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Speaker Osborne says the justice system has failed women

By Bennette Roach

Shirley Osborne

After much attention and some consultations, viewed sometimes targeted as well misguided, concentrated for at least the last seven years, changes and creating legislation, a self-driven and outspoken advocate for women’s rights, safety from violence and abuse has claimed that the justice system is lacking in Montserrat.

The accusation or the opinion thus comes after the acquittal of two men recently charged with separate incidents of gender based violence in the High Court.

One man was acquitted of allegedly raping a just about to leave school over 16-year old girl, while the other was cleared of on a charge of attempted murder of a woman, below 30 years of age. Meanwhile few weeks ago following those two incidents there was one guilty verdict returned among other guilty pleas and convictions, giving the appearance that efforts were being made to bring perpetrators to face sentencing.

With little reaction coming from some circles, reports suggest that “the discharges have reignited the debate on gender based violence and whether or not enough is being done to protect women and children on the island.” The report says that “Mama’s spokeswoman says while the violence against women’s bill is a step in the right direction, far too often incidences of domestic violence, assault and sexual crimes go unchecked.”

MAMA, Royal Poinciana, a Montserratian Women’s Organisation committed to the advancement and elevation of the women of Montserrat is the island’s first Women’s Resource Centre.  It was launched just over a year ago, on Friday, November 25.

Miss Shirley Osborne, former chairman of the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) and Speaker of the national Assembly is the spokesperson. “The best thing to do from here is to look for a way forward,” she began speaking to news reporters at ZJB radio. “You can’t remedy what’s already been done but we could look really intentionally purposely look for ways to ensure as far as that’s possible that we don’t have this occurring again.”

Miss Osborne says that the biggest issue for her is that, “clearly we’re not doing nearly enough to protect women not just adult women but young women and our more vulnerable women also and our more vulnerable girls.”

“Clearly, we’re not doing enough and the terrifying thing for me is that the court the judicial system which is what you look to when all else fails or we should look to when all else fails, by some accounts and in some people’s informed opinion has failed this time,” she opined.

Moving to take action in response, she announced that a meeting was planned to allow members of the public, where, “First of all, we’re just going to look at what happened what we did as a group over the year.
She reported that they had “these these town hall meetings before and we have continued individually and in groups to advance the whole idea of women safety and security and empowerment and so on in Montserrat,” adding, “We’re going to talk about this last high court session.”

She said, “there’s too many questions too much disappointment too much anger too much failure there.”

“We could talk to anybody in the legal system, there are people in the judicial legal system who will tell you,” she continued, “yeah, I honestly don’t know how that happened. That shouldn’t have happened.”

“We’re going to talk about what we could as a group begin to do formally because I think when these things happen you kind of have to look at how to go beyond what you’re doing and approach the higher-ups if you will, go to the ABC’s of the power structures in Montserrat and wherever else to ensure that these things are looked at,” she concluded.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

By Bennette Roach

Shirley Osborne

After much attention and some consultations, viewed sometimes targeted as well misguided, concentrated for at least the last seven years, changes and creating legislation, a self-driven and outspoken advocate for women’s rights, safety from violence and abuse has claimed that the justice system is lacking in Montserrat.

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The accusation or the opinion thus comes after the acquittal of two men recently charged with separate incidents of gender based violence in the High Court.

One man was acquitted of allegedly raping a just about to leave school over 16-year old girl, while the other was cleared of on a charge of attempted murder of a woman, below 30 years of age. Meanwhile few weeks ago following those two incidents there was one guilty verdict returned among other guilty pleas and convictions, giving the appearance that efforts were being made to bring perpetrators to face sentencing.

With little reaction coming from some circles, reports suggest that “the discharges have reignited the debate on gender based violence and whether or not enough is being done to protect women and children on the island.” The report says that “Mama’s spokeswoman says while the violence against women’s bill is a step in the right direction, far too often incidences of domestic violence, assault and sexual crimes go unchecked.”

MAMA, Royal Poinciana, a Montserratian Women’s Organisation committed to the advancement and elevation of the women of Montserrat is the island’s first Women’s Resource Centre.  It was launched just over a year ago, on Friday, November 25.

Miss Shirley Osborne, former chairman of the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) and Speaker of the national Assembly is the spokesperson. “The best thing to do from here is to look for a way forward,” she began speaking to news reporters at ZJB radio. “You can’t remedy what’s already been done but we could look really intentionally purposely look for ways to ensure as far as that’s possible that we don’t have this occurring again.”

Miss Osborne says that the biggest issue for her is that, “clearly we’re not doing nearly enough to protect women not just adult women but young women and our more vulnerable women also and our more vulnerable girls.”

“Clearly, we’re not doing enough and the terrifying thing for me is that the court the judicial system which is what you look to when all else fails or we should look to when all else fails, by some accounts and in some people’s informed opinion has failed this time,” she opined.

Moving to take action in response, she announced that a meeting was planned to allow members of the public, where, “First of all, we’re just going to look at what happened what we did as a group over the year.
She reported that they had “these these town hall meetings before and we have continued individually and in groups to advance the whole idea of women safety and security and empowerment and so on in Montserrat,” adding, “We’re going to talk about this last high court session.”

She said, “there’s too many questions too much disappointment too much anger too much failure there.”

“We could talk to anybody in the legal system, there are people in the judicial legal system who will tell you,” she continued, “yeah, I honestly don’t know how that happened. That shouldn’t have happened.”

“We’re going to talk about what we could as a group begin to do formally because I think when these things happen you kind of have to look at how to go beyond what you’re doing and approach the higher-ups if you will, go to the ABC’s of the power structures in Montserrat and wherever else to ensure that these things are looked at,” she concluded.