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Premier Meade wants Montserrat’s removal from UN Decolonisation list

Following is a release from the Government Information Unit dated May 30, 2012.

BRADES, Montserrat – The Honourable Premier Reuben Meade on Wednesday asked that Montserrat be removed from the list of non self governing countries within their Decolonisation discussions.

Hon. Premier Reuben T. Meade

The leader of the Government of Montserrat made the announcement during his presentation at the UN Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, also known as the Special Committee of 24, Regional Pacific Seminar on Decolonization in Quito, Ecuador, which runs from 30 May to 1 June 2012.

Under the umbrella of the Third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism (2011-2020), the seminar will discuss current realities in decolonisation and prospects for progress. The main conversation will centre, around the 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories under the Special Committee’s purview in the Pacific, Caribbean, and other regions, as well as United Nations system assistance. The seminar’s conclusions and recommendations will be considered by the Special Committee at its substantive session in June and subsequently transmitted to the General Assembly.

Premier Meade said the people of Montserrat have made their choice in choosing to continue as an overseas territory of the United Kingdom and do not see themselves as being a colony.

He laid out the island’s constitutional history starting with the letters patent in the 17th Century. He chronicled Montserrat’s latest journey which brought into effect the 2010 Constitutional Order which gave the local Cabinet of Ministers the right to make all executive decisions among other improvements.

“We are fully internally self-governing, we pass our own laws, we make our own decisions, and we make our own monetary policies as part of the OECS Monetary Union. Despite the fact that the Police and the Public Service are within the Governor’s remit, we pay their bills and as a consequence exercise a major voice in their management. All executive decisions are made by the local Cabinet of Ministers. We have on 1st May 2012, signed a MoU with the Department for International Development which focuses on Montserrat’s sustainable development plan. This indicates the commitments of DfID and those of Montserrat in making this possible. As a show of immediate support we have obtained financing for geothermal exploration which will enable us to be fully non reliant on fossil fuels in favour of renewable energy by 2015.

“It is useful to note as well that whereas we have full citizenship rights in the UK with all of its attendant benefits. On the other hand non Montserratian British nationals do not have rights of abode in Montserrat.

The premier added that “Montserrat is a full member of both the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and CARICOM with unfettered voting powers in those Organisations except in areas of international foreign policy. We are also full members of a Monetary Union with all of the attendant rights. We have individual tax information exchange agreements with third countries and operating Memorandum of Understanding with third countries. We are full members of the OECS Supreme Court, members of the Caribbean.

 

“The conclusion therefore is that the UK overseas territory of Montserrat has by choice determined that they wish to continue being part of the UK for the time being. We no longer see ourselves as being a colonized people on the basis of the seven elements of the 947th UN Plenary of 14 December 1960. We see ourselves as being part of the UK family by choice. It is therefore my recommendation that this UN Decolonisation committee remove Montserrat from their list of non self governing countries, within their Decolonisation discussions. I am also certain that the UK supports our stance.

Premier Meade called for the committee to “focus its resources on sustainable development issues in the Montserrat context. Let us use the democratic process and let the people decide. The people must be given a choice which they will freely make. They have made their choice and do not need this committee to create the myth that we are held in a colonial state against our wishes. We all have a right by constitutional provision and will exercise that right when we as a people deem it appropriate to do so.”

The Non-Self-Governing Territories are American Samoa, Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands (Malvinas)*, Gibraltar, Guam, Montserrat, New Caledonia, Pitcairn, Saint Helena, Tokelau, Turks and Caicos Islands, United States Virgin Islands and Western Sahara.

The Third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism was established by the UN General Assembly in a resolution adopted in December 2010.

The annual Secretariat working papers on each Territory are available on the United Nations decolonisation website www.un.org/en/decolonization.

 

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Following is a release from the Government Information Unit dated May 30, 2012.

BRADES, Montserrat – The Honourable Premier Reuben Meade on Wednesday asked that Montserrat be removed from the list of non self governing countries within their Decolonisation discussions.

Hon. Premier Reuben T. Meade

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The leader of the Government of Montserrat made the announcement during his presentation at the UN Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, also known as the Special Committee of 24, Regional Pacific Seminar on Decolonization in Quito, Ecuador, which runs from 30 May to 1 June 2012.

Under the umbrella of the Third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism (2011-2020), the seminar will discuss current realities in decolonisation and prospects for progress. The main conversation will centre, around the 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories under the Special Committee’s purview in the Pacific, Caribbean, and other regions, as well as United Nations system assistance. The seminar’s conclusions and recommendations will be considered by the Special Committee at its substantive session in June and subsequently transmitted to the General Assembly.

Premier Meade said the people of Montserrat have made their choice in choosing to continue as an overseas territory of the United Kingdom and do not see themselves as being a colony.

He laid out the island’s constitutional history starting with the letters patent in the 17th Century. He chronicled Montserrat’s latest journey which brought into effect the 2010 Constitutional Order which gave the local Cabinet of Ministers the right to make all executive decisions among other improvements.

“We are fully internally self-governing, we pass our own laws, we make our own decisions, and we make our own monetary policies as part of the OECS Monetary Union. Despite the fact that the Police and the Public Service are within the Governor’s remit, we pay their bills and as a consequence exercise a major voice in their management. All executive decisions are made by the local Cabinet of Ministers. We have on 1st May 2012, signed a MoU with the Department for International Development which focuses on Montserrat’s sustainable development plan. This indicates the commitments of DfID and those of Montserrat in making this possible. As a show of immediate support we have obtained financing for geothermal exploration which will enable us to be fully non reliant on fossil fuels in favour of renewable energy by 2015.

“It is useful to note as well that whereas we have full citizenship rights in the UK with all of its attendant benefits. On the other hand non Montserratian British nationals do not have rights of abode in Montserrat.

The premier added that “Montserrat is a full member of both the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and CARICOM with unfettered voting powers in those Organisations except in areas of international foreign policy. We are also full members of a Monetary Union with all of the attendant rights. We have individual tax information exchange agreements with third countries and operating Memorandum of Understanding with third countries. We are full members of the OECS Supreme Court, members of the Caribbean.

 

“The conclusion therefore is that the UK overseas territory of Montserrat has by choice determined that they wish to continue being part of the UK for the time being. We no longer see ourselves as being a colonized people on the basis of the seven elements of the 947th UN Plenary of 14 December 1960. We see ourselves as being part of the UK family by choice. It is therefore my recommendation that this UN Decolonisation committee remove Montserrat from their list of non self governing countries, within their Decolonisation discussions. I am also certain that the UK supports our stance.

Premier Meade called for the committee to “focus its resources on sustainable development issues in the Montserrat context. Let us use the democratic process and let the people decide. The people must be given a choice which they will freely make. They have made their choice and do not need this committee to create the myth that we are held in a colonial state against our wishes. We all have a right by constitutional provision and will exercise that right when we as a people deem it appropriate to do so.”

The Non-Self-Governing Territories are American Samoa, Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands (Malvinas)*, Gibraltar, Guam, Montserrat, New Caledonia, Pitcairn, Saint Helena, Tokelau, Turks and Caicos Islands, United States Virgin Islands and Western Sahara.

The Third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism was established by the UN General Assembly in a resolution adopted in December 2010.

The annual Secretariat working papers on each Territory are available on the United Nations decolonisation website www.un.org/en/decolonization.