Archive | Editorial

There is detriment to misunderstanding the need for and use of information

There is detriment to misunderstanding the need for and use of information

June 15, 2018

Last week we highlighted that aspect of the destructive delay regarding a Cabinet decision dated January 30, 2017 which aimed at endorsing the development of Montserrat Transformation Programme (MTP); that the Office of the Deputy Governor should be responsible for the structural changes of the transformation.

The Deputy Governor (Ag) at the time, and Financial Secretary would consult with the Attorney General (Ag) to produce Implementation and Change Management Plans, by the end of February 2017. If staff support was required to carry out this ‘assignment’ the go ahead had already been approved.

We now have a Deputy Governor, but ‘jus wonderin’ if the Attorney General agreed on several months ago is already in place replacing the young woman who had been acting for 2-3 years. That ‘wonderin brings to mind a problem whereby in this island in recent times there has been rarely an announcement of new, or changes in appointments regarding heads of departments or top civil service positions. Only today we discovered we have a new, already six months, environmental director.

That goes well with the starvation of information, and the dire lack of understanding of the public, not just the selects but every last one, big, small or indifferent, all of their right and desire to know what is happening in Government and with Government, from DFID, FCO, Governor, Premier, Ministers, down through the public service to the least adult or child; and surprise! Even the animals who serve us in whatever form. And along with that the need to ensure that not just the information that they want to put out but ensuring that that resources to do so exist for the rightful watchdogs.

Since Lord Ahmad left Montserrat we were chided even ridiculed, that the media in Montserrat was not as forceful as our Montserratian counterpart Keith (stone) Greaves in Anguilla, who had interviewed the Minister. Without having heard the interview we immediately advised that Montserrat’s concerns would not be the same as Anguilla, so an interview might be quite different.

That being the case we (TMR) anyway were quite put out that even after complaining that half an hour as set for the Minister to speak with the press, that was eventually reduced to 15 minutes. If ever there was an unconcerned, misinformed lack of understanding of the importance of the Montserrat press to be able to speak to a UK Minister, that was a stark example.

Clearly, the politicians do not understand how important the issue of communication is for them, not to mention the need for the public to have the information necessary to understand the part they all  need to play in the growth of the country that they try to tout. There is a desire among some ministers, but they run into that lack of purpose from the people who serve them and us.

That problem, mind you, is not exclusive to the Government, it is the culture, but we do not believe that this is due to the smallness of the population and the island’s habitable space, and should not really have come out of the ‘small mindedness’ that is so prevalent among us.

Maybe therein lies the problem, that we need to acknowledge this, because it brings with it selfishness, which we have noted before is one of the attributes of corruption.

We heard last year, surprisingly to us, how unprepared and how poor our resiliency is to hurricanes, perhaps to the new levels of hurricanes which surpassed that of Hugo. But TMR is not aware of what the needs or what has been put forward to those responsible, aware that Montserrat has in some way taken the lead among the OTs in taking their case to the UKG. That may be so because of our experience 29 years ago and then 23 years later from the onset of ongoing volcanic activity. We will find that we may not fare to well in the blame game on that score, and that may be so because we have not learnt how to deal with such issues and the UKG. It is our opinion that we contribute significantly by not understand our own powers in looking after our destiny and how we have allowed, small mindedness and vindictiveness to take charge in so many spheres of being on Montserrat.

It doesn’t matter how broad one’s back is in dealing with his/her personal business, its another when you are dealing with you and yours for each individual, for a leader in any business or oganisation, not to mention adding that of the people you serve.

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What is delaying the implementation of the Montserrat Transformation Program?

What is delaying the implementation of the Montserrat Transformation Program?

June 1, 2018

It took all of two years until agreement and a Cabinet Paper regarding The office of the Premier (OoP) Functional Review.

That Cabinet decision was dated January 30, 2017 and agreed:

…to endorse the development of Montserrat Transformation Programme (MTP) by a cross-functional working group led by the Financial Secretary in the short-term, until the CEO of the Office of the Premier is recruited; and,

that the Office of the Deputy Governor should be responsible for the structural changes of the transformation.

Our information is that this idea or requirement began during the R T Meade government. Preliminary plans/changes had already been implemented or perhaps better described as ‘tried.’ We might recall there was a point when the Premier’s office did not function under a Permanent Secretary. Probably associated with the plan was the doing away with what was known as the Development Unit. We suspect that the MDC – Montserrat Development Corporation was all tied in there somehow.

Anyway, the MTP discussions began since March 2015, and that we also recall coincide with the announcement of the ‘mistaken’ closure and shut down of the MDC. But, it was agreed that Consideration should be given to the term ‘Montserrat Transformation Programme’ and recommendations made for more appropriate terminology.

The Deputy Governor (Ag) at the time, and Financial Secretary would consult with the Attorney General (Ag) to produce Implementation and Change Management Plans, by the end of February 2017. If staff support was required to carry out this ‘assignment’ approval was already on hand.

The public has never been informed about this very important move, but we remember well the Premier’s lament at the end of budget talks in December 2016 when he vowed that monies will be spent to budget from the next year. The Premier knew or believed that everything would be in place and his office would be appropriately staffed creating new strategic leadership function of the Office. ‘required for robust strategic oversight of the activities to be delivered under the MTP.’

Under the new plan there would be two (2) senior positions reporting to the Premier – one PS and one CEO. The scope of the role and functions of the Permanent Secretary whose primary function would be the strategic leadership of the Office of the Premier, and general Policy Advisor to the Premier; along with the recruitment of a CEO in the Office of the Premier who would have specific responsibilities.
It was around that same time that the Chief Economic Adviser (CEA) came on board and that was followed quickly with the creation of a Program Management Office and an officer who would have and had begun to change and transform the project performance of government.

But alas! What went wrong? The PMO was marched off the job as though he had committed some terrible crime and 15 months later there isn’t a CEO. What was supposed to be of obvious ‘paramount importance’, which entailed ‘working closely with the United Kingdom Government (UKG) as a whole to ensure the transformation actions planned through this Programme – a key feature of the Development Partnership that so much had been repeated time and again. If there is any wonder as to how much has not gone right, why progress is only something spoken of, much is at someone or some persons feet. It is time for those persons be held accountable.

 There is much more to this plan which would seriously bring transformation to the functioning of government on a whole, but if we can hear nothing more that its gone nowhere we must ask, was the capacity curse taken on board during the long discussions or is government still trying to find out if there is such a problem? Or is it that there is just no appreciation of the power and responsibility that is required for Montserrat to progress.

 

 

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The scales are too thick. Understand and seek unity to remove them

The scales are too thick. Understand and seek unity to remove them

May 11, 2018

Recently we came across a piece which opened with the following:So, we must diligently seek knowledge, the peace of justice within and without, and the common good. Where, knowledge is best understood as well-warranted, credibly true (and reliable) belief.”

This seems so relevant to a serious situation that we have been facing here in Montserrat, even though if you listen or read well, or just being observant enough that the same is all around us and the rest of the world. But in all fairness, to get any where we have to begin right here.

But that piece continues: “That is, our mind’s eyes must be good, and we must diligently seek to ground what we accept as credibly true.  Where, our emotions are no better than the perceptions, expectations and judgements that lie at their roots.” This almost sounds so philosophical, that we are suspicious, it is equally not understood. But we believe that for anyone who chooses to read this, it will fall on sound minds.

So the piece continues: “…For, it is only when we start from the whole, undiluted, untainted truth that makes a difference to our decisions and then reason soundly, prudently and justly that we credibly have a trustworthy basis for action. We may still err, for that is human, but this is the path to soundness. Where, too, the old saying is right: “a half truth is a whole lie.

What’s all this about. Not too long ago we tried to draw our opposers and opposition’s attention to the work that Hon Donaldson Romeo, Victor James and Dr. Lowell Lewis legislators performed during their tenure in opposition 2009 – 2014. They did not swallow everything that the Meade government threw at the people, but rather sounded their disagreement to how matters progressed and offered support and their opinions on any other matter as the situation demanded or required.

Going back six years, none of the budgets for some of those years presented came to us after the agreement of a settled or agreed sum with DFID. The Minister of Finance, served well by those around and who himself was versed enough in the Constitution he had championed knew how to satisfy the people, only too gullible to believe they were getting real thing. It may be surprising to many that some of his ministers were none the wiser, if only because it was the ‘thing’ to just accept as long as it didn’t impact their Ministry adversely.

The 2015/16 and 2016/17 budgets met the timeliness. But this 2018/19 budget which rolls into an election year, seemed to have disturbed the would be’s or wanna be’s and the incumbent opposition for some reason, which may well be because the government has finally woke up to a path that may just make sense going forward. Last year, why was there no outcry with the budget coming as late as June?

One experienced journalist in his analysis, as you see in this issue called the budget ‘Timid, Tepid and Vague’, while another, we’ll call an opposing critique of the budget anyway, posited that the Government won the debate.

But much publicity was given to the opinions and expressions contending the budget which in our opinion simply fit our observations in this Editorial. Times and attitudes have long gone by those who see nothing good while having nothing different or better to recommend.

Listen now to the arguments developing from the Premier reversing a position that was not well received in 2012 at the Committee for Decolonisation meet. We are not aware of any consultation on the matter, but we would be pleased to hear what is or would have been the position of the opposers. Be it agreeing or disagreeing with the government. Waiting till you get in power is NOT reflective of any interest in Montserrat as to its well being other than one-self.

Let us simply draw attention to what is happening in the British Virgin Islands where Dr. Orlando Smith who intends to travel to the UK accompanied by the Opposition Leader to discuss important issues relevant, incidentally, not just to BVI but to other Overseas Territories as well. In the end we need say no more than that the scales are very thick and it is sad that there is no acknowledgement, much more an attempt to improve on the situation.

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Appreciation for communication will bring about unity

Appreciation for communication will bring about unity

March 16, 2018

This past weekend there was a prominent person who commented in the presence of a good cross section of women in the community, visitors included, that they “read the newspaper, yes, The Montserrat Reporter… it is always saying all things about me…!”

Without looking around, the wondering thought flashed, how many of these present, if any at all, would say the same thing. Moments later, a lady visiting since January 16, leaving right after the St. Patrick’s Day festivities, enquired where she can get a copy of TMR.

That was a very common recurring conversation, as only recently someone in Antigua personally sought, “how can I subscribe to get the newspaper?” They pointed out that it is just not convenient to do read it on the computer (a very computer literate person).

Much of the problems and difficulties faced over the past two weeks and affecting the festival have come from poor communication. Governors come and go, the last at the end of her first function made the observation at the end of teh event. But when she left, her communication effort left enough to be desired.

From here it seems much we do is lament. There is this This is a very serious situation that ‘communication’ without which (whether blind, mute, any disability) it is a must has hit a rock bottom, unthinkable. So this lament, is done with the hope that soon, very soon, there will be light and everyone, not just a few, will smile, realities of the dream and the efforts of what is being preached about the day, in the week we commemorate and celebrate.

Plenty has been said, even though no one event or writing has said all. The suggestion is that every one, the young, not so young, the old and the not so old, all is the way it is communicated and understood. Why? Everyone can come to a better understanding creating in their own minds whatever they want to, especially if based on their own sensible experiences.

Ah yes, it is dangerous when someone speaks their heart out about an experience as they cry for a ‘coming together in support of each other’ for another to say, referencing what they just heard, not just once, that the state they describe is ‘not true.’

Besides, inside and out of the debates, festivities and celebrations, we hope that by the climax of the week on Saturday, March 17, 2018, all will leave with disappointments included, everyone saying, it is possible to take in all, none of which may be complete in themselves, and we will hear a chorus, this is worth it.

This 250th year after that uprising by the ‘enslaved’, the new word which we believe it is hoped would change the ‘mentality’ harboured about the era, making it more comfortable to think and talk about it.

It seemed to some that unity was the cause of the failure. And the glaring truth is, not necessarily so throughout the Caribbean but definitely in Montserrat, unity is so lacking, as it saps even the perceived decency to fall deed in the same mire. That sadly is the position seen of Montserrat. And at the end of the day there are those who abuse and gloat and all, believing wrongly they are more intelligent.

Claude Hogan’s lecture delivery brings out the point, perhaps not as directly as we make it sound here, as he discussed the probably seemingly obscure topic of ‘masquerading’, noting a good aspect of communication. “What can he say about that?” was a question seriously asked. Will there be agreement that there was not a boring moment during that 55-minute lecture?

Very well discussed, and may well be his best oration to date. Here is a small quote near the end of his delivery: “The UK has good practices in providing people and community security to allow development to happen…call on the British Government our Administering Power, to move safeguarding to beyond child ‘anti-sexualization’, illegal marijuana and the like, to dealing with social uplifting behaviours. They should help us build and restore systems of governance that rely on merit, fairness and equity…”

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Get to the bottom of the drudgery and failures

Get to the bottom of the drudgery and failures

One of the things the H E Andrew Pearce said in his swearing-in speech: “A modern, motivated and efficient public service is a cornerstone and driver of a thriving economy and business environment in Montserrat.  The two are indivisible.” He said this which was immediately following this – “…in my role as the Head of the Public Service, I will give this work the same support and priority that she (Governor Carriere) did.”

Governor Carriere did not stress that part about the public service being the corner stone and driver of a thriving economy. The point is, Governor Pearce will have to be more diligent and must remind those carrying out the ‘Reform Project’ which DFID reportedly has refused to fund, showing their own ignorance or refusal to acknowledge, how important that discussion is.

One of Governor Carriere’s failures/disappointment was her expressed desire to, “turn the corner from recovery to success on its road to self-sufficiency?”

In her opening speech she spoke to Montserrat being, “Poised as it is, to grow economically again,” while noting, “there are barriers and setbacks to Montserrat’s growth that need to be addressed realistically.” On her departure she did not mention this except that it was among her disappointments.

Governor Pearce in his speech said: “I know that the Honourable Premier, Deputy Governor and all members of our Cabinet and Government also work unstintingly to deliver the best future for Montserrat.” Perhaps the Governor will tell how he knows this because, there are a few things he will need then to know as that may well be far away from fact.

One thing this Governor may be well positioned to do is assist this Government in moving beyond the state he finds it to be at, that is nothing yet in action to a ‘thriving economy’ to get it to ‘self-sufficiency’.

But yes, it was! It began in 2007-8, got on the way 2012, but something happened on the way from there. Today HMG/DFID has practically reversed, not just stalled. There are reasons and circumstances of action and inaction. One of these turns out to be the lack of understanding of what he declared about the public service being the cornerstone and driver of a thriving economy, etc., not just among our public service (and private sector) but the ‘public servants’ at DFID.

To move from that dead spot, there needs urgently an investigation as to how that happened. We can offer some pointers, but that investigation is crucial or Montserrat will continue to ‘spin top in mud.’ The top is there however, but it is what (the facts) makes it that needs to be examined, and correction put in action.

The corruption of power, greed and stupidity or just maybe it’s just ignorance need to be urgently addressed, even though it may not be that simple. It’s not too late. The Premier will have to see it is not Godliness in his seat, that someone will claim hurt when chastised for their lack of integrity; understanding that the people he so wants to serve suffer from his inactions. He should not fail to point out the real reason that moneys from the $30 million that may not get spent by March 30 this year, is due to the firing of Gomersal.

He should call out those people who continue to  benefit while leaving him the burden of their election debts, along with those responsible to see that the Premier’s office the epicenter of action for the country gets the best staff available to handle the business of the country.

The Minister of Health will no longer make her claims about the Hospital as she continued to do publicly, just as we recall them from their first budget presentation in 2015. (see: A new Hospital to break ground in six – nine months- Posted on 25 September 2015. (Minister – “But there was no approved project in August last year”)

Very importantly is something Governor Davis said in his goodbye’s here, referring to his role as governor – HMG and GOM, “…that boiled down to being a critical but supportive friend who is willing to tell the truth to both sides and to try and iron out any misunderstandings…”

The DFID-Montserrat representative here should be made to give Montserrat that understanding. So too the Hon Financial Secretary.

The Queen’s elected Montserrat opposition members (and all the aspirers) should know that this is their responsibility also.

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“It is the people who matter”

“It is the people who matter”

In the last six months and particularly between June – September, something or things happened that characterised the failings of Governor Pearce’s predecessor, Governor Carriere and her service as Governor to Montserrat. Several concerned persons questioned curiously our concerns about her sudden departure which was to some extent abrupt end of her contract of service, and more so our pronouncement of her failings.

There are some who also in addressing the failings of projects going forward towards the languishing plans of development towards the self-sufficiency of Montserrat, have blamed the ‘powers of the Governor’ and the Constitution which they see as bad and believe that a review is urgent for changes.

But we would refer to some of our previous editorials and one where we called on ‘Governor Carriere to apologise to the Premier and people of Montserrat’ on matters which touched seriously on the Constitution. There needs to be some focus on the wording of the Constitution and see that the power is rare and that the word that is used is ‘responsibility’.

Then in our story announcing the appointment of the new Governor, we remarked that “Pearce’s career has been with the FCO which is being seen as a big plus to carrying out his Governorship in Montserrat.” Pointing out his two predecessor Montserrat governors, who were recruited from their career as DFID professionals. We pointed out that Miss Carriere had also shard the view saying: “He brings with him a wealth of experience that I am sure will be of huge benefit to Montserrat.”

In his response to the welcome he had received while outlining his own desires of achievement during his tour of duty in Montserrat Governor Pearce applauded Governor Carriere for what he thought were her achievements, but very noticeably omitted was anything to do with what she had said in her hopes of achievement when she arrived in Montserrat in 2015. “I am delighted to be appointed as Governor of Montserrat. I am also pleased to be returning to the Caribbean, and specifically to help Montserrat achieve sustainable economic development and increased financial independence.”

What stood out for us in his address was how often he mentioned his interest in the Montserrat community and the people. How he hoped to interact. “It is through the support, work, creativity and commitment of many other people, both inside and outside the public service.”

“It is the people of Montserrat who matter.”

 “Please do let us know your feelings and concerns. We can’t solve everything and cannot do everything, but I will always be keen to listen and learn. And above all, I will always do my best to help make things better – simpler, stronger, nicer and happier.

There was no numeration of 1, 2, 3 etc of achievements, avoiding the trap of discovering that circumstances might prevent those specific achievements.

If he keeps that desire foremost in his mind, he will certainly, just as we expect from his long career should have taught him, to leave Montserrat, should he last the three to four years he hopes to be in Montserrat, things better, stronger, nicer and happier. We did not miss the last words, “wherever possible”, which of course is where the people who he will seek to empower as his responsibilities demand, will be important.

In answer to some of the concerns and questions that have been posed regarding these ‘powers’ that are alluded to be a stronghold on our leaders acting to bring joy to Montserrat in reaching that place of self-sufficiency, once enjoyed, we would refer and ask for discussions for understanding of Section 18, 26, 39 and others dealing with the Governor’s functions and responsibilities. What is required is the knowledge and understanding, respect for authorities, for and by the people involved in exercising ‘responsibilities’.

We do not expect our Governor and those in her functions of responsibility to subtly and deliberately do things, such as firing, stalling and holding up appointments that are detrimental to the progress and development, that they swear to seek.  It is the people who matter. It is the people who are suffering. Or is it only, some!

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Lessons are only learnt when failure is acknowledged

Lessons are only learnt when failure is acknowledged

As seen in our front-page story there is little if anything that would make anyone with a little discernment, lament Governor Carriere’s leaving Montserrat six months before she was so designated to do.

January 5 2018

She either was not tested nor given the opportunity along lines that would help her to leave with a good conscience of having done her best. “Her best?” Some would say, what we got, “was her best,” they would answer, figuring that we were more than kind with our suggestion.

The 14th Governor of Montserrat Miss Elizabeth Carriere alighted on to Montserrat with a speech that was powerful and promising, which if one were to judge by looking only at her slender physique would believe already she would not be able to deliver. But the saying, ‘don’t judge a book by its cover,’ holds good with us on this side.

 

Bennette Roach, Editor

Any challenge she would have encountered in carrying out the mandate she had set herself could not have been easier, but one might ask when the following that she said at her very first press conference, Premier Romeo was sitting next to her, welcoming her statements and giving his support as to say that those would echo his governments desires. It may well be that she was very conversant with PDM’s Manifesto. This we wouldn’t doubt after our very first contact and exchange with the Governor.

She enumerated, expanding perhaps on her acceptance speech at an Assembly for the occasion. “One comes under the general question of how Montserrat can turn the corner from recovery to success on its road to self-sufficiency? So this is all to do with the theme of respecting the past and embracing the future and what comes under that is certainly the economy, infrastructure, investment and so on…”

Two: “the second question is, how can Montserrat be made a safer place to live, to visit and to work? That includes preparedness and response to disasters which all of us has been very much engaged with over the last month, issues around criminality and issues around general safety for Montserratians and visitors.”

Three: “Another key thing for me and I know is very important to Montserratians as well is how can we better protect the young and the vulnerable from neglect and exploitation:”

“Fourth. Another question. How can we better develop the huge potential of Montserrat? I know in my acceptance speech I focused on the importance of people as an essential resource the key resource of Montserrat. So the potential of its people especially is youth, is key part of that answering that question. Certainly, the island’s beauty and its environment and the unique character of this island!”

“And finally, my fifth question is, “how can we better ensure that Montserratians get the quality of service they deserve from their Public Service.”

Her Excellency concluded her saying: “These are the key areas that I’ll be looking at working on in concert with my colleagues in government and my colleagues from the UK Government as well…”

This she said at her acceptance speech the day she was welcomed to Montserrat. “I am a firm believer that there is no substitute for good governance; when things get off track, I will be prepared to take action in my role as Governor.”

She should have been asked to explain if it was good governance or good sense for economic development when she fired Gomersal the Program Management expert for ‘no cause’. See her fourth: “How can we better develop the huge potential of Montserrat.”

But having failed to manage and carry out her great intentions, how could she have failed in the area she would have had most responsibility. Sadly, her failure or that she leaves without enumerating the challenges, but shadowing the failures, should cause her concern as she moves on in her ‘career’ if we should believe that, we hope for her that lessons would have been learnt as she had said she needed to do from day one.

We will in time be highlighting just how poorly we would rate her performances with the facts to support. We put those out for our readers to come already to their own judgments. Miss Carriere’s slide strangely perhaps with a year to go really went off the rails after her parting announcement. But, as things have unraveled, she had already lost her way.

 

 

 

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Has Montserrat put its house in order?

Has Montserrat put its house in order?

 

The JMC (Joint Ministerial Council) meetings have been taking place for over 10 years now. It may have been before, but we became aware when Chief Minister Dr. Lowel Lewis returned from one of them and we received a communique on the meeting. It was then we noticed that the Chief Ministers or the British Overseas Territories (BOTs) were required to sign an agreement that the government would not interfere in judicial matters.

December 8, 2017

At the time we questioned the Chief Minister whether he had signed the agreement, as Montserrat government officials as a rule were not known to interfere in such matters. But we later recalled that many years before that a minister reportedly showed up at Police Headquarters in Plymouth and demanded the release of his son in dramatic fashion. The question that never got answered is whether a BOT had to sign whether or not the situation was relevant to it. There has been fall out since.

Now, in more recent years special attention had been given to the Communique that comes out. What is difficult to recall ‘off the cuff’, is what specific positions had been raised or communicated within the last ten years on the poor response Montserrat had experienced in the aftermath of the volcanic demolition that still makes commentators and critics claim Montserrat to be a beggar going with open hands to HMG.

The Premier at this last JMC a couple weeks ago led the charge in highlighting the Territories that had been so badly shaken/broken by hurricanes Irma and Maria three months ago and reminding or pointing out that over 20 years and Montserrat has little to show as to a recovery, back to anything near sustainable economic develepment to take it into the foreseeable future.

A report on his involvement during the visit referred: “The three affected territories the Turks and Caicos Islands, the British Virgin Islands and Anguilla were each represented by their respective political leaders and benefited from their governors also being present during much of the event.”

At the beginning of the annual event for which the BOTs had been well prepared, British Prime Minister Theresa May held a preliminary meeting with the BOT leaders at Number 10 Downing Street in which she set out her government’s desire to cement the enduring partnership that existed between the U.K. and the Overseas Territories and the U. K’s ambition to support their diverse economies and natural heritage.

We’ve seen some of his presentations, but have been left somewhat feeling that the Montserrat case has not been adequately taken care of, while more attention and focus was on the other territories. At the time, that may have been the prudent thing to do, but also important, we feel that an opportunity was missed to incisively highlight the predicament Montserrat faces, at this point that Montserrat must lead the discussion to remind HMG of its international and other obligations to those who especially must rely on AID to build itself. That last might have brought stronger arguments on the pitfalls to be avoided.

We expect and hope to see communication that upon his return the Premier would have immediately followed up with direct communication to the Prime Minister and other relevant Ministers regarding the current situation about HMG keeping their obligation and responsibility to Montserrat’s recovery firstly and serious moves to develop the island economically, socially and intellectually.

After the niceties and importantly, an acknowledgement of Montserrat’s own shortcomings, mild and gross; then moving straight into the disgust, calling for investigations, we think critical and necessary to correct immediately the insulting behavior after promises and commitments to bring Montserrat, originally planned for by 2020 to self-sustainability, at least. Those shortcomings were what was referred to when ‘the’ government delegation was told, ‘go put your house in order.’ Do we understand even now?

Montserrat also has obligation, especially as all our leaders love to refer to ‘partnership’. That as we have noted time and again, makes no sense to be constantly speaking all about what has not been done, when investigations will at least show that is not the whole truth. That will put you back Mr. Premier, right at the beginning, which is probably where you are now, ignoring the right moves, now or in the immediate. Let us hope that this is not too late. Even so time to get on with it.

 

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We need done, that which is right, not chaotic discourse

We need done, that which is right, not chaotic discourse

November 17, 2017

In May this year an Editorial out of Anguilla caught our attention. The caption read: Realising Anguilla’s needs and wants – what will it take? It appeared to have been a guest editorial, but it did not state that. Only bylined ‘By anguillian’.

It outlined: “It is obvious from the comments, observations and assertions of Anguillians, that Anguillians want the best and expect the best in all aspects of life on Anguilla. This results in a very extensive shopping list for the consideration of Anguilla’s leaders as they contemplate how best to utilise Anguilla’s limited financial resources. The development of a national plan is considered essential, by many, to guide our leaders in the decision-making process, as they seek to prioritise their response to the many needs and wants of Anguilla’s populace.”

Does this sound any different for Montserrat? You may disagree but in ways it does. What was called for as it said: “…neither the development of a national plan, nor the subsequent adherence to a national plan, will be easy without significant cooperation and collaboration among the various sectors of Anguilla, which invariably compete for limited resources.”

“We might feel that as Anguillians we will see the bigger picture and therefore do what is required for the benefit of Anguilla.” To that we say the same, having been thrown right back at least nearly ten years at least, forgetting that we have been trying since 1996 when the UK committed to building a new Montserrat with life centered in the northern half of the island.

So they came up with a shopping list which must have been exasperated and became much longer following the passage of hurricane Irma which devastated the island perhaps worse that Hugo did Montserrat in 1989. Of course, for Montserrat, nothing can compare to Soufriere Hill’s volcanic extreme decimation. We note that Anguilla and the other OTs particular BVI Tortola etc. have referenced the shameful position Montserrat is in the UK’s response up to date as to their expectation for UK’s assistance.

The shopping list referred to the improvement and needs, specifically mentioning: Education,

Health, Sports, Theatre Arts, Air & Sea Access, Road Development, Government Office Accommodation.

So how is Montserrat doing having come up with a Development plan from 2008 – 2020, an Strategic Growth Plan out of that in 2012? And if we take from the shopping list above, we can take a mark of zero.

Why and how in the circumstances of the few major things on the list being undertaken Montserrat is being told – go look for private partnerships (PPP) on projects already agreed and/or approved?

We draw attention to Air & Sea Access, Government Office Accommodation from the list above, and add, infrastructural development (such as fibre optic cable) health (hospital and medical schools).

On Government office accommodation: vital for building a national consciousness, Parliament building, Court House, and a Premier’s state house. All these do not need the question of justification. It is a disgrace – and whoever should take a bow in admission should lift it high and say ‘forward on’ here we go.

 

We know where the weaknesses and stumbling blocks are! Much of it among us from and by our own, but disgrace to the HMG for knowing and using it to block the progress it is obligated to and actually promised.

 

It is why old and especially new politicians obviously do not care or do not understand the hurdle that must be overcome rather saying that we look to the wrong places. That change as much as it may be the eventual route will not come overnight, and without the fight to have done, what is right.

 

We would warn that the hood winked approach at only the sea access importance is a very limited look at the progress of tourism building in Montserrat. It is a mistake and recent tourism strategy from 2012 will show this.

Posted in Editorial, Hurricane, Local, Regional0 Comments

How can an Editorial of (check) be so apt today

How can an Editorial of (check) be so apt today

November 3, 2017

We present the following Editorial written some time prior, bears relevance to this time. We have removed a couple dates to test the few who may remember and be willing to tell us when it was written. Do let us know whether if the contents seem relevant today.

It may be mere speculation now, but it can become real in a very short time, when we see a more positive approach by the British Government to ensure that their aid money is spent in the manner they planned.

The Honorable Reuben Meade in his position as Chief Minister, which he enjoys up to xxx, “the MVO, EOC and the entire emergency operation where money is concerned, decisions, important and critical decisions which are required, we need to have it in a position where these guys (elections candidates) can’t put their hands on the money and do things indiscriminately.”

While it is believed in high government circles that the C M is misinterpreting the moves to centralize some financial management and the positioning of British Officials in the administration, it is still believed that there will be further moves should the government take a particular shape following the elections.

There is no doubt that Montserrat will suffer a set back in any quest that we may have envisaged for independence in the immediate future. And while we were almost certain we would not hear any talk of independence in the campaign, as the number of candidates reach its record high, xxxxxxx, a strong promoter of independence has arrived on island and confirmed his intention to contest the elections on an independence platform. It is doubtful that he will muster much support among other candidates on the subject, for indeed some who had previously promoted, expressed lack of confidence in our very existence in Montserrat at all at this time.

Montserrat needs more than ever to look forward and we must discourage moves to more deeply colonize us. More and more the danger exists, that as we move deeper into the volcanic crisis and our dependency upon the British Government and other donor agencies increases, we should not forget or even ignore the need to stay focus. If we are not careful to use this as one of the criteria in electing our next leaders, there will be many more who will go/run away, not from the volcano, but from life in Montserrat.

This week, as the number of candidates announcing their intentions to contest elections grow to near unprecedented numbers, the more it is being grumbled that there should be a run off between candidates to at least two to contest a seat. What is happening is that the possibility is ever present that a candidate can be elected to represent a constituency with as few as 20% of the available votes in that constituency. Does that make sense and what will it mean, if each of the seven seats were won in similar fashion?

I believe it is clear and there is no apology from this medium when we keep insisting and beseeching that the electorate make certain demands on these candidates, many of whose motives could be questionable, to tell us just how they intend to take this country forward and out of the unfortunate position in which we find ourselves.

Every grant that the Government and people of Montserrat has received in the past and might continue to receive in the future comes from tax payers and voters in somebody else’s country. Why should these tax payers and voters be comfortable with supporting the people of Montserrat when our candidates hold their elected officials up to ridicule?

And where in the World will all this free money come from when we allow our candidates to continue to insult our Benevolent Funders?

We must not allow ourselves to be fooled by the slick and glib tongues of some candidates. Grant Funds are not out there for the taking.

Finally, we need to assess our candidates on trust and loyalty.

 

 

Posted in Editorial, Features, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

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