Categorized | Editorial

Consultation and information are critical for good governance

Consultation and information are critical for good governance

On serious problem that developed from onset of volcanic activity is the total breakdown and loss of ‘civil society’ and the organisations that lead with dependence on the media to front. It has been a most important issue but one that has been almost completely ignored deliberately and also out of ignorance.

It is a matter for government under the leadership of the Governor’s office (Foreign Commonwealth Office, (FCO) and in the British system funded through DFID. This receives very high attention from the UK Government, since according to Priti Patel it is the backbone of the DFID theme to reduce poverty and aid development. Responding to questions on how the civil organisations are functioning and funded, in march this year, she said: “I take the view that we live and breathe the sustainable development goals… At  every  level,  our  focus is  poverty reduction and  delivering  the  global  goals.

The DFID PS Mark Lowcock who resigned recently also had much to say on the issue: Here he notes that there is also general funding regarding ‘civil societies’. “…Across the whole of Government funding of civil society, not just in the development sphere but more generally,…”

Here in Montserrat the question has been asked by, through this medium whether there is any concern at the lack of functioning civil societies organisations to include the near non-existence of say the Chamber of Commerce. The fact that the media which is the thread and as we say the front or the link for civil society, has been ignored into poverty and to an unfortunate few, irrelevance, treated often as they do not exist, is shameful.

This all comes under the general heading of Good Governance. It is critical that it exists. It is why for example efforts are made to encourage the government opposition to raise its ‘game’. At a recent CPA conference, the CPA Chairperson emphasised that, “if the Opposition plays a constructive and responsible role in the democratic process then the accountability of the government can be ensured.” That is why they get special funding and that is why the media public and private must also be well funded.

It is why astute politicians would tell their colleagues, ‘the media can ‘make’ or ‘break’ you’ encouraging them to stay close thereto.

But there is another issue with regards to the whole issue of good governance. This is where it is imperative that when the administration (government) is introducing policy and legislation, economic and otherwise, consultation is a must. So much that in order to benefit from funding for some projects from donor agencies, they must be satisfied that the matter has been discussed through consultation with the public and stakeholders.

The PDM captured this as one of their keys to delivering good governance in their Manifesto recognizing that it was lacking. “Ensure that new legislation, regulations and policies undergo a process of public consultation and transparency, so that the voice of the everyday person is heard.”

For some time, there has been much scarcity of consultation and discussion with the public, even ensuring that they are ‘fully’ informed. Just recently we reported on a workshop where discussions were being held on the formulation of a legal framework for child safeguarding and juvenile justice. Great! But the participants were the involved government agencies and Community Services workers. Where was the rest of society to inform the process and be educated as to their own role, or fate? However, they did say when the matters are completed they will ‘tell or talk’ with the public about it.

About the same time there was a workshop of which we were very familiarly uninformed, but seemed to have been one where only public servants were being taught in the formulation of policy.

We reserve further but say, there is an urgent need for those in authority to get serious about their obligation and responsibility to inform and enable all of civil society and the public which in turn will make more responsible citizens, public and private.

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On serious problem that developed from onset of volcanic activity is the total breakdown and loss of ‘civil society’ and the organisations that lead with dependence on the media to front. It has been a most important issue but one that has been almost completely ignored deliberately and also out of ignorance.

It is a matter for government under the leadership of the Governor’s office (Foreign Commonwealth Office, (FCO) and in the British system funded through DFID. This receives very high attention from the UK Government, since according to Priti Patel it is the backbone of the DFID theme to reduce poverty and aid development. Responding to questions on how the civil organisations are functioning and funded, in march this year, she said: “I take the view that we live and breathe the sustainable development goals… At  every  level,  our  focus is  poverty reduction and  delivering  the  global  goals.

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The DFID PS Mark Lowcock who resigned recently also had much to say on the issue: Here he notes that there is also general funding regarding ‘civil societies’. “…Across the whole of Government funding of civil society, not just in the development sphere but more generally,…”

Here in Montserrat the question has been asked by, through this medium whether there is any concern at the lack of functioning civil societies organisations to include the near non-existence of say the Chamber of Commerce. The fact that the media which is the thread and as we say the front or the link for civil society, has been ignored into poverty and to an unfortunate few, irrelevance, treated often as they do not exist, is shameful.

This all comes under the general heading of Good Governance. It is critical that it exists. It is why for example efforts are made to encourage the government opposition to raise its ‘game’. At a recent CPA conference, the CPA Chairperson emphasised that, “if the Opposition plays a constructive and responsible role in the democratic process then the accountability of the government can be ensured.” That is why they get special funding and that is why the media public and private must also be well funded.

It is why astute politicians would tell their colleagues, ‘the media can ‘make’ or ‘break’ you’ encouraging them to stay close thereto.

But there is another issue with regards to the whole issue of good governance. This is where it is imperative that when the administration (government) is introducing policy and legislation, economic and otherwise, consultation is a must. So much that in order to benefit from funding for some projects from donor agencies, they must be satisfied that the matter has been discussed through consultation with the public and stakeholders.

The PDM captured this as one of their keys to delivering good governance in their Manifesto recognizing that it was lacking. “Ensure that new legislation, regulations and policies undergo a process of public consultation and transparency, so that the voice of the everyday person is heard.”

For some time, there has been much scarcity of consultation and discussion with the public, even ensuring that they are ‘fully’ informed. Just recently we reported on a workshop where discussions were being held on the formulation of a legal framework for child safeguarding and juvenile justice. Great! But the participants were the involved government agencies and Community Services workers. Where was the rest of society to inform the process and be educated as to their own role, or fate? However, they did say when the matters are completed they will ‘tell or talk’ with the public about it.

About the same time there was a workshop of which we were very familiarly uninformed, but seemed to have been one where only public servants were being taught in the formulation of policy.

We reserve further but say, there is an urgent need for those in authority to get serious about their obligation and responsibility to inform and enable all of civil society and the public which in turn will make more responsible citizens, public and private.