16 September, 2010

Montserrat 11

Having the Constitution give absolute and dictatorial powers to one man is the opposite of providing for good governance.  A read of the draft Constitution reveals an intention to give the Governor almost total power over the administration.  He is controlled only by secret and unaccountable instructions from the FCO.  This secrecy and lack of accountability are then multiplied by giving him associated discretionary powers. 
The result is an anti-democratic Constitution.  The system it sets up is not conducive to good governance.  It is the polar opposite of integrity, accountability and transparency.  In particular,
(a) The section 21 use of his discretionary and reserve powers is not subject to democratic accountability.  The draft Constitution should be amended to provide that, except where otherwise instructed by the Secretary of State, he ought first to consult the Cabinet and be subject to review by the High Court in the exercise of his discretionary and reserve powers;
(b) Integrity, accountability and transparency require that the section 26 power to dispose of Crown Land should be subject to a resolution of the Legislature;
(c) The section 28 power of pardon should be exercised on the advice of a Mercy Committee;
(d) The section 87 power to grant or withhold pensions, gratuities and allowances ought to be exercised on the advice of the Public Service Commission;
(e) The section 100 power to appoint the Auditor General is exercised after consultation with the Public Accounts Committee.  Greater accountability and transparency would be achieved if this were to be done after consultation with the Public Service Commission and the Integrity Commission;
(f) Extraordinarily for the twenty-first century, the Governor will retain the power to amend or to disallow a law passed by the Legislature without any reference back to the Legislature.  


  1. OK, so it's pretty clear that from your perspective, the draft constitution for Montserrat is pretty much of a disaster. I'd say most in the Overseas Territories, including Montserratians, would agree with your overall conclusion, even if all don't agree with each of your specific points. This is reflected by the decision of the Montserratian government to delay trying to force its immediate adoption, at least in part due to public outcries. Hopefully, they'll work out there own problems on Montserrat.

    However, it should be clear from the lack of many comments to your 11 posts on the draft Montserrat constitution that the readers of this "Corruption-free Anguilla" blog are MUCH more interested in matters DIRECTLY affecting ANGUILLA. After three weeks devoted to Montserrat, I hope you now get back to commenting on matters Anguillian that desperately need addressing. While I don't always agree with you, this site is the closest thing on Anguilla to open and independent journalism. Let's now get back to a discussion of "Good Governance and Corruption in Public Life Issues in the British Overseas Territory of Anguilla", as is the stated purpose of this site.

  2. I have only a couple more posts before I am finished with Montserrat.

    The real issue is: If the FCO gets through with introducing retrograde provisions to the human rights and governance provisions in the Montserrat and Turks and Caicos Constitutions will Anguilla be next in their sights?

    Another peripheral issue is: Now that we have got rid of the discredited previous administration and have a new transparent administration in place, is there any continuing need for this blog?

    Since there are no complaints that have been brought to my attention the question is valid.


  3. Transparent administration? The only change I've seen this year is further deterioration of public information. As you yourself said in 2007, "These are not the Middle Ages, for God’s Sake! And, we are not peasants or serfs to gratefully accept whatever bones of improvement are cast our way!"

  4. William H. Adam, Cayman IslandsSeptember 23, 2010 6:54 am

    To: Anonymous - September 17, 2010 10:04 AM
    Regretfully I cannot agree with your post and here is why.
    We are sometimes so interested in our own little sphere of activity that we do not see the need to be informed of what goes on around us.
    Yes, we need to be concerned for own wellbeing, but if that is all that we are concerned about then what are we?
    In that self-concern we also need to examine activities affecting others that might also affect us... eventually. This is blatantly true in the need to examine what occurs in other Non-Self-Governing Territories around the world in general and definitely we need to be informed about the activities in the UK OT’s and their relations with our common Administering Power, the UK.
    Corruption Free Anguilla is the one of the forums educating us on the abusive and corrupt activities of the FCO, they are recognized even by the House of Commons, Foreign Affairs Committee and being corrupt and / or totally inept. There seems to be hope in some quarters that the new UK coalition government will "try" to do some house cleaning in the FCO and it is long overdue.
    We also need to read other sources of information on Non-Self-Governing Territories such as Overseas Territories Review (http://overseasreview.blogspot.com/ ) “A forum for critical analysis of international issues and developments of particular relevance to the sustainable political and socio-economic development of Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs).”
    We do need to read reports an analysis of activities in the other OT’s, Corruption Free Anguilla is doing as it should for the people of Anguilla – this blog looks beyond the horizon to see what can affect Anguilla.
    In the Cayman Islands our people in their insular mentality also for the large part fail to connect the dots, to see and understand the need to look outward to what occurs in the other UK OT’s and Non-Self-Governing Territories in general to see what occurs there will eventually affect us all.
    The major powers of the world work for their own best interests, as island peoples we may live on islands but must not make the mistake of thinking insular, rather we must think together collaboratively – globally joining our minds encircling earth – to understand the issues affecting our best interests and then work together to achieve objectives for our common good.
    Thank you Corruption Free Anguilla and Overseas Territories Review for providing the very important function of warning us what is coming long before it is in sight.
    William H. Adam
    Grand Cayman
    Cayman Islands

  5. Billy Adam is to be commended for his pan-Overseas Territory approach. It would be useful if he would apply his good thinking to the secret AMMPA captive dolphin guidelines, which he was successful in obtaining through the Cayman Freedom of Information process -- but which he's been sitting on since last week.


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