Karen Lioness Allen made strong representation at the first national debates ahead of the upcoming general elections while four others were no shows.
The first in a series of four debates to ask questions of the candidates who have expressed interesting in running for office was held on Tuesday evening at the Brades Arts & Education Centre. The two-hour event was also streamed live on ZJB Radio Montserrat and via liveislandevents. com.
While eight candidates were on schedule to participate only four showed up. These were the three candidates on the list for the Movement for Change and Prosperity (MCAP) Crenston Buffonge, Jenzil Skerritt and Norman Cassell. Karen Lioness Allen was the lone female and only independent candidate on last night’s panel.
Missing were People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) Dwayne Hixon, David Trixie Duberry and Emile Dubbery, and Bertrand Lee of the Montserrat United Labour Party (MULP).
No apologies were expressed about the absences during the discussion. However, leader of the MULP Peter Queeley said he had previously sent apologies about his party’s availability to participate in the scheduled events since last week and was “lost as to why the explanation for our non-attendance was not communicated to the public at the debate held yesterday Tuesday October 29, 2019.
Queeley told the organisers via email last week that “Unfortunately, the late notice of the debates conflicts with the already planned political campaign schedule of the MULP. Therefore, we regret to inform you that the MULP Candidates will not be able to participate in the said debates/ panel discussions.
“In particular the debates scheduled for October 29 and November 4 conflicts with two private political campaign engagements that the MULP has already committed is presence. Additionally, the debates scheduled for November 5 and November 12 conflicts with already arranged MULP Public Meetings in Salem and Drummonds/ Gerald’s for which we have already received approval from the law enforcement authorities,” his email to the organisers read.
For almost two-hours the four in attendance fielded questions crafted by the organising team at the Montserrat Youth Parliament, audience
members and some submitted via email from local residents and the Diaspora.
The questions ranged from concerns of how they would handle issues of poisoning of local animals, growing the tourism sector, improving the hospital and education. Allen, who is running solo appeared prepared to respond to all questions, often reading from prepared notes as well being able to speak off the cuff. The MCAP candidates were articulate and spoke to the issues presented adding support to each other’s views.
While the audience in the room and online congratulated the candidates for their participation and the organiserss, they were disappointed at the missing politicians but also that several of the candidates who attended the event appeared to hijack the process with repeated visits to the microphone to ask questions. Other candidates attending the discussions were Independent candidates Dr Ingrid Buffonge, Glenn Francis, Shirley Osborne, MNC candidate Gregory Willock, and MCAP members Charlesworth Phillip, Dr. Samuel Joseph, and Easton Taylor-Farrell.
The discussions continue next Monday and Tuesday, November 4 and 5th at the Brades Arts & Education Centre from 7 to 9PM. Questions can be sent in via firstname.lastname@example.org
What lsat night’s session below.