Categorized | Editorial

Progress comes only with responsibility

Editorial – October 19, 2012

For some time now, months, even years there have been some events, occurrences, publications, debates, reports and in-actions  which have rolled by seemingly unnoticed by most, but not by everyone. Not by everyone we say, but there is a problem. For the few who notice, a good many of them will say or do nothing, others will give a view point, while still others will say to us, will suggest that we write about this or that!

The response often is, we do not have the resources to do justice, why don’t you write and we publicise? This is not about us, but everyone. However, what is the general complaint? “There is little or no leadership!” they would say. Leadership among whom or by whom, we would enquire? You have seen that mentioned in one way or the other.

It may well be difficult to pin that comment down, but generally when it is made reference is to government. Just like the government and leaders around government have been quick to say these days, the time is here to stop expecting government to do everything. Generally, though, that statement is about something specific, since when it comes down to the discussion, Montserrat is at a place where such statements can be confounded in many instances.

The Commissioner of Police during his last press conference agreed concern that while crime figures have been decreasing, there is an escalation in a certain kind of crime, which is not common to Montserrat. He was not just referring to very violent homicides that have taken place recently. In considering this we will remember our numbers are very small.

The recent events, utterances, and even the silence of our leadership do leave a gaping hole and if nothing is done or no corrective action taken, things will only get worse. The tendency to attach importance and seek to assist institutions and sectors that are relevant only to some is a serious mistake, in that it is not usually to the benefit of many but rather to the few.

When the complaint was made that the merchants were hiking the prices of their goods well before those goods attract new tariff, up or down, the Premier advised the people should boycott and go to Antigua to shop,, or get themselves in shopping cooperatives. Big problem. The price control department had been shut down and there is no protective legislation in sight for consumers.

When the Premier was questioned about what could be done to curb the increased air fares, he responded that this is a free enterprise market. And, so it has been for everything. Outsourcing is supposed to be of benefit to an economy, but we cannot get it started. The Memorandum of Understanding signed on May 1, 2012 to bring about public reform about how we do business was not, um, really directed at the ‘local’ private sector. Of course not, when there are certain projects or contracts to be meted out, little attention is paid to how they are advertised locally, because, could it be that it is already known who will win the bid?

The blind eye, or the attitude that is not our business, or we have no control, or it is the media that should lead, when the blind eye is being turned in the opposite direction, directly and indirectly, will bite this island, as it has been. When no attention or understanding exists the progress becomes invisible.

The British Government, Department For International Development (DFID) and Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) joined with local Government when it is convenient every time to determine who is in control of what and when. The government says it runs its own affairs, but what Montserrat needs is money and it cannot generate that without ‘begging’ which the Premier says is an abomination. DFID says, oh no, that is the government’s responsibility for this or that, but government cannot lift a finger, because they (DFID) have to ‘justify’ or approve the spending.

FCO says we do not know about these conventions that we have signed and committed you to, but your government has to conduct itself according to its laws in seeking development. But, they admit, development for Montserrat must be a ‘partnership’, between HMG and GoM.

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Editorial – October 19, 2012

For some time now, months, even years there have been some events, occurrences, publications, debates, reports and in-actions  which have rolled by seemingly unnoticed by most, but not by everyone. Not by everyone we say, but there is a problem. For the few who notice, a good many of them will say or do nothing, others will give a view point, while still others will say to us, will suggest that we write about this or that!

The response often is, we do not have the resources to do justice, why don’t you write and we publicise? This is not about us, but everyone. However, what is the general complaint? “There is little or no leadership!” they would say. Leadership among whom or by whom, we would enquire? You have seen that mentioned in one way or the other.

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It may well be difficult to pin that comment down, but generally when it is made reference is to government. Just like the government and leaders around government have been quick to say these days, the time is here to stop expecting government to do everything. Generally, though, that statement is about something specific, since when it comes down to the discussion, Montserrat is at a place where such statements can be confounded in many instances.

The Commissioner of Police during his last press conference agreed concern that while crime figures have been decreasing, there is an escalation in a certain kind of crime, which is not common to Montserrat. He was not just referring to very violent homicides that have taken place recently. In considering this we will remember our numbers are very small.

The recent events, utterances, and even the silence of our leadership do leave a gaping hole and if nothing is done or no corrective action taken, things will only get worse. The tendency to attach importance and seek to assist institutions and sectors that are relevant only to some is a serious mistake, in that it is not usually to the benefit of many but rather to the few.

When the complaint was made that the merchants were hiking the prices of their goods well before those goods attract new tariff, up or down, the Premier advised the people should boycott and go to Antigua to shop,, or get themselves in shopping cooperatives. Big problem. The price control department had been shut down and there is no protective legislation in sight for consumers.

When the Premier was questioned about what could be done to curb the increased air fares, he responded that this is a free enterprise market. And, so it has been for everything. Outsourcing is supposed to be of benefit to an economy, but we cannot get it started. The Memorandum of Understanding signed on May 1, 2012 to bring about public reform about how we do business was not, um, really directed at the ‘local’ private sector. Of course not, when there are certain projects or contracts to be meted out, little attention is paid to how they are advertised locally, because, could it be that it is already known who will win the bid?

The blind eye, or the attitude that is not our business, or we have no control, or it is the media that should lead, when the blind eye is being turned in the opposite direction, directly and indirectly, will bite this island, as it has been. When no attention or understanding exists the progress becomes invisible.

The British Government, Department For International Development (DFID) and Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) joined with local Government when it is convenient every time to determine who is in control of what and when. The government says it runs its own affairs, but what Montserrat needs is money and it cannot generate that without ‘begging’ which the Premier says is an abomination. DFID says, oh no, that is the government’s responsibility for this or that, but government cannot lift a finger, because they (DFID) have to ‘justify’ or approve the spending.

FCO says we do not know about these conventions that we have signed and committed you to, but your government has to conduct itself according to its laws in seeking development. But, they admit, development for Montserrat must be a ‘partnership’, between HMG and GoM.