So we see the election is in full swing and the persons of Montserrat have the opportunity again to register our interest and elect the future leader and support a team to take the island forward.
But what of the candidates and the parties vying for power and the chances of success?
Let us take a look and decide who has the potential to rule in this, potentially the greatest chapter in the history of Montserrat for a generation.
I guess we can pass the independents and move onto the main parties. There is no real single independent candidate (apart from Victor James) who has the potential to make a change. If they did, then they would be part of a larger party strategy instead of fighting alone. But it appears nobody wants them.
The likes of Joel Osborne and Claude Gerald have very little chance and may as well step aside and let the real experienced politicians fight it out. Although it would be fun to witness ‘Moose’ take up a seat in Parliament.
Incumbent party MCAP have a well organised and colourful campaign, plenty of noise and boundless energy surround the team, and what a team. The experienced Reuben T Meade, the stalwart Easton Farrell, the vibrant Jermaine Wade and the...well...the rest. Great on paper, but have these characters actually delivered during the last five years?
What has MCAP achieved in the past term. We are still awaiting a new Town Centre. We are still looking at a major investor for the Port. We still have the same old bureaucracy in every area of government procedure.
However, we are promised a new hospital. But are we being promised the things that really matter such as reduced duty on imports and smoother customs controls?
Have MCAP reduced unemployment? Have we seen the standard of living increase under this MCAP government? Have we rid the streets of corruption? Have we seen every person have the opportunity to better themselves? I guess yes and I guess no also.
There is still great talk of investors arriving from overseas, strangely coordinating perfectly with an election year. Call me a cynic but what is the betting that the investor does not appear before, during or after the election. If there was such an interest from Dubai why is the team off to China later this year? Come on Montserrat, let us not be fooled by this big talk.
As for selling citizenship, yes you can blame the UK for not wanting to do this but what is it going to achieve, an island overrun by persons who only want to be here to hide money. Can we not assume for at least one minute that we can build this ourselves, we have rich persons who could do it.
The main characters in this year’s pantomime are:
Reuben T Meade:
He sure can play the populace like a violin and he loves it, yet this ability to talk well is also his greatest asset. He can talk with the great and the good very well and he knows it. Yet his past is similar to the trophy shelf of a poor to mediocre freshman, underwritten with comments such as "Shows great potential but is easily distracted by others". Reuben is probably the only one who can stand up to the UK, so let us start to see this political prowess and stand up for Montserrat. He can make us proud again if he is willing to demonstrate his true ability instead of thinking of himself.
A man or a mouse? He is full of limited ideas and full of even more limited ability to fulfil these ideas. I cannot see sport and health having moved forwards in the last term. I hear there has been a sports and fitness development specialist on island for some time and know they have not been approached by Mr Riley. Yet he is strangely likeable in a happy smiley way. Forever at events and out in the public eye. Come Colin, take your ability and show some control over your department. In a strange twist, I witnessed Colin being cross examined last weekend by MDC management at the Lyme with this one phrase being uttered by a non-Montserratian: "Colin you are too nice for politics." I can only agree. Colin you want to do the right thing but is this the environ for you?
He flatters to deceive. Elected on the back of a huge youth campaign (me included) he is still waiting to deliver anything of much purpose. The newly designed Basketball Arena is at ground level as I understand government are still arguing over funding issues. Come on Jermaine, at least deliver something this campaign even if it is the mail. Politics is more than smart suits and shiny shoes. My real concern, Jermaine shows great potential but is losing that connection with the voters.
A man that clearly means well but where is our agricultural development? We are a people of the soil and we want to see opportunity for everyone to return to our agricultural routes. The quality of construction on island is woeful. Why are we not utilising professional ability to rectify this? Easton is a true man to his word, a religious man. Is he true to the persons of Montserrat? Has he delivered over his term to make life better for Montserrat?
It is time for you to show what you are made of and promote youth development. This is such an opportunity for you after Jermaine Wade has clearly failed the youths. The big question is, can you rely on a few student votes? Remember, you walked out on our children in their hour of need and potentially jeopardised their education. Courage and conviction over self-promotion maybe? Do you connect with the average man?
So that is the core of the current MCAP team. The Team to Fulfil the Dream. What is the dream to fulfil though? If it is much of the same, then it is less of a dream and more of a nightmare. Promises of great return, but we must see something tangible or another session of failure awaits.
Over to PDM and their campaign, based on the above this team ‘should’ walk away with the election. All they have to do is demonstrate the incompetence of the MCAP team and show they will make a difference. Show how they can advance Montserrat forwards. Yet still at this late stage we do not officially know their team. Talk about leaving it late.
A man with a vision. A good honest man, but he fails on a continual basis to compete with Reuben T Meade. Come now Don, stand up and fight like a man and don’t let Reuben bully you. I fail again to see that Don has the political strength to carry us forward. With the right team, then yes, but we do not see that team yet. Don needs to stop being so negative about everything good that is happening and start to develop his own policy. I and Montserrat wait with baited breath for the policy to compete with MCAP.
David Osborne (and probably best to mention Shirley Osborne at this point):
Both experienced in political circles. David is the politician but are the reasons he defected enough to make him a credible choice moving forwards. Shirley is a strong character and needs to demonstrate all her ability to the population, but please Shirley stop decrying everything that is happening on the island. Yes, decisions were made for Little Bay. OK they may not suit everybody. At least they were made to move things forwards.
Really? Talks a great game as we know from his radio show, but delivery? He reminds me of an English cricketer, looks good on the team bus but spoils it with the first ball waving his bat to achieve a duck. Everything I hear he has been involved in is surrounded by certain controversy and he may not be trusted. Financial is not a good driver in politics, you need to consider the needs of the people Greg. You try hard probably too hard and what do you achieve? Have something solid and successful behind you.
What a choice! It is about time this man stood for politics. Again though, a very popular character on island but can he carry through on experience? Also, it will be an interesting conflict should the PDM wish to challenge the MDC with Mr Skerritt’s son being employed there.
The man who cannot make a decision I hear. He had an average career in MUL and is looking to have an even more average career should he fail to win a seat. If he were to win, I hate to say it, but he will get walked all over by experienced politicians.
And there we have the core of the PDM team, inexperienced but hopeful. I have real concerns about certain members of the team and transparency, or even who those members of the team actually are. There is no policy evident and the manifesto is (BLANK). As I said, this team should walk away with the election based on MCAP's failing popularity, but they are managing to make a real mess of the process and time is running out.
MCAP v PDM, is one going to triumph over the other? Unlikely, as the best future for our island may well be a coalition with the best of both parties coming together but is this likely to happen? Can the teams and characters work together.
MCAP have peaked too soon. PDM..well..will they peak at all?
So I say vote Wilford ‘Moose’ Meade for POSITIVE results…well maybe, but what is the alternative!