Categorized | Local

CIAC releases community education plans, but consultation?

by Bennette Roach

– Hon. Don Romeo says that is still not enough and too late

After over six weeks since the Government of Montserrat relented, and postponed the passage of a Resolution in the Legislature that committed a 2010 draft Constitution for Montserrat to Her Majesty’s Government for enactment, there is the announcement that the government has initiated a campaign to “educate the general public about the contents of the proposed draft Constitution Order for Montserrat.”

On June 29, 2010 following an all day “debate’ in the Legislature it was clear that the government would yield to the call led by new ‘kid’ parliamentarian Donaldson Romeo, to allow more time to the people of Montserrat to familiarize themselves with the changes, additions, and nuances of the new draft Constitution. Independent media and voices particularly from the Diaspora had joined in the call for more study and getting to know the issues that made up the draft Constitution which provided little while his leader supported the government’s arguments and their position why there was more than enough time for the populace to have discussed and comment on the draft Constitution.

Just prior to the Resolution debate the Reuben Meade government named a Constitution Implementation and Advice Committee (CIAC) which only this week begun a campaign to educate the general public about the contents of the proposed draft Constitution Order for Montserrat. The first such meeting was held last night where reports suggest that speakers and in particular the Attorney General were accused of being unable to speak in the interest of Montserrat.

According to Alric “Jim” Taylor, Chairman of the CIAC every effort will be made to connect with the public through various forums and media.

But MP Donaldson Romeo is far from pleased at the efforts of the government where the announcement said that the CIAC, of which he was appointed a member, would initiate a campaign to “educate” the general public… Romeo told The Montserrat Reporter that it is clear the government has no intention to consult with the people on the draft Constitution, which had been discussed behind closed doors and almost in secret, for at least the last three years.

After the Resolution passage was halted, the new parliamentarian, who is constantly derided by CM Meade in the Legislature and elsewhere because he seeks to get expert opinions where necessary, had said that he would wait to see what action the Government took to discuss and consult with the public on issues regarding the latest draft of the Constitution which they had expected to pass through the Legislative Council.

According to a GIU release which said, “Following the decision in the Legislative Council in June to give an additional three months for public debate and discussion, the committee (CIAC) was asked to lead the education campaign on the new draft document.”

The release said further that in July, ZJB Radio Montserrat in collaboration with the Government Information Unit (GIU) began airing a series of infomercials called “Your Constitution Minute”. These spots have now been converted to YouTube videos with the text and information on how persons can share their views on the new laws. The videos are available at www.themontserratreporter.com and on the Government of Montserrat website at, www.gov.ms as well as on the Spirit of Montserrat fan page on Facebook.

Several requests for printed copies of the draft Constitution have so far been ignored, while Chief Minister Meade maintains that the draft is available via the internet on several government related web sites. The CM says that he thinks it would be wasted money to have them printed as he is of the opinion, “probably overcome by my belief in the use of the internet,” that very few people would actually read the document. Still, persons are still encouraged to download a copy of the draft Constitution Order from the internet. Copies have also been made available at local Health Centres, churches and the public library. A personal copy can be requested at the Office of the Chief Minister or the Deputy Governor’s office.

At the press conference the CM had also said that in an effort to “take the politics out of the matter” he was engaging the Speaker and the Clerk of Council to oversee the publicity of the draft.

Mr. Taylor along with representatives from the Attorney General’s office, including Parliamentary counsel Ms. Barbara Vargas will be part of a panel, which will lead weekly town hall meetings. The first town hall session was scheduled to be held last night, Thursday, in Salem at the Shiloh Pentecostal Church at 7:15pm. Other meetings are scheduled to be held in St. Peters, Brades and Look Out communities every Thursday in August.

All of the meetings will be recorded for replay on radio and the local access channel on Cable TV.

The debate on the new constitution is expected to resume in late September when government hopes to pass the Resolution which sends the draft on the HMG for enactment.

Meanwhile Resident Tutor at the University of the West Indies Open Campus, Gracelyn Cassell has called for positive debate on the new draft Constitution Order for Montserrat.

She notes that as members of a free and democratic society Montserratians need to exercise the rights to which they are entitled, and as such should make an effort to read the document and make meaningful contributions and suggestions.

Leave a Reply

TMR print pages

Newsletter

Archives

https://indd.adobe.com/embed/2b4deb22-cf03-4509-9bbd-938c7e8ecc7d

A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

by Bennette Roach

– Hon. Don Romeo says that is still not enough and too late

After over six weeks since the Government of Montserrat relented, and postponed the passage of a Resolution in the Legislature that committed a 2010 draft Constitution for Montserrat to Her Majesty’s Government for enactment, there is the announcement that the government has initiated a campaign to “educate the general public about the contents of the proposed draft Constitution Order for Montserrat.”

Insert Ads Here

On June 29, 2010 following an all day “debate’ in the Legislature it was clear that the government would yield to the call led by new ‘kid’ parliamentarian Donaldson Romeo, to allow more time to the people of Montserrat to familiarize themselves with the changes, additions, and nuances of the new draft Constitution. Independent media and voices particularly from the Diaspora had joined in the call for more study and getting to know the issues that made up the draft Constitution which provided little while his leader supported the government’s arguments and their position why there was more than enough time for the populace to have discussed and comment on the draft Constitution.

Just prior to the Resolution debate the Reuben Meade government named a Constitution Implementation and Advice Committee (CIAC) which only this week begun a campaign to educate the general public about the contents of the proposed draft Constitution Order for Montserrat. The first such meeting was held last night where reports suggest that speakers and in particular the Attorney General were accused of being unable to speak in the interest of Montserrat.

According to Alric “Jim” Taylor, Chairman of the CIAC every effort will be made to connect with the public through various forums and media.

But MP Donaldson Romeo is far from pleased at the efforts of the government where the announcement said that the CIAC, of which he was appointed a member, would initiate a campaign to “educate” the general public… Romeo told The Montserrat Reporter that it is clear the government has no intention to consult with the people on the draft Constitution, which had been discussed behind closed doors and almost in secret, for at least the last three years.

After the Resolution passage was halted, the new parliamentarian, who is constantly derided by CM Meade in the Legislature and elsewhere because he seeks to get expert opinions where necessary, had said that he would wait to see what action the Government took to discuss and consult with the public on issues regarding the latest draft of the Constitution which they had expected to pass through the Legislative Council.

According to a GIU release which said, “Following the decision in the Legislative Council in June to give an additional three months for public debate and discussion, the committee (CIAC) was asked to lead the education campaign on the new draft document.”

The release said further that in July, ZJB Radio Montserrat in collaboration with the Government Information Unit (GIU) began airing a series of infomercials called “Your Constitution Minute”. These spots have now been converted to YouTube videos with the text and information on how persons can share their views on the new laws. The videos are available at www.themontserratreporter.com and on the Government of Montserrat website at, www.gov.ms as well as on the Spirit of Montserrat fan page on Facebook.

Several requests for printed copies of the draft Constitution have so far been ignored, while Chief Minister Meade maintains that the draft is available via the internet on several government related web sites. The CM says that he thinks it would be wasted money to have them printed as he is of the opinion, “probably overcome by my belief in the use of the internet,” that very few people would actually read the document. Still, persons are still encouraged to download a copy of the draft Constitution Order from the internet. Copies have also been made available at local Health Centres, churches and the public library. A personal copy can be requested at the Office of the Chief Minister or the Deputy Governor’s office.

At the press conference the CM had also said that in an effort to “take the politics out of the matter” he was engaging the Speaker and the Clerk of Council to oversee the publicity of the draft.

Mr. Taylor along with representatives from the Attorney General’s office, including Parliamentary counsel Ms. Barbara Vargas will be part of a panel, which will lead weekly town hall meetings. The first town hall session was scheduled to be held last night, Thursday, in Salem at the Shiloh Pentecostal Church at 7:15pm. Other meetings are scheduled to be held in St. Peters, Brades and Look Out communities every Thursday in August.

All of the meetings will be recorded for replay on radio and the local access channel on Cable TV.

The debate on the new constitution is expected to resume in late September when government hopes to pass the Resolution which sends the draft on the HMG for enactment.

Meanwhile Resident Tutor at the University of the West Indies Open Campus, Gracelyn Cassell has called for positive debate on the new draft Constitution Order for Montserrat.

She notes that as members of a free and democratic society Montserratians need to exercise the rights to which they are entitled, and as such should make an effort to read the document and make meaningful contributions and suggestions.