Categorized | Features, Local, News, Opinions, Politics

New Government, New Day

By David Edgecombe

Now the noise and shouting, and I hope weeping, are over following Montserrat’s latest elections, I want to take this brief period of quiet to share some thoughts about moving forward.

First, congratulations to the new PDM government and leader Premier Don Romeo on their convincing victory. I believe despite some initial issues most of the elected members took office with a determination to put Montserrat and Montserratians—to include all who live on Montserrat—first.

There will be influential friends and power brokers who insist that their interests are the best interest of Montserrat regardless of what any other group says. They will work ruthlessly to have the country run their way.

There is really not much safety in good intentions. These will turn to dust if not quickly turned into good practice and policy.

Let me say here the decision to engage Sir Howard Fergus as interim speaker of the house with the proviso that he trains the entire parliament in parliamentary procedure is a good one. I say this not because Sir Howard is my brother-in-law, but because he has the most experience and training in this matter and has been a lifelong teacher.

The expected result is that parliament will be more efficient, less cantankerous, and our politicians will have greater poise and confidence both at home and when they venture abroad to represent Montserrat.

In choosing the substantive speaker of the house the PDM government will get an opportunity to show if it is serious about putting the best interest of Montserrat first.

Montserrat politics has been guided by Bob Griffith, Willie Bramble, Austin Bramble, John Osborne, Rueben Meade, Bertrand Osborne, David Brandt, and Lowell Lewis. There is only one real scoundrel in this group yet at best their performances have been mediocre. We need to improve this moving forward.

How do I judge performance? Let’s start with the Big Four:

1)  Economic Independence

2)  World Class Healthcare

3)  World Leading Education with 100% literacy

4)  Ruthless accountability to discourage costly corruption in Government

You will hear many objections that these can never be achieved but those objections are based on traditional excuses that were never very good to begin with and are irrelevant in a modern society with the possibilities available to us today. It is my view that every one of these can become reality in the next five years and I hope Premier Donaldson Romeo and the new PDM Government will take on the challenge.

Let me stress that achieving a modern efficient society that serves all the people will be a huge challenge. Detractors and distractors will argue that it is beyond the capabilities of Premier Don Romeo and his team. They will claim that we need people with university certification in economy and governance. From our own experience that is not true. In fact the innovations that will be necessary for effective actions are unlikely to come from a doctored source. Remember, Willie Bramble was derided by his detractors for having only a 3rd standard education, yet he remains our most effective leader.

My advice is that we do the following:

  • Give our people the tools. The Internet is a greater source of information than all the combined libraries in the world that existed before it. Stay faithful to the promise to get high-speed Internet quickly and give all our people easy access to it.
  • Invest in your human resources as if it were more valuable (which it is) than bauxite or oil or gold.
  • Encourage all ideas whether they come from supporters or others, from university graduates or day laborers. Invite the whole diaspora to be involved in pushing our country forward. Create an infrastructure for processing new ideas: checking viability, finding financing, implementing and always looking for improvements.
  • Refuse to get struck by the current CARICOM reparations fever.
  • Don’t allow the processes of government to become an end in itself. Keep focus. Put Montserrat first.

I wish this PDM team the very best and hope all of them will work to make this the greatest government in the history of Montserrat and the Caribbean.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

By David Edgecombe

Now the noise and shouting, and I hope weeping, are over following Montserrat’s latest elections, I want to take this brief period of quiet to share some thoughts about moving forward.

First, congratulations to the new PDM government and leader Premier Don Romeo on their convincing victory. I believe despite some initial issues most of the elected members took office with a determination to put Montserrat and Montserratians—to include all who live on Montserrat—first.

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There will be influential friends and power brokers who insist that their interests are the best interest of Montserrat regardless of what any other group says. They will work ruthlessly to have the country run their way.

There is really not much safety in good intentions. These will turn to dust if not quickly turned into good practice and policy.

Let me say here the decision to engage Sir Howard Fergus as interim speaker of the house with the proviso that he trains the entire parliament in parliamentary procedure is a good one. I say this not because Sir Howard is my brother-in-law, but because he has the most experience and training in this matter and has been a lifelong teacher.

The expected result is that parliament will be more efficient, less cantankerous, and our politicians will have greater poise and confidence both at home and when they venture abroad to represent Montserrat.

In choosing the substantive speaker of the house the PDM government will get an opportunity to show if it is serious about putting the best interest of Montserrat first.

Montserrat politics has been guided by Bob Griffith, Willie Bramble, Austin Bramble, John Osborne, Rueben Meade, Bertrand Osborne, David Brandt, and Lowell Lewis. There is only one real scoundrel in this group yet at best their performances have been mediocre. We need to improve this moving forward.

How do I judge performance? Let’s start with the Big Four:

1)  Economic Independence

2)  World Class Healthcare

3)  World Leading Education with 100% literacy

4)  Ruthless accountability to discourage costly corruption in Government

You will hear many objections that these can never be achieved but those objections are based on traditional excuses that were never very good to begin with and are irrelevant in a modern society with the possibilities available to us today. It is my view that every one of these can become reality in the next five years and I hope Premier Donaldson Romeo and the new PDM Government will take on the challenge.

Let me stress that achieving a modern efficient society that serves all the people will be a huge challenge. Detractors and distractors will argue that it is beyond the capabilities of Premier Don Romeo and his team. They will claim that we need people with university certification in economy and governance. From our own experience that is not true. In fact the innovations that will be necessary for effective actions are unlikely to come from a doctored source. Remember, Willie Bramble was derided by his detractors for having only a 3rd standard education, yet he remains our most effective leader.

My advice is that we do the following:

I wish this PDM team the very best and hope all of them will work to make this the greatest government in the history of Montserrat and the Caribbean.