Montserrat's Premier Donaldson Romeo. (GP)
BRADES, Montserrat – Premier Donaldson Romeo announced November 18 as the date for general elections in this British Overseas Territory.
In a brief radio broadcast on Monday, Romeo told listeners the time had finally come to announce the dissolution of Parliament and the date for the 2019 general elections.
He said he had already met with the Acting Governor Lyndell Simpson “and I can now confirm that the instruments for the dissolution of parliament have been signed.
Romeo did not say when Nomination Day would be, but said he was looking forward “to a very lively campaign where all ideas contend, and as usual free and fair elections where the people of Montserrat exercise their democratic right to choose their representatives”.
Romeo is expected to lead his ruling People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) into the election where it will face a challenge from the Montserrat United Labour Party (MULP), The Movement for Change & Prosperity (MCAP), Montserrat National Congress (MNC) as well as a number of independent candidates who have announced their intentions to contest the elections.
The Legislative Assembly has 11 members, of which nine are elected. The Attorney General and the Financial Secretary take the remaining seats. The British Overseas Territory is a single nine-member constituency, with voters able to vote for up to nine candidates on their ballot paper.
Last October, Romeo survived a move by disgruntled opposition legislators to bring down his administration when a key government backbencher indicated that he had no intention of supporting a vote of no confidence against him.
Former agriculture minister Claude Hogan held the key to the survival of the government that faced an uphill task to complete its first five-year term, but told legislators that they should withdraw the motion, adding “if you want to change the premier there is a way to do it”, said Hogan.
The government hold a slim one seat majority in the Legislative Assembly and political observers had expected Hogan, who was dismissed by Romeo in 2017, to have sided with the opposition that included two former members of the ruling People’s Democratic Movement (PDM).
Hogan said he still intends to contest his present seat in the next general election, adding that the vote of no confidence is nothing more than an early start to the 2019 general election campaign.
Dr Ingrid Buffonge, a former member of the ruling PDM, who piloted the motion of no confidence, likened the situation to a “day of history” for Montserrat.
The 2014 general election was a victory for the newly established PDM, which was formed by Romeo on April 30 that year, in order to contest the elections.
The party defeated the then ruling MCAP, the Alliance of Independent Candidates and 10 other independents. (CMC)