Is Reubenism The Way Forward for Montserrat? An Opportune Moment for A Motion of No Confidence


Jeevan Robinson

Release Date

Thursday, September 26, 2013


There is a strong case some would say, in light of recent developments, to move a Motion of No Confidence against the Premier Meade led MCAP administration. The outlandish denial by the Premier that he never mounted a Motion of No Confidence against the former John Osborne led administration in October 2005, in the face of hard facts to the contrary is an act that many observers feel speaks to credibility, leadership and lack of respect for the people of Montserrat. Listen to the Premier below, tabling the Motion of No Confidence against Osborne in 2005:

Now hear Premier Meade on Tuesday, October 24, 2013, below denying that he ever brought the above Motion of No Confidence against Osborne in 2005:

Additionally, the culpability of fellow MCAP Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries, two of whom are held to high regard in their respective congregations to disregard this shameful economy of truth by Montserrat's leader, speaks to their judgement and puts a vital question squarely at the forefront. Are these Ministers standing with Premier Meade to save their monthly salaries, and have lost sight of their electoral promises enshrined in their Manifesto four years ago where they promised to govern with integrity and bring the highest forms of governance back to Montserrat? For, if it is Montserrat first they serve, then them standing silently by while the Premier creates a public spectacle is a revelation of significant proportions.

One would say they are standing in unity as a party. But here is a question I pose; is the unity of MCAP a public front? How warm is the relationship between Honourable Riley and Premier Meade's Reubenism' leadership style? (Reubenism is a phrase we have coined to describe the tenure of the Hon Reuben T Meade) What about the Honourable Wade, how does he feel about the flow of developments his way despite his unbridled support of Reubenism? Young Wade promised much to the youth when he was elected but how much has he delivered? He must be still smarting from his put down recently as he rose to take a position on an issue close to his heart. Questions also abound as to whether Honourable Kirnon and Premier Meade are as chummy as they once were after recent incidents involving PWD and Dfid. Is the MCAP now in power a marriage of convenience rather than an affectionate love fest?

The winds gather and an astute politician would see an opportune moment to strike in the face of the embarrassment of denial from the Premier. Rest assured that this very same Premier would have likely seized this moment if it were another government in power and he sat in opposition with the same circumstances.

The reality however that needs to be addressed fast is the lack of an organised and powerful opposition on Montserrat. Meade knows this, and thus uses this as the focal point to centralise and project his power. Why else would he continue to be emboldened, continually confounding the proponents of accountable governance and transparent leadership that many have been asking him for.

MCAP may be fractured from within, but their rule is even more concerning as what we seem to be showing in Montserrat is a one party system with the opposition being a voice of one. The Honourable Victor James from all accounts and his speeches in Parliament seems to be MCAP in disguise. Do not be surprised, with elections constitutionally due next September, if Premier Meade does not spring a political mousetrap and calls them early. The current posturing of MCAP shows that they have unofficially began their campaigning. Souls interested in leadership at this juncture must not be caught off guard and should now be getting their houses in order to contest the upcoming elections for the questions that lay ahead are significant for Montserrat's future.

There is a question that is unavoidable however. Will the Premier do the noble thing and apologise to the Honourable Leader of the Opposition, The Honourable Speaker of the House, to his parliamentary colleagues and most importantly the people of Montserrat, for his blatant disregard of the facts that he did in fact place a Motion of No Confidence in the late John Alfred Osborne's government? Or will Reubenism rule the roost and he continues in a manner disregardful to Montserratians and our friends.

How can it be that a motion of such significance was tabled yet the Honourable Member seems to have come down with amnesia in not remembering, hence setting himself and his Premiership on a course of discontent, embarrassment and lack of credibility.

After four years though there is one question that will be the central theme going forward, and that is whether lives have improved and families and individuals across the board are better off than they were four years ago. Has the Movement for Change and Prosperity delivered change for all, or just for a select few who never challenge them on their policy directives? What is the condition of you and your family today as opposed to four years ago? That question you must ask yourself, heading into this election cycle.

The convenience for Meade and company is that the projects taking place within Little Bay and Carr's Bay fall right into the timing of the upcoming elections and make no doubt, they will milk these developments for all they are worth to satisfy an electorate weary of empty promises. What the electorate must consider is whether or not Meade and MCAP have been good stewards of Montserrat. For I submit that the Premier started his second stint as leader stating that all ideas will contend but instead reverted to his tried and tested 'Reubenism'.

From countless accounts received and observations made, Reubenism dictates that you dare not challenge the elected leadership or you will be denied. Reubenism postures that the economic issues of the island trump all other modes of development - ignoring social infrastructure, ignoring the youths who leave the island in droves since this administration took office. Reubenism seemingly ignores showing compassion with a scared populace when crime last year was feared to be taking over our island. Reubenism seeks to silence citizens and frames political commentary on policy and governance as a personal attack rather than democratic participation. Reubenism states that government knows best and the views of the people are insignificant except for election cycles. Reubenism likes to refer to the term mendicants, but who is truly turning Montserratians into mendicants? Reubenism perhaps?

The battle ahead is not for the present, but for the future - for real and lasting opportunities for our youths. It is a battle for true prosperity that can be accessed by all those who seek it, and not just a select few who have plenty but yet want all. It is a battle that says anyone can have his or her say without fear of victimisation, economic aggression or social paralysis. It is a battle that seeks to incorporate a new style of leadership that is not petty and self serving but inclusive and pro-active in bringing forward 21st century solutions for age old problems. Can Reubenism change and respond?

Photo Credits to Spirit of Montserrat

Jeevan Robinson is Founder and Editor-in-Chief of MNI Alive. A global Caribbean marketing, news and information (MNI) media house. He can be reached at

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