Categorized | Letters, News

Donaldson Romeo writes to the Premier (Ag.) about tobacco

July 31, 2012

RE:         Cigarette smoking/tobacco kills over 15,000 daily

Hon Easton Taylor,

Since writing my two previous letters of appeal to you and our government to retract its decision to bring a tobacco factory to Montserrat, I have taken the time to research and discuss the matter further.  As a result, my conviction, like that of many Montserratians has grown stronger that the decision is a bad one and needs to be reversed as soon as possible.  Apart from the need for due diligence and an environmental impact assessment, the most overwhelming discovery is the huge number of people killed by tobacco smoking each year and the way young children are targeted to get them smoking and hooked at an early age.

To see just how deadly cigarettes are, we can see how the US Environmental Protection Agency claims that cigarettes contribute to 20%  of all US deaths: “Cigarettes kill more Americans than alcohol, car accidents, suicide, AIDS, homicide, and ILLEGAL DRUGS combined.No wonder money gained from the manufacture and sale of cigarettes by far deserves the name “blood money.”  The US Centers for Disease Control is more specific: Each year, an estimated 443,000 people die prematurely from smoking or exposure to second- hand smoke, and another 8.6 million live with a serious illness caused by smoking.”

Our own The Montserrat Reporter comments on a global basis, in its July 20th Editorial:

Fifteen jobs to aid in causing the deaths of 15,000 people daily, three times the population of Montserrat, and no recognized revenue to Montserrat, deviating from upholding Conventions the island has signed on to and uphold . . .

Are you aware of the UK government’s commitment to eradicating tobacco harms and creating a smoke-free future, so that we can support people to live healthier and longer lives as part of a plan to maintain England’s position as a world leader in tobacco control?  Our good name is at stake and is worth more than 30 pieces of silver and 15 jobs.  So, will the GoM act as partners by supporting the UK’s tobacco control strategy or will we be a loose gateway for cigarette and tobacco products into England and other EU territories.

If undermining  the UK government’s anti-smoking stand, or contributing to the death of over 15,000 people a day do not move you to review your position, you may wish to consider a quotation from Habakkuk 2:12, drawn to my attention by a constituent.  It says: “Woe to him who builds a city with bloodshed”.

Surely, there are many alternatives that we can pursue in partnership with HMG to create revenue-generating employment such as the production of sand and cement- based products for export, geothermal development and related manufactures.  These are among the many possibilities that do not rely on blood money.

The decision to partner with a cigarette manufacturer is, without question, a major moral and public health error that must be corrected.  I consider this essentially moral issue a key test for all of our elected Members of parliament and people, as well as the relevant representatives of Her Majesty’s government, to reveal the genuineness (or not) of our concern for the welfare of Montserratians as well as our neighbour near and far.

None of us can hide behind the cloak of collective responsibility on this matter.  This matter demonstrates our commitment to God, to our people and not to our party or political alliances.  We are all “called for such a time” and purpose as this.  The entire Opposition, for its part, stands ready to support you and your colleagues in doing the right thing.

Yours faithfully,

Donaldson Romeo     
Opposition Leader, MLA

 Cc:   HE, Governor
Premier & Cabinet
Members, MLA
Members, MCC
Media

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

July 31, 2012

RE:         Cigarette smoking/tobacco kills over 15,000 daily

Hon Easton Taylor,

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Since writing my two previous letters of appeal to you and our government to retract its decision to bring a tobacco factory to Montserrat, I have taken the time to research and discuss the matter further.  As a result, my conviction, like that of many Montserratians has grown stronger that the decision is a bad one and needs to be reversed as soon as possible.  Apart from the need for due diligence and an environmental impact assessment, the most overwhelming discovery is the huge number of people killed by tobacco smoking each year and the way young children are targeted to get them smoking and hooked at an early age.

To see just how deadly cigarettes are, we can see how the US Environmental Protection Agency claims that cigarettes contribute to 20%  of all US deaths: “Cigarettes kill more Americans than alcohol, car accidents, suicide, AIDS, homicide, and ILLEGAL DRUGS combined.No wonder money gained from the manufacture and sale of cigarettes by far deserves the name “blood money.”  The US Centers for Disease Control is more specific: Each year, an estimated 443,000 people die prematurely from smoking or exposure to second- hand smoke, and another 8.6 million live with a serious illness caused by smoking.”

Our own The Montserrat Reporter comments on a global basis, in its July 20th Editorial:

Fifteen jobs to aid in causing the deaths of 15,000 people daily, three times the population of Montserrat, and no recognized revenue to Montserrat, deviating from upholding Conventions the island has signed on to and uphold . . .

Are you aware of the UK government’s commitment to eradicating tobacco harms and creating a smoke-free future, so that we can support people to live healthier and longer lives as part of a plan to maintain England’s position as a world leader in tobacco control?  Our good name is at stake and is worth more than 30 pieces of silver and 15 jobs.  So, will the GoM act as partners by supporting the UK’s tobacco control strategy or will we be a loose gateway for cigarette and tobacco products into England and other EU territories.

If undermining  the UK government’s anti-smoking stand, or contributing to the death of over 15,000 people a day do not move you to review your position, you may wish to consider a quotation from Habakkuk 2:12, drawn to my attention by a constituent.  It says: “Woe to him who builds a city with bloodshed”.

Surely, there are many alternatives that we can pursue in partnership with HMG to create revenue-generating employment such as the production of sand and cement- based products for export, geothermal development and related manufactures.  These are among the many possibilities that do not rely on blood money.

The decision to partner with a cigarette manufacturer is, without question, a major moral and public health error that must be corrected.  I consider this essentially moral issue a key test for all of our elected Members of parliament and people, as well as the relevant representatives of Her Majesty’s government, to reveal the genuineness (or not) of our concern for the welfare of Montserratians as well as our neighbour near and far.

None of us can hide behind the cloak of collective responsibility on this matter.  This matter demonstrates our commitment to God, to our people and not to our party or political alliances.  We are all “called for such a time” and purpose as this.  The entire Opposition, for its part, stands ready to support you and your colleagues in doing the right thing.

Yours faithfully,

Donaldson Romeo     
Opposition Leader, MLA

 Cc:   HE, Governor
Premier & Cabinet
Members, MLA
Members, MCC
Media