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Alvin Martin’s nolle prosequi

by a Contributor

Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Oris Sullivan issued a nolle prosequi in a case, ending what court observers described was more of persecution than prosecution, of an assault charge against Mr. Alvin Martin, an industrial art – technical teacher at the Montserrat Secondary School, after a two-year wait. DPP  claimed he had enough evidence to successfully convict Mr. Martin. However out of a sense of generosity, the prosecution is ending the case.

Long standing defense counsel Mr. David Brandt argued that according to law, the case should have been concluded within a six-month period and suggested that the case was without merit in the first place. The student in question the attorney argued did not side with the prosecution. In fact according to him he was declared a ‘hostile’ witness by the prosecution as the student maintained in court that Mr. Martin did not bite him on his lip as claimed.

Student witnesses on the spot at the time of the incident also denied the prosecution’s claim.

ZJB News reporting on the matter said that Mr. Martin reported that the incident was grossly and maybe intentionally exaggerated by the school’s administration. No one at the school or the Ministry discussed the student-teacher contact with him before he was arrested and suspended from his job. “The fact is,” he says, “Ministry officials did not entertain him when he made requests to present his side of the story.” Martin accordingly said that a key Ministry official told him: “I have already heard the Principal’s version of the story,” and dismissed him.

Last year, another male teacher at the MSS was acquitted of assault in a matter we reported, should never have seen the courts. The concern for the public in such matters is the fall out that can result from matters of such nature and the cost to the public purse to be paying out monies, for no service as well as replacement teachers.

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Market Day in Salem

Opening up a period of healthy remembrance and celebrations

By B. Roach

A ZJB report gives account of Agricultural Minister David Osborne praising farmers who he said have been braving adverse conditions to ensure that the island is self-sufficient in certain agricultural produce.

The day was staged today beginning at the crack of dawn and as our photo shows farmers are seen setting up their vegetable, plants and even pastry stalls, of varying descriptions.

Small section of plants were on show – for sale

The Minister boasted that the day’s event hosted in Salem because of the beginning of the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, was sending a message that Montserrat is bouncing back and forging ahead with agricultural production. He mentioned the abundance of @fresh organically grown onions, carrots and cabbage, lettuce and tomatoes, among other vegetables.

Pastries, sugar cakes, coconut cakes

Visitor and residents alike agree with the Minister, the day was a success, but there were some disgruntled onlookers who asked the question, what was the purpose of building a market in Little Bay if market days would be held elsewhere. But the counter is that they have missed the point, adding, “maybe here should not have been a market built for that purpose.”

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It will be some time before it reaches the stage to seek 'political' independence, but...

It will be some time before it reaches the stage to seek ‘political’ independence, but…

March 8, 2019

We should make it clear, we are not calling for independence of Britain, and all that goes with that, on the issues and controversies emanating from the seemingly asseverate position the UK wants to hold over the OTs, in particular those who do not wish to adhere to such especially positions concerning ‘same sex marriage’, and beneficial ownerships of companies, beneficial ownership of companies register, the right to vote for UK citizens resident in Bermuda, and legalisation of same-sex marriage.

We are suggesting that while it will be a decade perhaps or more before Montserrat can claim to just balance its own recurrent budget, much more claim economic independence, or being in a 1995 pre-volcanic crisis, we must be prepared for the hardship that comes with being free of enslavement to having to accept that which the people believe goes against their being.

We noted the other day about what seemed a new phrase, in the sense we had not heard it used often before, that of political independence as against ‘independence’, creating the reality that indeed very few nations in the world if any can claim economic independence. And we can keep this well within the region and narrow it down further to CARICOM and OECS nations. Then consider Montserrat’s place with its unique position and standing having since 1995 having to face a ‘virgin’ situation of building a new country.

We will never forget Minister of State “I mean, where else in the world would some face a disaster like that and still come out smiling and determined to get things going again. The admiration we have for that gives us that extra bit of drive.”

Promote the vision of the OTs as part of the British family, flourishing and vibrant, and less financially dependent.

Does the vision to do this require the soul of the people of Montserrat, and in extension that of all Overseas Territories?

Note Bermuda’s position on issues also coming out of that FAC Report, while the Premier asked London to dismiss a report that recommends British expatriates living in this British Overseas Territory get to vote.

He rejected calls for independence — a longstanding aim of the ruling Progressive Labour Party — but said the stance on cutting ties with Britain could change.

So we must join the thoughts and desires of the other OTs who deplore those ideas which go against the mandate that says: “…to protect our way of life. For democracy to work anywhere – the people’s voice must be heard – and must be respected!”

Specifically, we share the BVI’s new Premier who says: “We value our relations with the UK, and we do hope that Westminster, values and understand the special circumstances of small island territories as ours; that they are sensitive to our culture, customs and values which have been fashioned by history and geography, and our faith in God,”

And do you know our Constitution begins with that? See the Preamble:

“Acknowledging that their society is founded on… the rule of law and the supremacy of God;…”

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Premier Romeo’s Statement at the memorial service for The Right Hon Professor Dr. George Irish (Harlem, New York, March 1, 2019)

Premier Romeo’s Statement at the memorial service for The Right Hon Professor Dr. George Irish (Harlem, New York, March 1, 2019)

Premier Donaldson Romeo

First and foremost, on behalf of the Government and the People of Montserrat wherever they may be, I would like to express profound condolences with wishes of peace and consolation to the wife, children, close relatives, and friends of The Right Hon Professor Dr. George Irish – son and hero of our native land.

Lives of great men all remind us We can make our lives sublime, And, departing, leave behind us Footprints on the sands of time.

Footprints, that perhaps another, Sailing o’er life’s solemn main, A forlorn and shipwrecked brother, Seeing, shall take heart again.  

I consider it a great privilege to be allowed to stand before you today to honour a great Montserratian whose life has left so many memories, indelible footprints, in all of our hearts.

He has left enduring footprints in our civic life and education, through trade union activity, the Credit Union, political activism and speeches, through lectures, sermons, classes and informal chats.

He has left his mark on Montserratian culture. Memories of the University Centre packed with people: Arrow on stage performing in his platform shoes, Gus white singing his heart out, Joe West playing the role of Willie Bramble, the newly formed Community Singers bringing National pride tears to our eyes with “Oh Montserrat in the Carib Sea”.

He impacted my own home, particularly through my mother, a firm fan of his. In the Black Power days of the late Sixties and early Seventies, we all wore afros, and our mother sewed up a storm of dashikis for the whole family, for just about every occasion. More importantly, we were taught to wear these symbols of our African heritage with pride, just as he did, as an outward sign of an inner liberation.

For, as sons and daughters of slaves, Montserratians had long learnt to be ashamed of our past, of the culture that had grown out of this past, of our so called “bad English”, of our very selves.

Doc Irish’s enthusiasm for Montserratian ness, for our history, our stories, our music, our jokes and our twang, was contagious, and made a priceless contribution to a joyous sense of national pride and celebration. He has left an imprint that goes way deeper than activism, deeper than clothes, or cultural events. He has left us a legacy of freedom and dignity that is encoded in the DNA of our little Caribbean Rock.

But no one could know Doc Irish for very long, especially in the later years of his life, without realizing that this was a man who loved and feared his God.

He clearly understood that the most important footprints any person can leave behind are not those, however inspiring, left in the shifting sands of time, but those he or she has made from standing firmly on the Eternal Rock of Ages.

Though I won’t see him again on the little Rock he loved so well, I hope with all my heart to see him again when God, through the Eternal Rock of ages, calls all His sleeping children back to vibrant life.

Thanks and may God bless us all.

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FAC Report pushes for homosexualisation of marriage How can Montserrat respond reasonably and responsibly

FAC Report pushes for homosexualisation of marriage How can Montserrat respond reasonably and responsibly

Contribution (A special)

BRADES, Montserrat, February 25, 2019 – In the February 8th issue of The Reporter, it was noticed that when Lord Ahmad appeared before the UK Foreign Affairs Committee, on December 18th last year:

“. . . right after the imposition of a public beneficial ownership register was put on the table, the very next issue raised was: similar imposition of “same-sex ‘marriage’ . . .”? (In other words, when our elected members struck a “compromise” with the FCO in 2010 such that the first “rights” to be protected in the 2010 Constitution Order are “sex” and “sexual orientation” while in Section 10 it asserted the “right to marry a person of the opposite sex” and thus to “found a family,” that was just a temporary pause for those pushing the radical sexual agenda.)”

That concern about the UK Parliament being in a mood to push for further impositions was right. For, when the FAC report on OT’s came out on February 21st, it said that “a notable point of divergence and friction is same-sex marriage, which has been legalised in all but the five OTs in the Caribbean (Anguilla, BVI, the Cayman Islands, Montserrat, and Turks and Caicos), though this bar is currently being challenged in the courts in the Cayman Islands.” [Emphasis added.]

“Bar” is a loaded word: it is how the British spoke of how black people in Zimbabwe or Kenya or South Africa were excluded and robbed of their rights: “the colour bar.” In other words, we the people and Governments of Caribbean OT’s are being directly compared to racists. This is not right, it is not fair, it is not true and it must be answered.

Less than ten years ago, when the Montserrat 2010 Constitution Order was being negotiated with the FCO, it was noticed that the FCO draft had in it an odd section about “right to marry” – something that, historically, has not been a Constitutional issue – that was strangely vague and which had not been frankly discussed with the people of our community. So, Montserrat’s elected representatives proposed more specific language for Section 10, that one marries a person “of the opposite sex” and so may “found a family.” As a part of discussion with the FCO, this was “balanced” by specific inclusion of “sex” and “sexual orientation” in the list of rights to be protected under law. This was then passed by resolution of our parliament, was in what was tabled in the UK Parliament and was in what was issued through the Privy Council as an Order in Council.

Less than ten years ago, it was clearly reasonable to hold that marriage is between people of “opposite sex.” So, why is it that the FAC now wishes to compare such a view with racism and colour bar? With, the implication lurking just below the surface, that our Christian convictions on the matter are unreasonable, oppressive and backward?

Arguably, such is because the homosexualism-promoting activists have been able to get their way in several major countries, including the UK and have moved on beyond getting “civil unions” recognised to demanding “marriage equality.” In some, by court rulings, in others by acts passed in parliaments, in a few by referendums. However, here, such a move would have to be by Constitutional amendment, and to deal with that we must ask a pointed question: what has fundamentally changed over the past ten years about the two sexes required to conceive a child and to properly nurture that child in a stable, wholesome family environment? Obviously: nothing.

We will also need to be clear as to what makes a claimed “right” right, and what are the limits on just law. Otherwise, we will be labelled backward bigots and targetted as oppressors blocking “rights.”

So, what is a right, and what makes it a right? Ans: A right is a binding, moral claim that one must be respected and protected due to his or her inherent dignity and worth as a human being. Such worth can only come from our being made in God’s image and “endowed with certain unalienable rights.” Rights, that start with “life.” We are morally governed, conscience-guided creatures who have responsible, rational freedom. Clearly, then, to properly claim a right one must first manifestly be in the right.

Indeed, in order to persuade us the FAC expects us to know that we have duties to truth, right reason, prudence, fairness etc. That is, they too understand that we are morally governed creatures. But, such conscience-guided moral government, in the end, has just one credible source: the inherently good, wise, loving creator God.

That’s why in July 1776, the American founders wrote:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed . . . ”

Likewise, Jesus went on record:

“Have you never read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined inseparably to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh.

Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate.” [Matt 19:4 – 6, AMP.]

So, by implicitly comparing our stand to racism, the FAC has now forced us to justify our views, on common sense, moral principle and scripture. Marriage is based on the naturally evident creation order of the two sexes, male and female, and is a lifelong covenant under God. Where, what God joins, man must not separate.

That is also the testimony of common sense. For example, no complicated human behaviour has ever been shown to be actually determined by our genes. We are not mindless robots. The search for gay genes has unsurprisingly clearly failed despite the impressions given by the media and by ill-advised education. Instead, we are responsible, morally governed, conscience-guided. This clearly includes our sexual behaviour: our sexual attractions, acts and habits are under moral government. Of course, our impulses and behaviours can sometimes trap us in addictive, hard to escape patterns of life that are unwise, ill-advised (or even outright irrational), abnormal, damaging, disease-spreading, insanitary, destructive.

Common sense speaks again:
Clearly, distorting Marriage under false colour of law is not the right or just answer. Likewise, stigmatising people who have principled objections to such distortions as though they were backward bigots comparable to racists is equally unjust. The activists have gone too far.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Columns, De Ole Dawg, International, Local, News, OECS, Opinions, Politics, UK - Brexit1 Comment

What is Marriage?

What is Marriage?

Contribution,  (A special, part 2)

Is marriage merely a contract under law that we can change as we wish?

BRADES, Montserrat, March 1, 2019 –  In their February 21st report on Montserrat and other Overseas Territories, the UK House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) it proposed that the UK Government  “should set a date by which it expects all OTs to have legalised same-sex marriage” and if that date is not met, it should impose this novelty through legislation or an Order in Council. However, such presumes that marriage is merely a convenient contractual arrangement that can be readily updated for new times, through getting rid of backward, oppressive notions. Especially, as the FAC viewed the historic understanding as imposing an unjust “bar” on homosexuals, etc.[1]

But, is that so? 

Are those who support the historic view of marriage guilty of the equivalent of the racist “colour bar” that was used to rob Africans of their rights in colonised Africa?

No.

First, historic marriage is obviously not the equivalent of Apartheid – the FAC owes us a public apology and retraction for that outrageous, subtle insult.

Instead, historic marriage rests on our nature as male and female and on sound moral principle. That’s why “marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled.” For, men and women are matching halves of a whole, not just so that children may be born and nurtured in a sound family, but relationally – “it is not good for the man to be alone.” Stable marriages that honourably join men and women in a lifelong union and resulting families are the foundation of stable, sustainable society.

That is why those who try to tamper with marriage or twist sex out of its right place are playing with ruinous fire.

That is the logic behind Jesus’ words:

“Have you never read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined inseparably to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate.” [Matt 19:4 – 6, AMP.]

Such words are not mere empty religious bigotry or myths, they reflect our naturally evident creation order, an order that we can all see by simply looking around us. An order, that is the basis for sound, sustainable civilisation. Those who tamper with it are unwittingly serving forces of chaos.

Indeed, we are already seeing the next item on the chaotic sexual agenda, a list of dozens of “genders”[2] intended to replace being male or female – and some of this is already being taught to young children in schools. One wonders, if animals and robots will also be brought into this already absurd picture. Already, factories are building sex robots.

If we are to weather this cultural hurricane, we will need a sound, principled understanding of marriage, one anchored to our nature as male and female. For example, George, Girgis and Anderson wrote in the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy that:

“Marriage is the union of a man and a woman who make a permanent and exclusive commitment to each other of the type that is naturally (inherently) fulfilled by bearing and rearing children together. The spouses seal (consummate) and renew their union by conjugal acts—acts that constitute the behavioral part of the process of reproduction, thus uniting them as a reproductive unit. Marriage is valuable in itself, but its inherent orientation to the bearing and rearing of children con-tributes to its distinctive structure, including norms of monogamy and fidelity. This link to the welfare of children also helps explain why marriage is important to the common good and why the state should recognize and regulate it.” [“What is Marriage?,” Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, Vol 34 No. 1, p. 246.]

No, marriage is not merely a matter of romantic attachment and personal fulfillment, to be expressed in whatever acts we can dream up, then can freely discard once the heat of our emotions cools down. No, legislatures did not invent it, nor can they use the magic of words under colour of law to alter its fundamental nature. No, those who stand for sound marriage are not the moral equivalent of oppressive racists.

So, it’s not just about imposition without due consultation with our people. It’s not just a debate on amending Montserrat’s Constitution Order of 2010, which says that a person of appropriate age has a “right to marry a person of the opposite sex” and thus to “found a family.” Provisions, passed by the UK’s Privy Council less than ten years ago. It is about basic respect and it is about preserving the soundness of our civilisation.


[1]See, TMR: https://www.themontserratreporter.com/fac-report-pushes-for-homosexualisation-of-marriage-how-can-montserrat-respond-reasonably-and-responsibly/ and https://www.themontserratreporter.com/same-sex-marriage-in-montserrat/

[2]E.g. see: http://genderfluidsupport.tumblr.com/gender/

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It is not just money, power and sex

FAC raises controversial Constitutional Isssues

It is not just money, power and sex
March 1, 2019

In their February 21, 2019 report, the UK House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) has called for legalising same-sex marriage in Montserrat and four other Caribbean Overseas Territories. It has also called for changing restrictions on voting and eligibility to run for a seat in our legislative assembly, creating “a pathway for all resident UK and British Overseas Territory citizens to be able to vote and hold elected office in territory.” Such changes would require amending the Montserrat 2010 Constitution Order, and would be controversial.
On the recent trend to put into law that men can marry other men and women other women, the FAC pointed to “a notable point of divergence and friction is same-sex marriage, which has been legalised in all but the five OTs in the Caribbean (Anguilla, BVI, the Cayman Islands, Montserrat, and Turks and Caicos), though this bar is currently being challenged in the courts in the Cayman Islands.”
It also noted that Premier Romeo’s reply to this question was “it was important for the UK to recognise that “as separate territories, with ethnic diversity from your territory and cultural differences, we ought to be allowed to make decisions on matters such as same-sex marriages.”
In the conclusion, the FAC states: “The Government should set a date by which it expects all OTs to have legalised same-sex marriage. If that deadline is not met, the Government should intervene through legislation or an Order in Council.”
For Montserrat, this would lead to a Constitutional issue. Our 2010 Constitution Order was negotiated with the FCO over an eight-year period, then was passed as a resolution by the Reuben T. Meade Administration.
It was then tabled in the UK Parliament and was finally issued as an Order in Council. In Section 2 it protects the basic rights “without distinction of any kind, such as sex, sexual orientation, race, colour” etc. In Section 10 it then states “Notwithstanding anything in section 16 [on discrimination], every man and woman of marriageable age (as determined by or under any law) has the right to marry a person of the opposite sex and to found a family.”
This provision reflects the immemorial, community consensus of Montserratians and many others across the Caribbean and beyond that while all people are to be respected and protected under law, the natural marital relationship between husband (male) and wife (female) is foundational to the sustainability of family and society and so must also be respected and protected under law.
At that time, such provisions were clearly acceptable to the UK Parliament and to the Privy Council. (NB: Premier Romeo’s reference to “ethnic diversity . . . and cultural differences” comes from Principles IV and V of the UN General Assembly Resolution 1541 of 1960, See: (UN: https://undocs.org/en/A/RES/1541(XV) which sets out specific frameworks for implementing the legally binding force of UN Charter, Article 73.)
The FAC report also states that:
“Belongership and its equivalents are wrong. While we recognise that the OTs are small communities with unique cultural identities, we do not accept that there is any justification to deny legally-resident British Overseas Territory and UK citizens the right to vote and to hold elected office. This elevates one group of British people over another and risks undermining the ties that bind the UK and the OTs together in one global British family. The UK Government should initiate a consultation with the elected governments of the OTs and work with them to agree a plan to ensure that there is a pathway for all resident UK and British Overseas Territory citizens to be able to vote and hold elected office in territory. In its response to this report the FCO should lay out a timetable for this consultation process and set a deadline for phasing out discriminatory elements of belongership, or its territory-specific equivalents.”
This too, is a Constitutional issue for Montserrat. For, Section 51 restricts those qualified to be legislators, to persons “born of a father or mother who at the time of the birth was a Montserratian.”
Such Constitutional issues may well be particularly controversial in an election year, such as this.
There are those already concerned persons who are also calling on all to be prepared for the fight, inviting Monterratians to take note. The following comes from an annonymous writer as we have been unable to ascertain its origin.
“Montserratians the world over, take stock of the British Parliamentarians attitude to you as a people, strong representation is the key, I urge you to support those who are prepared to represent your interest and rebuke those who are prepared to spread propaganda in an attempt to hoodwink the electorate for power and personal gain.”

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2-28-18-winair

St. Patrick’s Day festival preparations

As the preps heat up, plans are made to ensure people arrive ‘on time’

Testing docking ability Jaden Sun at Plymouth jetty in case bad seas overtake Little Bay port

Last year the St. Patrick’s Day festival was in celebration to mark the 250th anniversary of the failed slave rebellion on March 17, 1768, when authorities forecasted that “over 7,000 people will flock the island for the commemoration.” The actual arrival numbers were disputed eventually but there was no hold back on touting the revenue that resulted, especially when wooing Government to put more into the event.

As the bulk of people began to arrive on island from March 4, 2018 or thereabout, people became stranded in Antigua as the March seas struck again “over 100 passengers were stranded in Antigua on Wednesday, March 7, just like it did last year also in March, when that time the ferry successfully docked and landed passengers at the Plymouth jetty in the exclusion zone. This followed cancellations the week before when hundreds had already begun to arrive for the Festival.” (see: https://www.themontserratreporter.com/ferry-travel-to-montserrat-failed-for-high-seas/)

The wave when it broke scared many on shore at Port Little Bay, hid the ferry from view

The Access Division had arranged for the passengers who had been stuck in Antigua since high seas caused cancellation of the ferry service on Sunday, 4th to travel down and dock at Port Plymouth. But things went awry when that plan failed because of the timing. The ferry was unable to dock and after checking the situation at Little Bay which at first seemed calm, the sea again turned up and forced the ferry to return to Antigua with a reported number of 114 passengers.

This year, in anticipation of the known March conditions, we received the following information provided from a release from the DMCA on the ferry, captioned, “Ferry Does Test Run at Plymouth Jetty”. It is uncertain what media witnessed if any, but independent media was either ignored as had been attempted prior, or was just not informed of the event due to take place.

So, according to the report from the DMCA, the MV Jaden Sun ferry successfully docked at Port Plymouth in Zone V on Wednesday, February 27th, 2019, the following being information as provided.

According to Senior Disaster Management Coordinator at the Disaster Management Coordination Agency (DMCA), Astrid Wade, the ferry berthing at the Plymouth Jetty was to test the agency’s contingency plan for the docking of the ferry in the event of rough seas at Little Bay during Montserrat’s hosting of the 2019 St Patrick’s Festival in March.

He said the exercise also tested putting on fenders on the jetty to mitigate against any damage to the MV Jaden Sun.

The Senior Disaster Coordinator confirmed that a disembarkation and embarkation gangway was placed on the ferry to test the safe exit of passengers getting on and off the ferry.

Jaden Sun being secured at Plymouth Jetty in docking test

The exercise today led by the DMCA involved several key agencies on island namely the Montserrat Port Authority, Royal Montserrat Police Service, Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO), Montserrat Tourist Board (MTB), Access Division, Montserrat Customs and Revenue Service (MCRS) and Integrated Border Security (IBS) to ensure successful docking of the ferry, MV Jaden Sun, in the event circumstances warrant the use of the Plymouth facility if Little Bay is deemed unsuitable as a result unfavourable sea conditions.

Improved flight arrangements for the Festival season

As part of its St Patrick’s preparations and contingency planning, for such eventualities as experienced over the years, the Access Division, within the Office of the Premier, is encouraging additional support due to the level of demand outlined by customers for both air and sea travel.

Ferry Services:

The ferry service has increased its initial schedule from a six-day to a seven-day schedule for a two-week period surrounding the St Patrick’s festival. The service has seen a number of additional adjustments to better cater for the travelling public. Customers will be able to check and book via the live ferry service schedule online at www.ferry.ms. The ferry will run every day from the 5th March to the 24th March except on Sunday 17th March, when it will be hosting Scriber’s, “Round the island adventure tour”.

Air Services:

Air services will also see additional flights due to increased customer demand. Both regular airline operators Fly Montserrat and SVG (ABM)Air have increased their daily flights.  Some additional support will be provided by WinAir on selected days, during the period March 5th to 21st.  Customers can check and book on each Operator’s website for available flights within the March period.

WINAIR flying to Montserrat for St Patrick’s Festival 2019

WinAir aircraft

This new flight arrangement may be coming somewhat late to serve as a true test of how beneficial it might be for travelers to, and for Montserrat. The decision, we have been reliably informed was made months ago, may even be over a year. However, attempts to block this development is a matter that raises its head to higher and in ways to devious behaviour by some who seek glory for themselves at the expense of Montserrat.

Such an option may be useful for those still trying to make bookings to fly in for St Patrick’s Festival. Here is another old but new option on WINAIR – back for a few select dates in March.

The first scheduled flight in between Antigua and Montserrat is Tuesday, March 5. The final scheduled flight is Wednesday, March 20, 2019.

The access division provides the following for reservations – book online at www.fly-winair.sx .

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andrew

Same Sex Marriage in Montserrat!

British Foreign Affairs Committee calls for BOTs to get in line on gay marriage

Original By Peter Richards

Adapted by Bennette Roach

LONDON, Feb 22, CMC – The House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee wants all British Overseas Territories (OT), including those in the Caribbean, to legitimise same sex marriages.

In addition, the Committee believes that the British government could do more than “simply support” same sex marriages in principle.
In its 44-page report titled “Global Britain and the British Overseas Territories: Resetting the Relationship,” the Committee said “it is time for all OTs to legalise same-sex marriage and for the UK Government to do more than simply support it in principle.

Foreign Affairs Committee hearing – Lord Ahmad and Ben Merrick provide the answers and OT’s positions to the questions particularly surrounding Same Sex marriage and Beneficial Ownership

“It must be prepared to step in, as it did in 2001 when an Order in Council decriminalised homosexuality in OTs that had refused to do so. The Government should set a date by which it expects all OTs to have legalised same-sex marriage. If that deadline is not met, the Government should intervene through legislation or an Order in Council.”

Lord Ahmad, Minister with responsibilties to include the Caribbean and Overseas Territories, with Ben Merrick, Director of the OTs affairs

The OTs in the Caribbean include Montserrat, British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Bermuda, Turks and Caicos Islands and the Cayman Islands.
In the report, the Committee is also calling on the British government to urgently address concerns in the OTs about the issue of citizenship by descent and anomalies in the British Nationality Act that have taken too long to resolve.

Ian Austin, supporting…

“It should also consider options for removing quotas on the number of people in the OTs that can access NHS (National Health Service) services in the UK when their 32 Global Britain and the British Overseas Territories: Resetting the relationship own health systems cannot provide the care and treatment they need”

Mike Gapes, Chairman, leading the charge
Chris Bryant, supporting the charge

It said that this may be difficult from a bureaucratic point of view but it is an important test of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s (FCO) ability to fight the OTs’ corner in the UK.

The Committee says belongership and its equivalents are wrong, noting that “while we recognise that the OTs are small communities with unique cultural identities, we do not accept that there is any justification to deny legally-resident British Overseas Territory and UK citizens the right to vote and to hold elected office.

“This elevates one group of British people over another and risks undermining the ties that bind the UK and the OTs together in one global British family.”

Andrew Rosindel, leading for a modern relationship,
on fair and even playing field

It suggests that London should initiate a consultation with the elected governments of the OTs and work with them to agree a plan to ensure that there is a pathway for all resident UK and British Overseas Territory citizens to be able to vote and hold elected office in territory.

“In its response to this report the FCO should lay out a timetable for this consultation process and set a deadline for phasing out discriminatory elements of belongership, or its territory-specific equivalents”.

The OTs are a set of largely self-governing territories spanning nine time zones, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, the Antarctic to the Caribbean. These territories are not part of the UK and each has its own constitution, but all share a bond with the UK.

The Committee notes that for the Overseas Territories, Global Britain is a living reality and they have a valuable part to play in it.

In the report, the Committee notes that while the UK has a duty under international law to provide for the development of the OTs, it also has a responsibility to UK taxpayers to ensure that the considerable amount of money it spends on the OTs is not wasted.

“This means not only transparency and accountability in day-to-day spending, but also ensuring that capital investment is genuinely capable of delivering the Government’s long-term objective to ensure that the OTs are financially self-sufficient.

“We are seriously concerned by evidence suggesting that, despite significant capital investment in some OTs in recent years, much more remains to be done to provide infrastructure in OTs such as Montserrat, Tristan da Cunha and St. Helena, with no clear end in sight,” the Committee noted.

It said also the government “must offer clarity on its long-term vision for the funding of the OTs, including replacing any lost EU funding, and continuing and expanding Blue Belt funding after 2020”.

It said towards this end, the British government should explore options for a dedicated development and stimulus fund for the OTs, which would allow for the long-term, sustainable development of aid-dependent territories; help to stimulate the economies of those who need a stimulus but do not qualify for official development assistance; and help territories that are otherwise financially self-sufficient respond to crises such as hurricanes.

“This long-term vision must be based on a clear-eyed assessment of how the UK will balance the needs of individual OTs against value for money for UK taxpayers. There must be scope to ask hard questions about the long-term sustainability and viability of individual OTs without further significant levels of UK capital investment. If the Government does not think significant capital investment is possible, then it must be frank about what it will spend and towards what end.”

The Committee said also that the government “must clarify the UK’s future relationship with the European Union as soon as possible and analyse the impact on the OTs, what funding will be required to ensure the OTs are not losing out, and what input the OTs will have on the replacement of EU funding in the future”.

The report notes that some of the Overseas Territories feel that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office should not be the lead UK department for the OTs.

It said that some of the countries believe that this arrangement reinforces the perception that the OTs are foreign and that it is not fit for purpose given the cross-government nature of the UK government’s modern relationship with the OTs.

“However, not all OTs agree and some feel that the FCO has long experience of working with the OTs, it has expertise in managing relationships with the countries that surround the OTs, and it deals on a daily basis with international treaty obligations relevant to the OTs.

“It is time for the UK Government to seriously engage with this issue and to do so in a fair and transparent manner. Before the next full meeting of the OTs Joint Ministerial Council, the Government should, therefore, commission an independent review into cross-government engagement with the OTs and the FCO’s management of its responsibilities towards them.

“Drawing on international comparisons, this review should consider alternatives to the FCO and assess the costs, benefits and risks associated with moving primary responsibility for the OTs away from the FCO,” the Committee said, adding that the findings of the review should be presented to the House and shared with the elected OT governments as soon as is feasible.

Related:

Editorial – Feb 22, 2019: https://www.themontserratreporter.com/it-is-not-just-money-power-and-sex/

Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing on the OTs – Inquiry on new relationship

FAC Report pushes for homosexualisation of marriage How can Montserrat respond reasonably and responsibly

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