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Same Sex Marriage in Montserrat!

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

Original By Peter Richards

Adapted by Bennette Roach

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ian Austin, supporting…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related:

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

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

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

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CARICOM RBM life-cycle approach

CARICOM: Manage by Results! (To cure “implementation deficit disorder”)

TMR December 2018

CARICOM[1] and its fifteen member states (including Montserrat) have long struggled with “implementation deficit disorder.” Such a region-wide problem has to be tackled on a regional basis, and CARICOM has set out to do just that.

Accordingly, the fifteen member Caribbean regional body has undertaken a CDB-funded US$ 600,000 project with Baastel,[2] a sustainable development oriented consultancy firm, in order to improve delivery of strategic results. Mr Evan Green (Baastel’s vice-president of Results Based Management [RBM] and disaster risk management), is therefore helping the region to create a “CARICOM Gender Sensitive Results-Based Management System.”

This is why a four-member high level CARICOM delegation recently visited Montserrat as part of a regional series [3] of meetings and seminars on RBM.[4] The delegation was led by Ambassador Dr Manorma Soeknandan, CARICOM’s Deputy Secretary General. The delegation was hosted through the Office of the Premier and held consultations with Government, Legislators, the Senior Civil Service and also with representatives of Civil Society on Monday, November 26th 2018. TMR was invited, and we now share our observations.

Premier Romeo welcomes the CARICOM RBM delegation headed by Amb. Soeknandan, as HE Governor Pearce looks on [Cr. CARICOM]

In his remarks, His Excellency Governor Pearce emphasised the need to drastically simplify delay-prone bureaucratic procedures and to break the cycle of chained consultancies on consultancies on consultancies. For example, “if you want to go on leave you fill in a form and then it has to go round about 10 people. By the time it eventually comes back to you to confirm you can go on leave you’re near retirement.” Likewise, “there are consultancy reports analyzing previous consultancies going back decades; and there’s a consultancy on every conceivable thing you can think of.” (The Governor’s remarks were picked up in news reports and have sparked a wider public discussion, as TMR has reported.[5])

Premier Romeo then emphasised the ongoing, much needed shift to a more results-based expedited implementation of priority projects and programmes that consults with and is accountable to stakeholders. Including, voters.

Ambassador Dr Soeknandan gave introductory remarks on the behalf of CARICOM.  She pointed to the “implementation deficit disorder” and noted that CARICOM is not a third party in the region, we are Caricom. In July 2014 CARICOM adopted a five-year strategic plan aimed at economic growth, reducing environmental vulnerability, integration, better communication and equity for all.   Resource Based Management (RBM) seeks to shift focus and assessments from activities (such as training) towards achieving strategic results. RBM is based on accountability for results, including to our taxpayers.

Mr. Craig Beresford, Director of CARICOM’s Strategic Management Unit,  summarised the CARICOM Strategic Plan 2015 – 19.[6] He noted that many stakeholders across the region do not feel the presence and benefits of CARICOM, pointing to communication/ awareness and effectiveness issues. Effects of the 2008 – 9 global economic crisis linger across the region. Environmental vulnerability can be seen from how the 2017 hurricane wiped out a year’s GDP for Dominica. Regional decision-making is weak and slow, e.g. a regional rights agreement took fourteen years to complete.  The region is not short on plans, implementation is a key gap. Going forward a logical framework approach and a scorecard system will increase accountability.

Consultant Mr. Evan Green then made a slide presentation on Results Based Management. RBM moves beyond the pattern of twenty years ago where the focus was on what was done rather than what was achieved. At that time, the number one progress indicator for many projects was “number of people trained,” and the number two indicator was “number of workshops held.” Instead, RBM emphasises accountability over delivering strategic results and benefits to stakeholders.

RBM has thus become the preferred approach of International Development Partners (aka donor agencies), many states and Non-Government Organisations. 

Considered from a life cycle point of view, in RBM there is an outer loop of planning, monitoring and evaluation. (This loop is common to all management.) Stakeholder participation is at the pivot. The RMB cycle has five phases:

1] Vision-setting

2] Defining the results map and RBM framework

3] Planning for monitoring and evaluation

4] Implementation with monitoring

5] Managing that uses evaluation

Results-based Management (RBM) also incorporates Project Cycle Management [7] and Management of Programmes of Action as components. It also makes use of logical framework [8] (“log frame”) tools and scorecards that track achievement of results. CARICOM is emphasising gender concerns in all of this process.

The “log frame” project and programme planning approaches focus on inputs, activities, outputs, outcomes and long-term impacts on the economy, our society and our natural environment. There is also an emphasis on using open source information technology tools and on common standards.

CARICOM’s top-level priorities are:

1] Economic: sustainable, resilient growth

2] Social: improved quality of life for all

3] Environmental: reduced vulnerability

4] Technology: innovative, ICT-enabled economies and society

5] CARICOM Identity/Community: an integrated community with equity for all

6] Governance: strengthening community governance

7] Co-ordinated International Relations: CARICOM is favourably positioned in the global community.

In order to successfully implement RBM and achieve these results, capacity has to be built both in CARICOM and in member countries. Including, here in Montserrat.

After the presentations, the session was opened up for a question and discussion period, as part of the needed stakeholder participation. Much of that discussion highlighted a communication deficit, so that people do not “feel” CARICOM’s presence and impacts.  Indeed, some people who work with or use services of CARICOM agencies do not recognise that these bodies are CARICOM at work – “CARICOM” lacks brand recognition. Another concern was the tendency of international development partners to specifically exclude Overseas Territories such as Montserrat from funding on grounds that they should look to the UK or the like; though there are notable exceptions such as a recent fisheries project. Montserratian Officials pointed out that it is then a considerable challenge to negotiate line by line for replacement funding.

Clearly, Results Based Management is a major CARICOM thrust. One, that calls us to work together to address our region’s implementation deficit disorder.

[1]     See: https://caricom.org/membership

[2]     See: http://baastel.com/

[3]     See Channel 5 Belize video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jffvweko7jM

[4]     See UN Handbook: https://www.un.cv/files/UNDG%20RBM%20Handbook.pdf

[5]     See TMR, Dec 14 2018, p. 1: https://www.themontserratreporter.com/development-stifled-and-public-service/

[6]     See https://www.caricom.org/STRATEGIC%20PLAN%202016_opt.pdf

[7]     See https://idscs.org.mk/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/WEB-Handbook-for-EU-Project-Design-and-Project-Cycle-Management-1.pdf, also: https://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/sites/devco/files/methodology-aid-delivery-methods-project-cycle-management-200403_en_2.pdf

[8]     See http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/783001468134383368/pdf/31240b0LFhandbook.pdf

Later in Belize: CARICOM Results Based Management Systems-Channel 5 Belize

 

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Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, CARICOM, Features, International, Local, News, OECS, Regional, Videos0 Comments

Are You Wasting Your Life?

Are You Wasting Your Life?

Posted in Opinions, Videos0 Comments

RULES TO LIVE BY

RULES TO LIVE BY

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Mark Lancaster poses with the crew of RFA Mounts Bay after watching a Humanitarian Relief and Disaster Relief Exercise on the small volcanic island of Montserrat.

UK Armed Forces on high alert for hurricane season

News story

The UK’s Overseas Territories will have unwavering military support throughout the 2018 hurricane season, a Defence minister has confirmed.

Mark Lancaster poses with the crew of RFA Mounts Bay after watching a Humanitarian Relief and Disaster Relief Exercise on the small volcanic island of Montserrat.
Mark Lancaster poses with the crew of RFA Mounts Bay after watching a Humanitarian Relief and Disaster Relief (HADR) Exercise on the small volcanic island of Montserrat. Crown copyright.

British residents were killed, homes were destroyed and infrastructure was decimated when Irma and Maria, two of the most powerful hurricanes for decades, smashed through the region back-to-back in September 2017.

Mark Lancaster visited Barbados, Antigua and Montserrat this week to reassure locals that the Ministry of Defence is supporting other Government departments to ensure that similar devastation is not repeated.

Armed Forces Minister Mark Lancaster said:

No matter what the elements throw at our Overseas Territories this year, we will be there to help them every step of the way throughout 2018 and beyond. We may not be able to prevent natural disasters from occurring, but our world-class military have been planning meticulously to ensure lives are protected and damage is kept to a minimum.

Our citizens in the Caribbean have already shown incredible resilience over the last year and we are determined that when this difficult period is over their local facilities are in a better state than they were before.

Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Mounts Bay will act as the hub of the UK’s response, and the minister was able to see a demonstration of her amphibious capabilities while in Montserrat.

Fleet Auxiliary vessel MOUNTS BAY and her crew conducting a Humanitarian Relief and Disaster Relief Exercise in Montserrat.
Fleet Auxiliary vessel MOUNTS BAY and her crew conducting a Humanitarian Relief and Disaster Relief (HADR) Exercise in Montserrat. Crown copyright.

As well as being able to carry vital aid and equipment, RFA Mounts Bay also has the latest Royal Navy Wildcat helicopter on board to provide aerial support. There is also a medical facility on board, with 10 patient beds for anyone who suffers serious injuries or illness.

The visit also provided an opportunity for Mr Lancaster to speak to island governors and residents about their needs as they continue to recover from last year’s hurricanes.

As well as preparing for this year, RFA Mounts Bay has been in the region since Irma struck and will remain there until 2020 to help restore the islands to normal.

A Wildcat helicopter takes off from RFA Mounts Bay during the Humanitarian Relief and Disaster Relief Exercise
A Wildcat helicopter takes off from RFA Mounts Bay during the Humanitarian Relief and Disaster Relief (HADR) Exercise. Crown copyright.

The Government has already committed £142million to support the recovery effort in the affected territories, as well as £300million of UK loan guarantees.

Foreign & Commonwealth Office minister Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon is currently visiting the British Virgin Islands, which suffered extensive damage, as the Government continues its preparations for 2018.

Posted in Hurricane, International, Local, News, Regional, Security, Videos0 Comments

Governor Timothy N. J. Antoine Reports on the Bank's performance for the Financial Year 2017 - 2018

Governor Timothy N. J. Antoine Reports on the Bank’s performance for the Financial Year 2017 – 2018

Governor Timothy N. J. Antoine Reports on the Bank’s performance for the Financial Year 2017 – 2018 and the Bank’s focus for the 2018 – 2019 Financial Year.

Posted in International, Local, OECS, Regional, Videos0 Comments

ECCB Governor Hosts Discussion With Media Practitioners in Montserrat

Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB),
Timothy N. J. Antoine hosts discussion with media practitioners in
Montserrat as part of the Bank’s Citizen Engagement and Stakeholders Relations Strategy. 

Governor Antoine  shared  information and discussed a range of economic and financial sector stability issues including:

•      The ECCB’s Strategic Approach
•      Current Situation in the ECCU
•      Current Situation in Montserrat
•      Challenges facing Montserrat
•      Legislative Reforms

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Entertainment, Features, Local, Regional, Videos0 Comments

CARICOM caption head feb 17-1333x394

Stirring opening to CARICOM Inter-Sessional

 

 

 

Stirring opening to CARICOM Inter-Sessional – Video highlights
(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana)     The Twenty-Eighth Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) opened Thursday morning at the Marriott Hotel, Georgetown, Guyana.
 
Speakers at the Opening included CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque,  Prime Minister of Dominica, Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit, and CARICOM Chairman and President of Guyana, HE David Granger.More in this video report:   https://vimeo.com/204469890
 
 

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Features, Local, News, Politics, Regional, TOURISM, Videos0 Comments

wp_20161011_16_08_17_pro

Montserrat GB in #iamgb video features global Girls’ Brigade transformation stories

iamgb__still02The Girls’ Brigade (GB) International has released a video on International Day of the Girl demonstrating girls feel confident, courageous, loved and accepted as a result of being a member of Girls’ Brigade.

Celebrating its 123rd birthday, Girls’ Brigade is a worldwide faith-based movement focused on working amongst girls and women in around 50 countries. Girls’ Brigade is a fun, confidence building, safe environment that provides opportunities for personal growth and faith explorationdsc_6966

In Montserrat some of our activities have been:

Bible Studies, Drills, Crafts, Grooming and Deportment, Dancing, Hiking, Singing, Parade – Queen’s Birthday Parade & Remembrance Day Parade, Methodist Aldersgate Rally, Movies – moral values, educational and Christian, Annual Camp – God can use me for great things –Book of Esther, Banquet, Games, Drama, Devotions, Church Service, Teenage Sexuality, Disaster preparedness, Bible quizzes and so much more.wp_20161011_15_21_53_pro

Girls’ Brigade International President Vivienne Aitchison from England shares: ‘Because of being part of the Girls’ Brigade family, girls in Asia, Africa, Caribbean, Europe and Pacific have shared that they feel confident, courageous, loved and accepted.

‘Girls around the world say that, because of GB, they experience opportunities to discover what it means to live life to the full! In a world where it can be difficult to be a girl, this is a positive and hope-filled message for GB to share on International Day of the Girl. We are thankful for all of our leaders who are investing in girls and impacting their lives and for God’s faithfulness to us.’

wp_20161011_15_27_23_proThe #iamgb initiative gathered incredible stories of transformation from girls across the world – too many to include in one video. It aims to inspire girls, encourage GB leaders and demonstrate the value of Girls’ Brigade’s ministry.

Sharyn White- Senior says Because of brigade I have participated in more outer activities like singing, dancing and singing.

While senior girl Chamique Corbette said Because of brigade I have discovered, learned new things and now I see the world differently.

“Because of brigade I have become matured, which enables me to explore the world, be more adventurous and see what God has created” say Serina Laird who is also a seniorwp_20161011_16_08_17_pro

Brigadier Jahvine Henry while jumping from a tree said “Because of brigade I am fearless”.

Because of brigade I have a very high self-esteem. Shania Bryan – Senior

Because of brigade I am more willing. Brianna Benjamin – Junior

dsc_6955Because of brigade I am more confident due to the activities we have done. Keyanna Bryan – Junior

Because of brigade I have shown better and great attitude and have self-control. Dieudeline Dubreus – Junior

Because of brigade I am brave in all that I do. Karina Beni- Junior

Because of brigade I am able to speak out, get rid of my fears that help me with my attitude. Melvaleena Tuitt – Senior

Because of brigade I am more mature, I take care of the younger ones, I help to start brigade and I mark the register.  Mikila Gittens – Brigadier

 

Because of Girls’ brigade I have been more expose to God, and because of the many social activities that we have done my interactive skills with people have improve. Jameina St. Hill – Brigadier

Because of girls’ brigade it has helped me to improve my social skills and speaking and I am more outgoing. So far we have done activities which have helped me to interact with other girls and to learn new things. Tereese Weekes – Senior

Bailey (16) from GB New Zealand shares: ‘Because of GB, I feel both accepted and loved. I have been going to GB since I was 7 and grown up with most of the girls and leaders. Words can’t explain the feeling I get when the girls want to see me and hug me and share their week stories.’

GB is a safe place for girls to feel a sense of belonging and have fun as Wong Nok Ching (7) from GB Hong Kong explains: ‘Because of GB, I am happy.’ Leila-May (8) from Girls’ Brigade England & Wales also shares: ‘Because of GB, I have made lots of new friends.’

Girls are also encountering Jesus in new ways through local GB groups. ‘GB has made me into a new person and taught me more about God. I feel confident to tell people about God and what He, through the Girls’ Brigade, has done for me’ says Samantha from GB Jamaica.

In a world where girls are facing increasing levels of low self-esteem, Girls’ Brigade is helping girls discover confidence to overcome obstacles in cultures where being born a girl can be difficult.

Lisah from GB Papua New Guinea shares: ‘Before joining GB, I was a shy girl. Through GB, I’ve learned a lot of things and one of them is how to be confident.’ Chioma, a younger GB leader from Nigeria (where the Chibok girls, 6 of whom are GB members, remain missing), adds: ‘Because of GB, I am empowered, courageous and transformed.’

Here is a video of some of the local GB members:

The #iamgb video website is available on the GB International website (www.gbworldwide.org) and facebook page (www.facebook.com/GirlsBrigadeWorldwide) from 11 October 2016.

If you would like to find more about 1st Montserrat Girls’ Brigade Company, please contact         

Ms Milykhia McKenzie

 1664-493-2030/ 1664-393-3254

 me.like.her@me.com

 girlsbrigademontserrat@gmail.com

And Like our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/firstmontserratgirlsbrigadecompany/

Posted in Entertainment, Featured, International, Kids, Local, News, Regional, Videos0 Comments

Montserrat Basketball Village League Ends with Back to Back winners (VIDEO)

The Montserrat Basketball Association Village Basketball League came to an end on early Sunday morning when defending Champions Salem Jammers held on to their title by winning Lookout Shooters two in the best of three games series. The finals began on Friday night with Cudjoehead vs St. Peters and Lookout vs Salem. Both St. Peters and Salem walk away with the first game. Salem Jammers 69 points against there opponent Lookout Shooters who gained 57 points.

Game two took place on Saturday night going in to early Sunday morning the St. Peters defeated their opponent Cudjoehead 63 to 51 points and taking third place in the tournament. Then the climax was the big game where the two top teams of the league battle to end the series or have one more game. It ended with Salem Jammers the defending champions proving they got what it takes and walking away with the championship for a second time back to back scoring 80 point to Lookout Shooter 70 points.

Watch snippets of the game:

Posted in Local Sports, Sports, Videos1 Comment

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