The day I learned I have no influence in Montserrat

Emerald Community Singers at Montserrat national song contest event

On Monday, Montserrat chose its first-ever national song (that’s a picture from the ceremony above).

Did they pick the ’50s calypso number I begged them to, which was easily the best song on the shortlist? Er, no.

Did they choose Hot, Hot, Hot, the most famous song ever to come from the island? Er, no.

They chose this:

It’s called Motherland, and it was written by Sir Howard Fergus, one of the island’s former governors, and Dr George Irish, a Caribbean studies lecturer based in New York.

It’s certainly got all the right words for a national song. “Oh Montserrat, proud motherland, your children raise your standard high,” it starts, before calling on Montserratians to “rise up and make our country great”, to serve it in “toil and tears.”

There’s even a mention of pestilence in one of the later verses, and no self-respecting national song can go without that. “No pestilence shall mar your shore, no fount of sadness overwhelm.”

But come on Montserrat, it sounds like a church hymn! You could have had a calypso tune! You could have had Hot, Hot, Hot!

Yes, I’m clearly a sore loser for backing the wrong tune…

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