Montserrat General Elections 2014: Any Takers?

Montserrat General Elections 2014: Any Takers?

Jeevan Robinson

Release Date

Friday, May 31, 2013


Good news was delivered for Montserrat recently, that frankly, I thought the ruling administration's information and public relations machine would have gone into over drive promoting.

Our partners in development, the Department for International Development (Dfid) have given Montserrat a life line towards the island's development plans. According to reports received and verified by MNI Alive, Dfid has increased Montserrat's budget allocation to some EC$70 million up from the previous EC$52 million. Additionally, reports confirm to our media that monies given by Dfid were also to clear most of the island's outstanding liabilities, in effect giving the Meade administration somewhat of a fresh start.

One resident emailed MNI Alive and stated, "As a keen observer of the relationship between Dfid and the Government of Montserrat (GoM), I was surprised in many ways by this move, considering the recent rumblings of Dfid suspending funding for two major projects here on the island. Not bad!"

Dfid's recent gesture would suggest to me that they are showing increased confidence in Montserrat's future prospects. This bodes as excellent news for the future.

This is as much good news for the citizens of Montserrat and its Diaspora, as it is also wonderful news for Premier Meade. I am almost certain he is inwardly smiling at this public show of confidence from the British Government in his leadership.

What Dfid have done, is strengthen Premier Meade's hand heading into an election year; just as questions were gathering pace over his positioning as a candidate for elections 2014. My analysis does not lend towards concluding that Dfid willfully played its hand in local politics by strengthening Premier Meade. I refrain from going down that road; reason being that decisions undertaken by Dfid, whether intended or not, will have some political ramifications. It is inescapable considering the scope of their portfolio.

As we fan the flames heading into an election year 2014, one of the fundamental talking points should be about the stewardship of our economy. Do we feel Meade has done the best job possible given his considerable resources academically and technically?

I am not interested here to debate the many accusations that buzz around the Premier. More so, we should look at his record to date and debate the finer points of his stewardship and whether the challenges he has mentioned to us over the preceding years justifies measurement against what he has managed to achieve as we are about to head into another election year.

I have heard many names mentioned as potential candidates for 2014. If these individuals do confirm their candidacy, then it makes for a dramatic election period next year.

When examining elections and the suitability of candidates, I often like to look at an individual's record, dig into the archives to learn of their policy positions, their past political forays if at all, just to garner where they might be coming from politically.

There is no dictate that formalizes how one should involve themselves in politics but we must scrutinize those who present for elected office in order to ascertain if their intent is genuine, or masked in opportunism. Is it the country and the advancement of the human condition they truly care about? Or do they see an opportunity for pillage and an assuredly handsome salary?

Some of these persons we may not have heard an utterance from over the past five years when the critical issues that plagued the country begged for a voice. Instead, we received silence and bar room grumblings, but no public activism.

The society's close-knit nature does not lend to such debates I was told. I would say that expressed defeatism is the fallacy of our politics, for as a keynote speaker Cecil Roach said at the recent Montserrat Toronto Association banquet; Democracies do not function if citizens do not get involved.

So! Is the suicidal politician' in for another assured run towards becoming three times leader of Montserrat, or will the electorate seek a new direction?

Things are beginning to move on Montserrat. Geothermal energy potential tickles our fancy immensely, and we hope the resource can be proven to be viable. Equally, the excitement of what can be achieved at Little Bay/Carr's Bay with the town and Port development lavishes the mind with images of grandeur for Montserrat. These are all projects to come that are filled with potential, but potential as we are well aware is not achievement. We wait to see these projects bringing the benefits to Montserrat that the island so deserves.

Should Premier Meade get the credit for putting in the air miles to London to bargain our case? Should the Dfid Representative for Montserrat, Mr Kimbugwe, get the credit for fighting hard for Montserrat? Should Opposition Leader Don Romeo, get the credit for making vocal the need for the UK to do more for Montserrat as was promised? I suppose there is no straightforward answer here either.

One thing though is obvious to any observer or political pundit; Premier Meade is the front and centre of his administration. There is no mistaking who runs the show. The support cast of Hon Ministers Riley, Kirnon, Taylor-Farrell and Parliamentary Secretaries Wade & Osborne many observers feel, struggle in their relevance, except to keep the ship afloat.

Elections 2014 will be intriguing no doubt, as records are examined, past utterances measured against delivery and the future of our homeland guarded with earnest from those who may seek opportunity instead of presenting to Montserratians progressive ingenuity.

Any takers?

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