On Friday, August 4th, 2017, what I would describe as a blindside, came in via a press release from the Governor’s Office on Montserrat, announcing that Her Excellency the Governor, Elizabeth Carriere, will be leaving Montserrat in early January, 2018. The reason given was that Governor Carriere, who began her position on Montserrat on August 5th, 2015, would be ending her tenure 6 months early "to take up a senior position with an international development non-governmental organisation (NGO) to work in Africa on programmes related to development, social justice and gender equality."
Congratulations to Governor Carriere on her new post most certainly!
As I absorbed the contents of the press statement, I could not help but think that beyond the news being shared, there is a wider story that the public is being shielded from.
Prior to Governor Carriere starting her position on Montserrat in 2015, she issued an advanced statement to this effect:
“I am very much looking forward to arriving in Montserrat and getting to work. I have heard much about the famous warmth of the people and the beauty of the landscape, despite the volcanic devastation of the last twenty years. I will do all I can to help Montserrat back on the path to economic success and to enhance its reputation as a safe place to live, visit and do business.”
As she is now about to depart Montserrat's shores in January, her announcement of leaving mentions:
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my work as Governor of Montserrat and am grateful for the opportunity to work in this role and in this special place. Montserrat will always remain close to my heart. However, I have to look forward to what comes next after my role here. My next appointment will return me to Africa to work in areas of development that are of great importance to me – social justice, economic empowerment and gender equality. But the latest I can take up this position is January 2018. Sadly, this means that I will have to leave Montserrat early, before my three year term is completed. I am making arrangements to leave the UK Civil Service and take up this position by the beginning of 2018. I will be able to say more about this nearer the time.”
MNI Alive Media yesterday teased via our social media feeds that we will be presenting this article that you are presently reading today; towards which the Honourable Speaker of the Legislative Assembly on Montserrat, Ms Shirley Osborne, offered these and other extended comments;
The Fight Against the Neo-Colonial Agenda
With full regard to the position of the Speaker, I happen to think that part of the focus the people of Montserrat should be having - as I have repeatedly enunciated - is the fight to examine what the Governor and DfID have done to Montserrat and the island's development thrust. This ought to be very much the fight and focus, and not the self-defeating fight of seeking to drive our problems solely at the feet of politicians and our locals who are in fact dictated to by "The White House in Brades" - both the Governor’s office and DfID.
Under Governor Carriere’s tenure so far on Montserrat - and assisted by the cooperation of Premier Romeo, who should have stood his ground to her - Montserrat has seen the biggest installation of highly suspect measures towards governance that I have often described as neo-colonialism in full effect.
The involvement of Governor Carriere in press briefings handling direct political questions I have always maintained to be a disrespect to the Offices of elected Representatives, and a challenge to the authority of the Office of the Premier of Montserrat. Premier Romeo showed no will to stand up to the Governor, instead announcing a fake "new partnership" that has yielded the island a rubber dingy for a Police launch, after years of waiting, by way of progressive intent!
It was from these, and similar showings that I started to refer to the Governor and DfID's local Headquarters just off the Brades main road, as "The White House on the Hill".
The Secret Fight to Kill Real Development on Montserrat. Why Was Carl Gomersall Truly Fired?
The fight for Montserrat’s future is very much a fight that should be taken to the Governor and her DfID officials. It is they too who have allowed the stagnation of Montserrat’s economy by sidelining development plans that they fully are aware would impact politically. This sidelining of development plans however, has been a very deliberate move by the local DfID office on Montserrat.
We know that DfID operates from the same building as Governor Carriere’s Office, and I must ask the Governor publicly via this piece, about the real reason why the Programme Management Office (PMO) gentleman, Carl Gomersall, was fired?
MNI Alive Media, via extensive research, is aware that Gomersall was not the most co-operative to work with. He had his issues and inclinations towards playing above his hand, via the position he held on Montserrat.
However, Gomersall’s firing is directly and intricately linked to DfID seeking to stifle projects that would bring any meaningful development to Montserrat.
Was Governor Carriere in Concert With Martin Dawson?
Is the Governor aware of the allegations that the local DfID Representative, Dawson, and some of his other DfID pals on island, directly wished for Gomersall to work against the development interests of Montserrat in making project approvals, and other work he was charged to do, as difficult and frustrating as possible?
Is the Governor's firing of Gomersall a direct consequence of her caving in to the demands of the New Financial Secretary, who Governor Carriere so gallantly announced reports directly to her, in the new chain of command which she forced upon the island's governance structure?
It is true Governor Carriere, that Gomersall refused to partake in the secret cabal of DfID representatives and their peers on Montserrat who are following an agenda of frustrating the life out of any real development taking place on Montserrat?
Recall All In This Camp
If these allegations of what Dfid is up to on Montserrat do in fact ring true, then MNI Alive Media is calling for all present DfID Representatives on island - not just Martin Dawson and Governor Carriere - but ALL of them who are working against Montserrat to be recalled from the island back to London, and an investigation be launched into their operations on the island towards bringing true development for the people.
Standing up for Montserrat
So, to the Honourable Madame Speaker Osborne - this is very much a required fight I feel, contrary to the view you hold.
I recognise that you have sanctioned that absurd excuse of a dingy as a temporary Police vessel via images depicted on social media today, but I for one cannot fault you, as you have a civic duty to perform by order of the Honourable Chair you sit in.
However, the dingy being delivered to Montserrat's Police Service by Governor Carriere after years of them requesting a vessel, is a disgrace to the Honour of Montserrat. It is a slight in the face of advancement and modernity that Montserratians seek. After years of waiting, the best “Motherland" could have delivered was an insult to our collective will to be respected and treated fairly?
What is DfID's plan for Montserrat is a question I will continue to ask and seek answers for.
Is there a sinister plot afoot, or are they moving the cards around to finally deliver for Montserrat?
This question is superimposed over the announcement of Governor Carriere leaving, which comes very soon after local DFID Representative Martin Dawson having also announced that he too will be leaving for the far reaches of Afghanistan.
Coincidence that both are being shipped out? Forced out? Or gently squeezed out?
How can Governor Carriere justify sitting in an office with Martin Dawson and his associates who have stifled so much development taking place on Montserrat?
Dawson has sat back and stalled Geothermal Development of Well 3 for months, whilst paying hundreds of thousands of Montserrat‘s development money to contractors who have done nothing for 8 months. How can this be seen as prudent fiscal management, while at the same time telling Montserratians that it is they who have wasted DfID's monies?
Something is amiss, and I am of the view that Governor Carriere may indeed be taking up an NGO position in Africa, as she was asked to make an honourable exit from the affairs of overseeing Montserrat.
I once asked Governor Carriere:
So in terms of the future of the relationship between DFID, Montserrat, UK Government etc. development wise, where do you see that relationship progressing towards?
"…… In terms of development going forward, I think it’s really, really helpful to concentrate on the things we know that we’re getting, let’s say in the next 3 or 4 years. That in the next 3 or 4 years, we should be thinking about where will we be because we know we are getting these certain things. So ports, breakwaters — that might be part of that discussion. But I’m going to talk about geothermal energy, which is now going ahead. I’m going to talk about fibre optics, which we know is something that’s been talked about. Talking about a ferry, which is also part of access—a considerable part of access. I’m talking about hospital which has been subject to much debate in the House recently about how long it will take and so on. "
By way of update therefore, where are we today with the Port? Geothermal? Hospital? Fibre Optics? These are all the things HE mentioned we need. How much has she and DfID done to enable these, or have they more worked to frustrate these projects coming on stream anytime soon for Montserrat?