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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.

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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.



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December 23, 2017

The backwardness of Governance is worse than imaginable

It was our intention to follow-up on the sink of Governance on Montserrat which highlighted itself following, in fact before the advent of three hurricanes, Irma, Jose and Maria, which even now Montserrat can still count its blessings enjoyed perhaps because its people are still yet to overcome the deaths, spiritually, physical and otherwise experienced since 1989, seriously aggravated from mid-1995.

October 20, 2017

We recall, in case those responsible have not comprehended its importance, that heralding in the ‘agreement’ that was supposed to document and cement the partnership in May 2012, that ‘governance’ was an integral and important component.

That was pushed time and time again in just about every document involving aid and assistance for any reason. Look at this from 2015/16 Budget Aid Business Case – the project supports the provision of public services to meet the reasonable assistance needs of the population of Montserrat, including health, education and securing air and sea access. See this: “Improving Montserrat’s governance is also an important part of achieving greater self-sufficiency over time.”

The 2012 White Paper[1] sets out a vision for Territories to be vibrant and flourishing, proudly retaining aspects of their British identity and generating wider opportunities for their people. In It has three main strands: (1) to strengthen the engagement and interaction between the UK and the OTs; (2) to work with OTs to strengthen good governance arrangements, public financial management and economic planning; and (3) to improve the quality and range of support available.

In November last year (two years already late) The Premier reported: A Programme Management Office is being set up under the Ministry of Finance, to host and expedite our priority development projects; on a set timeline. This will improve our value for money business cases, project and programme governance, transparency, and risk management. Such measures will help us improve our ability to effectively implement a sound development programme. This was the culmination of months of planning which began since March 2015.

Why are we at this juncture complaining that our governance which has been the centre of all the discussions and activities for the last six years at least have now hit an all-time low while FCO and DFID particularly basically reneging on their responsibilities at the slightest opportunity. GoM to ensure that its communication efforts continue to focus on the practical impact of MoU reforms.

Good governance has some basic characteristics. It is participatory, consensus oriented, accountable, transparent, responsive, effective and efficient, equitable and inclusive, and follows the rule of law. Good governance is responsive to the present and future needs of the organization, exercises prudence in policy-setting and decision-making, and that the best interests of all stakeholders are taken into account. Proper and responsible communication in its various forms is essential.

Government, Governor, Deputy Governor, Ministers, public servants, there is no room for deceit and those other corruptible things such as ignorance, grandstanding, selfishness, and greed. Any takers that many would say, ‘Ignorance is no excuse to the ‘law”.

Good governance means that the processes implemented by the organization to produce favorable results, meet the needs of its stakeholders, while making the best use of resources – human, technological, financial, natural and environmental – at its disposal.

Accountability is a key tenet of good governance. The Constitution takes care of these requirements. What we refer to when we call on the Governor to apologise, will expose her understanding of this. By making the strange appearances on radio to do otherwise doing what we see as being selective and not acknowledging her own responsibility in this regard is sinking governance even lower.

Please get beyond the shallow attempts having spoken to the lessons learned, which ought to have been learnt long before now. A week after arriving in Montserrat in 2015, some observations made which should have been all the lessons needed.


[1] FCO, 2012.The Overseas Territories: Security, Success and Sustainability..

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Governance hitting a real low, which arm of government?

Governance hitting a real low, which arm of government?

October 6, 2017

We believe this chaos of governance began long ago since HMG seemed to have lost their own focus of good governance and back when Montserrat governments began asking for involvement in the selection and appointment of Governors for the island. We were probably appeased on that matter, we then unknowingly somehow thought, when in mid-late 2000s, Government could propose and select a Deputy Governor.

Perhaps just like how he was recalled functioning as Hon. Speaker from time to time since he retired, he should have been the first substantive Deputy Governor for about a year at least while training. The truth on that however is that we have kept turning away, persons we considered to be suitable for the position. We have had two Deputy Governors with a third acting and in training, within the ten years.

All our Governors, or most of them for many years now have come to us with little or no experience or training through the Foreign Commonwealth office. That has been a burden and more and more, a weakness in our governance. In recent times we have suffered because either we had an experienced political head, taking advantage, or, one who is taken advantage of. We stand ready to hear the full truth of a Governor, who after all the earlier rhetoric, we believe has been recalled posing the problem of having to wait six months before she can be replaced. If we had a substantive Deputy Governor that situation would have been different.

Since hurricanes Irma and Maria there have been some developments, some we’ve reported on, others prior, such as the Gomersall’s firing. We have discovered that all of these as we suggested had a level of corruption that shows that the people involved in making the decisions did so either deliberately in an effort to slow down, ridicule our political leader or worse, ignorantly or otherwise thwarting the progress of the island.

A Montserrat by the way, which has not lost its uniqueness in its need for rebuild and redevelopment, nor is the responsibility and obligation that HMG has lessened in any way, compared to the disasters that some of the other Overseas Territories have experienced; lets add Barbuda and Dominica.

We will find that both Anguilla and BVI are already reporting signs of recovery. Montserrat had been there, and that was our experience. Only that a little less than six years after Hugo, we were to experience an extinction from which 22 years later Montserrat has not yet recovered, not to mention a return to that place in a lifetime perhaps for the person born before 1995.

How is it we landed a Governor who after two years did not understand her roles under her responsibilities, (not power!! As have so long been referred); and her accountability and to whom? Why could she feel she should dare to ridicule, belittle, upstage the Premier on his duty to speak and report to his people and to OECS and CARICOM; worst yet she under her own responsibility had fallen short in reporting on such matters. Just as she admitted in the press conference, which she abruptly ended, after she questioned about being harassed.

It is that corruptible desire, in the face of their own shortcomings and the hearts of others that brought about the circumstances that Her Excellency could not explain her error in boastfully she had signed a declaration for a ‘period of emergency’ under “Your Constitution which you voted for”. That we learnt came in the presence of some 15-20 ENDPRAC meeting participants. Then there was the claim of ‘confidentiality’.  

The Governor’s report on the passage of hurricanes was brief and on brief questions later found wanting but pointing out the shoddiness of the preparation. She promised during her walkout to go into more details at later meets.

Just a quick word on the shocking news, when one listens to or reads about UK parliamentarian Boris Johnson, Theresa May, and DFID’s Priti Patel, it is not only shocking but disgraceful the position that Patel’s Deputy Head brought to Montserrat, when they are urgently talking about making their Territories resilient to be telling Montserrat they will have firstly co-fund the installation of the fibre-optic cable ‘economic’ game changer for Montserrat, something that would be economically beneficial even to the ‘motherland’. This after they have signed off years ago and have put in motion the funding.

Governor Carrier could have used the shortage of time during her press conference for not answering about her knowledge or even involvement in this, but may reconsider for future as the current DFID rep should be prepared to answer as to her knowledge or involvement in that outcome.

See articles in this issue of matters mentioned above

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Destructive Hurricanes and other kinds of destruction attend us

Destructive Hurricanes and other kinds of destruction attend us

September 22, 2017

Throughout, The Montserrat Reporter in print but mostly on line through the small opportunities available, we’ve tried to record the passage of three of the most destructive and expensive hurricanes in history, certainly since Hugo in the case of Montserrat and others after it.

Montserrat, since it had lost the most productive part of the island from St. Peters to the extreme tip of the south (east to west) to include the capital, to the erupting volcano which began in July, 1995, has not suffered loss that set it back at any time. So much so that eyebrows raised when emergency helicopters landed at the airport with British soldiers, supposedly brought in to help reconstruction after Maria. At whose request?

Barbuda, Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, St. Maarten after Irma and recently Dominica have been ‘flattened’ and destroyed. It will be years to come back to normalcy, but amidst what we deem ‘unreasonable’ claims of not speedy enough aid and support mainly from the UK, the fact is then it is that aid that will matter.

Dominica who was wrecked mostly with water by Erica two years ago had rebounded to a point they were offering immediate aid to the Irma sufferers, just before Maria came to silence that and reverse them to asking for immediate help from the world. Such has been the devastation, decimation of Hurricane Maria, which continued into Puerto Rico. That has been the general cry of these two hurricanes which followed Harvey that water mainly destroyed parts of Florida and Texas.

We remember all the time all the help that came our way in the many if not every area of life and living in Montserrat, and pray that our Caribbean neighbours will learn from any short comings we may have developed or experienced as they move into the future. Montserrat must continue to pray for itself, dearly, and for the rest.

But, Montserrat while it has not as much to complain about, able to aid in whatever small way the island has had some turmoil, administratively, politically and economically that will set it back after three years of waiting, longing, disunity and really corruptible attitudes and behavior.

Things really came to a head with a firing late in July, the announcement of the early departure/removal of Governor Carriere and before that the firing of a most endeared public officer in Carl Gomersall and then during the hurricane disturbances the dismissal of Minister Claude Hogan, heralded by many, it had been late in coming.

Hogan’s firing came shortly after a ‘strange’ trip to the Governor claiming they had lost or no confidence in their PDM leader Donaldson Romeo, after which he sought to explain: “Of course, you have to have these discussions. I don’t want the people to see it like we are trying to overthrow or remove anybody…The Premier can fire each and every one of us, I want to make that very clear…” he said on a show on Radio Montserrat.

Parliamentary Secretary Gregory Willock one of those who had joined him in the trip to the Governor, was also on radio, and he said: “Unless we don’t care about the people and we just gonna continue and ignore their concerns. We have to stop and say look, check, what are we doing wrong? How can we readjust?”

Premier Romeo claimed he had to act after these activities, of which there were more, dismissing Minister Hogan and replacing him with David Osborne, also one of those who had joined in the trip to the Governor. Some of these have reportedly not been attending the Party’s caucus and planning meetings; have not up to now contributed to the party’s debt for their outstanding campaign that beleaguered the island.

Then came the information that the Governor at the beginning of an ENDPRAC meeting co-chaired by Governor and Premier, (so it is supposed to be) informed she was or Period of public emergency by virtue of the powers of “…your own Constitution, she had informed.

Here again and even worse than the Gomersall situation the Premier was taken by surprise as were others when they learnt he was not consulted. However as at the time of writing this, there was no news that the Proclamation had been published.

Gomersall’s firing is disgraceful and the facts surrounding it though still not clear or not being revealed are known enough to know that the firing which is about to end up in Court, is despicable and so corruptible.

Unbiased observers will see this as a serious setback for the beginning of what would have been the first step in a good future. When the facts get known it will be seen as an adulterated corruption. The question that will need to be answered, all who were involved in it and were all the corrupted goals the same?

See related stories in this issue.

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