Governor Pearce Signs On to Effect Emergency Powers Section of the Montserrat Constitution
There is no state of emergency declared on Montserrat, the government said today in a press release.
However, His Excellency, the Governor Andrew Pearce today signed a proclamation to bring the section of the Montserrat Constitution Order 2010, which deals with the provisions for public emergency into effect.
The signed proclamation – SRO 21 of 2020 notes that while Montserrat’s new constitution was put into force September 2011, the section on emergency powers was not. The provision was made that the governor would be able at a later date, at his discretion, allow Section 18 (1) to (8) to come into force.
The relevant section of the Constitution notes that the governor can act with or without the support of the National Advisory Council and the premier to make decisions for “securing the public safety, the defence of Montserrat or the maintenance of public order, or for maintaining supplies and services essential to the life of the community.”
Montserrat reported it’s fifth case of COVID-19, which makes it one of the highest per capita in the world. Borders have been closed to non-residents and a ten-hour curfew from 7PM to 5AM is now in effect from Thursday March 26 until April 10, 2020.
The signed proclamation – SRO 21 of 2020, can be viewed at: http://www.gov.ms/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/SRO-21-OF-2020.pdf
Montserrat Constitution Order 2020
Provisions for periods of public emergency
18.—(1) The Governor may, by proclamation published in the Gazette, declare that a period of public emergency exists.
(2) Without prejudice to the power of the Legislature to make laws under this Constitution, during a period of public
emergency the Governor may make such regulations for Montserrat as appear to him or her to be necessary or expedient for securing the public safety, the defence of Montserrat or the maintenance of public order, or for maintaining supplies and services essential to the life of the community.
(3) Regulations made under subsection (2)—
(a) shall have effect only prospectively;
(b) shall have effect, subject to this section, notwithstanding the provisions of any other law in force in Montserrat or
any rule of law having effect in Montserrat;
(c) shall (unless previously revoked) expire at the end of the period of public emergency during which they were made unless provision for their continuance in force (with or without modification) is made by the Legislature;
(d) shall be published as soon as possible in the Gazette or by such other means as the Governor may determine, acting in his or her discretion, and shall come into force upon first publication.
(4) Before exercising any function under subsection (1) or (2) or under any emergency law enacted by the Legislature, the Governor shall consult the National Advisory Council or, if that is not practicable in the circumstances, the Premier; but if in the judgement of the Governor it is impracticable for him or her to consult the National Advisory Council or the Premier, the function shall be exercised by the Governor acting in his or her discretion.
(5) Where the Governor has consulted the National Advisory Council or the Premier under subsection (4), the Governor may, if he or she thinks it right to do so, act otherwise than in accordance with any advice given to him or her by the National Advisory Council or the Premier.
(6) Where any proclamation of emergency has been made by the Governor under subsection (1), a copy of the proclamation shall as soon as practicable be laid before the Legislative Assembly and if the Assembly is not due to meet within five days of the making of the proclamation it shall meet within that period or as soon as practicable thereafter.
(7) A proclamation of emergency shall, unless it is sooner revoked by the Governor, cease to be in force at the expiration of a period of fourteen days beginning on the date on which it was made or such longer period as may be provided under subsection (8), but without prejudice to the making of another proclamation of emergency at or before the end of that period.
(8) If at any time while a proclamation of emergency is in force (including any time while it is in force by virtue of this subsection) a resolution is passed by the Legislative Assembly approving its continuance in force for a further period not exceeding three months, beginning on the date on which it would otherwise expire, the proclamation shall, if not sooner revoked, continue in force for that further period; but the Assembly may abridge that period by a further resolution.
(9) Nothing in any law or done under its authority shall be held to contravene section 6, section 7 other than subsections (4), (5) and (6) thereof, or any provision of sections 8 to 17 (inclusive) to the extent that the law authorises during a period of public emergency the taking of measures that are reasonably justifiable for dealing with
the situation that exists in Montserrat during that period.