Statement: Leader of the Opposition on Montserrat Hon Paul J. Lewis on Senior Local Officials Being Replaced by Workers from the UK

Leader of The Opposition on Montserrat, Hon Paul Lewis

Hon Paul J. Lewis

Release Date

Monday, March 27, 2023


The residents and citizens of Montserrat have a right to social justice, economic empowerment and political advancement. Our 2010 Constitution Order  recognises the inherent right of every Montserratian to pursue their hopes, visions, their aspirations and also their right to self-determination. 

There is a growing concern amongst the caring and concerned residents of this island, that there seems to be an increasing trend to remove locals from senior positions within the public service and also from within the Police Service, and replace them with British professionals from the United Kingdom.

I am compelled as a representative of the people to voice my concerns over this questionable practice, as I am of the view that what we are seeing taking place with our people being replaced with top managers being brought in from the UK - this will only serve to undermine the rights of Montserratians to pursue our hopes, visions, aspirations and our right to self determination as determined by our 2010 Constitution Order. 

Furthermore, these continued decisions to replace our Local residents who occupy Senior positions within the public service and the Police service, with imported British professionals, this can be seen as modern efforts towards recolonization. These developments do not sit well with the people of Montserrat.

Listen to the full statement here or continue reading below:

One recent example that is generating much public debate, is the recent announcement of the appointment of Dr Nick Caveney to take over as the Interim Commissioner of Police, effective 1st April 2023.     

In addition, the recent decision to retire local police officers was done according to the Police Act, instead of following the General Public Service Pension Act, which gives a higher or later retirement age for those officers.

I find it very convenient that in the police retirement matter, the decision was made to adhere to the Police Act, as it clearly suited those making that decision at the time.

It is therefore only reasonable that I must now question why the Police Act was not followed as per section 11 (2), where it stipulates having the Deputy Police Commissioner act as Police Commissioner until a commissioner is appointed.

There is blatantly no consistency in applying the police Act regarding both situations as I have just demonstrated. It is quite obviously only applied when it suits the decision makers. Should there not be consistency in following the Act?

Your Excellency, the people of Montserrat deserve an explanation around this appointment and what seems to be a plan to remove and prevent locals from holding senior positions in the Public Service and The Royal Montserrat Police Service.

This appointment of a British Police as interim Commissioner of Police here on Montserrat is being done at a time when reports all over the British Press are highlighting that the Metropolitan Police Force is corrupt, racist, homophobic and misogynistic. The report is asking for a reform of the Force or an overhaul of the Force.

These press reports give great cause for concern, and makes the residents and citizens of Montserrat even more troubled and uncomfortable with the recent appointment of a Police Officer from the UK to serve as Deputy Police Commissioner here.

The Montserrat constitution section 39 (1) states:

" The Governor, acting in his or her discretion, shall be responsible for the conduct, subject to this Constitution, of any business of the Government with respect to the following matters—(a) defence;(b) external affairs; (c) the regulation of international financial services; (d) internal security, including the police service; (e) the functions conferred on the Governor by this Constitution or any other law in relation to the public service; and the Governor shall keep the Premier fully informed concerning the general conduct of these matters, and the Premier may request information in respect of any particular matter."

Mr Premier, according to the Montserrat Constitution, it is reasonable for the public to believe that you have been informed by the Governor on the matter of the appointment of the Interim Police commissioner and that you had the opportunity to request further information from the Governor on the subject. This means you Mr Premier should be in a position to inform the public of your  government's position regarding this decision. You need to tell us Mr Premier, very clearly, if you are in agreement and why you would be in agreement with this decision taken by The Governor. 

We the people of Montserrat demand to know from both the Governor and The Premier why at this time are we seeing the appointment of a UK Police Officer in Montserrat's Police Service in one our most Senior positions?

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