History of Montserrat’s Parliament
Historical Facts About the Legislative Assembly
- Montserrat’s first Chief Minister was Mr William Henry Bramble. He was part of the populist majority elected to Parliament in 1952, but he was not called Chief Minister until after the election of 1961. The letters patent of 1959 introduced the ministerial system of Government and that after the ensuing election, he was appointed as the Chief Minister of Montserrat. He was the leader of the Montserrat Labour Party, which won five general elections though he himself only contested four.
- From 1952 to 2019 Montserrat has had 67 years of popular Parliamentary Government.
- With the completion of the 2019 General Elections Montserrat now has its 17th Parliament, since the first populist majority Parliament was convened in 1952.
- The Parliament was referred to as the Legislative Council up to 2011 when the Montserrat Constitution 2010 came into force. Along with that Constitution, came the name Montserrat Legislative Assembly. At the same time the name Chief Minister was dropped in favour of Premier, a Deputy Premier was introduced and the position of Leader of the Opposition was formalised.
- Margaret Rose Kelsick of the Montserrat Labour Party was the first female elected to the Legislative Council. This took place in 1961; about 10 years after the election of the first popular parliamentary Government. She represented the Plymouth Electoral District.
- Nominated members served in the Legislative Council between 1952 and 1996. These members were nominated by the Governor who also took on board advice given by the Chief Minister.
- Ex-officio members i.e. Attorneys General and Financial Secretaries were a part of the Legislative Council from earliest times, as they are today.
- It has always been considered good parliamentary practice to refer to Members of the Executive, now known as Cabinet, by the constituencies which they represent. Prior to the introduction of the at-large-system of voting, a member would be referred to for example, as the member from Southern, the member from Northern, the member from Central or some other constituency depending on which constituency they represented. This is why Members of the Legislative Assembly are addressed by their roles, as far as possible, as opposed to using their personal names, for e.g. Ministers of Government are referred to as Honourable Minister of whichever Ministry they are appointed to. The Leader of the Opposition would be referred to as Honourable Leader of the Opposition, the Parliamentary Secretary would be referred to as Honourable Parliamentary Secretary and where the Member does not have a specific post, they may be addressed as Honourable Member of the Legislative Assembly, followed by a name to differentiate between the different Members who do not have a specific appointment.
- The leader of Government Business was called Chief Minister up to 2011, when the name was officially changed to Premier. There were 7 Chief Ministers of Montserrat as follows: Mr William H Bramble, Mr Percival Austin Bramble, Dr John A. Osborne, Mr Reuben T Meade, Mr Bertrand B Osborne, Mr David S Brandt and Dr Lowell Lewis. Mr Reuben T Meade was the Chief Minister at the time of the name change and so he became the first Leader of Government Business in Montserrat, to be called Premier. Since then Mr Donaldson Romeo was elected as Premier followed by the incumbent leader, Honourable Joseph Easton Taylor Farrell.
- There have been several political parties, whose leaders were elected to Office, from 1952 to the present time. These parties are as follows: Montserrat Labour Party led by former Chief Minister William Henry Bramble, Progressive Democratic Party led by former Chief Minister Percival Austin Bramble, People’s Liberation Movement led by former Chief Minister John Osborne, National Progressive Party led by Former Chief Minister Reuben T Meade, Movement for National Reconstruction led by former Chief Minister Bertrand Osborne, New People’s Liberation Movement led by Chief Minister John Osborne, Montserrat Democratic Party led by Dr Lowell Lewis, People’s Democratic Movement led by former Chief Minister Donaldson Romeo and the incumbent party Movement for Change and Prosperity, led by Premier Joseph Easton Taylor Farrell.