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Carrs Bay port

Is Mr Romeo the Premier “who asked for more”?

Part 6/2019 (Contribution)

Does Montserrat have a right to ask for “more”? (If not, why is Article 73 having an impact?)

BRADES, Montserrat, June 3, 2019 –  In Charles Dickens’ famous novel Oliver Twist, after three months of thin gruel in the Parish workhouse, nine-year-old Oliver Twist dared to ask for more:

Please, sir, I want some more”

“ . . . he was desperate with hunger, and reckless with misery. He rose from the table; and advancing to the master, basin and spoon in hand, said: somewhat alarmed at his own temerity:

‘Please, sir, I want some more.’

The master was a fat, healthy man; but he turned very pale. He gazed in stupefied astonishment on the small rebel for some seconds, and then clung for support to the copper. The assistants were paralysed with wonder; the boys with fear.

‘What!’ said the master at length, in a faint voice.

‘Please, sir,’ replied Oliver, ‘I want some more.’

The master aimed a blow at Oliver’s head with the ladle; pinioned him in his arm; and shrieked aloud for the beadle.”[1]

Soon, the matter was taken to the Board (but of course poor Oliver was not permitted to be there, to answer the charge and speak up for himself):

“The board were sitting in solemn conclave, when Mr. Bumble rushed into the room in great excitement, and addressing the gentleman in the high chair, said,

‘Mr. Limbkins, I beg your pardon, sir! Oliver Twist has asked for more!’

There was a general start. Horror was depicted on every countenance . . .”

Thus did Charles Dickens decisively skewer the half-hearted provision for relief of the poor in his day and the way in which those who cared for the needy too often fattened themselves at their expense. And while we have moved on beyond such low meanness today, sometimes we still need a reminder.

That is what, it seems, Premier Romeo has done.

For years, he pointed to the UN Charter, Article 73:  the UK is legally bound to “ensure . . . advancement” and again to “promote constructive measures of development.” He highlighted the 2012 FCO White Paper on Overseas Territories: “reasonable assistance needs of the Territories are a first call on the UK’s international development budget.” He has been consistently dismissed, publicly mocked, even humiliated.

However, it seems the 2018 UN General Assembly has taken a very different view than many local pundits and politicians. For, as Premier Romeo quoted in his budget reply on May 28th, on December 7, 2018 over 180 UN member states (out of 193) passed a Resolution on Montserrat.[2] Let us now quote it and highlight key points:

Noting the statement made by the Premier of Montserrat at the 2018 Pacific regional seminar, in which he expressed the view that the previous request made for the removal of Montserrat from the agenda of the Special Committee should be reversed,

Noting also the information provided by the Premier that Montserrat could not achieve its development goals if its economic dependency continued, compounded by ongoing financial challenges, and that securing funding for rebuilding key infrastructure lost and helping evacuees from the 1995 volcanic crisis required an intervention from the Special Committee as a neutral partner,

Noting further the request made by the Premier for a visiting mission of the Special Committee to the Territory, which could also include meetings with evacuees in Antigua and Barbuda, the United Kingdom and the United States of America . . . .

Recalling the importance of improving the infrastructure and accessibility of Montserrat, as conveyed by the Premier of Montserrat to the Chair of the Special Committee in their meeting on 11 May 2015 . . . .

1. Reaffirms the inalienable right of the people of Montserrat to self-determination, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations and with General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV) . . . .

8. Calls upon the administering Power, the specialized agencies and other  organizations of the United Nations system, as well as regional and other organizations, to continue to provide assistance to the Territory in alleviating the consequences of the volcanic eruption . . . .

10. Calls upon the administering Power to participate in and cooperate fully with the work of the Special Committee in order to implement the provisions of Article 73 e of the Charter and the Declaration and in order to advise the Committee on the implementation of the provisions under Article 73 b of the Charter on efforts to promote self-government in Montserrat, and encourages the administering Power to facilitate visiting and special missions to the Territory;

11. Stresses the importance of the invitation extended by the territorial Government for a visiting mission by the Special Committee, calls upon the administering Power to facilitate such a mission, and requests the Chair of the Special Committee to take all the steps necessary to that end;

12. Reaffirms the responsibility of the administering Power under the Charter to promote the economic and social development and to preserve the cultural identity of the Territory, and requests the administering Power to take steps to enlist and make effective use of all possible assistance, on both a bilateral and a multilateral basis, in the strengthening of the economy of the Territory . . .

In short, the overwhelming verdict of the world community is in, and Premier Romeo stands decisively vindicated.

An Article 73 visit is expected, the UK must facilitate our self-determination and self-government. And, the UK has been specifically, firmly reminded of its  “responsibility . . . under the Charter to promote the economic and social development and to preserve the cultural identity of the Territory [of Montserrat].”

That’s the obvious context for the recent Launch of the Breakwater and Berth project and for the Fibre Optic Cable project, Airport improvements, hospital, school upgrading and more, all of which are in the 2019/20 budget. It is the base for the 30 million CIPREG capital development programme. However – while key breakthrough projects have actually begun to roll out – we still hear voices demanding to know where the £500 millions of DfID-funded aid over the past twenty-four years have gone (other than straight into Consultants’ pockets). 

In all fairness, while results are mixed and it has taken far too long for us to reach a stage where economy-transforming projects are beginning to roll out, the long-suffering UK taxpayer is due more thanks than that. If the 60% of our recurrent budget that comes from the UK taxpayer were to be withdrawn, Montserrat would instantly collapse. Even more of our capital budget has come from the UK taxpayer. So the truth is, we can see where a lot of that aid has gone: dividing £500 millions by 24 gives £20.8 million per year as an average support figure – one  that is fairly close to our annual aid package. So, our problem has not been that we have received “nothing,” but instead that “more” – actually, “enough” – was and is needed to help us get back up on our own feet after the devastation caused by the volcano. 

Halcrow’s Carrs Bay port drawings at 60% and 90%

For example, in his recent Budget Reply, Premier Romeo publicly showed that in February 2014, the UK Government questioned whether the  the Carrs Bay port option was viable, and therefore offered to fund a less costly Little Bay option.  In short, given former Premier Meade’s rejection of the Little Bay option and his difficulties in getting private investors, the Carr’s Bay Port Project was at deadlock by the date of Hon Allen Duncan’s letter to Premier Meade: Feb 14, 2014.

The government changed in September 2014 and we took a £14.4 million slice we got from UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s £300 million UKCIF program [3] and topped it up with £7.1 millions in EU aid funds, to provide much the same breakwater and berth as we could have had four or five years ago. (By the way, can anyone tell us when the Halcrow 100% design for the Carrs Bay port option was presented to the public, and what it would have cost. Where are the drawings? The 60% or 90% stages[4] are not good enough.)

PPerhaps, we can now come together and decide that from now on, we will make good use of our UN Charter, Article 73 rights. END


[1]Oliver Twist, Ch. 2.

[2] UNGA A/RES/73/114  https://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/73/114

[3] See CDB: https://www.caribank.org/our-work/programmes/united-kingdom-caribbean-infrastructure-partnership-fund-ukcif

[4] See TMR, https://www.themontserratreporter.com/12472/

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size of govt

How big should our “tax” rates be?

Part 5/2019 (Contribution)

What is the right size for our Government?

BRADES, Montserrat, May 23, 2019 –  As a part of our “fresh, serious, public-spirited conversation” we are currently debating a “transformational” budget, which has a focus on key projects intended to spark private sector-led growth: a breakwater and berth for tourism and a fibre optic cable for the digital and technology sector. According to our Economic Growth Strategy, the target is to sustain a rate of 5% GDP growth for enough time to move beyond dependency. However, that is not the whole story, we also need to think about the right balance of government size and tax rates for our economy over the long haul. For instance, that’s part of why DfID regularly pressures us to reduce the size of our Civil Service. (Hint: It’s not because they are being simply tight-fisted.) So, we need to think about how much government and “taxes” are “just right.”

Now, with no “taxes” there is obviously no government.

No defense, no policing or other services. Pirates, bands of robbers and the like would pop up and make it very hard to operate a successful business unless one has his own private army or navy. Government therefore enforces justice and enables the civil peace, allowing business to thrive. Such government requires “taxes” to pay for it, and for its support for roads, schools, courts, regulation of weights and measures, public health, sanitation etc. That improves the climate for business.

For just one example, there is a very good reason why the Caribbean is now a world-famed region of tropical beach paradises rather than a set of disease-riddled tropical death traps. Yes, that’s where our tourist industry came from: over a century of government-driven, tax-funded public health and sanitation efforts.

But beyond a certain point, too high a “tax” rate and/or too big a government will burden the economy, will discourage investors and will drive away creative, inventive people. That’s why, in the 1970’s Arthur Laffer argued that reducing “tax” rates from such overly high levels may actually increase revenues across time due to improved investment, innovation and faster economic growth. Similarly, Richard Rahn argued that growth rates peak at an even lower point, so that governments should target better long run growth rates rather than the “tax” revenue peak. Laffer’s basic logic is hard to deny, and Rahn also makes good sense.

Now too, “tax” is in quote-marks because taxes can come in various fairly invisible forms. Voters often resist high direct taxes, but higher “taxes” can be hidden by using duties and the like that are embedded in the prices we pay. Governments can borrow money, leading to debt burdens and crowding out investors. Likewise, by “printing” excess money in the short term the economy gets a boost but the purchasing power of money falls. Prices then rise and excess demand for foreign exchange will dry up reserves. Pressure to devalue and panic over possible or actual devaluation naturally follow.  In our region, that is more or less how the Jamaican, Guyanese and Trinidad dollars have fallen to where they now are. The Barbados dollar has been under pressure for years now too. Only the Eastern Caribbean dollar – a regionally managed currency issued by the ECCB – has remained fairly stable.

Another question is, where are the Laffer and Rahn peaks? That has led to various statistical studies and then to onward debates as to how to do such studies and apply the results. On balance, though some studies suggested the peak growth rate happens when Government is 30 – 40% of GDP, it is more often argued that the growth peak is 15 – 25%, possibly lower.  Others suggest, it varies with time and varies from one country to another, though most results fall within the given range.

Also, in the 1890’s Adolph Wagner documented that government size tends to grow faster than the economy, which is well supported statistically.

For, as Governments became more democratic and as economies became more prosperous, they could afford the wider range of government services that people desire and will vote for. Also, as a result of the Great Depression of the 1930’s, it was felt that a larger, more active government helps to stabilise the economy and to make life better for the ordinary man and the vulnerable. That’s why all major economies are now welfare states. However, recent evidence suggests that in more developed economies that tendency for government to grow faster than GDP tapers off (likely, due to voters insisting on curbing government growth).

On balance, at first larger government increases economic growth rates and improves living conditions for ordinary people but after reaching maybe 20 – 25% of GDP, it becomes a drag on growth.

Another challenge is, GDP and its growth rates are not familiar numbers to us, so we tend to underestimate the importance of long-term growth for improving prosperity and standards of living in an economy. But, obviously if there is a bigger GDP-pie to go around, we can all get a bigger share – “inclusive growth.” So, let us pause to look at how different growth rates gradually lead to very different sizes of pie:

What $1.00 becomes after 40 years, at various rates of interest

0.5%
1.0% 1.5% 2.0% 3.0% 4.0% 5.0%
7.0%
$1.22 $1.49 $1.81 $2.20 $3.26 $4.80 $7.04 $14.97

Clearly, faster growth makes a big difference across time. However, in recent years, the Caribbean has struggled to get even 1 – 2% growth, and it usually takes major structural changes and big investments that bring in new high growth sectors to get to the highly desirable 5 – 7% range that former ECCB Governor, the late Sir Dwight Venner was talking about some years ago.  Where also, economic growth varies from year to year around a trend-line, and there is a well known business cycle of 8 – 11 years in which booms and recessions – or even “busts” – come along on a fairly regular basis. Some argue for a longer term, 40 – 70 year generation length cycle led by major technology breakthroughs, termed the Kondratiev cycle. 

In recent years, from 2007 – 9, there was a great global recession at about the same time as a financial crisis and a surge in oil prices that went as high as US$ 145 per barrel then hovered near US$100 for years. Likely, such high energy prices have been a drag on the world economy, which naturally leads to lower tourism etc. So, it is unsurprising that in our region and around the world alike, many economies have been struggling ever since to break through to faster growth rates in the 3 – 5% range, much less 5 – 7%. Our local economy’s planners hope to attain 3.2 – 3.5% this year, apparently due to projects that are coming in. Onward, 5% is possible, if we can get the catalytic projects through and follow up by pulling in serious investments in the tourism, digital and technology sectors.

In Montserrat’s case, we were hard hit by a volcano crisis from 1995 on and lost key infrastructure as well as assets that had been built up over decades from the 1960’s – 90’s. As a result, we depend on a UK-funded grant for about 60% of our recurrent budget and for much more of our capital budget. The Civil Service is our biggest employer and the government sector drives the economy.  Such is not a healthy pattern.

On the other hand, until we have a buoyant, growing private sector, sharp cuts in the Civil Service will only feed further economic stagnation, frustration and depopulation as people flee to the UK. Instead, a balanced policy will first prioritise putting in place catalytic infrastructure that can get our economy moving.

That’s why it is such good news to see that the sea port breakwater and berth, the fibre optic project, solar PV power plant are moving forward.  They will help to fertilise tourism, the digital sector, financial services and the like, and until they are clearly coming through, efforts to attract high quality investors will predictably fail.  It is as our private, productive sector grows that our economy can strike a healthier balance between the public and private sectors.

At the same time, we have to be very careful to remember that the UK’s grant support to our economy is temporary. So, as we seek to improve health, education and social services, we have to bear in mind that one day we will have to pay for such services from our own economy’s sustainable tax base.

As always, prudence and balance leading to well judged timing will be the keys to success. END

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We need a new politics of truth, soundness and national consensus

We need a new politics of truth, soundness and national consensus

Part 4/2019 (Contribution)

Can we move beyond the politics of bitterness, slander, half-truths and insincere promises?

BRADES, Montserrat, May 11, 2019 –  In this election year we have just seen two elected members of our assembly suspended for unbecoming behaviour in the Assembly. Behaviour, of a degree that has been unprecedented for eighty-two years. At the same time, we have had to spend time looking at the FAC’s intent to impose “same-sex marriage” on us, and we saw how a Chief Justice in Cayman, to promote the same homosexualisation, tried to rewrite Cayman’s Constitution from the judicial bench. These unfortunate developments are a wake-up call, a sign that we need a better politics, one capable of handling far more ticklish, potentially explosive issues, and handling them soundly and soberly. 

In short, we need “a fresh, serious, public-spirited conversation on how we will govern ourselves as a nation over the next six years.” (Yes, six years, as we must not waste this year’s opportunities.) A great place to begin that conversation is with our official, national vision statement:

A healthy and wholesome Montserrat,
founded upon a thriving modern economy
with a friendly, vibrant community,
in which all our people
through enterprise and initiative,
can fulfill their hopes
in a truly democratic and God-fearing society

It would be hard to object to this.  So, then, why is there so much bitterness, disrespect, untruth, slander, misleading half-truth and insincerity in our politics?

If you doubt me, consider the case of the local commenter who recently claimed on radio that the UK has done “nothing” for Montserrat over the past twenty-five years. Likewise, think about the one who suggested that in awarding a three percent salary increase (after ten years of no increases at all), the government then took it all back through taxes. As a third, ponder the persistent gap between manifesto promises and what our elected governments do in office. Not once, not twice, again and again.

Obviously, long-suffering British taxpayers have cause to object to such an attitude.  For they pay for 60% of our recurrent budget – which is being debated this coming week (after two delays), typically pay for much more of our capital budget and have paid perhaps £500 millions in support to Montserrat since the volcano crisis began. Added up, that’s about EC$  350,000 for each resident of Montserrat, the cost of a good house.

So, as a first step, if we are to build an improved onward development partnership with the UK, we would be well advised to form a more balanced view of what has been contributed and what has been achieved thus far. Yes, results have been very mixed, but without the £500 millions of support to date, Montserrat would have long since completely collapsed.

Likewise, given a progressive tax structure and that someone else is paying 60% of our recurrent budget (someone, who is not getting big tax cuts), it will be very hard for any future local government to cut local income tax rates significantly until we are paying our own way and are collecting enough to cover cuts from other forms of revenue.  The horse pulls the cart, not the other way around.

Also, let us remember: increased consumption is not at all the same as increased investment.

As sustainable economic growth must come from fresh business investment, our national priority must be the “catalytic” infrastructure that opens the door for private sector investment led growth. Then, we can argue that new business investments hire people and buy services from other businesses, starting with construction. We can then use our longstanding tax incentives to help fertilise new investments.  Tourism and the digital sector are obvious priority sectors. Significantly, government just hired a regional person – do we dare say the now dirtied word: “TC”? – to help us move tourism forward. The good news is, it seems the breakwater and berth and the new fibre optic cable – at last, after at least a decade of too often questionable delays and roadblocks – are on the move.

We can also notice that key infrastructure projects are now clearly moving ahead: the sea port, the fibre optic cable project, the 250 kW solar photo voltaic electricity plant, even the new air traffic control tower for the airport. These projects will open opportunities for investment, and while we remain concerned about long delayed geothermal energy development after learning that the drilling equipment was deteriorated and had to be removed even as DfID closed the project, good news is indeed good news. 

So, we must ask pointed questions of those who act as though good news for Montserrat is bad news for them, while bad news for Montserrat is good news for them.  Instead, a fair-minded critic will be balanced and constructive (not bitterly destructive).

Another concern, is that we must find ways to improve administration and project management so that we actually spend out our budgets. Especially, capital budgets. It’s a good thing that we have a new head of the Programme Management Office.

Again, while, yes the EU money came late (November) it is not good that we were only able to expend 27% of the already small capital programme for the 2018-19 budget by the end of March. Obviously, it does no good to be habitually rolling over capital projects into the next year. This, again, points to the urgent need to continue restoring the Programme Management Office now that a new head is in place. Let us use it to build up capacity to manage, govern and execute projects on time, to international standards such as PRINCE2.

Likewise, we need to ask our politicians and pundits some very hard questions about what a local government beholden to DfID for 60% of recurrent budget and for most of our capital budget can realistically achieve.

It is very clear that when Lord Ahmad announced £30 millions for CIPREG, he admitted the need was more like £50 millions. Premier Romeo seems to think £70 millions is more like it. We must take manifestos far more seriously, thinking hard about what it means to lightly break promises to the voting public. Then, when it comes to spreading nasty stories about politicians etc or when we act disrespectfully in the Assembly, are we simply acting out of disregard for truth, disrespect, delight in damaging reputation, habitual gossip or worse?

Jeremiah has some choice words for us:

Jeremiah 9:4 Let everyone beware of his neighbor,
and put no trust in any brother,
for every brother is a deceiver,
and every neighbor goes about as a slanderer.
5 Everyone deceives his neighbor,
and no one speaks the truth;
they have taught their tongue to speak lies;
they weary themselves committing iniquity. [ESV]

Plainly, we cannot build a sound future through lies and liars. Where, a loaded, misleading half truth is a full lie. (TMR noted for the last election, to lie is to speak with disregard to truth, in the hope of profiting from what is said or suggested being taken as true.)

Let us turn from “advantage,” gossip, slander, disrespect etc. – the politics of bitterness and deception.

Turn, to what?

Perhaps, the five principal goals in our seemingly forgotten 2008 – 2020 Sustainable Development Plan:

I.        Prudent Economic Management

II.      Sound Human Development

III.    Robust Environmental Management and Disaster Mitigation

IV.     Good Governance

V.      A Sustainable Population

Okay, let the “fresh, serious, public-spirited conversation” begin.

Budget Speech- http://www.gov.ms/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Budget-Speech-2019-20.pdf Budget Estimates- http://www.gov.ms/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Budget-Estimates-2019-20.pdf

Budget Speech- http://www.gov.ms/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Budget-Speech-2019-20.pdf
Budget Estimates- http://www.gov.ms/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Budget-Estimates-2019-20.pdf

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Figure 2: Crick’s March 19, 1953 letter, p. 5 with a highlight (Fair use)

The Credibility of God

by

A Special: Part 7

Is the gospel a credible basis for a just civilisation?

When Cayman Chief Justice Anthony Smellie recently ruled[1] to impose same-sex marriage under colour of law in Cayman, some of his underlying points suggested that tradition, religion and linked religious ethics lack basic intellectual credibility and are particularly prone to inequities. Also, in recent years, there has been a flood of articles and voices across the Caribbean that have tried to discredit and dismiss the gospel, the Scriptures that teach it and the churches that bear witness to it. Last September, in answer to one such article,  the below was submitted under the right of reply, but was unfortunately rejected by a leading regional newspaper. Given what is now so clearly at stake and given the foundational importance of the gospel message and gospel ethics, we present the below as a needed first defence of our civilisation.

Over the years, many millions have met and been transformed through meeting God in the face of Christ. This includes countless Jamaicans [and many other people across the Caribbean]. It also includes many famed scholars, eminent scientists and leaders of powerful reformations. Logically, if just one of these millions has actually been reconciled with God through Christ, God must be real and the gospel must be true. (Where, if instead so many are deeply delusional, that would undermine the rational credibility of the human mind.)

However, for some years now various voices have tried to dismissively question God, the gospel and Christians. So, it is not unexpected to see Mr Gordon Robinson writing in the Gleaner[2] recently (on Sunday, August 26, 2018),  about alleged “dangerous dogma promulgated by the Church and its many brainwashed surrogates,” “perverse propaganda spread by Christian churches,” “sycophants” and the like.

Along the way, he managed to ask a pivotal question: “Who/what is God?”

Regrettably, he also implied outright fraud by church leaders: “Either the Church has NO CLUE about who/what God really is, or it deliberately misrepresents God’s essence in order to frighten people into becoming church members and tithing. Nothing else makes sense.”

Fig 1 DNA, Showing the Genetic Code (HT ResearchGate)

In fact, a simple Internet search might give a better answer. For, thinkers such as a Thomas Aquinas or an Augustine of Hippo or a Paul of Tarsus or even a Wayne Grudem[3] or a William Lane Craig[4] have long since credibly addressed the idea of God and systematic theology at a little more sophisticated level than Sunday School lessons or Internet Atheist web sites. In so doing, they have made responsible cases that rise above the level of caricatures of the art on the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling.

We may begin with Paul in Romans 1, 57 AD: “Rom 1:19 . . . what can be known about God is plain to [people], because God has shown it to them. 20 For [God’s] invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So [people] are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”  [ESV]

Here, one of the top dozen minds of our civilisation first points out how our morally governed interior life and what we see in the world all around jointly call us to God our Creator. But, too often we suppress the force of that inner testimony and outer evidence. (This, predictably, leads to unsound thinking and destructive deeds stemming from benumbed consciences and en-darkened minds.)

For one, consider how for sixty years now we have known that the DNA in the cells of our bodies has in it complex, alphanumeric, algorithmic code that is executed through molecular nanotechnology to build proteins, the workhorses of biological life. That’s why Sir Francis Crick wrote to his son Michael on March 19, 1953 that “we believe that the DNA is a code. That is, the order of bases (the letters) makes one gene different from another gene (just as one page of print is different from another).”

Yes, alphanumeric code (so, language!), algorithms (so, purpose!), i.e. intelligent design of life from the first living cell on. Including, us. No wonder the dean of the so-called New Atheists was forced to admit that Biology studies complicated things that give a strong appearance of design. 

1947 saw the advent of the transistor age, allowing storage of a single bit of information in a tiny electronic wonder. We have since advanced to computers based on silicon chips comparable in size to a thumb-nail, with millions of transistors. These microchips and support machinery process many millions of instructions per second and have storage capacities of many gigabytes. Coded electronic communication signals routinely go across millions of miles through the solar system.  Every one of these devices and systems required careful design by highly educated engineers, scientists and programmers. The living, self-replicating cell’s sophistication dwarfs all of these; yet we question the all-knowing God, the author of life.

Figure 2: Crick’s March 19, 1953 letter, p. 5 with a highlight (Fair use)

Next, Mr. Robinson and others inevitably appeal to our known duty to truth, right reasoning, fairness, prudent judgement, etc.  But, where did that inner moral law (testified to by our consciences) come from? Surely, it is not a delusion; or else responsible, freely rational discussion would collapse into nihilistic chaos: might and manipulation (= “power and propaganda”) make ‘right,’ ‘rights,’ ‘justice,’ ‘truth,’ ‘knowledge’ etc. Instead, our conscience-guarded hearts and minds clearly show the Creator’s design that we freely live by the light and law of truth and right.

Such considerations – and many more – point us to the only serious candidate for the source of reality that can bridge IS and OUGHT: the inherently good (and wise) Creator God, a necessary and maximally great being. Who is fully worthy of our loyalty and of humble, responsible, reasonable service through doing the good. Then, we may readily draw out the classic understanding of God described in scripture and studied in systematic theology: all-good, eternal, creator and Lord with sound knowledge and full capability to work out his good purposes in the right way at the right time.

Moreover, what we most of all need to know about God is taught by Jesus the Christ, recorded in scripture within eye-witness lifetime then accurately handed down to us for 2000 years now, at fearsome cost: the blood of the martyrs. Martyrs, who had but one incentive: that they directly knew and must peacefully stand by the eternal truth – cost what it will. They refused to be frightened by dungeon, fire or sword, much less mere rhetoric. Why would thousands die horribly to promote a known lie?

Their record is that Christ is the express image of his Father, Logos – Cosmos-ordering Reason himself, prophesied Messiah, the Saviour who in love died for us on a cross. He rose from the dead as Lord with 500 eye-witnesses, precisely fulfilling over three hundred prophecies that were long since recorded in the Old Testament. (See esp. Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12, c. 700 BC.[5]) He ascended to his Father in the presence of the apostles. He shall return as eternal Judge, before whom we must all account. (Yes, professing and “backsliding” Christians too.) The Bible also records Jesus’ prayer for us: “this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and [“thy Son”] Jesus Christ, whom thou has sent.” [John 17:1- 5, cf. 3:16.]

That is the truth witnessed by the church, whether it was 33 AD in Jerusalem before an angry Sanhedrin, or 50 AD before the laughing Athenians (who had built a public monument to their ignorance of God), or today.  We therefore confidently invite Mr Robinson et al. to join with us in a serious-minded, substantially informed discussion about “who/what God really is” and about why the gospel is just that: God’s good news that brings salvation, blessing and hope for the positive transformation for our nation.


[1]See TMR: https://www.themontserratreporter.com/cayman-islands-chief-justice-smellie-tries-to-redefine-marriage-fails/

[2]Cf. http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/focus/20180826/gordon-robinson-gospel-according-gordon

[3]See: http://www.waynegrudem.com/

[4]See: https://www.reasonablefaith.org/

[5]See: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isa+52%3A13+-+53%3A12&version=AMP

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CNN: WH Ordered Trump Admin Officials to Boycott WHCA Dinner

CNN: WH Ordered Trump Admin Officials to Boycott WHCA Dinner

CNN: WH Ordered Trump Admin Officials to Boycott WHCA Dinner

By Theodore Bunker    |   Tuesday, 23 April 2019

The White House has ordered officials in the Trump Administration to boycott the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, CNN reports.

The dinner usually acts as a chance for journalists and the people they report on can meet and mingle. News outlets pay for tables and extend invitations to members of the administration, legislators, government officials and the odd celebrity. Typically, a comedian is hiring as the featured speaker for the event, but the WHCA opted to invite author Ron Chernow this year instead.

White House Cabinet Secretary Bill McGinley reportedly issued the order Tuesday morning, after President Donald Trump announced earlier this month that he will skip this year’s dinner with members of the press, as he did last year and the one before.

“The dinner is so boring and so negative that we’re going to hold a very positive rally” in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Trump told reporters.

The president has repeatedly decried the news media as the “enemy of the people,” since entering office.

Olivier Knox, the president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, told CNN when asked about the boycott: “We’re looking forward to an enjoyable evening of celebrating the First Amendment and great journalists past, present and future.”Related Stories:

Read Newsmax: CNN: WH Ordered Trump Admin Officials to Boycott WHCA Dinner | Newsmax.com
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Answering CJ Smellie: “neither tradition nor religion could form the ‘rational basis for a law’”

Answering CJ Smellie: “neither tradition nor religion could form the ‘rational basis for a law’”


Is our God-fearing, Christian “tradition” outdated,  oppressive and irrational?

BRADES, Montserrat, April 6, 2019 –  In trying to establish what has been called “same-sex marriage”[1]  Cayman Islands Chief Justice Anthony Smellie, QC reportedly held[2] that  many inequities have existed in the name of tradition but neither tradition nor religion could form the “rational basis for a law.”  That is but an inch away from implying that the God-fearing, Christian faith that is the Caribbean’s dominant tradition is inevitably oppressive, outdated, ill-founded and/or irrational. Likewise, the historic legacy of Parliamentary Democracy in the Westminster system[3] with separation of the powers of government – the legislative, the executive and the judiciary – may also seem to be just as outdated. 

Such perceptions will not be left unanswered, even though this requires some fairly challenging steps of thought. Justice Smellie and others have forced the matter.

First, we must answer the attitude that one can tell the truth by the clock: what is old (or old-fashioned) is at best suspect. However, truth is not told by the clock, but by what is sound. Where,  well documented experience – history – is a key means to access what is sound.  Yes, slavery, racism, exploitation, oppression and other age-long painful evils and errors are in our past, but so are the conscience-guided reformation principles and movements that created a legacy of liberty and established constitutional democracy in our region. Where too, the Common Law and the linked Westminster system of Parliamentary Democracy under rule of law are historically anchored, time-tested traditions that build in many centuries of hard-bought experience and sound lessons in liberty and self-government. Failure to recognise, appreciate, acknowledge and respect that is not a credible context for sound reform.

Similarly, the foot of the cliff we fell over because we acted unwisely is not the best foundation for building a better future. For example, if we could go back to 1986 – 88, would we treat the Wadge-Isaacs report on volcano hazards in Montserrat in the same way? What should we have done differently between 1995 and 2003? What are we hearing today that we would be well-advised to heed (but may not take seriously)?

Likewise, it is often fashionable nowadays to denigrate the Christian religion and faith in God, the gospel and scripture. All of these are commonly dismissed as irrelevant, outdated, irrational emotional crutches or even as “fairy tales.” More broadly, “faith” and “reason” are often seen as opposites, so only what is “secular” and “modern” is responsible, sound, scientific, progressive and rational.  However, if we probe almost anything we accept as truth or knowledge (say, A), we will see that it has some sort of basis (say, B). But, why accept B? C, then D etc. We thus come to Agrippa’s three unwelcome alternatives:

[i] an endless (= “infinite”) chain of warrant we cannot complete, vs.

[ii] question-begging circularity, vs.

[iii] accepting a finitely remote, but unprovable start point (= a point of faith). 

Of these the first two fail immediately, forcing us to the third approach. The question we face, then, is not whether we have “a point of faith,” but in what/who and why.

Worse, we have seen many scientific revolutions that overturn older schools of thought – often, one funeral at a time. History has to be regularly updated or even revised. After Kurt Godel,[4] we know that the major axiomatic systems of Mathematics are not utterly certain; even while it is obviously self-evident that 2 + 2 = 4 etc.

Do we then throw up our hands and say, we cannot know anything for sure so we know nothing at all? No, even that is a (self-refuting) knowledge claim: we know that we know nothing. Oops.

Instead, we turn to reasonable, responsible faith. That is, we unavoidably have a “faith-point,” first things that we are willing to trust as credibly true but cannot prove – the “first principles” and “first plausibles” through which our proofs, arguments, knowledge and decisions are built. We may then compare alternative faith-points (“worldviews” is the technical name[5]) on [i] reliably covering the facts, [ii] logical coherence and [iii] explanatory power; towards the “best.”

Where also, there are a few plumb-line, self-evident truths we can use to test our thinking. For instance, it is undeniably true that error exists, which is thus certainly known, though humbling (as, we may err). So, worldviews that suggest that we cannot cross the ugly gap between our inner world of thoughts and how things seem to us and the outer one of how things actually are in themselves, fail.  Similarly,  we can be confident: truth says of what is, that it is; and of what is not, that it is not.  

Likewise, St Paul astutely asked: “even . . . [for a] pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped?” [1 Cor 14:7, KJV.] That is, without clear distinct identity we can neither think nor communicate. A first, inescapably true law of thought: A is A. Where: if A is confounded with what is not-A, there is only needless confusion and chaos.  (Which, should already ring a few warning-bells.)

Of the live worldview options before us, millions can testify that it is not at all unreasonable or irresponsible to trust the inherently good and utterly wise creator God, the veracity of the gospel of Jesus and the life-transforming insights of scripture.

Turning to the scriptures,[6] we meet there the voice of the Creator God, proclaiming the end from the beginning, establishing a covenant people, accurately prophesying the messiah to come hundreds of years ahead of time. A messiah who would be a despised, rejected wounded healer unjustly put to death but rising in triumph and bringing many souls to salvation. In the gospels, we see just such a Messiah,[7] one who was despised and unjustly crucified but rose from the dead with five hundred witnesses who could not be silenced, and now with millions across the Caribbean and world whose lives have been touched for the good by that risen Christ.

It is this same Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, who taught us:

“Have you never read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined inseparably to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate.” [Matt 19:4 – 6, AMP.]

Here, we see “tradition,” “religion,” “history” and the obvious complementarity of the two sexes jointly testifying to what marriage is at root, a law of our morally governed nature that is prior to any human government and its decrees. Therefore, as government did not invent marriage, its officers cannot use the magic of words to “modify” or “update” or “add to” it as they please under colour of law. Government is not God.

Until very recently, this was generally recognised and respected by legislatures and judges alike.  So, given the contrast between an ages old law anchored on the naturally evident creation order that founds stable human society and radical judicial novelties, which should we see as “reasonable,” why?

Now, too, is what is old inevitably suspect, likely to be oppressive, discriminatory, violating of “rights”?  To ask is already to answer: no, we also do not tell good/evil by the clock but by what is right. Marriage, as that which recognises and honourably binds men and women through natural and complementary differences vital to nurturing the next generation is clearly not “discriminatory.”   So, that our laws have hitherto recognised the law of our nature that is literally written into our maleness and femaleness is a reflection of reality, not “oppression.”

To suggest otherwise is blatantly morally unsound and chaotic. As, we are now beginning to see. E


[1] See, TMR https://www.themontserratreporter.com/what-is-marriage/

[2]See https://caymannewsservice.com/2019/03/legalises-gay-marriage/

[3] See http://australianpolitics.com/democracy/key-terms/westminster-system

[4] See https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/goedel-incompleteness/

[5] See https://www.thefreedictionary.com/worldview

[6] See https://www.biblegateway.com/

[7] See http://vimeo.com/17960119

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Cayman Islands Chief Justice Smellie tries to redefine marriage, fails

Cayman Islands Chief Justice Smellie tries to redefine marriage, fails


A Special: Part 5

Does a judge have a just power to overturn the specific provisions of a Constitution?

BRADES, Montserrat, March 30, 2019 –  On Friday, March 29, 2019, Cayman Islands Chief Justice Anthony Smellie, QC reportedly ruled[1] that “marriage means the union between two people as one another’s spouses.” In doing so, he tried to establish what has been called “same-sex marriage”[2]; but, at the cost of precipitating[3] a needless, Caribbean-wide – arguably, Commonwealth-wide – constitutional crisis. That’s why the Cayman Government has protested:  “we believe that introducing the entirely new concept of same-sex marriage into the existing Marriage Law goes way beyond any reasonable interpretation of modification or adaptation.” It adds: “[t]his, we believe, might be inconsistent with the separation of powers by trespassing on the constitutional remit of this Legislative Assembly,” and it is appealing the judgement.

This is because Justice Smellie claimed to act under colour of “rights” that have been violated, then dismissed historic or traditional views as prone to “inequities,” further holding that “neither tradition nor religion could form the ‘rational basis for a law’.”  He also (tellingly) asserted that “it was settled case law that the court has the power to make legislation which breaches the constitution.”

Yes, Justice Smellie did plainly say or imply that “the court has the power to make legislation” and – even worse – that such new laws (issued by unelected judges!) can breach provisions of a Constitution. Nor does the claim[4] that “[i]t doesn’t say you can’t add the right of other people to enjoy those rights [of marriage]” change the pivotal fact that one is – by the obvious implications of “add” – amending a Constitution from the judge’s bench. Such, in the teeth of the known democratic intent of both the Legislature and the people of Cayman.

This is dangerous judicial over-reach and must not stand unchallenged. (Indeed, if it is so that “settled case law” backs the judge, it only implies that the danger is even more urgent, more clear and present.)

For, such an imposition threatens the general legitimacy of constitutional democratic government under the rule of law. Indeed, a claim that courts have Constitution-breaching, law-making power is manifestly a serious, anti-democratic judicial over-reach. One, that is obviously in contempt of Parliament, people and Constitution alike. (Indeed, this case may be grounds for establishing that our judges must now be subject to impeachment for contempt of Parliament, people and Constitution.)

But, but, but . . . shouldn’t the judiciary be independent?

Yes, judges are indeed independent. But, not so independent that they – being unelected and not accountable to voters – can strike down and replace actual specific Constitutional provisions as they wish, rather than soundly interpreting and applying the duly established Constitutional law.  In a Constitutional Democracy, for very good reasons, the Constitution is democratically established as the supreme law of the land and it should only be amended or replaced through a proper democratic process. Therefore, judges simply cannot have a legitimate power to unilaterally amend a constitution.

Now, the Cayman Constitution’s Section 14 has already specifically recognised the historic, Creation order based, naturally evident definition of marriage:  “Government shall respect the right of every unmarried man and woman of marriageable age (as determined by law) freely to marry a person of the opposite sex and found a family.”  Where, no, this historic understanding that marriage is based on the naturally evident, creation order based complementarity of the two sexes is not mere bigotry or rights-violating oppression and discrimination comparable to slavery or racism or other age-long abuses. Such a suggestion[5] in the ruling is outrageous. Frankly, it reflects nothing less than utter contempt for the people of the Caribbean. People who historically suffered enslavement, oppression and racism.

Thus, fail.

For, we must have the rule of law (especially, through Constitutions), not rule of men. Therefore, judges simply cannot be allowed to dismiss inconvenient Constitutional provisions through dictating from the judicial bench by decree under colour of law.

Not even, under colour of “rights.”

Rights are an underlying issue: what is a right?  Let us therefore recall what was already noted[6] in this special series here at TMR:

“A right is a binding, moral claim that one must be respected and protected due to his or her inherent dignity and worth as a human being. Such worth can only come from our being made in God’s image and “endowed with certain unalienable rights.” Rights, that start with “life.” We are morally governed, conscience-guided creatures who have responsible, rational freedom. Clearly, then, to properly claim a right one must first manifestly be in the right.  Indeed, in order to persuade us the FAC expects us to know that we have duties to truth, right reason, prudence, fairness etc. That is, they too understand that we are morally governed creatures. But, such conscience-guided moral government, in the end, has just one credible source: the inherently good, wise, loving creator God.”

Therefore, it is fair comment to point out that those who applauded Justice Smellie’s ruling were inadvertently applauding the destructive subversion, usurpation and undermining of the rule of law through constitutional democracy in the Caribbean and the wider Commonwealth.

The Chinese speak of how a government has a mandate from heaven, which can be lost through folly and failure. That is because governments must be legitimate,[7] they must have what the American founders spoke of as “the consent of the governed.”  A government system that undermines and forfeits such legitimacy loses its “just powers” and so faces growing disaffection and the fatal, spreading contempt of ordinary law abiding people.

That is why it is a lesson of history (paid for with blood again and again), that governments that lose legitimacy become tyrannical as they try to impose increasingly unjust power. Such tyrannies will ultimately fail, but that usually costs rivers of blood.  Also, as certain neighbouring Caribbean countries show, there is no guarantee that a replacement will be an improvement.

Instead, let us carefully ponder how Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, Washington and the other American founders warned us all, on July 4, 1776:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” Chief Justice Anthony Smellie, fail.  Fail, through judicial over-reach. Fail, through not understanding that to properly claim a right, one must manifestly be in the right; on pain of trying to compel others to taint conscience, ignore sound moral principle and support one in evil. Fail, through not recognising that reason itself is inescapably morally governed and that moral government therefore traces to the inherently good and wise Moral Governor of the universe, our Creator. We must do better as a region.


[1]See https://caymannewsservice.com/2019/03/legalises-gay-marriage/

[2] See, TMR https://www.themontserratreporter.com/what-is-marriage/

[3] See KY Gov’t http://www.gov.ky/portal/page/portal/otphome/announcements/statement-on-same-sex-marriage-ruling?fbclid=IwAR0m5tvwHvjd6ZPen82RAzmd-zA3Y0fVj172KftvDmaI0H3u1SjdWoReDWo

[4] See https://www.caymancompass.com/2019/04/01/the-issue-explained-a-closer-look-at-the-same-sex-marriage-ruling/

[5] See, https://www.caymancompass.com/2019/03/29/chief-justice-rules-same-sex-marriage-is-legal/

[6] See, TMR: https://www.themontserratreporter.com/fac-report-pushes-for-homosexualisation-of-marriage-how-can-montserrat-respond-reasonably-and-responsibly/

[7] See, SEP https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/legitimacy/

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jimmy Carter quote on homosexuality

Answering Mr Carter on homosexuality, Christian teaching and “real” Christianity

Is the traditional Christian view of homosexuality out of line with what Jesus taught?

(A special, part 4)

BRADES, Montserrat, March 22, 2019 –  In recent days, The Reporter has learned of the displayed recent remark by former US President, Mr. Jimmy Carter. Others have said much the same, and the matter must be firmly answered as we address the recent push to homosexualise marriage in Montserrat and other UK Overseas Territories.

The basic idea is that Jesus never said anything about homosexuality (or associated topics) so on charity we should just set aside all of that stuff about Sodom and Gomorrah in the Old Testament and dismiss or radically “liberalise” whatever Paul of Tarsus may have written.  In the background, is the impression that big-S Science has shown that homosexuals, transgenders and the like were born that way, and that their behaviour does no harm to the community so we should stop stigmatising (“condemning”) them.

However, something has gone seriously wrong. 

For one, any sound Christian will know that  “all Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for instruction.” So, if we see someone trying to drive a wedge between Jesus and the Old Testament and also between Jesus and the Apostles he sent out, that is already a direct proof of their serious error. Darkness in the place of light level error. Instead, we are to follow the whole counsel of God’s Word as soundly understood, not what we pick and choose to suit ourselves. That’s why Peter warned against those who would wrench the Scriptures to their own ruin.

We must not forget, the radical agenda does not stop at any particular point. If the complementarity of the two sexes is rejected and marriage is redefined as we please, “gender” is up for grabs too. Recall, some of the dozens of “genders” we have been hearing about: “Aerogender: a gender that is influenced by your surroundings” and “Agenderflux: Being agender and having fluctuating feelings of masculinity or femininity, but NOT male or female” – obvious absurdity that disregards our naturally evident creation order. If one claims that darkness is light, he then will claim that light is darkness too. If good is deemed evil, evil will be said to be good. If what is sound is dismissed, absurdity will be proclaimed as deep truth, right and rights.

Worse, whoever posted Mr Carter’s claim said, “This is what a real Christian sounds like.” Far from it.

Today’s activists do not have the right to decide what the Christan faith is, and who is or is not a true Christian. That was settled a long time ago, by Jesus and the Apostles he sent out, recorded for us in the Bible. So, let us turn again to the clarity and good sense that Jesus taught about marriage, family, men, women and sex:

“Have you never read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined inseparably to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate.” [Matt 19:4 – 6, AMP.]

This is the naturally obvious creation order for men, women and families, the foundation of sound civilisation. We tamper with that at our peril. And already, it is not just “transgenderism” it is teachers being forced to lead even four and five year olds[1] in the UK into gender chaos. That’s why 600 children were pulled out of a school in Birmingham in protest. Let’s notice how it is the parents (not the educators pushing dubious agendas) who are being challenged:

“Parents have come under fire for reportedly withdrawing 600 children from Parkfield Community School today in a row over LGBT lessons. The move from the fuming Muslim mums and dads comes after they claimed their children were being ‘brainwashed’. The pupils were taken out of classes as the row surrounding LGBT lifestyles being taught openly in the classroom escalated. Some reports suggest as many as 80 per cent of the children at Parkfield Community School in Saltley have been removed – around 600.” [Birmingham Live, March 1, 2019.[2]]

The article explains:

“The No Outsiders programme was started by the school’s gay assistant head teacher Andrew Moffat. Mr Moffat MBE has been criticised by parents for piloting the programme, which is run alongside sex and relationship education (SRE) lessons. Its ethos promotes LGBT equality and challenges homophobia in primary schools. Books now being read by pupils at Parkfield Community School include Mommy, Mama and Me and King & King – stories about same-sex relationships and marriages.” [TMR: Notice, the assumption that objections to homosexual behaviour and trying to redefine marriage against Creation Order are driven by “phobia” – i.e. irrational fear and bigotry. That’s slander.]

Is that where we want to go, here in Montserrat? Birmingham proves that this is what lies down the path the FAC now wants to lead us into.

In answer, we may read a solemn warning:

“Luke 17: 1 Jesus said to His disciples, “Stumbling blocks

[temptations and traps set to lure one to sin]

are sure to come, but woe (judgment is coming) to him through whom they come! 2 It would be better for him if a millstone [as large as one turned by a donkey] were hung around his neck and he were hurled into the sea, than for him to cause one of these little ones to stumble [in sin and lose faith]. [AMP]”

But, but, but, don’t their genes make them do it?

No. As we already noted in the first article in this special series:

“. . . no complicated human behaviour has ever been shown to be actually determined by our genes. We are not mindless robots. The search for gay genes has unsurprisingly clearly failed despite the impressions given by the media and by ill-advised education. Instead, we are responsible, morally governed, conscience-guided. This clearly includes our sexual behaviour: our sexual attractions, acts and habits are under moral government. Of course, our impulses and behaviours can sometimes trap us in addictive, hard to escape patterns of life that are unwise, ill-advised (or even outright irrational), abnormal, damaging, disease-spreading, insanitary, destructive.

Common sense speaks again: such people need help.”

In Romans 1,[3] the Apostle Paul teaches us that when nations turn from God their thinking becomes twisted and moral breakdown follows. This includes many different types of ruinous folly and sin, including the warping of our sexuality. He also tells us how by God’s grace, we may overcome grave, enslaving, destructive sins:

“1 Cor 6:9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit or have any share in the kingdom of God?

Do not be deceived; neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate [by perversion], nor those who participate in homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers [whose words are used as weapons to abuse, insult, humiliate, intimidate, or slander], nor swindlers will inherit or have any share in the kingdom of God.

11 And such were some of you [before you believed]. But you were washed [by the atoning sacrifice of Christ], you were sanctified [set apart for God, and made holy], you were justified [declared free of guilt] in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the [Holy] Spirit of our God [the source of the believer’s new life and changed behavior]. [AMP]” “And such WERE some of you . . .” But, by God’s grace, there is hope, there is cleansing, there is transformation. And, that is the genuine gospel message, from AD 30 to AD 2019 and beyond.


[1] See: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6766643/Birmingham-Muslim-parents-withdraw-600-children-Parkfield-Community-School-LGBT-lessons.html

[2] See: https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/how-birmingham-reacted-parents-withdrawing-15910307

[3] See: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Rom+1%3A18+-+32&version=AMP

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Are there dozens of “genders” and “sexual orientations” to be protected by law?

Are there dozens of “genders” and “sexual orientations” to be protected by law?

Contribution  

(A special – part 3)

Is it bigotry comparable to racism to challenge today’s radical sexual agendas (and their champions in the FAC)?

BRADES, Montserrat, March 4, 2019 – This is no longer a day of live and let live about sexual identity, orientation and gender identity. That is the message sent by the UK House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee when they demanded that the five Caribbean OT’s fall in line and pass laws to homosexualise marriage or face imposition by the UK. The FAC went so far as to speak of a “bar” – language previously used to speak of the racist colour bar used to rob colonised Africans of their rights. Clearly, if one dares to challenge the radical sexual activists, she or he can expect to be labelled irrational – a “phobia” is an irrational fear – and will be targetted, smeared and pushed into the same boat as racists. We cannot have a serious conversation under such polarised and hostile circumstances; but, a serious conversation is always the first thing we need if we are to make sound policy decisions and law. Something is wrong, deeply wrong.

To see just how badly wrong, let’s start with a few of the dozens of “genders” that are now being touted by the activists. These are taken from the Genderfluid Support web site’s “master list” (which runs from A to V):

“Any gender named _gender may be made into _boy, _girl, _nonbinary, etc. . . . .

Abimegender: a gender that is profound, deep, and infinite; meant to resemble when one mirror is reflecting into another mirror creating an infinite paradox Adamasgender: a gender which refuses to be categorized Aerogender: a gender that is influenced by your surroundings Aesthetigender: a gender that is derived from an aesthetic; also known as videgender Affectugender: a gender that is affected by mood swings Agender: the feeling of no gender/absence of gender or neutral gender Agenderflux: Being agender and having fluctuating feelings of masculinity or femininity, but NOT male or female”

These are literally the first seven items on the “master list.” And yes, that is the sort of obviously irrational confusion that is now on the table. A chaos that results from rejecting our naturally evident creation order. As we saw last time, “those who try to tamper with marriage or twist sex out of its right place are playing with ruinous fire.” So, let us instead turn to the patent clarity and good sense that Jesus taught:

“Have you never read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined inseparably to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate.” [Matt 19:4 – 6, AMP.]

But, what about sexual orientation, homosexuality, being gay or lesbian or bisexual? (After all, “sexual orientation” is protected in the Bill of Rights in Montserrat’s 2010 Constitution Order.)

The US-based Abortion-promoting Organisation, Planned Parenthood, suggests:

“Sexual orientation is about who you’re attracted to and who you feel drawn to romantically, emotionally, and sexually. It’s different than gender identity. Gender identity isn’t about who you’re attracted to, but about who you ARE — male, female, genderqueer, etc. ”

Such definitions are of course always a work in progress, subject to extension as the radical agendas proceed. One may be sexually attracted and drawn to underage boys or girls, or to animals, or these days even robots. As was pointed out to the framers of the 2010 Constitution Order, “sexual orientation” is a psychological term not a legal one and it is dangerously vague and open to being pushed further and further into hitherto unmentionable territory. Already, we are seeing dozens of bizarre “gender” identities being touted. A warning.

But, aren’t these things genetically programmed so people cannot help what their genes made them do?

No. As we noted in the first article in this special series:

“. . . no complicated human behaviour has ever been shown to be actually determined by our genes. We are not mindless robots. The search for gay genes has unsurprisingly clearly failed despite the impressions given by the media and by ill-advised education. Instead, we are responsible, morally governed, conscience-guided. This clearly includes our sexual behaviour: our sexual attractions, acts and habits are under moral government. Of course, our impulses and behaviours can sometimes trap us in addictive, hard to escape patterns of life that are unwise, ill-advised (or even outright irrational), abnormal, damaging, disease-spreading, insanitary, destructive.

Common sense speaks again: such people need help.”

The above list of “genders” makes it very clear that that help needs to be psychological and spiritual. It is not for nothing that the Apostle Paul warned about the consequences of a civilisation turning its back on God, in Rom 1: 28 – 29: “since they did not see fit to acknowledge God or consider Him worth knowing [as their Creator], God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do things which are improper and repulsive, until they were filled (permeated, saturated) with every kind of unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil.” [AMP]

That is the bottom line: will we or will we not respect our Creator? We can already see the grim consequences of turning our backs on him. Finally, principled, concerned, compassionate questioning of and/or objection to the radical sexual agendas of our day is simply not bigotry equivalent to racism. That defamation stands exposed and must be retracted and apologised for. It is time to return our civilisation to sounder footing.

The Montserrat Reporter needs your support


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FAC Report pushes for homosexualisation of marriage How can Montserrat respond reasonably and responsibly

FAC Report pushes for homosexualisation of marriage How can Montserrat respond reasonably and responsibly

Contribution (A special)

BRADES, Montserrat, February 25, 2019 – In the February 8th issue of The Reporter, it was noticed that when Lord Ahmad appeared before the UK Foreign Affairs Committee, on December 18th last year:

“. . . right after the imposition of a public beneficial ownership register was put on the table, the very next issue raised was: similar imposition of “same-sex ‘marriage’ . . .”? (In other words, when our elected members struck a “compromise” with the FCO in 2010 such that the first “rights” to be protected in the 2010 Constitution Order are “sex” and “sexual orientation” while in Section 10 it asserted the “right to marry a person of the opposite sex” and thus to “found a family,” that was just a temporary pause for those pushing the radical sexual agenda.)”

That concern about the UK Parliament being in a mood to push for further impositions was right. For, when the FAC report on OT’s came out on February 21st, it said that “a notable point of divergence and friction is same-sex marriage, which has been legalised in all but the five OTs in the Caribbean (Anguilla, BVI, the Cayman Islands, Montserrat, and Turks and Caicos), though this bar is currently being challenged in the courts in the Cayman Islands.” [Emphasis added.]

“Bar” is a loaded word: it is how the British spoke of how black people in Zimbabwe or Kenya or South Africa were excluded and robbed of their rights: “the colour bar.” In other words, we the people and Governments of Caribbean OT’s are being directly compared to racists. This is not right, it is not fair, it is not true and it must be answered.

Less than ten years ago, when the Montserrat 2010 Constitution Order was being negotiated with the FCO, it was noticed that the FCO draft had in it an odd section about “right to marry” – something that, historically, has not been a Constitutional issue – that was strangely vague and which had not been frankly discussed with the people of our community. So, Montserrat’s elected representatives proposed more specific language for Section 10, that one marries a person “of the opposite sex” and so may “found a family.” As a part of discussion with the FCO, this was “balanced” by specific inclusion of “sex” and “sexual orientation” in the list of rights to be protected under law. This was then passed by resolution of our parliament, was in what was tabled in the UK Parliament and was in what was issued through the Privy Council as an Order in Council.

Less than ten years ago, it was clearly reasonable to hold that marriage is between people of “opposite sex.” So, why is it that the FAC now wishes to compare such a view with racism and colour bar? With, the implication lurking just below the surface, that our Christian convictions on the matter are unreasonable, oppressive and backward?

Arguably, such is because the homosexualism-promoting activists have been able to get their way in several major countries, including the UK and have moved on beyond getting “civil unions” recognised to demanding “marriage equality.” In some, by court rulings, in others by acts passed in parliaments, in a few by referendums. However, here, such a move would have to be by Constitutional amendment, and to deal with that we must ask a pointed question: what has fundamentally changed over the past ten years about the two sexes required to conceive a child and to properly nurture that child in a stable, wholesome family environment? Obviously: nothing.

We will also need to be clear as to what makes a claimed “right” right, and what are the limits on just law. Otherwise, we will be labelled backward bigots and targetted as oppressors blocking “rights.”

So, what is a right, and what makes it a right? Ans: A right is a binding, moral claim that one must be respected and protected due to his or her inherent dignity and worth as a human being. Such worth can only come from our being made in God’s image and “endowed with certain unalienable rights.” Rights, that start with “life.” We are morally governed, conscience-guided creatures who have responsible, rational freedom. Clearly, then, to properly claim a right one must first manifestly be in the right.

Indeed, in order to persuade us the FAC expects us to know that we have duties to truth, right reason, prudence, fairness etc. That is, they too understand that we are morally governed creatures. But, such conscience-guided moral government, in the end, has just one credible source: the inherently good, wise, loving creator God.

That’s why in July 1776, the American founders wrote:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed . . . ”

Likewise, Jesus went on record:

“Have you never read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined inseparably to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh.

Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate.” [Matt 19:4 – 6, AMP.]

So, by implicitly comparing our stand to racism, the FAC has now forced us to justify our views, on common sense, moral principle and scripture. Marriage is based on the naturally evident creation order of the two sexes, male and female, and is a lifelong covenant under God. Where, what God joins, man must not separate.

That is also the testimony of common sense. For example, no complicated human behaviour has ever been shown to be actually determined by our genes. We are not mindless robots. The search for gay genes has unsurprisingly clearly failed despite the impressions given by the media and by ill-advised education. Instead, we are responsible, morally governed, conscience-guided. This clearly includes our sexual behaviour: our sexual attractions, acts and habits are under moral government. Of course, our impulses and behaviours can sometimes trap us in addictive, hard to escape patterns of life that are unwise, ill-advised (or even outright irrational), abnormal, damaging, disease-spreading, insanitary, destructive.

Common sense speaks again:
Clearly, distorting Marriage under false colour of law is not the right or just answer. Likewise, stigmatising people who have principled objections to such distortions as though they were backward bigots comparable to racists is equally unjust. The activists have gone too far.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Columns, De Ole Dawg, International, Local, News, OECS, Opinions, Politics, UK - Brexit1 Comment

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