A New Chapter for Montserrat

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Above: Montserrat (Photo: Montserrat Tourism)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Montserrat has sworn in Ruben Meade as the British Overseas Territory’s first-ever Premier, following the adoption of a new constitution in the country.

It marks a new milestone for Montserrat, said Dr Denzil Douglas, the prime minister of neighbor islands St Kitts and Nevis.

Douglas said the new constitution held much significance for the island, and ushered in a “new chapter” in the country’s history.

“This is quite opportune and marks an important political milestone for Montserrat and the rest of the sub-region as a whole,” he said. “There is no doubt that [after] the long months of consultations this is indeed a welcomed outcome and a marked accomplishment for the negotiating team of Montserrat.”

The constitution has not come without controversy, as Montserrat’s new opposition leader, Donald Romeo, and his colleague, former Chief Minister Dr Lowell Lewis, have campaigned against the new constitution and argued for changes.

“We must continue the work of improving the [constitution] over time,” Meade said last week at his swearing-in. “We must however, not lose sight of the focus on development issues while at the same time honouring the provisions of the constitution.”

Governor Adrian Davis, who officiated the ceremony, called the constitution a “modern constitution for a modern country.”

As part of the process, a committee will be established in the country to reduce the discretionary powers of the governor in clemency matters, and regional affairs, including OECS and CARICOM, will be vested in the Premier or his nominee.