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Montserrat swears in new premier

Former opposition leader Donaldson Romeo takes the helm
Published: 
Friday, September 12, 2014
The new premier Donaldson Romeo embraces a supporter after his swearing in ceremony at Government House, Brades on September 12, 2014.

LITTLE BAY, Montserrat  – Former leader of the Opposition Donaldson Romeo was sworn in September 12 as the new premier of Montserrat.

Residents went to the polls September 11 and made a resounding statement that they wanted the People’s Democratic Movement of Montserrat (PDM) to bring change as was promised in a colourful campaign spanning more than four months.

"I’m very thankful that God has spoken through the people of Montserrat. I am glad the people have responded to our agenda and I must say thanks to those who supported our campaign. Thankful to the honourable premier who gave such a respectful concessionary statement,” Romeo said.

Premier Meade conceded the election live on Radio Montserrat early Friday after the results continued to show that only he and Minister Joseph Farrell of the Movement for Change and Prosperity (MCAP) had made it into the top nine which will make up the Legislative Assembly.

“Congratulations to Donaldson Romeo and his team,” the outgoing premier said on radio. “The people have clearly spoken and we will have to accept what the people have said. It seems that the people want to take a different direction.”

On Friday afternoon, following a brief ceremony at Government House officiated by His Excellency the Governor Adrian Davis, the new premier said this was “a victorious moment for the people of Montserrat at home and abroad. The quest to build permanent jobs, build proper housing, revitalise the private sector, practice good governance, value gender equity, take care of our youth, the vulnerable and the elderly are expectations that I take seriously.”

Premier Romeo said these initiatives which his party championed during the campaign constitute the plan of action to turn Montserrat into a self-sufficient state. He called on all residents to “affirm each other’s gift and talents and work together,” adding that the principles of compassion, forgiveness and positive thinking should be their guide.

The premier thanked his team for keeping the faith and charged them to practice what they preached during the campaign. The former opposition leader and community activist was one of seven members of the PDM who gained seats after an intense election season.

The PDM was formed earlier this year with a team of senior civil servants, which includes two women who will now be part of the incoming government. Deputy party leader Delmaude Ryan is a human resource specialist and held on to the number sixth spot in the polls throughout. A popular local doctor Dr. Ingrid Buffonge, was the number two vote-getter close behind Romeo.

“I decided there were a lot of issues in health that should be changed and I was not getting anywhere in my present role. I felt it was important to get involved on the policy level. It was a really good journey. The team has been very supportive, the days were stressful but also fun. I am very, very happy that the Honourable Donaldson Romeo is the new premier. He is honest and has a good heart and sometimes that is what you need to get things done,” Buffonge said. “We are ready to get to work and that begins now.”

The incoming premier said he did not foresee a problem with his new party transitioning from campaign mode to governing. He is expected to submit the names of his ministerial team to Governor Davis early next week.

“Once Montserrat is united there is nothing in that manifesto we cannot do. Once we put people first and agree on what is important to making Montserrat prosperous and self-sustaining it will happen. The challenge will be to maintain the unity and the team spirit that we have now. It is going to take 10 to 20 years for Montserrat to get where it needs to go and this party must last beyond this to get the job done.”

His Excellency the Governor Adrian Davis declared Friday a public holiday.

Full election results can be found at www.elections.ms.

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