Current Speaker of the House, Shirley Osborne announced today that she will be participating in “Montserrat’s upcoming general elections and will work to help usher in smart, strong, good leadership for the people”.
In a statement released on Emancipation Day, August 1 Osborne who is the daughter of the late leader of government John Osborne, shared that “the quality of leadership makes all the difference to effective and efficient government.”
“I’m Montserratian and I love Montserrat and its people with all of my heart,” said Ms. Osborne, “I intend to live in Montserrat until I die. And, furthermore, I intend to live in a safe, healthy, creative, productive, vibrant, prosperous place. So, of course, it is up to me to do everything I possibly can to help create such an environment and that’s what I’m going to do. I am going to help Montserrat form a government that is fit-for-purpose, to use a cliché. Fortunately for us, we are a democracy so fundamental democratic principles allow us to keep trying, changing, sifting until we get it right.”
Ms. Osborne, the second daughter of former Chief Minister John Osborne and retired teacher Mrs. Eleanor Osborne, has a lifelong and family history of civic engagement, community activism and political involvement. Growing up in Montserrat, she was active in every aspect of life on the island, performing in school concerts and church recitals, dancing in costume bands and chairing the Queen Show Committee, running track and winning Debating Society competitions, for Green House, at the Montserrat Secondary School as well as writing for local newspapers. Ms. Osborne also worked for the Montserrat Tourist Board and owned a workshop that made high fashion garments from Sea Island Cotton grown, spun and woven entirely in Montserrat.
“I intend to participate fully in the next general elections,” said Ms. Osborne, “because Montserrat is currently experiencing some enormous challenges and we are about to meet some even more significant ones. Montserrat is, therefore, in dire need of the full efforts of every citizen, resident and friend of the island – at every level – and my personality, experiences and education have gifted me some of the personal qualities and leadership competencies that Montserrat most needs at this point if our advancement is to be in the direction of health, wealth and happiness.
“There is much – very much more, I daresay – that I can contribute to Montserrat’s advancement and I intend to give every ounce of it. It was Eldridge Cleaver who said, “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.” I agree wholeheartedly with him.”
“Having been the Speaker of the Montserrat Legislative Assembly for the past four and a half years, Ms. Osborne has represented Montserrat at events of the very highest levels from Bermuda to Bangladesh, from the UK to Africa, from Antigua to America. During this time, she expanded an already formidable global network of colleagues, friends and acquaintances in the public and private sectors, in governmental and non-governmental organisations, and is confident in the leverage this can provide for Montserrat’s advancement,” the statement read.
“I have had the high honour, over the last four and a half years of being in a position to lead the Parliamentary advancement of Montserrat,” said Ms. Osborne. “I have made good representation for Montserrat at home and abroad, and have built on the work of previous Speakers to further raise the profile and status of Montserrat so that, now, the might of this tiny island is recognised and acknowledged at the very highest levels in parliamentary and government circles right across the Commonwealth.”
“I have enjoyed, immensely, my time in that office and have immeasurably expanded my skills and knowledge so I am looking forward to contributing fully in the next phase of Montserrat’s advancement and elevation.”
Osborne has been an advocate for women’s and girls issues and has in recent times become more active on social media, weighing in on public debates. She was selected to be Speaker of the House by the current administration but however, remained a very vocal voice at their decisions when contrary to her beliefs.
A date for the general election has not yet been announced.