Greetings to all who hear this message.
My name is Chedmond Browne.
I am an elected Member of Parliament.
This message continues my political campaign for re-election that I started in January of this year.
In my first radio brief, I attempted to bring to the People’s attention, the need for active politicians and those who would like to run in the upcoming elections to declare their hands early.
The reasons I gave for taking such a position at that time, was the need to avoid confusion and the need for the voters to get more time to look at, examine, and evaluate the people who want to represent them.
Almost six months has elapsed since I started, and to date the only voices one hears making public statements or taking public positions on issues, are the four opposition Members of Parliament.
It is generally taken for granted, that any current Member of Parliament will contest the upcoming elections and until any one of them makes a public statement saying that they wont contest the elections the logical assumption is that they will.
So, six months have sped by and we see very little activity politically in putting together a strong , viable platform to contest the next elections.
Every day, in Montserrat opportunities exists for those who wish to represent the People to take public positions.
From my position it is extremely difficult for me to give any serious consideration or support, to any one seeking public office who has sat by for years without taking public positions and then seeking office through the backdoor in a three week election governed by noise, chaos and confusion.
The remaining nine months, if we have that much time, will speed by just as quickly as the first six months.
If the pattern and tradition that we have become accustomed to continues, we will still be faced with noise, chaos and confusion in the coming elections.
We will still be faced with choosing people to represent us when we have no real idea of where they stand on any of the relevant issues that demand proper representation.
I have spent most of my life, as a social and political activist.
I have never been afraid to take a public position on any issue, and I have never been afraid to debate or defend any position that I have taken.
Throughout the years I have attempted to use every opportunity I get to enlighten and educate the public to the real issues that we face.
We all bring different talents to the table and we all play different roles in our society.
Mine has been an attempt to open the eyes of the masses to certain realities.
Mine has been an attempt to educate and enlighten the masses.
It will continue to be so.
Let those who have the national interest of Montserrat at heart stand up and demonstrate their position in a timely enough manner to give the voters of Montserrat the time needed to look at them and see if they can in fact represent.
Today, I would like to spend some time speaking about the voting process.
Why? Because it is your vote that determines who represents you in the coming five years.
There is no perfect system designed by man.
Why? Because man is an imperfect being and will therefore distort any system designed to fit his imperfections.
Montserrat is governed by possibly the most backward system any where in the world that can be called democratic.
Governmental systems are designed by men to satisfy their wants.
Montserrat, is governed by such a system.
Not one that satisfies the needs of the nation, but one that satisfies the wants of an administering power, and a collaborating minority.
Until very recently in our history Montserrat was still governed as a slave society.
The system of colonialism under which Montserrat is still governed was a direct response of the Merchant Planter minority to maintain power, control and authority over the majority African population in all the colonies after they were supposedly freed from physical slavery in 1834.
As a result of this system Montserratians were denied the right to vote, for 119 years after we were supposedly set free.
That’s right 119 years.
It was not until 1952 that every adult Montserratian won the right to vote.
I use the term won because that’s what it was.
While Montserratians have contributed very little to their own struggle for the basic Rights and freedom of all individuals, every right that we have was fought for.
The right to vote was won with the blood sweat, tears, and sacrifices of our activist ancestors throughout the region.
Power concedes nothing without demand and the right to vote was given only after it became apparent to the colonial masters that they could not contain the demand of their former slaves for a fundamental human right. That is, The right to govern themselves.
So, here in Montserrat we have only had the right to vote for fifty two years.
That’s right, only fifty two years.
There are still many of our senior citizens alive today that can tell you of the time when they had no say so what so ever in determining who represented them.
Fifty two years, works out to 10 elections.
So lets look at this. We have been on Montserrat according to the history books since 1652.
That’s 353 years.
We have been supposedly free from physical slavery since 1834.
That’s 119 years.
But, we have only voted to decide who represents us 10 times.
Lets look at this another way.
Five out of the six Chief Ministers that we have elected are still alive today.
That’s how little time we have been involved in looking for ourselves.
Yet, we have people in our society who are now ready to give up.
Because, as I stated earlier Montserrat has possibly one of the most backward systems anywhere in the world that can still be called democratic, it is very easy for the voting public to become bitter and frustrated with a system that clearly does not work for them.
My question, however, to the voters who have decided, that they will no longer take part in the process, is this.
When you fail to exercise a right won for you by your ancestors sacrifices who wins?
Is it those in the minority who go along with the system and feel they have the right to everything?
Is it the greedy and selfish politician who only looks for themselves?
Is it the administering power who still feels the need to dominate and control people that are different from them?
For sure, if you don’t exercise your right to vote, you loose.
We have an imperfect system.
Your representatives must know this, say this and indicate how, when and where they will fix it.
Because, we also have an opportunity to own it and to fix it.
So, how do we the people win in this present situation?
Given the fact that we are only asked once every five years to take part in the decision making process, we must use that one time wisely.
We must know, that some day our children will inherit this system.
We must give them every chance possible to own it and fix it.
We will never do that if we give in to the forces of chaos and confusion.
We must be clear in our goals and objectives.
Those who don’t serve the national interest must not represent the people.
Those at the top of the class structure collaborate with and manipulate selfish and greedy politicians.
The administering power manipulates and turns a blind eye to the conflicts of interests of greedy and selfish politicians.
The only real solution at this point in time is for the voting public to insure that those who have proven them selves to be greedy, selfish and unable to represent the People who elected them be removed from office.
I am suggesting to you, the people, in no uncertain terms, that if you do not vote things will remain the way they are.
Ladies and gentlemen, there is currently an ongoing legal exercise taking place.
The voters list is being updated.
For the next two and one half months there will be authorized people visiting houses.
Their task is to update the voters list.
Already, many have opted not to have their names listed.
I agree that there is bitterness and frustration in the society.
I don’t agree however that it is the fault of the voter.
Voters very rarely make mistakes.
However, voters are from time to time betrayed by those they elect to represent them.
The voters only real option at this time is to remove them from office through the voting them out of office.
I have been involved at the political level in 7 of the 10 elections that we have had.
I have seen people cry at the voting booth in every one of these elections because their name was not on the voters list.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am suggesting to you that if your name is not on the list you cannot do anything to determine who represents you, and if you do not take part then who is there have a very good chance of staying there.
I am Chedmond browne and I am asking every eligible voter in Montserrat to insure that the right that your ancestors sacrifised for you to exercise is used in the way that you desire.
This right cannot be used if you are not on the voters list.
So, I am asking one and all to insure that their name is listed.
Ladies and Gentlemen my campaign for re-election continues
I thank one and all for their kind attention.