as Governor in Montserrat, hoping that he would have gotten “some better assurance after the last four years,” which was the term he served in Montserrat, having arrived in April 2011 he will depart on or about July 7, 2015.

He said he understood the role of the Governor, in brief, “is to represent Montserrat in the UK and the UK in Montserrat…that boiled down to being a critical but supportive friend who is willing to tell the truth to both sides and to try and iron out any misunderstandings.”

The Governor in his farewell presentation to the public servants, who it is considered turned out in good numbers, considering that, as the Deputy Governor who made the arrangements said, there were those who could not come, particularly those carrying out essential services, police, nurses, teachers, etc.

The Governor did not boast of any things that he thought was worthy of praise, though in ways he commended the civil servants for hard work.  The DG congratulated him as he always sought to give “… commendations recognizing always the excellent service that was always provided by public servants.”

But Deputy Governor Jim Taylor did point and praise him further for what he considered his (the Governor) accomplishments.

“You lamented the use of our paper-based methods.  Your commitment to the use of technology to improve the operations of government and the Cabinet led to the development and rollout of what is called EXCOTRACK.  As a result, we now use less paper and ink when making cabinet decisions and dealing with cabinet matters.  And I know that other overseas territories have an interest in this system.”

Governor says goodbye tp Pservants (6)

Deputy Governor Jim Taylor

It did take some time for the various Commissions arising out of the new Montserrat Constitution to be installed. “Your name will also be associated with the establishment of the Commissions required by the Montserrat Constitution Order 2010…resulting from your integration in our community and through your networking and consultation, you were able to agree on outstanding persons for appointment to serve on the various commissions.”

THE DG noted that, e.g., two members of the Complaints Commission reside overseas, “but through the use of technology, the chairman and his members were able to pursue their mandate regularly and with effectiveness.”

He praised the Governor for his passion seeing for seeing through the passage of the Public Administration Bill debated and approved by the Legislative Assembly, but he commented, “the regulations are still in the developmental stages.”

The Dep Gov thanked Governor Davis for his contribution as head of the Montserrat public service. “We will endeavour to build on the legacy you are leaving behind.  We will continue to drive to build a service-oriented culture through training and capacity building,” Taylor told the Governor as he challenged the public servants, that they must, “lead by example and place great emphasis on delivering high-quality customer service.“

“We will continue to promote continuous learning and seek to better align the performance development agreements with the annual training needs, creating efficient, effective links that will deliver value for money,” he said.

He thanked the Governor and his very popular wife Sujue. “We see your departure from our shores, not as an end to your association with Montserrat but rather as a new beginning for you to serve as a goodwill ambassador for us,” thanking them both, “for your commitment to Montserrat as evident by your full integration (especially the outstanding Sujue) into the life and community of our people.”

“We wish you every success in all of your future endeavours,” Taylor ended.

Governor says goodbye tp Pservants (13)

Governor says goodbye to public servants

The Governor in response and bidding his own farewell, thanked the deputy Governor for his kind remarks as he went on to basically speak to the relationship between Her Majesty’s Government, and DFID with the GoM.

The Governor noted that while DFID provides 60% of recurrent budget, and all of the capital budget, (about $120 million plus per year) funds will always be tight. He said that in current economic circumstances, the potential to limit expenditure, when the vast proportion comprises wages and essential maintenance is limited; the same is largely true of revenue raising potential “although I think more could be done to pursue those people who have arrears of taxes,“ he observed.

Noting:A population of 5,000 means that Montserrat suffers acute diseconomies of scale. An economically active population of 9,000 as set out in the Sustainable Development Plan.”

He spoke to and observed, “There has recently been much talk in the press and on social media about DFID “moving the goalposts”.  He said the UK is very proud that it spends 0.7% of its national income on international aid. This means, he said, that DFID’s budget has increased from £7 to £12 billion over the last five years – this at a time when other departments have suffered significant budget cuts. “But the quid pro quo for the budget increase is that DFID are under intense public and parliamentary scrutiny,” and they are under Ministerial instruction that they can only spend if they are absolutely sure money is being spent for purposes intended. “There is zero tolerance of fraud and corruption. So to that extent they have indeed moved the goalposts,” the Governor declared. Our question will DFID admit the same.

The Governor spoke to Public sector reform which has been going on for more years than we can remember, but which he says, has to proceed within an overall vision i.e. greater financial independence for Montserrat. So, he said, the public sector needs to do anything possible to enable the private sector to flourish and to provide a welcoming environment for foreign investment.

With all of this the Governor said and lamented how he wished he had a magic wand. He noted that public servants did not like to share information. “It was crucial that we share information with each other, that we were part of one operation that we saw ourselves as teams…with such a small community and we all know one another and we work and live very close to one another but we seem to be reluctant to share information.

“…So let’s work in teams, let’s share information. I’d like to see more communication by talking to one another … I’ve seen endless streams of emails. I’d like much less…red tape and less protocol and more flexibility,” he complained.

“The possession of knowledge should not be treated as a source of individual power.” He continued his desire. “If I had a magic wand:

– Everyone would share information and work effectively in teams. Ironic and paradoxical that this situation exists in Montserrat given the explosion of information available on the internet.

– More effective performance management – and, hopefully as a consequence, better paid, more effective and smaller public service – Have to find jobs outside of the public service

The Governor had more to say speaking about the needs to be improve Strategic planning  – performance management; Better financial oversight – the ability to account for funding in a transparent way; A policy framework that sets direction for programmes to follow; An explicit recognition that Government is continuous and represents the wishes of the electorate, “of which you as public servants formed a significant part,” he warned.

It stuck out when he said:I just think we should be more relaxed. My next magicians trick would that everyone be properly trained and where they are in professional positions; would have the appropriate professional qualifications for the job,” praising meantime, “the Performance Management System we brought in is great, it’s not perfect. It is still a bit laborious, but I think it is a great improvement.

Speaking kindly of Montserrat as a whole, he noted a very sore point of complaint among many and not a surprising observation from the Governor.You’re all very hospitable and all very friendly, and need to be the same in your dealings in work as well as outside of work. You need to be friendly with one another; you need to help one another, he almost sighed.” Then he noted generally of Montserrat and earlier had pointed out what all visitors say. “Of course the other thing that people liked is that there is a low crime rate in Montserrat and I think that’s absolutely enviable and we must try and keep that.”

On that note he closed by speaking on behalf of himself and his wife. “My wife and I really enjoyed being in Montserrat, in spite being told on arrival that it can be very difficult being Governor, that it is a gold fish bowl…we haven’t found it intrusive…, enjoyed being part of the community, commenting on his wife’s deep involvement in the community activities. Montserrat is a good place to be…when we got to Montserrat we felt it was a good place to be.”

The Governor concluded as he spoke to the public servants, inviting, not so much questions, but comments and suggestions for his successor. He repeated how both he and his wife thoroughly enjoyed serving on Montserrat and will miss Montserrat, committed to being ambassadors for Montserrat keeping it in their hearts. “Thank you for your help, thank you for your support, it’s been a privilege to work with you, it’s been a privilege to live among you and we wish you all the best for a happy, successful and prosperous future,” he concluded.

This part might have been not surprising but yet disappointing as only two senior public servants came forward. Miss Deborah Lewis from the Deputy Governor’s office told the Governor: “…I am going to miss you personally and professionally. Having worked closely with you…and yes despite protocol, ceremonial events nationality matters. I have been a beneficiary of your humour that the others have seen a little bit of today. I like your style, I enjoyed working with you, your pursuit and your drive for excellence and performance across the service. It has encouraged me to always work to a very high standard.

“You always had an open door policy. …I had many disagreements with Her Majesties Passport Office in the UK and you’ve always supported us. So I just want to thank you for all your support and encouragement. You have sent me return commendations and I will always treasure those, thank you.”

Miss Camille Gerald Permanent Secretary in the Premier’s Office: “…I just wanted to say on behalf of all Public Servants, thanks to H.E for leading the charge of the Public Service for the last four years. My advice to the new Governor is just as he said he recognized his role in being able to advise both the Montserrat Government and also the British Government in a sort of positive way, I’m anticipating that his successor would be able to understand the roles in that she would have to play in terms of liaising with Government of Montserrat and also the British Government, spreading the truth about Montserrat.

“And also, that the successor would advance the areas as outlined. We recognize coming up in a few days we’ll have some discussions with DFID on main schematic areas and that I anticipate that the new Governor will continue to provide that support to the Government and people of Montserrat in advancing that work so that we will be able to fulfill the vision that we would have laid out in our Sustainable Development Plan.”

The Premier’s office is hosting a Farewell Ceremony and cocktail on Tuesday in honour of His Excellency and Mrs. Davis at the Cultural Centre.

 Mr.. Davis also praised some of the developments and innovations which were created within the service such as the Visa Online System. He added that there’s a possibility of better payments for Public Servants in the future but at a cost.


I think that if we had better performance management we would probably be able to have in time and I’m really talking in time, a better paid but inevitably probably a bit smaller public service and I don’t think that should necessarily be a worry because we have to find jobs outside of the Public Service and if we keep going with the Strategic Earth Program and if we come to some kind of decision on access that is better than what we currently got the prospects could be better.


Governor Davis successor Miss Elizabeth Carriere is expected to take her appointment in early August.


Posted in Local, News1 Comment

Some participants at discussions on Bank Act

A new Banking Act seen as extending too much power to ECCB

Some participants at discussions on Bank Act

Some participants at discussions on Bank Act

Apr 24, 2015 – In a move that has won him much praise, Premier Don Romeo invited the media who turned out to join mainly legal practitioners and senior public servants to hear a presentation and discuss the new proposed Banking Legislative Reform Act. The Premier is seeking feedback from stakeholders before he presents it the Legislative Assembly.

This took place on April 10, 2015 at the Cabinet Secretariat Conference room at the Premier’s office. Duleep Cheddie delivered the presentation, taking questions as he proceeded and answering where he was able.

The small group immediately took issue with matters which they noted raised constitutional issues, like nighbouring Antigua who just gave the nod to the Act. There were issues where such matters as “The ECCB should not have the powers to dismiss an employee of a bank. They did not hire then and were not in the business decision to hire the person. The ECCB should only be granted the leave to issue a directive to the bank to remove the employee.

This act gives the ECCB the right to deny citizens the constitutional right to own and maintain ownership of property without a fair and transparent process.

Sir Dwight Venner, ECCB Governor

Sir Dwight Venner, ECCB Governor

Section 83 of the proposed Act came in also for much discussion. “The ECCB is not a court much less a court of final decisions. As such if an employee or officer is exonerated from a criminal matter, how can the Act allow the ECCB to make decisions contrary to the findings of the Court? This provision allows the ECCB to be the judge, jury and executioner.

In Antigua problems with the legislation centre on provisions in the proposed legislation that bankers feel go against the workers’ interests. Bank workers are also concerned about the pecking order in the event that a bank has to be liquidated. The proposed Banking Act prescribes that the St. Kitts-based Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) takes its fees and expenses as a priority above all other costs – even severance payments.

Sir Dwight Vener pursuing passage of the Act, the ECCB Governor in an interview with Observer Radio, conceded to imperfections in the proposed Banking Act, but denied that it’s a move to canvas more power, and stressed the urgency of the law in preventing a banking calamity.

Sir Dwight said there was already evidence that local banks were suffering as a result of the current regulatory environment, making reference to new challenges with correspondent banking relationships.

“You need to have a correspondent bank in another country to do things like letters of credit…if you don’t have that you are effectively cut off from the rest of the world. This is a matter of life and death for us,” the governor said.

“If we get drawn out between now and December trying to get this legislation passed, we are going to be in very serious trouble,” Sir Dwight said, adding that the Act was needed now, to “protect depositors” and establish our “international credibility.”

According to information during the presentation ‘The Act has already been passed in St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines and had its First Reading in the Parliament of Antigua & Barbuda last month.’

Other information said “The law has been strongly criticised by those in the banking sector, lawyers and financial experts who argue that too much power is placed in the hand of the regulator.

But Sir Dwight rebuffed that claim, telling OBSERVER media that some of his critics were seeking to personalise the issue.

The general promotion for the Act finds that there has to be some amendments to the proposed Act which is considered necessary. When the matter goes to our Assembly and possibly before stakeholders in Montserrat will hear how the Government intends to proceed.

However Governor Venner discourages changes to the Act in respective parliaments, “because of the new economic union treaty” which established a single financial space in the OECS.

Under the Act, when the Central Bank grants a banking licence in one country, it automatically applies to other member states. Critics say this as an infringement of national sovereignty.

The minister of finance also takes a back seat in the granting of licenses, giving away that responsibility to the regulators.

The governor argued that notwithstanding that provision, the minister of finance is not excluded from the process due to his role on the OECS Monetary Council.

Sir Dwight also defended a contentious provision in the Bill requiring EC$20 million startup capital for banks, saying the five million dollars, which previously applied, is inadequate to protect depositors.



Posted in Local, News, Regional2 Comments


Dr. Timothy Harris New PM of St. Kitts-Nevis

Confirmation delayed by confusion over publication of vote counting results (Adapted)


Feb 20, 2015 -St. Kitts, CMC – Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris Wednesday took the oath of office as the new head of government in this twin island federation following Monday’s Federal general election in which Team Unity swept the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) seven to four, out of office after 20 years.

Harris, 51,told those gathered at the official residence of the Governor General that his elevation to the top post in government ushered in “a  new government of national unity.

“I pledge as the prime minister of the country to uphold all oaths that we have taken, to work diligently for the prosperity of the country and equally important, the deepening of the democracy.

“Our platform for the election in this country was based on two critical pillars. Democracy, democracy, so much of it was under threat in our view and …we know we have to redeem it”.


Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris

Harris said that development that is people centered “amidst all the rosy picture the truth is there are too many unforgotten people, too many situations unknown, unseen, untendered where people live”.


He said there are too many people who have been forgotten across the country.

“(There are) too many situations, unknown, unseen and unattended where people live. I knew that there had to be a better way of existence and the government has an obligation to take the 33% of people who live a life of abject poverty , out of that situation,” he said.

The Governor General also swore in Vincent Byron as the new Attorney General.

On Monday, voters denied Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas an opportunity of becoming the first regional leader to win five consecutive general elections and instead voted Team Unity, led by  Harris a one-time senior cabinet minister in a Douglas administration.

Team Unity comprises the main opposition People’s Action Movement (PAM), the People’s Labour Party (PLP) and the Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM) .

The 15-member National Assembly is made up of 11 elected members and four others, two of whom are government senators and one opposition senator. The attorney general is the ex-offico member of the legislative body…

The St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) had entered the election in an accommodation with the Nevis Reformation Party (NRP) telling the public it was the best party suited to continue the socio-economic development of the twin-island federation.

But Team Unity urged supporters it was time for there to be “Prosperity for All” and accused the outgoing administration of nepotism, corruption and mismanagement of the economy.

The party had campaigned on the theme “Better Days are coming” and had urged its “fam

ily” of voters to ensure that they remove the incumbent from office.


Denzil Douglas, who has been prime minister since 1995, conceded defeat , but not without criticized delay, on behalf of the St Kitts and Nevis Labour party on Tuesday, offering his congratulations to a three-party opposition coalition called Team Unity.

St Kitts-Nevis is one of the smallest independent countries in the world with 54,000 inhabitants.

The Team Unity alliance is comprised of the People’s Action Movement, the Concerned Citizens Movement and the People’s Labour party.

A ruling by Britain’s privy council days before the election threw the process into turmoil. The ruling Labour government was accused of trying to rig the result when it declared new boundaries a month before the poll. With days to go until the vote, the London court, which is the final court of appeal for St Kitts and Nevis, ordered that the previous boundaries be used.

Outgoing - PM Douglas

Outgoing – PM Douglas


In an interview with WINN FM in St. Kitts, the new Prime Minister on Tuesday evening said, responding to Toni Frederick’s question. “…and you throw in all of the many layers with the court battles…it’s been a rough couple of years and some really harsh, vitriolic, venomous exchanges took place…some of them were really directed at you – that it’s tough to deal with. Allot of that was coming from both sides and even as you and your coalition partner celebrate…we have also created some very large rifts in our community, need all of our resources. How do you hope or how do you intend as you go forward to reach out and heal those rifts…how do we move forward, how do we heal …?”

“I try very hard, very, very hard to keep faith with the people and to keep faith with this country I love. I consider it an enormous responsibility and I’m humbled by it to serve this country, part of the legacy I would wish to leave behind is that I help in unifying the country and like Mandela in some ways began a helpful process of reconciliation and healing particularly bringing the political tribalism at long last to an end.

Posted in Local, News, Regional11 Comments


Anguilla New CM in Landslide win



(Adapted from CMC reports)

H Hughes

Former Chief Minister Hon. Hubert Hughes

Apr 24, 2015 – The Honourable Victor Banks was sworn in as the new head of government in the British Overseas Territory after his Anguilla United Front (AUF) swept away Anguilla United Movement (AUM) in very closely contested General Elections on Wednesday, April, 22.


Today Friday, is a public holiday in Anguilla as a result, during which time Banks was sworn in as the new head of government.

It began with Baldwin Spencer, Antigua, Reuben Meade, Montserrat, Denzil Douglas, St. Kitts, and AUM in Anguilla without its retired leader Hubert Hughes. The main opposition Anguilla United Front (AUF) demolished the incumbents sweeping into power winning six of the seven seats in the general elections on Wednesday, after the people made it four out of four in a row joining Antigua, Montserrat, St. Kitts, routing the incumbents.

Victor Banks CM - Anguilla

New Anguilla Chief Minister, Victor Banks


The incumbent Anguilla United Movement (AUM) did not win a seat. Medical practitioner Dr. Ellis Lorenzo Webster who took over the leadership of the AUM after Hubert Hughes, 82, Anguilla’s oldest chief minister had indicated he was stepping down after 40 years in active politics, received 412 votes in District One, losing to independent Pamovan Webster, a lawyer and businessman, who polled 460 votes.

In 2010, the AUM won five of the seven seats to take control of the Legislative Council. The 11-member Council will be completed by the appointment of four members.

Both the AUF and the AUM were contesting all seven seats in the election that was being observed by a six-member team from the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) British Islands and the Mediterranean.

Haydn Hughes

Haydn Hughes – Former CM son – AUM loser

AUF leader Victor Banks, a former finance minister, comfortably won District Four, polling 1057 votes as against 655 for the AUM’s Evans Gumbs and 28 for the DOVE party that fielded only three candidates in the election.


The closest results were in District Five where the AUF’s Evalie Bradley edged out Patrick Hanley of the AUM by one vote. Bradley polled 394 votes.

Approximately 11,000 Anguillans were eligible to vote with 7,974 casting ballots on Wednesday in the 35 square mile British Overseas Territory with a population of just over 13,000.

The economy, job creation, infrastructural development and good governance were among the main issues a lengthy election campaign, spanning a little over 12 months.

“It is a significant victory for the Anguilla United Front. We were able to win six of the seven seats and this is the first time this has happened…since 1980,” a jubilant Banks told reporters.

“I believe it is an indication that the Anguilla United Front has been able to communicate its message to the people of Anguilla and the people of Anguilla believe in terms of the record of the last government we are best suited to deliver on its commitment to the people”

Banks, a former finance minister, said that the outgoing Hubert Hughes government “was not very assertive in putting forward its programme.




“They claimed to have had a plan for Anguilla…and over the past four years you did not see any evidence of the plan. Things actually got worse,” he said, adding “this government never really took off  …”

Both the AUF and the AUM contested all seven seats in the election that was being observed by a six-member team from the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) British Islands and the Mediterranean.

The other seat in the general election was won by independent candidate,  Palmavon Webster, an attorney, who held off a strong challenge from incumbent representative for District One Othlyn Vanterpool of the AUF and the new AUM leader Dr Ellis Lorenzo Webster, a first time candidate in Anguillan politics.

Two former government ministers in the 2010-2015 Hughes administration – Social Development Minister Jerome Roberts and Public Works Minister Evan Gumbs – both failed to win their seats, losing to lawyer Cora Richardson Hodge and Banks, a former finance minister in a previous government led by retired leader Osbourne Fleming.

Also winning for the AUF were first time candidates former English country cricketer Cardigan Connor and Evalie Bradley, a retired former civil servant.

Connor edged out newcomer and lawyer Kristy Richardson-Harrigan of the AUM by a margin of 389 to 13 while Bradley secured an upset 10 vote win over AUM newcomer Patrick Hanley, polling 398 to 388.   Curtis Richardson of the AUF who ran twice before against the outgoing chief minister in District Six and lost,  won this time around beating Haydn Hughes, the son of the former Anguillian leader and veteran politician.Anguilla elec map httpwww elections.ailiveindex

The three members of the newly-formed DOVE party led by businessman Sutcliffe Hodge failed to get the nod of the electorate – with Hodge picking up a mere 58 votes, while his colleagues retired Methodist Minister Dr Clifton Niles (24) and businessman George Kentish (28) votes fared even worse in the general election.

Chief Minister Banks announced his cabinet shortly after meeting with Anguilla’s British Governor Christina Scott later on Thursday. He was sworn in by Governor Christina Scott, who said that she looked forward to working with the new government towards the common goal of a prosperous Anguilla.

The Governor also praised the various stakeholders who participated in the elections ensuring also a safe and secure election campaign and polling day.

The 11-member Legislative Council will be completed by the appointment of four members.

Banks four member cabinet will also include Cora Richardson-Hodge, Evans McNiel Rogers and Curtis Richardson.  Former English county cricketer Cardigan Connor has been appointed Parliamentary Secretary.

The announcement of individual Ministerial responsibilities will be made on Monday.


Posted in Local, News, Regional1 Comment

U.S. Coast Guard National Security Cutter Bertholf

US Coast Guard seizes over US$11m in drugs in Caribbean Sea

U.S. Coast Guard National Security Cutter Bertholf

U.S. Coast Guard National Security Cutter Bertholf

MIAMI, CMC – The United States Coast Guard says it has seized drugs estimated at more than US$11 million during operations in the Caribbean Sea this month.

It said that the drugs including 254 kilograms of cocaine and 3,662 pounds of marijuana  were seized as part of Operation  Martillo, which is one component in the United States government’s approach to countering the use of the Central American littorals as trans-shipment routes for illicit drugs, weapons and cash through the Caribbean Sea.

The Coast Guard said that, on September 3, it boarded a Panamanian flagged vessel, southeast of Nicaragua, after receiving permission from the Panamanian government.

It said the boarding team discovered 254 kilograms of cocaine in a hidden compartment worth an estimated wholesale value of US$8.5 million.

The suspects were transferred to law enforcement authorities in Tampa, Florida on September 12, the Coast Guard said.

Also on September 3, the Coast Guard said it received a report of three people clinging to a capsized vessel and following their rescue, discovered 68 bales of marijuana floating in the water.

The Coast Guard said that it recovered 3,600 pounds of marijuana with an estimated wholesale value of US$3.3 million.

“These seizures highlight the hard work and dedication of the US Coast Guard and our interagency and international partners in stopping illegal drugs from reaching the streets of the US and those of our Caribbean neighbors,” said Lieutenant Earl Potter, Commanding Officer of the Miami based Coast Guard Cutter Robert Yered.

The Coast Guard said these two cases represent “a fraction” of the recent success it has had against maritime drug smuggling.

Posted in International, Local, News, RegionalComments Off on US Coast Guard seizes over US$11m in drugs in Caribbean Sea

Symposium to start ECCB’s Financial Information Month

In a brief message accompanied by an invitation, local Eastern Caribbean Central Bank

(ECCB) agency office is reminding businesses and financial institutions that October is Financial Information Month (FIM).

“It is that time again when we celebrate Financial Information Month,” the message says, also reminding of the theme which this year is, “ is L  E A D – Learn, Empower, Achieve, Develop.”

The invitation to ‘business partners’ is  to an ‘exciting Symposium’ scheduled for Thursday, October 8, 2015, “a rich experience comes to you at no direct cost.”

The ECCB is also reminding the Business Community while inviting them to participate in the activities planned for the month.

Posted in Local, News, RegionalComments Off on Symposium to start ECCB’s Financial Information Month

Grand Opening - M&D's Green Market



A Moment with the Registrar of Lands