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Disappointing, after an encouraging call for ‘Action’

 of “some really very good decision-making – 5 years ago

The following ‘Open letter to the Chief Minister of Montserrat’ appeared in this newspaper, one week after Reuben T Meade, incumbent for over a year was elected to head the MCAP (Movement for Change and Prosperity) government.

It was written by one, who having held discussions on, made observations, suggestions and recommendations on the way forward for Montserrat and its people, found it necessary at the end of four and a half years to become involved in the formation of a party to ask The People to reject the Chief Minister (now Premier) along with his cohort from office.

It is well known that her brother successfully campaigned with the MCAP party, but, primarily as a result of his (now deceased) father’s encouragement and endorsement, with near 45 years’ experience, many of those as Chief Minister himself. He soon after confided his regret and his son left the party a good while after his death in disgust and dissatisfied with the actions and direction of the party. Most Montserratians and residents alike will recall that the new CM had been rejected for leadership and that in unreported untoward circumstances regained that leadership while the MCAP’s popular leader relinquished her position to him.

Open letter to the Chief Minister of Montserrat’ – (September 18, 2009)

A little less than a year ago, I had the rare pleasure of a brief, very brief, discussion with you, and with your permission I’d like to pick it up again for a little bit, if you don’t mind. It was begun in public, so I hope you will have no objection to my continuing it in that same space.

You might remember, I was sitting in the studio at Radio Montserrat, a guest on Rose’s (Willock) Saturday morning show, and you called in to respond to a member of points being made about the administration and development of, and the quality of life in, Montserrat, by me and others of Rose’s guests.

We were all, including you, of the very strong opinion that all was definitely not well with Montserrat. You and I, both, agreed, as I recall, that a number of matters of great import are in urgent need of redress. You said that the effective handling of these would require the making of some “tough decisions.” You were saying that the people in the Government would have to make these decisions, and I happen to believe that this has to be undertaken by both Government and People.

Well, Sir, you are now in the position in which you get to make these decisions both as “government” and as “people”, and while I do, of course write to congratulate you on your victory in the last elections, I also, muchmore importantly write to remind you that you did, during the discussions , declare publicly, that you would, indeed, make those “tough decisions”. Active democracy, and my commitment to my island, requires that I hold you to your word. My understanding of democracy suggests that I have the right to, and my management of my personal relationships requires that I do.

I do so despite the fact, too that I have been informed, and by a very close friend of mine, no less, that I have no right to demand good governance, accountability and the consistent exercise of good principles. I could not, she declared, take issue with any incompetence, poor administration, or lack of commitment, or exercise any right to doubt, question or interrogate the Government or people of Montserrat, “from outside.”

I was unsettled by this attitude, to put it mildly, no least because I am, unchangeably and forever, one of The People of Montserrat. Moreover, I remember having been relieved of my job at the Department of Tourism because I once dared to express displeasure at some of the workings (or lack thereof) of the Ministry of Education, Health, and Social Services. And that, at a time when I was a full-time resident of Montserrat!

I think I don’t need to tell you that those of us on the “outside” are willing and fully able to contribute meaningfully and consistently, and are all too aware of the blocks, hurdles, and stonewalls that are, almost invariably thrown up whenever we offer our services and support. It is not my imagination that the general attitude is to resist our advances, to oppose our positions to thwart our contributing, to assert that we do not have the right, to insist that we ask permission and then deny it when we do. I have experienced it, personally, too many times to count, and too recently to have forgotten.

I believe this is a dangerous standpoint. It is a shortsighted and insidious purview. It is deeply offensive, unjust, and, in this age of instant communications and real-time news, also altogether groundless. It smacks of parochialism and unawareness.

And it is only one of the many frustrations faced by Montserratians who are deeply committed to the development of our island, and who are also fully capable and highly competent.

So, C.M. Meade, how this pervasive an generally-accepted sentiment will jibe with your government’s intentions for the office of “the Diaspora: becomes then a quite intriguing question, to wit, will your administration be speaking with this “Diaspora” just for the sake of talking, to give the appearance of engagement while effectively denying actual involvement on the part of the said “Diaspora”, or will your administration be taking full advantage of the resources that these people command, engaging with purpose, shared vision, a division of competencies, and an equitable distrubtion of tasks:

Will this “Diaspora” be a full and recognized partner in the development of our island, or is this an office of appeasement and pacification? In other words, will this be a lime or some serious work; Acton or just ol’ talk:

But, I am jumping ahead…Let me come back to the matter of our radio exchange.

At the time, we did not exactly exhaust the entire list of maters that would require studied attention, and I could not do here either, but allow me, please, to share with you of the issues that I and many others, (although) I speak now only for myself) beliee should be at the very top of your administration’s agenda and should receive immediate and decisive attention. We can compare notes…see if it matches your list. I am making no prscriptions or even suggestions about how they might be best handled. I only note them, and in no particular order.

Migration – emi- and immi-gration, and ease of travel to and from Montserrat, or the lack thereof.

Violence – domestic, against women, in school; intimate partner and child abuse; community violence and statutory rape.

Education – order and safety in schools, socialization and social behavior, academic exploration, cultural investigation, and intellectual expression.

Health – medicine and medicines, doctors and nurses, diet and nutrition, stress relief, mental health, solid waste disposal. And tilapia.

Recreation – pyblic spaces, socializing activities, creative exchange, and cultural expression.

Communications, tele-communications.

Youth – mind-stretching activities, mentors and role models, and safety and security.

Suffrage – for those Montserratians who had to leave and those who chose to come.

Fisheries (Tilapia is not really fish, is it!!)

Women (All I want to say about this particular topic, at this point, is that the Government of Montserat needs some.)

I know that you don’t needme to tell you about the systemic corruption, kickbacks, illegal back-rubbing, and untoward hand-washing that, in the personal view of some, is by the Government of Great Britain and its Dependent Territories, considered valid and ample cause for re-colonialisation. And quite understandably so too.

In our radio exchange, we also agreed, I seem to remember, that the handling of these issues would require clarity, commitment, truthfulness, decisiveness, resolve, courage, honesty and integrity. I, however, do not necessarily agree that they require any “tough” decision-making. I believe that they require, quite simply, the making of good decisions, or perhaps the good making of deisions. There is no “tough” part to being good. Good is easy. It is not hard to do. To be good is to do the rightm fair, and just thing,

For the good of all Montserratians, including you, of course, C.M., I look forward to some really very good decision-making.

Respectfully,

Shirley Osborne.

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 of “some really very good decision-making – 5 years ago

The following ‘Open letter to the Chief Minister of Montserrat’ appeared in this newspaper, one week after Reuben T Meade, incumbent for over a year was elected to head the MCAP (Movement for Change and Prosperity) government.

It was written by one, who having held discussions on, made observations, suggestions and recommendations on the way forward for Montserrat and its people, found it necessary at the end of four and a half years to become involved in the formation of a party to ask The People to reject the Chief Minister (now Premier) along with his cohort from office.

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It is well known that her brother successfully campaigned with the MCAP party, but, primarily as a result of his (now deceased) father’s encouragement and endorsement, with near 45 years’ experience, many of those as Chief Minister himself. He soon after confided his regret and his son left the party a good while after his death in disgust and dissatisfied with the actions and direction of the party. Most Montserratians and residents alike will recall that the new CM had been rejected for leadership and that in unreported untoward circumstances regained that leadership while the MCAP’s popular leader relinquished her position to him.

Open letter to the Chief Minister of Montserrat’ – (September 18, 2009)

A little less than a year ago, I had the rare pleasure of a brief, very brief, discussion with you, and with your permission I’d like to pick it up again for a little bit, if you don’t mind. It was begun in public, so I hope you will have no objection to my continuing it in that same space.

You might remember, I was sitting in the studio at Radio Montserrat, a guest on Rose’s (Willock) Saturday morning show, and you called in to respond to a member of points being made about the administration and development of, and the quality of life in, Montserrat, by me and others of Rose’s guests.

We were all, including you, of the very strong opinion that all was definitely not well with Montserrat. You and I, both, agreed, as I recall, that a number of matters of great import are in urgent need of redress. You said that the effective handling of these would require the making of some “tough decisions.” You were saying that the people in the Government would have to make these decisions, and I happen to believe that this has to be undertaken by both Government and People.

Well, Sir, you are now in the position in which you get to make these decisions both as “government” and as “people”, and while I do, of course write to congratulate you on your victory in the last elections, I also, muchmore importantly write to remind you that you did, during the discussions , declare publicly, that you would, indeed, make those “tough decisions”. Active democracy, and my commitment to my island, requires that I hold you to your word. My understanding of democracy suggests that I have the right to, and my management of my personal relationships requires that I do.

I do so despite the fact, too that I have been informed, and by a very close friend of mine, no less, that I have no right to demand good governance, accountability and the consistent exercise of good principles. I could not, she declared, take issue with any incompetence, poor administration, or lack of commitment, or exercise any right to doubt, question or interrogate the Government or people of Montserrat, “from outside.”

I was unsettled by this attitude, to put it mildly, no least because I am, unchangeably and forever, one of The People of Montserrat. Moreover, I remember having been relieved of my job at the Department of Tourism because I once dared to express displeasure at some of the workings (or lack thereof) of the Ministry of Education, Health, and Social Services. And that, at a time when I was a full-time resident of Montserrat!

I think I don’t need to tell you that those of us on the “outside” are willing and fully able to contribute meaningfully and consistently, and are all too aware of the blocks, hurdles, and stonewalls that are, almost invariably thrown up whenever we offer our services and support. It is not my imagination that the general attitude is to resist our advances, to oppose our positions to thwart our contributing, to assert that we do not have the right, to insist that we ask permission and then deny it when we do. I have experienced it, personally, too many times to count, and too recently to have forgotten.

I believe this is a dangerous standpoint. It is a shortsighted and insidious purview. It is deeply offensive, unjust, and, in this age of instant communications and real-time news, also altogether groundless. It smacks of parochialism and unawareness.

And it is only one of the many frustrations faced by Montserratians who are deeply committed to the development of our island, and who are also fully capable and highly competent.

So, C.M. Meade, how this pervasive an generally-accepted sentiment will jibe with your government’s intentions for the office of “the Diaspora: becomes then a quite intriguing question, to wit, will your administration be speaking with this “Diaspora” just for the sake of talking, to give the appearance of engagement while effectively denying actual involvement on the part of the said “Diaspora”, or will your administration be taking full advantage of the resources that these people command, engaging with purpose, shared vision, a division of competencies, and an equitable distrubtion of tasks:

Will this “Diaspora” be a full and recognized partner in the development of our island, or is this an office of appeasement and pacification? In other words, will this be a lime or some serious work; Acton or just ol’ talk:

But, I am jumping ahead…Let me come back to the matter of our radio exchange.

At the time, we did not exactly exhaust the entire list of maters that would require studied attention, and I could not do here either, but allow me, please, to share with you of the issues that I and many others, (although) I speak now only for myself) beliee should be at the very top of your administration’s agenda and should receive immediate and decisive attention. We can compare notes…see if it matches your list. I am making no prscriptions or even suggestions about how they might be best handled. I only note them, and in no particular order.

Migration – emi- and immi-gration, and ease of travel to and from Montserrat, or the lack thereof.

Violence – domestic, against women, in school; intimate partner and child abuse; community violence and statutory rape.

Education – order and safety in schools, socialization and social behavior, academic exploration, cultural investigation, and intellectual expression.

Health – medicine and medicines, doctors and nurses, diet and nutrition, stress relief, mental health, solid waste disposal. And tilapia.

Recreation – pyblic spaces, socializing activities, creative exchange, and cultural expression.

Communications, tele-communications.

Youth – mind-stretching activities, mentors and role models, and safety and security.

Suffrage – for those Montserratians who had to leave and those who chose to come.

Fisheries (Tilapia is not really fish, is it!!)

Women (All I want to say about this particular topic, at this point, is that the Government of Montserat needs some.)

I know that you don’t needme to tell you about the systemic corruption, kickbacks, illegal back-rubbing, and untoward hand-washing that, in the personal view of some, is by the Government of Great Britain and its Dependent Territories, considered valid and ample cause for re-colonialisation. And quite understandably so too.

In our radio exchange, we also agreed, I seem to remember, that the handling of these issues would require clarity, commitment, truthfulness, decisiveness, resolve, courage, honesty and integrity. I, however, do not necessarily agree that they require any “tough” decision-making. I believe that they require, quite simply, the making of good decisions, or perhaps the good making of deisions. There is no “tough” part to being good. Good is easy. It is not hard to do. To be good is to do the rightm fair, and just thing,

For the good of all Montserratians, including you, of course, C.M., I look forward to some really very good decision-making.

Respectfully,

Shirley Osborne.