Shelling SHELLY (Licks like peas?)

I said I would do it, so here it is. (This in response to a challenge in Social Media)
A point by point rebuttal (and a few agreements) of Shelley’s shallow portrayal of Montserrat to the UK Foreign Affairs Committee inquiry.

by Mike Jarvis –

Comments are in brackets (…) (italicised)
———————————————————————————

Written evidence from Shelley Harris (OTS0056)
Executive Summary:

  1. a) Regarding relationship with all the OTs – as a British citizen I should not have to have my passport stamped every time I enter what is my own Territory.

(Agreed. Scanning is sufficient. And let’s get rid of that shamrock stamp as it has no relevance)

The rest of my submission regards only Montserrat –
b) I should not have to have permission to buy a house, start a business or work in Montserrat as I am British.

(Agreed. I don’t need permission to do likewise in the UK as a Montserrat-born British citizen from an Overseas Territory, not just a British Overseas Territories Citizen. Full British should mean full British. like the breakfast – even though I don’t quite like it, the breakfast that is)

  1. c) Montserrat does not have a functioning government and there is no-one in the wings to take over.

(Nonsense. Montserrat has a poorly functioning government and we are not certain who is in the wings to take over. Just like the UK with Brexit)

  1. d) Too much aid to the island is wasted on projects that do not benefit those on island or the Island’s economy. The current Premier keeps saying ‘Britain will pay’.

Only partially correct. DfID must carry some of the responsibility for this. Be careful that the Premier doesn’t sue you. Have you really heard him say “Britain will pay”? Or, has he been saying – ad hominem and ill-advisedly – “Britain should pay” given his inexplicable obsession with First Call and Article 73. Perhaps we should call him that)

  1. d) The current government do not grasp the concept of accountability and transparency.

(Evidence needed to support this outrageous statement)

  1. e) We need direct control from the UK with UK legislation which is enforced.

(Absolute, utter, baseless garbage. What’s the basis for saying this…or are you just gas-lighting to seek attention?)

  1. f) We need a boost to the economy. There are no policies to do this. A tax-free island would boost the economy, so would supporting local private sector businesses that are sustainable.

(That’s why we have elections. And, just like – not because of – the British, our democracy works almost flawlessly. It could do with a few tweaks but it’s OK for the moment)

  1. g) Immigration policy is worrying with an increasing number of low paid immigrants who want passports.

(You might have a point here. I’ve heard the Labour Commissioner voicing some concerns on the radio)

  1. h) I feel completely cut off from common sense and currently see no positive future.

(Are you sure you don’t feel cut off from your own commonsense that you should have as an airline executive, rather than going on ill-informed, baseless tirades that have cast your company into disrepute? You’ve done this to the extent that ’management’ – I take it that includes your good self – feel the need to distance themselves from your outburst. That’s like you distancing you from yourself!
Well that’s new. How do you do it?)

My background:
I am a British Citizen that started a private sector business in Montserrat almost 30 years ago.
I have become extremely worried, particularly in the last four years, that on island there are not the skills, expertise or the will to do anything to make the island economically sustainable or comply with British expectations on legislation and enforcement.

(What freshness and forwardness!)

My submission referring to all the OTs
1. Regarding Britain’s relationship with all the OTs – as a British citizen I should not have to have my passport stamped and have permission every time I enter what is my own Territory.
My submission regarding Montserrat:
2. Montserrat does not have a functioning government. The current one is completely incompetent and wastes enormous amounts of money – most of which comes from the British taxpayer.

(Please refer to DfID as they have COMPLETE oversight over the spending of MY British taxpayer money)

  1. Worse, with an election due next year there is no-one in the wings that could lead the island. The current MPs will tell you they want to have a vote of no confidence in the premier but will not cross the house for fear of losing their own seats and their income. The pay is too attractive when there is very little other economy.

(That’s politics in a democracy. See the Conservative government and Labour opposition in the UK. Also, check the US for a good laugh on that)

  1. About the only bit of legislation they have managed to vote on in the last year is their own pay rise. They have been in breach of the constitution by not having parliament at the required times because they have done so little work that there is nothing to bring to parliament.

(An election is imminent. It’s up to the electorate…including you I’m certain)

  1. Although I do think we should let people learn from their mistakes there has to be a limit on the wasted money paid to the Montserrat Government.

(This is truly idiotic. If someone has so much that they can afford to pay ‘wasted money’ to someone else, why put a limit on it? It’s ‘wasted money’ anyway. Isn’t it Shelley? I’m having doubts about your intellect right here)

  1. Projects are mishandled (ZJB). Too many consultants are used at enormous cost when there is some unused expertise in the private sector on island.

(Agreed on ZJB. I’m very close to that. But it pales compared to Boris Johnson’s Garden Bridge in London, the HS2 rail project and others. Regarding consultants, see DfID. They commission them and pay them – and then commission more to review what was reviewed before)

  1. Those in charge still do not grasp the concept of accountability, transparency and a fair procurement process. The Premier keeps saying ‘Britain will pay’

(See my previous comments on this)

  1. There are some very good civil servants but many just paint their nails, sleep on duty and have no perception of what public service is. There are also far too many of them – probably because there is such a small private sector as an alternative source of employment.

(I challenge you to name names and the colour of the nail paint or whatever it is. How do you know there are too many of them? You have provided no evidence to substantiate this. Let me help; why then recruit more TCOs?)

  1. The current Governor is excellent. I have confidence in him.

(He seems an OK chap so far, but he’s been in the job less than a year so please elaborate on your vote of confidence. Is it the way he speaks? I like that – is it Cornish? – lilt)

  1. I would like to see free access given to the British to live, set up businesses, work and be able to take their full index-linked pensions on island. People (British and the Montserratian diaspora) should be encouraged (not discouraged) to move to Montserrat to live and work. Both will stimulate the economy.

(I am leaning towards liking this. Regarding pensions though, that’s a matter of HMRC policy. Take it up with the British government as it applies to some countries under very specific circumstances)

  1. I would like to see direct control from Britain on what it does now plus finance, health, education, the judiciary, access, trade, customs & immigration and major projects, – with some autonomy on local issues like housing, public works, agriculture, sport and community services.

(No)

  1. A tax-free island would boost the economy.

(It’s a thought. But how? Explain please, you have my interest. Montserrat could at least be a free port as we do have that option under the Caricom and OECS agreements)

  1. The island should be subject to UK legislation. The Island is completely incapable of making effective laws. It is way behind on effective human rights legislation. Enforcement of legislation is also a problem.

(Another unsubstantiated rant)

  1. Labour legislation is archaic and crippling economic development.

(Archaic by whose standards? Montserrat is ILO compliant. Ask Hylroy Bramble)

  1. There should also be some kind of national audit office to check on whether money is being spent wisely. It should publicise its findings.

(There is a government Audit Department which makes it the ‘national audit office’. Does Shelley even know Montserrat beyond the short wingspan of the Fly Montserrat planes?)

  1. A free press would help. Currently the only newspaper hardly every comes out and is reduced to just republishing other agency material from off island. The Radio station is frightened to say anything anti government and much goes unreported unless the speaker can get on air live.

(The press in Montserrat is free. How they use that freedom is a matter for them)

  1. Much aid from the British taxpayer and others is wasted. There is currently an annual subsidy of about EC$6m paid for a year- round ferry that is needed for about 10 days a year (a few days in December and March). This is paid from DFID, along with a subsidy for air access of EC$430,000. This unfairly skews the access market giving greatly subsidised travel by sea in competition with a local private sector company with little air subsidy.

(So this whole rant is a smokescreen for vested interests then? And again, this is a matter for DfID)

  1. The ferry subsidy also profits off-island companies at the expense of a Montserratian airline which, if the ferry fare was not so low, or it was just there for a few weeks a year, would make a profit and contribute more to the local economy.

(Unintelligible garbage that makes absolutely no business sense, unless this is about someone’s self-interest)

  1. The highly subsidised ferry also means people are encouraged to shop in Antigua rather than supporting the local economy. The inequitable subsidy used to reduce ferry fares, preventing the profitability of local companies, should stop.

(So cheap ferry fares encourage people to travel to shop. Therefore, is your logic to have punitively high airfares to discourage local people from travelling?
Also, if the ferry is already paid for, perhaps the fares should even be lower. Perhaps we need to look at import duties. Perhaps businesses need to look at where they source their products. And aren’t we already operating in a CARICOM and OECS trade zone?
The logic in your argument is missing…or there is something sinister driving your thinking
)

  1. There is no encouragement to new investors to start businesses on island. In fact the opposite. There are examples of people who have tried that have been treated very unfairly and left. No-one in government can tell potential investors how to set up.

(Some agreement here. But that’s what elections are for. By the way, in a later post because we have vehemently disagreed with you, you have basically accused us of stifling freedom of speech and wondered about comparisons to Mugabe and North Korea. You do have a big and irresponsible mouth don’t you?
I wonder which will chase ‘potential investors’ more; us exercising our democratic right of freedom of speech and robustly and intelligently challenging your ignorant and aggressive assertions, or you making comparison to Mugabe and North Korea
).

  1. It is interesting to see so many immigrants from The Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica and Guyana – most coming for low paid labour (and wanting a British passport). In some places you do not hear English spoken and we need to encourage the Montserratian diaspora (or more Brits) to return or it will get to the point that the majority on island are foreigners.

(What’s this? Xenophobia on our behalf? We don’t want it! That is at the root of Brexit, remember? This fear and loathing of ‘the other’. Those nationalities that you mentioned are CARICOM citizens. Please go and research CARICOM and educate yourself. These people were invited in the main. Also there are Montserratians living in their countries.
Regarding the diaspora; point taken
)

  1. There are those in power going round the island presently (E.g. at Rotary) advising people to say in this survey that the island needs more independence and be given more money! What is interesting is that most of the local reaction is to disagree as the money government gets is not well spent.

(What survey? It is NOT a survey. And Rotary is only one forum. Also, if anyone in power made such a pitch, clearly they were chased away with it, so why even mention it? Shelley, Shelley, Shelley. Hmmmm).

  1. It was good to see Lord Ahmad on island this year. He, and others concerned in the governance of Montserrat, should visit more often.

(And why not?)

  1. I would vote for rule from the UK with representation in the UK parliament. Stop the waste.

(Really? So who would ‘represent’ us in the UK parliament? I have my views but I’m certain they don’t align with yours)

  1. Montserratians have free access to the UK and the British should have reciprocal rights.

(That calls for a change of status both ways but remember the issue of population imbalance must be addressed as there are are vastly more ‘Britons’ available to relocate to Montserrat than vice versa. See also your previous remarks regarding Caricom nationals. By the way a Montserratian with a BOT passport has the same restrictions in the UK that you complain about for Brits in Montserrat)

  1. In time, perhaps there could be more autonomy as the necessary skills are developed.

(There is already autonomy)

  1. Currently it is a basket case that needs to be sorted out by a benevolent parent.

(Pardon me, but go to hell with this Shelley)

  1. Some of the observations regarding Montserrat might be relevant to other territories which are in deficit financially.

(I’ll gladly leave them to deal with you)

One Response to “Shelling SHELLY (Licks like peas?)”

  1. Agnes says:

    Whether you agree or disagree with Mrs Harris, some of your language is unnecessary and uncalled for. You suggested that the Premier might sue her for some of her comments. Likewise she may have a case against you.

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I said I would do it, so here it is. (This in response to a challenge in Social Media)
A point by point rebuttal (and a few agreements) of Shelley’s shallow portrayal of Montserrat to the UK Foreign Affairs Committee inquiry.

by Mike Jarvis –

Comments are in brackets (…) (italicised)
———————————————————————————

Insert Ads Here

Written evidence from Shelley Harris (OTS0056)
Executive Summary:

  1. a) Regarding relationship with all the OTs – as a British citizen I should not have to have my passport stamped every time I enter what is my own Territory.

(Agreed. Scanning is sufficient. And let’s get rid of that shamrock stamp as it has no relevance)

The rest of my submission regards only Montserrat –
b) I should not have to have permission to buy a house, start a business or work in Montserrat as I am British.

(Agreed. I don’t need permission to do likewise in the UK as a Montserrat-born British citizen from an Overseas Territory, not just a British Overseas Territories Citizen. Full British should mean full British. like the breakfast – even though I don’t quite like it, the breakfast that is)

  1. c) Montserrat does not have a functioning government and there is no-one in the wings to take over.

(Nonsense. Montserrat has a poorly functioning government and we are not certain who is in the wings to take over. Just like the UK with Brexit)

  1. d) Too much aid to the island is wasted on projects that do not benefit those on island or the Island’s economy. The current Premier keeps saying ‘Britain will pay’.

Only partially correct. DfID must carry some of the responsibility for this. Be careful that the Premier doesn’t sue you. Have you really heard him say “Britain will pay”? Or, has he been saying – ad hominem and ill-advisedly – “Britain should pay” given his inexplicable obsession with First Call and Article 73. Perhaps we should call him that)

  1. d) The current government do not grasp the concept of accountability and transparency.

(Evidence needed to support this outrageous statement)

  1. e) We need direct control from the UK with UK legislation which is enforced.

(Absolute, utter, baseless garbage. What’s the basis for saying this…or are you just gas-lighting to seek attention?)

  1. f) We need a boost to the economy. There are no policies to do this. A tax-free island would boost the economy, so would supporting local private sector businesses that are sustainable.

(That’s why we have elections. And, just like – not because of – the British, our democracy works almost flawlessly. It could do with a few tweaks but it’s OK for the moment)

  1. g) Immigration policy is worrying with an increasing number of low paid immigrants who want passports.

(You might have a point here. I’ve heard the Labour Commissioner voicing some concerns on the radio)

  1. h) I feel completely cut off from common sense and currently see no positive future.

(Are you sure you don’t feel cut off from your own commonsense that you should have as an airline executive, rather than going on ill-informed, baseless tirades that have cast your company into disrepute? You’ve done this to the extent that ’management’ – I take it that includes your good self – feel the need to distance themselves from your outburst. That’s like you distancing you from yourself!
Well that’s new. How do you do it?)

My background:
I am a British Citizen that started a private sector business in Montserrat almost 30 years ago.
I have become extremely worried, particularly in the last four years, that on island there are not the skills, expertise or the will to do anything to make the island economically sustainable or comply with British expectations on legislation and enforcement.

(What freshness and forwardness!)

My submission referring to all the OTs
1. Regarding Britain’s relationship with all the OTs – as a British citizen I should not have to have my passport stamped and have permission every time I enter what is my own Territory.
My submission regarding Montserrat:
2. Montserrat does not have a functioning government. The current one is completely incompetent and wastes enormous amounts of money – most of which comes from the British taxpayer.

(Please refer to DfID as they have COMPLETE oversight over the spending of MY British taxpayer money)

  1. Worse, with an election due next year there is no-one in the wings that could lead the island. The current MPs will tell you they want to have a vote of no confidence in the premier but will not cross the house for fear of losing their own seats and their income. The pay is too attractive when there is very little other economy.

(That’s politics in a democracy. See the Conservative government and Labour opposition in the UK. Also, check the US for a good laugh on that)

  1. About the only bit of legislation they have managed to vote on in the last year is their own pay rise. They have been in breach of the constitution by not having parliament at the required times because they have done so little work that there is nothing to bring to parliament.

(An election is imminent. It’s up to the electorate…including you I’m certain)

  1. Although I do think we should let people learn from their mistakes there has to be a limit on the wasted money paid to the Montserrat Government.

(This is truly idiotic. If someone has so much that they can afford to pay ‘wasted money’ to someone else, why put a limit on it? It’s ‘wasted money’ anyway. Isn’t it Shelley? I’m having doubts about your intellect right here)

  1. Projects are mishandled (ZJB). Too many consultants are used at enormous cost when there is some unused expertise in the private sector on island.

(Agreed on ZJB. I’m very close to that. But it pales compared to Boris Johnson’s Garden Bridge in London, the HS2 rail project and others. Regarding consultants, see DfID. They commission them and pay them – and then commission more to review what was reviewed before)

  1. Those in charge still do not grasp the concept of accountability, transparency and a fair procurement process. The Premier keeps saying ‘Britain will pay’

(See my previous comments on this)

  1. There are some very good civil servants but many just paint their nails, sleep on duty and have no perception of what public service is. There are also far too many of them – probably because there is such a small private sector as an alternative source of employment.

(I challenge you to name names and the colour of the nail paint or whatever it is. How do you know there are too many of them? You have provided no evidence to substantiate this. Let me help; why then recruit more TCOs?)

  1. The current Governor is excellent. I have confidence in him.

(He seems an OK chap so far, but he’s been in the job less than a year so please elaborate on your vote of confidence. Is it the way he speaks? I like that – is it Cornish? – lilt)

  1. I would like to see free access given to the British to live, set up businesses, work and be able to take their full index-linked pensions on island. People (British and the Montserratian diaspora) should be encouraged (not discouraged) to move to Montserrat to live and work. Both will stimulate the economy.

(I am leaning towards liking this. Regarding pensions though, that’s a matter of HMRC policy. Take it up with the British government as it applies to some countries under very specific circumstances)

  1. I would like to see direct control from Britain on what it does now plus finance, health, education, the judiciary, access, trade, customs & immigration and major projects, – with some autonomy on local issues like housing, public works, agriculture, sport and community services.

(No)

  1. A tax-free island would boost the economy.

(It’s a thought. But how? Explain please, you have my interest. Montserrat could at least be a free port as we do have that option under the Caricom and OECS agreements)

  1. The island should be subject to UK legislation. The Island is completely incapable of making effective laws. It is way behind on effective human rights legislation. Enforcement of legislation is also a problem.

(Another unsubstantiated rant)

  1. Labour legislation is archaic and crippling economic development.

(Archaic by whose standards? Montserrat is ILO compliant. Ask Hylroy Bramble)

  1. There should also be some kind of national audit office to check on whether money is being spent wisely. It should publicise its findings.

(There is a government Audit Department which makes it the ‘national audit office’. Does Shelley even know Montserrat beyond the short wingspan of the Fly Montserrat planes?)

  1. A free press would help. Currently the only newspaper hardly every comes out and is reduced to just republishing other agency material from off island. The Radio station is frightened to say anything anti government and much goes unreported unless the speaker can get on air live.

(The press in Montserrat is free. How they use that freedom is a matter for them)

  1. Much aid from the British taxpayer and others is wasted. There is currently an annual subsidy of about EC$6m paid for a year- round ferry that is needed for about 10 days a year (a few days in December and March). This is paid from DFID, along with a subsidy for air access of EC$430,000. This unfairly skews the access market giving greatly subsidised travel by sea in competition with a local private sector company with little air subsidy.

(So this whole rant is a smokescreen for vested interests then? And again, this is a matter for DfID)

  1. The ferry subsidy also profits off-island companies at the expense of a Montserratian airline which, if the ferry fare was not so low, or it was just there for a few weeks a year, would make a profit and contribute more to the local economy.

(Unintelligible garbage that makes absolutely no business sense, unless this is about someone’s self-interest)

  1. The highly subsidised ferry also means people are encouraged to shop in Antigua rather than supporting the local economy. The inequitable subsidy used to reduce ferry fares, preventing the profitability of local companies, should stop.

(So cheap ferry fares encourage people to travel to shop. Therefore, is your logic to have punitively high airfares to discourage local people from travelling?
Also, if the ferry is already paid for, perhaps the fares should even be lower. Perhaps we need to look at import duties. Perhaps businesses need to look at where they source their products. And aren’t we already operating in a CARICOM and OECS trade zone?
The logic in your argument is missing…or there is something sinister driving your thinking
)

  1. There is no encouragement to new investors to start businesses on island. In fact the opposite. There are examples of people who have tried that have been treated very unfairly and left. No-one in government can tell potential investors how to set up.

(Some agreement here. But that’s what elections are for. By the way, in a later post because we have vehemently disagreed with you, you have basically accused us of stifling freedom of speech and wondered about comparisons to Mugabe and North Korea. You do have a big and irresponsible mouth don’t you?
I wonder which will chase ‘potential investors’ more; us exercising our democratic right of freedom of speech and robustly and intelligently challenging your ignorant and aggressive assertions, or you making comparison to Mugabe and North Korea
).

  1. It is interesting to see so many immigrants from The Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica and Guyana – most coming for low paid labour (and wanting a British passport). In some places you do not hear English spoken and we need to encourage the Montserratian diaspora (or more Brits) to return or it will get to the point that the majority on island are foreigners.

(What’s this? Xenophobia on our behalf? We don’t want it! That is at the root of Brexit, remember? This fear and loathing of ‘the other’. Those nationalities that you mentioned are CARICOM citizens. Please go and research CARICOM and educate yourself. These people were invited in the main. Also there are Montserratians living in their countries.
Regarding the diaspora; point taken
)

  1. There are those in power going round the island presently (E.g. at Rotary) advising people to say in this survey that the island needs more independence and be given more money! What is interesting is that most of the local reaction is to disagree as the money government gets is not well spent.

(What survey? It is NOT a survey. And Rotary is only one forum. Also, if anyone in power made such a pitch, clearly they were chased away with it, so why even mention it? Shelley, Shelley, Shelley. Hmmmm).

  1. It was good to see Lord Ahmad on island this year. He, and others concerned in the governance of Montserrat, should visit more often.

(And why not?)

  1. I would vote for rule from the UK with representation in the UK parliament. Stop the waste.

(Really? So who would ‘represent’ us in the UK parliament? I have my views but I’m certain they don’t align with yours)

  1. Montserratians have free access to the UK and the British should have reciprocal rights.

(That calls for a change of status both ways but remember the issue of population imbalance must be addressed as there are are vastly more ‘Britons’ available to relocate to Montserrat than vice versa. See also your previous remarks regarding Caricom nationals. By the way a Montserratian with a BOT passport has the same restrictions in the UK that you complain about for Brits in Montserrat)

  1. In time, perhaps there could be more autonomy as the necessary skills are developed.

(There is already autonomy)

  1. Currently it is a basket case that needs to be sorted out by a benevolent parent.

(Pardon me, but go to hell with this Shelley)

  1. Some of the observations regarding Montserrat might be relevant to other territories which are in deficit financially.

(I’ll gladly leave them to deal with you)