Categorized | Editorial, Local, News

Just using the word ‘Democracy’ without understanding it is already chaotic

Editorial – November 7, 2014 :

The naming of the next Speaker of the Montserrat Legislative Assembly has brought to the fore and highlighted some issues that the Premier and his government must make a concertive effort to deal with. When it is possible for any new government not to first ensure that all Constitutional matters particularly with regards to their governance be dealt with, it becomes a serious matter of concern, especially when comments are being made about actions being taken with due regard to the practice of ‘democracy’.

It wasn’t just for so that we just two weeks ago headlined an editorial, “Good governance, democracy, our understanding and future”. When we published the following comment: ““…People more often than not will accept not only their conditions of misery and oppression as the normal state of affairs, but will also be convinced that it is just.” Yes, there are those among our politicians who absolutely believe this. And practice it, willing partner with power in promoting this belief. “The poor will always be with us” the Bible tells us – and justice will prevail in the afterlife…”

That the Speaker elect was a last resort after they dismissed those mentioned as well as those who did not get mention, not be least the Premier himself, who were far more able, ready and suitable, is in the words of a ‘prominent’ person, a travesty. His reasons were among others mentioned in the front page story. (See “PDM names LegAss Speaker”)

To claim that people are not fit to serve in the Legislative Assembly because they are in debt or their businesses are in debt, shows hypocritical, a lack of respect for the law and clearly, ignorance to the real meaning of democracy. One description of Democracy ends with these words:Democracy has come to imply universal suffrage, competition for office, freedom of speech and the press, and the rule of law.”

Most democracies today are representative, such as Montserrat, be it a British Overseas Territory or otherwise, where supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodic free elections.

We must believe that this Government knew they were not meeting the requirements of the 2010 Constitution, when they did not make it the first business of the Legislative Assembly after the election of the Speaker. Something must have happened and unconfirmed reports suggest they did not yet know who to elect as the Deputy Speaker. The Constitution allows for any member of the Assembly who is not in the Cabinet.

Really? The last Deputy Speaker in the MCAP government was Germaine Wade who gained respect for the very brief moment he sat in that chair, but it cost him his seat. That was the direct result of the tyrannical nature of the government he was a part of.

But this brings us to the point that one or more members of this new government sought to ensure that government carries out consultation with the people at all times. The problem is of course that it is not consultation so much of the times but merely providing information, to gather understanding. In fact it was on this back ground and the oppressiveness before it that gave them the winning slogan – “people first” But do they understand it or mean it. It means simply doing the right thing, but cannot be the right thing when you now explain, “yes, people first, but the inside people first.”

Someone said, ‘ah this is politics’. Is this really so? There is no difference in this behavior from the one that existed before it. This makes us ask the question, “Could Vernon “Auk” Jeffers been right when he spoke about jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire.

So shouldn’t we apply this quote also? “Sadly for the state of democracy, people rarely conceptualize or think beyond the narrow constraints of the inculcated cultural norms that have been instilled by the indoctrinating coercive forces of their culture.” So it seems this is where we are. We have been cultured into bad culture and we believe in it, making the future, the immediate future not very encouraging. Soon we will ask, which is worse? We hope we will not have to; the road will not be warming to the heart.

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Editorial – November 7, 2014 :

The naming of the next Speaker of the Montserrat Legislative Assembly has brought to the fore and highlighted some issues that the Premier and his government must make a concertive effort to deal with. When it is possible for any new government not to first ensure that all Constitutional matters particularly with regards to their governance be dealt with, it becomes a serious matter of concern, especially when comments are being made about actions being taken with due regard to the practice of ‘democracy’.

It wasn’t just for so that we just two weeks ago headlined an editorial, “Good governance, democracy, our understanding and future”. When we published the following comment: ““…People more often than not will accept not only their conditions of misery and oppression as the normal state of affairs, but will also be convinced that it is just.” Yes, there are those among our politicians who absolutely believe this. And practice it, willing partner with power in promoting this belief. “The poor will always be with us” the Bible tells us – and justice will prevail in the afterlife…”

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That the Speaker elect was a last resort after they dismissed those mentioned as well as those who did not get mention, not be least the Premier himself, who were far more able, ready and suitable, is in the words of a ‘prominent’ person, a travesty. His reasons were among others mentioned in the front page story. (See “PDM names LegAss Speaker”)

To claim that people are not fit to serve in the Legislative Assembly because they are in debt or their businesses are in debt, shows hypocritical, a lack of respect for the law and clearly, ignorance to the real meaning of democracy. One description of Democracy ends with these words:Democracy has come to imply universal suffrage, competition for office, freedom of speech and the press, and the rule of law.”

Most democracies today are representative, such as Montserrat, be it a British Overseas Territory or otherwise, where supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodic free elections.

We must believe that this Government knew they were not meeting the requirements of the 2010 Constitution, when they did not make it the first business of the Legislative Assembly after the election of the Speaker. Something must have happened and unconfirmed reports suggest they did not yet know who to elect as the Deputy Speaker. The Constitution allows for any member of the Assembly who is not in the Cabinet.

Really? The last Deputy Speaker in the MCAP government was Germaine Wade who gained respect for the very brief moment he sat in that chair, but it cost him his seat. That was the direct result of the tyrannical nature of the government he was a part of.

But this brings us to the point that one or more members of this new government sought to ensure that government carries out consultation with the people at all times. The problem is of course that it is not consultation so much of the times but merely providing information, to gather understanding. In fact it was on this back ground and the oppressiveness before it that gave them the winning slogan – “people first” But do they understand it or mean it. It means simply doing the right thing, but cannot be the right thing when you now explain, “yes, people first, but the inside people first.”

Someone said, ‘ah this is politics’. Is this really so? There is no difference in this behavior from the one that existed before it. This makes us ask the question, “Could Vernon “Auk” Jeffers been right when he spoke about jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire.

So shouldn’t we apply this quote also? “Sadly for the state of democracy, people rarely conceptualize or think beyond the narrow constraints of the inculcated cultural norms that have been instilled by the indoctrinating coercive forces of their culture.” So it seems this is where we are. We have been cultured into bad culture and we believe in it, making the future, the immediate future not very encouraging. Soon we will ask, which is worse? We hope we will not have to; the road will not be warming to the heart.