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Constitution fight goes on

The fight to bring attention by Member of Parliament Donaldson Romeo to the UK Parliament despite UK’s Minister Henry Belingham’s glowing approval, that the new Montserrat Constitution Order is flawed, continues and may be gathering momentum, even as the UK parliament gets poised to put the final touches on the Constitution’s acceptance and approval.

Of the remaining 14 persons who contested the last general elections a year ago in Montserrat only Sylvia White Gabriel who has continually showed any interest in the still on-going discussions over the new Constitution. In addition to MP Romeo’s continued fight Sylvia had written to the Foreign Affairs Committee, House of Commons. Following are responses she has so far received.

Alison Marshall, Desk Officer for Montserrat in the UK replies in the same strain as MP Bellingham, but adds, “…The changes were all made at the request of the Government of Montserrat. However, the UK Constitutional Review team did not feel any of the changes proposed by the Montserrat side were of sufficient magnitude to warrant holding a further round of negotiations. Many were simply minor drafting amendments.

The final draft of the Constitution was circulated by the Government of Montserrat to members of the Legislative Council seven days before their meeting to consider the resolution proposing the new Constitution. They had seen earlier versions following the last round of negotiations in May.

I cannot comment on the procedure undertaken in the Legislative Council as it is for the Attorney General’s chambers to provide legal counsel to the Government of Montserrat on its procedures.
(See full response in letters)

Ms. White had in her correspondence submitted documents to support the claim.

She wrote: “There seems to be undue haste in getting this draft approved and as a consequence, it appears to me that proper and reasonable procedures and due diligence have been cast aside in the interest of expediency, along with possibly implicit or explicit threats of the use of UK levers – constitutional or extra-constitutional – (especially relating to development and budgetary aid) to influence government’s actions at the expense of our human and political rights.  I think this is wrong and irresponsible and immoral behaviour by all parties concerned…”

She highlighted five points of Procedural Errors and 2 points of  Drafting Errors & Omissions. Other persons have since weighed in with other points of procedural errors, but these have not yet been directly communicated to HMG.

A response from Jennifer Kelly, Committee Assistant at the Foreign Affairs Committee suggests that the matter is being taken on board by that Committee and may well be subject to official enquiry. “The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, either by printing the written evidence alongside the oral evidence (usually within its report or at the end of its inquiry) or by making the evidence available through the Parliamentary Archives,” Kelly wrote in her letter of 26th October, 2010.

See Letters from: Allison Marshall and Jennifer Kelly:

These have resulted in support of  Romeo’s claim as he has conveyed to HMG and other related and interested organisations concerning what he refers to a “Faulty Montserrat Constitution Order, (now before British Parliament for comment.)

He has appealed to HMG (Her Majesty’s Government) directly and via the media. ”, I appeal for you to use your good offices to help the people of Montserrat as we endeavour to correct a faulty process, correct a seriously flawed product, and avert the implications of a dangerous precedent.

For this injustice must be exposed, corrected and prevented from being repeated.”

See letter from Romeo to Bellingham, copied to local government etc.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

The fight to bring attention by Member of Parliament Donaldson Romeo to the UK Parliament despite UK’s Minister Henry Belingham’s glowing approval, that the new Montserrat Constitution Order is flawed, continues and may be gathering momentum, even as the UK parliament gets poised to put the final touches on the Constitution’s acceptance and approval.

Of the remaining 14 persons who contested the last general elections a year ago in Montserrat only Sylvia White Gabriel who has continually showed any interest in the still on-going discussions over the new Constitution. In addition to MP Romeo’s continued fight Sylvia had written to the Foreign Affairs Committee, House of Commons. Following are responses she has so far received.

Alison Marshall, Desk Officer for Montserrat in the UK replies in the same strain as MP Bellingham, but adds, “…The changes were all made at the request of the Government of Montserrat. However, the UK Constitutional Review team did not feel any of the changes proposed by the Montserrat side were of sufficient magnitude to warrant holding a further round of negotiations. Many were simply minor drafting amendments.

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The final draft of the Constitution was circulated by the Government of Montserrat to members of the Legislative Council seven days before their meeting to consider the resolution proposing the new Constitution. They had seen earlier versions following the last round of negotiations in May.

I cannot comment on the procedure undertaken in the Legislative Council as it is for the Attorney General’s chambers to provide legal counsel to the Government of Montserrat on its procedures.
(See full response in letters)

Ms. White had in her correspondence submitted documents to support the claim.

She wrote: “There seems to be undue haste in getting this draft approved and as a consequence, it appears to me that proper and reasonable procedures and due diligence have been cast aside in the interest of expediency, along with possibly implicit or explicit threats of the use of UK levers – constitutional or extra-constitutional – (especially relating to development and budgetary aid) to influence government’s actions at the expense of our human and political rights.  I think this is wrong and irresponsible and immoral behaviour by all parties concerned…”

She highlighted five points of Procedural Errors and 2 points of  Drafting Errors & Omissions. Other persons have since weighed in with other points of procedural errors, but these have not yet been directly communicated to HMG.

A response from Jennifer Kelly, Committee Assistant at the Foreign Affairs Committee suggests that the matter is being taken on board by that Committee and may well be subject to official enquiry. “The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, either by printing the written evidence alongside the oral evidence (usually within its report or at the end of its inquiry) or by making the evidence available through the Parliamentary Archives,” Kelly wrote in her letter of 26th October, 2010.

See Letters from: Allison Marshall and Jennifer Kelly:

These have resulted in support of  Romeo’s claim as he has conveyed to HMG and other related and interested organisations concerning what he refers to a “Faulty Montserrat Constitution Order, (now before British Parliament for comment.)

He has appealed to HMG (Her Majesty’s Government) directly and via the media. ”, I appeal for you to use your good offices to help the people of Montserrat as we endeavour to correct a faulty process, correct a seriously flawed product, and avert the implications of a dangerous precedent.

For this injustice must be exposed, corrected and prevented from being repeated.”

See letter from Romeo to Bellingham, copied to local government etc.