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Disregarded political cancer brings doom to our country

The economic and social survival of our society is being seriously undermined by what may be an unintentional abandonment of values.  Whether we accept it or not the deterioration has almost reached critical mass, and unless there is a radical change prospects for the future are dismal.  That there is a major problem for our country is starkly evidenced by the universal public silence in the face of several major irregularities including some at the highest levels. Unless there is a dramatic awakening and significant change at all levels of society, things will only get rapidly worse.

In   2009 although Reuben T Meade had arrogantly and willfully disregarded the required qualifications for nomination, not unchallenged, he was allowed to stand for election and become Chief Minister and later Premier of Montserrat. There was almost universal silence and acceptance of this blatant electoral outrage.  The island’s professionals were silent.  The island’s intellectual elite were silent. The island’s financial elite were silent.  Something is seriously wrong and there is a need for urgent change in the public attitude to the importance of integrity in the electoral process.

Later, the High Court abandoned the true interests of the people of Montserrat, when it  chose  not to adjudicate the challenge to the legality of the election of the man who occupied the office of Chief Minister. When the High Court elevated an obscure and irrelevant ruling by a single judge  above the need to  safeguard the integrity of the  electoral process, it dealt a body blow to the hopes of the otherwise helpless people of Montserrat for good governance.  By so doing the high Court emboldened Meade in his arrogant and questionable practices. Again, in the face of this obvious mockery of justice by the High Court, our professionals remained silent. Our intellectual and financial elites remained silent and so did the majority of the electorate. Without a radical change of attitudes and values the society is doomed.

The consequence of the dilution of the electoral process, failure of the High Court and failure of  the  society even to cry foul was to allow Reuben T Meade five years to politicize and bring the civil service in addition to taking the country backwards in many other ways . Again our professionals have remained silent; the intellectual and financial elites have remained silent as well as the majority of the electorate.  They all appear to be savoring and enjoying the results of Reuben Mead’s demolition  work. Unless there are  changes   in their values and attitudes,  the people of this country are headed for very, very hard  times.

At sometime before the end of his term, Premier Reuben Meade had the audacity to arrogantly announce that he had given away the scrap copper in the exclusion zone to some foreign group. Although it is common knowledge that scavenging scrap metal is a multimillion dollars business throughout the world, Reuben’s announcement drew only silence from our professionals, silence from the intellectual and financial elite and silence from the rest of the society. There is obviously a need for change in the public response to such irregular conduct by a leader of the government.

When Premier Reuben Meade wrote that he had been authorized by the Cabinet to give away the scrap copper he was lying. When he wrote that letter there was as yet no Cabinet authorization. The Premier lied about this sensitive matter which could easily have had criminal implications. Yet no one in the public inquired why did the Premier lie or have to lie?  There was absolute public silence.  Attitudes and values in Montserrat need to change fast.

By SR&O NO. 3 and 4 OF 2010 Reuben Meade moved for duty exemptions for the importation of  up to one hundred thousand  dollars worth of equipment for use in the salvaging of scrap metal on Montserrat.  It is reasonable to assume that the potential value of scrap metal for which one hundred thousand dollars’ worth of equipment could be brought in, would be several millions of  dollars. Yet when   the Premier says he gave away copper worth so much money for no compensatory benefit to the country, everyone is silent.  The professionals are silent, the intellectual elite are silent, the financial elite are silent and everybody else are  silent including the Christian community.  Something is seriously wrong with thinking in Montserrat, and without a radical change this island is headed for total social and economic disaster.

While the hardworking residents of Montserrat are paying duty through their noses on the imported necessities for life, Reuben through his government deprives the treasury of revenue on equipment imported to be used for defrauding the same people of valuable scrap metal. But this development is accepted without protest.  There is need for change in public response to such evils.

So when Reuben says that he gave the copper away and there is deafening silence even though nobody in Montserrat believes, nobody in Antigua believes, nobody in England believes, nobody in the entire world believes , not even Reuben T Meade himself believes, not even his colleagues and supporters, no one  believes that he gave the copper away for nothing. Yet our professionals are silent, our intellectuals are silent, those who are wealthy are silent, the Christians  and everybody else are silent.  There is an urgent need for change in our attitudes and values.

Because the dredging project in Port Plymouth was manipulated by Meade so that his personal friend improperly get the job, the government of Montserrat lost another court case. Again there is universal silence. A change is needed.

Reuben Meade by passed the tenders process to award a two million dollars contract to his own company for the Radio Montserrat building. Two million dollars to his own company yet the project included no provisions of equipment for Radio Montserrat.  Whether the by passing of  tenders and the failure to include in the project provision for  equipment for the station  indicate that the primary objective was putting money into Reuben’s  own pocket rather than improving Radio Montserrat is a fair question.  In the absence of tenders, was  there independent evaluation of the various elements of cost making up the two million dollars?  Again in the face of these unanswered questions there is the silence of death in the public. Without urgent change in attitudes, conditions in society will soon deteriorate beyond repair.

In one of his speeches during the election campaign  Reuben Meade made this statement, he said  “ they want to put me in jail”.  Was there significance to this statement?  Was he aware that there is a basis for action against him?   Was he afraid that an investigation into some of his dealings would reveal embarrassing criminal activity?  Was his conscience bothering him?  Again there is deathly silence among the public .   A change of attitudes and values is needed.

There must definitely be something very wrong in Montserrat when the same Reuben Meade whose record includes such a long list of unanswered questions and is now accepted as the loudest mouth in Montserratian politics. With a skillful combination of spin and obvious lies, he uses his position as leader of the opposition to abuse the Premier, abuse the Governor and HMG, and even to abuse individuals outside the legislature who do not have the same opportunity to reply or defend themselves. In this way he seeks to deceive and mislead the public. Yet there seems silence in apparent approval. Regardless of what HMG might do or how much money HMG and the EU might spend here, if radical change in the public response to  these kinds of outrage does not occur,  the problems of this island will remain and get worse.

Residents of Montserrat need to wake up, open their eyes and demand that Meade and his party colleagues provide answers to all the questions, because it must not be forgotten, that the tighter financial controls now imposed on our government by HMG came about because of the irregularities perpetrated before them.

Government Ministers are all aware of the shenanigans of Reuben Meade and his side kicks. Why has the government not instituted a comprehensive investigation?  Are the Premier and his Ministers also indifferent to the implications of the irregularities perpetrated by Reuben Meade and his colleagues?  That there has been no expression of concern from any but a small quarter in our country is an indication that the recovery and successful survival of a prosperous economy and society require a radical change in the values and attitudes of our population.

Let us hope the needed change comes sooner rather than later.

Austin A Bramble

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

The economic and social survival of our society is being seriously undermined by what may be an unintentional abandonment of values.  Whether we accept it or not the deterioration has almost reached critical mass, and unless there is a radical change prospects for the future are dismal.  That there is a major problem for our country is starkly evidenced by the universal public silence in the face of several major irregularities including some at the highest levels. Unless there is a dramatic awakening and significant change at all levels of society, things will only get rapidly worse.

In   2009 although Reuben T Meade had arrogantly and willfully disregarded the required qualifications for nomination, not unchallenged, he was allowed to stand for election and become Chief Minister and later Premier of Montserrat. There was almost universal silence and acceptance of this blatant electoral outrage.  The island’s professionals were silent.  The island’s intellectual elite were silent. The island’s financial elite were silent.  Something is seriously wrong and there is a need for urgent change in the public attitude to the importance of integrity in the electoral process.

Later, the High Court abandoned the true interests of the people of Montserrat, when it  chose  not to adjudicate the challenge to the legality of the election of the man who occupied the office of Chief Minister. When the High Court elevated an obscure and irrelevant ruling by a single judge  above the need to  safeguard the integrity of the  electoral process, it dealt a body blow to the hopes of the otherwise helpless people of Montserrat for good governance.  By so doing the high Court emboldened Meade in his arrogant and questionable practices. Again, in the face of this obvious mockery of justice by the High Court, our professionals remained silent. Our intellectual and financial elites remained silent and so did the majority of the electorate. Without a radical change of attitudes and values the society is doomed.

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The consequence of the dilution of the electoral process, failure of the High Court and failure of  the  society even to cry foul was to allow Reuben T Meade five years to politicize and bring the civil service in addition to taking the country backwards in many other ways . Again our professionals have remained silent; the intellectual and financial elites have remained silent as well as the majority of the electorate.  They all appear to be savoring and enjoying the results of Reuben Mead’s demolition  work. Unless there are  changes   in their values and attitudes,  the people of this country are headed for very, very hard  times.

At sometime before the end of his term, Premier Reuben Meade had the audacity to arrogantly announce that he had given away the scrap copper in the exclusion zone to some foreign group. Although it is common knowledge that scavenging scrap metal is a multimillion dollars business throughout the world, Reuben’s announcement drew only silence from our professionals, silence from the intellectual and financial elite and silence from the rest of the society. There is obviously a need for change in the public response to such irregular conduct by a leader of the government.

When Premier Reuben Meade wrote that he had been authorized by the Cabinet to give away the scrap copper he was lying. When he wrote that letter there was as yet no Cabinet authorization. The Premier lied about this sensitive matter which could easily have had criminal implications. Yet no one in the public inquired why did the Premier lie or have to lie?  There was absolute public silence.  Attitudes and values in Montserrat need to change fast.

By SR&O NO. 3 and 4 OF 2010 Reuben Meade moved for duty exemptions for the importation of  up to one hundred thousand  dollars worth of equipment for use in the salvaging of scrap metal on Montserrat.  It is reasonable to assume that the potential value of scrap metal for which one hundred thousand dollars’ worth of equipment could be brought in, would be several millions of  dollars. Yet when   the Premier says he gave away copper worth so much money for no compensatory benefit to the country, everyone is silent.  The professionals are silent, the intellectual elite are silent, the financial elite are silent and everybody else are  silent including the Christian community.  Something is seriously wrong with thinking in Montserrat, and without a radical change this island is headed for total social and economic disaster.

While the hardworking residents of Montserrat are paying duty through their noses on the imported necessities for life, Reuben through his government deprives the treasury of revenue on equipment imported to be used for defrauding the same people of valuable scrap metal. But this development is accepted without protest.  There is need for change in public response to such evils.

So when Reuben says that he gave the copper away and there is deafening silence even though nobody in Montserrat believes, nobody in Antigua believes, nobody in England believes, nobody in the entire world believes , not even Reuben T Meade himself believes, not even his colleagues and supporters, no one  believes that he gave the copper away for nothing. Yet our professionals are silent, our intellectuals are silent, those who are wealthy are silent, the Christians  and everybody else are silent.  There is an urgent need for change in our attitudes and values.

Because the dredging project in Port Plymouth was manipulated by Meade so that his personal friend improperly get the job, the government of Montserrat lost another court case. Again there is universal silence. A change is needed.

Reuben Meade by passed the tenders process to award a two million dollars contract to his own company for the Radio Montserrat building. Two million dollars to his own company yet the project included no provisions of equipment for Radio Montserrat.  Whether the by passing of  tenders and the failure to include in the project provision for  equipment for the station  indicate that the primary objective was putting money into Reuben’s  own pocket rather than improving Radio Montserrat is a fair question.  In the absence of tenders, was  there independent evaluation of the various elements of cost making up the two million dollars?  Again in the face of these unanswered questions there is the silence of death in the public. Without urgent change in attitudes, conditions in society will soon deteriorate beyond repair.

In one of his speeches during the election campaign  Reuben Meade made this statement, he said  “ they want to put me in jail”.  Was there significance to this statement?  Was he aware that there is a basis for action against him?   Was he afraid that an investigation into some of his dealings would reveal embarrassing criminal activity?  Was his conscience bothering him?  Again there is deathly silence among the public .   A change of attitudes and values is needed.

There must definitely be something very wrong in Montserrat when the same Reuben Meade whose record includes such a long list of unanswered questions and is now accepted as the loudest mouth in Montserratian politics. With a skillful combination of spin and obvious lies, he uses his position as leader of the opposition to abuse the Premier, abuse the Governor and HMG, and even to abuse individuals outside the legislature who do not have the same opportunity to reply or defend themselves. In this way he seeks to deceive and mislead the public. Yet there seems silence in apparent approval. Regardless of what HMG might do or how much money HMG and the EU might spend here, if radical change in the public response to  these kinds of outrage does not occur,  the problems of this island will remain and get worse.

Residents of Montserrat need to wake up, open their eyes and demand that Meade and his party colleagues provide answers to all the questions, because it must not be forgotten, that the tighter financial controls now imposed on our government by HMG came about because of the irregularities perpetrated before them.

Government Ministers are all aware of the shenanigans of Reuben Meade and his side kicks. Why has the government not instituted a comprehensive investigation?  Are the Premier and his Ministers also indifferent to the implications of the irregularities perpetrated by Reuben Meade and his colleagues?  That there has been no expression of concern from any but a small quarter in our country is an indication that the recovery and successful survival of a prosperous economy and society require a radical change in the values and attitudes of our population.

Let us hope the needed change comes sooner rather than later.

Austin A Bramble