Instigate the nation until we remedy the injustices of society.
Motivate our people to set a meaningful path for the coming generations.
Educate our people to free our minds and develop an Africentric consciousness.
Mr. Chairman, let me first take this opportunity to thank the people and the government of Cuba for hosting this meeting.
Mr. Chairman, I have been an Anti-Colonial agitator for some 30 years now. The fact that I have only now, for the first time, gotten the opportunity to speak to this honourable gathering, to me, is an indication of the power, or an indication of the lack of concern or interest, that the administering power for Montserrat has for the Committee of 24.
Mr. Chairman, when the Government of Montserrat inquired to the Governor as to the reason why the invitation to this Decolonization Seminar was not forwarded to us for a response we were told that the British government is not in favour of its colonies attending those type of affairs.
So Mr. Chairman, the Governor declined the invitation in the name of the government and people of Montserrat. To my mind Mr. Chairman, the Governor has contravened the protocol involved in the process, and usurped a decision that should be made the government of the day.
Mr. Chairman, the fact that Montserrat is the only Caribbean colony represented here by the government of the day, should be a clear indication that the governors of the Caribbean colonies have made decisions for those colonies that is not in keeping with the spirit of the decolonization process.
Mr. Chairman, I wish that I could have presented to this honourable gathering, a positive and progressive report as the one presented by the Honourable Chief Minister of Gibraltar.
Mr. Chairman, the administering power for Gibraltar and the Caribbean colonies are the same. However, there is a huge contradiction in how the British government treats the two groups. When asked to explain this contradiction, a former Prime Minister, (Mrs. Thatcher) told us that there was no comparison between these colonies as the occupants of Gibraltar, the Falklands, etc. were kith and kin.
The apparent conclusion that we are forced to draw is that the Caribbean colonies are former slaves and the master/servant relationship still holds sway. For this reason, Mr. Chairman, I must endorse the papers presented by the speakers from Anguilla and Bermuda.
Their positions, Mr. Chairman, reflect closely the position of Montserrat. Mr. Chairman, in 1989 the British government presented a constitution to the people of Montserrat. This was done with very little input or consultation with the government and people of Montserrat.
To my mind, Mr. Chairman, this is an illegal document that grants all authority for the governance of Montserrat to a Governor, a Governor, Mr. Chairman, who is not elected by the people of Montserrat, but rather appointed by the British government.
Mr. Chairman, in 1999, British government presented to the international community a white paper on its relationship with its remaining colonies. In it there was mention of bringing the colonies in line with international standards on human rights, the granting of citizenship and a plan of partnership.
Mr. Chairman, every colony in the Caribbean refused to pass the Homosexual Act proposed by the British government so, the British government imposed by decree the act on its colonies.
Mr. Chairman, the passing of the act was tied to the granting of citizenship. Logic demands Mr. Chairman that if the colonies refused to pass an act in return for the granting of citizenship the colonies have in fact rejected the offer of citizenship.
Still, Mr. Chairman, the white paper and the British position is that the colonies do not want to change their present relationship. It could be Mr. Chairman, that the British are mixing up the responses it receives for its Caribbean colonies with those it receives from its kith and kin colonies.
Mr. Chairman, the government of Montserrat is newly elected. On April 2, 2001, we were given a mandate by the people of Montserrat to represent them at all levels. Mr. Chairman, our manifesto and platform included self-determination and constitutional reform.
Mr. Chairman, I want it clearly documented here for the record that the people of Montserrat are not happy with their colonial position.
Mr. Chairman, I also want it clearly understood here that the people of Montserrat are not in favour with the British government's attempts to manufacture our integration into their empire through making us British citizens.
Mr. Chairman, it should be abundantly clear that this citizenship will not change our present colonial position and may in fact devolve further what little administrative authority the elected government has.
Mr. Chairman, we view this as a way, by the use of papers and documents, to circumvent decolonization and remove us or to use the terminology, delist us.
Mr. Chairman, we do not want to be delisted until we have attained our rights to be a self-determined people.
In conclusion Mr. Chairman, I would like to draw some attention to the options available for colonies.
Full self-government. The fact that Montserrat has only recently become a participant in these seminars should be a clear indication that the British have done little in the past 40 years to help us attain this option.
Associated Statehood. The British government closed this option of Associated Statehood in 1979. Its position as far back as then was that those colonies who had not opted for it then were not interested in changing their status.
Integration into a state of choice. This option is presently being manufactured for us by the British in an attempt to delist us. So far neither the spirit nor the protocol involved in such a choice has been explained or debated. If this paper trick is used we are already on record that it must not be for the purposes of delisting us.
Mr. Chairman, I would like to make a few suggestions. The process by which the colonies are invited to these seminars needs some closer attention. If the objective is the eradication of colonialism, then the colonies themselves must have input.
Mr. Chairman the Committee of 24 have been given a 10 year extension. Given the fact that after 40 years, colonies still exist, I would like to suggest a fourth option.
If colonialism cannot be totally eradicated in the next 10 years, Mr. Chairman, I submit that those colonies should be given the option of removing themselves from their administering powers and placing themselves in the care of a United Nations body until such a time as they can enter a family of nations as full self-governing countries.
Mr. Chairman, I thank you for this opportunity to speak for the government and people of Montserrat.
C. Browne FMUM Spokesperson Montserrat Nationalist
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