Categorized | Editorial

Governor Davis may have a dual role and can be considered DFID head in Montserrat

His Excellency Governor Adrian Davis arrived in Montserrat on April 8, 2011 and was sworn in that same day. He has been away for one week attending meetings in London. But already his name is on just about everyone’s lips.

Much has is being said from every quarter about his pronouncements and activities since his first address at the Legislative Council sitting after his swearing ceremony at the Cultural Centre. At the Lookout town-hall meetings, one person after complimenting the Governor asked a direct question, in keeping with several doubts and questions that have generally been asked, since the announcements of the town hall meetings.

“You as governor coming meeting the public hosting a town hall meeting is very unprecedented in Montserrat. Is this a matter of your personal style or is this a new direction in which FCO is going?” a politically experienced and retired gentleman asked.  The Governor dutifully responded: “I always in my career have thought that communication is one of the most important part of your job. If you don’t tell people what you are doing and what you want to do, how do you expect them to understand what you are doing?” concluding, “It is a personal thing.”

The Governor as though he welcomed the question went on to express that no one told him to do this. He even explained that he learnt about the job, applied for it, interviewed and got the appointment. He said:  “I want to get feedback, I want to understand.”

He said responding to an opinion expressed to him earlier about the number of people who have turned out to the meeting.  “I am wondering how to involve the population that come here. I want to communicate with the people of Montserrat, I want to hear what you say,” candidly saying further, “I won’t necessarily agree with you, you won’t necessarily agree with me.”

The concerned gentleman went on to wonder whether it was, “his particular style is why you were elected Governor at this time,” seemingly harbouring the feeling that HMG had some hidden agenda.

What should be noticed is that the Governor’s office now houses Department For International Development (DFID) whose staff has over the years have been significantly reduced and moreso since the crisis.

But something else has happened. This is happening just when there were soundings and concerns, even in Whitehall that the Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) should be showing and involving themselves much more in the finances and the welfare of their Overseas Territories, and certainly Montserrat with its special circumstances. During the tenure of the Labour Government it became well known to us that DFID and FCO did not ‘speak to each other’.

This editor has been asking the question since 2001 when a team visited Montserrat to find out how the island was responding to the 1989 White Paper, which incidentally is about to be reviewed later this year. That team admitted that was the case between FCO and DFID but said at the time it was being worked on. Successive Governors have been asked the question and each one have give a more positive answer. In fact Governor Waterworth had said that it was one of his goals to become more involved in what happened regarding the finances that DFID supplied to Montserrat. Previous Governors had said they knew nothing about it.

Last year there was a change of government in the UK and it may well have been mere coincidence that the new Government managed to find an Adrian Davis with the kind of background he had since it suited their new policy of scrutinizing the funds that DFID advances to Montserrat, with the call, if we remember the famous Minister Mitchell, for transparency and accountability. These are words that Governor Davis repeats often. He represents DFID and FCO as Governor, maybe not formally, but certainly, if this is understood, the doubts and suspicions may well be better transformed into unified cooperation from the bottom up, as he calls for. That is ‘working together’. Not as the Government would like to have the people believe. Montserrat needs it more than ever.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

His Excellency Governor Adrian Davis arrived in Montserrat on April 8, 2011 and was sworn in that same day. He has been away for one week attending meetings in London. But already his name is on just about everyone’s lips.

Much has is being said from every quarter about his pronouncements and activities since his first address at the Legislative Council sitting after his swearing ceremony at the Cultural Centre. At the Lookout town-hall meetings, one person after complimenting the Governor asked a direct question, in keeping with several doubts and questions that have generally been asked, since the announcements of the town hall meetings.

“You as governor coming meeting the public hosting a town hall meeting is very unprecedented in Montserrat. Is this a matter of your personal style or is this a new direction in which FCO is going?” a politically experienced and retired gentleman asked.  The Governor dutifully responded: “I always in my career have thought that communication is one of the most important part of your job. If you don’t tell people what you are doing and what you want to do, how do you expect them to understand what you are doing?” concluding, “It is a personal thing.”

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The Governor as though he welcomed the question went on to express that no one told him to do this. He even explained that he learnt about the job, applied for it, interviewed and got the appointment. He said:  “I want to get feedback, I want to understand.”

He said responding to an opinion expressed to him earlier about the number of people who have turned out to the meeting.  “I am wondering how to involve the population that come here. I want to communicate with the people of Montserrat, I want to hear what you say,” candidly saying further, “I won’t necessarily agree with you, you won’t necessarily agree with me.”

The concerned gentleman went on to wonder whether it was, “his particular style is why you were elected Governor at this time,” seemingly harbouring the feeling that HMG had some hidden agenda.

What should be noticed is that the Governor’s office now houses Department For International Development (DFID) whose staff has over the years have been significantly reduced and moreso since the crisis.

But something else has happened. This is happening just when there were soundings and concerns, even in Whitehall that the Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) should be showing and involving themselves much more in the finances and the welfare of their Overseas Territories, and certainly Montserrat with its special circumstances. During the tenure of the Labour Government it became well known to us that DFID and FCO did not ‘speak to each other’.

This editor has been asking the question since 2001 when a team visited Montserrat to find out how the island was responding to the 1989 White Paper, which incidentally is about to be reviewed later this year. That team admitted that was the case between FCO and DFID but said at the time it was being worked on. Successive Governors have been asked the question and each one have give a more positive answer. In fact Governor Waterworth had said that it was one of his goals to become more involved in what happened regarding the finances that DFID supplied to Montserrat. Previous Governors had said they knew nothing about it.

Last year there was a change of government in the UK and it may well have been mere coincidence that the new Government managed to find an Adrian Davis with the kind of background he had since it suited their new policy of scrutinizing the funds that DFID advances to Montserrat, with the call, if we remember the famous Minister Mitchell, for transparency and accountability. These are words that Governor Davis repeats often. He represents DFID and FCO as Governor, maybe not formally, but certainly, if this is understood, the doubts and suspicions may well be better transformed into unified cooperation from the bottom up, as he calls for. That is ‘working together’. Not as the Government would like to have the people believe. Montserrat needs it more than ever.