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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.

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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.

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What is Marriage?

What is Marriage?

Contribution,  (A special, part 2)

Is marriage merely a contract under law that we can change as we wish?

BRADES, Montserrat, March 1, 2019 –  In their February 21st report on Montserrat and other Overseas Territories, the UK House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) it proposed that the UK Government  “should set a date by which it expects all OTs to have legalised same-sex marriage” and if that date is not met, it should impose this novelty through legislation or an Order in Council. However, such presumes that marriage is merely a convenient contractual arrangement that can be readily updated for new times, through getting rid of backward, oppressive notions. Especially, as the FAC viewed the historic understanding as imposing an unjust “bar” on homosexuals, etc.[1]

But, is that so? 

Are those who support the historic view of marriage guilty of the equivalent of the racist “colour bar” that was used to rob Africans of their rights in colonised Africa?

No.

First, historic marriage is obviously not the equivalent of Apartheid – the FAC owes us a public apology and retraction for that outrageous, subtle insult.

Instead, historic marriage rests on our nature as male and female and on sound moral principle. That’s why “marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled.” For, men and women are matching halves of a whole, not just so that children may be born and nurtured in a sound family, but relationally – “it is not good for the man to be alone.” Stable marriages that honourably join men and women in a lifelong union and resulting families are the foundation of stable, sustainable society.

That is why those who try to tamper with marriage or twist sex out of its right place are playing with ruinous fire.

That is the logic behind Jesus’ words:

“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.]

Such words are not mere empty religious bigotry or myths, they reflect our naturally evident creation order, an order that we can all see by simply looking around us. An order, that is the basis for sound, sustainable civilisation. Those who tamper with it are unwittingly serving forces of chaos.

Indeed, we are already seeing the next item on the chaotic sexual agenda, a list of dozens of “genders”[2] intended to replace being male or female – and some of this is already being taught to young children in schools. One wonders, if animals and robots will also be brought into this already absurd picture. Already, factories are building sex robots.

If we are to weather this cultural hurricane, we will need a sound, principled understanding of marriage, one anchored to our nature as male and female. For example, George, Girgis and Anderson wrote in the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy that:

“Marriage is the union of a man and a woman who make a permanent and exclusive commitment to each other of the type that is naturally (inherently) fulfilled by bearing and rearing children together. The spouses seal (consummate) and renew their union by conjugal acts—acts that constitute the behavioral part of the process of reproduction, thus uniting them as a reproductive unit. Marriage is valuable in itself, but its inherent orientation to the bearing and rearing of children con-tributes to its distinctive structure, including norms of monogamy and fidelity. This link to the welfare of children also helps explain why marriage is important to the common good and why the state should recognize and regulate it.” [“What is Marriage?,” Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, Vol 34 No. 1, p. 246.]

No, marriage is not merely a matter of romantic attachment and personal fulfillment, to be expressed in whatever acts we can dream up, then can freely discard once the heat of our emotions cools down. No, legislatures did not invent it, nor can they use the magic of words under colour of law to alter its fundamental nature. No, those who stand for sound marriage are not the moral equivalent of oppressive racists.

So, it’s not just about imposition without due consultation with our people. It’s not just a debate on amending Montserrat’s Constitution Order of 2010, which says that a person of appropriate age has a “right to marry a person of the opposite sex” and thus to “found a family.” Provisions, passed by the UK’s Privy Council less than ten years ago. It is about basic respect and it is about preserving the soundness of our civilisation.


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

[2]E.g. see: http://genderfluidsupport.tumblr.com/gender/

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Why does Montserrat need a “breakthrough”?

Contribution – Part 2/2019

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Why has it taken so long for economy transforming projects to begin to roll out?

BRADES, Montserrat, January 17, 2019 –  In his New Year’s message, Premier Romeo announced a list of “breakthrough” projects.[1] As TMR announced,[2] within days, we then saw a rush of activities on the ground.

For example, just after the New year, the “cab” for the new air traffic control tower was trailered up from the port via Davy Hill and the tunnel to the airport. Yes, it got stuck in the tunnel, but that was just a hiccup. The main point is that with a new control tower and proper lighting, the airport can open at night. That improves access for tourism and for medical evacuations by night. Tourism is our biggest hope for economic growth.

If we go down by the MCWL building, we will see solar PV panels being installed for the new 250 kW – 250,000 Watt – power plant, about 10% of our peak electrical load. Ministry officials tell us that a 750 kW plant is to follow shortly. These plants will improve resiliency and provide diversity for our power grid. Officials also informed the public that announcements on geothermal power plant development are to follow shortly. As there may be up to 100 MW – a hundred million Watts – of geothermal energy, we will be able to replace fossil fuel fired electricity, perhaps reducing prices to the consumer (including fuel surcharge) by 50% and opening up room for economic growth and high quality jobs.

Likewise, Stantec of Canada and Barbados is already doing stakeholder and environmental consultations and in coming months is to work with Government to oversee design and construction of the new breakwater and berthing facility for the sea port.

A subsea fibre optic cable is to be laid in coming months also.

Each of these initiatives has good potential to help move our economy on a growth path. That’s not the issue. The problem is, why did it take so long? What are the barriers, obstacles, roadblocks, undermining etc that have been hindering growth? What can we do to make sure barriers go away permanently and do not kill our key development projects?

A good example is a concern that is now making the rounds on the street. It is credibly said that the TC Canadian Economist who helped to push through our Economic Growth Strategy and who has helped us make key connections that opened up possibilities is being pushed out despite the many contributions he obviously could continue to make. This follows the case where an Engineer and Project Management expert who was already setting up a system for training and certifying world class capability for project management here (as well as introducing the famous PRINCE2 practical Project Management system) was frog marched out of Government headquarters, on a “no cause clause” dismissal. Of course, ever since, the Project Management Office has been put in the freezer, undermining our credibility to manage and properly govern projects and programmes. Indeed, a January 2017 Cabinet instruction to proceed with radical reform of the Premier’s Office has also been delayed, roadblocked, stalled for two years now.

Oh is Don fault, ‘e too soft an’ incompetent!

No, such things should never happen, regardless of who is or is not Premier.

We should not “need” a strong man with raised hand holding a whip over us for us to do our work properly and promptly. Slavery was abolished 150 years ago.

Just so, we should not be found undermining, slandering and pushing out people who are helping us by beginning to deliver results. Similarly, we should not throw out the baby with the bath water and we should not kill the goose that is laying the golden eggs.

It is not for nothing that Scripture warns that where we find envy and selfish ambition there will we find disorder and every evil work. It again counsels, let him who is without fault throw the first stone. As a third counsel, it informs us that we should take out the plank in our own eyes then we will see clearly enough to help our brother down in the saw-pit with the sawdust that got in his eyes.

Once we get our spiritual attitude right, we will then able to act wisely enough to come together with godly teamwork and build a sound future for Montserrat.

Where, clearly – even astonishingly, Premier Romeo and his colleagues have in fact begun to deliver on some key, economy transforming initiatives that have been roadblocked for twenty years.  For all their faults – real and imagined – they have to be getting something right. So, it is time for a balanced look to learn lessons going forward.

Perhaps, we can notice: every one of the key projects that are moving forward is externally managed. A clue. The sea port, CDB and Stantec. The Fibre Optic Cable will be laid by a specialist ship. The Control tower “cab” is prefabricated. SALT Energy is building our solar PV plants. DfID has taken over geothermal development. The subtle signal being sent is that we have to drastically improve project governance and project cycle management capability and credibility. That’s why PRINCE2 would have been making a big difference. We must go right back to where we were in July 2017. That includes, fixing the Premier’s Office – including putting in place a capable Chief Executive Officer he is comfortable working with.

Likewise, after hurricanes Irma and Maria gave us two close calls in two weeks, resiliency moved to first priority. Suddenly power brokers in the UN, the UK and other OT’s hit by the hurricanes were listening keenly as Premier Romeo called attention to the acknowledged legal force of the UN Charter’s Article 73 . The UK is legally bound to “ensure . . . advancement”: socially, educationally, politically and economically. It is to “promote constructive measures of development.” Then the Premier  [a] withdrew Premier Meade’s request to take us off the UN’s list of territories that Article 73 applies to AND [b] invited a UN delegation to visit us. That has to go through the UK. Not too long thereafter, we are getting movement on ever so many long-stalled projects. Each of these projects also has a resiliency component. 

Last, but not least: it’s obviously time to stop scoffing at the “first call” principle and to instead use it as a strong negotiating point.


[1] See, TMR https://www.themontserratreporter.com/honourable-premier-donaldson-romeo-2019-new-year-statement/

[2] See TMR, addr

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Governing Montserrat 2019 – 2024

Contribution – Part 1/2019

Is “folly-tricks” and “melee as usual”  good enough for Montserrat, going forward?

by 

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BRADES, Montserrat, January 15, 2019 –  Everything is now under the shadow of the upcoming elections; due by September (or a little later).   So, let us look at how we may best govern Montserrat over the next six years: 2019 – 2024.  Yes, six years – we have to get on with actually governing and building the future even while an election looms. Where, obviously, “folly-tricks” and “melee as usual” cannot solve our serious governance, capacity-building, social stabilisation, resiliency, and economy-rebuilding challenges. Gross exaggerations and one-sided accusations multiplied by unbalanced news coverage only serve to distort, polarise, stir up needless anger, misinform and mislead.

We must first remember:  Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition – yes, that is the formal name – is supposed to be an alternative government, ready to take over at need. Fair comment: we are failing that test.

(That’s why a visiting expert has warned some of our more strident political voices that winning an election through attack politics is one thing, but building a sound governance consensus for the future is quite another.)

Obviously, while the current Premier has his failings, “is Don’s fault” cannot be the correct diagnosis for everything that is wrong after nearly twenty-four years of crisis and challenges. Similarly, Montserrat is not “dying.” Given the painful journey we have been on since July 18, 1995, our economy is not “dead,” or “the worst ever,” etc., etc. It is not true that every “foreigner” – fellow Caricom citizens! – just wants to get a UK passport and go off to greener pastures; and many who have done that provided years of service to the country.

Yes, we face many challenges, there are many errors, we have to do better.

But, the politics of polarisation, targetting scapegoats, exaggeration, half-truths, drowning out or silencing the rest of the story and of outright slander are not the way forward. So, those who have insisted on “folly-tricks” and “melee” despite repeated correction here at TMR and elsewhere have no excuse; they know better – or should know better. By insisting on the wrong way because they thought it gave them an advantage or because they were too angry to think straight, they have exposed the sad fact that they are simply not ready to lead Montserrat going forward.

Yes, we clearly have a leadership gap.

No-one is going to ride up as a shining knight on a white horse and single-handedly, magically save us from all of our troubles, not even if the MVO, SAC and Emergency people declare next year, that the eruption is over. (What about the apparent, roughly thirty-year cycle since 1897 – 98? As in 1935 – 37, 1967, 1992 – 97 etc. If it is real, a new disturbance could be due within six or so years. This, too, we have to frankly face.)

Come together should be the buzz phrase. We are the ones who have to come together, find a way to build consensus (despite our differences and disagreements) and actually work together as Team Montserrat. We must realise that the reason why crabs are in a barrel together is to be put in the same hot, boiling pot. 

That’s why “crabs in a barrel,” pulling one another back down as usual cannot work.

For just one example, did we notice that on December 18th last year, while we were debating here in the Assembly, Lord Ahmad was before the UK Foreign Affairs Committee? Did we see that 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’ . . .”?[1] (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”[2] 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.)

How are we going to deal with new colonialism by passing laws in the UK to impose whatever they want on us – on whatever excuse?

Especially, given our post volcano disaster challenges which put independence off the table for a long time to come? And, that even if we get a few seats in the parliament, we would most likely be drowned out amidst 600-plus seats?  (The American Colonists figured that out in the 1770’s.)

The only credible option is something far too many of our politicians, pundits and media voices have derided and mocked time and again: yes, the UK-acknowledged, legally binding force of The UN Charter, Article 73. We are Geographically distant, ethnically distinct and culturally diverse from the UK, and Europe, which is/are therefore duty-bound to respect our own democratic decisions, such as the 2010 Constitution Order compromise.

Where, as a right is a moral claim for respect and support, to properly claim a right, one must plainly first be in the right. For, no-one can have a right to demand that another taints conscience or damns his or her soul before God by supporting and encouraging evil.

(That’s why Jesus taught that one who causes a child to stumble into sin would have done better to have drowned instead. Where, obviously, Jesus did not issue an invitation to hate, vigilantism or violence. It is also why we see in the Revelation, that warning about how a devillish tyrant will one day order that no man could buy or sell save he take the infamous soul-damning mark of disloyalty to God. Caesar cannot demand from us what properly belongs to God alone: the loyalty of our souls.)

One step towards progress would be to humble ourselves and admit that Premier Romeo has been right to focus on the legal force of Article 73 and on the linked first call OT’s have on the UK aid/development budget.

Indeed, that “first call” is precisely why FCO and DfID support our recurrent budget year to year with a 60% grant, and are supporting the new Economic Growth Strategy and the work-in-progress “£30-plus million” five-year capital programme. It is also why sea port and airport developments are being funded and it is why DfID has been funding Geothermal exploration and development. It is why a new standby generator has just been put in place at the new ZJB building above the Carr’s Bay corner.[3] It is why STANTEC consultants have now arrived, to take charge of building the new port breakwater and quay. It is why as the new year dawned, those two trucks carried the new airport control tower “cab” from the sea port up to the airport – and yes, that is how it got stuck in the tunnel until somebody let air out of the tyres of the trailer.  (And, once we have a better control tower and lighting, night flights will be possible – a tourism opportunity. Also, that would allow medical evacuation flights on fixed-wing aircraft. [Attitude check: Why were we so caught up in how “it got stuck in the tunnel” and seemingly overlooked the tourism and improved health services opportunities?])

Article 73 is also why the subsea fibre optic cable is still on the table despite a bad press in the UK tabloids. It is why the new ZJB building and other government facilities have been funded – despite delays and serious project management problems for many years. It is why we are still working together towards a proper hospital and social housing, despite all the delays, confusions and finger-pointing debates. It is why roads, bridges and other civil works are steadily being funded.  And much more.

It is initiatives like these which will open up opportunities for economic growth and sustainable, inclusive livelihoods, high quality jobs and general prosperity.  So, it is time for a new conversation on how we can best move forward together under our national vision. The time for “crabs in a barrel” as usual is over. 


[1] See Q221 vs. Q237: http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/foreign-affairs-committee/the-future-of-the-uk-overseas-territories/oral/94446.html

[2] See Section 2:http://constitution.gov.ms/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/monstitution-order-oct-2010.pdf 

[3] See https://www.themontserratreporter.com/honourable-premier-donaldson-romeo-2019-new-year-statement/

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