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Port Authority renovate to serve better and uphold international standards

by Bennette Roach

Much of the external renovation and reconstruction is well underway


Joseph O’Garro is the Manager of the Montserrat Port Authority, recently referred to as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at the recent Port Development launch last week. He invited the media to what he said was a simple briefing exercise to alert the public, “so they can know and appreciate what was taking place in terms impact to them when they come to clear their cargo…”

That was the morning of Friday, May 24, 2019 at the Little Bay port building that houses offices and cargo storage. O’Garro briefly outlined that the works that began couple weeks ago, and was ongoing when the launch took place at the ferry terminal about 100 yards away, on Friday 17th.

He apologised for other members of the management team who he said he would love to be present at the informal briefing, but they were about getting ready to effect the relocation of the offices, as the works were well into full gear.

He introduced those present in Stephie Buffonge from the Comms and Works and Adrian Galloway of Galloway Group who had been awarded the contract to carry out the works, which had an estimated budget total of EC$890,000, which is partner-financed.

He referred to the project as a follow-up of the marine side of the new port development launch in terms of the “landside works that are being undertaken separate and apart to the project, but in support of the project itself.”

The works he said, will be about the offices, administration, Customs and customer area renovations, currently engaged in a material fashion. He explains that the layout as it stands is not very customer friendly, as he later pointed out on the external, the construction of ‘disability access’ to make the premises and the offices accessible by everyone.

“Some of the works undertaken will address the customer friendliness of the facility ensuring we are much more customer oriented. In addition, we are providing additional space for Customs as the accommodation is presently very cramped…”

He added that for the MPA itself they are expanding their own offices to “facilitated some of our expanded national responsibilities,” with regards to their maritime responsibilities that did not receive as much attention in the past as it should have.

He explained: “We will be providing for some additional office space to facilitate some of our expanded national responsibilities, our marine time responsibilities that would not have received as much attention as it should have in the recent past…just examining vessels when they come into our Port, to know that they are compliant with international standards.”

He added, “We intend to embrace a lot more of that responsibility going forward and as such we a going to provide the office space for our officers to work comfortably while they engage in those activities.”

Upgrading to facilitate the disabled, and wheel chair access

One of the initial steps is to ensure that the Port Authority and Customs are in a better position to handle the increase business that we expect and to upgrade the facility…so that we’re more customer focused.

The partner-financed sum of $890,000 is shared with the MPA providing $500,000, with GoM the balance of $390,000.

O’Garro explains the external renovations and relocations

Following a brief explanation of the drawings and the work progression by Galloway and Buffonge relating to the project, the manager now with support of some senior staff provided a tour of the quarters that will housed in temporary accommodation in the parking area where the staff will effectively meet the needs of the public. And of course, to facilitate the construction office operations for both Customs and the Port, “are being relocated to the parking lot into temporary accommodations, as of Monday.”

The project is expected to be completed within six months.

see related: https://www.themontserratreporter.com/new-port-development-launched

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John Gordon DFID OT Dir DSC_7353 web

UK OTs directors urge spending of monies well…


by Bennette Roach

The Foreign and Commonwealth (FCO) Overseas Territories (OTs) and Department for International Development (DFID) (OTs) Directors concluded a two day visit to Montserrat, their final stop speaking with the local media at the Governor’s office on Thursday, May 23, 2019.

The Interview turned out to be too short, as it is most time even though it lasted just about an hour. The two were on a familiarisation tour of the Caribbean and we never got to ask how many and which islands they had visited before coming to Montserrat and after they leave Montserrat.

Premier Romeo
H E Governor Pearce

They were joined by the Hon. Premier Romeo and H E Governor Pearce with Miss Moira Marshall the DFID local representative sitting in the back of the room.

Both gentlemen were making their first visit to Montserrat with the FCO director William Gelling being in post for just of a year while John Gordon DFID director in position for just under three years, neither of them familiar enough to be articulate about conditions regarding Montserrat going back of 2016.

William Gelling

Gelling expressed joy to have visited. “I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to get here,” he said adding that it (Montserrat) is “really remarkable!” as he looked over Plymouth from Garibaldi Hill, “and over the destruction that was wrought over two decades ago and I think a tribute to Montserrat and its resilience…”

As Gordon said speaking after Gelling, after the Governor opened the briefing, he said, “I align myself with all of his comments, I share all of that. It’s really great to be here, we’re really grateful for all the people that made time to meet with us.” Gelling had gone on to say in his introduction, “I think Montserrat can be proud of what it’s done over the last 20 years to pick it up after that really shocking and tragic event. I’ve also been really struck by the warmth of Montserrat and Montserratians and the beauty of the place.”

Gelling having said the above, I would raise later with him, continued though not similar reminded me of then DFID Minister Alan Duncan in December 2011, when he said that ‘no where that Britain has responsibility, has ever suffered what Montserrat has gone through from the volcanic activity.’

Gelling said, “I think Montserrat can be proud of what it’s done over the last 20 years to pick it up after that really shocking and tragic event. I’ve also been really struck by the warmth of Montserrat and Montserratians and the beauty of the place. I don’t think there’s many places I’ve been where you arrive to this enormously verdant scenery, and the level of biodiversity.”

The Governor and the Premier both joined in expressing satisfaction at how the meetings have turned out. The two OTs directors shared a common view, Gordon saying: “We’ve had really productive discussion with the premier and with his team. We met civil society. We met opposition politicians. We’ve talked to a range of people. And that presented a very good picture of Montserrat – This is been a good couple of days. A bit of a whistle-stop visit. But you can do quite a lot in two days, as we found. We didn’t really stop from morning till night, so. Thanks to all those that that helped us to get a clearer picture…”

Gelling had said: “I do feel that we’ve really built a level of trust that I hope will make things going forward, more straight forward, more productive, and I hope will allow all of us to see more results…”

In addition they also said they met with, and, “…we’ve talked to a whole range of people, public servants. And we met with a group of private sector representatives yesterday to talk about what their views are on what they need to happen to enable them to sort of invest more in Montserrat.”

John Gordon

There was a recurring theme from particularly the DFID director regarding the delayed approval of the development funds of £30 million. Repeatedly referring to the funds as substantial, Gordon said: “we approved 30 million pounds which is a substantial amount of money…For a country of moderate size and the size of a public service and its capacity – we think that’s the right amount of money.”

Following discussion on that he concluded: “We have a history in this country of investing in infrastructure and things generally take longer than we expected them to. But that happens in many countries, not just Montserrat. Because infrastructure projects generally aren’t easy to implement.”

Responding to a question as to should those funds get drawn sooner within the five years, will there be a supplement, he said: “My objective and the premier’s objective is to move forward as quickly as possible to deliver effect through that investment.”

“So,” he continued: “I’m not gonna think now about what happens when all the money’s exhausted or if there’s another phase of this. We’ve only just approved this. This is a couple of months in so we’d rather just focus on spending the money and spending the money well, rather than thinking about what more might be down the road.”

The discussion and questions continued, while Gordon concluded: “So let’s just focus on spending the money and if they spend it in 18 months, let’s confront that problem when it arrives.”

Oversight of the funds spent on behalf of and in Montserrat followed and this report will continue…

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New Port development launched

Concept design – Full to be available by August

The Government of Montserrat through the Ministry of Communication and Works on Friday, May 17, 2019, conducted the Montserrat Port Development Project Launch which has been seriously undertaken when Premier Romeo announced in February last year, that the funds had been sourced for the project.

The event was hosted at the Montserrat Port Authority – Ferry Terminal Building, with an overflow of persons who were outside of the small available space, but with the apparent intention to afford guests the opportunity to tour the site and to ask pertinent questions, especially that there is not yet a design for the actual port.

Port Authority manager Joseph O’Garro chaired the proceedings which began with the singing of the Territorial song and a prayer led by Fr. Carlisle Vyphius of the Anglican church.

Following, were welcome and opening remarks by the port manager, referred to as the Chief Executive Officer – Montserrat Port Authority on the program; H.E. Governor Pearce, CDB Representative Andrew Dupigny, Head of Infrastructure Partnerships, Hon. Paul Lewis, Minister of MCWEL, a feature address by Premier Donaldson Romeo and finally a vote of thanks by MCWEL Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Beverley Mendes.

Seated in the front row l-r, Governor, Premier, Minister, Dupigny and PS with CDB officials in the back row

Mr. O’Garro briefly in his opening and welcome outlined what most or all of the remarks noted, that the project will provide safe, secure and modern port facility for Montserrat, that will provide critical access and reduce down-time especially in times of poor weather.

He, again like others, in addressing the down time noted that about 12% of the vessels calling at Little Bay had not come into, or leave or port.

CEO O’Garro and Governor Pearce

The Governor said about the project. “It works with the grain of our small island community and it sort of aligns with the niche nature of our economy,” preceding that with the observation. “Size is not everything, quality and balance are key – it matches the scale of little Montserrat – we aren’t going to get and we don’t want almost 4000 berth cruise ships, hopefully smaller ones – we can host graciously…

CDB’s Andrew Dupigny, who has been with the project from early 2017, in his remarks, noted that, “…On completion it is expected that the new facility will provide direct and positive impact on the  economy with the potential that would increase employment, improved productivity and overall improvements in the business environment.

Andrew Dupigny

Sounding like coming straight out of a business case, he continued to say: “Over the long term the provision of a reliable access and connectivity to the island, the movement of people goods and services would increase its creativity potential which would ultimately positively impact growth – improve the efficiency effectiveness and resilience of the port facility to provide safety and accessibility.” –

When we say that this project goes way, 12 years, further than the Premier would later recall, Dupigny noted “This actually dovetails very well with the government of Montserrat’s ongoing activities to restore access and connectivity to the island,” which he said, “…was articulated in the Hon Premiers presentation of the budget address in 2017 when he declared ‘access is perhaps our single biggest challenge to growth.’”

He connected this to: “CDB’s strategic plan for the period 2015 to 19 similarly recognises, the positive relationship between infrastructure economic growth and poverty reduction.”

 He offered, “Good transportation is one of the main elements that supports national development. A Key success of any project especially a project such as this which will impact every community across Montserrat is the participation of stakeholders.”

“We are therefore extremely pleased to see the enthusiasm evidenced by your numbers here this morning as well as a high level of participation in the workshop that took place over the past few days.”

This was a workshop that this long-standing stakeholder in all Montserrat progress media house was excluded and knew nothing about. Such could very well be to the detriment to any project, except for dishonest follow-ups which in the end will as we say be detrimental to Montserrat.

Minister Lewis was firm in his presentation as he set out the history of loss and difficulties with a port that far than less served the required needs of Montserrat, but finally, “a solution.”

He spoke to how, “with unreliable sea access for the last 23 years Montserrat lost opportunities for economic growth, our country’s people suffered other losses, including vessels running aground and the destruction of cargo vessels; loss of fishing vessels and yachts unable to come into port; cost of goods have increased after additional charges were placed on shipping given the uncertainty of docking on arrival in Montserrat and having to wait, perhaps even leave before returning a second time to off load,” referring to unsuccessful attempts as they try to dock in rough waters, having to return to Antigua – the road to a solution has not been without challenges.

He spoke of the benefits to be gained as the project progresses, as well as the revealing that, “The project will also provide employment for 72-100 workers over 18 months to two years.

With all other requirements in place and September this year, for a design and build contractor will take place, thereafter, the successful company will be mobilizing to start work by the end of the year

Funding for this project, after a £23 million offer by the UK was turned down (technically) in early 2014, came with a £14.4 million grant to GoM from the UK government via the United Kingdom Caribbean Infrastructure Partnership Fund (UKCIF), augmented by another £7 million budgetary support from the European Union.

With the (CDB) making an initial allocation for the project, advised to GoM in July 2016, an application for the grant made in March 2017, the agreement between the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Government of Montserrat for £14,400,000 was signed by Premier Romeo on Wednesday, April 11, 2018.

Premier Romeo and Minister Lewis

The Premier was set to deliver the feature address for the event. He, following what took his Government nearly three years to get to this point, recently accessing the needed additional funds, he was relieved probably more than excited.

“Today, marks one of the first, breakthrough step towards the fulfillment of a twenty four-year old hope for Montserrat; a protected sea port here in the safe zone.  Yes, the first safe harbour in Montserrat’s history,” he began.

He continued by recalling as many of the arguments that had no doubt, like Dupigny recalled, made in the business case that had to be presented for the port. He quoted DFID: “The principal barrier to economic growth and development on the island is poor physical access.. . . Without the development of Little Bay and Carr’s Bay, improved access, and reduced costs of doing business, Montserrat will remain uncompetitive in attracting [Foreign Direct Investment].”

So he told an appreciable number of many of whom were invited for the event. “The port development project is therefore one of the strategic keys for unlocking growth and building Montserrat’s future.” 

Concurring that this key we will open up the door for local and foreign investment and for self-sustaining, private sector led growth, he added: “It will create jobs during the construction phase, and it will provide more reliable docking for Cruise ships and for cargo vessels.”

Like other speakers he pointed out that “due to rough seas…out of a total of 478 calls, vessels were unable to berth 58 times…one vessel out of every eight had to turn back. “Yes, that is not sustainable. We had to fix the problem,” he said

That’s why a safe harbour “is of vital importance in providing connectivity to the island of Montserrat and for supporting economic activity.”

He reminded of earlier attempts at building a port, that the Government of the day had envisioned a sea port development in Carrs Bay, and it had actually knocked down part of Gun Hill to facilitate the project.

With no design yet in place for the current project, he noted that in the previous case, a design was made and developed, being presented to the public at 60% and 90% points. “But, alas, it was very costly and suitable private sector partners were hard to secure,” but giving no details of the contrasts.  

He recalled also a statement made by former Chief Minister John Osborne, deceased, in the aftermath of Hurricane Hugo on July 30, 1990: “With assistance in developing its infrastructure, including a proper airport and a safe harbour, Montserrat could develop a viable economy and opt for independence.”

Before closing his address, the Premier gave an insight as to how the project will move from this launch. “First, through presentations and workshops that have been going on for a few days, we look at preliminary designs, then adjust towards a preferred option. The preferred option will then be fully developed as a technical design, starting in August. Then, once that design is completed and accepted, construction will begin.

He revealed that “Construction will take considerable time, over a year,” with a caution. “However, we must always recognise that we are dealing with the sea, which has its own power, its own ways and its own voice; which can force changes to our proposed schedules.”

He concludes after thanking several key authorities, Minister Lewis, UK govt and other key personel, and then: “Let us see, how we can work together as a people as we put in place one of the foundation stones for building our future.”

Discussing the possible design

The P:S gave a fairly descriptive and comprehensive vote of thanks, praising the Ministry and staff for the work done so far on the project and hosting the morning’s event which ended with people looking at and discussing the site from the concept drawing.

Related: https://www.themontserratreporter.com/planning-to-begin-for-a-breakwater-facility-at-little-bay/

https://youtu.be/jhkzwryf-2w

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1-cZXxLq1fMwTeH0q5kA4vBcaQdyCsAbz?usp=sharing

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhkzwryf-2w&feature=youtu.be

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, CARICOM, Environment, Featured, International, Local, News, TOURISM, Videos0 Comments

budget address5

2019 Budget Highlights new era of Transformation


Premier and Minister of Finance Don Romeo

The Hon Donaldson Romeo, Premier and Minister of Finance of Montserrat, for four years and seven months on Wednesday,  May 15, 2019, presented his fifth and largest budget of $202.2 million in a BUDGET SPEECH, under the theme, “A New Era of Transformation: A Platform for Progress”,  during a meeting of the Legislative Assembly at the Montserrat Cultural Centre where he outlined the spending and revenue expectations for this financial year.

No surprise that the budget focused as it did representing the largest sum of moneys over the time of the PDM government, which is represented in a modest increase of nearly 5% over  last year and substantial capital budgeted sums.

It was that capital injection that delayed the budget as the Premier noted when he was moved to address the matter through special interviews with the media.

The Premier stated “this budget which marks a milestone in the long journey to build strong and sustainable foundations for a better Montserrat, and in our development partnership with the UK.  Given the significance of the transformational projects in the budget, we now stand on the threshold of an era of growth and progress towards a robust future.  We have strengthened our governance framework, with financial management systems and controls that improve the trust and confidence in public spending.  In that context, we are now seeing key infrastructure investments and interest by local and international investors that could open up further opportunities for a new Montserrat economy”. 

The Premier highlighted that “the upcoming Little Bay breakwater and berth will bring better tourism and trade opportunities. The upcoming Fibre Optic Cable Project opens up room for a digitally based sector.  The new 250 kiloWatt Solar PV power plant points to a greener energy future.  The new tourism strategy and economic growth strategy lay out a ten-year road-map to take advantage of these opportunities.  That’s why projected growth in our economy for the year ahead is 3.2 – 3.5%.  We are on the way to the growth targets outlined in our economic strategy”.

The Premier continued to discuss the actual sums involved stating “We have moved to a much more credible budget which was critical to implementing the programs you the people have charged us to deliver.  Estimates of recurrent Revenue and Expenditure for 2019/20 provide for a total of $137.77 million dollars. This is a 4.81% increase over the previous year.  On the capital side there is EC$ 64.40 million to finance several key infrastructure projects that will open the doorway for faster, self-sustaining growth of our economy in years to come”.

Go here to find the speech and estimates:

http://www.gov.ms/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Budget-Speech-2019-20.pdf

http://Budget Estimates- http://www.gov.ms/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Budget-Estimates-2019-20.pdf

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Sold Into Sex Slavery

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by Mark Bassant and Hema Ramkissoon

May 18 2019

SOLD A LIE

Maria There­sa, a 19-year-old nurs­ing stu­dent from Tu­cu­pi­ta, saw the promise of a new be­gin­ning.

Like oth­er places in Venezuela, the econ­o­my of her small town in the Orinoco Delta had col­lapsed, caus­ing thou­sands of res­i­dents to flee.

Maria saw her chance when a friend told her about peo­ple who could take her to find a bet­ter life in Trinidad.

Some traf­fick­ers, an or­gan­ised net­work of Trinida­di­ans and Venezue­lans, promised Maria and her friends that they would loan them mon­ey for the trip. When they land­ed in Trinidad, the same peo­ple would find them jobs as hair­dressers or house­keep­ers.

So, one night in Jan­u­ary, Maria climbed on­to a pirogue from a hid­den in­let on the Orinoco Riv­er. About six hours lat­er, she land­ed in an area she be­lieved to be Ch­aguara­mas, where she and oth­er pas­sen­gers on the boat were met by a man they didn’t know. From there, they were tak­en to a house oc­cu­pied by oth­er mi­grants.

For three days, Maria and eight oth­er Venezue­lans were crammed in­to a room where day­light bare­ly crept in. Their pass­ports were tak­en from them and they were fed a di­et of Crix and wa­ter. One day, they had no food at all.

It was on­ly then Maria re­alised that the traf­fick­ers had sold her a lie.

On the third day, the door to her room opened and one of her han­dlers told her to get pret­ty; that some vis­i­tors would be ar­riv­ing soon. Maria was con­fused and afraid but did as she was com­mand­ed.

When a strange man came in and leered at her, she un­der­stood her fate.

“They said that we (were) go­ing to be pros­ti­tutes and if we didn’t like it, it didn’t mat­ter, be­cause they brought us here and we had to do it.”

Dressed in a green track suit, Maria gave this de­tailed ac­count from a safe house in Pe­tit Bourg.

“I would have worked in any job be­cause there is noth­ing in Venezuela. There is no op­por­tu­ni­ty. You can’t sur­vive. But not pros­ti­tu­tion,” Maria said, bury­ing her face in her hands.

BONDAGE DEBT PAID WITH SEX

Venezuela’s eco­nom­ic col­lapse has trig­gered an ex­o­dus of some five mil­lion peo­ple from the South Amer­i­can na­tion. By some es­ti­mates, some 60,000 have sought refuge in Trinidad.

A three-month Guardian Me­dia in­ves­ti­ga­tion has re­vealed how hu­man traf­fick­ers have swooped in to prey on Venezue­lan women seek­ing eco­nom­ic sur­vival. These traf­fick­ers have placed hun­dreds of young women in­to mod­ern-day sex slav­ery.

The net­works in­volve an en­tan­gled web of Trinida­di­an and Venezue­lan traf­fick­ers who smug­gle these women, cor­rupt po­lice of­fi­cers who fa­cil­i­tate the trade and pro­tect wrong­do­ers, and im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials who of­ten times take bribes to turn a blind eye to the women’s ex­ploita­tion. Un­der­world Venezue­lan fig­ures with il­lic­it arms and Asian crim­i­nal gangs are of­ten part of the crim­i­nal net­works.

The il­lic­it sex trade seems to span the en­tire coun­try, from the re­mote port of Ce­dros to high-ris­es in West­moor­ings, where sex slaves—some as young as 15 years old—are held against their will, locked in rooms and forced to have sex with men. Some vic­tims are drugged so old­er men can have their way with them.

The traf­fick­ers rou­tine­ly take these women to bars and night­clubs in search of clients. The younger the women, the high­er the price.

For a 30-minute ses­sion, traf­fick­ers charge $300, about the price of a doc­tor’s vis­it. The rates dou­ble to $600 for an hour. For the en­tire night, the traf­fick­er pock­ets $6,000.

The women are giv­en a mere pit­tance to sur­vive. They are forced to work night af­ter night un­til their bondage debt is erased; a debt owed to traf­fick­ers for their pas­sage to this coun­try.

These women are trapped in a cy­cle of debt with no re­lief in sight. And the traf­fick­ers find ways to keep the women en­slaved by adding the cost of food, cloth­ing, shel­ter, med­ical and pro­tec­tion fees to the orig­i­nal fig­ure.

SIX YEARS LAT­ER, NO CON­VIC­TIONS

Since the in­cep­tion of the Counter Traf­fick­ing Unit un­der the Min­istry of Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty six years ago, on­ly 56 peo­ple—a lit­tle more than nine a year—have faced the courts for this of­fence, ac­cord­ing to a top law en­force­ment of­fi­cial. To date, no one has been con­vict­ed, au­thor­i­ties say.

In the last six months, po­lice have made some high-pro­file ar­rests, but hu­man rights ac­tivists con­tend that not enough is be­ing done.

The re­cent ar­rests in­clude:

On Feb­ru­ary 6, Com­mis­sion­er of Po­lice Gary Grif­fith lead an op­er­a­tion that res­cued 19 young South Amer­i­can women from two homes in West­moor­ings and a restau­rant along Ari­api­ta Av­enue. The young women, ages 15-18 years, were locked in rooms and made to take drugs and have sex with men for mon­ey. Po­lice al­so round­ed up at least 18 sus­pects for ques­tion­ing. A Chi­nese man, Jin­fu Zhu, and his 23-year-old Venezue­lan ac­com­plice, Solient Tor­res, were lat­er charged with 43 sex charges un­der the Sex­u­al Of­fences Act. The young women, most­ly of Venezue­lan na­tion­al­i­ty, were lat­er tak­en un­der the State’s care and kept in a safe house.

Mere days af­ter this ma­jor bust, a 24-year-old Venezue­lan woman who had es­caped from hu­man traf­fick­ers was re­cap­tured by them in Diego Mar­tin. Po­lice in­ter­cept­ed the al­leged traf­fick­ers along the Solomon Ho­choy High­way in the Clax­ton Bay area. Bat­tered and bruised, the shak­en woman was tak­en to the Wood­brook Po­lice Sta­tion. Akeem James, a 28-year-old spe­cial re­serve po­lice of­fi­cer and 39-year-old Kevin Houl­der a truck dri­ver were lat­er ar­rest­ed .

In Oc­to­ber last year, a 19-year-old Venezue­lan woman was se­vere­ly beat­en in a house in Debe. A video of the beat­ing was post­ed on so­cial me­dia by her al­leged per­pe­tra­tor who be­rat­ed her. A Diego Mar­tin man, Aval­on Cal­len­der was lat­er charged with kid­nap­ping and wound­ing with in­tent.

Au­thor­i­ties ac­knowl­edge that the hu­man traf­fick­ing prob­lem in­volv­ing sex slav­ery is a mas­sive one.

Min­is­ter of Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty Stu­art Young said the res­cue of the 19 women last Feb­ru­ary had trig­gered a flood of tips about il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ty in­volv­ing hu­man traf­fick­ing across Trinidad and To­ba­go.

THE WORLD TAKES NO­TICE

Sev­er­al in­ter­na­tion­al agen­cies have fo­cused on the sex traf­fick­ing prob­lem dur­ing their in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the Venezue­lan mi­grant sit­u­a­tion in Trinidad.

Melanie Teff, who is UNICEF UK’s se­nior hu­man­i­tar­i­an ad­vo­ca­cy and pol­i­cy ad­vis­er, re­called in­ter­view­ing about 50 Venezue­lan vic­tims who re­count­ed how traf­fick­ers en­trapped them in­to lives of sex and drugs.

In an in­ter­view with Guardian Me­dia, Teff said, “We heard about these women and girls read­ing ad­ver­tise­ments for what seemed like jobs in bars that did not ap­pear to be pros­ti­tu­tion. Their doc­u­ments are tak­en away leav­ing them trapped in a for­eign land.”

Teff said the height­ened de­spair of these Venezue­lan women left them at the mer­cy of heart­less traf­fick­ers.

“They want to sur­vive and send back mon­ey to their fam­i­lies, who they feel a re­spon­si­bil­i­ty to sup­port. If they are not al­lowed a way of be­ing le­gal in Trinidad and To­ba­go, then they are go­ing to be at much greater risk of be­ing ex­ploit­ed,” she said.

‘COPS IN­VOLVED IN HU­MAN TRAF­FICK­ING’

PCA di­rec­tor David West con­firmed re­ceiv­ing many re­ports about po­lice of­fi­cers be­ing in­volved in hu­man traf­fick­ing and hold­ing girls and young women cap­tive.

Young girls are at the mer­cy of rogue po­lice of­fi­cers, West said.

“These young girls do not know the sys­tem and there­fore they are afraid to re­port it,” he said.

West said that the PCA had re­ceived a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of com­plaints in 2019 when com­pared to pre­vi­ous years.

“It is very wor­ry­ing, the sto­ries that the girls tell are…,” West said, paus­ing to com­pose him­self.

A fa­ther of two girls, West said, “I do not wish it on any­body’s daugh­ter, what they have al­leged­ly done to those girls.”

West said vic­tims should know that his agency will in­ves­ti­gate com­plaints against of­fi­cers. “Come to the PCA and we will take their com­plaints and in­ves­ti­gate the mat­ter and bring those per­pe­tra­tors to jus­tice,” he said.

Com­mis­sion­er of Po­lice Gary Grif­fith said he could not com­ment on pend­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions in­to po­lice of­fi­cers in­volved in hu­man traf­fick­ing.

Grif­fith said he was mov­ing quick­ly to adopt poli­cies to tar­get and stamp out cor­rupt cops with the in­tro­duc­tion of poly­graph tests.

“Like any oth­er kind of il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ty hu­man traf­fick­ing we will treat through sting op­er­a­tions,” Grif­fith said. “If they don’t (stop),we will get enough ev­i­dence to put them be­hind bars.”

‘YOU’LL BE­COME PROS­TI­TUTES’

Cas­es in­volv­ing Maria and oth­er women im­pli­cate po­lice of­fi­cers who not on­ly held them cap­tive but fa­cil­i­tat­ed sex­u­al ex­ploita­tion of the women.

Maria was adamant that an of­fi­cer was the mas­ter­mind be­hind the hu­man traf­fick­ing ring that held her cap­tive for al­most six months.

An­oth­er woman who was held at the house in Debe, south Trinidad, said a po­lice of­fi­cer rou­tine­ly raped her and forced her to have sex with cus­tomers. “He col­lect­ed and kept all of the mon­ey.”

Guardian Me­dia spoke to their vic­tims…

Like Maria, Ju­marie Car­oli­na fled pover­ty and star­va­tion in her home town of Cara­cas.

She en­dured a nine-hour jour­ney from her home to Tu­cu­pi­ta. Car­ry­ing on­ly a knap­sack, she board­ed a fer­ry to Ce­dros.

A friend from her home town told her of the op­por­tu­ni­ties in Trinidad. The is­land at the South­ern tip of the Caribbean was de­scribed as an ide­al es­cape from the crum­bling Venezue­lan so­ci­ety.

At Ce­dros, she met a man iden­ti­fied as James who picked her up and took her to a house in Princes Town. James told her she would be there for a few days be­fore she could start work­ing as a wait­ress at a near­by bar.

Af­ter three days, one of the traf­fick­ers en­tered her room and raped her. Over sev­er­al days, he re­peat­ed­ly raped her. “He would force me to take (mar­i­jua­na), then rape me,” said Ju­marie, tears welling up in her eyes.

James made it clear that she owed him $1,000 for the trip and would have to work as a pros­ti­tute to re­pay him.

He bought her a back­less hal­ter-top and tight-fit­ting jeans and took her to a well-known San Fer­nan­do night­club fre­quent­ed by men, from all walks of life; hop­ing their mon­ey could buy them a good time with young Span­ish-speak­ing women.

When­ev­er Ju­marie seemed un­will­ing to com­ply with James’ wish­es, he would threat­en to harm her fam­i­ly while bran­dish­ing his firearm, she said.

Ju­marie said she knew she had to es­cape. A taxi dri­ver hired by James to take her to and from the club was her on­ly con­nec­tion to the out­side world. One evening, she asked him how much it would cost to take her to meet a Venezue­lan friend in Port-of-Spain. He agreed to help her.

Af­ter hear­ing Ju­marie’s sto­ry, her friend—de­ter­mined that it would be too risky to keep her—con­tact­ed an­oth­er woman who gave Ju­marie refuge.

But it seemed as though she was un­able to es­cape James’ reach. He sent a se­ries of men­ac­ing mes­sages, show­ing pic­tures of her fam­i­ly mem­bers in Venezuela, she said.

“You can’t hide here and you can’t hide in Venezuela,” he told her via text mes­sage.

Ju­marie had ini­tial­ly agreed to take Guardian Me­dia re­porters to sev­er­al lo­ca­tions where men had abused her. But on the day of the meet­ing, Ju­marie texted a friend, “I’m gone. He will find me.”

She then left on a boat from Ce­dros.

ES­CAP­ING CAP­TORS

One day in Feb­ru­ary, Maria es­caped from her cap­tors when she jumped through a bath­room at a bar in Wood­brook. She ran as fast as she could with no idea of where she was head­ed. She met some Venezue­lans on the street and bor­rowed a phone to con­tact a friend. Maria end­ed up in the same safe house as Ju­marie.

Af­ter ex­chang­ing sto­ries, Maria and Ju­marie re­alised they were vic­tims of the same sex traf­fick­ing ring. They had even stayed in sep­a­rate rooms of the same Debe house rent­ed by the po­lice of­fi­cer.

The sin­gle-storey house, paint­ed in brick red, had raised con­cerns among lo­cal res­i­dents who point­ed out that the house’s win­dows had been plas­tered over and ro­bust steel door kept oc­cu­pants in­side.

Many neigh­bours told Guardian Me­dia how Span­ish-speak­ing women would leave the house at night and re­turn in the wee hours of the morn­ing.

The same house was the scene of sev­er­al ques­tion­able in­ci­dents over the last year, in­clud­ing the vi­ral video of the beat­ing in­volv­ing the Venezue­lan woman.

PO­LICE OF­FI­CER DE­NIES IN­VOLVE­MENT

Both Maria and Ju­marie claimed that an of­fi­cer known as He­mant “Crix” Ram­sumair, who had ties to the po­lice of­fi­cer known as James, rent­ed the Debe home where they were once held cap­tive.

Peo­ple who live in the area said Ram­sumair resided ten min­utes away from the house in ques­tion.

Guardian Me­dia ap­proached Ram­sumair a few weeks ago out­side the Bar­rack­pore Po­lice Sta­tion where he worked. Ram­sumair was asked to ex­plain sev­er­al in­ci­dents at the house, in­clud­ing the beat­ing of the Venezue­lan woman last Oc­to­ber and the use of the prop­er­ty to en­slave Maria, Ju­marie and oth­ers.

Ram­sumair had been sus­pend­ed for some time from the po­lice ser­vice be­cause of a do­mes­tic mat­ter and had on­ly re­cent­ly re­sumed du­ty. He ac­knowl­edged tak­ing charge of the house about two years ago, but said he re­lin­quished it af­ter the beat­ing cap­tured in the vi­ral video.

Ram­sumair dis­tanced him­self from the al­leged beat­ing in­ci­dent at the house and de­nied any part in any hu­man traf­fick­ing ring that in­cludes the in­volve­ment of po­lice of­fi­cers.

He chalked up the in­ci­dent to noth­ing more than a lover’s quar­rel. He said, “That was the guy’s girl­friend and some­thing hap­pened and he could not take it and that is the gist of it. Se­ri­ous­ly.”

While Ram­sumair claimed to have giv­en up rental of the prop­er­ty, lo­cal res­i­dents con­tra­dict­ed that claim.

A rel­a­tive of the own­er, who re­sides in Cana­da, said they had been try­ing to evict Ram­sumair for sev­er­al months now with­out suc­cess.

Asked to com­ment on the as­ser­tions by Maria and Ju­marie and their or­deal, Ram­sumair said: “I would like to see that be­cause I knew all the peo­ple who stayed there. They were my friends. They can’t say any­thing bad. I think I have a good re­la­tion­ship with one or two of the girls I know who came to Trinidad.”

When asked if po­lice of­fi­cers in the area were part of this il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ty?

Ram­sumair said, “No, that is not so. It could nev­er be so.”

Ram­sumair said he had nev­er been un­der any in­ves­ti­ga­tion for hu­man traf­fick­ing.

Ram­sumair said, “Hon­est to God, I don’t know any­thing about the stuff, that pros­ti­tu­tion thing. My fam­i­ly taught me bet­ter than that.”

In the last sev­er­al months, dozens of Venezue­lan women have en­tered the coun­try in the hope of a new life. Many have been duped in­to sex slav­ery.

Un­like Ju­marie who es­caped, these women re­main be­hind trapped.

Hema Ramkissoon is the top ed­i­tor for the Guardian Me­dia Lim­it­ed broad­cast di­vi­sion. She has been with the com­pa­ny for more than a decade. Hema is the host of CNC3’s Morn­ing Brew pro­gramme which high­lights pol­i­cy and pol­i­cy­mak­ers in T&T.

Mark Bas­sant heads the in­ves­tiga­tive desk at Guardian Me­dia Lim­it­ed. He has more than two decades of ex­pe­ri­ence in jour­nal­ism and is a grad­u­ate of Ry­er­son Uni­ver­si­ty in Toron­to, Cana­da. He has won six Caribbean Broad­cast­ing Union awards for Best In­ves­tiga­tive Re­port­ing in tele­vi­sion.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, CARICOM, Court, Crime, Featured, International, News, Police, Regional, Youth0 Comments

DSC_6962a

Margaret ‘Annie’ Dyer-Howe gets elegant homegoing celebration

Rt. Hon. Mary ‘Annie’ Dyer Howe

From related posts – adapted by Bennette Roach

The Right Hon. Margaret Annie Dyer-Howe OE, MBA was finally laid to rest at the Lookout Cemetery following a fitting state-sponsored ‘Service of Celebration…’ for her life at the St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church. She was born on November 18, 1941, and died on the night of April 6, 2019, after a long illness at the age of 77 years.

She was honored for her tireless crusade to elevate women, protect children and uplift the underprivileged. She was remembered for her calm and measured demeanor, generous spirit and quiet dignity. She was celebrated through words, song and even the steel pan.

“She took her beloved country under her wing. And now she flies with the angels.”

The Right Honourable Margaret Mary “Annie” Dyer-Howe O.E. received a bright homegoing Friday at the Roman Catholic Church in Lookout. Following the two-hour-plus service, a procession led by the Montserrat Defense Force, with marching band in tow, made a one-mile trek to the Lookout Public Cemetery. Mrs. Dyer-Howe received a gun salute and was laid to rest as family members, friends and dignitaries sang hymns.

Mrs. Dyer-Howe’s casket was regal as the woman herself, white with gold trim and a hint of the Montserrat madras, draped with the Montserrat flag.

“Miss Annie’s homegoing service was one that truly summed up the woman she was,” says Rose Willock, Dyer-Howe’s longtime friend and a broadcasting legend in Montserrat. “Outgoing, community-spirited in every way and dedicated to her homeland.”

“She empowered women at every level,” added Willock

“She was an ordinary woman who produced extraordinary outcomes,” said Hon. Donaldson Romeo, Premier of Montserrat.

“I have chosen simply to focus on an aspect of her personality that no one who knew her for any length of time could ignore: in all she did, this formidable professional and passionate champion of women’s rights, had a calm, unshakable dignity about her that set her apart,” he said.

He recounted like many others in tribute and recollection: “Mrs. Howe accomplished much as a Minister of Government, but she obviously did not need political office to motivate her forquality service to her island. During the years 1987 to 2001, a gap in her political career, she not only managed the Montserrat Water Authority with distinction, but also co-founded the very successful Howe’s Enterprise and established the Small Business Association. She thus used what was apparent loss, to shift her focus to another area on which to stamp her authenticity and to demonstrate excellence.  Giving to her community and country was always her overriding interest. Mrs. Howe has left much for us to emulate as a nation.”

Mrs. Dyer-Howe influenced just about every sector of Montserrat. Principled, pragmatic and devoutly Roman Catholic, she helped enact social change during a time when women were mostly excluded from prominent positions in society. Due to her efforts, the protocol for acceptance into the Montserrat Secondary School was changed to allow non-affluent students a fairer chance. Mrs. Dyer-Howe argued that students from wealthy families had an unfair advantage because their parents could afford private tutoring.

The Hon Speaker Shirley Osborne while delivering a really powerful tribute, said among so much more, “… there was really never any one name that captured everything she was, everything she represented, everything she brought into this world…

Former Chief Minister Dr. Lowel Lewis, said in tribute: “She also made her mark as Minister of Agriculture, Lands and Housing.

“Mrs Dyer Howe was a lady of dignity.  She knew how to recognize true loyalty and support.  Just a smile and a thank you.  Nothing else was required from her.  And she never expected anything from anybody she helped or was kind to.”

More expressions of her exemplary character as Dr. Lewis also recalls, “She never once said a word to me about the fact that I cut short her last term as a Minister of Government, when I changed to a coalition government with MCAP in 2008.  She understood the reason for that decision.”

Paying tribute on behalf of the St. Patrick’s community. Bennette Roach with Shirley Spycalla, sang in Latin the simple prayer, Pie Jesu (Blessed Jesus, grant her thine eternal rest and peace…). He preceded that with a few words speaking to the special character that she had passed on to her St. Patrick’s community, back in 1983-4 when she promised to correct the wrongs (perceived or otherwise) of the PLM party and strive for better and progress…

Mrs. Dyer-Howe, who was profiled in the book Gallery Montserrat by Sir Howard Fergus, was born Margaret Corbett on November 18, 1941 and grew up in St. Patrick’s in southern Montserrat. She was heavily influenced by her grandmother, who was a district midwife. She attended the St. Augustine School, which was then on George Street in Plymouth, and later taught at the school before migrating to the United States for secretarial training. In 1964, she married businessman and politician Michael Dyer. It was during that union that her political aspirations took shape, spending 16-17 years in that service.

In 1974, Michael Dyer passed away. In 1979, Mrs. Dyer-Howe competed in a by-election in the Southern district for the seat of the late Joe Taylor. She won, essentially reclaiming the seat lost years earlier by her husband. In 1983 she was re-elected and assigned the Ministry of Education, Health, Community Services, Women’s Affairs, Culture and Sports. She became only the second woman (of three elected up to that time) in Montserrat to hold a ministry, following Mary Rose Tuitt in 1970. She married Robert Howe in 1984.

“Miss Annie’s home-going service was one that truly summed up the woman she was.”

Fergus, a longtime friend, was among the luminaries paying tribute Friday. Speaking about Mrs. Dyer-Howe helping to break the female barrier in parliament, he said: “She was No. 2 to wear the toga of a minister, and she did more than warm the bench. She did more than any of her generation to elevate women in skills and consciousness.”

In 2018 she was presented with the Order of Excellence during the Montserrat National Awards for her exemplary contributions to the country.

It was again, Hon. Speaker of the House Shirley Osborne who perhaps summed up Mrs. Dyer-Howe’s legacy best during Friday’s service. “Many of the building blocks of Montserrat were put up, leveled out and cemented in place by this woman.

“So, Montserrat is Annie’s house.”

Mrs. Dyer-Howe is survived by her husband Robert, step-daughter Joycelyn Howe, brother Neville Corbett (aka Dick Martin) and many other family members.

The Right Hon. Margaret Annie Dyer-Howe OE, MBA was finally laid to rest at the Lookout Cemetery following a fitting state sponsored ‘Service of Celebration…’ for her life at the St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church. She was born on November 18, 1941 and died on the night of April 6, 2019 after a long illness at the age of 77 years.

She was honored for her tireless crusade to elevate women, protect children and uplift the underprivileged. She was remembered for her calm and measured demeanor, generous spirit and quiet dignity. She was celebrated through words, song and even the steel pan.

“She took her beloved country under her wing. And now she flies with the angels.”

The Right Honourable Margaret Mary “Annie” Dyer-Howe O.E. received a bright homegoing Friday at the Roman Catholic Church in Lookout. Following the two-hour-plus service, a procession led by the Montserrat Defense Force, with marching band in tow, made a one-mile trek to the Lookout Public Cemetery. Mrs. Dyer-Howe received a gun salute and was laid to rest as family members, friends and dignitaries sang hymns.

Mrs. Dyer-Howe’s casket was regal as the woman herself, white with gold trim and a hint of the Montserrat madras, draped with the Montserrat flag.

“Miss Annie’s homegoing service was one that truly summed up the woman she was,” says Rose Willock, Dyer-Howe’s longtime friend and a broadcasting legend in Montserrat. “Outgoing, community-spirited in every way and dedicated to her homeland.”

“She empowered women at every level,” added Willock

“She was an ordinary woman who produced extraordinary outcomes,” said Hon. Donaldson Romeo, Premier of Montserrat.

“I have chosen simply to focus on an aspect of her personality that no one who knew her for any length of time could ignore: in all she did, this formidable professional and passionate champion of women’s rights, had a calm, unshakable dignity about her that set her apart,” he said.

He recounted like many others in tribute and recollection: “Mrs. Howe accomplished much as a Minister of Government, but she obviously did not need political office to motivate her forquality service to her island. During the years 1987 to 2001, a gap in her political career, she not only managed the Montserrat Water Authority with distinction, but also co-founded the very successful Howe’s Enterprise and established the Small Business Association. She thus used what was apparent loss, to shift her focus to another area on which to stamp her authenticity and to demonstrate excellence.  Giving to her community and country was always her overriding interest. Mrs. Howe has left much for us to emulate as a nation.”

Mrs. Dyer-Howe influenced just about every sector of Montserrat. Principled, pragmatic and devoutly Roman Catholic, she helped enact social change during a time when women were mostly excluded from prominent positions in society. Due to her efforts, the protocol for acceptance into the Montserrat Secondary School was changed to allow non-affluent students a fairer chance. Mrs. Dyer-Howe argued that students from wealthy families had an unfair advantage because their parents could afford private tutoring.

The Hon Speaker Shirley Osborne while delivering a really powerful tribute, said among so much more, “… there was really never any one name that captured everything she was, everything she represented, everything she brought into this world…

Former Chief Minister Dr. Lowel Lewis, said in tribute: “She also made her mark as Minister of Agriculture, Lands and Housing.

“Mrs Dyer Howe was a lady of dignity.  She knew how to recognize true loyalty and support.  Just a smile and a thank you.  Nothing else was required from her.  And she never expected anything from anybody she helped or was kind to.”

More expressions of her exemplary character as Dr. Lewis also recalls, “She never once said a word to me about the fact that I cut short her last term as a Minister of Government, when I changed to a coalition government with MCAP in 2008.  She understood the reason for that decision.”

Paying tribute on behalf of the St. Patrick’s community. Bennette Roach with Shirley Spycalla, sang in Latin the simple prayer, Pie Jesu (Blessed Jesus, grant her thine eternal rest and peace…). He preceded that with a few words speaking to the special character that she had passed on to her St. Patrick’s community , back in 1983-4 when she promised to correct the wrongs (perceived or otherwise) of the PLM party and strive for better and progress…

Mrs. Dyer-Howe, who was profiled in the book Gallery Montserrat by Sir Howard Fergus, was born Margaret Corbett on November 18, 1941 and grew up in St. Patrick’s in southern Montserrat. She was heavily influenced by her grandmother, who was a district midwife. She attended the St. Augustine School, which was then on George Street in Plymouth, and later taught at the school before migrating to the United States for secretarial training. In 1964, she married businessman and politician Michael Dyer. It was during that union that her political aspirations took shape, spending 16-17 years in that service.

In 1974, Michael Dyer passed away. In 1979, Mrs. Dyer-Howe competed in a by-election in the Southern district for the seat of the late Joe Taylor. She won, essentially reclaiming the seat lost years earlier by her husband. In 1983 she was re-elected and assigned the Ministry of Education, Health, Community Services, Women’s Affairs, Culture and Sports. She became only the second woman (of three elected up to that time) in Montserrat to hold a ministry, following Mary Rose Tuitt in 1970. She married Robert Howe in 1984.

“Miss Annie’s home-going service was one that truly summed up the woman she was.”

Fergus, a longtime friend, was among the luminaries paying tribute Friday. Speaking about Mrs. Dyer-Howe helping to break the female barrier in parliament, he said: “She was No. 2 to wear the toga of a minister, and she did more than warm the bench. She did more than any of her generation to elevate women in skills and consciousness.”

In 2018 she was presented with the Order of Excellence during the Montserrat National Awards for her exemplary contributions to the country.

It was again, Hon. Speaker of the House Shirley Osborne who perhaps summed up Mrs. Dyer-Howe’s legacy best during Friday’s service. “Many of the building blocks of Montserrat were put up, leveled out and cemented in place by this woman.

“So, Montserrat is Annie’s house.”

Mrs. Dyer-Howe is survived by her husband Robert, step-daughter Joycelyn Howe, brother Neville Corbett (aka Dick Martin) and many other family members.

The casket of Margaret “Annie” Dyer-Howe is prepared for burial at the Lookout Public Cemetery in Montserrat.

She was honored for her tireless crusade to elevate women, protect children and uplift the underprivileged. She was remembered for her calm and measured demeanor, generous spirit and quiet dignity. She was celebrated through words, song and even the steel pan.

“She took her beloved country under her wing. And now she flies with the angels.”


The casket of Margaret “Annie” Dyer-Howe is prepared for burial at the Lookout Public Cemetery in Montserrat.

The Right Honourable Margaret Mary “Annie” Dyer-Howe O.E. received a bright homegoing Friday at the Roman Catholic Church in Lookout. Following the two-hour-plus service, a procession led by the Montserrat Defense Force, with marching band in tow, made a one-mile trek to the Lookout Public Cemetery. Mrs. Dyer-Howe received a gun salute and was laid to rest as family members, friends and dignitaries sang hymns.

Mrs. Dyer-Howe’s casket was regal as the woman herself, white with gold trim and a hint of the Montserrat madras, draped with the Montserrat flag.

“Miss Annie’s homegoing service was one that truly summed up the woman she was,” says Rose Willock, Dyer-Howe’s longtime friend and a broadcasting legend in Montserrat. “Outgoing, community-spirited in every way and dedicated to her homeland.”

“She was an ordinary woman who produced extraordinary outcomes,” said Hon. Donaldson Romeo, Premier of Montserrat.

He recounted like many others in tribute and recollection: “Mrs. Howe accomplished much as a Minister of Government, but she obviously did not need political office to motivate her for quality service to her island. During the years 1987 to 2001, a gap in her political career, she not only managed the Montserrat Water Authority with distinction, but also co-founded the very successful Howe’s Enterprise and established the Small Business Association. She thus used what was apparent loss, to shift her focus to another area on which to stamp her authenticity and to demonstrate excellence.  Giving to her community and country was always her overriding interest.

Dr. Lowel Lewis
Florence Griffith
Hon Speaker Shirley

“I have chosen simply to focus on an aspect of her personality that no one who knew her for any length of time could ignore: in all she did, this formidable professional and passionate champion of women’s rights  had a calm, unshakable dignity about her that set her apart.

 “Giving to her community and country was always her overriding interest. Mrs. Howe has left much for us to emulate as a nation.”

Mrs. Dyer-Howe influenced just about every sector of Montserrat. Principled, pragmatic and devoutly Roman Catholic, she helped enact social change during a time when women were mostly excluded from prominent positions in society. Due to her efforts, the protocol for acceptance into the Montserrat Secondary School was changed to allow non-affluent students a fairer chance. Mrs. Dyer-Howe argued that students from wealthy families had an unfair advantage because their parents could afford private tutoring.

Jackie Dangler
Wejahna Weekes

The Hon Speaker Shirley Osborne while delivering a really powerful tribute, said among so much more, “… there was really never any one name that captured everything she was, everything she represented, everything she brought into this world…

Former Chief Minister Dr. Lowel Lewis, said in tribute: “She also made her mark as Minister of Agriculture, Lands and Housing.

Easton Taylor Farrell
Premier Romeo

“Mrs Dyer Howe was a lady of dignity.  She knew how to recognize true loyalty and support.  Just a smile and a thank you.  Nothing else was required from her.  And she never expected anything from anybody she helped or was kind to.”

More expressions of her exemplary character as Dr. Lewis also recalls, “She never once said a word to me about the fact that I cut short her last term as a Minister of Government, when I changed to a coalition government with MCAP in 2008.  She understood the reason for that decision.”

Shirley and Bennette
Sir Professor Howard Fergus

Paying tribute on behalf of the St. Patrick’s community. Bennette Roach with Shirley Spycalla sang in Latin the simple prayer, Pie Jesu (Blessed Jesus, grant her thine eternal rest and peace…). He preceded that with a few words speaking to the special character that she had passed on to her St. Patrick’s community, when she promised to correct the wrongs (perceived or otherwise) of her PLM party and strive for better and progress…

Mrs. Dyer-Howe, who was profiled in the book Gallery Montserrat by Sir Howard Fergus, was born Margaret Corbett on November 18, 1941 and grew up in St. Patrick’s in southern Montserrat. She was heavily influenced by her grandmother, who was a district midwife. She attended the St. Augustine School, which was then on George Street in Plymouth, and later taught at the school before migrating to the United States for secretarial training. In 1964, she married businessman and politician Michael Dyer. It was during that union that her political aspirations took shape.

Mrs. Dyer-Howe, who was profiled in the book Gallery Montserrat by Sir Howard Fergus, grew up in St. Patrick’s in southern Montserrat. She was heavily influenced by her grandmother, who was a district midwife. She attended the St. Augustine School, which was then on George Street in Plymouth, and later taught at the school before migrating to the United States for secretarial training. In 1964, she married businessman and politician Michael Dyer. It was during that union that her political aspirations took shape, spending 16-17 years in that service.

In 1974, Michael Dyer passed away. In 1979, Mrs. Dyer-Howe competed in a by-election in the Southern district for the seat of the late Joe Taylor. She won, essentially reclaiming the seat lost years earlier by her husband. In 1983 she was re-elected and assigned the Ministry of Education, Health, Community Services, Women’s Affairs, Culture and Sports. She became only the second woman (of three elected up to that time) in Montserrat to hold a ministry, following Mary Rose Tuitt in 1970. She married Robert Howe in 1984.

“Miss Annie’s home-going service was one that truly summed up the woman she was.”

In 1974, Michael Dyer passed away. In 1979, Mrs. Dyer-Howe competed in a by-election in the Southern district for the seat of the late Joe Taylor. She won, essentially reclaiming the seat lost years earlier by her husband. In 1983 she was re-elected and assigned the Ministry of Education, Health, Community Services, Women’s Affairs, Culture and Sports. She became only the second woman in Montserrat to hold a ministry, following Mary Rose Tuitt in 1970. She married Robert Howe in 1984.

Fergus, a longtime friend, was among the luminaries paying tribute Friday. Speaking about Mrs. Dyer-Howe helping to break the female barrier in parliament, he said: “She was No. 2 to wear the toga of a minister, and she did more than warm the bench. She did more than any of her generation to elevate women in skills and consciousness.”

In 2018 she was presented with the Order of Excellence during the Montserrat National Awards for her exemplary contributions to the country.

Hon. Speaker of the House Shirley Osborne perhaps summed up Mrs. Dyer-Howe’s legacy best during Friday’s service. “Many of the building blocks of Montserrat were put up, leveled out and cemented in place by this woman.

“So Montserrat is Annie’s house.”

Mrs. Dyer-Howe is survived by her husband Robert, step-daughter Joycelyn Howe, brother Neville Corbett (aka Dick Martin) and many other family members.

Keith  Howe
Fr. Mark Schram

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, CARICOM, Featured, Local, News, Obituaries, Politics, Regional0 Comments

Trump takes over Fourth of July celebration, changing its location and inserting himself into the program

Trump takes over Fourth of July celebration, changing its location and inserting himself into the program

Fireworks after a campaign rally by President Trump rally in Panama City Beach, Fla., on Wednesday. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

By Josh Dawsey , Juliet Eilperin and Peter Jamison May 10

President Trump has effectively taken charge of the nation’s premier Fourth of July celebration in Washington, moving the gargantuan fireworks display from its usual spot on the Mall to be closer to the Potomac River and making tentative plans to address the nation from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, according to top administration officials.

 The president’s starring role has the potential to turn what has long been a nonpartisan celebration of the nation’s founding into another version of a Trump campaign rally. Officials said it is unclear how much the changes may cost, but the plans have already raised alarms among city officials and some lawmakers about the potential impact of such major alterations to a time-honored and well-organized summer tradition.

Fireworks on the Mall, which the National Park Service has orchestrated for more than half a century, draw hundreds of thousands of Americans annually and mark one of the highlights of the city’s tourist season. The event has been broadcast live on television since 1947 and since 1981 has been accompanied by a free concert on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol featuring high-profile musicians and a performance by the National Symphony Orchestra.

The new event, to be called “A Salute to America,” will shift the fireworks launch to West Potomac Park, less than a mile southwest of its usual location near the Washington Monument. In addition to a possible address by Trump, the location may feature a second stage of entertainment apart from the performers at the Capitol, officials said.

Washington D.C. council member Mary Cheh, (D-Ward 3) says that President Trump is trying to mimic totalitarian regimes with his plans to hold a military parade. (Whitney Shefte/The Washington Post)

The revised Independence Day celebration is the culmination of two years of attempts by Trump to create a major patriotic event centered on him and his supporters, including failed efforts to mount a military parade modeled on the Bastille Day celebration in France. The new event has become a top priority for new Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, whom Trump tasked with the job three months ago, officials said. D.C. council member says Trump’s plans for military parade are all about his ego

[Trump’s ‘marching orders’ to the Pentagon: Plan a grand military parade]

The president has received regular briefings on the effort in the Oval Office and has gotten involved in the minutiae of the planning — even discussing whether the fireworks should be launched from a barge in the Potomac River, administration aides said. The president has shown interest in the event that he often does not exhibit for other administration priorities, the aides added.

“I think the president is excited about the idea, and we’re working hard on it, and I think it could be very, very meaningful,” Bernhardt said in an interview. “The president loves the idea, as probably all Americans do, of celebrating America on the Fourth of July, or thereabouts.”

Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), who chairs the House Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, said in an interview that she is concerned that Trump could polarize what is typically a unifying event for Americans.

Fireworks illuminate the Mall in celebration of Independence Day in Washington on July 4, 2018. (Calla Kessler/The Washington Post)

“It’s not about any one president. It’s about how our nation came to be, because of a hardy band of brave men and women,” McCollum said. “It’s not about any one person, it’s about ‘We, the people.’ And if the president moves to make this about him, I think he will find the American public disappointed and angered by it.”

An official in the administration of D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) said federal officials have informed the city government of potential changes to the Fourth of July celebration but that the logistics and cost of the altered format had not been finalized.

 The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to candidly discuss preparations for the event, said the city was concerned about moving the fireworks and about the logistics of the president traveling to the Mall to address the crowds, which could cut off the flow of visitors to and from nearby Metro stations.

 “We have a lot of people come to the Fourth of July. Logistically, over the years, the kinks have been worked out,” the official said. “We don’t want to throw off what already works.”

President Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron during a Bastille Day parade on the Champs Elysees in Paris on July 14, 2017. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

The president’s idea for a Trump-influenced Fourth of July celebration began within hours of attending a lavish Bastille Day parade in Paris in 2017, former aides say. Before Air Force One took off to return from France, Trump came to the back of the staff cabin and laid out the particulars of a proposed military parade in Washington — down to the types of tanks that he wanted in the streets and the kind of aircraft he wanted to fly overhead.

[‘HOLD THE DATE!’ Trump announces Independence Day celebration]

The idea later shifted to become a Veterans Day-linked parade instead, before collapsing altogether last August as costs for the potential event ballooned. Trump blamed local officials in canceling the event.

Then, this past February, Trump announced on Twitter that Americans should “HOLD THE DATE!” on July 4 for a “Major fireworks display, entertainment and an address by your favorite President, me!”

There have been no public announcements since then, but federal officials are working furiously to adjust plans for an event that has been largely unchanged for at least two decades.

It is unclear whether the changes to the Mall celebration will increase costs for taxpayers. Launching the fireworks last year cost roughly $250,000, a figure that does not include the cost of security, portable toiletsTrump’s focus and fencing. The D.C. official said the city would expect the federal government to pay for any new costs incurred by changes to the celebration.

In justifying Trump’s changes, Interior officials argued that moving the fireworks launching site from the north and south sides of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool — where it has been located for at least 18 years — to West Potomac Park will allow for more visitors. 

National Park Service spokesman Mike Litterst said the agency typically has to close an area around the Reflecting Pool for about 10 days before the event, cutting off access to one of the Mall’s most popular sites.

Bernhardt said that, by altering the launch site, “that’s going to be a significant expansion of space that’s available to watch the fireworks from the Mall.” 

“And we might even have some more surprises in store for the public, very very soon,” the secretary added.

Trump has sometimes featured fireworks at his political events, including at a campaign rally this week in Panama City, Fla. The Trump administration is also taking steps to expand fireworks celebrations elsewhere in the United States. 

[Trump loves a military parade — it’s one reason he’s heading to Paris]

On Tuesday, Bernhardt and South Dakota Gov. Kristi L. Noem (R) announced that they had reached an agreement allowing the Park Service to resume launching fireworks at Mount Rushmore in 2020. That practice, which began in 1998, stopped in 2009 after Park Service officials determined that a pine beetle infestation had heightened the risk of a forest fire igniting in the area.

“I am pleased to inform you that THE BIG FIREWORKS, after many years of not having any, are coming back to beautiful Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. Great work @GovKristiNoem and @SecBernhardt! #MAGA,” Trump tweeted on Tuesday.

Fireworks go off as President Trump finishes speaking at a rally in Panama City Beach, Fla., on Wednesday. (Gerald Herbert/AP)

Trump’s focus on Independence Day reflects a broader pattern of focusing on the details of projects important to him personally. He grew obsessed, for example, with the renovation of FBI headquarters in Washington, asking for building specs, floor plans and even furniture and carpet schemes, current and former aides said.

“He wanted to be the project manager,” said a former senior administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe Oval Office meetings. 

No president has participated in a Fourth of July celebration on the Mall in recent memory, usually celebrating instead at the White House. President Ronald Reagan participated in a “Star Spangled Salute to America” at the Jefferson Memorial on July 3, 1987, which showcased an economic announcement, but the regular fireworks celebration happened the next day as usual. 

Reagan’s unveiling of an “Economic Bill of Rights” took place at 10 a.m., with the vice president, secretary of state and other members of the administration in attendance. The official White House diary estimated the crowd size at 10,000, though Reagan said it was half that. He later said that he “didn’t remember ever being hotter than I was on that platform in the sun.”

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Entertainment, Featured, International, Local, Politics, Regional0 Comments

Berkshire

LIVE: 2019 Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders Meeting

Yahoo! News

Sam Ro Managing EditorYahoo Finance – May 4, 2019

   LIVEWATCH LIVE: 2019 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholders Meeting

Warren Buffett is speaking to Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A, BRK-B) investors as well as the rest of the world at the 2019 Annual Shareholder Meeting in Omaha, Nebraska. The event is being streamed live exclusively on Yahoo Finance.

Known as the “Oracle of Omaha” for his track record of picking winning investments, Buffett is joined by his right-hand man Charlie Munger, vice chairman of Berkshire. The duo will share their unscripted views on their company, the financial markets, the economy, politics, corporate governance, and of course investing.

Their comments on the near-term have been known to move markets. Their insights on the the long-term have earned fortunes for investors.

We’re covering the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholder Meeting live on this page, so hit refresh or click here for the latest updates.

Amazon, Coca-Cola and cannabis

News was breaking even before the meeting started.

On the Thursday ahead of the meeting, Buffett told CNBC’s Becky Quick that Berkshire had amassed a new position in Amazon (AMZN). He attributed the purchase to “one of the fellows in the office that manage money.” In other words, the decision was made by Todd Combs or Ted Weschler.

Over the past decade, Warren Buffett has been slowly taking a step back from his responsibilities at his company. Specifically, he hired two younger money managers, Todd Combs in 2010 and Ted Weschler in 2011, to eventually run Berkshire’s massive investment portfolio.

It’s worth noting that Buffett has acknowledged missing Amazon was a mistake.

“I always admired Jeff [Bezos, CEO of Amazon],” Buffett told Yahoo Finance’s editor-in-chief, Andy Serwer. “I met him 20 years ago or so. And I thought he was something special, but I didn’t realize you could go from books to what’s happened. He had a vision and executed it in an incredible way.”

On Friday, Buffett and Munger shared some thoughts on marijuana in response to a question from Fox Business Network’s Liz Claman.

“It would be a mistake for Coca-Cola (KO) to get into the marijuana — cannabis business,” they reportedly said to Claman. “They have a wholesome image and that would be detrimental to it.”

“Our chairman and CEO, James Quincey, has repeatedly stated we don’t have plans to get into this space,” a Coca-Cola spokesperson said to Yahoo Finance.

Coca-Cola is arguably the most successful investment Berkshire ever made.

Berkshire's portfolio has Todd Combs and Ted Weschler's finger prints all over it.
Berkshire’s portfolio has Todd Combs and Ted Weschler’s finger prints all over it.

It all began with a ‘monumentally stupid decision’

Buffett, 88, first invested in a Berkshire Hathaway, a failing textile company, back in December 1962, accumulating 7% of the company at $7.50 per share. The company was owned by a man named Seabury Stanton, who in 1964 asked Buffett for the price he’d be willing to sell his stake. Buffett said $11.50, and they had a deal.

However, Stanton later turned around and made a tender offer to shareholders for $11.275 per share. Buffett didn’t care for that behavior, so he ended up hanging on.

“That was a monumentally stupid decision,” Buffett said in his 2014 letter to shareholders. “Irritated by Stanton’s chiseling, I ignored his offer and began to aggressively buy more Berkshire shares.”

[Click here for full coverage of the 2019 Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders Meeting.]

Buffett took control of the company in May of 1965. And that was followed by another two decades of tough lessons.

“During the 18 years following 1966, we struggled unremittingly with the textile business, all to no avail,” he said. “But stubbornness — stupidity? — has its limits. In 1985, I finally threw in the towel and closed the operation.”

Despite his great success and status, Buffett’s career is riddled with failures. Ultimately, his real triumph is learning from his mistakes to eventually seal his legacy as the world’s greatest investor.

Furthermore, through letters, interviews, meetings and TV appearances, Buffett has shared his lessons with the public so that they can be better investors themselves. So while many know him as a great investor, there are plenty who will also remember him as a great teacher.

2019 Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders Meeting
2019 Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders Meeting

Sam Ro is managing editor at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter@SamRo

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Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Featured, International, News0 Comments

cq5dam.thumbnail.cropped.1500.844

World Press Freedom Day: “Media for Democracy”

Today’s celebration of World Press Freedom Day centers on the theme of “Media for Democracy: journalism and elections in times of disinformation”.

By Vatican News

The numbers speak louder than words: 95 journalists killed in the line of duty last year alone. 700 over the past ten years. 348 imprisoned.

The figures come from the International Federation of Journalists. In its own report, issued in April this year, Reporters Without Borders denounces “unprecedented violence” against journalists, claiming most victims were “deliberately targeted” precisely because they were doing their job. Still, journalists and reporters continue to risk their lives in conflict zones, providing truthful and reliable coverage of world events, and investigating stories of crime and corruption

World Press Freedom Index

One of the aims of World Press Freedom Day is to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the field. Another is to assess the state of press freedom throughout the world. The World Press Freedom Index, compiled every year by Reporters Without Borders, does exactly that by evaluating the state of journalism in 180 countries. Only 24 percent of those countries are classified as “good”. Norway ranks top of the list in terms of press freedom, with Turkmenistan at the bottom.   

According to the 2019 Index, “The hostility towards journalists expressed by political leaders in many countries has incited increasingly serious and frequent acts of violence that have fueled an unprecedented level of fear and danger for journalists”.  

World Press Freedom Day

World Press Freedom Day was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993 and has been celebrated every year since then. This year’s theme of “Media for Democracy: journalism and elections in times of disinformation”, discusses the challenges faced by media during elections, along with the media’s potential in supporting peace and reconciliation processes.

In announcing the theme, UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, said: “No democracy is complete without access to transparent and reliable information. It is the cornerstone for building fair and impartial institutions, holding leaders accountable and speaking truth to power”.

Truthful reporting and peace journalism were highlighted by Pope Francis in his Message for World Communications Day last year. In the message, he calls journalists “protectors of news” and describes what they do as “not just a job”, but a “mission”.   03 May 2019, 13:32

Posted in Editorial, Education, Elections, Featured, International, Local, News, Politics1 Comment

Gegory Willock

It was certainly messy

Hon Speaker, Shirley Osborne, with clerk in Legislative Assembly session
Seating in opposition Hons. Easton Farrell, Dr. Sammy Joseph, Dr. Ingrid Buffonge and Gregory Willock

Aware that TMR (The Montserrat Reporter) had not given full coverage under the headlined “…Assembly mess,” in the March 29, 2019 issue, we had prepared coverage for publication under caption “It was certainly messy” following full investigation. Time went by, but as of last weekend the time came for an answer following postponement of earlier sittings, when the matter(s) was dealt with in the Assembly held on April 25, 2019.

The result – apologies, and suspensions from sittings.

In last week’s TMR issue we headlined the week’s share of mess both in the UK and in Montserrat, both in different proportions. Montserrat being much less, affecting only the territory but coming nevertheless from the highest level possible in parliament, the Legislative Assembly (LegAss).

We addressed the matter briefly in the Editorial where we suggested from the brief information available last Friday immediately following the poor conduct of the Legislative member Dr. Ingrid Buffonge, in her fifth year after being elected in the last 2014 General Elections, supported by the Hon Gregory Willock, a fact he constantly seeks to deny.

Dr. Buffonge has reportedly said that her remarks were not directed to the Speaker, and was unaware that her microphone was still turned on. But irrespective Hon Speaker Shirley Osborne has explained that she, “… used language that is just absolutely not acceptable here. And upon being asked to apologize to the house choose instead to leave.”

With Dr. Buffonge’s supporter of her failed motion against the PDM government last year, Hon Willock was seemingly in support and joined Dr. Buffonge who rather than, or refusing to apologise as Speaker Osborne said she was asked to do, walked out.

Earlier in the sitting the Speaker had admonished members from both sides that they should be mindful of how they interrupt a speaker., This is usually done by a member drawing attention by saying, “On a point of order…”

This time the speaker had interrupted Dr. Buffonge who was speaking to a Supplementary bill to approve additional funds for health care, for relevance. She was stating her repeated continue d dissatisfaction with the way the Ministry of Health had been functioning. But the Honourable Speaker told Buffonge, “I find what you are saying very interesting, however, I’m having great difficulty making the connection, the relevance of what you are saying to the bill on hand. —would you in maybe twenty words or so explain the connection before you go on?” she asked of the member.

Dr. Buffonge responded by saying, “Madam Speaker, I’m really struggling to have a voice in parliament with you being super controlling. I find that nobody else gets the treatment that I get.”

At some point soon after Dr. Buffonge among other words uttered the offending words, and after being asked to apologise, reportedly said goodbye to the House and walked out. She was followed by Willock leaving the Hon opposition leader with Hon. Dr Sammy Joseph.

A stunned public wait for the next move on the issue. Meanwhile the Hon Speaker is reported to have said, ‘The standing orders allows the House to name and suspend members. What I will recommend to the house, and what the House will take on in response to the behaviours of those two persons this afternoon, is something we will discuss and respond to and address appropriately at the next sitting.”

And so, here we were on Thursday, April 25, 2019, as the questions asked prior, e.g. “Could parliamentary member be facing possible suspension during the next sitting of the Legislative Assembly?”

The Hon Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Shirley Osborne having convened the sitting on the 25th, to address parliamentary issues, as she opened: “Unfortunately for us, the very first order of business this morning, is that we are required to respond to and resolve a matter brought forward from the last sitting of the house, which took place on Friday March 29th.”

It ought to have been surprising, even if not shocking, especially to those who were still willing to downplay the events, claiming worst happen in other parliaments when the speaker continued after addressing the Hon members’ “the very first sitting of what would grow to be called the Montserrat Legislative Assembly was held in 1937, and in its 82 years of existence the house, as far as we can tell from researching into the written records and consulting with current and former parliamentarians, nothing has ever occurred in this august and venerable house that even remotely compares to what unfolded in this place on March 29, 2019.”

The Speaker continued her introduction of the matter on hand:

“Not surprisingly, this Honourable House – and this Chair – were quite unprepared to respond immediately, knowledge of Standing Orders being not quite the same as familiarity with the remedies it provides for dealing with matters so entirely unfamiliar to this Chair and this House.

The entire House recoiled in disbelief and reacted with shock at the untoward and alien occurrence and the house was suspended briefly, in accordance with Standing Order Number 3 (2) which reads, simply: “(2) The Speaker may at any time suspend a meeting.” So that I might confer with the Clerk and Standing Orders for the appropriate response.

“In the interests of clarity, therefore, and so as to ensure that all who have an interest in the workings of the Montserrat Legislative Assembly are provided with the facts, on record, in replacement of misconceptions resulting from ignorance of the rules of the House of Assembly and in response to the opportunistic misrepresentations of the facts, I shall briefly recap.”

She went on to do that in terms some of which appear here in this issue and before. She mentioned however, circumstances and events that took place prior to the March 29 meeting where she said: “…I made a plea to the members to not repeat the unfortunate and unbecoming behaviours of the previous sitting.” She said she made these comments after asking the radio not to broadcast what she was about to say to the members. The essence of this is that what happened that day was a situation which just got far worse than imaginable.

After the brief suspension on March 29, the Speaker reported: “I advised the House that I would confer further with the Clerk of the Assembly, seek wider advice and report back at the next sitting with appropriate rulings and directions for the House,” adding, “As is proper and indeed best practice, Madam Clerk and I, both, have also, separately, sought advice from our colleague clerks and speakers in other jurisdictions.”

Thus she began: “I have done so. My considered ruling, therefore, is this.” Only that before the ruling, she went on with much more explanation of the honour and culture surrounding the rules, existence, control and conduct of the house, much of which most if not all members would have been exposed to before, formally or otherwise, excerpted thus.

“The Montserrat Legislative Assembly is governed by generally accepted rules – Standing Orders, custom, codes of conduct and the authority of the Speaker – …the House is the proverbial “nation unto itself”, within which the members enjoy Privilege with a capital P, or a set of privileges available to no others else in our society. For this reason, also, is it incumbent upon them to never violate this high honour.

“These orders, rules, customs and codes, in conjunction with The Montserrat Constitution Order 2010, oblige members to always – and assiduously – uphold the honour and dignity of the House, to be ever careful to never engage in conduct that might be damaging to the reputation and integrity of the House as a whole or of its members generally, in whichever situation they might find themselves…”

 “Under Standards in public life, the Constitution reads,

106.— (2) In the exercise of their functions Ministers, members of the Legislative Assembly and public officers shall uphold and conform to the highest standards in public life

These orders, rules, customs and codes of conduct exist –

“to assist all Members in the discharge of their obligations to the House, their constituents and the public at large by –

  1. establishing the standards and principles of conduct expected of all Members in undertaking their duties;
  2. setting the rules of conduct which underpin these standards and principles and to which all Members must adhere, and in so doing
  3. ensuring public confidence in the standards expected of all Members and in the commitment of the House to upholding these rules.

After all that and much more, questioning on the way:

“With what authority, for example, would a teacher at MSS be able to reprimand a child for disrupting the class, or for cursing and swearing in the classroom, if Members of Parliament are seen to be allowed to do this in the House, with impunity?

Would we consider it acceptable for congregants to speak “badwords” in our churches?”

Then – “My office as Speaker allows me the authority to advise members and, at this moment, I advise the House that there is campaigning and politics and there is administering and governing.

“I further advise members that, in this House, the guide ought best be, above all other considerations, effective administration and good governance for the benefit and advancement of the entire populace.”

And eventually laying out the ‘charges’ having named before those who have caused them to be brought. “Honourable Members, the matters under consideration are, in general, a violation of the Standing Orders of the Assembly, and specifically:

“disruption of house proceedings;
disregard for the authority of the Chair;
violation of the dignity and honour of the House;
unparliamentary language;
leaving the House without the permission of the Speaker;
and grave misconduct in the House, including abuse of the parliamentary privilege regarding speech.”

Accordingly with the authority of the Speaker. “All of these being behaviours prohibited by the ,

She also cited the Standing Orders from which the charges derived Standing Order Nos. 39, 40, 4, 49, 78 (1), 49 Section 2.

It is my recommendation, therefore, that the violations of the Parliament by these two members be responded to in this manner:

“that Mr. Willock renders an apology to the House, withdraw from this present sitting and be suspended for one sitting hereafter.

“That Dr. Buffonge renders an apology to the House, which must be in writing and with notice, withdraw from this present sitting and be suspended for two sittings hereafter.

The question to be put is, therefore, Honourable Members, whether the House accepts these recommendations.”

It may be surprising to note that the opposition with one member absent voted against the motion, with the two ‘charged’ not being able to vote, the motion carried with the government side voting in favour with one abstention.

Reports, unconfirmed and being checked speak to continuing awkwardness and misbehavior, which may cause further citations. The matter may not be over. The budget presentation is carded for the next sitting of the house likely to be May 155. The two members will be absent.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Elections, Featured, Local, News, Politics, Regional0 Comments

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