Has Montserrat Descended into an Abyss of Ungratefulness?


Jeevan A. Robinson -MNI Media

Release Date

Sunday, October 27, 2019


Have Montserratians as a nation of people scaterred around the world become ungrateful? Have too many of our people equally become narrow visioned; only seeing as far as their noses where they delight much more in promoting negatives than encouraging hope, new prospects and due processes?

Heavy questions perhaps for a Sunday morning but as I woke and gave thanks for the gift of life this morning, I proceeded to make myself some lemon leaf tea, and took a slice of avocado for my breakfast - as I ate I thought this is heavenly! The ability to just stand here in the open morning breeze on Montserrat and have this experience. It took me back to my childhood days where "bush tea" and pear were common treats shared within a simple household. 

Today, the Montserrat experience may have shifted to confined spaces of living in the northern third of the island. However, with the volcano not being a central theme in our daily discourse with its silence for almost ten years, allow me to ask again, have we as Montserratians lost gratitude and have become intent on ungratefulness?

Elections are due on November 18th. In a land of so few, we have a carpet of political aspirants saying they can all fix Montserrat. The question begs as to where were some of these individuals before, who have never lifted their voice on behalf of the people? 

It is my genuine belief that we are being laughed at behind closed doors by our benefactors. I truly believe this. You may say that it is everyone's democratic right to choose to contest a general election if they so choose. On that I concur. However, I will also submit that it is a disgraceful indictment upon as as a people that so many are jumping in, and especially as independents, for it shows our lack of togetherness and our divergence from Unity. It shows that Montserratians as a people cannot  or do not want to work together. 

I'll share something here. Last year Summer I was in the UK. I was in the city waiting for one of my siblings to meet me so that we could have travelled together to our Mother's house. As I sat in the cafe I took a call from a friend. After finishing the call, this lady next to me, by pure coincidence or divine providence, asked of me if I was from Montserrat as she could not help but hear my conversation as we spoke on a matter to do with Montserrat on my call. I said yes I am from there. She remarkably had spent a few months in Montserrat on a work experience placing from the UK a few years before she said. 

As we spoke of her experience working within government (she loved the island by the way), she said to me -  and I always have thought of that conversation with that lady; "Do you mind if I speak honestly? As I don't know you and I don't want to offend you!" 

I said; "I'm easy." Go right ahead. 

This lady who had only spent a few months on Montserrat working and observing, proceeded to tell me very openly that the one overriding thing she observed was that "your people dislike their own people so much! It was the one thing that baffled me as I worked and lived there to see how much fellow Montserratians worked against their own people."

Admittedly, I had no response, but to say to her how sad I was she had to observe that. I left that conversation thinking look at this foolishness! Someone spent just a few months on Montserrat with no ties to our island previously, but she already assessed how much we despise working with each other for the betterment of this land. 

So that brings me now to all the political shenanigans currently. It is true that politicians would say anything for a vote. What I find sad though is the abject preachers of doom and gloom. The negativity labourers. It does not matter what is happening that may be a potential good thing for Montserrat, these lovers of misery and negativity wallow, and moan and whine nonstop. It seems as if that for every potential solution presented, that their sole purpose in life is to shoot it down with a negative. 

In this type of engagement, I think to myself how the hell will Montserrat ever progress?

From where we have come from; having being almost lost as a nation due to the volcano; to today where normalcy is returning slowly but surely, we have managed to convince international partners to put some money in our pot; to give us the starting of a foothold to climb out of our rut with monies and projects. But for some it is still not good enough. Or for them they can't accept that someone outside of ourselves have shown BELIEF in Montserrat. We embrace ourselves in this cloak of complaining and ungratefulness, thinking that it is politics that will save us. It will not. 

For when I spoke of "Changing the Conversation" several years ago, it was never to stop discussing, but it was to begin the process of gratitude and positive engagement towards our own country and not be circularly, year after year, berating everything that could be good for Montserrat. 

So for those who think that it will be putting random people into power that will save Montserrat - think again. For those who think it is politics that will save us - think again. 

We have a very serious people problem. If we never find a way to address that fundamental social dilemma, then no amount of political changes will fix this country. None! 

Note: Jeevan A. Robinson can be reached at jeevan@mnialive.com

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