Montserrat’s new Constitutional Order comes into effect September 27, 2011
BRADES, Montserrat – Montserrat’s new Constitutional Order will come into effect on September 27, 2011.
According to His Excellency, the Governor Adrian Davis, plans are ongoing to commemorate the event. The governor will give remarks and swear in the relevant officials as would be necessary under the new order. These include all members of the present Executive Council, which will be renamed the Legislative Assembly and the chief minister, who will thereafter be called the Premier.
On the 28th, the first official sitting of the Legislative Assembly will be held at the Montserrat Cultural Centre with other cultural activities surrounding this momentous occasion. The general public will be invited to attend and be a part of the proceedings.
Governor Davis said Montserrat’s new Constitution Order reflects the desire of the United Kingdom to have a more progressive relationship with the Overseas Territories and speaks to good governance, more transparency and a means by which citizens can seek redress when necessary.
The upcoming events will be the culmination of a 10-year journey to review the 1989 Constitutional Order, consult and draft a new order which takes into account the views of Montserratians locally and abroad.
Notable changes in the new order includes the establishment of the Complaints Commission, a restructured Public Service Commission, the Integrity Commission which was established as a result of the 2009 Integrity legislation and a National Security Council.
Governor Davis said Wednesday that the commissions will not be operational on the day the new order takes effect as there are several hurdles still to overcome. However, the aim is to have all of the new commissions operational within six months. Chief Minister Reuben Meade said the possibility exists that some commissions will be staffed and led by Montserratians living abroad, adding that the new commissions will cost an additional half a million dollars to operate annually.
• The Constitutional Review process began in 2001, when the Montserrat Constitutional Review Commission began consultations with persons on Montserrat and throughout the Diaspora
• In 2003, the commission put forward the recommended changes to the 1989 Montserrat Constitution gathered after consultations.
• In 2008, the Parliament got involved in the process to push forward the fourth draft of the Montserrat Constitutional Order.
• Several rounds of negotiations in Montserrat between the FCO’s Constitutional Review team and the Montserrat Legislative Council were concluded in May 2010.
• (June to September 2010) Amendments proposed by members of the public and legislators were made to the draft, following a three-month education campaign by the Constitution Implementation and Advisory Committee (CIAC).
• On October 7, 2010, the Legislative Council voted 7-2 to adopt the Montserrat Constitution Order.
• On October 13, 2010 the UK Privy Council adopted the constitution which has been agreed upon between the people and Government of Montserrat and the United Kingdom Foreign Office.
• October 20, 2010 – the new order was laid on the floor of the UK Parliament for 21 days.
The 2010 Constitution Order for Montserrat can be viewed online at www.constitution.gov.ms.