Will Montserrat’s Former Premier Donaldson Romeo and Hon Veronica Dorsette-Hector Present Their Access Special Commission Report Before 2024 Elections?

Honourable Veronica Dorsette-Hector and Honourable Donaldson Romeo
Author

Jeevan A. Robinson

Release Date

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

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On Tuesday, January 17, 2023, Former Premier of Montserrat and Legislative Assembly Member, Hon Donaldson Romeo moved a motion in the Assembly, calling for the formation of a special committee to look at Montserrat’s access challenges.

Romeo’s move in calling for this Access Inquiry at that time was supported by his statement to the media citing; “Efforts to provide a ferry and Twin Otter based air lift for the 2022 Christmas/Festival season broke down and led to chaos. In both cases, regulatory issues were key to the challenges. With the St Patrick’s Festival less than three months away, it is urgent for us to learn what went wrong and how to set it right.”

The resolution in calling for an Inquiry to examine access issues was further justified by Romeo highlighting that the “Montserrat Legislature has oversight responsibility for matters of good government, and as its members are elected by our people, to represent their interests and concerns - the public outcry regarding access issues showed that there is widespread concern with people suffering needless loss.”

The Access Special Committee, with Chairwoman Honourable Veronica Dorsette-Hector and Honourable Donaldson Romeo, was eventually convened on Monday September 25th, 2023, and continued Tuesday September 26th, Wednesday September 27th, Monday October 2nd, and Tuesday October 3rd, 2023.

Accordingly, the Access Committee, established by the Montserrat Legislative Assembly (MLA), was tasked with investigating, and reporting on access-related matters to do with Montserrat.

Many persons went before the Special Committee to be questioned, with a key figure being that of Justin Rothwell of Air Safety Support International (ASSI), who was invited to share insights on the approval process for airlines wishing to operate into and out of what has been termed “challenging airfields” such as the John A Osborne airport.

Nigel Harris, Manager of Fly Montserrat was also called in to give evidence to the Committee.

Another central theme of the enquiry was the Government of Montserrat’s (GoM) shareholder stake in Fly Montserrat, as over the years, since its inception, GoM has made significant input into FM.

It has been 9 months since the Access Special Committee concluded its work.

One of its responsibilities, as mentioned prior, was to produce a Report of its findings. To date, no such Report has been delivered to the public by either Hon Don Romeo or Hon Veronica Dorsette-Hector.

There is talk of an upcoming election gathering steam in Montserrat. Also, allegations are rife that Hon Dorsette-Hector would be stepping away from the ruling MCAP Administration that she sat with for the past 4-years, to join the newly formed United Alliance Party, led by Former Premier Reuben T Meade. In addition, Hon Don Romeo has also made it public that he too has formed a Party to contest these upcoming elections.

With both these MLA Members running for elected Office, both of whom chaired the Access Special Committee; one wonders if they will be speaking about Access on the campaign trail?

If so, can they both be so kind to complete their duties to the people of Montserrat as instructed by their chairing of the Access Special Committee, in finalising and submitting their Report, so the public can be made aware of their findings during the Inquiry.

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