Disastrous Submissions to the FAC Inquiry

For the past 10 days Montserrat and Montserratians lit up when an older British Lady’s submission became the highlight of discussions following the publication of the submissions written in to the UK Foreign Affairs Committee who sought considerations on “the resilience of the OTs, how effectively the FCO manages its responsibilities towards them, and how it envisages their future” with regards to The future of the UK Overseas Territories inquiry.

The Committee’s comment of their request came on the background’. “As our place in the world changes, we need to think about the effect on them and whether the structure of our relationships still works.”

We were concerned, listening to some of the discussions from the public consultations that there would be many extraneous matters returned to the Inquirers. It turned out that some 15 submissions were made from the Government, people from Montserrat, (Montserratians and organisations), lawyers also.

We were waiting to look at the submissions especially those from Montserrat and had no sooner downloaded a few, noting one from Shelley Harris, when there came a message of the first comment from very disgruntled Montserratians on the Harris submission. We have covered it fairly extensively in this issue as surprisingly, maybe not so much, at the reaction from some outspoken critics of the government and Montserrat generally.

As seen from the articles in this issue covering the Shelley matter, people were outraged at most of her 28-point submission, compounded by a submission from her husband who deceitfully tried to distance the airline company, if not himself from her submission; and then she submitted a further statement explaining her submission. That statement contrasted some of the things she said, but also denounced her comments because of the airline business operations and its darling treatment from the government.

She relegated and misrepresented The Montserrat Reporter (TMR) to a non-performing newspaper and ZJB Radio to being afraid to report the news, suggesting there is no free press, giving really, outrageous and disgusting comparisons to that state in Montserrat. How misinformed? We have two words for that beginning with the letter ‘d’!

We hope you file your Financials as required! We will check the truth that your tax write off in 2014 was close to $250,000.

What is the news that we do not cover? The efforts of the company you own/represent who uses every effort to stall the return of WINAIR to serve Montserrat? That FlyMontserrat which has invoked the ire of many travelers who complain time and again? That the boss seems to stop at nothing to keep the ferry service at bay from Montserrat and information that we receive that your major plan is to take over the access division and its services?

The discourse brought FlyMontserrat’s company and operations into sharp focus and although much has yet to be told of the benefits and the devious and damaging access activity in and out of our ports, coming from the Harris access to the powers that be, both here and in the UK and even in the industry on a whole for Montserrat.

That her unsubstantiated and even dishonest points were actually repeated as ‘evidence’ by Priti Patel displayed a kind of attitude that HMG (DFID and FCO) should be asked to clarify. We know that Shelley’s public pronouncements are not the first to have been submitted and that such have been considered and used against Montserrat in a manner we have been critical.

This behavioral attitude is something that should be in our response to FAC, explained in any oral evidence and set for discussion. Of course, live instances should be documented.

There must be documented evidence of how the Harris company has attempted, successfully at times to benefit as they have especially within the last nine years. The vein of the submission when looked at deeply will show the intent and the desire that drove her to be so open, although the suspicion is, she didn’t realise it would be in public domain.

As far as some of the other submissions, as suspected the question of the Constitution and the Governor’s ‘special’ responsibilities, still being referred to as powers, was the only topic surprisingly so, in at least one submission, but others. That matter is our opinion mute. We make the point that this may not be viewed as a general obsession, which was dealt with in the framing of the Constitution considering that the OTs relationship is such…

Of those we have looked at, admittedly not thoroughly yet, we will be highlighting those that suggested the whole concept that the OTs have been treated as ‘foreign’, the call for that to be immediately looked at and changes made, so that those other problems of the UK responsibilities will be more effectively carried out. And the question of the partnership be not generalised but set up uniquely as it should be in the case of Montserrat.

We have been questioning and saying this for over twenty years. Imagine, when DFID and FCO did not communicate, our sufferings, the setbacks in the efforts and pretense that existed in trying to rebuild Montserrat after Soufriere Hills showed its brilliance.

We believe that this is where any future relationship discussions should begin for people who are British citizens.

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For the past 10 days Montserrat and Montserratians lit up when an older British Lady’s submission became the highlight of discussions following the publication of the submissions written in to the UK Foreign Affairs Committee who sought considerations on “the resilience of the OTs, how effectively the FCO manages its responsibilities towards them, and how it envisages their future” with regards to The future of the UK Overseas Territories inquiry.

The Committee’s comment of their request came on the background’. “As our place in the world changes, we need to think about the effect on them and whether the structure of our relationships still works.”

We were concerned, listening to some of the discussions from the public consultations that there would be many extraneous matters returned to the Inquirers. It turned out that some 15 submissions were made from the Government, people from Montserrat, (Montserratians and organisations), lawyers also.

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We were waiting to look at the submissions especially those from Montserrat and had no sooner downloaded a few, noting one from Shelley Harris, when there came a message of the first comment from very disgruntled Montserratians on the Harris submission. We have covered it fairly extensively in this issue as surprisingly, maybe not so much, at the reaction from some outspoken critics of the government and Montserrat generally.

As seen from the articles in this issue covering the Shelley matter, people were outraged at most of her 28-point submission, compounded by a submission from her husband who deceitfully tried to distance the airline company, if not himself from her submission; and then she submitted a further statement explaining her submission. That statement contrasted some of the things she said, but also denounced her comments because of the airline business operations and its darling treatment from the government.

She relegated and misrepresented The Montserrat Reporter (TMR) to a non-performing newspaper and ZJB Radio to being afraid to report the news, suggesting there is no free press, giving really, outrageous and disgusting comparisons to that state in Montserrat. How misinformed? We have two words for that beginning with the letter ‘d’!

We hope you file your Financials as required! We will check the truth that your tax write off in 2014 was close to $250,000.

What is the news that we do not cover? The efforts of the company you own/represent who uses every effort to stall the return of WINAIR to serve Montserrat? That FlyMontserrat which has invoked the ire of many travelers who complain time and again? That the boss seems to stop at nothing to keep the ferry service at bay from Montserrat and information that we receive that your major plan is to take over the access division and its services?

The discourse brought FlyMontserrat’s company and operations into sharp focus and although much has yet to be told of the benefits and the devious and damaging access activity in and out of our ports, coming from the Harris access to the powers that be, both here and in the UK and even in the industry on a whole for Montserrat.

That her unsubstantiated and even dishonest points were actually repeated as ‘evidence’ by Priti Patel displayed a kind of attitude that HMG (DFID and FCO) should be asked to clarify. We know that Shelley’s public pronouncements are not the first to have been submitted and that such have been considered and used against Montserrat in a manner we have been critical.

This behavioral attitude is something that should be in our response to FAC, explained in any oral evidence and set for discussion. Of course, live instances should be documented.

There must be documented evidence of how the Harris company has attempted, successfully at times to benefit as they have especially within the last nine years. The vein of the submission when looked at deeply will show the intent and the desire that drove her to be so open, although the suspicion is, she didn’t realise it would be in public domain.

As far as some of the other submissions, as suspected the question of the Constitution and the Governor’s ‘special’ responsibilities, still being referred to as powers, was the only topic surprisingly so, in at least one submission, but others. That matter is our opinion mute. We make the point that this may not be viewed as a general obsession, which was dealt with in the framing of the Constitution considering that the OTs relationship is such…

Of those we have looked at, admittedly not thoroughly yet, we will be highlighting those that suggested the whole concept that the OTs have been treated as ‘foreign’, the call for that to be immediately looked at and changes made, so that those other problems of the UK responsibilities will be more effectively carried out. And the question of the partnership be not generalised but set up uniquely as it should be in the case of Montserrat.

We have been questioning and saying this for over twenty years. Imagine, when DFID and FCO did not communicate, our sufferings, the setbacks in the efforts and pretense that existed in trying to rebuild Montserrat after Soufriere Hills showed its brilliance.

We believe that this is where any future relationship discussions should begin for people who are British citizens.