Categorized | Opinions

Other Questions on the Matter of Constitutions On the Constitution of Montserrat, specifically

By Shirley Osborne

There is a document circulating in the public domain, which purports to be the best version of a suitable Constitution of Montserrat that some people have been able to come up with. But, is it really just the easiest, least bothersome, cheapest, most convenient, or least difficult?

And, yes! Do, please, note that I did not write “being circulated.” And for the very good reason that it seems to me, and to some other people, that those who are actually and officially responsible for making sure this proposed Constitution does get circulated so it could be discussed and thought through and changed and improved where necessary, are not doing a good job, at all, of having it circulated so that it might be properly and thoroughly discussed and thought through and changed and improved where necessary. So, the thing is circulating just because it is in the air, so to speak. That does not speak well for The Responsibles. Nor does it bode well for those for whom they are responsible.
Point Number One.

Point Number Two.
This proposed Constitution of Montserrat is an astonishingly slim document.

In an era when every other conscientious, trustworthy, and dare I say, loving, set of governors, (or rulers, or owners) is theoretically, publicly, and in practice, acknowledging the expediency of respecting basic human rights;

In an era when every other smart, sensible set of governors (or rulers or owners) is paying attention to the rights of human beings, even if not actually appreciating the fundamental wisdom and basic goodness of doing so;

In a era when every intelligent, educated set of governors (or rulers or owners) is theoretically, publicly, and in practice, acknowledging that there are more rights that belong to human beings than the few noted in the Magna Carta, and to a greater number of classes of human beings than noted in that anachronistic document;

And in an era when every intelligent, educated set of governors (or rulers or owners) is theoretically, publicly, and in practice, acknowledging that Thomas Paine had some of the right ideas, and that the basic, fundamental, and inalienable human Rights are not only of Man, but also of Women and Children;

At a time when the people of the Cayman Islands, for example, have been careful to include protections against slavery and forced labour, and against torture and inhuman treatment in their (new, British-brokered) Constitution;

At this time when Anguilla, for instance, was careful to include, in their (new) Constitution, provision for the establishment of a Human Rights Commission, and specific protections for women;

Even now, when the (new) Constitution of the BVI includes a clause ensuring the protection of children, as well as its natural environment, and recognises the people’s right to education;

Even as India, for example, is considering including the right of access to food in its Constitution;

Even now, I say, we in Montserrat, are having this incomplete, unfinished, sketchy, first-draft, few pages of a thing fobbed off onto us, and with the full and enlightened complicity of The Government of Montserrat, no less.

Oh and I say enlightened, because was it not a most enlightened member of our government who summarily, and very uncouthly, from what I hear, rejected the suggestion that there might be someone somewhere who might know something that he doesn’t about drafting and negotiating new constitutions?

So, I wonder whether our elected members of government are unwilling to do with our Constitution what it is generally agreed among good people that it is good practice to do with such documents, what democracy requires, and that which many Montserratians want done with ours solely because they are aware that they don’t know how? Well! Socrates did say that the wisest person is the one who knows that he does not know.

Could it be, then, that their hostility toward suggestions that they “do the right thing” is really an indication that, being incapable and conscious of this incompetence, they are also therefore, tetchy and sensitive about it? Isn’t there an expression for this in clinical psychology?

I ask – did the other countries succeed in negotiating a more acceptable Constitution for themselves because their government people are highly-educated, well-cultured, and widely-read, informed and committed, well-travelled and aware of what the world is really like? Is it that they have the best interests of their country at heart? That they want the best, and only the very best, for their country and people? And are willing to put themselves on the line to achieve it?

Do our government people not know what is best? Do ours not have a sensible concept of what “best” is? Or are they, quite simply, not interested, not invested, and really couldn’t care less about ensuring that Montserratians have the absolute best possible? Do they not care about the good of us?

Do they not know that the enslavement and forced labour of children, women, and men is of real and increasing concern worldwide? Are they not aware of the extreme prevalence of domestic violence and relationship abuse in Montserrat and the lasting damage that it does, and that no-one has the right to abuse another? Are they not aware that repressive governments, evil political entities, and abusive civil service operatives, actually do torture and treat human beings inhumanly everywhere in the world? Are they not aware that that foul and offensive dump over in Blake’s is not merely an eyesore, but constitutes real degradation of the environment and a health hazard for Montserratians and that Montserratians have a right to a safe and pleasant environment?

Or, is it that they do know of Thomas Paine, but that they choose to ignore the part about the sole responsibility of Government being the safeguarding of the individual and the individual’s inherent and inalienable rights?

Or, shall we just assume that they know that Thomas Paine was sentenced to hanging for seditious libel, by the same Crown with which they should, now, be negotiating to ensure the protection of the rights of all the People of Montserrat?

Or, maybe we should just accept that our government people are short-sighted and self-interested and neither knowledgeable nor wise.

Are not capable or courageous.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

By Shirley Osborne

There is a document circulating in the public domain, which purports to be the best version of a suitable Constitution of Montserrat that some people have been able to come up with. But, is it really just the easiest, least bothersome, cheapest, most convenient, or least difficult?

And, yes! Do, please, note that I did not write “being circulated.” And for the very good reason that it seems to me, and to some other people, that those who are actually and officially responsible for making sure this proposed Constitution does get circulated so it could be discussed and thought through and changed and improved where necessary, are not doing a good job, at all, of having it circulated so that it might be properly and thoroughly discussed and thought through and changed and improved where necessary. So, the thing is circulating just because it is in the air, so to speak. That does not speak well for The Responsibles. Nor does it bode well for those for whom they are responsible.
Point Number One.

Insert Ads Here

Point Number Two.
This proposed Constitution of Montserrat is an astonishingly slim document.

In an era when every other conscientious, trustworthy, and dare I say, loving, set of governors, (or rulers, or owners) is theoretically, publicly, and in practice, acknowledging the expediency of respecting basic human rights;

In an era when every other smart, sensible set of governors (or rulers or owners) is paying attention to the rights of human beings, even if not actually appreciating the fundamental wisdom and basic goodness of doing so;

In a era when every intelligent, educated set of governors (or rulers or owners) is theoretically, publicly, and in practice, acknowledging that there are more rights that belong to human beings than the few noted in the Magna Carta, and to a greater number of classes of human beings than noted in that anachronistic document;

And in an era when every intelligent, educated set of governors (or rulers or owners) is theoretically, publicly, and in practice, acknowledging that Thomas Paine had some of the right ideas, and that the basic, fundamental, and inalienable human Rights are not only of Man, but also of Women and Children;

At a time when the people of the Cayman Islands, for example, have been careful to include protections against slavery and forced labour, and against torture and inhuman treatment in their (new, British-brokered) Constitution;

At this time when Anguilla, for instance, was careful to include, in their (new) Constitution, provision for the establishment of a Human Rights Commission, and specific protections for women;

Even now, when the (new) Constitution of the BVI includes a clause ensuring the protection of children, as well as its natural environment, and recognises the people’s right to education;

Even as India, for example, is considering including the right of access to food in its Constitution;

Even now, I say, we in Montserrat, are having this incomplete, unfinished, sketchy, first-draft, few pages of a thing fobbed off onto us, and with the full and enlightened complicity of The Government of Montserrat, no less.

Oh and I say enlightened, because was it not a most enlightened member of our government who summarily, and very uncouthly, from what I hear, rejected the suggestion that there might be someone somewhere who might know something that he doesn’t about drafting and negotiating new constitutions?

So, I wonder whether our elected members of government are unwilling to do with our Constitution what it is generally agreed among good people that it is good practice to do with such documents, what democracy requires, and that which many Montserratians want done with ours solely because they are aware that they don’t know how? Well! Socrates did say that the wisest person is the one who knows that he does not know.

Could it be, then, that their hostility toward suggestions that they “do the right thing” is really an indication that, being incapable and conscious of this incompetence, they are also therefore, tetchy and sensitive about it? Isn’t there an expression for this in clinical psychology?

I ask – did the other countries succeed in negotiating a more acceptable Constitution for themselves because their government people are highly-educated, well-cultured, and widely-read, informed and committed, well-travelled and aware of what the world is really like? Is it that they have the best interests of their country at heart? That they want the best, and only the very best, for their country and people? And are willing to put themselves on the line to achieve it?

Do our government people not know what is best? Do ours not have a sensible concept of what “best” is? Or are they, quite simply, not interested, not invested, and really couldn’t care less about ensuring that Montserratians have the absolute best possible? Do they not care about the good of us?

Do they not know that the enslavement and forced labour of children, women, and men is of real and increasing concern worldwide? Are they not aware of the extreme prevalence of domestic violence and relationship abuse in Montserrat and the lasting damage that it does, and that no-one has the right to abuse another? Are they not aware that repressive governments, evil political entities, and abusive civil service operatives, actually do torture and treat human beings inhumanly everywhere in the world? Are they not aware that that foul and offensive dump over in Blake’s is not merely an eyesore, but constitutes real degradation of the environment and a health hazard for Montserratians and that Montserratians have a right to a safe and pleasant environment?

Or, is it that they do know of Thomas Paine, but that they choose to ignore the part about the sole responsibility of Government being the safeguarding of the individual and the individual’s inherent and inalienable rights?

Or, shall we just assume that they know that Thomas Paine was sentenced to hanging for seditious libel, by the same Crown with which they should, now, be negotiating to ensure the protection of the rights of all the People of Montserrat?

Or, maybe we should just accept that our government people are short-sighted and self-interested and neither knowledgeable nor wise.

Are not capable or courageous.