Montserrat and Colonial Struggle: Storm in a Teacup

Colonialism in Montserrat is much more devastating than any storm that has passed, or will pass. Montserrat's politicians and Montserrat's society need now more than ever a plan to recover from its devastation.

Montserrat and Colonial Struggle: Storm in a Teacup

Colonialism in Montserrat is much more devastating than any storm that has passed, or will pass. Montserrat's politicians and Montserrat's society need now more than ever a plan to recover from its devastation.

There are storms, and then there are other storms. This is not the first time, that Montserrat has seen and experienced action and reaction from both. Two recent hurricanes Irma and Maria recently worked their way throughout the Caribbean. The devastation they left in their wake, is still reverberating regionally and globally.

What should have become apparent from the path that the storms took, was that the Caribbean remains the most colonized area left on the planet Earth. All of the colonial overlords for the region - UK, France, USA and the Dutch had areas that are still under their colonial dominance devastated by either Irma or Maria.

Montserrat, while appearing to be in the direct path of both, somehow avoided a direct hit from either.

Montserrat's vegetation took the bulk of the damage and will suffer some of the pangs of food shortages, as Dominica, the main supplier of ground food to Montserrat, took a direct hit from Maria.

Simultaneously as Maria was making its way across the Atlantic, a minor storm was brewing in Montserrat. To date, no clear details from the main actors have emerged. So one can only postulate based on the events that have occurred. Apparently some members of the present (PDM) government voiced their concerns about the performance of the Party Leader and present Premier [Romeo].

Using the powers at his disposal, the Premier instructed the Governor to revoke the Ministerial appointment of one of his Ministers at the MAHLE. (Ministry of Agriculture)

The following week, as Maria approached and passed, much speculation, but no concrete announcement as to who would be appointed to the then vacant ministry. One week later a new Minister was appointed.

During that week from the 15th to the 21st of September, a minor storm in a teacup, that is reflective of Montserrat politics took place. Maria passed, but the events of the week occupied the people's time more so than the effects of Maria. Most of this speculation took place, because, to date, very few have paid any attention to the "Montserrat Constitution Order 2010."

In 1989, Hugo, the first super hurricane of the era devastated Montserrat. During that same period of recovery, the British government took the opportunity, to impose the "Montserrat Constitution Order 1989" on Montserrat. 

In 2010 the government of the day passed into law a "new" version. Not much has changed between the 1989 version, and the 2010 version. The 2010 version is a little more convoluted; a little more ambiguous but sill maintains the absolute authority of the Governor to govern the colony at his/her discretion.

There is absolutely nothing in the "constitution" that allows for the removal of the Premier.  That is, unless one is depending on the Governor's discretionary powers, to accommodate their wishes. The only "constitutional" avenue for the removal of the Premier is through a vote of no confidence.

If such a motion is successful, the Premier then has the option to set a date for new elections to take place. In effect, the vote dissolves parliament. It does not replace the Premier. 

In a vote of no confidence, only the nine elected members of parliament can vote. The non-written but other optional way is for there to be more members in opposition than there are on the government's side of the Assembly.  In effect, an agreed crossing of the floor by at least 3 or more members of the government.

When it comes to keeping a government afloat, one has to look at the 11 sitting members of parliament. The government of the day always has sitting on its side of the house 2 ex-offico non-elected members, who are bound to support any legislature that is tabled in the house.
Looking at those numbers, the only way to stop the government from functioning is for more members of parliament to be in opposition, than there are in government.

That did not happen.

What took place was an internal power struggle, where all the options for success "constitutionally" were held by the Premier.  During that week the Governor declared, but did not implement an emergency act.

During that week members of the government may have been given a crash course on the "constitutional" reality of what took place. To date, no clear explanation from any of the main players has been made available to the voters.

A Minister lost his Ministry.

A new Minister was appointed.

No one crossed the floor. No one spoke up in support of, or against what took place.

The government had six elected members of parliament on its side of the house before the event took place.

The government still has six elected members of parliament sitting on its side of the house after the event took place.

These events that took place recently showed no indication, that those involved were seeking to collapse government or call new elections. The only conclusion that one can gather from the sequence of events, is that those sitting on government's side of the house, prefer things the way they are.

Such, is the nature of these minor storms in a teacup that take place in Montserrat politics.

Montserrat will be paying the price for some time to come from the damage that Maria has done. Montserratians will also continue to pay the price from the damage of being governed by an instrument that works only in the interest of colonial control.

The "Montserrat Constitution Order 2010 like its predecessor the "Montserrat Constitution Order 1989" is an instrument that allows the colonial administrator to control, in totality, the affairs of the island.

It allows for elections, but does not grant AUTHORITY to those elected to govern.

It will take a political storm of tremendous proportions, for the populace to wake up to this reality.

Until such time, as the society and its politicians wake up to this reality, we will continue to be entertained by the minor storms in a teacup that OUR impotent politicians create.

We will also continue to implement laws and make decisions that forward the agenda of the administrating power.

Colonialism in Montserrat is much more devastating than any storm that has passed, or will pass. Montserrat's politicians and Montserrat's society need now more than ever a plan to recover from its devastation.