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We support and welcome contributions, questions, comments

We support and welcome contributions, questions, comments

February 15, 2019

The word Brexit (‘Britain’s exit’ from the European Union) has been like a buzz word around although there has been far too much idle and wasted chatter, mostly uninformed and too little worthwhile discussions.

One legislator, who now obviously has the time, as much as side-lining himself, and should be playing the part of sharing and informing, raised the question in a recent sitting of the Legislative Assembly chiding the Premier (or government) for lack of update on the Brexit matter.

It should first be understood, the reasons how they go there in the first place and whether they should be there.

One reader suggested we should do what we have always held as our responsibility, to inform and ‘educate’, and said, “You should include this if you are publishing soon”.  He said this because he agreed with Saga, “is currently speaking out about the GoM being silent on the issue, and I think he’s right.”

We will publish the article as we welcome all articles, discussions, questions, on any topic that do not put us in danger of being sued for defamatory and libellous. We promise there will be no discrimination whatsoever, especially that many will tend to be political. We believe that by now, contrary to what some may even perceive, while not directly accused, we do not support any political party or individuals, but we welcome any opinion that is critical of anything that goes against or support the progress of this little island and its people.

In that case we too will promote and encourage those individuals who show that their interest is not self but truly that of the progress and viability of Montserrat. And by the way, one more correction. There is no charge for any contribution which in our discretion does not seek to promote the subscriber politically or otherwise. Then we call that advertising, which of course is what enables and pays for the service we provide.

On the Brexit issue: here is the introduction by the subscriber on the matter.

In the unlikely event of a no deal, the Brexit deal UK will leave the EU Budget in March 2019. Without further action, this would mean governments and other organisations in our Overseas Territories could lose future funding for existing projects under EU programmes. However, the Chancellor has agreed that the UK government will guarantee funding for specific EU projects. This will provide certainty for British Overseas Territories governments and participating organisations over the course of our EU exit.

You should include this if you are publishing soon. It’s a statement from the FCO published last year about a no deal Brexit. Saga is currently speaking out about the GoM being silent on the issue, and I think he’s right.

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Survivors of boating tragedy appear in court

Survivors of boating tragedy appear in court

by staff writer

NASSAU, Bahamas, Feb 13, CMC – Two days after 22 Haitians were buried after they drowned while attempting to enter the Bahamas by sea earlier this month, the 18 who survived the ordeal have been charged with illegally entering the country.

The 17 men and one woman appeared before Magistrate Kara Turnquest-Deveaux telling her they were “looking for a better life” when they boarded they boarded the 40-foot vessel that ran aground in waters off Abaco on February 3.

So far 31 bodies had been recovered but the authorities said that nine were in such poor condition that they were buried in Abaco. The authorities have since called off the search for other survivors.

Magistrate Turnquest-Deveaux thanked the survivors for their early plea of guilt and turned them over to immigration officials for processing.

Last week, Foreign Affairs Minister, Darren Henfield, said that Nassau has in the past warned of the dangers associated with the illegal migration by sea to the Bahamas.

He said the survivors will be repatriated and the Department of Immigration also said that there will be no special treatment for the survivors.

“The department’s policy in reference to the handling of the illegal migrants remains the same. There has been no change in regard to this policy,” the department said.

During the funeral service on Sunday, Bishop Simeon Hall told the mourners “to be poor and destitute (in Haiti) is still far better than to be dead and gone.”

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CARICOM reiterates call for peaceful solution to Venezuela crisis

CARICOM reiterates call for peaceful solution to Venezuela crisis

by staff writer

UNITED NATIONS, Feb 12, CMC – Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries Monday reiterated the need for a peaceful solution to the ongoing crisis in Venezuela even as they said they continue to follow closely “the unsatisfactory and increasingly volatile situation” in the South American country, reiterating their position of a policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of Caracas..

“It is with grave concern that we also follow the highly polarised and polarising circumstances surrounding Venezuela,” Barbados Ambassador to the United Nations, Liz Thompson, said as she addressed a meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) In the Trusteeship Council on Tuesday.

Speaking on behalf of the 15-member CARICOM grouping, the Barbados diplomat said the regional countries are also fully aware of “words of bitterness and blame coming from both sides.

Barbados Ambassador to United Nations, Liz Thompson.

“The thoughts and sabre rattling by the internal and external contenders in this deteriorating situation. In all of this we are most concerned for and motivated by the plight of the people of Venezuela, who have been rendered powerless pawns…while others play a form of geo-political chess and brinksmanship,”she told the meeting.

Last week, St. Kitts-Nevis Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris, led a CARICOM delegation to Uruguay for talks aimed at ending the political crisis in the South American country where Opposition Leader Juan Guaidó, backed by the United States and several other western countries, has declared himself the interim leader of Venezuela.

But Russia, China and Cuba are among countries that are supporting President Nicolas Maduro, who was sworn into office last month for a second consecutive term as head of state.

The governments of Mexico and Uruguay had called for the conference with representatives from the main countries and international organisations that hold a neutral position towards Venezuela.

Harris said the Montevideo Mechanism adopted at the conference presents “the only objective mechanism” to address the complex political situation in Venezuela.

The Montevideo Mechanism is regarded as the initiative in response to the call by the United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, to find a pathway to a peaceful resolution through dialogue and from a position of respect for International Law and Human Rights.

“We urge all parties inside and outside of Venezuela in the interest of the wellbeing of the people of that country to give the Montevideo Mechanism the time and space it needs to work. These United Nations know the painful experience of history both ancient and recent, the high and awful price of military intervention and the scourge of war,” Thompson said, adding that the CARICOM countries do not choose “one side or the other.

“We choose principle, the principle which led to the founding of this United Nations and the inclusion in its charter of Article 24, which calls for member states to refrain from the threat or the use of force.

“The principle which birthed Article 21 of the Charter of the Organisation of American States which recognises territorial inviolability. The principles of human rights, international law of the rule of law, the sanctity of national sovereignty, and the pivotal principle of the peaceful settlement of disputes, the pursuit of peace, of dialogue and compromise to ensure the preservation of the dignity and worth of the human person”.

Thompson told the conference that these principles are at the root of multilateralism.

“Indeed they are the very foundation on which this house in which we sit was built. Today we re-affirm our adherence to these principles. Critical for us too is the maintenance of the Caribbean and its wider region as a zone of peace.

“We remain steadfast in our view that economic strangulation and military intervention are not only counter to these principles, but will only exacerbate the already great suffering of the people of Venezuela”.

The Barbadian diplomat said that it is the contention of the Caribbean that ‘there must be a political solution that is crafted and owned by the Venezuelan people themselves and by their leaders.

“We support and call for a pathway to peace, forged not by threats but by dialogue. Not by escalating the tensions but by cooling them down. Not by marksmanship but by mediation. Not by the suffocation of sanctions but by the tools of diplomacy”.

She said those who wished for a peaceful solution and the prosperity of Venezuelans must actively encourage dialogue “where both sides seat, both sides talk and both sides listen, so that the common ground on which they can move forward may be found”.

Thompson said that it is in pursuit of this broad objective that CARICOM has offered itself to facilitate dialogue among all parties with a view to creating a peaceful resolution to the crisis in the South American country.

“We know too from the lesson of history …that peace and prosperity are indivisible. The people of Venezuela have already suffered enough. They deserve to live in peace. They deserve a future that offers prosperity. We urge all sides, difficult and complex though it may be, to enter into a constructive dialogue and to work together to build the pathway to peace for the Bolivarian republic of Venezuela,” Thompson added.

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“In Our Blood”

What it means to play international football for Montserrat

By Craig Brewin

The world is starting to sit up and take notice of the Montserrat Football Team, with regular features starting to appear in World Soccer Magazine, social media, and the national press in

the UK.  Its achievements are drawing comparison’s with Jack Charlton’s Irish side who, 25 years ago, made it to the World Cup quarter finals in the USA with a team made up primarily of players born to, and in one case adopted by, Irish parents and grandparents. For Montserrat the USA also beckons, with qualification for the 2019 Gold Cup (the International Tournament for North and Central America and the Caribbean) a distinct possibility.   Coincidently, Montserrat’s final decisive game of qualifying is 22nd March, a few days after St Patricks Day.

Montserrat’s unexpected charge to the finals is being helped by a number of factors: A one-off free for all qualifying tournament designed to facilitate the creation of the new Concacaf Nations League,  and an expansion of the Gold Cup Finals to 16 teams. They also have a very experienced coach, Willie Donachie, who has coached in the Premier League and been to two World Cups with Scotland. Whether or not the team makes it the USA, the journey has been an experience, with the players clearly relishing the competition. They have already qualified for League B in the New Nations League, which gives them another, but more difficult, chance to qualify for the Gold Cup in two year’s time.

So what does it mean to be an English born Montserrat international? It is clear from reading their interviews and tweets that it means a lot. They are a close group of players. Being a small group, they have known each other for a few years now, and their common Montserratian heritage is something they are proud of.

Brandon Comely said after the El Salvador game: ”it was the first time that I’ve lined up in a game with my brother and going to play for a country that’s in our blood was a proud moment. “Spencer Weir-Daley said: “Playing for your country is one of the best honours in football”  and that the team was honoured to be “representing their parents and grandparents”.

Adrian Clifton has said that “not many footballers get an international call up even those in the Premier League. As a footballer it is one of the proudest things you can do, whether it is playing for a big country or a small island everyone wants to play for their country. With my family coming from Montserrat I’ve got massive support there.” After the Belize game he tweeted: “the phone call I just got from my grandad actually made me cry”.

Captain Lyle Taylor has said “Very few players get the chance to play for their countries, whether it’s the county where they were born or whatever. There was no way I was going to turn that down.” It’s the “chance to represent the country my dad’s side of the family come from”. After his first call up he said: “I can’t wait to show my grandparents the videos and pictures, just to hear about how different things were when they lived there”

Taylor has also spoken about meeting an Uncle “Beep-Beep” who he never knew he had, and Dean Mason has said: “I felt more of a connection with my Grandmother when I went there. It’s a really nice feeling to play for my country and to make her proud. When you meet the locals, they explain to you what they went through with the volcano”.

Whatever the outcome of this season, the achievements over the past few months have shown that the team is far better than their lowly seeding recognised. Donanchie’s assistant, former Everton physio Mick Rathbone, described the win over Belize as the best team performance he had seen in his whole life.

They have to win their last game, and they need their rivals to lose, but they are optimistic of making it to the USA. Joey Taylor said Montserrat “rattled” Belize, and El Salvador struggled to “cope”. “We have a real chance of qualifying” said Weir-Daley, with Dean Mason being more forthright: “Bro, it’s happening, I can feel it in my bones”. “We will show the world what Montserrat are capable of,” said Messiah McDonald, “we are coming for the Gold Cup.”

Craig Brewin writes a ‘blog’ (Living on the Island of Montserrat Montserrat’s only ironically meta blog covering football, human rights and shopping)

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CARICOM concerned at violence in Haiti

CARICOM concerned at violence in Haiti

by staff writer

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Feb 13, CMC – The 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) grouping has expressed concern at the violence in Haiti where opposition parties have been staging street demonstrations demanding the resignation of President Jovenel Moise.

CARICOM chairman and St. Kitts-Nevis Prime Minister, Dr. Timothy Harris, said the regional integration grouping “is deeply concerned about the continuing violent protests in Haiti, which have resulted in the loss of life, property, destruction of infrastructure and caused grave distress.

CMC (File Photo)

“The Community calls for calm and a cessation of the violence, appealing to all involved to engage in constructive dialogue and to respect the Constitution, the rule of law and democratic processes so that issues can be resolved in a peaceful atmosphere and allow for the return to a state of normalcy,” he said in a brief statement.

On Monday, the leaders of the various political parties and groups, adopt a common position demanding the resignation of the President Moïse and his government.

“The country is not governed, said opposition legislator, Senator Youri Latortue, adding it is not about the respect or not of the mandate of Jovenel Moïse.

“The observation is that the country is not governed. We cannot let the country go adrift with an incompetent person at its head,” he added.

Earlier this week, several Western countries condemned the “unacceptable acts of violence” in Haiti and called on all stakeholders, including Haitian leaders “to engage in a constructive and inclusive dialogue in order to identify and implement realistic and lasting solutions, political and economic.

Opposition political parties have been staging street demonstrations in support of their calls for President Moise to step down, after accusing him of not investigating allegations of corruption in the previous government over PetroCaribe, an oil alliance of many Caribbean states with Venezuela to purchase oil on conditions of preferential payment. They are also demanding fresh elections and jobs.

But Moise has dismissed the calls for him to resign.

Over the past few days, demonstrators have taken to the streets burning tyres and sporadic gunshots were heard forcing the closure of many businesses. Police also clashed with protesters near the airport and used tear gas to regain control of the situation. At least four people have been killed and police Wednesday reported that they were investigating reports that several prisoners had escaped.

Earlier this month, the President of the Superior Court of Accounts and Administrative Disputes (CSC/CA), Pierre Volmar Demesyeux, presented a copy of the report on the management of projects financed by the PetroCaribe funds to the Speaker of the Senate Carl Murat Cantave.

Cantave has since presented the report to Senator Youri Latortue, the President of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission.

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Why does Montserrat need a “breakthrough”?

Contribution – Part 2/2019


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Why has it taken so long for economy transforming projects to begin to roll out?

BRADES, Montserrat, January 17, 2019 –  In his New Year’s message, Premier Romeo announced a list of “breakthrough” projects.[1] As TMR announced,[2] within days, we then saw a rush of activities on the ground.

For example, just after the New year, the “cab” for the new air traffic control tower was trailered up from the port via Davy Hill and the tunnel to the airport. Yes, it got stuck in the tunnel, but that was just a hiccup. The main point is that with a new control tower and proper lighting, the airport can open at night. That improves access for tourism and for medical evacuations by night. Tourism is our biggest hope for economic growth.

If we go down by the MCWL building, we will see solar PV panels being installed for the new 250 kW – 250,000 Watt – power plant, about 10% of our peak electrical load. Ministry officials tell us that a 750 kW plant is to follow shortly. These plants will improve resiliency and provide diversity for our power grid. Officials also informed the public that announcements on geothermal power plant development are to follow shortly. As there may be up to 100 MW – a hundred million Watts – of geothermal energy, we will be able to replace fossil fuel fired electricity, perhaps reducing prices to the consumer (including fuel surcharge) by 50% and opening up room for economic growth and high quality jobs.

Likewise, Stantec of Canada and Barbados is already doing stakeholder and environmental consultations and in coming months is to work with Government to oversee design and construction of the new breakwater and berthing facility for the sea port.

A subsea fibre optic cable is to be laid in coming months also.

Each of these initiatives has good potential to help move our economy on a growth path. That’s not the issue. The problem is, why did it take so long? What are the barriers, obstacles, roadblocks, undermining etc that have been hindering growth? What can we do to make sure barriers go away permanently and do not kill our key development projects?

A good example is a concern that is now making the rounds on the street. It is credibly said that the TC Canadian Economist who helped to push through our Economic Growth Strategy and who has helped us make key connections that opened up possibilities is being pushed out despite the many contributions he obviously could continue to make. This follows the case where an Engineer and Project Management expert who was already setting up a system for training and certifying world class capability for project management here (as well as introducing the famous PRINCE2 practical Project Management system) was frog marched out of Government headquarters, on a “no cause clause” dismissal. Of course, ever since, the Project Management Office has been put in the freezer, undermining our credibility to manage and properly govern projects and programmes. Indeed, a January 2017 Cabinet instruction to proceed with radical reform of the Premier’s Office has also been delayed, roadblocked, stalled for two years now.

Oh is Don fault, ‘e too soft an’ incompetent!

No, such things should never happen, regardless of who is or is not Premier.

We should not “need” a strong man with raised hand holding a whip over us for us to do our work properly and promptly. Slavery was abolished 150 years ago.

Just so, we should not be found undermining, slandering and pushing out people who are helping us by beginning to deliver results. Similarly, we should not throw out the baby with the bath water and we should not kill the goose that is laying the golden eggs.

It is not for nothing that Scripture warns that where we find envy and selfish ambition there will we find disorder and every evil work. It again counsels, let him who is without fault throw the first stone. As a third counsel, it informs us that we should take out the plank in our own eyes then we will see clearly enough to help our brother down in the saw-pit with the sawdust that got in his eyes.

Once we get our spiritual attitude right, we will then able to act wisely enough to come together with godly teamwork and build a sound future for Montserrat.

Where, clearly – even astonishingly, Premier Romeo and his colleagues have in fact begun to deliver on some key, economy transforming initiatives that have been roadblocked for twenty years.  For all their faults – real and imagined – they have to be getting something right. So, it is time for a balanced look to learn lessons going forward.

Perhaps, we can notice: every one of the key projects that are moving forward is externally managed. A clue. The sea port, CDB and Stantec. The Fibre Optic Cable will be laid by a specialist ship. The Control tower “cab” is prefabricated. SALT Energy is building our solar PV plants. DfID has taken over geothermal development. The subtle signal being sent is that we have to drastically improve project governance and project cycle management capability and credibility. That’s why PRINCE2 would have been making a big difference. We must go right back to where we were in July 2017. That includes, fixing the Premier’s Office – including putting in place a capable Chief Executive Officer he is comfortable working with.

Likewise, after hurricanes Irma and Maria gave us two close calls in two weeks, resiliency moved to first priority. Suddenly power brokers in the UN, the UK and other OT’s hit by the hurricanes were listening keenly as Premier Romeo called attention to the acknowledged legal force of the UN Charter’s Article 73 . The UK is legally bound to “ensure . . . advancement”: socially, educationally, politically and economically. It is to “promote constructive measures of development.” Then the Premier  [a] withdrew Premier Meade’s request to take us off the UN’s list of territories that Article 73 applies to AND [b] invited a UN delegation to visit us. That has to go through the UK. Not too long thereafter, we are getting movement on ever so many long-stalled projects. Each of these projects also has a resiliency component. 

Last, but not least: it’s obviously time to stop scoffing at the “first call” principle and to instead use it as a strong negotiating point.

[1] See, TMR

[2] See TMR, addr

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Opposition party dismisses calls made by Venezuelans residing in Trinidad and Tobago

Opposition party dismisses calls made by Venezuelans residing in Trinidad and Tobago

by staff writer February 4, 2019 PoliticsNo Comments 108 views

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Feb 4, CMC – The leader of the Movement for Social Justice (MSJ), David Abdulah has dismissed calls by Venezuelan nationals residing here for the Trinidad and Tobago government to recognise Juan Guaido as the interim president of Venezuela.

“Citizens of Venezuela can appeal to the government of Venezuela and the parties in Venezuela but Venezuelans here in Trinidad and Tobago cannot determine what the foreign policy of Trinidad and Tobago ought to be,’ Abdulah told reporters.

David Abdulah

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley has already indicated that his administration is adopting the non-interventionist policy with regards to the unfolding situation in Venezuela where President Nicolas Maduro is under pressure to step down.

The main opposition United National Congress (UNC) has openly indicated its support for Guaido.

The United States is leading a campaign to oust Maduro claiming he rigged the elections that brought him to office for a second term last year. Several European countries including the United Kingdom, France and Spain have also said they would recognise Guaido.

But Russia, China, Turkey and Cuba have all said they continue to recognise Maduro and the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) grouping has said that it is willing to mediate in the conflict.

Last week, the Venezuelans resident here wrote to Prime Minister Rowley urging him to change his government’s policy and recognise Guaido.

“We would like you to put your hand on your heart by recognising the crying for freedom f millions of Venezuelans who have been victim of notable and escalating humanitarian crimes against our people in the power of the Nicolas Maduro regime,” the letter noted.

“At this crucial moment we would like you to understand that helping the people of Venezuela, not the Nicolas Maduro regime, is in the best interest of Trinidad and Tobago citizens, as the relationships amongst our new legitimate and constitutional government, chaired by our interim president Juan Guaido, can led to significant benefits to both countries in relation to effective border controls….”.

But Abdulah told reporters that ‘it is for the government of Trinidad and Tobago and the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago ultimately and the governments of CARICOM and the citizens of CARICOM who must determine the foreign policy of Trinidad and Tobago and of CARICOM’.

Abdulah said that the MSJ supports the efforts of CARICOM and was happy that Maduro was open to dialogue and mediation.

“Very regrettably, but not surprising, Guaido has taken the consistent right-wing line of the opposition position rejecting any talks, rejecting any mediation and simply wanting for resolving the thing by force backed, of course, by the United States and some other countries.”

Abdulah said that Madura spoke at a rally over the weekend, much bigger than that of Guaido.

“So it is not as if President Maduro is clinging on to power by himself and so on and the vast majority of the Venezuelans are against him. That is not the case.”

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President Granger urges supporters to re-elect his administration

President Granger urges supporters to re-elect his administration

by staff writer

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Feb 4, CMC – President David Granger has appealed to supporters to re-elect his coalition A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) government even as he pledged not to resign despite the December 21, 2018 vote of confidence that tumbled his three and a half year old administration.

Last week, the High Court ruled that the motion of no confidence filed by Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo was valid after it received the support of then government back bencher Charrandass Persaud.

President Granger addressing supporters on Sunday

The APNU coalition had previously enjoyed a one –seat majority in the 65 member National Assembly and the main opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has since called on Granger to announce a date for the polls in keeping with the Guyana Constitution that an election must be held 90 days after the successful motion of no confidence in the government.

But as he addressed he addressed supports at Vreed-en-Hoop in Region 3, Essequibo Island-West Demerara on Sunday, Granger acknowledged that his administration is faced with a challenging situation, albeit, not of its own making.

But he pledged ““we will rise to this challenge again,” telling supporters that while the government cannot reverse what happened in the National Assembly, Guyana must press on.

“The Speaker has spoken, and we respect the Speaker, and we also have spoken. We met with the opposition, and we agreed that that National Assembly has work to do. I have not dissolved Parliament, neither have I resigned.

“There is no such thing as an interim government or caretaker government. According to the Constitution, I remain President, until the next president is sworn in,” Granger said, adding that an estimated 207,200 Guyanese went to polls in May 2015 and registered their support for the coalition.

“The same must be done this time around. The work must be completed. You elected us to do a job, let us finish the job. Give us a chance to finish the job. Put us in the driving seat, and you will see the transformation, the change in every region,” Granger said.

He told the public meeting that his coalition administration remains a legal legitimate government and nothing done so far is outside the rule of law.

He promised that whatever decisions are made in the courts will be followed by due process and that the government will move to every stage until it has exhausted every element and aspect of the law.

President Granger said the actions of Persaud in voting with the PPP in bringing down the government were “undemocratic, cruel and callous” adding that the former government legislator had failed to consult with his constituents.

“You don’t consult with your constituency, you don’t consult with your leaders, you just stab in the back,” he said, adding that voting for a party that stamped on local democracy for 23 years is definitely not the way to go.

“We must not relent. We must ensure that every person in West Demerara is registered. We will support you, we will protect you, and we will guarantee your rights. Bring more persons into our organisation; let them know they have a home.”

Granger said that there had been a definite transformation brought to Guyana in the last three and a half   years.

He said prior to his administration taking up office, pensioners were receiving a mere GUY$7,500 (One Guyana dollar=US$0.004 cents) monthly.

“Today that amount stands at over GUY$20,000. Teachers who were receiving a minimum wage of just GUY$32,000 have seen a stark increase to GUY$60,000 in three short years.

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Governing Montserrat 2019 – 2024

Contribution – Part 1/2019

Is “folly-tricks” and “melee as usual”  good enough for Montserrat, going forward?


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BRADES, Montserrat, January 15, 2019 –  Everything is now under the shadow of the upcoming elections; due by September (or a little later).   So, let us look at how we may best govern Montserrat over the next six years: 2019 – 2024.  Yes, six years – we have to get on with actually governing and building the future even while an election looms. Where, obviously, “folly-tricks” and “melee as usual” cannot solve our serious governance, capacity-building, social stabilisation, resiliency, and economy-rebuilding challenges. Gross exaggerations and one-sided accusations multiplied by unbalanced news coverage only serve to distort, polarise, stir up needless anger, misinform and mislead.

We must first remember:  Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition – yes, that is the formal name – is supposed to be an alternative government, ready to take over at need. Fair comment: we are failing that test.

(That’s why a visiting expert has warned some of our more strident political voices that winning an election through attack politics is one thing, but building a sound governance consensus for the future is quite another.)

Obviously, while the current Premier has his failings, “is Don’s fault” cannot be the correct diagnosis for everything that is wrong after nearly twenty-four years of crisis and challenges. Similarly, Montserrat is not “dying.” Given the painful journey we have been on since July 18, 1995, our economy is not “dead,” or “the worst ever,” etc., etc. It is not true that every “foreigner” – fellow Caricom citizens! – just wants to get a UK passport and go off to greener pastures; and many who have done that provided years of service to the country.

Yes, we face many challenges, there are many errors, we have to do better.

But, the politics of polarisation, targetting scapegoats, exaggeration, half-truths, drowning out or silencing the rest of the story and of outright slander are not the way forward. So, those who have insisted on “folly-tricks” and “melee” despite repeated correction here at TMR and elsewhere have no excuse; they know better – or should know better. By insisting on the wrong way because they thought it gave them an advantage or because they were too angry to think straight, they have exposed the sad fact that they are simply not ready to lead Montserrat going forward.

Yes, we clearly have a leadership gap.

No-one is going to ride up as a shining knight on a white horse and single-handedly, magically save us from all of our troubles, not even if the MVO, SAC and Emergency people declare next year, that the eruption is over. (What about the apparent, roughly thirty-year cycle since 1897 – 98? As in 1935 – 37, 1967, 1992 – 97 etc. If it is real, a new disturbance could be due within six or so years. This, too, we have to frankly face.)

Come together should be the buzz phrase. We are the ones who have to come together, find a way to build consensus (despite our differences and disagreements) and actually work together as Team Montserrat. We must realise that the reason why crabs are in a barrel together is to be put in the same hot, boiling pot. 

That’s why “crabs in a barrel,” pulling one another back down as usual cannot work.

For just one example, did we notice that on December 18th last year, while we were debating here in the Assembly, Lord Ahmad was before the UK Foreign Affairs Committee? Did we see that 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’ . . .”?[1] (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”[2] 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.)

How are we going to deal with new colonialism by passing laws in the UK to impose whatever they want on us – on whatever excuse?

Especially, given our post volcano disaster challenges which put independence off the table for a long time to come? And, that even if we get a few seats in the parliament, we would most likely be drowned out amidst 600-plus seats?  (The American Colonists figured that out in the 1770’s.)

The only credible option is something far too many of our politicians, pundits and media voices have derided and mocked time and again: yes, the UK-acknowledged, legally binding force of The UN Charter, Article 73. We are Geographically distant, ethnically distinct and culturally diverse from the UK, and Europe, which is/are therefore duty-bound to respect our own democratic decisions, such as the 2010 Constitution Order compromise.

Where, as a right is a moral claim for respect and support, to properly claim a right, one must plainly first be in the right. For, no-one can have a right to demand that another taints conscience or damns his or her soul before God by supporting and encouraging evil.

(That’s why Jesus taught that one who causes a child to stumble into sin would have done better to have drowned instead. Where, obviously, Jesus did not issue an invitation to hate, vigilantism or violence. It is also why we see in the Revelation, that warning about how a devillish tyrant will one day order that no man could buy or sell save he take the infamous soul-damning mark of disloyalty to God. Caesar cannot demand from us what properly belongs to God alone: the loyalty of our souls.)

One step towards progress would be to humble ourselves and admit that Premier Romeo has been right to focus on the legal force of Article 73 and on the linked first call OT’s have on the UK aid/development budget.

Indeed, that “first call” is precisely why FCO and DfID support our recurrent budget year to year with a 60% grant, and are supporting the new Economic Growth Strategy and the work-in-progress “£30-plus million” five-year capital programme. It is also why sea port and airport developments are being funded and it is why DfID has been funding Geothermal exploration and development. It is why a new standby generator has just been put in place at the new ZJB building above the Carr’s Bay corner.[3] It is why STANTEC consultants have now arrived, to take charge of building the new port breakwater and quay. It is why as the new year dawned, those two trucks carried the new airport control tower “cab” from the sea port up to the airport – and yes, that is how it got stuck in the tunnel until somebody let air out of the tyres of the trailer.  (And, once we have a better control tower and lighting, night flights will be possible – a tourism opportunity. Also, that would allow medical evacuation flights on fixed-wing aircraft. [Attitude check: Why were we so caught up in how “it got stuck in the tunnel” and seemingly overlooked the tourism and improved health services opportunities?])

Article 73 is also why the subsea fibre optic cable is still on the table despite a bad press in the UK tabloids. It is why the new ZJB building and other government facilities have been funded – despite delays and serious project management problems for many years. It is why we are still working together towards a proper hospital and social housing, despite all the delays, confusions and finger-pointing debates. It is why roads, bridges and other civil works are steadily being funded.  And much more.

It is initiatives like these which will open up opportunities for economic growth and sustainable, inclusive livelihoods, high quality jobs and general prosperity.  So, it is time for a new conversation on how we can best move forward together under our national vision. The time for “crabs in a barrel” as usual is over. 

[1] See Q221 vs. Q237:

[2] See Section 2: 

[3] See

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Acting CJ Roxanane George-Wiltshire

Guyana court rules motion of no confidence against government, valid

Acting Chief Justice, Roxanne George-Wiltshire

CNS – Feb 1, 2019 –Acting Chief Justice, Roxanne George-Wiltshire, Thursday ruled that the motion of no confidence passed in the National Assembly on December 21 last year that brought down the David Granger led coalition government is valid, paving the way for fresh regional and general elections to be held later this year.

Under the Guyana Constitution elections must be held within 90 days of the motion of no confidence being passed.

Attorney General Basil Williams has since given notice that he intends to appeal the ruling. In a near four-hour ruling,

Justice George-Wiltshire also said that anyone who holds dual citizenship as envisaged by Article 155 of the Guyana Constitution “should not and could not be” a member of the Guyana Parliament.

Justice George-Wiltshire was delivering her ruling in the three matters regarding the validity of the successful opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) motion of no confidence.

She had earlier this month heard the arguments in the cases “Compton Reid vs The Attorney General, Persaud and The Speaker of the National Assembly; Christopher Ram vs The Attorney General and Speaker of the National Assembly and the Attorney General vs The Speaker of the National Assembly and the Opposition Leader.

The matters arose after the then government back bencher, Charrandass Persaud, who holds both Guyana and Canadian citizenship voted with the PPP in the 65-member National Assembly where the coalition government had previously enjoyed a slender one seat majority.

Williams had said there was a miscalculation of the majority of all elected members as required under Article 106 (6) of the Constitution for the government to be defeated on a vote of no confidence.

He had also asked the court to determine whether Resolution 101 is constitutional and effective and passed in accordance Article 106 (6) of the Constitution, arguing that the failure to obtain 34 or more votes breached article 106 (6) of the Constitution and was unlawful and the certification by the speaker by issuing Resolution 101 could not be conclusive.” But in her ruling in which she made the differentiation between a “simple” and “absolute” majority, the Acting Chief Justice said if all 65 members voted, the majority is 33.

“Therefore, in the case for the requirement for a majority of all the elected members of the National Assembly, at least 33 votes ought to be obtained to meet that requirement. If 55 members are present, a majority of all members of the National assembly will still be 33. If only 45 members are present, a majority of all the elected members of the National Assembly is still 33 and even if 23 members are present, the majority of all the elected members of the National Assembly is still 33.”

She said as a result “the no confidence motion is carried, the requisite majority is obtained by a vote of 33 to 32. The President and the Ministers can’t therefore remain in government beyond the three months within which elections are required to be held in accordance with Article 106 of Article Seven unless that time is enlarged by the National Assembly in accordance with the requirements of said Article 106…”

Justice George-Wiltshire as a result the other questions raised by the applicants “are rendered moot” adding “this court cannot set aside or defy a ruling that was validly made …in (keeping with provisions) of Article 106…of the Constitution, nor can it stay in force a resolution validly declared in accordance with the same provisions of the Constitution”,.

She said while a court can intervene “this can only be done if the National Assembly act unconstitutionally.

“This is not the case here. So therefore, the ruling of the Speaker that the no confidence motion debated in the National Assembly on the 21 December 2018 was carried by a vote of the majority of all the elected members of the National Assembly is thus lawful and valid being in accordance with the requirements of the …Constitution”.

Earlier, the acting Chief Justice ruled that “anyone who holds dual citizenship as envisaged by Article 155 and therefore falls into this category…should not and cannot be a Member of Parliament” and as such the declaration sought in terms of paragraph one and two of the request for leave are granted.

“Therefore I hold and therefore declare that the second respondent is not qualified for election as a member of the National Assembly by virtue of his own act and acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience and adherence to a foreign power to wit, the sovereign state of Canada in contravention of …of the Constitution of Guyana,” she ruled.

The Acting Chief Justice said “it is also declared the second respondent was on the seventh of April 2015 disqualified from being nominated as a member for the National Assembly of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana”.

On the issue of dual citizenship, the Acting Chief Justice said that the provisions in the Constitution seek to preserve for membership of the National Assembly “persons who only hold Guyanese citizenship and who would not have voluntarily taken an oath of allegiance to another country.

“While some may say that this does not permit the fullest participation of diaspora Guyanese in the political leadership of Guyana, this is not for this court to pronounce on. The Constitution is clear,,” she said, adding “as until it is amended to provide otherwise, the Constitutional provision must be adhered to. “Any change to reflect a different view may be undertaken by way of constitutional amendment if the public and their parliamentary representatives so inclined”.

The government had also argued as to whether section 5 of the Constitution (Amendment) Act, 2000 (No 17/2000) is constitutional and not inconsistent with article 70 of the Constitution.

The Attorney General had said that the framers of the Constitution in article 70 (3), having guaranteed an elected government, a five years term of office which five years term is protected by entrenchment by the requirement of 2/3 of all the elected members of the National Assembly voting to reduce that 5 years, could not at the same time have intended that a future Parliament were to be permitted to abridge or curtail the enjoyment of that five years, by introducing into the Constitution via a provision that is not entrenched at all a process called a ‘vote of confidence.”

But in her ruling the judge disagreed with the argument. The coalition, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), came to office in 2015.

| Caribbean News Service

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