Categorized | Features, General

De Ole Dawg – Part 6 2016: A framework for good governance

What about the DFID/FCO good governance “bargain”?

BRADES, Montserrat, Feb 1, 2016 – In the July 2012 FCO White Paper on OT’s, HMG firmly set forth the principles on which the UK’s partnership with Montserrat and other Overseas Territories stands:

“The UK Government’s fundamental responsibility and objective is to ensure the security and good governance of the Territories and their peoples. This responsibility flows from international law including the Charter of the United Nations. It also flows from our shared history and political commitment to the wellbeing of all British nationals. This requires us, among other things, to promote the political, economic, social and educational advancement of the people of the Territories, to ensure their just treatment and their protection against abuses, and to develop self-government and free political institutions in the Territories. The reasonable assistance needs of the Territories are a first call on the UK’s international development budget.” [p.13, cf. UN Charter, Article 73] . . . .

“For those Territories that need support, DFID will continue to provide assistance with the aim of helping those Territories achieve sustainable, inclusive growth and financial independence from the UK. DFID works in partnership with those Territories that need support to provide assistance with the aim of helping them achieve sustainable, inclusive growth and reducing their financial dependence on the UK wherever this is possible.” [p.17]

The first commitments under the UN Charter and other international law are security and good governance. It is from this priority on security and good governance that HMG sees itself as needing to promote “the political, economic, social and educational advancement of the people of the Territories.” Also, “to ensure their just treatment and their protection against abuses.” Third, to ensure development of “self-government and free political institutions.

As an FCO Officer, HE Governor Carriere therefore has good governance as her “job one.” No wonder she refers to it so often.

In May 2012, DFID also laid out its principles of development partnership, in its report on its work with OT’s:

Department for dfid

DFID gives us a list of three Territories on regular budgetary assistance. Pitcairn has only about fifty residents and has little hope for major economic growth. St Helena, with the help of consultants, made a good case and HMG invested some £ 250 millions in an airport project, to kick-start its development. DFID holds this investment out as a yardstick on “strategic investments” that they are prepared to make in “the aided Territories.”

Montserrat is the only other Territory on that list of three.

DFID then goes on to say “[t]his is part of a bargain.” If an aided Territory is to receive such investments, very understandably, DFID expects it “to undertake the necessary reforms to ensure an enabling environment for growth,” and also to “develop their financial management capacity.”

In one phrase, good governance.

So, if Montserrat is to move ahead on development partnership with HMG, as a parallel priority, we must – must! – significantly improve governance and our financial management capacity.

I therefore suggest that as a demonstration of our determination to do that, we need to move forward a Legislative Assembly resolution on Principles of Good Governance, backed by an agreement with HMG on development partnership. I suggest the following as “pillars” for such a Resolution, as, sometimes it is necessary to state the “obvious” so we can look in the mirror and see what we need to work on to be “fit for purpose”

TEN PILLARS OF SOUND, DEMOCRATIC SELF-GOVERNANCE

  1. constitutional, democratic self-government of a free people through elected representatives, based on core community values such as
  • mutual respect, cherishing and support as valued citizens/neighbours,
  • inclusiveness, participation and fairness (thus, empowerment of the marginalised),
  • integrity, justice and lawfulness, civility, soundness and wholesomeness,
  • accountability illuminated by transparency;
  1. associated compassion for and outreach to the disadvantaged and vulnerable (including providing adequate and accessible health, education and social welfare services);
  • sustainability – seeking to more fairly and more adequately meet the needs of our people today and tomorrow, necessitating sound insight into and good stewardship of our social-cultural, economic and natural surroundings;
  1. consistent policy level support for economic development and for widespread business enterprise as

(a) the basis for a private sector-/market- led, growth- oriented, tech-savvy, dynamic economy

that

(b) produces widespread, inclusive prosperity with high-quality jobs and/or sustainable livelihoods

and thus

(c) creates a tax base for adequately funding reasonable and effective but not wasteful or corrupt government

while

(d) being sensitive to environmental and broader sustainability concerns;

  1. transparency, consultation with and participation of stakeholders across the board in making pivotal policy decisions, so also a well-informed public, fairness, liberty, civility and equity;
  2. democratic accountability before the electorate and the people through regular, free and fair elections as well as through transparency and accountability policies and procedures;
  • financial, managerial and environmental stewardship and accountability that curbs corruption;
  • freedom of expression and a robustly free but responsible, vibrant press;
  1. legitimacy of government, rooted in God-given rights leading to the upholding of the civil peace of justice under the rule of sound law; and,
  2. a written Constitution based on a Bill of Rights and assented to by the people.

As we look in this mirror, it is obvious that we have some work to do, setting an agenda for good governance reforms. Starting right there in the Legislature and the Cabinet, but also in the Civil Service and the various government agencies, projects and programmes.  From that, it flows over into the community as a whole. As just one point, the 2010 Constitution Order has in it some fifty-eight (58) amendments that were never adequately discussed with the public before it was forced through as a resolution in a single day of parliamentary debate.

So, let us again ask: if not now, then when? If not here, then, where? If not us, then who?

ENDS –

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What about the DFID/FCO good governance “bargain”?

BRADES, Montserrat, Feb 1, 2016 – In the July 2012 FCO White Paper on OT’s, HMG firmly set forth the principles on which the UK’s partnership with Montserrat and other Overseas Territories stands:

“The UK Government’s fundamental responsibility and objective is to ensure the security and good governance of the Territories and their peoples. This responsibility flows from international law including the Charter of the United Nations. It also flows from our shared history and political commitment to the wellbeing of all British nationals. This requires us, among other things, to promote the political, economic, social and educational advancement of the people of the Territories, to ensure their just treatment and their protection against abuses, and to develop self-government and free political institutions in the Territories. The reasonable assistance needs of the Territories are a first call on the UK’s international development budget.” [p.13, cf. UN Charter, Article 73] . . . .

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“For those Territories that need support, DFID will continue to provide assistance with the aim of helping those Territories achieve sustainable, inclusive growth and financial independence from the UK. DFID works in partnership with those Territories that need support to provide assistance with the aim of helping them achieve sustainable, inclusive growth and reducing their financial dependence on the UK wherever this is possible.” [p.17]

The first commitments under the UN Charter and other international law are security and good governance. It is from this priority on security and good governance that HMG sees itself as needing to promote “the political, economic, social and educational advancement of the people of the Territories.” Also, “to ensure their just treatment and their protection against abuses.” Third, to ensure development of “self-government and free political institutions.

As an FCO Officer, HE Governor Carriere therefore has good governance as her “job one.” No wonder she refers to it so often.

In May 2012, DFID also laid out its principles of development partnership, in its report on its work with OT’s:

Department for dfid

DFID gives us a list of three Territories on regular budgetary assistance. Pitcairn has only about fifty residents and has little hope for major economic growth. St Helena, with the help of consultants, made a good case and HMG invested some £ 250 millions in an airport project, to kick-start its development. DFID holds this investment out as a yardstick on “strategic investments” that they are prepared to make in “the aided Territories.”

Montserrat is the only other Territory on that list of three.

DFID then goes on to say “[t]his is part of a bargain.” If an aided Territory is to receive such investments, very understandably, DFID expects it “to undertake the necessary reforms to ensure an enabling environment for growth,” and also to “develop their financial management capacity.”

In one phrase, good governance.

So, if Montserrat is to move ahead on development partnership with HMG, as a parallel priority, we must – must! – significantly improve governance and our financial management capacity.

I therefore suggest that as a demonstration of our determination to do that, we need to move forward a Legislative Assembly resolution on Principles of Good Governance, backed by an agreement with HMG on development partnership. I suggest the following as “pillars” for such a Resolution, as, sometimes it is necessary to state the “obvious” so we can look in the mirror and see what we need to work on to be “fit for purpose”

TEN PILLARS OF SOUND, DEMOCRATIC SELF-GOVERNANCE

  1. constitutional, democratic self-government of a free people through elected representatives, based on core community values such as
  1. associated compassion for and outreach to the disadvantaged and vulnerable (including providing adequate and accessible health, education and social welfare services);
  1. consistent policy level support for economic development and for widespread business enterprise as

(a) the basis for a private sector-/market- led, growth- oriented, tech-savvy, dynamic economy

that

(b) produces widespread, inclusive prosperity with high-quality jobs and/or sustainable livelihoods

and thus

(c) creates a tax base for adequately funding reasonable and effective but not wasteful or corrupt government

while

(d) being sensitive to environmental and broader sustainability concerns;

  1. transparency, consultation with and participation of stakeholders across the board in making pivotal policy decisions, so also a well-informed public, fairness, liberty, civility and equity;
  2. democratic accountability before the electorate and the people through regular, free and fair elections as well as through transparency and accountability policies and procedures;
  1. legitimacy of government, rooted in God-given rights leading to the upholding of the civil peace of justice under the rule of sound law; and,
  2. a written Constitution based on a Bill of Rights and assented to by the people.

As we look in this mirror, it is obvious that we have some work to do, setting an agenda for good governance reforms. Starting right there in the Legislature and the Cabinet, but also in the Civil Service and the various government agencies, projects and programmes.  From that, it flows over into the community as a whole. As just one point, the 2010 Constitution Order has in it some fifty-eight (58) amendments that were never adequately discussed with the public before it was forced through as a resolution in a single day of parliamentary debate.

So, let us again ask: if not now, then when? If not here, then, where? If not us, then who?

ENDS –