Author: Jeevan A. Robinson - MNI Media | Date: 16 November 2018
Anyone who resides amongst the people of Montserrat with any type of neo-colonial leanings, or who sees themselves as somewhat above the people of the local community in which they live, then they should possibly not be regarded as true friends of Montserrat.
The Shelley Harris/FlyMonserrat issue is not over, and neither should it be over. This is a time for Montserratians to truly show that the island’s people are not mere pushovers.
This is also a time to both assess and dismiss from this moment going forward those who say they are seeking to run for political office, but are yet silent or seeking to excuse the great faux pas of Shelley Harris.
Shelley and Nigel are intricately linked. Thus, as one commentator previously wrote, it is unbelievable that Shelley would have penned those submissions to the UK’s Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee and her husband was not aware.
Fighting for Montserrat?
Sometimes I wonder what it is some of us are fighting for when we say we are fighting for Montserrat.
I reject the notion that because FlyMontserrat has the name Montserrat contained within, or that because it has some degree of Montserratian ownership, then Shelley Harris’ comments and the linking of them to the airline are to be considered emotional and puerile. To suggest this, as our good Speaker of the Montserrat Legislative Assembly Shirley Osborne is attempting to do is wrong, and quite frankly it is a disappointing disservice to Montserrat.
To cloak this FlyMontserrat issue under the guise of Nationalism and Patriotism is a misdirection I feel, coming from Ms Osborne.
The truth is, many are aware of the close links to FlyMontserrat that persons close to Ms Osborne hold. So if that is the reason for supporting and backing the airline, then Ms Osborne should simply say so. We would understand; at least some of us would anyway.
Montserratians are upset, and they are neither emotional nor puerile Ms Osborne. They are proud people who detest the colonial undertones by Shelley Harris
A question was posed to Ms Osborne via Social Media by Mike Jarvis, whether there was any vested interest regarding the airline as to her submissions, towards which a deflection was given in response.
Disappointing Madame Speaker Osborne. We would have hoped you would have simply said yes, you do have close affiliations with some of the investors in the airline. In that direct admission, we would have been rid of what is coming over as a "talking down" to the people of Montserrat, as if the people of Montserrat are ones who needed to be schooled on Nationalism and Patriotism.
Perhaps what can be considered Lady Speaker is if you can persuade those whom you are close with to pool their shares with those of the Government of Montserrat (GoM) and also the other minority shareholders, to force a change in the corporate management structure of the airline.
GoM owns 23% of FLyMontserrat. Nigel Harris owns 32%. Another gentleman Wendel Ponde owns 22%. Why not encourage a pooling of GoM’s 23% with Mr Ponde’s 22% for a total of 45% along with other shareholders, and impact change from within, with FlyMontserrat.
Leave The Ferry Alone
The Ferry subsidy has been for years a source of upset for FlyMontserrat. They allegedly are not the most fond of the ferry operating. But the ferry is the lifeblood for many Montserratians wanting to travel outside the island. It is affordable for these people to utilise, and many would prefer to brave the rough seas, as the weight on their bank balance would not be as sinking as Flying into and out of Montserrat.
This FlyMontserrat issue brings up so many other concerns.
Any whiff of a colonial mindset must be eradicated with haste from the concerns that must be addressed to progress Montserrat. It is bad enough that the island has been burdened with a Constitution Order 2010 that has given insurmountable powers to the Governor, that we are now scrambling to figure out how best to amend that mistake.
Governor Pearce What Did You Know
With that in mind, it is notable the silence of Governor Andrew Pearce on this issue. Shelley Harris was sure to secure her standing with him in her tirade to the UK.
Is Governor Pearce party to the development sabotage of Montserrat by Shelley’s submissions?
Was Governor Pearce aware of these thoughts about Montserrat by Shelley Harris prior to them going public?
Does Governor Pearce have a social relationship with the Harris’ - drinks; dinner; home visits? Is the Governor party to any preferential treatment being given to FlyMontserrat?
If the Premier of Montserrat Donaldson Romeo had stated that he wishes for the UK to take over Montserrat, many would have never ceased to be calling for his head to be displayed on Fogarthy Hill so that both the North and South can bare witness to such treachery.
The notable silences have been noted.
The masquerade around Shelly Harris’ statements to the UK’s Parliamentary Committee about Montserrat is a justified dance. It is neither emotional nor puerile, but rooted in a sense of betrayal from a lady and her links to a company who have spent the better part of 30 years operating and living amongst Montserratians.
Most certainly there are aspects of Shelley’s submission that require introspection by the populace and its leadership machinations. However, it is almost treasonous that Shelley Harris would dare to tell the UK’s Political Representatives they may consider coming in to run things on Montserrat in so bold and self-justified a manner as she has.
The greater insult is to see some of our own defending and making apologies for FlyMontserrat under the guise of nationalism.