Author: Jeevan A. Robinson - MNI Media | Date: 16 February 2021
I listened intently to ZJB Radio's Morning Programme, "What's On Your Mind" - hosted by the ever capable morning man - Mr Basil Chambers. Great job Basil to have the vision to use the power of Information Communication Technologies (ICT) to host your programme, whilst in isolation.
Now let's continue the conversation.
Leadership of a country - whether in times of peace or crisis - brings sharply into focus its political leadership.
Montserrat is now into another National Lockdown due to the onset once more, of COVID-19. A total of 7 cases have now been officially confirmed.
It is painful when one sees the economic toll lockdowns are having on established economies, with many long-standing businesses having to permanently close their doors. Imagine therefore, the economic stress of lockdown on the economies of small island developing economies such as Montserrat's.
This is where governments have to step up and not operate as if it's normal times. Whether you believe in big or small government; whether you are a party supporter or not; elected Leaders have a duty to rise to this challenge of taking care of ALL their people in these tough times.
If governments find it a bother to perform this one basic function, then clearly, they were never meant for the roles they have been thrust into. Is this the case with Montserrat's ruling MCAP Administration
The economy on Montserrat arguably was in tatters pre covid-19, and has only gotten worst. This MCAP Administration, or any other Administration that would have been in office - they have a duty to ensure that assistance and relief is brought forward for struggling businesses and households who are no doubt feeling the stressful economic effects of lockdown.
One caller on ZJB's Morning Programme, "What's On Your Mind" hosted by Basil Chambers summarised aptly the situation. Listen below:
The caller touched on very significant points that cannot be ignored.
Since last year, I listened to various Legislative Assembly sittings where Premier Easton Taylor-Farrell was asked repeatedly what representations he has made to the United Kingdom in seeking further relief for the island's business community and citizens, who were in hardship. Repeatedly, the Premier has given the same response that he is waiting for a response.
Now that lockdown is on the people once more, Hon Premier what is the response? How urgently have you and your Administration made the plight of the Montserrat private sector community known to the UK Officials?
More importantly, since lockdown ended last year and your government officially declared the relief programme of grants et al closed, have you given the directive to commission the appropriate data study, so that your representations to our funding partners from the UK is informed by accurate data?
Many within the small business community have shared their plight. People are finding life difficult under this MCAP Administration's handling of the island's COVID-19 Lockdown response, and the general silence from the Premier and his lot is further damning. In one Parliamentary sitting during 2020, the Premier can be heard being condescending to the fact that people have been complaining that they were experiencing hardship. Listen below:
How can it that each time an MCAP Administration is in Office, it is only a select grouping of people who seem to always prosper, or be looked after. Did they not promise whilst in Opposition and during their election campaign to be there for all the people, and will cater to their suffering? Listen below to the passion in their voices that they once had when in Opposition talking about helping the people:
I recall after the first lockdown ended, Hon Dr Samuel Joseph declared openly that the worst of COVID-19 was over. Did he consult with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to be informed that the worst of the Pandemic was over? That statement alone was ill-advised and poorly constructed:
On top of that, this MCAP Administration went wholesale into talking about Port Project development, Hospital Project development, Fibre Optic Project delivery. None of these projects had anything to do with their hard work, ingenuity or effort. It was they, who openly lied to the voters last election, saying these projects never existed but yet now have found these projects to be useful in seeking to illuminate their political skin.
Government is continuous? Well then, don't openly be dishonest on the campaign trail saying progress for your country was non-existent when you very well knew the projects were in their development phases.
Now everyone can see openly that this Easton Taylor-Farrell led MCAP Administration is devoid of any idea or plan on how to take Montserrat forward, and are using the legacy of works done prior to them coming into office in seeking to once again fool the people that they know what they're about. They don't. The Premier himself, whether by a slip of the tongue in admission, spoke of MCAP's year of failure during a sitting of The Assembly:
The first order of business for the Premier Hon Taylor-Farrell, Hon Dr Samuel Joseph, Hon Charles Kirnon, Hon Crenston Buffonge and Hon Veronica Dorsett ought to be to apologise to the people of Montserrat. COVID-19 National Lockdown demands a plan, and an effort towards a national economic relief programme. It is what governments are called upon to do in these times - to lead; to execute; to put their frail egos aside and listen to the cry of the people calling out for help from a government that was elected to cater to all of the people, and not only to some of the people who sing to their tune.
Note: Jeevan A. Robinson is Editor-in-Chief of MNI Alive.com, a digital media platform of Marketing, News & Information Media - MNI Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org