Former Premier Donaldson Romeo announced Friday that he intends to be part of a new team planning to contest the island elections, constitutionally due this year.
In a radio announcement and statement sent to local media, Romeo said “I do not intend to contest the upcoming election as an independent candidate, but with a team of dedicated, trustworthy and capable individuals who both understand and are equipped to address the prolonged and deepening crisis faced by the People of Montserrat. Yes, a team determined to work hard, day and night, shoulder to shoulder with those at home and abroad, to save our beloved country from further decline, and to help it grow towards standing on its own two feet, out of dependency on the UK Government.”
Romeo, who is currently an independent member of the Opposition served as Montserrat’s premier from 2014 to 2019, when he led the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM). He contested the last election in 2019 as an independent candidate having parted ways with PDM after he was ousted as party leader in favor of current Leader of the Opposition, Paul Lewis.
“I intend to be part of a team of individuals who are not in it for money, or just for their friends, or for a few. I intend to be part of a team who, like many of our forefathers, know that their hands are not tied, but that our right to self-determination is God-given, and that no principality or power can stop us from achieving our good and ambitious plans; plans we set our hands and minds to develop together in unity for the benefit of our Montserrat. This is the level of total commitment that Montserrat needs right now.
“Given the small pool of available and willing candidates it is not prudent to make names public at this stage. Over the past several months, I have been meeting with a group that has now given me the green light to speak to the media and to the public on their behalf, going forward,” the statement read.
The Opposition member said the island was at a “very critical point in our history” with the rapid depopulation and economic hardship presently faced by Montserratians and local businesses.
“It is obvious that our government has not made a solid case that is economically, legally, morally and politically sound. This means that our next elected Government will need to understand the British Government and their People in order to negotiate better and more effectively with them. For, understandably, as our partner and biggest investor in the development of Montserrat, the British Government will continue to be the main source of funding for several years to come. At the same time, while negotiating with the British Government, we must strengthen our private sector so that it can benefit from the local and foreign investment which we are now better poised to attract. Yes, with much of the key transformational infrastructure like the seaport, hospital and undersea fiber being finally put in place, it’s time to create wealth for our businesses and People,” his statement read.
Another former premier, Reuben T. Meade has already announced his intention to contest the elections as head of a new party.
No date has yet been announced for the national elections.
Listen to his full statement below: