Author: Jeevan A. Robinson - MNI Media | Date: 01 August 2019
Truly, it was not really that much of a secret. Thus, the announcement today that Ms Shirley Osborne, the Hon Speaker of the Montserrat Legislative Assembly (MLA) and the daughter of former Chief Minister John Osborne - that she will be contesting the upcoming General Elections on Montserrat - came as no surprise to many, and certainly not to MNI Media.
Ms Osborne announced her candidacy via a media release stating; "I’m Montserratian and I love Montserrat and its people with all of my heart."
She further stated: “I intend to live in Montserrat until I die. And, furthermore, I intend to live in a safe, healthy, creative, productive, vibrant, prosperous place. So, of course, it is up to me to do everything I possibly can to help create such an environment and that’s what I’m going to do. I am going to help Montserrat form a government that is fit-for-purpose, to use a cliché. Fortunately for us, we are a democracy so fundamental democratic principles allow us to keep trying, changing, sifting until we get it right."
The question that begs at this stage, is whether Osborne will be running as an independent, or will she be forming her own alliance via a party affiliation?
There are some political parties currently in the electioneering ranks that have laid claim to be the party that best speaks towards the ideologies that her late father, John Osborne, often spoke towards and practiced during his stewardship over Montserrat. Will Ms Osborne join up with the PDM with whom she was affiliated in 2014 as its Party Chairperson when the PDM won overwhelmingly against former Premier, Reuben T Meade's administration?
Or will she seek to gather like minds to her camp and bring forth her own version of a PLM dynasty continuation?
On her candidacy announcement she stated; “I intend to participate fully in the next general elections.....because Montserrat is currently experiencing some enormous challenges and we are about to meet some even more significant ones. Montserrat is, therefore, in dire need of the full efforts of every citizen, resident and friend of the island – at every level – and my personality, experiences and education have gifted me some of the personal qualities and leadership competencies that Montserrat most needs at this point if our advancement is to be in the direction of health, wealth and happiness."
“There is much – very much more, I daresay – that I can contribute to Montserrat’s advancement and I intend to give every ounce of it. It was Eldridge Cleaver who said, “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.” I agree wholeheartedly with him.” She stated.
She has equally presented somewhat a foundation offering as to her candidacy for the upcoming elections, showcasing her family lineage of being the second daughter of former Chief Minister John Osborne and retired teacher Mrs. Eleanor Osborne. She also speaks towards having a lifelong and family history of civic engagement, community activism and political involvement.
Growing up in Montserrat, Osborne says she was active in every aspect of life on the island, performing in school concerts and church recitals, dancing in costume bands and chairing the Queen Show Committee, running track and winning Debating Society competitions, for Green House, at the Montserrat Secondary School as well as writing for local newspapers. Ms. Osborne also worked for the Montserrat Tourist Board and owned a workshop that made high fashion garments from Sea Island Cotton grown, spun and woven entirely in Montserrat.
Since announcing her candidacy, some of the questions that have come into MNI Media have surrounded whether Osborne can now impartially remain as Speaker of the Montserrat Legislative Assembly?
This is a question that has been on the lips of many citizens for some time now in terms of Osborne's vocal political representations - where some pundits have wondered if the Speaker of the Montserrat Legislative Assembly should be such an active political voice? That question and others will be put to Ms Osborne in due course, as the election conversations begin to take on prominence.
In her role as Speaker of the Montserrat Legislative Assembly for the past four and a half years, Ms. Osborne states that she has represented Montserrat with ease and competence.
The media statement shared earlier illustrated that Ms Osborne has given representation to the island at events of the very highest levels from Bermuda to Bangladesh, from the UK to Africa, from Antigua to America. During this time, she expanded an already formidable global network of colleagues, friends and acquaintances in the public and private sectors, in governmental and non-governmental organisations, and is confident in the leverage this can provide for Montserrat’s advancement.
“I have had the high honour, over the last four and a half years of being in a position to lead the Parliamentary advancement of Montserrat,” said Ms. Osborne.
“I have made good representation for Montserrat at home and abroad, and have built on the work of previous Speakers to further raise the profile and status of Montserrat so that, now, the might of this tiny island is recognised and acknowledged at the very highest levels in parliamentary and government circles right across the Commonwealth.”
She further pointed out; “I have enjoyed, immensely, my time in that office and have immeasurably expanded my skills and knowledge so I am looking forward to contributing fully in the next phase of Montserrat’s advancement and elevation.”
As more candidates announce, it is making for an intriguing elections season on Montserrat.
More to come next week on Ms Osborne's candidacy via MNI.