MCAP Gets a Jump on Montserrat’s 2019 Elections with Convention

Charlesworth Phillip, Roselyn Cassell-Sealy and Jenzil Skerritt share a laugh at the MCAP Convention on Sunday, November 25, 2018.

The Movement for Change and Prosperity (MCAP) said Sunday at its first party convention, they are ready for elections in 2019 and to lead Montserrat into a new future.

There were lots of laughs and cheers by the hundreds gathered for the event, which was held at the Lookout School Auditorium. The nine candidates elected by members were revealed officially, with each sharing an encouragement for everyone to Come Home to MCAP.

The candidates are: Norman Cassell,  Dr. Samuel Joseph, Charles Kirnon, Easton Taylor Farrell, Crenston Buffonge, Jenzil Skerritt, Charlesworth Phillip, Roselyn Cassell-Sealy, and Veronica Dorsett.

Cassell-Sealy, who is the outgoing chair of the party said the “current government has not kept the faith. They have not delivered. MCAP is offering an alternative leadership.” She touted many reasons why the populace should be in support of an MCAP-led government. These included more than 25 years of legislative and governance experience. Team members, she added brought to the party expertise in agriculture, finance, environment, the arts, community service and more. This is an “opportunity to improve your life. MCAP is offering stability and hope for better future.  We have seen mistakes by those not prepared for political leadership.  We are prepared to lead. This is the the team for the future of Montserrat.”

Audience at the MCAP Convention.

Party newcomer Crenston Buffonge, who ran as an independent candidate in the 2014 election said youth have a home at MCAP. He called for them to rise up as this is their country and legacy. “Know your rights, familiarise yourself with local issues.  Speak up for yourself and for others. Get an education and learn a trade. Network. Develop national pride in your own country.” Buffonge ended by saying this was a time for bold drastic measures.

Newcomers Veronica Dorsett, a guidance counselor and former magistrate and entrepreneur Jenzil Skerritt were well received. Skerritt said a “wave of change starts today with the convention.”  Former telecommunications minister Charles Kirnon said he has been committed to the party since it began in 1989. He called it family and home, adding that they have “never sought to win elections based on false promises and lies.”
Former independent candidate Charlesworth Phillip has joined the party. He said the event, which many believe is the first of its kind for a political party on island, will be the “new standard for Montserrat.” He invited the audience to register to be members of the party. He said MCAP is to be a model of community and an example of what family is all about.

MCAP Candidates for the 2019 Montserrat elections

Current member of the Opposition Dr. Samuel Joseph said the same hard work of the 50s and 60s which brought Montserrat to pre-volcano success is what it will take to build back Montserrat. “We cannot beg our way to prosperity. MCAP believes in a society which sows diligence and reaps success. One which protects children and women. We have a vision for prosperous Montserrat. We have the skills to do it but we cannot do it without you.”

Former Trinidad & Tobago Minister of Energy Conrad Enill was the guest speaker. He challenged the audience that the success of the party was in their hands and would be their success as well.

With resounding ayes, Easton Taylor Farrell was confirmed as the party leader, while Austin Howe will be the chairman. Howe said despite challenges MCAP has stayed alive and remained relevant. He charged the current administration with abandoning many of the plans which the previous MCAP government had initiated.

Leader of the MCAP Easton Taylor-Farrell

Easton Taylor Farrell said he was honoured to be the new party leader.  He has been with the political organization for 27 years. He said they have taken the time “to see where we went wrong. Correct what we can and offer ourselves to the people.” He thanked former premier and party leader Reuben T. Meade for his contributions to the people of Montserrat. He reiterated Dr. Joseph’s statement that hard work will be necessary to shift the current trajectory. The Opposition Leader said the candidates are committed to use their collective knowledge and experience to move the party forward. “We cannot have infighting we must be united in our mission.  We have stayed the course as a party for 27 years. MCAP is required to rescue and rebuild Montserrat.”
He added that their plan is to use “local resources and our people to build this country. Not wait on British aid.”

The party leader said residents can expect that MCAP officials will be knocking on doors to build the party manifesto with their input.

While MCAP is hoping that the people will have the confidence to put all of their candidates into power, voters are saying they will choose based on capacity rather than party. Teacher Ronel White, said the convention was good, adding she will decide who to vote for based on individual merit and not their party affiliation.

Elections are constitutionally due by September 2019.

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2 Responses

  1. securecaribe says:

    Good report on a shift, and upgrade on the politicking on Montserrat.

    The caption of this story captures the atmosphere of the convention, where candidates presented the MCAP family as the solution for Montserrat, started the process of selling themselves. This may have complimented the process of candidate selection by the party supporters, and show MCAP to be an organized and modern party.

    The idea that a political party proudly presented candidates well ahead of the due date for an election speaks of confidence, is a sign that they are not hiding their hands and “fire stone”, and of course gives party members and the electorate a chance to assess their candidates. I think the selection process has passed the first stage, and the electorate will contribute to the next step. And the candidates are under spotlight.

    The idea that this also probably the first convention of this type may be setting a stage for other political groupings to climb. I said groupings, as political parties would probably be a suitable description now.

    The party took a few well placed jabs at the current administration, which even people in the red corner would applaud. Comments were direct, and in satire fit for Calypso. These related to lack of continuity own programs and projects, inadequate mix of skills, and failed negotiations and inability to agree on most things. Dr. Sammy Joseph referred to the “parting of the Red Sea” in order to take Montserrat forward. Another speaker mentioned that the future of Montserrat cannier developed in a lab – I interpret this to be directed at the high grade political scientists involved in previous elections, and the similarity to the great Sir Isaac Newton. Did I get it right?

    Party members were invited to give input on the party’s manifesto, and in other areas. This tied up in some way with the contribution of the guest speaker. He spoke mainly to the party members and supporters, and really attempted to drive home that the success of the party and country rested with them. My take is that the nine elected members are at the top to the pyramid, but the base of the pyramid is made cup pf the supporters and this should be tabled seriously.

    Most of the party members referenced the contribution of former leader Reuben T Meade, and venerated his roles as leaders of the party through its evolutions, and as Premier of Montserrat. The response from the gathering really indicated that support for him is more than a remnant.

    The party leader was as comfortable and hyped as they come in party leadership circles, and had the attention of the crowd. After, all, he was the Daddy, and ushered in with his jingle. His contributions reflected his other life as a minister of religion, something also seen in Charles Kirnon.

    The seasoned eye would easily see the difference in stage experience for all the candidates who spoke at the event. They were all well spoken, but the tummy butterflies were evident for the first few minutes for some. For the experienced batters, it was business as usual with torches already lit, and ready for the game.

    What next?

    We can anticipate some jabs at the process and products already on the table by MCAP, and they have probably started the political war.
    Other groupings may be looking at this as something to do, but under a different moniker. How can they be seen to be following the opponent?
    Political guns and microscopes will have to be pulled out earlier than the opposing groups would probably like, with the inherent malfunction issues.

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