Who are we as a people striving for development?
Collectively, we are Montserratians by birth and by virtue of colonial ties we have attained British citizenship. But I must ask, as this era of our growth and development unfolds, who are we as a people and our displayed attitudes towards our fellow countrymen and women – whether living on island or within the often-maligned Diaspora?
I am of the view that Nations advance in their economic prospects, social enterprise, political and constitutional growth because of a singularly all-important element – Transformational Leadership.
This is a Leadership that not only seeks to position itself as a spectacle of power and authority to subjugate and crush anyone unfortunate enough not to be part of its fan base. But more so, this type of Transformational Leadership I refer to should be a Leadership that uplifts; inspires; grows; is flexible; shows empathy and is willing to hear the voices of its people and take the required actions to address perceived wrongs and misgivings.
Recently, the incidents around Access to do with the island's two main air carriers – Fly Montserrat and SVG – have been given air as the passengers who travelled on those airlines are today still suffering.
Fly Montserrat with its mid-air engine failure and SVG airline with its aircraft veering off the runway last year at the John A. Osborne Airport on Montserrat. Whilst there was no loss of life on both incidents, there was bodily injury and also loss of personal property on one incident. Then for both incidents there still remains a severe issue of mental health; distress and a total feeling of neglect and disregard by those passengers from both the management of Fly Montserrat and SVG Airline.
In addition, those responsible for Access on Montserrat and also air safety – the Office of the Premier and the Office of the Governor of Montserrat – neither have, to date, reached out to any of the passengers who have been publicly crying out for some manner of respect and acknowledgement to be shown towards their ongoing ordeal.
These passengers are not seeking anything out of the ordinary that a compassionate and respectful Leadership should not see as fitting.
How can it be that a Premier who often touts his brotherly/sisterly love beliefs and this mantra of small close-knit community, not see it as beholden of him to write to these passengers either individually or collectively expressing his understanding of their ordeal and measures being taken to address the dangling access issues that plague Montserrat, causing these passengers to be now suffering mentally the way they have been.
The Governor’s Office equally, instead of seemingly seeking each and every sly avenue to protect Fly Montserrat’s interests, they too should write or offer some form of mention and acknowledgement to these passengers who are openly telling them that they are seriously struggling after those two ordeals. The Governor’s Office two weeks ago issued a statement on the Fly Montserrat incident and there was not even a slight reference towards the impacted passengers in that statement coming from one of the highest Offices in the land.
Both the Government of Montserrat and the Governor have not shown compassion, they are not showing astute Leadership on this matter. In fact, it is coming over as purely heartless the way they have ignored these passengers on both flights, considering recent matters that have come to light from the passengers.
Fly Montserrat and SVG Airlines must equally do better as corporate citizens enjoying the revenue being generated from local users and Diaspora travellers alike who fly to Montserrat. How can it be that neither of these airline’s top management can make a gesture of good faith towards their impacted passengers, caused by their airline’s faulty aircrafts? Is this how, within a small community, real human suffering is ignored and blatantly disrespected?
I continue to wonder who is listening and who cares? Often, as I listen to the collection of issues the people are seeking to get addressed, there seem to be no answers from the country's Leadership. It would just appear as if the ship is drifting without a rudder and the truly Transformational Leadership being craved is yet still elusive.
At least, what I am praying comes from this, is that the people see who is leading them and just how little they think of their mental health and well-being.
Jeevan A. Robinson