Categorized | Features, General

De Ole Dawg – Part 4: Contribution

ATTN, EDITOR TMR: What about “good governance” reforms?

BRADES, Montserrat, Oct 21, 2015 – In Montserrat’s Sustainable Development Plan, 2008 – 20, one of the five main goals is good governance.  The June 2012 FCO OT’s white paper points out that under UN Charter Article 73 obligations, “[t]he UK Government’s fundamental responsibility and objective is to ensure the security and good governance of the Territories and their peoples.” In her acceptance speech in August HE Governor Elizabeth Carriere mentioned good governance five times and partnership three times.lion and tyres

Governance reform in partnership with HMG is definitely on our agenda; it is “lion number one” we have to deal with to be able to fix our leaky tyre economy.

But, there are two big questions: (1) what is “good governance”? And, (2) why is it so important for Montserrat?

Now, “governance” is a fairly fuzzy word, but it can be roughly summed up as how the “big” decisions for an organisation or affecting the community as a whole are made; where, the government is always one of the key organisations in any society. Being “good” at governance simply means that these processes and their results, on the whole, are for the long term benefit of the community, as they:

  • respect our God-given basic human rights and the rule of just law,
  • are just, wise, fair-minded, transparent and democratically accountable,
  • allow broad participation by stakeholders,
  • are effective and efficient,
  • do not devastate the natural environment, and
  • properly balance benefits, costs and risks,

Given that – after twenty years of volcano crisis – we have had seven governments, we have not been able to decide as to where a permanent port should go, even as we face issues about

transparency and accountability, corruption, mismanagement, child safeguarding and much more, Montserrat clearly does have good governance challenges. And so, our main development partner, HMG, has repeatedly stated on the record that governance reform is a priority if we are to move ahead on the “catalytic” projects that could help trigger economic growth and development.

Big-Q, no. 2 pops up: How, then, can we move towards the needed reforms?

Step one could be to take some time together as a community to consider where our current business as usual [BAU] track is heading, and to compare what a more sustainable and desirable alternative [ALT] could look like:

building strength
To construct such an ALT strategy, we should assess Montserrat’s strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats [SWOT factors], then ask yet another big question:

Big-Q, no. 4: how can we best build on our strengths, counter our threats, and compensate for weaknesses, moving us towards a more desirable future?

To tackle Big-Q no. 4, we will first have to forgive one another enough that we can come together as a community. For, there is more than enough blame for what has happened that everyone can get his or her “fair share.”07

Likewise, if we are forever fighting over who is going to be top dog, that tells HMG that we are simply not yet ready to be “safe hands” for a St Helena-like “catalytic” investment.

Also, there is a reason why business as usual is business as usual: it reflects the balance of power in the community. And, too often, the big boys and girls will lock out warning signs of danger ahead. (Some, will even “shoot at the messenger” who fails to tickle our ears with what the power brokers want us to hear. A thought: truth hurts, but truth in love is surgery that heals.)

That is one reason why the required stakeholder consultations on the way forward will have to be very carefully put together indeed. A critical mass of people who have a stake our society must feel that it is safe for them to come together and freely speak their minds and hearts, or the whole exercise will become a big lie game to make us feel good even as we all head over the cliff.

(In short, business as usual, rhetoric as usual, power games and tactics as usual are self-defeating.

So, clearly: if we are to progress to a better future for Montserrat, we all have to change.)

All of this surfaces another Big-Q, no. 5: sustainability.

While this is yet another fuzzy-buzzy word, it actually has a very useful meaning that was put forward by the Bruntland Commission in 1987. That is, sustainable development:
will better and more fairly meet our needs today and tomorrow; which requires that we carefully balance impacts of our development projects on the economy society and on culture, as well as on the natural environment.

So, as we set about reforming governance, we need to bring some balancing factors into the main focus:

  • Are we adequately addressing the health, education, livelihood and welfare needs of the poor, the vulnerable or the voiceless?
  • Are we hampering the ability of the economy to grow and develop in the long term?
  • Is the growth we are hoping to achieve inclusive, giving real hope to the poor, youth, women, the elderly, those on the fringes of society?
  • Are we undermining the resource-base our children will need to support their own livelihoods in days to come?
  • What are we doing to our families, communities and society as a whole, and to our cultural and historical heritage?
  • Perhaps hardest, while any economic activity cannot but impact on and be impacted by the natural environment, are we causing irreparable damage?

And always, Big-Q, no. 6: is there a better way?

Reforming and improving governance, clearly, is a long term challenge. But, if we are to get somewhere, we need to make a start. So, Big-Q, no. 7: if not now, then when – and why?

ENDS –

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ATTN, EDITOR TMR: What about “good governance” reforms?

BRADES, Montserrat, Oct 21, 2015 – In Montserrat’s Sustainable Development Plan, 2008 – 20, one of the five main goals is good governance.  The June 2012 FCO OT’s white paper points out that under UN Charter Article 73 obligations, “[t]he UK Government’s fundamental responsibility and objective is to ensure the security and good governance of the Territories and their peoples.” In her acceptance speech in August HE Governor Elizabeth Carriere mentioned good governance five times and partnership three times.lion and tyres

Governance reform in partnership with HMG is definitely on our agenda; it is “lion number one” we have to deal with to be able to fix our leaky tyre economy.

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But, there are two big questions: (1) what is “good governance”? And, (2) why is it so important for Montserrat?

Now, “governance” is a fairly fuzzy word, but it can be roughly summed up as how the “big” decisions for an organisation or affecting the community as a whole are made; where, the government is always one of the key organisations in any society. Being “good” at governance simply means that these processes and their results, on the whole, are for the long term benefit of the community, as they:

Given that – after twenty years of volcano crisis – we have had seven governments, we have not been able to decide as to where a permanent port should go, even as we face issues about

transparency and accountability, corruption, mismanagement, child safeguarding and much more, Montserrat clearly does have good governance challenges. And so, our main development partner, HMG, has repeatedly stated on the record that governance reform is a priority if we are to move ahead on the “catalytic” projects that could help trigger economic growth and development.

Big-Q, no. 2 pops up: How, then, can we move towards the needed reforms?

Step one could be to take some time together as a community to consider where our current business as usual [BAU] track is heading, and to compare what a more sustainable and desirable alternative [ALT] could look like:

building strength
To construct such an ALT strategy, we should assess Montserrat’s strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats [SWOT factors], then ask yet another big question:

Big-Q, no. 4: how can we best build on our strengths, counter our threats, and compensate for weaknesses, moving us towards a more desirable future?

To tackle Big-Q no. 4, we will first have to forgive one another enough that we can come together as a community. For, there is more than enough blame for what has happened that everyone can get his or her “fair share.”07

Likewise, if we are forever fighting over who is going to be top dog, that tells HMG that we are simply not yet ready to be “safe hands” for a St Helena-like “catalytic” investment.

Also, there is a reason why business as usual is business as usual: it reflects the balance of power in the community. And, too often, the big boys and girls will lock out warning signs of danger ahead. (Some, will even “shoot at the messenger” who fails to tickle our ears with what the power brokers want us to hear. A thought: truth hurts, but truth in love is surgery that heals.)

That is one reason why the required stakeholder consultations on the way forward will have to be very carefully put together indeed. A critical mass of people who have a stake our society must feel that it is safe for them to come together and freely speak their minds and hearts, or the whole exercise will become a big lie game to make us feel good even as we all head over the cliff.

(In short, business as usual, rhetoric as usual, power games and tactics as usual are self-defeating.

So, clearly: if we are to progress to a better future for Montserrat, we all have to change.)

All of this surfaces another Big-Q, no. 5: sustainability.

While this is yet another fuzzy-buzzy word, it actually has a very useful meaning that was put forward by the Bruntland Commission in 1987. That is, sustainable development:
will better and more fairly meet our needs today and tomorrow; which requires that we carefully balance impacts of our development projects on the economy society and on culture, as well as on the natural environment.

So, as we set about reforming governance, we need to bring some balancing factors into the main focus:

And always, Big-Q, no. 6: is there a better way?

Reforming and improving governance, clearly, is a long term challenge. But, if we are to get somewhere, we need to make a start. So, Big-Q, no. 7: if not now, then when – and why?

ENDS –