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United Kingdom: Winning elections is everything

United Kingdom: Winning elections is everything

By Editor – September 26, 2019

By Sir Ronald Sanders

As she delivered the unanimous decision of the 11 members of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland (UK), on the unlawfulness of Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, advising the Queen to prorogue Parliament, I admit to being mesmerized by the startling brooch being worn by the Court’s President, Baroness Brenda Hale.

It was rather large, very sparkly and looked like a scorpion.   I learned later that it was a replica of a spider.  Either way, unaccustomed to such extravagant accessories for a Judge, usually garbed in sober robes and a wig, I was taken aback at what appeared to be a more casual presentation of a judgment of historic moment.

The apparent casualness of attire notwithstanding, Baroness Hale read out a decision that was as stinging as the bite of a scorpion that I wrongly assumed was represented by the glittering brooch she wore.

“The Prime Minister’s advice to Her Majesty”, she said, “was unlawful, void and of no effect”.   That advice, given to the Queen on August 28, was to prorogue parliament for an unprecedented five weeks from September 11.  Mr. Johnson’s objective was to silent belligerent members of parliament, including within his own Conservative Party, from opposing his withdrawal of the UK from the European Union (EU) on October 31 –  the drop-dead date for separation with no negotiated deal on the terms of the separation.

The appeals to the Supreme Court were made by a combination of persons, including parliamentarians and private citizens – prominently, Guyanese-born, UK businesswoman, Gina Miller – who felt their interests were being suffocated by Mr. Johnson’s gagging of parliament at a time when negotiations between the UK and the EU had not been concluded and the UK was facing deep economic uncertainty.

What was on trial was the effort of the leader of a political party in office to impose his desired political agenda by shutting-down the parliamentary system that was created to check the government’s abuse of power.

In their joint decision, the Supreme Court judges pointed out that one of the important questions before them was whether “this prorogation did have the effect of frustrating or preventing the ability of Parliament to carry out its constitutional functions, without reasonable justification”.  In their words, the Judges declared that “this was not a normal prorogation in the run-up to a Queen’s Speech. It prevented Parliament from carrying out its constitutional role for five out of the possible eight weeks between the end of the summer recess and exit day on 31st October”.  On that question, the Court was clear: “The decision to advise Her Majesty to prorogue Parliament was unlawful”.

That is a remarkable and historic indictment of a British Prime Minister by the highest court in the land.  Normally, in the British tradition, Mr. Johnson would have made a public apology, announced his resignation and retired quietly to write a book in the hope that its explanations and descriptions of what led to this constitutional mess, would earn him additional pension money.

Not so with Mr. Johnson.   Forced to return to Parliament, which resumed in the wake of the Court decision, Mr. Johnson was extraordinarily pugnacious, even accusing the Court of being “wrong to pronounce on what is essentially a political question”.

Clearly, the Court did not agree with Mr. Johnson or they would not have decided that the matter was “justiciable”, adding that “the courts have exercised a supervisory jurisdiction over the lawfulness of acts of the Government for centuries”.

In the context of the Caribbean, going to the Court for arbitration of a question regarding a government’s overreach of its powers has become common place.  But, in the Commonwealth Caribbean, where the same system of representative democracy exists as in the UK, the Constitutions are written.  In the UK, the Constitution is not; it consists of laws passed by parliament and customs associated with them.  In this sense, judges in Commonwealth Caribbean countries interpret constitutional requirements based on a body of written law; the UK Supreme Court was less constrained in this case and, together, the 11 judges gave great prominence in their thinking to parliamentary accountability, citing a senior Law Lord, Lord Bingham.  “The conduct of government by a Prime Minister and Cabinet collectively responsible and accountable to Parliament lies at the heart of Westminster democracy”.

The same should apply in Commonwealth Caribbean countries.

None of this has taken the matter of the UK’s exit from the EU any further than it was before Mr. Johnson prorogued parliament.  There is a law on the statute books, rapidly adopted by both Houses of Parliament on September 6, five days before Mr. Johnson’s prorogation came into force, preventing the UK from leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement on October 31.

A further law, passed by Parliament when Johnson’s Conservative Party lost its majority, requires the government to ask for a delay in leaving the EU beyond October 31, if it fails to secure a deal by October 19.  Mr. Johnson, even in the face of the Supreme Court’s public slapping-down of his Prime Ministerial overreach, has adamantly stated that he will not seek an extension.

Mr. Johnson failed in his plan to yank the UK out of the EU by ignoring parliamentary democracy and constitutional barriers.  Clearly, he will now continue to ignore parliament in his overarching ambition to tug the UK out of the EU.  Not least because, at a looming general election, his Conservative Party will not get the votes of the electorate who wish to remain in the EU, and it is in danger of losing voters to the extreme right-wing Brexit Party which desperately wants the UK out of Europe.

Winning the next election is everything.

(The writer is Ambassador of Antigua and Barbuda to the United States and the Organization of American States.  He is also a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies at the University of London and at Massey College in the University of Toronto.  The views expressed are entirely his own)

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Education, Elections, International, Local, News, Opinions, Regional, UK - Brexit0 Comments


MSS student places in inaugural ECCB Creative Youth Competition

Tiffany Weekes

Tiffany Weekes, a recent graduate of the Montserrat Secondary School is one of six top performers from six ECCB member countries in the Inaugural Creative Youth Competition sponsored and hosted by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) and the Regional Security System – Asset Recovery Unit (RSS ARU).

Nailah Samuel of the Girls’ High School in St Vincent and the Grenadines and Khadijah Halliday of the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College in Saint Lucia captured first place in the two categories.

Nailah emerged winner of the 13 to 16 category with an essay on the topic: “Towards a Cashless Society: challenges, opportunities and the realities for the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union.” She proposes that a cashless society provides the opportunity for more efficient, secure alternatives to traditional cash transactions and increased access to financial services.
In the 17 to 19 category, Khadijah captured the first place with her submission on the same topic. She is of the view that due to the realities of small Eastern Caribbean societies, it is likely that the two systems – the traditional utilisation of physical cash and the ultimate proposed digital cashless system – will continue to coexist in parallel for the immediate future.

Micale Wishart of the St Joseph’s Convent in Grenada and Tiffany Weekes of the Montserrat Secondary School were the second and third place winners respectively in the age 13 to 16 category. In the age 17 to 19 category, Kheri Hughes of the Albena Lake Hodge Comprehensive School in Anguilla won second place, while Shanique Davis of the Antigua State College placed third.

The first-place winners in each of the categories will be awarded a $2,500 cash prize and a grant of $1,500 will be awarded to their respective schools. The students who placed second will each receive $1,500 and their schools will be presented with a grant of $1,000. The third-place winners will each receive $1,000 and their schools will be awarded a grant of $500.

The ECCB/RSS ARU Creative Youth Competition is part of the ECCB’s Community Outreach Programme, and is aimed at encouraging critical and innovative thinking as well as raising the awareness of secondary school and community college students in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) on issues of economic and social development.

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Teachers protest Sep 3 19 a

MSS teachers protest

Complaining of frustration and inadequacies at the school

Lead MUT president Denise Silcott shows poster covering – NEEDS

Difficult to say, who saw this coming? But as was very quickly diagnosed, it highlighted a serious problem of which the unfortunate event is symptomatic. But, then investigations into what we saw as too sudden to be meaningful, there was more to meet the eye, evoking serious questions as to the state of the Education System in Montserrat.

This showed itself on the Tuesday morning, September 3, the day after classes had been scheduled to begin at the Montserrat Secondary school (MSS). Teachers (only a small number) turned up at the Karney Osborne Building which upstairs, houses the Ministry of Education offices.

Upon learning about the protest, long distance, the first response and question to the rare informant was, “Rubbish; what r they protesting?” The response was, “school inadequacy.”

Photos of the ‘protest’ were quickly circulated and ZJB news later would seek to clarify what the protest was about. The posters spoke to such matters, as shown here.

Informed sources said that these matters had been discussed long before this time; that there were disagreements with the Teachers Union Leader Denise Silcott as to the timeliness of this late action, as well as questions raised as to the impact these actions which were at the last minute to include ‘parents’ and members of the Parent Teachers Association (PTA).

We gleaned also that these activities were geared to facilitate more individual and personal reasons, primarily promotions and in particular the question of increments which did appear as matters of concern on the posters.

These were all matters that reportedly had been discussed, “earlier this year,” for action to be taken to ensure that the issues would be taken on board and be included in the ‘budget talks.

But here according to media reports, are early responses and explanations from the leaders of the protest when the group of 20 teachers who appeared for the protest, with small support from the Montserrat Civil Service Association (MCA) Nayota Mulcare, and with additional political flare from the Leader of the Opposition Easton Taylor Farrell.

President Teachers Union explains concerns…

“We are here because our issues appear to have less than high priority. We started last year being told blocks L and M had to be taken out of circulation. We had issues with there not being any toilet facility on the field and also we had to be shuffling around the school for the entire school year. We finally managed to make that work and this year we are starting back…we have been told the works have not been put into place because there has been issues with the design.”

“We were supposed to begin school the 2nd of September, nothing happened that we can see. One thing we can tell you for sure that has happened is that the school was fumigated for termites and that in itself led to a delay,” she said.

Two major areas of concerns are:

The lack of adequate toilet facilities, primarily teachers who were relocated to T111 building on the field; and

The problem buildings

Lack of adequate classrooms.

Inquiries are that these matters had been raised with explanations and promises made to teachers as to the process, which created certain expectations, confirmed by the Minister of Education when she later spoke to ZJBNews.

However, it was a bit confusing when she articulated that “poor communication” or lack thereof was the cause for the morning’s surprising event.

The Minister of Education did appear to listen and watch the protest. She reported having called a meeting which included the Premier Donaldson Romeo, Education Director, Dr Gregory Julius, Head of the program management office, President of the Montserrat Union of Teachers (MUT) Denise Silcott and the Union general secretary and principal and president of the MCA, Nyota Mulcare, to discuss the issues and work towards a resolution.

She reported, that based on the dialogue with the teachers it was clear that information of the plans for the MS school did not reach teachers in a timely manner, declaring, “What I saw was the greatest barrier here is the issue of Communication.”

Not everyone close to the situation agree with that finding, as it suggests that officials had not been passing on the information and decisions on matters, particularly that which referred to the status of conditions at the school as mentioned above.

The Union leader had communicated earlier with MSS and Primary school teachers, “to ascertain the progress of readiness for the coming year among other matters,” at which time she also thanked them “for your diligence to your duty as teachers.” 

But, she had also told them “…the matters which continue to plague the section remain cause for concern and action,” reminding them that, ”It is only through our stance as teachers will all the stakeholders better understand that our job requires tireless effort and that we are all equal partners.” And the posters spoke to those matters as well, as she continued to remind that the message has to be unequivocal!

“The teachers’ working conditions are the students’ learning environment” and to expect us to continue to work in environments which leave much to be desired is totally unacceptable. This message has been shared countless times in various fora,” she noted.

The Education minister however, reporting on her discourse with those mentioned above, said: “This was not communicated down to teachers so that the expectations that they had then in May…school was going to be open – so like the teachers today, some of the information, at least most of the information that I received today in terms of where we are, was new to me…” again expressing the belief that there must have been inadequate transmission of communications.

“I am hoping that, for one, the teachers would have an appreciation of what is involved in the process,” but  now she had expectations, “also to hear from them some solutions of how we can make things easier on – some of the ideas that we have looked at.”

She was looking for “Suggestions; but also looking at how can we work together to see this through.”

She got deeper into the problem as she noted: “It is clear that money needs [money is needed] for a new secondary school, noting all of these temporary fixes upset all…

In the end the Minister promised “regular updates as to what’s happening with the project.”

“They’re the ones who have to work in that environment that have been left out and we plan not to leave them out in the discussions going forward,” she said.

Not long after the MUT head confirmed that works are in progress to alleviate some of the burning and pressing issues they had complained about.

She reported, that the Honourable Premier and Education Minister, and head of the Project Management Office, Mr. Partlett had visited the school compound with a view to expediting works to be done to alleviate the concerns surrounding the toilet for staff, as well as much needed classroom space.

Posted in Education, Featured, Local, News, Politics, Regional0 Comments

Documentation will get speedy remedies and actions

Documentation will get speedy remedies and actions

September 20, 2019

The Montserrat Premier has said several weeks ago that General Elections due in Montserrat before mid-January 2020 will likely be held before Christmas this year. Unsubstantiated and still no confirmation from a few weeks, a source mentioned that the elections would be held on December 8, 2019, but that’s a Sunday, then yet another says December 4.

What is certain is that just following the calamitous disaster of over two weeks ago in the Bahamas, electioneering utterances, well below the lowly Montserrat norm are increasing. And, we can begin to believe that it will not be too long now as we can hear reactions and jingles from the incumbents.

However, so far there is very little, as the old struggle of leadership among groupings, and party if they really exist, where none with the exception of Dr. L. Lewis and Easton T. Farrell, and Charles Kirnon have more than ten years’ service as a legislator. Then, the only one among the top three, Dr. Lewis is heads above the lot in many ways and some that count than the rest. Statements and denials regarding the matter surely do not help, as this place is far too small, numbers too few, to fool the people. A people whom we believe are smarter than the ignorance exhibited in some circles, too many for fact.

Just like the political education seem to be so wonting, there is a growing need for a serious rounded education system. The lack of a different, better and more fitting system results in that the fewness in our numbers leaves so many after 16 plus years – how could any child leave the Secondary School without mastering the very basics of reading and counting.

 It might be that there are a few, or maybe more than imaginable who feel smug about the so–called teachers protest at the beginning of this month. If all the reasons and expressed are correct for the need to get out and parade (protest) in front of the Karney Osborne Building that house the Ministry of Education, there was certainly some dishonest and ill directed motives involved.

Upon investigation of the situation one will find it difficult not to also conclude, surprisingly though it may be, that the whole concoct was politically motivated, if not wholly.

It was surprising to hear the Minister suggest that there was a shortage of communication that might have encouraged the outing, but that may well be expected given their record. However, there are teachers and top education officials who will say, “not true, even if they didn’t tell us all, we knew there were problems…”

We note that since May there was talk and discussionof some situations. And then quickly some things come to mind, with the low-level quality of the Human Resource Division and going back to about 2012-13 when the education budget was decreased, the system malfunctioning, with so many other variables.

One thing eventually crowned all, when the final report came to light, it sounded ecstatic for someone to say that coming out of the resulting protest meetings, they had been asked to put into writing what the issues has been that faced at school so the matter is looked at for speedy remedy. Really!? Very hard to comprehend that without some documentation a situation can end up to be in such bad state that people were ‘no wonder’ encouraged out in protest.

But then! That has been an issue for much of the problem we face which make a further problem as when it comes to dealing with the processes which involve documentation, it invokes discomfort, reluctance, refusal and confusion and of course problems with not so welcome consequences.

That the issues will need to be put in writing, some will surely suffer as there will be no trail to follow, and it might just be difficult to justify some requests. This is not referencing the new buildings to include those that need to be replaced. There are many more issues that need urgent and serious attention, with some honest planning and understanding to move them along.

Documentation works with truth, an obstacle in our culture, these days.

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Jamaicans warned against using bleaching creams

Jamaicans warned against using bleaching creams

by staff writer

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Sept 11, CMC – Health and Wellness Minister, Dr. Christopher Tufton, is urging Jamaicans to desist from using bleaching creams as anti-aging formulas.

He wants people who are aging to focus on eating healthy and exercising, rather than using quick formulas to look younger, as the creams oftentimes have long- term side-effects that impact the health of the users.

“I am saying to the population, bleaching cream is unhealthy. It’s not going to make you look better and enjoy longevity of life. It won’t solve the aging issue,” Tufton said, as he launched Caribbean Wellness Day 2019 that will be observed across the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) on Saturday.

“Bleaching cream and plastic surgery cannot deal with aging… I think the world has become enticed, whether through marketing efforts, anecdotal evidence, our own personal hopes and aspirations, that there’s a quick fix to everything that we do, and can be enticed with measures for self-preservation that give a very short-term hope and ultimately leads to dismay and disaster,” he added.

Tufton said there are some fundamental underpinning of healthy aging, driven by science and research, with best practices that include living a lifestyle that moderates consumption habits with activities each day, which he is encouraging Jamaicans to consider, instead of bleaching their skin.

“The real solution lies in how we treat with ourselves and how we take responsibility for caring for ourselves and, indeed, beyond that, planning for the future… We need to see aging as an opportunity, not as a threat,” he said.

On Saturday, the Ministry of Health and Wellness, along with its stakeholders, will be hosting numerous activities in recognition of Caribbean Wellness Day 2019.

Some of these activities include health expos and health fairs. One major activity promoting healthy lifestyles  is the Colour Me Happy Run, which is endorsed by Jamaica Moves.

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Police, government issue warning on new drugs labelled “Zeeser”

Police, government issue warning on new drugs labelled “Zeeser”

by staff writer

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Sept 11, CMC – The Trinidad and Tobago government and police Wednesday said they were concerned at the proliferation of a new drug labelled “the Zesser Pill” that has been blamed for causing severe adverse physical and mental behavioural reactions in users.

The Ministry of National Security in a statement said that it is aware of the recent information circulating in the print and social media about the availability of the drug that is being sold for as much as TT$100 (One TT dollar=US$0.16 cents).

“This drug has been attributed to causing severe adverse (physical and mental) behavioural reactions in users,” the Ministry said in a statement, quoting National Security Minister Stuart Young as advising “that the chemical composition of this drug has not yet been verified by the Trinidad and Tobago Forensic Science Centre (TTFSC), but investigations are underway.

“The Ministry of National Security continues to urge the public to avoid the use of any substances with psychoactive properties, in the interest of their health, safety and wellbeing,” the statement said.

Speaking at the weekly Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) news conference, Acting Superintendent Wayne Mystar, law enforcement authorities are aware of the drug and that “based on our intelligence it is a combination of ecstasy and cocaine.

“It is in a powder form and it is also designed to look like sweets,” he said, adding “we are critically concerned about it and we are doing all in our power to get that dangerous drug off the street.”

Mystar said that the police are seeking to cooperate with the Ministry of Education to assess a programme “because we are realising that because of the infiltration of gangs into schools, the drug may well find itself within the schools.
“So that is something of concern to the TTPS and we are looking into that seriously,” he said, adding based on intelligence, the drug is circulating within parties and at schools.

“We are doing our investigations but what we want to advise principals …if you see something say something, that is our mantra. We are asking the parents to get involved to educate their children about accepting these things from strangers and as it relates to gangs trying to infiltrate we have a partnership with each school…to provide strategies that would keep a high security blanket across our nation schools,” he added.

Anti-substance abuse activist, Garth St. Clair, recently warned that the video posted on social media showing a number of young people passed out at the Hasely Crawford Stadium following a party, was troubling and urged young people to stay away from the drug that could kill them.

St. Clair said that the drug takes a long time to leave the body’s system and thereby prolonging the effect of heart attacks, paranoia, strokes, seizures, coma and even death.

Posted in CARICOM, Court, Crime, Education, Environment, International, Kids, Local, News, Police, Travel, Youth0 Comments

The deep state swamp dragon (HT scerg, DA)

Montserrat: why do we need a Development Partnership MoU with the UK?

Part 10/2019 (Contribution)

Is there a real “deep state swamp dragon,” which will try to block our progress?

BRADES, Montserrat, August 30, 2019 –   One of the commonest complaints about key development projects for Montserrat, is how they move in a dragged out, stop, study, start, re-study, consult, stop again . . . pattern. In many cases, for 10 to 20 years now. This indefensible outrage clearly points to the need for an agreed framework that moves us ahead steadily on the key, catalytic initiatives needed to re-spark self-sustaining growth like we once had, before the volcano crisis.

So, just as we looked at the need for, usefulness of and possible format of a Charter of Good Governance “last time”[1] we also need to ponder what a credible framework for a Development Partnership with HMG should look like. 

For instance, why not:

  • A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between our government and the UK Government, acting through DfID and FCO? (With attached technical agreements with DfID the main implementing agency on the UK side.)
  • Using the usual “whereases” to set a context for why such a partnership is needed and what sets out its motives and purpose.
  • Setting out the joint commitment to development based on the acknowledged legal force of the UN Charter, Article 73.[2]
  • Setting out other UK commitments given the 2012 FCO Whitepaper on Overseas Territories, including the “notorious” first call on the UK aid budget principle.
  • Expressing determination to put in place key projects that will help to catalyse economic development, health, education and social progress.
  • Launching an agreed programme of action that builds on the CIPREG framework but broadens scope under the full force of the Article 73 mandate.
  • Setting out an agreed framework that identifies priority transformational projects, sets a time frame to move them forward and establishes principles and organisation for the programme-based project cycle management needed to move such projects forward (without undue delays).
  • Establishing the required organisational units and capacity-building framework, perhaps using the PRINCE2, Axelos framework for qualifications, organisation, management and governance.
  • Setting up agreed funding, staffing and implementation with expediting and oversight.
  • Premier Romeo’s recent call for a UN resident facilitator could also be brought into such a framework.

Can such be done? (Obviously, yes – once there is willingness.)

Will such be done? (Not until the roadblocks that made sure it “didn’t get far” the last time around are dismantled and those who put up the roadblocks face accountability over what they did. And, over what it cost Montserrat.)

The deep state swamp dragon (HT scerg, DA)

These days, we hear of a lot of back and forth accusations about the “deep state” establishment entrenched in and/or unduly influencing Governments, the civil service, the military, finance, media etc. Some, of course, dismiss the idea as myths, or even “conspiracy theories.”

But wise change agents know better. 

There is always “an unofficial party of business as usual” that has its own quarrelling factions and internal, dirty, stab-in-the-back power games.

However, it is in the mutual interest of the power players to patch together some sort of live and let live. This results in an agenda that the power players are willing to go along with, at least for now. Of course, depending on the state of play the power games that agenda will shift.  That’s what sets the real agenda of governance: how the big decisions are really made, and how they are made to stick.

Hey, presto: meet your friendly, local, deep state[3] swamp dragon.

But, but, isn’t this a mere myth?

Best advice: if the river mullet says, there is a crocodile in the river, believe him.

The deep state dragon is real enough, and of course it means that genuine reforms of our civil service (especially at senior levels) are necessary. So will be, wider governance reforms; hence, the Charter of Good Governance.

However, here in Montserrat, our deep state challenge is much broader than our local problems: we have to deal with TWO of the most notorious UK Government Departments.

The Foreign and Colonial [→ oops, “Commonwealth”] Office, FCO, ruled much of the world for centuries.

DfID has a sobering reputation, including not only questions about actual ability to deliver on development promises and repeated corruption scandals that go far beyond the Daily Mail’s perpetual attack on development aid, but also for the subtle threat: DfID protects its own.

We have to put in place something strong enough to be a counter-weight to such deep state dragons, ours and theirs.

That’s why we need [a] a Charter of Good Governance we establish through our elected – so, accountable – representatives AND [b] a development partnership MoU with the UK Ministers. Then, [c] a declared Cabinet Policy on Governance reforms and [d] a technical implementing agreement for onward development partnership can de-claw and de-fang the deep state swamp critters.

To get there, we will have to chop our way into the swamp and drain it sufficiently that the old dragons cannot hide anymore in murky, smelly waters. (That’s part of why fearless independent media are so important for building Montserrat’s future. Especially, a serious newspaper, serving as The People’s College.)

So, now, let us demand action on a charter of good governance and on a development partnership MoU.

Never mind, what that fire-breathing dragon crawling out of the swamp over there behind you is muttering about how such could “never” work. (Since when could we trust hungry dragons with smoke coming out of their mouths to tell the truth?)

Folks, it’s up to us, the ordinary people:  if not now, then, when? If not here, then, where? If not us, then, who?

[1] TMR:

[2] TMR:

[3] See Politico:

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A 92.2% pass rate has been recorded by the MCC in this year’s CAPE Exams

Southern entrance of the MCC – (file photo)

The Montserrat Community College has recorded a 92.2% overall pass rate for this year’s May/June CXC Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE).

The college reported that out of 179 exam sittings, they recorded 165 passes.

The college’s 92.2 percent pass rate is a marginal increase of 92 percent in 2018. 52 students wrote CAPE in 24 subject areas.

And the college had reported that there were 100 percent passes in 17 of the 24 subjects areas, namely accounting units 2; Caribbean studies, communications studies, computer science units 1 and 2, digital media, entrepreneurship units 1 and 2. Environmental science units 1 and 2, geography unit 2, Information technology units 1 and 2, management of business unit 1, pure mathematics unit 1, sociology and tourism unit 2. Passes of 60 percent and above were obtained in the remaining seven subject areas.

As a comparison and show that the college has improved well over the past recent years. In 2013, the College recorded 146 subject passes from 163 entries, achieving pass a rate of 89.6%, also up from last year’s pass rate of 79.4%. 

That year the College achieved a 100% pass rate in Applied Mathematics Unit 1, Communication Studies, Computer Science Unit 2, Information Technology Unit 2 and Environmental Science Unit 1.

A Principal Paul Payne release stated that the College entered 49 candidates, which included seven part-time students, two of whom were absent for the examinations.

The students were registered under the College to write 13 CAPE Units for a total of 167 subject entries, but with two candidates reporting absent, these results are based on 163 subject entries, which the students actually wrote.   This was an increase from the 42 students who registered for 144 subject entries in 16 CAPE Units in 2012.

Students heading to the MCC may find this story beneficial: See link below.

Posted in CARICOM, Education, Local, News, OECS, Regional, Science/Technology, Youth0 Comments

Dr Gregory Julius2mod

MSS new school year start delayed by a week

Office (center) class rooms (right) and further right (roofs showing)

Director of Education Dr. Gregory Julius, according to a ZJBNews report on Thursday, has advised that the opening of the academic school year for students of the Montserrat Secondary School (MSS) has been pushed back by a week from Monday, September 2, to Monday, September 9 for the 2019 – 2020 school year.

The Education director says that there still remains a lingering odor from a recently carried out treatment at the school by the Department of Environmental Health. “Unfortunately, the school had to undergo some serious treatment as it relates to termites – that required the environment health to come in and do some heavy spraying. The residual remnants of the spray still linger,” he told ZJBNews.

Dr. Julius explained further that the staff was forced to have their weekly training for the upcoming week to be held at the Arts and Education Center, “and so it is important that we protect individuals in terms of any illnesses – therefore it is incumbent that we take all precautionary measures…
Further, he said the whole process was also impacted by the late arrival of equipment. The director said he did not anticipate any difficulty for the school to complete its curriculum as a result of the one-week late start.

Prior to this late delay, in an earlier report, the Honourable leader of government had said every conceivable effort was being made to ensure that accommodation and other ancillary works at the School are in place for the start of the new school term.

The Premier had said at a press conference that $3 million was secured for the temporary structures project to replace some condemned, that in June this year, it was agreed that some urgent works at the facility be funded by the Capital Investment Programme for Resilient Economic Growth (CIPREG).

Meanwhile in earlier reports, the Ministry of Education had rerported that nine students gained eight Passes at CXC after receiving the preliminary results for students who wrote the CSEC EXAMINATIONS in May/June 2019.
See story: The MSS boasts that 9 of 55 students obtained passes in 8 or more CXC exams, 2019.

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Montserrat Sends 29 to Carifesta XIV in Trinidad & Tobago

LITTLE BAY, Montserrat (August 13, 2019) – Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Premier Mrs Daphne Cassell heads a delegation of 29 to the 14th edition of Carifesta which will be held in Trinidad and Tobago from August 16 to 25.

The delegation comprises seven members of the Emerald Shamiole Masquerades along with their musicians and chaperones. Also in the delegation are Montserrat Festival winners Calypso Monarch Garnet “Sylk” Thompson,  soca monarchs Trevon “Trevvle” Pollard and Samrun “Nyne” Woodley. Vocalist Nia Golden,  two members of 4th Dymension, poet Chadd Cumberbatch as well as representatives from the tourism and business community are also in the group.

“This CARIFESTA should be a learning experience in an effort to prepare for the event when it comes to Antigua in 2021,” said new director of the Montserrat Arts Council Kenneth Silcott. “We want to be ready to make an impact and be ready to showcase the best of Montserrat’s culture.”

Several television appearances have also been arranged for members of the delegation.

Visual artist Tabu Duberry will be the artist in residence on TTT Now, the morning news and variety show on Friday.  Ten pieces of his work are also part of the Caribbean exhibition at the National Museum and Gallery for the duration of CARIFESTA.

“It’s been a challenge but a lot of fun pulling the plans together for the delegation”, said Nerissa Golden,  Logistics Coordinator for the Carifesta group. “Montserrat will be very visible at the festival in art, dance, literature,  media and music.”

The Office of the Premier made available EC$100,000 for the CARIFESTA delegation. Other sponsors for the trip are the Department of Trade, the Ministry of Communications and Works’ ICT Division and 4th Dymension.

The main delegation leaves the island on Thursday, August 15. The opening ceremony will be on Friday, August 16 at 7 PM.

Learn more about the more than 200 events happening over 10 days at

Check the Opening session here:

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