Archive | Editorial

This suppression of the ‘free press’ must end and be replaced

This suppression of the ‘free press’ must end and be replaced

August 17, 2018

Our pitch as we quote: “you don’t need formal censorship to strangle a supply of information.” This is more than relevant to us here in Montserrat, as the success to make The Montserrat Reporter ‘irrelevant’ continues to reign.

This past week the Editor – Caribbean News Now sent the following ‘To our regional media colleagues’:

Many of you will have noted the recent editorial-writing initiative by The Boston Globe that has enlisted scores of newspapers across America proposing a coordinated response under the theme “The dirty war on the free press must end” to President Trump’s escalating “enemy of the people” rhetoric.

“While we may not face the same rhetoric as US media, domestic regional news outlets in particular do face politically motivated attacks, ranging from threats of defamation lawsuits (including criminal libel in some jurisdictions) to economic pressure by the threatened or actual withdrawal of government advertising, all of which leads to self-censorship that is inimical to the concept of a free press enshrined in most if not all national constitutions.”

The Montserrat Reporter over the years have always reported at regional media conferences as noted in the preceding paragraph. But, we have been exposed to politically motivated attacks which came initially from Ministers in the UK Government, but the matter was dealt with and remedial response placed in the hands of local (GoM), for advice and proposals as to how to remedy and change the situation.

This editor observed how our top public servants under the hoodwinked eyes of the political leaders diverted the requests and even the actual attempts by the UKG to deliver as they knew only too well their obligation and responsibilities, especially taking into consideration the Montserrat situation. Gradually and with increasing subtly the lack of interest in providing information (via independent media) aided by the economic pressure as described above, TMR was unable to near adequately meet its self-devoted duties to Montserrat, the ignorance to the detriment of Montserrat’s progress.

That grew worse ten years ago as the political directorate with a public service that didn’t need the encouragement, deliberately set out to kill the only independent media, in even more direct and through legislative actions. (We will mention that through the years TMR remained ahead and was more aware, being the ones who encouraged government to move into the digital area, having been there since 1996.)

We are now at the position after noting the damage being done by starving local media from barely adequately playing its role on Montserrat, for Montserrat and its part of the wider region and the world. We are more than ever in a situation where we can say, that the country through its leaders has become more than guilty of preventing us from carrying out the solemn role of the press, quoting from authority, “to inform the public and serve as watchdogs over our governing bodies — exposing injustices, corruption and deceit before such behavior can destroy democracy.”

Believe it or not they have been led with blinkers, ignoring to their own detriment that, as one newspaper, , concurring with the many other newspapers, “the free press is more important than at any other period in our country’s history.” (See last week’s De Ole Dawg on newspapers – https://www.themontserratreporter.com/de-ole-dawg-part-11-a-good-newspaper-is-the-peoples-college/

It cites: “As dutiful citizens trying to stay informed, we are bombarded constantly by false and misleading reports posing as “news” on social media. The increasing inability of the populace to accurately decipher truth from fiction in this steady stream of content that almost seamlessly mixes truth and lies is less about the gullibility of the people and more about the sophistication with which purveyors of disinformation have finely tuned their craft.”

“We propose to publish an editorial on August 16 on the dangers of the administration’s assault on the press and ask others to commit to publishing their own editorials on the same date,” The Globe said in its pitch to fellow newspapers.

The idea as the Globe expected differing views from the editorials, “but the same sentiment: The importance of a free and independent press.”

We were late in meeting the 16th deadline but support Caribbean News Now who had promised to join this effort by publishing an editorial highlighting the different but equally important issues faced by regional media.

This was, “an in invite to regional publications to collaborate this respect,” CNN wrote.

Posted in Editorial, International, Local, Politics, Regional0 Comments

Redonda in the back ground - web

Magical Transformation – (Redonda)

Antigua Observer – August 4, 2018

EDITORIAL – Redonda

Redonda in the back ground rt (Montserrat)

Not too long ago, Redonda’s landscape could be described as being closer in appearance to the lunar surface than earth’s. The once heavily-forested rock, was being decimated by invasive species in the form of black rats and non-native goats.

Then came the Redonda Restoration Program, which was formed by the Antigua and Barbuda government and the Environmental Awareness Group (EAG), in collaboration with other earth-friendly organisations like Fauna & Flora International, British Mountaineering Council, Island Conservation and Wildlife Management International Ltd.

The mission was simple. Rid the island of the rats and the goats and allow Mother Nature to heal the flora and fauna that are native to the island. For those who do not know, the rock called Redonda is legally part of our bit of paradise. It is said that Columbus gave the island its name because of its shape.

In Latin languages such as Spanish and Portuguese, “redonda” is the female form of the adjective meaning “round.” While the island belongs to us, it is actually closer to Montserrat.

Redonda was a guano mine and operated as one from about the 1860’s up until just after the start of World War I – before the age of artificial fertilisers. There are still the remnants of a few buildings from that era on the rock. If you have visited Redonda, it is hard to believe that anyone could live there, but it is reported that the population was 120 in 1901 and the workers produced up to 7,000 tons of guano annually.

This is not intended to be a history lesson on Redonda, but it is nice to know something about this magnificent rock as we celebrate what has been described as a “magical transformation” by Fauna & Flora International (FFI) in just over one shortyear. Just reading of the successes made possible by the restoration programme is heartwarming and it is something of which the sponsors and the project and the participants should be quite proud. It is a clear demonstration that when we work together towards as common goal, we can achieve great things.

For example, it has been reported that Redonda’s ground dragon, which is a rare black lizard found nowhere else on the planet, has doubled its population. Not only that, the rare Redonda tree lizards have multiplied in the absence of the alien predators, and hundreds of new trees have sprung up. FFI reports that “land birds have increased tenfold, and the island’s globally important seabird colonies – including magnificent frigate birds and several booby species – are having their best breeding year on record.” How a tree lizard ever survived on an island that was near devoid of trees is amazing in its own right.

Interestingly, one of the invasive species, the goats, have been captured, and studies and tests are underway to see if a breeding program can be established to take advantage of their drought-resistant genes. So, aside from restoring Redonda to an environmental paradise, we may be able to make our local goats more resistant to droughts, and we all know, with the kind of weather that we are experiencing, that would be a good thing. All of these spectacular results seem like an “overnight” success, considering all that has been achieved in such a short period of time, but it has been a chore for the team that was – on the rock. From the capture of dozens of fleet-footed goats to the removal of 6,000 rats from the rugged terrain of Redonda – which included rappelling down cliff faces to set bait – the entire team deserves our praise. Redonda may be far away and out of our minds but this restoration project should not be. It demonstrates that with proper planning, support and execution, great things can be achieved for our environment. So, please join us in complimenting the government, the EAG and all the other contributing agencies, along with all the individuals who participated in the programme.

Their work is invisible to most but they have produced a “magical transformation” that can be used as a framework for future conservation projects. Well done!

 

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Editorial, Local, News, Regional, TOURISM0 Comments

Put the seriously interested in Montserrat to work

Put the seriously interested in Montserrat to work

Within the last two weeks, information arrived that the UK Government Commons Select Committee announces inquiry on future of UK Overseas Territories.
The announcement was made July 20, 2018, but nothing reached us until a usually very reliable source drew our attention to this.
This came of course around the same time, we had privately though it can be gleaned from our pronouncements time and again being” pretty sick with the ignorance that surrounds us”, One reaction to this statement referred to the difficulties the Premier has in getting his ‘tough’, or more important ideas and decisions implemented.
But here we are, facing what can serve as a stall, brought upon ourselves if we do not know how to keep or step up the special position we had from latest 2008.
When Premier Romeo spoke about reversing the request, suggestion by former Premier Meade re ‘Decolonisation’, it signaled something that should really get those really serious about a Montserrat (present, intermediate or future) and its progress.
We soon had just around the time this announcement was made, former Premier Meade, doing what someone shared with us. Under caption, ‘RTM Confession: We suspected all along that with the rushed 2010 Constitution and the surprise Quito request to the UN Decolonisation Committee; RTM was selling out Montserrat for the promise of increased aid from the UK. Now years later we get a full verbal admission from Mr Meade, that this was indeed his goal; and embarrassingly he is claiming a meagre $10million worth of success.”
After making the statement to the UN Committee on Decolonisation, Meade said that “he is “certain that the UK supports our stance.” But as we pointed out back then, at no time has he consulted with the elected representatives of the Montserrat people, nor has he done so with the Montserrat public!
Then we had a response from the Premier which we find just confusing, considering all the other things that RTM had said in an hour-long discourse of a ‘Rookie Government’.
The UK Select Committee states: “How the Foreign Office manages its responsibility to ensure the security and stability of the UK’s 14 Overseas Territories is to be considered in a new inquiry by the Foreign Affairs Committee.”
“The Overseas Territories have a special place in our constitution. They are self-governing but part of the United Kingdom. As our place in the world changes, we need to think about the effect on them and whether the structure of our relationships still work. The Committee will look at these distant parts of our community and look at how we work to support all our communities.”
As we suggested earlier, the time is upon us again, as it is with several other matters for Government to put in place committees even if the same people serve more than one, because we are few and small, include those in the diaspora who have contributions to make, and they are few also, never mind the utterances many of which really adds nothing most times; then again every little bit counts and ensures nothing gets by.
This is a serious time and comes when history will be important and promises remembered and bad actions recounted. We will have to know ourselves.
No one will have to be left out, because regarding this inquiry coming up, anyone who doesn’t get his thoughts in locally, however he/she sees it, however he thinks it will be perceived will have the means to get them directly to the Committee. There are guideline how to do this.
There are some matters being placed on the table even as we speak that require urgent attention, and although this inquiry is imminent, these are matters that should be dealt with now.

Posted in Editorial, Local, Regional0 Comments

Get the facts and stop fooling the people about TCs

Get the facts and stop fooling the people about TCs

July 13, 2018

It is mind-boggling to address this topic of ‘TC’s’ having made some observations on the subject, time and time again. The uneducated, perhaps best uninformed rhetoric that continues, by some commentators, politicians, all either uninformed or are hypocritical to the realities and truths of the facts concerning the procurement of TCs and their need.

One of the statements made says, we have people here who can do the work. Please give some examples. Admittedly there may well be that possibility, but very few. And that there are Montserratians or lovers, and potential lovers of Montserrat out there, but who know nothing of this need.

From 2012 and maybe before we know there was a list of some 80 vacant posts that needed to be filled. Maybe this is the reason that public service reform has gone from bad to worse, and seemingly with the new empowerment project in train, there is complaint, there has been no improvement.

From the 2013/14 (April 2013) Aide Memoire, we find: 

“GoM suffers critical capacity gaps. In 2012/13 DFID provided funds for both longer term skills development and to satisfy immediate and critical needs.  Whilst uptake of the Annual Country Training Scheme (ACTS) has been good, with the allocation brought into the recurrent budget in 2012/13 and fully utilised, GoM has not taken good advantage of the short term (STTC) and long term technical cooperation (LTTC) programmes, utilising around 30% of the support available. Although delays can be justified to some extent by fulfilling time-consuming recruitment protocols, GoM should consider where efficiencies could be made to enhance use of the support available. (Our Comment. Note how DFID encourages, prompts – 30%? ACTS has been good but if that were good then, did it continue it’s now five years later)

“DFID agrees with GoM that a Statistics Director is a priority LTTC post and welcomes the recruitment of a Senior Social Policy Planner. (Comment: Has either of these posts been filled yet – when and who are they?)

“DFID provides LTTC – to support the recruitment of expertise for certain critical line posts which are currently vacant (these appear on GoM headcount and are not additional posts). 

“In addition to LTTC support, a STTC fund is also in place. This will continue to finance dedicated pieces of capacity development, work, advice, or research, over a finite period. This fund enables GoM and DFID to source and fund essential expertise in an efficient manner.  Funding for this does not sit on the recurrent budget but is retained by DFID and disbursed on the basis of requests submitted by GoM and in accordance with an agreed set of protocols.

Cabinet is considering the list of requests and related costs and will submit this to DFID.  The agreed amount should be reflected in GoM’s recurrent budget.

At April 2014

DFID complained and pointed out referring to outstanding debts and a sudden number of lost cases in court. “These include rising levels of litigation and a lack of clarity about legal aid responsibilities DFID provides LTTC – to support the recruitment of expertise for certain critical line posts which are currently vacant (these appear on GoM headcount and are not additional posts).

Then – ”Challenges remain in TC recruitment, although this situation has improved over 2013/14. Of 12 critical LTTC posts identified in 2013/14, four remain unfilled, with a further new post recently added. Serious delays have occurred in the recruitment of a Chief Economist, Chief Statistician, Crown Counsel, Child Safeguarding Specialist, a Senior Social Worker and Community Mental Health Officer. GoM and DFID will work together to agree an alternative strategy (for example, more effective advertising, reviewing the use of recruitment agencies and benchmarking of salaries) to improve the utilisation of TC. “

“STTC funds allocated in 2013/14 to Education have been severely under-utilised.

“DFID recommends that MoEYS (Ministry of Education Youth and Social Services) discusses TC requirements with HRMU, and with the DFID Education Adviser, to urgently re-prioritise TC needs.”

Does any of these people do any homework or any studies of the history of anything about the conduct and the running of Government for let’s say, from 2008 to now and that’s 10 years? You see, these facts are there, documented and will never be lost. But they are used against Montserrat when needed.

One thing is absolutely sure is the need for use of effective advertising. Yes, DFID has pointed that out times over and over, as well as proper communication. It is shocking to note the continuous refusal to use the one medium that will provide the universal reach necessary to reach the interested and the best available. Ignorance or hate! Jealousy or the TRUTH! And, there are of course other related matters, such as e.g. the recent matters of PMO firing, recent loss of the HRO, naming of the new Attorney General, appointing the CEO. All very important positions to the immediate and future development of this little gem. It is Montserrat that hurts people.

Posted in Editorial, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

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.

Posted in Editorial0 Comments

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.

 

 

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Editorial, Local, Regional0 Comments

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.

Posted in Editorial, Local, Regional0 Comments

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…”

Posted in Editorial, International, Local, News, Regional, Science/Technology, TOURISM0 Comments

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.

Posted in Editorial0 Comments

“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!

Posted in Editorial, Opinions0 Comments

Newsletter

Archives