I can speak here for myself as to the things I believe in from a Montserrat National development perspective.
I believe in access to opportunity for all, across the divide of political affiliations.
I also believe that as a developing country, we must enshrine ideas and representations of nationalism from an early age within the youth, but also too, consider permanent symbols to honour our people.
I further believe that economic opportunity towards sustainable development will not come from the British through DFID. After 23 years they have demonstrated that they will just keep asking for more reports and send in more consultants to frustrate the process.
It is our people internally that must start the process aggressively of advocating for, and making into reality those engines of economic growth that are home-grown.
I believe that a strong manufacturing base with the development of a cyclically driven export economy that utilises the buying power of the Montserrat Diaspora can be the way forward as a catalyst to begin to drive Montserrat's economy. I am about and speak towards Black Empowerment, thus any symbols of begging to the UK or such would not be in my forte as a mechanism to achieve sustainable growth.
My further belief is that the structures that ensure the future survival and development of our democracy and our thrust for growth as a people collectively, must be respected and given the appropriate accord - the three Branches of our government to include The Judiciary, the Executive and the Legislative Branches. Thus the matter of disrespect accorded in the Assembly at the recent sitting, and those who I see excusing it and applauding it - I for one will refuse to take them seriously as true partners of progress and the National good. No matter how bad a government is, disrespect in our National Assembly is a no-holds-barred no no no! We must protect our institutions that William Bramble and Marse Bob fought to bring into the control of our people, and for our country's future. No excuses.
Now elections are nearing; or so I have been told. Watching the ramblings from the potential challengers to the PDM Administration I am left disappointed and deeply saddened for Montserrat. What seems to be on display is the politics of old - that type of politics that focuses on the negative and the grandstanding as opposed to accentuating the "how we can, why we should, and the avenues in which we will."
To berate the PDM government and tell the people over and over just how much they have failed is NOT a Leadership alternative to believe in. If that is your offering and only that, then frankly the people should consider such political opportunists dismissed. So much rhetoric. So much grandstanding. Yet, no direct example of any real change away from the same old wasteful politics that has failed Montserrat year in, and year out.
Three years ago I recall stating that we as the younger generation coming through should consider a new mantra of "Changing the Conversation" over our country. Some of the same persons we see running for office today were the ones who jumped forward and said; "No! Let's keep fighting and arguing with each other! The Westminster system of Parliament decrees such engagement as acceptable!"
Well, I say to hell with that! How has fighting and negatively driven politics helped Montserrat? We have had 23 years of abject failures of Leadership. Now we expect to continue with the same vein of reasoning, and expect to see Montserrat grow? I submit that it will not.
The island requires Leadership of a new ilk; a different mindset; a 21st century economically focused and socially conscious thrust. Those who realise, and are making moves to champion the youth and entrepreneurship. The world has changed, and if Leadership is not willing to reflect this change by positioning the country to participate and reap the rewards, then those who are stuck in the era of old politics are self-serving political opportunists not truly about Montserrat, but about self, and/or party.
Now, I wish to state one final thought that has been pervading my mind.
I accept that it is one's democratic right to wish to run for political office if one chooses to do so. However, in many regards what I find troubling is the obvious lack of a desire for unity and collectively working together we are seeing as election season is here. By this I mean, we are hearing of so many parties to be formed - MNC/MUNC (I am yet unclear as I see all sorts of names about the realm); then we have MULP, MCAP, PDM/New PDM et al. In a tiny country with a fractional electorate, and a much smaller base in which to choose candidates from - does Montserrat really need all these political parties?
Are folks so focused on a seemingly thirst for power that they can't see where they share synergy on the issues and join forces to advance Montserrat instead of everyone wanting to be the Chief?
What Montserrat requires now, more than ever, is a unified approach to begin fixing the country. When we keep showing just how divided and insular we can be, then this plays directly against our wider sustainable development goals.
Elections are coming. The "noises" being trumpeted so far from potential challengers are quite frankly, to me, unimpressive and is the same old washed up palaver. I await to hear true "Change".
Note: Jeevan A. Robinson is Editor-in-Chief of Marketing, News & Information Media - MNI Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org