(PRESS RELEASE) On Saturday, May 20th, 2023, The Montserrat Conference, in collaboration with the University of the West Indies Open Campus Montserrat, will present “Human Capital in the Montserrat Context: Concerns, Challenges, Solutions”, a forum examining the human resources environment in Montserrat, as part of the Let All Ideas Contend series.
Montserrat is one of six British Overseas Territories in the Caribbean. The UK or “administering power” has responsibility under the UN Charter to support the political, economic and social development, and self-government of these “Overseas Territories” even while the UK Parliament retains “unlimited power to legislate for” them.
Recently, it has been observed that the UK administration has been instituting significant changes to the functioning of the public service in Montserrat, including direct involvement in the day-to-day running of the civil service and other aspects of government on the part of the Governor who represents the Crown. These developments are of great concern since there have been instances of blatant human rights violations.
This collaborative conference seeks to examine, among other issues, what seems to be the newly-imposed British policy that Montserrat must recruit externally for its top civil service positions, and concern that local applicants are not being shortlisted or invited to interview for the positions.
Recent advertisements for positions in Montserrat’s public service, posted internationally, have included language about ensuring diversity. Because these positions are filled by “technical consultants” who, so far, have been overwhelmingly British and white, diversity is now being generally understood to intend the inclusion, as a matter of course, of white British citizens – in an African-peopled territory which has been internally self-governing for seventy years.
These developments are adding considerable trauma to a people who despite discussions about resilience, are yet to overcome historical as well more recent trauma.
The Montserrat Conference and The UWI Open Campus Montserrat with its Let All Ideas Contend Forum are collaborating to arrive at a better understanding of these troubling developments which highlight serious challenges with the human resources management function in Montserrat.
The speakers and panelists for this conference include:
- Dr. Anne Crick, Senior Lecturer in Organization Management at the University of the West Indies, Mona School of Business and Management
- Georgia Donaldson, Chief People Officer, National Flour Mills, Trinidad and Tobago, and HR Consultant
- Kerron Ramganesh, HR Analytics and Research professional, Caribbean Airlines
- Reuben T. Meade, Former Premier of Montserrat
- Nyota Mulcare, President, Montserrat Civil Service Association
- Denfield Cadett Morris, Information Technology and CyberSecurity Specialist, Government of Montserrat
Among answers being sought are those that would respond to questions such as:
- With UWI celebrating 75 years of service in the region, having been established to address capacity building for development, does it mean that the University has failed to fulfil its mandate, if we are not making use of UWI graduates?
- Could this be suggesting that our regional university has failed to provide the calibre of public servant that our development requires, in both the political and administrative spheres?
- Have we been precise enough in our development direction and plans, regionally and in Montserrat, that we are fully cognizant of the specific knowledge and skills that we need, and careful about the how and from whom we would best obtain them?
- Have we been able to adapt our administrative and political systems, remnants of colonialism that they are, to engage with modern thinking and technologies in ways that would support our advancement?
- How best to respond to or engage signals and demands from “international” bodies about the most Montserrat-appropriate ways of doing things, where human resources are concerned?
- What do policies such as those noted above portend for Montserrat’s “unique culture” and the direction of its political development and self-determination?
The forum is being held virtually, on ZOOM, and will be live-streamed worldwide. It will run for three hours altogether, divided into two separate discussions, each expected to last at least 60 minutes and perhaps up to 80.
Registration is FREE, but it is required. Registration information is available at www.montserratconference.org.
The Montserrat Conference is a public policy research group that works collaboratively to identify ideas, policies, actions and resource needs that are vital to Montserrat’s development and ensure that these issues are the subject of focused examination and effective action by government, opinion leaders and the general public.