Address by Her Ladyship, the Honourable Janice M Pereira, Chief Justice, to mark the opening of Law Year 2014 – 2015, 17th September 2014 (via Anguilla)
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ZJB Morning Report Monday 22nd September 2014
The following is the text of the feature address delivered by Honourable Premier Donaldson Romeo to the Montserrat Progressive Society of New York on the occasion of their 100th anniversary
With protocols established, I am delighted to share this moment with all of you. This is an incredible and well deserving celebration! 100 years of community service, 100 years of thriving and overcoming, 100 years of leadership and achievements is a very long time. This organization has a lot to be thankful for, and much praise to offer both to God, its founders and current leaders, whose vision still rings true today as when you first began. It must have taken every ounce of sight, insight, hindsight and foresight to keep this organization growing from strength to strength.
I want to say a special thanks to those who invited me, and many thanks to others who supported the PDM’s mission of a prosperous and self-sufficient Montserrat. Having won our recent national elections with a landslide victory, we are now working intelligently and innovatively to rebuild our homeland. I want to address three parallel priorities that our new government is pursuing. These are: A shift in Mindset, Collective Engagement and Repopulation.
I believe that although Montserrat is small in size it is big in aspiration. If we think big, we will achieve extraordinary outcomes. If we believe that excellence is within us, then we will begin to value each other and search for homegrown solutions. The truth is this: Our collective gifts and talents are amazingly available for positive nation building. But each of us must be united around a common goal. This goal is captured by the question, what am I willing to do to make Montserrat one of the most wholesome, healthy, prosperous, peaceful and vibrant places on earth, in which to live?
If every one of us asks and answers this question, we will discover that by pooling our intellectual might and by joining our professional forces and by integrating our practical experiences into a collective engagement process, we will advance more than we could ever imagine. I know that we don’t have gold and oil but we have each other. Yes, I agree that all that glitters is not gold but I have lived long enough to realize that all gold glitters.
That is why our new government is clear that to achieve greatness, we must be passionate, aim high, work wisely and hard. We can never allow square mileage to determine the scope of our possibility or the significance of our ambition. I am encouraged that organizations like yours, and opportunities that living in Diaspora can afford, could very well lead to excited open doors. All of you gathered here tonight can organize yourselves into pressure groups, investment hunters, networking associations and powerful lobbyists for the purpose of advancing Montserrat. By that I mean that YOU ARE a source of resources. Think for a moment how you are indeed a source of resources. Think how through a simple conversation, a simple act of networking, a single commitment to doing something marvellous for your homeland, how an army of ideas and creative initiatives can be released and resurrected—so that Montserrat can rise again.
In addition to working together for the improvement of our own lives and the betterment of our beloved Emerald Isle, I envision that we use our goodwill and willpower to rebuild and to repopulate Montserrat. I agree that we are living amidst the information wave and that trading and finances can be done through the push of a button. But small populations have grave economic and social challenges. In this case, Montserrat needs more Montserratians and friends of Montserrat working together to build a modern and vibrant economy to which many can return to happily live and work in our homeland. We have a shortage of potential wives and husbands. We need more children running around and energizing the place. We need more hands on deck.
It is for this reason that the PDM government has decided to engage Britain on new negotiation terms—we intend, where reasonable, to be treated as citizens of England with the rights and privileges that are accorded those that live on mainland England.
This strategy is both powerful and sensible. It will help us better identify funding streams from DifD to support a national redevelopment plan where our ecological, social, moral, economic and human capital can be integrated around the practice of good governance. Although good governance where fairness, transparency and accountability are necessary as leadership functions, we need a flourishing economy. This can only be driven by a private sector-led agenda that cares for the vulnerable, that provides opportunities for wealth creation from one generation to the next, and that inspires the quest for responsible nation building.
The United Negro College Fund’s motto rings true, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” I submit that a nation is an awful thing to squander but a bold and adventurous people are a powerful force to contend with. Let’s change our mindset, work together to build a prosperous nation, repopulate Montserrat and celebrate tonight this wonderful tribute of 100 Birthday with an aim of making the good better, and the better, best. May God bless each of you, may God bless Montserrat and may each of you have a safe journey to your homes, with a renewed commitment for Montserrat to rise again.
ZJB Evening News 6pm Thursday September 18th 2014
A profile of the new government of Montserrat following the general election held on Thursday September 11th 2014.
The Cabinet was sworn-in on Tuesday September 16th.
The ruling People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) led by Mr Donaldson Romeo won seven of the nine seats in the Montserrat Legislative Assembly. The other two were retained by the two members of the erstwhile ruling Movement for Change and Prosperity in the persons of former Premier Reuben Meade and former Minister of Agriculture, Housing, Lands and Environment, Easton Taylor-Farrell.
The new cabinet/government is comprised as profiled below:
Donaldson Romeo: Premier, Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism
Mr Romeo first won his seat in the then Montserrat Legislative Council in 2009 as an independent.
Prior to the 2014 election, he was the Opposition Leader since 2011, and achieved the historic first of an Office for Opposition Representatives.
Mr Romeo is also a highly regarded and qualified professional portrait artist.
Delmaude Ryan, Minister for Education, Health and Social Services – and Deputy Premier:
Paul Lewis: Minister of Communications, Works, Energy and Labour:
He has been Senior Electrical Inspector with the Government of Montserrat.
(Up to his ministerial appointment) was the President of the Montserrat Civil Service Association.
He served as President of the Caribbean Public Service Association and over the last 10 years has also served as a board director on the Montserrat Utilities Ltd., Social Security, Labour Advisory boards and Chaired the Accident Investigation Board. Paul is a community organizer, and a successful calypso writer, judge and commentator.
Claude Hogan: Minister of Agriculture, Trade, Lands, Housing and Environment
Mr Hogan is an avid sportsman, economist, global consultant and regional integrationist. His academic achievements include: first class honors at Kean University, New Jersey, International Diplomacy studies at Harvard, and a Masters in Trade and Economic Law at the University of London.
He has done post-graduate work at the International Development Bank and the World Trade Organization. Claude has over 25 years of professional experience working with DFID, FCO, EU and the United Nations System.
He has worked in a variety of high profile positions: Caricom Diplomat, Project Manager, University Lecturer, and as a previously Member of the Legislative Assembly and Minister of Government.
Gregory Willock: Parliamentary Secretary responsible for Sports, Youth Affairs and Culture.
He has worked with the Government of Montserrat for 24 years – 14 as a Customs Officer, and 10 as a Computer Technician. He is the Owner/Managing Director of Officetech Ltd. and Founder of Punch and Get Out Productions, a non-profit organisation and charity.
He has also been the Leeward Island’s Cricket Committee Chairman, WICB acting Director, and a member of the WICB Cricket Development Committee.
Mr Willock co-founded the Sir Howard Fergus Scholarship Fund, is a former Chairman of Montserrat Festival Committee, organised the 2012 Living Healthy 50-Strong Challenge and planned the visit of the famous FIFA World Cup Trophy in 2013 on its World Tour to Brazil.
****MONTSERRAT GENERAL ELECTION 2014****
The Final Countdown
Brades, Montserrat, Friday September 12th 2014
Montserrat is to get a new government.
The People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) under the leadership of Donaldson Romeo is to form the next government of Montserrat.
The new party scored a resounding victory in the general election held yesterday, Thursday September 11th, taking control of the island’s Legislative Assembly and government.
Mr Romeo, the former opposition leader who sat as an independent in the last Legislative Assembly, was expected to be sworn in by midday local time today.
His PDM team, formed to contest the election, trounced the former ruling Movement for Change and Prosperity(MCAP) of Reuben T Meade by securing an unassailable seven of the nine seats.
Preliminary voting statistics released by the Montserrat Election Commission show the PDM dominating the election with 50.1 per cent of the votes to MCAP’s 35.3 per cent.
Each voter on Montserrat can vote for all candidates on the ballot paper in the island’s single-constituency system.
Updated figures from the Election Commission show that there were 3,866 registered voters for this election.
Of that 2,750 exercised their mandate, a turnout of 71 per cent.
The population of Montserrat, according to recent estimates, is approximately 5,189, about half the total before the Soufriere Hills volcano started erupting in 1995. (Since 2010 the volcano has not had an eruptive phase).
In all 31 candidates competed for the nine Legislative Assembly seats with the only two fully constituted parties, PDM and MCAP fielding a full slate.
A newly-formed three-candidate group called the Alliance of Independent Candidates (AIC) led by former chief minister Dr Lowell Lewis polled 4.1 per cent.
The ten other candidates ran as stand-alone independents and collectively garnered 10.4 per cent of the votes cast.
Full details of the voting statistics can be found at http://www.elections.ms/
Today Friday September 12th has been declared a public holiday in Montserrat.
The Premier-elect of Montserrat Mr Donaldson Romeo early Friday morning appeared on national radio ZJB/Radio Montserrat to thank voters for practically guaranteeing that his party will form the British territory’s next government.
Mr Romeo spoke as the trend in the counting of the votes and ballots pointed to a clear and convincing victory for his Peoples Democratic Movement(PDM).
The PDM leader appealed for a united Montserrat and reiterated his party’s slogan of putting people first in his incoming administration.
He affirmed that they will stick to their manifesto pledges and commitments.
“There is nothing in that manifesto that we cannot do. I expect us to do even more,” Montserrat’s soon-to-be second premier declared.
(Interviewer: Chelston Lee)