Author: Jeevan A. Robinson - MNI Media | Date: 18 April 2019
Recently the Honourable Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis delivered a presentation, and took questions on the development goals and achievements to date within the twin island Federation that he leads. As I listened to PM Harris take questions, articulate his policy positions – spiced up with some political bravado of course – I thought to myself; “these issues sound so familiar!”
Likewise across the Region, we have been exposed to various developmental concerns and aspirations, and one commonality that I have long understood and accepted is that development IS hard work!
Within our Montserrat development push we are moving towards seeking to re-establish an entire country and all its functions, not only to be better than what they once were before, but to be on a level to at least try and stay abreast with a global economic and social movement that is driven and fuelled by digitization in all encounters from government to leisure!
So how does Montserrat focus and realise its development quest going forward?
As we are all aware, 2019 is an election year on the island and the challengers seeking to remove the incumbent PDM Administration, it would appear, are seeking once again to play a dangerous game of setting bars of expectation beyond what they can realistically deliver.
Frankly, not many of them speaking thus far are saying much of a difference to anything heard before. The politics of old and the same runs riot in Montserrat’s political quarters. All the politicians and aspiring politicians are talking, and making promises and giving assurances, but I am yet to hear them being really truthful to the people about the one main reality around building a country and a people - Development IS hard work!
Many seemingly are plying to take over the reins of the country on this rise of emotion against Romeo from the electorate, as opposed to any great deal of substance and difference.
We keep hearing this speak about "Change", but MNI has always shared a view that change is a sweet sound during elections, but to change faces is not real change unless those talking of change are not truly seeking to work towards shifting mindsets away from the malarkey that has stagnated the country for years.
So when I hear all this lofty talk of change, I equally look for key elements within that conversation, and if those are lacking, then as far as MNI is concerned it is more talk to pull them closer towards achieving power. But power for what, MNI asks?
What MNI has realised after multiple faces of the debate have been brought forward across various forums, is that development for the people becomes even more difficult when the change makers are continually warring in seeking to agree on what form and shape development should take. That can be an arduous and time-consuming process.
Many say they want change but yet become increasingly uncomfortable with breaking away from the mental trappings that retard growth. So in MNI’s estimation, it is truly change they require, or is it more about control? Threaten to encroach upon certain power structures, and watch the revolt towards resistance unfold. It plays out before us daily and for years preceding.
Do we have new problems regarding Montserrat’s development drive? Or have we done an exceptional job of compounding the issues and engaging ourselves in repetitive chatter; thinking to ourselves that we are making sense and stepping towards progress, when in fact we are chasing our tails in circles.
In this global era of Trumpism - that even some of our local politicians have shown an inkling towards adapting – I have opined privately and publicly about what I term to be “The lie of politics” – where ideals of fairness, people first representation and equality is exposed the more leadership swings from gaffe to gaffe.
The popular political mantra is that we need better Leaders and more visionaries.
But yet, some of the very same people whom MNI sees saying these things are some of the same ones who we see romping as apologists for ignorance and mischief around the island's development push.
It is my view that the advancement of the human condition is not served by citizens only grumbling about the issues in this cauldron of repetitive chatter. In support of this, there must be corresponding actions/protestations that disrupts a status quo rooted in perverse ideologies that do very little to truly help people get ahead.
This view can be transplanted equally in many developing countries struggling for progress, who are burdened with Leaders and politicians who are dancing to their own Hubris - just like The Donald is doing in the United States.
So Montserrat is stagnated we often opine. So what do we do to fix it? Play politics to attain power to once again be trapped by the same complexes?
To help our land move forward, who can we partner with that is less about party and politics, and more about Montserrat and giving people access to opportunities to earn, grow, develop and provide properly for their families?
If the “new leaders” are not speaking of ways in which to build collaboration and increase prosperity, then in my estimation they are politicking and offering nothing new to what has gone before.
Development IS hard work so when will we stop talking about development and start doing development and less politicking?
Years ago a question was posed as to what type of Montserrat do we want to see?
My response, which I have taken care to preserve still stands, and this is:
….A Montserrat where there is access to opportunity across the social divide. I want a Montserrat of boldness; guts; vision; a people centric approach; a non neo-colonial alignment. I want a Montserrat where everyone has a shot at succeeding. A Montserrat where our development is not only controlled and determined by a few, but by the input of a wide cross section of citizens.
We want a Montserrat where our youths can be empowered to express their creativity in business, the arts, social enterprise or political engagement freely.
We want a Montserrat that does not lose its unique island appeal, but also is an active participant in ICT, new energy initiatives, and other wider technological developments that will benefit her.
We want a Montserrat that is free to stand on her own two feet and not be dependent on the UK for aid endlessly.
We want sustainability, prosperity, social cohesion and less political infraction.
That is my island of the future that I envision.
Jeevan A. Robinson is Editor-in-Chief of Marketing, News & Information Media – MNI Media. He can be reached at Jeevan@mnialve.com