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Let failure go and be past, there is progress in togetherness

In 2009 immediately after the general elections, we wrote regarding a “service of reconciliation” that it should be unnecessary to have such a service, there should never have to be such. We said, “it should be a service of love and hope and a craving for God’s blessings to change our leaders from whatever ills and weaknesses that might inhibit them from performing to the best, what is required of them.

We said further, “This is especially so as we hear our candidates, elected and not elected, invoke God’s name and then continue the ways that most of Montserrat would consider unchristian…Indeed the island and its people, whoever, wherever they may be, should be able to look back, take a deep breath and honestly look at what the realities are and expect particularly our leaders, show they can practice as follows: Selflessness, Integrity, Justice, Respect, Kindness, Sincerity, Fairness, Honesty, Good Spiritedness, and the is by no means exhaustive.

The question is therefore, how do you mark the last five (5) years? Anyone who cannot in the face of God and man say they have performed well to everyone should really not have the nerve, except of course they are dead to humanity.

We had cautioned: “Our leaders must not abandon a single person in their constituency which is the whole of Montserrat and the Diaspora everyone spoke about. That is the difficult task.”

“It is a desire to change from hate and selfishness to do the right thing and love each and everyone else…it is the only state that gets us to bring integrity and good governance, prudent and sensible management to the affairs of people and country.”

But, it is unfortunate that today what the state is; it is either some people just will not or maybe cannot change. Yet, the good thing is, there are many who show by being ‘fed up’, there is hope.

Just after the call elections was established in 2009, Man from Baker Hill titled on June 26 one of his articles: MONTSERRAT, The Caribbean’s Political Nuisance. Written in his usual but in a more serious style, he showed his own annoyance at how Montserrat seemed to squander its aid particularly from Britain, and as a reaction to his knowledge of the reasons why the election was called.

He wrote as in a message from the rest of the Caribbean: “Each year Montserrat receives financial aid from the UK equivalent to $15,000.00 for every man, woman and child, good God. What is wrong with you? Ues, what is wrong with you?” You get $60 million airport; you get $60 million housing development, $40 million roads and drains in Little Bay, soon you will get $100 million seaport and youwill not owe one red cent to any body. Where are your political senses? Is all that matters are dollars and power? You behave as crabs in a barrel! And the only thing to do with crabs is to disperse them…”

And then he said after noting that it is said there is a political management problem : “Management? There are less than 5,000 people on Montserrat .” (currently: one of the failures of the government over the last five years). What is so difficult in managing that? Some streets in London and New York have more than 5,000 people living on it.” (today, Indeed one business compound has more than 3,000 people working in it)

“The members that made up the last Legislature had over 200 years combined political management experience. They all should take their pensions and go away. They have failed. They brought embarrassment to the island as no other Legislature. Montserrat is guilty of every category of political negligence; but then what could one expect when the island is led and fed by geriatrics. The young politicians feed on the breast of the old, breathing, sucking and eating their political gobbled-gook. No it shall be more of the same; an election will not change your level of management. You people are a nuisance and you should be dispersed from the Caribbean.” Is he still on tract.

I think not. But, lets end that there and take a brief look at where we are. The age average of political experience changed drastically after that election with the Premier being carrying by far more years than anyone else. He began that term with eighteen (18) consecutive years behind him, with his deputy Kirnon following with eight and Dr. Lewis also eight. Farrell, three; with new comers, Wade, David Osborne, James and Romeo.

 

MCAP, six seats formed the next government with only incomplete full member groupings of parties and nine independents who won three seats. You can see that the greater experience was in fact in that MCAP party and with no other party to compare with, one understands the way the electorate might have been thinking, although it wasn’t until the intervention of the most experienced John Osborne in favour and in favour of his son that MCAP got the fillip that catapulted them to the top.

What has MCAP done with all that history and being the envy of the rest of the Caribbean governments as described by Man from Baker Hill. While they struggled and in unenviable debt, Montserrat was guaranteed its well-being by motherland Britain. The MCAP team began to dream. After failing in every way with a grand Manifesto and Britain enjoying a coalition government gave a promise, better than any before, pointing another of their territories, St. Helena. Minister Allan Duncan said, he had come to Montserrat, ”To see the devastation and loss caused by the volcano and understand the economic and developmental challenges Montserrat faces.”

Allan Duncan in December 2011, he came to: “Promote the vision of the OTs as part of the British family, flourishing and vibrant, and less financially dependent.

“Set the parameters for future self-sufficiency: more efficient management of the public finances, combined with strategic investments aimed at stimulating growth, improving access and facilitating economic activity. Discuss progress on the Strategic Growth Plan and Economic Roadmap.”

Yes, by this time December 2011, after Secretary of State Andrew Mitchell in February and with the now infamous Charette behind us there was on the table a Strategic Growth Plan (SGP) and yet another Sustainable Development Plan (SDP).

“No more ‘unnecessary’ consultation…,” continuing with a, ‘but,’ “…we’ve got to look at what the economic justification…in terms of our contribution to anything that might happen…” Duncan said then.

He had stated that his government will put right the wrongs done to Montserrat since the Volcano, but always with the caution of economic justification and value for money.

“We have this duty care and we are going to exercise it properly and responsibly, but also raise an eye on value for money and results we are going to get from spending tax payers money at a very difficult economic time,” he said while initially pointing out that their overarching interest, “to make clear the absolute nature of our long term commitment to Montserrat.”

Our report stated how “He crammed a tour which took him mostly by helicopter, and on the ground to the site earmarked for geothermal exploration, as well as Little Bay and Carrs Bay to assess the proposed two options coming out of the September Charrette on the development of a new town and port.”

That was December 2011 and four months later (note he refers to Option A and B) he referred to our chosen option as “ambitious”. It was a hint we had not missed, but Premier in true fashion forged on to reach today, where he lost one dream the Carrs Bay port and with it his entire dream of Option B. (see earlier stories)

Two and a half years later? It was on this the Premier hoped to forge ahead obviously with disregard for the other needs of Montserrat taking over money projects regardless of the Ministry responsible.

Making all the decisions and even boasting that it is his job to do so, making them without consultation even with his Ministers who he gives the opportunity to approve them.

He restricts the people to hearing only his statements and giving the opportunity for questions during his visits to the radio station and his announcements and interviews to his government information agents. He invites the Montserrat Reporter on rare occasions but to every press conference which involves international agencies to include in particular HMG and EU etc. He has held less than half a dozen press conferences in his tenure and drops in at his ZJB studios with his statements where he is asked uninformed questions. He knows very well that none of those statements are really official…

It has been a somewhat unusual campaign with the one side keen to improve on what they call failures of the past and particularly be a government for all The People; and the other, the incumbents asking to be given a chance to “Fulfill the dream”.

When the Movement for Change And Prosperity (MCAP) was obliged to remove their 2009 Manifesto from their website after the new party Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) began highlighting and citing the Manifesto, that they had not kept or delivered on their promises.

That was easy as the not surprising leader Donaldson Romeo, opposition leader of the prorogued Legislative Assembly , had been pounding away throughout.

What surprises are the claims of mudslinging and characterisation of the activities by the opposing party to the incumbents; while fact checking almost every attempt and on information provided to support claims are proving to be against the MCAP.

There is so much strangeness to the tactics being used. While the PDM seems to be building on the momentum they have developed, MCAP leadership seems to be growing more disinterest although attempting to provide information way above anything they have done throughout the five years. Observers and analysts, “Much too late and the electorate feel they have been deceived.”

An election where the mood is for change and with all the complaints going against the incumbent party who is having difficulty to serve up on their short comings and failures; what is even more amazing, is how their new candidates are critical of the performance of their incumbent ministers. They challenge, the Minister of Education, Health, Sports; Minister of Agriculture, Housing, and the Environment; Minister of Public Works; and overall the Premier himself. Sitting with at least one of his newcomers, who in fact contested with MDP 2006, and MCAP in 2009, unsuccessfully both times, the Premier who may have observed the tactics attempted to correct.

 

 

 

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

In 2009 immediately after the general elections, we wrote regarding a “service of reconciliation” that it should be unnecessary to have such a service, there should never have to be such. We said, “it should be a service of love and hope and a craving for God’s blessings to change our leaders from whatever ills and weaknesses that might inhibit them from performing to the best, what is required of them.

We said further, “This is especially so as we hear our candidates, elected and not elected, invoke God’s name and then continue the ways that most of Montserrat would consider unchristian…Indeed the island and its people, whoever, wherever they may be, should be able to look back, take a deep breath and honestly look at what the realities are and expect particularly our leaders, show they can practice as follows: Selflessness, Integrity, Justice, Respect, Kindness, Sincerity, Fairness, Honesty, Good Spiritedness, and the is by no means exhaustive.

The question is therefore, how do you mark the last five (5) years? Anyone who cannot in the face of God and man say they have performed well to everyone should really not have the nerve, except of course they are dead to humanity.

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We had cautioned: “Our leaders must not abandon a single person in their constituency which is the whole of Montserrat and the Diaspora everyone spoke about. That is the difficult task.”

“It is a desire to change from hate and selfishness to do the right thing and love each and everyone else…it is the only state that gets us to bring integrity and good governance, prudent and sensible management to the affairs of people and country.”

But, it is unfortunate that today what the state is; it is either some people just will not or maybe cannot change. Yet, the good thing is, there are many who show by being ‘fed up’, there is hope.

Just after the call elections was established in 2009, Man from Baker Hill titled on June 26 one of his articles: MONTSERRAT, The Caribbean’s Political Nuisance. Written in his usual but in a more serious style, he showed his own annoyance at how Montserrat seemed to squander its aid particularly from Britain, and as a reaction to his knowledge of the reasons why the election was called.

He wrote as in a message from the rest of the Caribbean: “Each year Montserrat receives financial aid from the UK equivalent to $15,000.00 for every man, woman and child, good God. What is wrong with you? Ues, what is wrong with you?” You get $60 million airport; you get $60 million housing development, $40 million roads and drains in Little Bay, soon you will get $100 million seaport and youwill not owe one red cent to any body. Where are your political senses? Is all that matters are dollars and power? You behave as crabs in a barrel! And the only thing to do with crabs is to disperse them…”

And then he said after noting that it is said there is a political management problem : “Management? There are less than 5,000 people on Montserrat .” (currently: one of the failures of the government over the last five years). What is so difficult in managing that? Some streets in London and New York have more than 5,000 people living on it.” (today, Indeed one business compound has more than 3,000 people working in it)

“The members that made up the last Legislature had over 200 years combined political management experience. They all should take their pensions and go away. They have failed. They brought embarrassment to the island as no other Legislature. Montserrat is guilty of every category of political negligence; but then what could one expect when the island is led and fed by geriatrics. The young politicians feed on the breast of the old, breathing, sucking and eating their political gobbled-gook. No it shall be more of the same; an election will not change your level of management. You people are a nuisance and you should be dispersed from the Caribbean.” Is he still on tract.

I think not. But, lets end that there and take a brief look at where we are. The age average of political experience changed drastically after that election with the Premier being carrying by far more years than anyone else. He began that term with eighteen (18) consecutive years behind him, with his deputy Kirnon following with eight and Dr. Lewis also eight. Farrell, three; with new comers, Wade, David Osborne, James and Romeo.

 

MCAP, six seats formed the next government with only incomplete full member groupings of parties and nine independents who won three seats. You can see that the greater experience was in fact in that MCAP party and with no other party to compare with, one understands the way the electorate might have been thinking, although it wasn’t until the intervention of the most experienced John Osborne in favour and in favour of his son that MCAP got the fillip that catapulted them to the top.

What has MCAP done with all that history and being the envy of the rest of the Caribbean governments as described by Man from Baker Hill. While they struggled and in unenviable debt, Montserrat was guaranteed its well-being by motherland Britain. The MCAP team began to dream. After failing in every way with a grand Manifesto and Britain enjoying a coalition government gave a promise, better than any before, pointing another of their territories, St. Helena. Minister Allan Duncan said, he had come to Montserrat, ”To see the devastation and loss caused by the volcano and understand the economic and developmental challenges Montserrat faces.”

Allan Duncan in December 2011, he came to: “Promote the vision of the OTs as part of the British family, flourishing and vibrant, and less financially dependent.

“Set the parameters for future self-sufficiency: more efficient management of the public finances, combined with strategic investments aimed at stimulating growth, improving access and facilitating economic activity. Discuss progress on the Strategic Growth Plan and Economic Roadmap.”

Yes, by this time December 2011, after Secretary of State Andrew Mitchell in February and with the now infamous Charette behind us there was on the table a Strategic Growth Plan (SGP) and yet another Sustainable Development Plan (SDP).

“No more ‘unnecessary’ consultation…,” continuing with a, ‘but,’ “…we’ve got to look at what the economic justification…in terms of our contribution to anything that might happen…” Duncan said then.

He had stated that his government will put right the wrongs done to Montserrat since the Volcano, but always with the caution of economic justification and value for money.

“We have this duty care and we are going to exercise it properly and responsibly, but also raise an eye on value for money and results we are going to get from spending tax payers money at a very difficult economic time,” he said while initially pointing out that their overarching interest, “to make clear the absolute nature of our long term commitment to Montserrat.”

Our report stated how “He crammed a tour which took him mostly by helicopter, and on the ground to the site earmarked for geothermal exploration, as well as Little Bay and Carrs Bay to assess the proposed two options coming out of the September Charrette on the development of a new town and port.”

That was December 2011 and four months later (note he refers to Option A and B) he referred to our chosen option as “ambitious”. It was a hint we had not missed, but Premier in true fashion forged on to reach today, where he lost one dream the Carrs Bay port and with it his entire dream of Option B. (see earlier stories)

Two and a half years later? It was on this the Premier hoped to forge ahead obviously with disregard for the other needs of Montserrat taking over money projects regardless of the Ministry responsible.

Making all the decisions and even boasting that it is his job to do so, making them without consultation even with his Ministers who he gives the opportunity to approve them.

He restricts the people to hearing only his statements and giving the opportunity for questions during his visits to the radio station and his announcements and interviews to his government information agents. He invites the Montserrat Reporter on rare occasions but to every press conference which involves international agencies to include in particular HMG and EU etc. He has held less than half a dozen press conferences in his tenure and drops in at his ZJB studios with his statements where he is asked uninformed questions. He knows very well that none of those statements are really official…

It has been a somewhat unusual campaign with the one side keen to improve on what they call failures of the past and particularly be a government for all The People; and the other, the incumbents asking to be given a chance to “Fulfill the dream”.

When the Movement for Change And Prosperity (MCAP) was obliged to remove their 2009 Manifesto from their website after the new party Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) began highlighting and citing the Manifesto, that they had not kept or delivered on their promises.

That was easy as the not surprising leader Donaldson Romeo, opposition leader of the prorogued Legislative Assembly , had been pounding away throughout.

What surprises are the claims of mudslinging and characterisation of the activities by the opposing party to the incumbents; while fact checking almost every attempt and on information provided to support claims are proving to be against the MCAP.

There is so much strangeness to the tactics being used. While the PDM seems to be building on the momentum they have developed, MCAP leadership seems to be growing more disinterest although attempting to provide information way above anything they have done throughout the five years. Observers and analysts, “Much too late and the electorate feel they have been deceived.”

An election where the mood is for change and with all the complaints going against the incumbent party who is having difficulty to serve up on their short comings and failures; what is even more amazing, is how their new candidates are critical of the performance of their incumbent ministers. They challenge, the Minister of Education, Health, Sports; Minister of Agriculture, Housing, and the Environment; Minister of Public Works; and overall the Premier himself. Sitting with at least one of his newcomers, who in fact contested with MDP 2006, and MCAP in 2009, unsuccessfully both times, the Premier who may have observed the tactics attempted to correct.