Premier Donaldson Romeo confirmed Thursday that he will be contesting the upcoming General Elections on November 18, 2019 as an independent candidate.
Romeo had been voted out as leader of the ruling People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) on October 9. Party members voted to make Paul Lewis, the current Minister of Communications and Works, their new leader.
PDM officials and Romeo confirmed earlier this week that the two had made a separation. The premier held off his public announcement until he could share that his government had now signed off on the fibre optic contract.
Before his late afternoon radio announcement, PDM released a flyer for their upcoming public rally for youth without his image on it, raising further speculation that they had parted ways with Romeo.
The premier said he respected the decision of the party to remove him as their leader but his mission is not over and his priority is to continue to serve the people of Montserrat. He told Discover Montserrat Tuesday that he felt like a burden had been lifted and he has peace about his decision to leave the party he helped form and led to a resounding seven of nine seat victory at the polls in 2014.
Premier Romeo, who previously served as Leader of the Opposition after running as an independent candidate in the 2009 elections said “after much prayer, consultation and consideration, I have decided that in order to fulfill my sense of purpose and peace of mind I will stand aside and not be a Candidate for the People’s Democratic Movement in the upcoming November 18, 2019 general elections.
“This may come as a surprise to many, but it has been taken after much reflection, prayer and analysis in the light of several developments over the last week.
“At the same time, I am convinced that my mission is not over. Accordingly, I must share with you my gracious supporters and well-wishers, my intention to proceed as a candidate in the upcoming elections. I am therefore compelled to issue this public statement – one, that will be shared with the various media houses – so as to reduce misconceptions that may circulate.
“My mission is not finished and I am determined to act (as always) in the continued best interest of the People of Montserrat. By now most would know that whatever the outcome, no matter where I am placed, I shall continue to serve the people of Montserrat with passion and with a confidence in our bright future,” his statement read.
The premier also revealed that earlier today his government signed off on the long-awaited contract for the laying of the undersea Fibre Optic Cable worth EC $17 million. He then went on to outline, what he called the “positive achievements” of the PDM under his leadership.
The premier said he was at peace but also fired up to fight for Montserrat. He expressed a desire to push further on his work to get the United Nations Decolonisation Committee to hold the United Kingdom accountable for providing what the island needs to make it self-sustaining.
“I believe that there is a specific task and movement that I must trigger. So, for this, I am not only at peace but fired up to fight under God for the God-given democratic and legal rights of our People near and far. We shall fight the Goliath task ahead with and on behalf of the People of Montserrat. I will therefore take some time in the coming days to meet with my core supporters and others who may wish to assist in shaping my next steps.
“I thank fellow PDM Ministers, Members of Parliament and Cabinet for their hard work and dedication to the people’s cause over the past five years. I thank the people of Montserrat, the public service and the private sector, national, non-national, black, white, yellow, brown, old and young for the support, prayers and the love that I have received while serving the people of Montserrat as premier over the past five years.
“…I urge all within the hearing of my voice, that when this election is over we unite as one people, with one voice and purpose behind the elected Government and Leader to put Montserrat in its rightful place economically, socially, politically and otherwise. Our hands are not tied. For, my hands, your hands, yes our hands are in the Hands of the Man from Galilee. That’s why no weapon formed against the people of Montserrat will prosper,” his statement read.