Former Premier Says He Would Support a Motion of No Confidence Against Premier Romeo

Hon. Leader of the Opposition and former premier Reuben T. Meade said Wednesday he would support a motion of no confidence against the current leader of government Hon. Premier Donaldson Romeo.

Hon. Opposition Leader Reuben T. Meade
Hon. Opposition Leader Reuben T. Meade

During the MCAP radio programme Viewpoint on ZJB, Meade said he has had a change of heart as last year he’d said he would not support any motion of no confidence. There had been rumblings of in fighting among the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) which swept into power in September 2014.

“It pains me to see what is happening now,” Meade said on radio. “If a motion comes forward I will have no choice but to support a motion against the premier.”

The former leader had strong words for the current government and this week’s Financial Aid Mission. The name shift from Budget Aid Mission was more than semantics, Meade said. Adding it reflects a move away from Montserrat having decision making power to one which resembles the IMF’s methodology of structural adjustments.

Accompanied by economist Peter Queeley and Hon Opposition Member Easton Taylor-Farrell, the three shared their concerns about the state of the island’s economy.

According to the Montserrat’s Economic Review published by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), the island’s economy contracted in the first nine months of 2015 compared to the same period in 2014.

“The main sector contributing to the deteriorating performance was public administration, defence and compulsory social security. The consumer price index declined by 0.03 per cent, on an end of period basis. The merchandise trade deficit contracted as the value of imports decreased. The overall surplus on the fiscal accounts (after grants) increased due principally to a reduction in capital expenditure.”

Meade said of grave concern is the absence of any capital projects and the announcement by DFID and Governor Elizabeth Carriere that Montserrat will have to wait until 2018 before that changes.

The question was asked what are the people to do until then. Queeley offered his expertise to assist the government free of cost and said the premier should call his technicians together to come up with a homegrown plan to achieve reforms. “If we use the IMF-style approach which they seem to favour, then the country will be in trouble. We need a plan that looks at increased efficiency and growth.”

The officials said the current government was not working to attract private sector and had made DFID their only source for solutions and funding.

They noted that DFID is again attaching conditions of public sector reform and prioritising spending to receiving more funding as they tried when MCAP was in power.

“They (DFID) tried before but MCAP refused it and we pushed for Montserrat to be out of granting aid by 2020,” Hon. Taylor added.

“It is full time that people stand up and say it is time for you to go,” the opposition leader said on radio.

Montserrat’s Economic Review begins on page 69 of the ECCB report –