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Governor Carriere should apologise to the Premier and Montserrat

Following her abrupt walk out and end of her press conference two weeks ago on October 6, 2017. when HE Governor Carriere claimed being harassed by questions on her specific actions regarding the declaration of a period of Public State of Emergency she claimed she had signed, she has been seeking to explain or clarify statements she made to the press.

The Governor is yet to effectively respond by being forthcoming about, “What was the thought behind…what invoked the signing of the ‘document’”

This past week in her effort to inform on the functioning of the National Disaster Preparedness and Response Advisory Committee NDPRAC and related Constitutional matters, in what was mere ramblings to the unsuspected she read selectively, at times leaving out mentioning the ‘Premier’, some of the parts of the Disaster Preparedness and Response Act (Cap 10.03) from which the acronym NDPRAC arises and out of which the National Advisory Committee (NAC) comes, which she sometimes (mistakenly perhaps) interchanges with the National Advisory Council (NAC) created under the Montserrat Constitution.

H.E. has declared that, “the National Advisory Council, described in the constitution and also seeing that its main remit concerns advising the governor of her constitutional responsibilities concerning security, I decided to revive the group when it met on 26th of September…”

Her apology would come when and if she explains her ignorance of either not knowing or not being familiar with her own functions vis a vis what she does in times of ‘serious’ emergencies for impending or following a disaster. She spent time explaining why she would have already signed ‘documents’ relative to the hurricanes that had passed.

From the DPRAct:

“Threatened disaster alerts

  1. (1) For the purposes of this Act, a threatened disaster alert exists when—

(a) the Governor declares by proclamation and on the advice of the Premier, after the Governor has consulted or been advised by the Director under section 24(2), that there is a substantial prospect that a disaster of a kind in the Schedule will strike or has struck the Island; or (Amended by Act 9 of 2011) 

(b) the Director broadcasts or otherwise publishes a formal announcement warning persons in Montserrat of the threat of the striking of a disaster of a kind in the Schedule or that a disaster has struck the Island:

Provided that, the Governor may by declaration on the same advice and after the same consultation as is provided in section 24(1)(a) declare that notwithstanding such an announcement Montserrat is not in a state of threatened disaster alert.

(2) The Director shall advise the Governor on request, and at any time he considers appropriate, when there is a substantial prospect that a disaster of a kind in the Schedule will strike the Island.”

Specific to the declaration, she at the beginning of that NDPRAC meeting, one of which she said she said had practically met every day during the storms, said how she had just signed/declared a ‘State’ Period of Emergency, as ‘your’ constitution empowered me to do the one you voted for!

Reportedly concurred by several persons, “It is your Constitution…” which in the opinion of many she made because she knew she was ‘upstaging’ the Premier. The feeling then following her ridicule of the Premier for the Statement he had made to the people following the passage of the hurricanes, was that she repeatedly ‘disrespected the Premier.”

She had reported in her response to the press question that since the Declaration was not published, “there was no state of emergency,”. What she is yet to admit that, it was already an ‘illegal’ document. That was because she had not followed the Constitution in so doing as follows:

National Advisory Council

45.—(1) There shall be a National Advisory Council for Montserrat (“the Council”), which shall consist of—

(a) the Governor, as Chairman;

(b) the Premier;

(c) one other Minister appointed in writing by the Governor, acting in accordance with the advice of the Premier;

(d) the Attorney-General;

(e) the Financial Secretary; and

(f) subject to section 61(6), the Leader of the Opposition.

(4) The purpose of the Council is to make recommendations to, or advise, the Governor on—

(a) the matters mentioned in section 39(1)(a), (b) and (d); and

(b) the exercise of the Governor’s functions and powers during a period of public emergency as defined in section 21(1);…

(5) The Governor, acting in his or her discretion, may summon a meeting of the Council whenever he or she considers it desirable to do so, and shall summon such a meeting whenever the Premier or the Cabinet so requests.

Of great import is the following:

Provisions for periods of public emergency

18.—(1) The Governor may, by proclamation published in the Gazette, declare that a period of public emergency exists.

(2) Without prejudice to the power of the Legislature to make laws under this Constitution, during a period of public emergency the Governor may make such regulations for Montserrat as appear to him or her to be necessary or expedient for securing the public safety, the defence of Montserrat or the maintenance of public order, or for maintaining supplies and services essential

to the life of the community.

The Governor however before her ill-advised boast had obviously been unaware of the following:

  1. (4) Before exercising any function under subsection (1) or (2) or under any emergency law enacted by the Legislature, the Governor shall consult the National Advisory Council or, if that is not practicable in the circumstances, the Premier; but if in the judgement of the Governor it is impracticable for him or her to consult the National Advisory Council or the Premier, the function shall be exercised by the Governor acting in his or her discretion.

We knew that the Period of Emergency or whatever document she had signed was only halted when the Premier (along with others at the meeting, some) reacting in consternation, later questioned her announced ‘authority’. We merely wanted to know, hence the question from the media, “…there was a plan to invoke a state of emergency at some point in time what even triggered this thought?” she was asked initially.

It was against that background, she seemingly was evading the direct question when I tried to be more direct. She had sought to explain her actions thus, really repeating: “…I declare that an emergency or disaster is approaching or I declare that there has been a disaster and so on. Those are documents that I’m required to sign in order that we can take the actions that we need to take. The emergency document was one of those documents.”

She further outlined: “The emergency document was one of those documents…” She was asked, “That particular document was in respect of what exactly…How was it invoked?”

“The steps that are taken if it is actually enacted involve looking at the situation and consulting; and actually, if you look at the Constitution you will see that part of that consultation should be with the NAC.”

She then continued to explain avoiding the reason she had signed the document which at the time, as she passingly admitted, she had no proper consultation: “That document was not enacted so there was no state of emergency…I want to be clear on that there was no emergency proclamation that was legally enacted.”

The Governor has made reference to some shortcomings which showed up during the direct misses from Irma and Maria, saying, “we have learned some lessons.”

It is our view that her attempts to educate the public about the functions of NDPRAC, etc do not suffice and do nothing to explain her behavior or attitude towards the Premier, all who endured the proceedings of September 21; and Montserrat.

See today’s Editorial

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The Montserrat Reporter - August 18, 2017

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Following her abrupt walk out and end of her press conference two weeks ago on October 6, 2017. when HE Governor Carriere claimed being harassed by questions on her specific actions regarding the declaration of a period of Public State of Emergency she claimed she had signed, she has been seeking to explain or clarify statements she made to the press.

The Governor is yet to effectively respond by being forthcoming about, “What was the thought behind…what invoked the signing of the ‘document’”

This past week in her effort to inform on the functioning of the National Disaster Preparedness and Response Advisory Committee NDPRAC and related Constitutional matters, in what was mere ramblings to the unsuspected she read selectively, at times leaving out mentioning the ‘Premier’, some of the parts of the Disaster Preparedness and Response Act (Cap 10.03) from which the acronym NDPRAC arises and out of which the National Advisory Committee (NAC) comes, which she sometimes (mistakenly perhaps) interchanges with the National Advisory Council (NAC) created under the Montserrat Constitution.

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H.E. has declared that, “the National Advisory Council, described in the constitution and also seeing that its main remit concerns advising the governor of her constitutional responsibilities concerning security, I decided to revive the group when it met on 26th of September…”

Her apology would come when and if she explains her ignorance of either not knowing or not being familiar with her own functions vis a vis what she does in times of ‘serious’ emergencies for impending or following a disaster. She spent time explaining why she would have already signed ‘documents’ relative to the hurricanes that had passed.

From the DPRAct:

“Threatened disaster alerts

  1. (1) For the purposes of this Act, a threatened disaster alert exists when—

(a) the Governor declares by proclamation and on the advice of the Premier, after the Governor has consulted or been advised by the Director under section 24(2), that there is a substantial prospect that a disaster of a kind in the Schedule will strike or has struck the Island; or (Amended by Act 9 of 2011) 

(b) the Director broadcasts or otherwise publishes a formal announcement warning persons in Montserrat of the threat of the striking of a disaster of a kind in the Schedule or that a disaster has struck the Island:

Provided that, the Governor may by declaration on the same advice and after the same consultation as is provided in section 24(1)(a) declare that notwithstanding such an announcement Montserrat is not in a state of threatened disaster alert.

(2) The Director shall advise the Governor on request, and at any time he considers appropriate, when there is a substantial prospect that a disaster of a kind in the Schedule will strike the Island.”

Specific to the declaration, she at the beginning of that NDPRAC meeting, one of which she said she said had practically met every day during the storms, said how she had just signed/declared a ‘State’ Period of Emergency, as ‘your’ constitution empowered me to do the one you voted for!

Reportedly concurred by several persons, “It is your Constitution…” which in the opinion of many she made because she knew she was ‘upstaging’ the Premier. The feeling then following her ridicule of the Premier for the Statement he had made to the people following the passage of the hurricanes, was that she repeatedly ‘disrespected the Premier.”

She had reported in her response to the press question that since the Declaration was not published, “there was no state of emergency,”. What she is yet to admit that, it was already an ‘illegal’ document. That was because she had not followed the Constitution in so doing as follows:

National Advisory Council

45.—(1) There shall be a National Advisory Council for Montserrat (“the Council”), which shall consist of—

(a) the Governor, as Chairman;

(b) the Premier;

(c) one other Minister appointed in writing by the Governor, acting in accordance with the advice of the Premier;

(d) the Attorney-General;

(e) the Financial Secretary; and

(f) subject to section 61(6), the Leader of the Opposition.

(4) The purpose of the Council is to make recommendations to, or advise, the Governor on—

(a) the matters mentioned in section 39(1)(a), (b) and (d); and

(b) the exercise of the Governor’s functions and powers during a period of public emergency as defined in section 21(1);…

(5) The Governor, acting in his or her discretion, may summon a meeting of the Council whenever he or she considers it desirable to do so, and shall summon such a meeting whenever the Premier or the Cabinet so requests.

Of great import is the following:

Provisions for periods of public emergency

18.—(1) The Governor may, by proclamation published in the Gazette, declare that a period of public emergency exists.

(2) Without prejudice to the power of the Legislature to make laws under this Constitution, during a period of public emergency the Governor may make such regulations for Montserrat as appear to him or her to be necessary or expedient for securing the public safety, the defence of Montserrat or the maintenance of public order, or for maintaining supplies and services essential

to the life of the community.

The Governor however before her ill-advised boast had obviously been unaware of the following:

  1. (4) Before exercising any function under subsection (1) or (2) or under any emergency law enacted by the Legislature, the Governor shall consult the National Advisory Council or, if that is not practicable in the circumstances, the Premier; but if in the judgement of the Governor it is impracticable for him or her to consult the National Advisory Council or the Premier, the function shall be exercised by the Governor acting in his or her discretion.

We knew that the Period of Emergency or whatever document she had signed was only halted when the Premier (along with others at the meeting, some) reacting in consternation, later questioned her announced ‘authority’. We merely wanted to know, hence the question from the media, “…there was a plan to invoke a state of emergency at some point in time what even triggered this thought?” she was asked initially.

It was against that background, she seemingly was evading the direct question when I tried to be more direct. She had sought to explain her actions thus, really repeating: “…I declare that an emergency or disaster is approaching or I declare that there has been a disaster and so on. Those are documents that I’m required to sign in order that we can take the actions that we need to take. The emergency document was one of those documents.”

She further outlined: “The emergency document was one of those documents…” She was asked, “That particular document was in respect of what exactly…How was it invoked?”

“The steps that are taken if it is actually enacted involve looking at the situation and consulting; and actually, if you look at the Constitution you will see that part of that consultation should be with the NAC.”

She then continued to explain avoiding the reason she had signed the document which at the time, as she passingly admitted, she had no proper consultation: “That document was not enacted so there was no state of emergency…I want to be clear on that there was no emergency proclamation that was legally enacted.”

The Governor has made reference to some shortcomings which showed up during the direct misses from Irma and Maria, saying, “we have learned some lessons.”

It is our view that her attempts to educate the public about the functions of NDPRAC, etc do not suffice and do nothing to explain her behavior or attitude towards the Premier, all who endured the proceedings of September 21; and Montserrat.

See today’s Editorial