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Glasgow university to pay reparations for £200m extracted from region

Glasgow university to pay reparations for £200m extracted from region

 November 25, 2018 |

Beckles

Vice Chancellor of The University of the West Indies (UWI) Sir Hilary Beckles has reported that The University of Glasgow in the United Kingdom (UK) is planning to pay reparations for £200 million (approximately J$34 billion) taken from the Caribbean.

According to Beckles, who recently returned from the UK, “The University of Glasgow has recognised that Jamaican slave owners had adopted the University of Glasgow as their university of choice and that £200 million of value was extracted from Jamaica and the Caribbean.”

Beckles made the announcement during an interview on the Jamaica News Network (JNN) programme Insight, where he said that the Vice Chancellor of the UK-based university Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli opened up their records, which showed a ‘massive influx’ of grants and endowments from Jamaica.

He said that the University of Glasgow and The UWI are currently drafting a memorandum of understanding, and the term ‘reparatory justice’ is expected to be included.

Beckles said the £200 million would be a combination of cash and kind. “We are not on the street corners asking for handouts. We are looking for partnerships and development.”

One of the projects in which the University of Glasgow has reportedly shown interest involves research in chronic diseases in the Caribbean, including hypertension, diabetes, and childhood obesity.

“They are looking at the possibility of partnering with us and having a massive institute for chronic disease research that is going to prevent the proliferation of these diseases in the future,” said Beckles.

£200m from slave trade

A report dubbed Slavery, Abolition and the University of Glasgow, published recently by the university, reveals that it benefited directly from the slave trade in Africa and the Caribbean in the 18th and 19th centuries to the tune of almost £200 million in today’s money.

The university has announced that it has launched a wide-ranging and ambitious “reparative justice programme” that is based on the findings of more than two years of research.

In addition, the University of Glasgow had also announced that it intends to implement programmes and projects that will provide scholarships and exchange programmes for Jamaican and other Caribbean students through its links with The UWI.

The full interview with Beckles will be aired on JNN on Wednesday at 10 a.m.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: A previous version of this article gave the impression that a total value of £200 million would be paid to the Caribbean through the University of the West Indies.)

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, CARICOM, Court, International, Local, News, OECS, Politics, Regional0 Comments

There is no such thing as “Governor’s powers”

November 23, 2018

In our last couple or more editorials we have commented or drawn attention to what we can expect to see or hear what have been submitted in response to the Foreign Affairs Committee Inquiry as to “consider(ing) the resilience of the OTs, how effectively the FCO manages its responsibilities towards them, and how it envisages their future.”

The FCO explained: “As our place in the world changes, we need to think about the effect on them and whether the structure of our relationships still work.”

The Inquiry invoked all kinds of responses, submitted in different ways in terms of the approach, many straying away from the considerations of the Inquiry.

Here, several discussion sessions were set up where the public was invited to participate to air their thoughts, there were radio programs included.

At least fifteen submissions were made from Montserrat, government, organisations, and individuals here and the diaspora.

We have been concerned about what the contents and the quality, as well as the relevance of the submissions. Not surprisingly, several dealt with the subject of what, as we’ve noted before refer erroneously to the “governor’s powers”.

Let us state right here that there is just too much ignorance surrounding he topic, if not merely misunderstanding, misinterpretation, but perhaps a sensible presentative discussion on the issue might suffice. There is not that much to take into consideration to clear the eyes at the front of the minds. The most powerful person in an OT is the Premier, Chief Minister, Chief Islander, whatever the title.

We note that Montserrat is among the latest to have agreed a Constitution nine years ago from the UK. It remains disputed by many as having been rushed and in some areas inappropriate for Montserrat. One of the areas that occupied the discussions up to the UK submitting the final document for acceptance, was the matter of what was termed “governor’s powers”.

We noted that since the passage of the Constitution 2010 we heard no comment ascribed directly to governor’s powers from the first premier, while several others official and otherwise continued to refer to it, as it formed part of many of the discussions on the Inquiry.

A look at most of the OTs’ Constitutional Orders from the UK reveal the matter appearing in varying text, but mostly one does not find the reference strong in terms of powers, rather often as ‘responsibilities’ in the Montserrat Constitution. It follows that their submissions, if at all, dealt with the matter almost just in passing, while calling for a different approach to the management of the topic.

One submission refraining from speaking to the matter directly, instead like most of the more informed submissions, referred to: “the ultimate power of the administrative authority, the British government, to impose legislation by imperial decree on the OTs.”

Sadly, we saw the office of the Legislative Assembly, referencing, “…the heavy-handed imposition of laws from Great Britain combined with the excessively wide range of powers enjoyed by Governors.” There were at least two others who made similar references in even more direct terms.

 

There was also with one really disappointing, maybe not surprising entry which was brief, but spoke exclusively to the topic. Yet another, again not surprising, but one we thought would know better, who was not as direct, but referred to the policy of recruiting governors from the FCO staff – and the arrangement for selecting Governors.

To his credit we noted that the Premier’s submission excluded any such discussion, and so it is hoped that while we don’t claim to like the tone of it, that when he presents orally later, that he does not take on board any such discussion, but some of the submissive thoughts from some of the other responses, that address meaningfully the request from the FAC.

On another level, just like organisations such as FOTBOT (Friends of the British Overseas Territories), the OTs especially that there were many common responses should jointly make an exclusive submission as they have, and have had many established forums through which they can do this, knowing that some should and will enjoy special attention in the end.

That was always the case as it had been expressed time and time before. Ask Alan Duncan who is now very well associated with the Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) from whence came the Inquiry.

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

Former prime minister critical of Caribbean Development Bank

Former prime minister critical of Caribbean Development Bank

CASTRIES, St. Lucia, Nov 21, CMC – Former prime minister Dr. Kenny Anthony says the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has lost sight of the reasons for its existence as he criticised the present management of the region’s premier lending institution.

Anthony, a  former finance minister said the bank has been doing a disservice to St. Lucia and the region, telling legislators “I say unashamedly that I do not support the current management of the Caribbean Development Bank.

Dr. Kenny Anthony (CMC Photo)

“I have hinted that before in this Parliament,” Anthony said, adding “because I do not believe that the current management of the Caribbean Development Bank is living to what the founding fathers of the bank and in particular, our own Sir Arthur Lewis, pronounced for that bank.

“The Caribbean Development Bank has departed from that and the Caribbean Development Bank has lost sight that the reason for its existence is to facilitate the development of small Islands,” he said Tuesday, as he contributed to a government motion authorising the Minister for Finance to borrow from the CDB an amount not exceeding US$4.9 million.

The loan consists of a Special Funds Resources in the amount of US$2.4 million and an Ordinary Capital Resources estimated at US$2.4 million for the purpose of financing the services of consultants to conduct Implementation (LABs) workshops and to set up a Performance Management and Delivery Unit.

“That is in the founding document. That is what Sir Arthur preached and that is what Sir Arthur when he was president of the bank, attempted to do. The bank has long departed, Mr. Speaker, from that founding principle.”

Anthony said there’s nothing that the CDB loves more than consultants, adding that every single project must have consultants.

“It is an industry and the Caribbean Development Bank, in particular, has a fascination for Canadian consultants,” he said, adding “it is not often you get them appointing regional consultants except when it suits their purposes for example assessments of poverty reduction, they may use a firm out of Trinidad.

“So the moment the Caribbean Development Bank sees a proposal for consultants it latches on to it …and by the time they are finished they have their consultants all lined up,” Anthony said, as he called on the government to share its experience on a project in Bexon, southeast of here.

He recalled the problems his administration endured when the CDB was involved in the drainage project in Bexon, saying “the CDB had promised to make the allocation of funds available, they insisted that there be consultants..

“Year in year out consultants, waiting for reports, when they finish with the reports, they insisted they had to engage the public and people of the community to tell them what they were proposing. Then when that was finished months passed, nothing happening, elections came and of course I don’t know exactly where the project is…”Anthony said.

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

Opposition blames government over possible international blacklisting

Opposition blames government over possible international blacklisting

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Nov 21, CMC – Opposition Leader Kamla Persad Bissessar Wednesday accused the Trinidad and Tobago government of “failing to take its international commitments seriously” as the opposition distanced itself from any blame regarding the island being blacklisted for its failure to pass legislation to comply with multi-lateral tax regulations

“The Rowley government is responsible for Trinidad and Tobago being blacklisted and they came in haste to the Parliament to push through a problematic, sloppy Bill which will not even be enough to get the nation removed from the blacklist,” Persad Bissessar said in a lengthy statement.

Kamla Persad Bissessar

She said that the opposition is maintaining its position that the Income Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2018 “lacks clarity, is ambiguous and flawed” and that she had received correspondence from Finance Minister Colm Imbert on the matter.

“The Opposition has received a letter from the Minister of Finance and is currently reviewing its contents and will respond in due course,” she said.

In the November 12 letter, Imbert said “it remains imperative that Trinidad and Tobago achieve compliance with these global regimes,” warning that “failure to comply with have increasingly catastrophic consequences for all citizens of our country”

Imbert said that Trinidad and Tobago remains “the only country rated as non-compliant by the Global Forum,” recalling that the other stakeholders including the Bankers Association of Trinidad and Tobago (BATT) and the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Commerce calling for opposition support “for this critical legislation as continued non-compliance has dire consequences  for the economy of our country”.

He said he was calling on the Opposition to “urgently furnish us with its written response with immediacy”.

The government requires a special majority in Parliament to pass the legislation and Persad Bissessar has said that the Rowley administration should consider sending it to a Joint Select Committee of Parliament “to properly ventilate the issues therein.

Meanwhile, BATT president, Nigel Baptiste has confirmed statements by the government that local banks have started to lose correspondent international partnerships because of the country’s failure to comply with multi-lateral tax regulations.

“There is no denying that all of the local banks have been facing increased due diligence from our correspondent banks so I can endorse the Attorney General’s comments,” Baptiste told Newsday newspaper.

He said the pressure is most definitely there and that the BATT has released its own statement emphasising the importance of passing this legislation.

“It is not the sum total of what needs to be done but it is a step in the right direction,” he said.

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

Government to pay back pay to public servants before year end

Government to pay back pay to public servants before year end

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, Nov 21, CMC – The Antigua and Barbuda government says it has acquired funds that will allow it to pay the arrears owed to public servants before yearend.

Public servants earlier this month received partial payment and Prime Minister Gaston Browne told Parliament Tuesday that he is hoping his administration will meet its financial obligations to the workers by year-end.

Government Chief of Staff, Lionel ‘Max’ Hurst, said the funds had been obtained from several sources and will be paid back from revenue

“It is almost 40 million dollars (One EC dollar=US$0.37cents) and I can assure the government did not have that kind of money laying around in the Treasury,” he said on a radio programme here, adding “it came from several sources and I will leave that to the Finance Minister to reveal that during the budget which is coming up next month”.

Earlier this month, the President of the Antigua and Barbuda Public Service Association, Joan Peters said all workers entitled to receive government retroactive pay are also to receive benefits, even those who are no longer in the service.

“Even those who would have died, but, are entitled to retroactive pay, are to be paid for their service. What is happening now is that only the active government workers are being paid. Once the active members are handled those who are no longer in the service but qualify will be taken care of,” Peters said.

She said persons who worked for at least one year during the period of January 2003 to December 2017 is entitled.

Workers were paid one month of the current gross basic salary in lieu of outstanding collective bargaining contracts for the period January 2003 to December 31, 2017. They are also to be paid one month of the current gross basic salary in lieu of outstanding back pay for persons employed in the public service between June 2000 to December 2004.

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

Judge Orders White House to Restore CNN Reporter Acosta

Judge Orders White House to Restore CNN Reporter Acosta’s Credentials

Judge Orders White House to Restore CNN Reporter Acosta's Credentials
CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta speaks outside U.S. District Court in Washington, DC, on Friday. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

Friday, 16 November 2018

A federal judge ordered the Trump administration on Friday to immediately return the White House press credentials of CNN reporter Jim Acosta, saying Acosta suffered “irreparable harm” from the decision to bar him.

U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Kelly, an appointee of President Donald Trump, announced his decision following a hearing. The judge said Acosta’s credentials would be returned immediately and reactivated to allow him access to the White House.

CNN had asked the judge to force the White House to return the credentials that give Acosta, CNN’s chief White House correspondent, access to the White House complex for press briefings and other events.

The judge granted CNN’s request for a temporary restraining order. A lawsuit that CNN brought against the Trump administration over the issue is continuing.

The White House revoked Acosta’s credentials after he and Trump tangled during a press conference last week.

The judge said the government could not say who initially decided to revoke Acosta’s hard pass. The White House had spelled out its reasons for revoking his credentials in a tweet from White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and in a statement after CNN filed its lawsuit. But the judge said those “belated efforts were hardly sufficient to satisfy due process.”

The judge also found that Acosta suffered “irreparable harm,” dismissing the government’s argument that CNN could simply send other reporters to cover the White House in Acosta’s place.

The suit by CNN alleges that Acosta’s First and Fifth Amendment rights were violated by suspending his hard pass. While the judge didn’t rule on the underlying case, he signaled they were likely to prevail in their claims.

The judge told attorneys to file additional court papers in the case by Monday.

“Let’s go back to work!” Acosta said outside the courthouse after the ruling.

Trump has made his dislike of CNN clear since before he took office and continuing into his presidency. He has described the network as “fake news” both on Twitter and in public comments.

At last week’s press conference, which followed the midterm elections, Trump was taking questions from reporters and called on Acosta, who asked about Trump’s statements about a caravan of migrants making its way to the U.S.-Mexico border. After a terse exchange, Trump told Acosta, “That’s enough,” several times while calling on another reporter.

Acosta attempted to ask another question about special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation and initially declined to give up a hand-held microphone to a White House intern. Trump responded to Acosta by saying he wasn’t concerned about the investigation, calling it a “hoax,” and then criticized Acosta, calling him a “rude, terrible person.”

The White House pulled Acosta’s credentials hours later.

The White House explanations for why it seized Acosta’s credentials have shifted over the last week.

Sanders initially explained the decision by accusing Acosta of making improper physical contact with the intern seeking to grab the microphone.

But that rationale disappeared after witnesses backed Acosta’s account that he was just trying to keep the microphone, and Sanders distributed a doctored video that made it appear Acosta was more aggressive than he actually was. On Tuesday, Sanders accused Acosta of being unprofessional by trying to dominate the questioning at the news conference. 

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

Shelling SHELLY (Licks like peas?)

I said I would do it, so here it is. (This in response to a challenge in Social Media)
A point by point rebuttal (and a few agreements) of Shelley’s shallow portrayal of Montserrat to the UK Foreign Affairs Committee inquiry.

by Mike Jarvis –

Comments are in brackets (…) (italicised)
———————————————————————————

Written evidence from Shelley Harris (OTS0056)
Executive Summary:

  1. a) Regarding relationship with all the OTs – as a British citizen I should not have to have my passport stamped every time I enter what is my own Territory.

(Agreed. Scanning is sufficient. And let’s get rid of that shamrock stamp as it has no relevance)

The rest of my submission regards only Montserrat –
b) I should not have to have permission to buy a house, start a business or work in Montserrat as I am British.

(Agreed. I don’t need permission to do likewise in the UK as a Montserrat-born British citizen from an Overseas Territory, not just a British Overseas Territories Citizen. Full British should mean full British. like the breakfast – even though I don’t quite like it, the breakfast that is)

  1. c) Montserrat does not have a functioning government and there is no-one in the wings to take over.

(Nonsense. Montserrat has a poorly functioning government and we are not certain who is in the wings to take over. Just like the UK with Brexit)

  1. d) Too much aid to the island is wasted on projects that do not benefit those on island or the Island’s economy. The current Premier keeps saying ‘Britain will pay’.

Only partially correct. DfID must carry some of the responsibility for this. Be careful that the Premier doesn’t sue you. Have you really heard him say “Britain will pay”? Or, has he been saying – ad hominem and ill-advisedly – “Britain should pay” given his inexplicable obsession with First Call and Article 73. Perhaps we should call him that)

  1. d) The current government do not grasp the concept of accountability and transparency.

(Evidence needed to support this outrageous statement)

  1. e) We need direct control from the UK with UK legislation which is enforced.

(Absolute, utter, baseless garbage. What’s the basis for saying this…or are you just gas-lighting to seek attention?)

  1. f) We need a boost to the economy. There are no policies to do this. A tax-free island would boost the economy, so would supporting local private sector businesses that are sustainable.

(That’s why we have elections. And, just like – not because of – the British, our democracy works almost flawlessly. It could do with a few tweaks but it’s OK for the moment)

  1. g) Immigration policy is worrying with an increasing number of low paid immigrants who want passports.

(You might have a point here. I’ve heard the Labour Commissioner voicing some concerns on the radio)

  1. h) I feel completely cut off from common sense and currently see no positive future.

(Are you sure you don’t feel cut off from your own commonsense that you should have as an airline executive, rather than going on ill-informed, baseless tirades that have cast your company into disrepute? You’ve done this to the extent that ’management’ – I take it that includes your good self – feel the need to distance themselves from your outburst. That’s like you distancing you from yourself!
Well that’s new. How do you do it?)

My background:
I am a British Citizen that started a private sector business in Montserrat almost 30 years ago.
I have become extremely worried, particularly in the last four years, that on island there are not the skills, expertise or the will to do anything to make the island economically sustainable or comply with British expectations on legislation and enforcement.

(What freshness and forwardness!)

My submission referring to all the OTs
1. Regarding Britain’s relationship with all the OTs – as a British citizen I should not have to have my passport stamped and have permission every time I enter what is my own Territory.
My submission regarding Montserrat:
2. Montserrat does not have a functioning government. The current one is completely incompetent and wastes enormous amounts of money – most of which comes from the British taxpayer.

(Please refer to DfID as they have COMPLETE oversight over the spending of MY British taxpayer money)

  1. Worse, with an election due next year there is no-one in the wings that could lead the island. The current MPs will tell you they want to have a vote of no confidence in the premier but will not cross the house for fear of losing their own seats and their income. The pay is too attractive when there is very little other economy.

(That’s politics in a democracy. See the Conservative government and Labour opposition in the UK. Also, check the US for a good laugh on that)

  1. About the only bit of legislation they have managed to vote on in the last year is their own pay rise. They have been in breach of the constitution by not having parliament at the required times because they have done so little work that there is nothing to bring to parliament.

(An election is imminent. It’s up to the electorate…including you I’m certain)

  1. Although I do think we should let people learn from their mistakes there has to be a limit on the wasted money paid to the Montserrat Government.

(This is truly idiotic. If someone has so much that they can afford to pay ‘wasted money’ to someone else, why put a limit on it? It’s ‘wasted money’ anyway. Isn’t it Shelley? I’m having doubts about your intellect right here)

  1. Projects are mishandled (ZJB). Too many consultants are used at enormous cost when there is some unused expertise in the private sector on island.

(Agreed on ZJB. I’m very close to that. But it pales compared to Boris Johnson’s Garden Bridge in London, the HS2 rail project and others. Regarding consultants, see DfID. They commission them and pay them – and then commission more to review what was reviewed before)

  1. Those in charge still do not grasp the concept of accountability, transparency and a fair procurement process. The Premier keeps saying ‘Britain will pay’

(See my previous comments on this)

  1. There are some very good civil servants but many just paint their nails, sleep on duty and have no perception of what public service is. There are also far too many of them – probably because there is such a small private sector as an alternative source of employment.

(I challenge you to name names and the colour of the nail paint or whatever it is. How do you know there are too many of them? You have provided no evidence to substantiate this. Let me help; why then recruit more TCOs?)

  1. The current Governor is excellent. I have confidence in him.

(He seems an OK chap so far, but he’s been in the job less than a year so please elaborate on your vote of confidence. Is it the way he speaks? I like that – is it Cornish? – lilt)

  1. I would like to see free access given to the British to live, set up businesses, work and be able to take their full index-linked pensions on island. People (British and the Montserratian diaspora) should be encouraged (not discouraged) to move to Montserrat to live and work. Both will stimulate the economy.

(I am leaning towards liking this. Regarding pensions though, that’s a matter of HMRC policy. Take it up with the British government as it applies to some countries under very specific circumstances)

  1. I would like to see direct control from Britain on what it does now plus finance, health, education, the judiciary, access, trade, customs & immigration and major projects, – with some autonomy on local issues like housing, public works, agriculture, sport and community services.

(No)

  1. A tax-free island would boost the economy.

(It’s a thought. But how? Explain please, you have my interest. Montserrat could at least be a free port as we do have that option under the Caricom and OECS agreements)

  1. The island should be subject to UK legislation. The Island is completely incapable of making effective laws. It is way behind on effective human rights legislation. Enforcement of legislation is also a problem.

(Another unsubstantiated rant)

  1. Labour legislation is archaic and crippling economic development.

(Archaic by whose standards? Montserrat is ILO compliant. Ask Hylroy Bramble)

  1. There should also be some kind of national audit office to check on whether money is being spent wisely. It should publicise its findings.

(There is a government Audit Department which makes it the ‘national audit office’. Does Shelley even know Montserrat beyond the short wingspan of the Fly Montserrat planes?)

  1. A free press would help. Currently the only newspaper hardly every comes out and is reduced to just republishing other agency material from off island. The Radio station is frightened to say anything anti government and much goes unreported unless the speaker can get on air live.

(The press in Montserrat is free. How they use that freedom is a matter for them)

  1. Much aid from the British taxpayer and others is wasted. There is currently an annual subsidy of about EC$6m paid for a year- round ferry that is needed for about 10 days a year (a few days in December and March). This is paid from DFID, along with a subsidy for air access of EC$430,000. This unfairly skews the access market giving greatly subsidised travel by sea in competition with a local private sector company with little air subsidy.

(So this whole rant is a smokescreen for vested interests then? And again, this is a matter for DfID)

  1. The ferry subsidy also profits off-island companies at the expense of a Montserratian airline which, if the ferry fare was not so low, or it was just there for a few weeks a year, would make a profit and contribute more to the local economy.

(Unintelligible garbage that makes absolutely no business sense, unless this is about someone’s self-interest)

  1. The highly subsidised ferry also means people are encouraged to shop in Antigua rather than supporting the local economy. The inequitable subsidy used to reduce ferry fares, preventing the profitability of local companies, should stop.

(So cheap ferry fares encourage people to travel to shop. Therefore, is your logic to have punitively high airfares to discourage local people from travelling?
Also, if the ferry is already paid for, perhaps the fares should even be lower. Perhaps we need to look at import duties. Perhaps businesses need to look at where they source their products. And aren’t we already operating in a CARICOM and OECS trade zone?
The logic in your argument is missing…or there is something sinister driving your thinking
)

  1. There is no encouragement to new investors to start businesses on island. In fact the opposite. There are examples of people who have tried that have been treated very unfairly and left. No-one in government can tell potential investors how to set up.

(Some agreement here. But that’s what elections are for. By the way, in a later post because we have vehemently disagreed with you, you have basically accused us of stifling freedom of speech and wondered about comparisons to Mugabe and North Korea. You do have a big and irresponsible mouth don’t you?
I wonder which will chase ‘potential investors’ more; us exercising our democratic right of freedom of speech and robustly and intelligently challenging your ignorant and aggressive assertions, or you making comparison to Mugabe and North Korea
).

  1. It is interesting to see so many immigrants from The Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica and Guyana – most coming for low paid labour (and wanting a British passport). In some places you do not hear English spoken and we need to encourage the Montserratian diaspora (or more Brits) to return or it will get to the point that the majority on island are foreigners.

(What’s this? Xenophobia on our behalf? We don’t want it! That is at the root of Brexit, remember? This fear and loathing of ‘the other’. Those nationalities that you mentioned are CARICOM citizens. Please go and research CARICOM and educate yourself. These people were invited in the main. Also there are Montserratians living in their countries.
Regarding the diaspora; point taken
)

  1. There are those in power going round the island presently (E.g. at Rotary) advising people to say in this survey that the island needs more independence and be given more money! What is interesting is that most of the local reaction is to disagree as the money government gets is not well spent.

(What survey? It is NOT a survey. And Rotary is only one forum. Also, if anyone in power made such a pitch, clearly they were chased away with it, so why even mention it? Shelley, Shelley, Shelley. Hmmmm).

  1. It was good to see Lord Ahmad on island this year. He, and others concerned in the governance of Montserrat, should visit more often.

(And why not?)

  1. I would vote for rule from the UK with representation in the UK parliament. Stop the waste.

(Really? So who would ‘represent’ us in the UK parliament? I have my views but I’m certain they don’t align with yours)

  1. Montserratians have free access to the UK and the British should have reciprocal rights.

(That calls for a change of status both ways but remember the issue of population imbalance must be addressed as there are are vastly more ‘Britons’ available to relocate to Montserrat than vice versa. See also your previous remarks regarding Caricom nationals. By the way a Montserratian with a BOT passport has the same restrictions in the UK that you complain about for Brits in Montserrat)

  1. In time, perhaps there could be more autonomy as the necessary skills are developed.

(There is already autonomy)

  1. Currently it is a basket case that needs to be sorted out by a benevolent parent.

(Pardon me, but go to hell with this Shelley)

  1. Some of the observations regarding Montserrat might be relevant to other territories which are in deficit financially.

(I’ll gladly leave them to deal with you)

Posted in Features, International, Local, News, Politics, Regional1 Comment

DSC_9991

Wasteful Motion defeated

No confidence motion just a show ignorance

A motion of no confidence described by The Montserrat Reporter (TMR) in its previous issue of the newspaper, as “… Wasting the people’s time of confidence…,”   was easily defeated as expected on Monday, October 29. All five (remaining) government legislators voted to keep the four-year old administration in office.
(See for details: https://www.themontserratreporter.com/a-motion-wasting-the-peoples-time-of-confidence-importance-and-business/)

Dr. Ingrid Buffonge, who had tabled the motion against the government, she was once a member, said, “I wish the PDM (People’s Democratic Movement) well in the next year in office,” after the defeated motion.

But as she wound up the debate, she said she wanted to caution Montserratians “to vote wisely” adding “let us not make the same mistake”.

Buffonge said that she was pleased in bringing the motion since it was important to “hold the government to account” but acknowledged that the vote would not be in support of removing the Romeo administration, no doubt in apparent reference to the decision by former agriculture minister Claude Hogan to side with the government.

Former agriculture minister Claude Hogan, it is felt in some quarters held the key to the survival of the government that faced an uphill task to complete its first five-year term,

Political observers had erroneously expected former agriculture minister Claude Hogan, who was fired by Romeo last year, to vote in support of the opposition that included two former PDM members. But when the debate on the motion was adjourned late the Thursday night before the Monday vote, Hogan had already made his position known to legislators. He said that he had no intention of voting against the government that came to power in 2014, winning seven of the nine seats at stake in the Legislative Assembly.

“We should withdraw the vote of no confidence.  If you want to change the premier there is a way to do it,” said Hogan.

Buffonge, had earlier said that she wanted to inform legislators, foreign investors and other stakeholders interested in the development of the volcano-ravaged British Overseas Territory that the motion does not signal “political instability” here.

“My colleagues in opposition and myself as well as others who will be elected in the next general election, and I do speak for some of them no, after four years of getting things so terribly wrong we pledge to get it right.”

Earlier Premier Romeo dismissed the arguments made against by the opposition as he defended his tenure in office.

He told legislators also that while being appreciative of the role Britain plays in the development of the volcano ravaged island, London was also imposing all manner of restrictions stifling his administration.

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FAC Inquiry Janice

Berating a destructive Submission

Shelley Harris gets the rebuke of Montserrat on her submission to the FAC Inquiry

No other British resident has gone this far!

Former DFID Miss Priti Patel

In the October 19, 2018 issue of the TMR newspaper the Editorial caption read, “We cringe at what the FAC submissions must look like”. We had in our possession a copy of one of the submissions, and were seeking to obtain any others that had been made to include Government of Montserrat (GoM).

The submissions could have been made orally or written; (and we believe both if necessary). On November 7, we noted that most written ‘evidence’ submissions were published on the 6th and accessible at: https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/foreign-affairs-committee/inquiries1/parliament-2017/inquiry13/publications/

Two were published on Nov 13, while oral evidence was given by our Janice Panton on Nov 12 published 06 Nov 2018 – The future of the UK Overseas Territories – oral evidence | PDF version (247 KB) HC 1464 | (Published 12 Nov 2018) along with Elise Donovan, British Virgin Islands (BVI) Government representative in the UK, and Janice Panton, Montserrat Government representative in the UK.

Janice Panton, Montserrat Government representative in the UK

On Nov 7 having been directed to the above link of the submissions, attention was drawn by a usually reliable source to a submission, by Shelley Harris husband to Nigel Harris of Montserrat Airways Ltd. owners of the airline FlyMontserrat.

The cringe was here and by the next day, the gates opened with the correspondence and the reaction of anyone Montserratian or just a friend of Montserrat.

The written submission was just over three pages long, but the contents became the subject of castigation, on Social media, radio statements, without discussion, except for ‘support’ from Speaker Shirley Osborne and distance statement from her husband Nigel on behalf of FlyMontserrat. That came in for its own criticism as well.

Mrs. Harris in the Statement in which she even denounced The Montserrat Reporter (TMR) and Radio Montserrat. “A free press would help,” she wrote. “Currently the only newspaper (TMR) hardly every(sic) ever comes out and is reduced to just republishing other agency material from off island. The Radio station is frightened to say anything anti-government and much goes unreported unless the speaker can get on air live.”

Attention was drawn to the BBC TV broadcast of the oral evidence being given https://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/e2fd46fe-6270-4c04-a122-da37f8e5724a – on Tuesday 6 November 2018 Meeting started at 2.51pm, ended 4.37pm and was now being rebroadcast on the 8th.

Very quickly following the broadcast, it was noticed, former DFID Miss Priti Patel had stated: “We have also had evidence that the Montserrat Government are completely incompetence (sic) incompetent and waste enormous amounts of money, which comes from the British taxpayer!” then asked, “Is that something you think is true?” The answer was a straight “No.”

Soon after, the Committee Chairman asked Panton: “Is Montserrat sustainable as an individual territory anymore?”

Janice Panton: “I think it could be. If you look at what Montserrat as a territory has to offer…”

This one writer’s observation was directly taken from Harris’ submission. Their first reaction we received, to that and the rest, “she should be deported!” A strong feeling of disgust, suggesting, “In case anyone thought that what Shelley Harris said to the UK government could simply be ignored as the rant of an ungrateful guest in our country.  Think again.”

They cited the questions to Panton noting that Harris said in her submission: “2. Montserrat does not have a functioning government. The current one is completely incompetent and wastes enormous amounts of money – most of which comes from the British taxpayer.” The writer referenced the question (137) in the transcript from Patel as above, noting that “Panton was visibly taken aback by the ridiculous assertion and could only manage to respond; “No. That is not something I think…””

“So, there we have it; every negative word uttered by a woman whose salary is paid by Montserrat out of the mismanaged UK aid funds, is being thrown back in our face verbatim by a ranking member of the FAC… Can you imagine what else the Harris’ say to the UK government officials behind our back…” And showing more serious concern, “And who knows what other rubbish the UK officials take on board as factual,” concluding that “the matter was more serious”, than they thought at first.

There are those who suggested that Harris did not expect or realised that her submission would be publicized, believing, rightly that this was not a first that British residents have done previously and for some time.

This writer said: “When Shelly Harris wants to send secret messages to the FCO to talk about poor governance and waste of tax payers’ money, she would do well to remember that Fly Montserrat has never paid a penny in taxes into the Treasury so far in their entire existence on Montserrat, courtesy of the previous MCAP government.”

Other public comments, substantiated the writer, citing the waiver of taxes from 2009 – 2019: “S.R.O. 24 of 2014 – Exemption: Fly Montserrat Ltd. Is exempted from the payment of corporation tax for a period of five years commencing on 1st April, 2014 and terminating on 31st March, 2019.

Waiver of outstanding corporation tax: Fly Montserrat Ltd. Is granted a waiver of all outstanding tax owed before and up to 1st April, 2014.

This writer goes on to remind, that the MDC put EC$250,000 into the purchase of their 50-year-old aircraft; and, “it was the Government of Montserrat that bought the Medivac equipment for their aircraft;” and more, “They should tell everyone that they get a monthly hand out from the Access Division, yes a big fat check for EC$18,000. With no questions asked.”

No other company in Montserrat is treated so favourably… the writer states.” “Free Money! Help to buy money spinning Assets! and No Taxes!” 

“Yes, indeed Mrs Harris, what a waste of tax payers’ money.”

These questions flowed: How about the government takes your monthly hand out and uses that money in a manner that helps more people in Montserrat, rather than fund your large do-nothing salary?

 How about the FSC and Inland Revenue have a good look at your company’s accounts, which even your directors and shareholders can only take a peek at 10 minutes before your AGM, with no takeaway copies? What are you hiding? Perhaps a full audit of Fly Montserrat is in order! 

“Or better yet, how about you just leave the country?”

‘The Governor you testified is a wonderful chap. He tries to work in your interest. He calls Airport Management to smooth things.Well let me tell you one thing Mrs Fly Montserrat. You and the Governor don’t run this island. There will be never be UK Direct Rule here. Not in my lifetime.So, Thank You. Now everyone knows where you stand.”

Many questioned whether the Government would sit by without comment on the upsetting submission. It was not long before the Premier issued a statement, published in this issue for the benefit of the public. In the Statement which was also issued on radio, he said:

“While, like most, I was appalled at the tone of her unfounded accusations and ill-advised colonialistic suggestions, I must admit that I am not at all surprised.  Her statements clearly show the sort of attitudes and influences behind the scenes that have harmed and hampered Montserrat’s progress for many years.” 

Hylroy Bramble – Labour Speaks

Premier Donaldson Romeo

Visit to listen: https://montserratradioecho.wordpress.com/2018/11/14/wednesday-november-14-2018-a-statement-by-premier-hon-donaldson-romeo-regarding-shelley-harris-comments/

Also speaking out publicly. David Brandt who filed a written submission to the FAC made a statement on radio very critical of the Shelley Statement, noting that the Government is the biggest investor in the airline, while Nigel did not put in a cent (that depends).

Also, speaking out especially on the statement on labour conditions – Hylroy Bramble on his Labour Speaks program. https://montserratradioecho.wordpress.com/2018/11/14/wednesday-november-14-2018-labour-speaks-with-hylroy-bramble/

 

Visit to listen to these two: https://montserratradioecho.wordpress.com/2018/11/14/wednesday-november-14-2018-a-statement-by-david-s-brandt-regarding-shelley-harris-comments/ 

 

Reaction on Social media was also quick and one controversial but somewhat colourful commentator and observer began: “a Big RAZZAH To The Fly M/Rat Lady. Well Done. Take A Bow. All our local reverences to you.I For One Am Happy. Your written testimony to the UK Parliament Committee was outstanding. Yes I know you thought it would be secret. Or were you trying to be a whistle blower. Madame That ship has sunk like Mundo Boat. What we have here is just another ungrateful Visitor.

Yes Mrs Fly Montserrat. We bent over like gymnasts and had you ram your Chanticleer up our rears. I guess you wanted us to imbibe your bahookies too. So when we couldn’t ingest no more of your Crappola. You defamed us in your testimony to the Select Committee.

I hope at least one person chooses another service provider to get to Antigua.

If we had a Government. They could have run the Ferry seven days a week. If we had a Government they would have told you John A Osborne Airport doesn’t belong to you.

 You’re just a tenant.

The Governor you testified is a wonderful chap. He tries to work in your interest. He calls Airport Management to smooth things.

Well let me tell you one thing Mrs Fly Montserrat. You and the Governor don’t run this island. There’ll will be never be UK Direct Rule here. Not in my lifetime.

So Thank You. Now everyone knows where you stand.

But, while more outpouring of anger and disgust at Harris’ submission kept surfacing, her husband as a director on behalf of the FlyMontserrat company issued this: “Flymontserrat would like to make it clear that Statements recently made by Shelley Harris are made by her on an individual basis and not made on behalf of the company.”

This he undid or exposed the real truth and the reason why so many connected her to the company, and not believing anything he or she said afterwards: “The views made by Shelley Harris do not necessarily reflect the views of Flymontserrat.”

The situation is that her husband has expressed publicly and privately, many of the same sentiments and discontent and disagreements towards Montserrat, behaving often in a dishonest and destructive way, always in favour of the progress of his airline.

Meanwhile, Shelley issued a ‘comeback’ statement which she circulated, omitting TMR whom she had misrepresented directly in her destructive submission. That single act of exclusion on her part tells a picture that over time the public will know about. This writer and editor of TMR here takes responsibility for being in the forefront (not in that official capacity) of establishing the very name FlyMontserrat and lots more for an airline that turned out, not to be what had been envisioned and agreed before he was cast aside as one of three directors, the other having walked away from the company very soon after the ugliness exhibited in this saga of FlyMontserrat and its owners soon emerged.

ZJB radio carried a report on Shelley follow-up statement, as they may have received a copy thereof.  The report reflected some of the issues raised and explained from her submission. “The submission to the U.K. parliament to a FAC continues to attract the ire of some people both on Montserrat and in the diaspora. Shelley Harris has issued a statement in her defense.

In her submission to the FAC Mrs Harris launched what some perceived to be an attack on the people of Montserrat, its institutions (media included) and government. Among the statements thought to be provocative is a suggestion that the U.K. government should reduce the ferry service to 10 days of operation a year, productivity in the public service and the inability of the island to govern itself.

“As far as the access issue is concerned, Managing Director of Montserrat Nigel Harris distanced himself from the statement. made by his partner saying in a subsequent statement that the View made by Mrs. Harris did not necessarily reflect the views of the company.”

The report on the matter continued: Editor James White said: “Mrs. Harris in a statement on Tuesday, reveals that a submission to the F.A.C. in her own right was done without the knowledge of anyone in fly Montserrat until after the submission was made… She said she did it publicly because she believed in putting her name to her submission and not hiding behind anonymity Mrs. Harris highlights that being part of our democracy also have duties stressing that the freedom which the forefathers of Monserrat and the U.K. fought for.

(See abstracts of her statement highlighted elsewhere in this issue)

Yet, not every Montserratian agreed that the Shelley was more than offensive, as Shirley Osborne, the Hon Speaker of Montserrat’s Assembly, sprang up in her defence, or FlyMontserrat’s, exposing a natural but in our opinion, unprofessional bias.

Here is more social media reaction, some excerpts, this time to Shirley’s self-expose.

“Low and behold who was the appointed one. A black eye for St Peter’s Village. Bassie would say “a wa happun to mi pickney. A Drum Jam a real Jumbie Dance is needed To get di hex off SHIRLEY OSBORNE. It must be OBEAH not Filthy Lucre to meek shurli tun sell out.  Now me kno how dem brave boys felt on St Patrick’s Day so long ago.

Now Madame Speaker the outspoken defender of all things Montserratian. She is the one (they) chose.

Ms Osborne you claim we should be: Sensible, Strategic, Sophisticated and Objective. Is she throwing big words to fool some of us. Well The Conscience don’t have to look in no Dictionary to find out the meanings.

Let’s be SENSIBLE. Question. Is Fly M/Rat of any benefit to us? Let’s be STRATEGIC. Can we do better elsewhere? Let’s be SOPHISTICATED. We’re not backward ppl as Shelly and Shirley seem to think we are. Let’s be OBJECTIVE. How can we be. A Redneck is calling us Dumb, Corrupt, Lazy and Incapable Of Governing ourselves. And we should keep personal feelings out of it. HELL NO.”

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Kevin Breuninger

CNN sues President Trump and White House for banning reporter Jim Acosta

  • CNN is suing President Donald Trump and multiple White House aides for revoking press pass of the news network’s White House correspondent, Jim Acosta.
  • The lawsuit comes less than a week after the White House announced it would suspend Acosta’s “hard pass” in the wake of the reporter’s fiery exchange with Trump at a news conference Wednesday.
  • CNN alleges in its legal action, which has been filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., that Acosta’s First and Fifth Amendment rights were being violated with the ban.

 
 
 
 
 
 

CNN sues President Trump and White House for banning reporter Jim Acosta  

CNN is suing President Donald Trump and multiple White House aides for revoking the press pass of the news network’s White House correspondent, Jim Acosta.

The lawsuit comes less than a week after press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced it would suspend Acosta’s White House credential, often called a “hard pass,” in the wake of the reporter’s fiery exchange with Trump at a news conference Wednesday.

Sanders, White House chief of staff John Kelly, deputy communications chief Bill Shine and Secret Service Director Randolph Alles are also included in the suit. The Secret Service officer who yanked Acosta’s pass is included as well, though he is not identified by name.

 

In a statement, Sanders said the lawsuit was “just more grandstanding from CNN,” and vowed that the White House will “vigorously defend” itself.

 

Watch President Trump and CNN’s Jim Acosta heated exchange  

CNN alleges in its legal action, which has been filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., that Acosta’s First and Fifth Amendment rights were being violated with the ban.

Lawyer Ted Olson, who served as Solicitor General under President George W. Bush and who reportedly declined Trump’s request to join his personal legal team in March, is one of CNN’s attorneys in the suit, a court filing shows.

Acosta, who has frequently clashed with Trump administration officials, had challenged the president about his characterization of a “caravan” of Central American migrants traveling to the U.S.-Mexico border.

A female staffer then attempted to pull the microphone out of Acosta’s hand, which he initially refused to surrender. “You are a rude, terrible person,” Trump responded as Acosta continued to speak into a microphone being passed around to the gaggle of reporters present for the news conference in the White House.

Later Wednesday, Acosta tweeted that he had been denied entrance to the White House grounds.

Sanders, in a series of tweets the same same day, said the Trump administration will “never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern.”

Critics and media colleagues quickly pushed back on the statement, arguing that Sanders had mischaracterized the altercation. The press secretary received even more criticism after she tweeted a video of the exchange, which The Washington Post and other outlets said was doctored. That video was first shared by a right-wing commentator associated with conspiracy theory website Infowars, the Post reported.

Later that week, Trump appeared to discard the notion that Acosta had inappropriately placed his hands on the intern — the reason stated by Trump’s administration for revoking the pass in the first place.

Acosta “was not nice to that young woman,” Trump said in remarks to reporters Friday, but “I don’t hold him for that because it wasn’t overly, you know, horrible.”

CNN is asking the court for a preliminary injunction that would reinstate Acosta’s press credentials as soon as possible.

“While the suit is specific to CNN and Acosta, this could have happened to anyone,” CNN said in a statement Tuesday morning. “If left unchallenged, the actions of the White House would create a dangerous chilling effect for any journalist who covers our elected officials.”

Minutes after the lawsuit was reported Tuesday morning, White House Correspondents’ Association President Olivier Knox offered a statement of support for the media outlet.

“Revoking access to the White House complex amounted to disproportionate reaction to the events of last Wednesday. We continue to urge the Administration to reverse course and fully reinstate CNN’s correspondent,” Knox said.

He added: “The President of the United States should not be in the business of arbitrarily picking the men and women who cover him.”

The president has regularly slammed numerous mainstream media outlets “fake news” for their coverage of him and his administration, including The New York Times, NBC News, The Washington Post and others.

Trump has repeatedly singled out CNN in his attacks. And days after CNN’s New York offices were targeted with mail bombs allegedly by Trump fanatic Cesar Sayoc, the president said “the Fake News Media” was “the true Enemy of the People.

Acosta has also been the target of criticism for his style in front of the news cameras. Writer Todd Purdum argued in The Atlantic in August that Acosta’s “performance journalism” provides the Trump administration with “another convenient villain” in the press.

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