Categorized | Editorial

Consultation, yes, not mere publicity, but no misleading

June 18, 2010

This past week the Reuben Meade Government seems to be taking on board the fact that offering the concluded draft Constitution Order which has made its way back with the British ‘Constitution Negotiators’ to Britain and back again to Montserrat, is far from ready to be ‘passed’ by the Montserrat Legislature.

There has been this week quite some posturing on radio by public servants including the Hon. Attorney General all of whom seem bent on misrepresenting, protecting and defending the government for the state of the lack of consultation that has taken place to date.

It appears that must Montserrat young and newly politician Donaldson Romeo is winning the battle that we have been promoting, that no form of Constitution should be agreed to, which the public has not had a chance to learn and understand, and even be given a chance to say, they accept or reject.

It is possible that, and in fact it goes beyond that, as one of the public servant former politician accuses The Montserrat Reporter’s editor not wanting to see government achieve or push forward matters that have been hanging for a while. The discussions and planning of this ‘new’ Constitution document intended to replace the 1989 Constitution Order have been around since 2002. It came to a halt more or less two years ago when, a Committee chaired at one point by Claude Hogan and on which this Editor was a member, recommended that the document had gone as far is it could go.

There were some consultations prior to that, but since then none has taken place. The media (Peoples Television (PTV) and The Montserrat Reporter (TMR) in particular questioned, and was told soon after about issues which the British ‘negotiators’ said were matters to be brought to the public by the legislators. WE have repeatedly published that fact but nothing has been done until now, the government said the document was done and they would present it for the public’s information.

Dr. Lewis has accused the MCAP legislators of his government to have held up or prevent the progress of the Constitution. He wrote: “The MCAP team virtually stopped me from concluding the Constitution  agreement during my term as Chief Minister,”   accusing the Chief Minister also for indicating that, “he does not need the opposition to settle the matter.”

There is the accusation that the latest position is the result of a departure from the planned process over recent years. We know also that there has been much delay tactics while individual legislators got their personal desires met before the final draft could even be discussed with the British. Some of the persons seeking to push with the use of veiled and hypocritical words have doubted privately that there will ever be any Constitution for Montserrat, which is exactly where matters lay currently.

Several interested and prominent persons have lost interest having observed the reality that the new draft Constitution does not position Montserrat to achieve what the United Nations have mandated in its decolonisation policies. The British government began by changing the name from Colony to ‘Dependent Territories and then Overseas Dependent…, no different than they are willing to change the name of Chief Minister to Premier.

It seems now the negotiations over the Constitution has been a letdown for Montserrat, since our government is willing to say yes to an upgraded Constitution with elaborating, nice, new and descriptive words which fail to meet any of the United Nations suggestion for progression to self independence, or governance. None of these three mandates are promised in this new draft. 1. Emergence of a sovereign independent State; 2. Free Association with an independent State; and 3. Integration with an independent State.

The last eight years should have been spent seeking and demanding one of these. The very least would have been that the people would have been positioned to say, yeah or nay to something. At least offer some decent consultation and change the rushed date for passing this draft.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

June 18, 2010

This past week the Reuben Meade Government seems to be taking on board the fact that offering the concluded draft Constitution Order which has made its way back with the British ‘Constitution Negotiators’ to Britain and back again to Montserrat, is far from ready to be ‘passed’ by the Montserrat Legislature.

There has been this week quite some posturing on radio by public servants including the Hon. Attorney General all of whom seem bent on misrepresenting, protecting and defending the government for the state of the lack of consultation that has taken place to date.

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It appears that must Montserrat young and newly politician Donaldson Romeo is winning the battle that we have been promoting, that no form of Constitution should be agreed to, which the public has not had a chance to learn and understand, and even be given a chance to say, they accept or reject.

It is possible that, and in fact it goes beyond that, as one of the public servant former politician accuses The Montserrat Reporter’s editor not wanting to see government achieve or push forward matters that have been hanging for a while. The discussions and planning of this ‘new’ Constitution document intended to replace the 1989 Constitution Order have been around since 2002. It came to a halt more or less two years ago when, a Committee chaired at one point by Claude Hogan and on which this Editor was a member, recommended that the document had gone as far is it could go.

There were some consultations prior to that, but since then none has taken place. The media (Peoples Television (PTV) and The Montserrat Reporter (TMR) in particular questioned, and was told soon after about issues which the British ‘negotiators’ said were matters to be brought to the public by the legislators. WE have repeatedly published that fact but nothing has been done until now, the government said the document was done and they would present it for the public’s information.

Dr. Lewis has accused the MCAP legislators of his government to have held up or prevent the progress of the Constitution. He wrote: “The MCAP team virtually stopped me from concluding the Constitution  agreement during my term as Chief Minister,”   accusing the Chief Minister also for indicating that, “he does not need the opposition to settle the matter.”

There is the accusation that the latest position is the result of a departure from the planned process over recent years. We know also that there has been much delay tactics while individual legislators got their personal desires met before the final draft could even be discussed with the British. Some of the persons seeking to push with the use of veiled and hypocritical words have doubted privately that there will ever be any Constitution for Montserrat, which is exactly where matters lay currently.

Several interested and prominent persons have lost interest having observed the reality that the new draft Constitution does not position Montserrat to achieve what the United Nations have mandated in its decolonisation policies. The British government began by changing the name from Colony to ‘Dependent Territories and then Overseas Dependent…, no different than they are willing to change the name of Chief Minister to Premier.

It seems now the negotiations over the Constitution has been a letdown for Montserrat, since our government is willing to say yes to an upgraded Constitution with elaborating, nice, new and descriptive words which fail to meet any of the United Nations suggestion for progression to self independence, or governance. None of these three mandates are promised in this new draft. 1. Emergence of a sovereign independent State; 2. Free Association with an independent State; and 3. Integration with an independent State.

The last eight years should have been spent seeking and demanding one of these. The very least would have been that the people would have been positioned to say, yeah or nay to something. At least offer some decent consultation and change the rushed date for passing this draft.