Categorized | Editorial

There must be full revelation of everything about the Constitution

Back in 1999 the United Kingdom (HMG) government issued a White Paper which spoke to a new and modernised partnership between them and their Overseas territories (Colonies). They said that this had evolved out of the volcanic crisis that had besieged Montserrat. The White Paper had set out a number issues that they intended to ‘partner’, good governance, their obligations and responsibilities, etc. This was indicated: “Like every partnership, ours involves shared responsibilities and obligations.”

In 2001, to show that they no longer wanted to dictate to their Colonies, they offered them the opportunity to review their Constitutions and to modernise it as they saw fit. However, this offer was subject to their approval and they set out a Check-list as to which matters, what and how the territories should proceed with their proposals for a modernised Constitution. Not all things were pertinent to Gibraltar. This Check-list MUST be shared with the public. Not just read on radio but put in print and not just on the internet either; if the intention is to have the widest possible information, education and discussion among the people.

Montserrat, if not the first, was among the first, to receive their guidelines. But now it appears that Montserrat will be the last to finalise their modernised Constitution and that is causing some concern and right now perhaps, serious ones, since finally it is being realised that the Reuben Meade government is willing to accept some ‘farcical’ changes, following several rounds of ‘talks, negotiations’ which only legislators (not all of them at times) have said yes to. (See Check-list item)

The stage had been set, but later in December, 2005, UK Secretary of State Jack Straw told the delegates of the Overseas Territories Consultative Council in England: “The Constitutional Review process will help us ensure that we get the right balance of rights and responsibilities between us.  For as long as the territories want, the UK will maintain our firm commitment to our partnership and the obligations that go with it.  But equally, we cannot offer an ever-increasing degree of autonomy which would prevent us from meeting those obligations and from protecting our liabilities and responsibilities.”

By this time, Montserrat had run the initial course and a report submitted by a Constitutional Review Commission headed by Dr. Sir Howard Fergus. The proposals in the report did not meet the full approval. The legislators by this time in 2003 felt that more was needed.

Repeatedly, in that report The Commissioners wrote and referred to that word “self determination”: “We believe that HMG welcomes any aspiration which Montserratians might have for self-determination and are willing to assist them in the preparatory process,” Fergus wrote.
“The new Constitution must be based on principle and especially that fundamental principle of self-determination so vital to a people in a long and checkered march out of the night of slavery into the daybreak of real freedom.”

The government should now provide in a far more sincere manner, honestly the Check-list, that first report, and all the changes that were made, as well as the additions that have been secretly made between 2006 and now, after Dr. Lewis broke the secrecy and presented what up to then had been the new draft.

It is fooling the people to say, it will be discussed on radio and placed on the internet. This MUST be given full viewing and every means of getting this to the people should be used. Mr. Government your technical advisers will tell you that these should be available in PRINT. Anything that goes on all the web sites in Montserrat will not have the reach it should unless placed on the most popularly viewed  web site, The Montserrat Reporter. The web site gets more viewership than all of Montserrat’s other web sites put together. That is obvious, the statistics can’t lie. After all its been there ONLINE since 1996. Google Montserrat and get an idea.

It takes time years for a web site to become known. A link on the TMR web site means more viewership. Your technicians can confirm that and have done so time and time again. And please stop fooling the people. Your director in this area confirmed to the world that only 250 people at any given time can tune in to ZJB on line.

Note: The last clause of the Checklist outlines that this Government must convince HMG that the Constitution has reached the majority, who must express their knowledge and support.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

Back in 1999 the United Kingdom (HMG) government issued a White Paper which spoke to a new and modernised partnership between them and their Overseas territories (Colonies). They said that this had evolved out of the volcanic crisis that had besieged Montserrat. The White Paper had set out a number issues that they intended to ‘partner’, good governance, their obligations and responsibilities, etc. This was indicated: “Like every partnership, ours involves shared responsibilities and obligations.”

In 2001, to show that they no longer wanted to dictate to their Colonies, they offered them the opportunity to review their Constitutions and to modernise it as they saw fit. However, this offer was subject to their approval and they set out a Check-list as to which matters, what and how the territories should proceed with their proposals for a modernised Constitution. Not all things were pertinent to Gibraltar. This Check-list MUST be shared with the public. Not just read on radio but put in print and not just on the internet either; if the intention is to have the widest possible information, education and discussion among the people.

Montserrat, if not the first, was among the first, to receive their guidelines. But now it appears that Montserrat will be the last to finalise their modernised Constitution and that is causing some concern and right now perhaps, serious ones, since finally it is being realised that the Reuben Meade government is willing to accept some ‘farcical’ changes, following several rounds of ‘talks, negotiations’ which only legislators (not all of them at times) have said yes to. (See Check-list item)

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The stage had been set, but later in December, 2005, UK Secretary of State Jack Straw told the delegates of the Overseas Territories Consultative Council in England: “The Constitutional Review process will help us ensure that we get the right balance of rights and responsibilities between us.  For as long as the territories want, the UK will maintain our firm commitment to our partnership and the obligations that go with it.  But equally, we cannot offer an ever-increasing degree of autonomy which would prevent us from meeting those obligations and from protecting our liabilities and responsibilities.”

By this time, Montserrat had run the initial course and a report submitted by a Constitutional Review Commission headed by Dr. Sir Howard Fergus. The proposals in the report did not meet the full approval. The legislators by this time in 2003 felt that more was needed.

Repeatedly, in that report The Commissioners wrote and referred to that word “self determination”: “We believe that HMG welcomes any aspiration which Montserratians might have for self-determination and are willing to assist them in the preparatory process,” Fergus wrote.
“The new Constitution must be based on principle and especially that fundamental principle of self-determination so vital to a people in a long and checkered march out of the night of slavery into the daybreak of real freedom.”

The government should now provide in a far more sincere manner, honestly the Check-list, that first report, and all the changes that were made, as well as the additions that have been secretly made between 2006 and now, after Dr. Lewis broke the secrecy and presented what up to then had been the new draft.

It is fooling the people to say, it will be discussed on radio and placed on the internet. This MUST be given full viewing and every means of getting this to the people should be used. Mr. Government your technical advisers will tell you that these should be available in PRINT. Anything that goes on all the web sites in Montserrat will not have the reach it should unless placed on the most popularly viewed  web site, The Montserrat Reporter. The web site gets more viewership than all of Montserrat’s other web sites put together. That is obvious, the statistics can’t lie. After all its been there ONLINE since 1996. Google Montserrat and get an idea.

It takes time years for a web site to become known. A link on the TMR web site means more viewership. Your technicians can confirm that and have done so time and time again. And please stop fooling the people. Your director in this area confirmed to the world that only 250 people at any given time can tune in to ZJB on line.

Note: The last clause of the Checklist outlines that this Government must convince HMG that the Constitution has reached the majority, who must express their knowledge and support.