Parliament in Session at the Montserrat Cultural Centre - February 2022

Opposition Member Romeo Files Motion of No Confidence Against the Speaker of the Montserrat Parliament

Member of the Opposition Donaldson Romeo has filed a Motion of No Confidence in the Speaker of the Montserrat Legislative Assembly (MLA) Charliena White.

In a release to media, the former premier and current member of the Opposition said he filed the motion on Tuesday, February 27, 2024.

“This is not a decision that I have taken lightly but, having tried, in vain, to reason with the Honourable Speaker, I have decided to file this motion, not only on my behalf, but for the good of all Members of the Legislature, for the Hon. Speaker herself, and especially for the good of the rule of law and democracy. As they say, “sometimes love must be tough”,” Mr. Romeo stated.

The Opposition member charges that his ability to effectively advocate for the people of Montserrat and to hold the Government of Montserrat to account is being inhibited by the Speaker White.

Romeo said he presented a resolution in January to ask government to “to consider reviewing and increasing salaries, pensions, and welfare support considering that a DfID funded study said it would take (XCD)$1200 to $1400 to properly feed one adult in 2013 – ten years ago.” The Speaker, he continued, was of the view that “it breached the rules because it tried to bind the government to an increase in expenditure. This did not make sense, since my resolution asked the government to consider an increase and not decide on or agree to an increase. The people of Montserrat are struggling under the weight of rises in the cost of living and would want their representatives to raise their concerns in parliament.”

After conducting additional research and seeking legal advice abroad, the Opposition member, said he reworded the resolution and resubmitted it on February 23, 2024.

His motion was again rejected by the Speaker, who he stated, “suggested a number of weak and watered-down alternatives.” This he found as “unreasonable as telling (West Indies cricket legend) Viv Richards that he couldn’t use his bat to hook bouncers in the middle of a test match. I am therefore bringing this motion of censure because tabling resolutions like the one I presented is the right and duty of every Opposition Member and every Legislator. That is what we, opposition and members of the ruling government are elected and paid to do, and the rules of parliament require the Speaker to do all that he or she can to make this possible. To do otherwise is to seriously hamper our work and undermine the democratic process.”

Mr. Romeo served as Montserrat’s premier from 2014 to 2019. He plans to contest the upcoming elections later this year.

White has been Speaker since 2019 and is the third woman to hold the position in the local parliament.