Categorized | Editorial

We cringe at what the FAC submissions must look like

October 19, 2018

It’s been difficult to get information from Montserrat, as to the kind of or even the text of the submissions made in response to the Inquiry from the Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC). One was sent to us and there came reaction and comments on it.

The committee said they wanted to “…consider the resilience of the OTs, how effectively the FCO manages its responsibilities towards them, and how it envisages their future.”

The Committee commented, “As our place in the world changes, we need to think about the effect on them and whether the structure of our relationships still work.”

We reviewed the request or the Inquiry as kind of ‘odd’ considering the 2012 White Paper and the many annual JMCs that took place since that. There were always a joint communique following these meetings. It was perceived that in each case their improvements and great understanding and that the relationships were improving all the time.

We were to understand that since 1997 when dialogue between the OTs and the UK became a regular occurrence that there have been regular reviews especially following the 1999 White Paper. Then we were told that one such review was due, and that only this time the OTs were being consulted.

It is known that since Brexit there have been grave concerns among the OTs on this side about its outcome and several meetings to learn what they (OTs) must expect.

We always thought the discussions fruitless and even unnecessary since without any prompting PM David Cameron had assured immediately after the Brexit vote that the OTs will always form a part or receive the necessary considerations.

This FAC request came very quickly after the uproar about the slowness and lack of response following hurricanes Irma and Maria, and of course to Montserrat still after 23 years have little to show by way of rebuilding into the future. Then came the ‘beneficial ownership’ problem and the UK forced position.

Listening to the debates and the discussions that took place in Montserrat were from our quarters disappointing and off target, making us very cringingly suspect as to what our submissions would look like, bearing in mind that we should have asked for more direct information as to even why this was required.

Except for Montserrat’s own complaints because of the peculiar circumstances from the volcanic activity which up to 2008 was really going nowhere in terms of the rebuild and necessary development, sustenance though it had and continues to receive, the matters we heard discussed showed more frivolity and ignorance than substance. That was expressed by one former very senior legislator.

We agreed that other than the Montserrat peculiar circumstance which could have been joined by others, the OTs should be going in response with one voice, noting the individual concerns.

Governor’s powers. These, as the current Governor pointed out, are no powers but rather, ‘responsibilities’ which can in fact be delegated. A good look and understanding, with historical background, would show that the Premier is the one with the power, and prior to now has been shown time and time again.

That power argument has been just an excuse or as we stated just a show of ignorance by those concerned with it.

From here we would have first sorted out what the OTs have to be. being classified or considered and dealt with under the Foreign and Commonwealth offices.

The FAC stated, “The Overseas Territories have a special place in our constitution. They are self-governing but part of the United Kingdom…” That is what when discussed agreed and understood is where the discussion should begin.

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October 19, 2018

It’s been difficult to get information from Montserrat, as to the kind of or even the text of the submissions made in response to the Inquiry from the Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC). One was sent to us and there came reaction and comments on it.

The committee said they wanted to “…consider the resilience of the OTs, how effectively the FCO manages its responsibilities towards them, and how it envisages their future.”

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The Committee commented, “As our place in the world changes, we need to think about the effect on them and whether the structure of our relationships still work.”

We reviewed the request or the Inquiry as kind of ‘odd’ considering the 2012 White Paper and the many annual JMCs that took place since that. There were always a joint communique following these meetings. It was perceived that in each case their improvements and great understanding and that the relationships were improving all the time.

We were to understand that since 1997 when dialogue between the OTs and the UK became a regular occurrence that there have been regular reviews especially following the 1999 White Paper. Then we were told that one such review was due, and that only this time the OTs were being consulted.

It is known that since Brexit there have been grave concerns among the OTs on this side about its outcome and several meetings to learn what they (OTs) must expect.

We always thought the discussions fruitless and even unnecessary since without any prompting PM David Cameron had assured immediately after the Brexit vote that the OTs will always form a part or receive the necessary considerations.

This FAC request came very quickly after the uproar about the slowness and lack of response following hurricanes Irma and Maria, and of course to Montserrat still after 23 years have little to show by way of rebuilding into the future. Then came the ‘beneficial ownership’ problem and the UK forced position.

Listening to the debates and the discussions that took place in Montserrat were from our quarters disappointing and off target, making us very cringingly suspect as to what our submissions would look like, bearing in mind that we should have asked for more direct information as to even why this was required.

Except for Montserrat’s own complaints because of the peculiar circumstances from the volcanic activity which up to 2008 was really going nowhere in terms of the rebuild and necessary development, sustenance though it had and continues to receive, the matters we heard discussed showed more frivolity and ignorance than substance. That was expressed by one former very senior legislator.

We agreed that other than the Montserrat peculiar circumstance which could have been joined by others, the OTs should be going in response with one voice, noting the individual concerns.

Governor’s powers. These, as the current Governor pointed out, are no powers but rather, ‘responsibilities’ which can in fact be delegated. A good look and understanding, with historical background, would show that the Premier is the one with the power, and prior to now has been shown time and time again.

That power argument has been just an excuse or as we stated just a show of ignorance by those concerned with it.

From here we would have first sorted out what the OTs have to be. being classified or considered and dealt with under the Foreign and Commonwealth offices.

The FAC stated, “The Overseas Territories have a special place in our constitution. They are self-governing but part of the United Kingdom…” That is what when discussed agreed and understood is where the discussion should begin.