28 August, 2010

Montserrat 2

In my view it is shameful what the FCO are doing to the Montserratian people:  We are going to spend the next couple of posts looking at the new draft Constitution 2010 that the FCO is proposing to implement for Montserrat
I have come to the conclusion that the draft is bereft of any sign of an interest in good governance on the part of the FCO.  It is devoid of any of the principles of integrity, accountability or transparency, as I shall attempt to show.  These principles are routinely touted by the same FCO as the three pillars of good governance.  The draft Constitution of Montserrat has missed the opportunity to contribute to this movement.
The concentrating of power in the Governor’s hands, as proposed by this draft Constitution, tends towards arbitrary, one-man rule.  It may be true that a good governor is better than a bad local Cabinet.  We cannot be confident that our Governors will always be good.  Experience, especially in the case of Montserrat, teaches otherwise. 
A new Constitution should rather be trying to develop local democratic institutions that will involve the people in their own governance.  It is preferable that the Constitution should encourage responsible government in the Overseas Territory, rather than destroying it.  Responsible government is a better guarantee of democracy, justice, and fairness in government than one-man rule.  The draft Constitution provides for absolute power to be concentrated in one person, subject only to the oversight of the Secretary of State far away in London
In this respect the draft Constitution increases the deficit of democracy in Montserrat.


  1. Would you support a constitution that (1) provided Montserratians with the right to a public confidence/no-confidence vote every 6 months, and (2) required the replacement of a Governor who received 2 consecutive no-confidence votes?

    With respect, I think you undervalue what a carefully selected and well-motivated Governor could accomplish for a small nation. Integrity, accountability and transparency aren't virtues unique to democracy.

  2. The FCO doesn't have a supply of senior diplomats sitting on a bench somewhere, waiting to be called. Of those who are available, few are willing to be sent to an obscure colony on grant-in-aid with virtually no economy.

    Most of those in the foreign service are already posted somewhere. An orderly personnel system doesn't allow for the people of some colony to announce to HMG that they'll have BVI's governor, or the British Ambassador in Lithuania. The pier does not go to the boat.

    The premise advanced by the first poster above is either arrogant or ignorant -- I can't tell which. The further suggestion that HMG would allow the people of a colony to send home the Queen's representative by popular vote is as childish and silly as the idea of "full internal self government" by Anguilla's former leaders -- which even they abandoned a year or two ago.

    Publishing date: 09.05.2008 10:50

    “The Government of Anguilla, with the support of all political factions and the general public on the island, is hotly pursuing full internal self-government even at the cost of being forced into independence although this ultimate status is not yet on the cards.

    ……The new thrust is not just a revision of the constitution but a virtual re-shaping aimed at considerably reducing the powers of the Governor and placing greater autonomy into the hands of elected representatives. “

    ……..Dame Lake emphasised the importance of a meaningful constitution that safeguarded the democratic way of life and rights of a people, how they “expect their society to be governed and how those entrusted with government will be allowed to execute the responsibilities of governance.” She said that no society could be a democracy if the values were sent down from another power. She saw the self-governing society, to which Anguilla was aspiring, as one having values of free will, government by majority rule and a shared responsibility between the elected and the electorate secured by well-defined checks and balances.”

    There is no change in this position as far as the Government and people of Anguilla are concerned. Kindly stop spreading untruths about us.

    What is "childish and silly" and either arrogant or ignorant" is you working overtime for the British propaganda machine.

    We believe it can be proven that the level of bad governance in Anguilla over the past 10 years was no accident, but was a deliberate policy.

    Stay tuned for the ongoing saga of THE BATTLE FOR ANGUILLA 1650 – 2010.

  4. ......"well- defined checks and balances" of all bank accounts of those running for public office!That should solve everything!


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