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‘Tough decisions already taken’ says Chief Minister Reuben Meade

CM Meade listens to Bennette Roach question in interview. Photo: courtesy - Nerissa Golden

In an interview with Chief Minister Reuben Meade on December 1, 2010, Bennette Roach asked him if Montserrat faced similar constraints as were passed on to the Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands following their meetings with Her Majesty’s Government (HMG).

The Chief Minister responded that was not the case. “Montserrat has not been told the same thing,” he said.

The Montserrat Reporter (TMR) on December 3, 2010, published the following which came out of the TCI from an article titled ‘Tough decisions coming’ “…Residents of the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) can brace themselves for some “tough decisions in the weeks ahead”, according to the Advisory Council.”

The information came from a release which did not specify or elaborate on what those measures would be, but it stressed that they will be “tough”.

The article said, “Ian McKendry, a visiting senior official from  the UK Department for International Development, underlined the importance which UK Ministers attached to credible plans to balance the budget as a basis for providing support. The Council also discussed the state of the TCI economy following an update from Chief Economic Advisor to the Governor, Brian Titley.”

The name Ian McKendry is not unfamiliar to Montserrat. He has visited Montserrat and had held meetings with our Chief Minister and his government.

CM Meade in the interview continued, “Montserrat had taken the decision prior to the Conservative Liberal government coming into office, that the situation in Montserrat was such that we had to bring it under control and you can recall in last year’s budget, we spoke in terms of the privatisation, effectiveness and efficiency in government service, the need for privatising some of government activities, and the need also to develop the private sector…”

The CM referred to the ‘road map’ (which had been promised to TMR since early in the year, but not yet provided). He said that government was looking at the road map developed with DFID, “… where we are in relation to the road map which we have developed in consultation with DFID and determining what resources are required for us to move further ahead.”

The budget address was delivered in April and since then the Chief Minister made a Statement in the Legislative Council when he accused DFID of holding back projects for ‘trivial and questionable’ reasons. In that Statement he lamented that funds were low. Since that he had made statements that caused concern to civil servants about the late payment of salaries because of the unavailability of funds. This past week as Civil Servants who are accustomed to receiving salaries earlier than the normal date around the 26th, they were worried with the threat that payment might not be forthcoming at all or on time. Payments began on December 21.

Opposition member and predecessor Chief Minister Dr. Lowel Lewis commented on CM Meade’s Statement later and said: “Trivial and questionable means: failure to act on instructions regarding the IP scandal; Failure to conclude the Registrar of Interests Bill; Failure to  correct the unsustainable pension arrangement where civil servants could get a pension of 60% of final salary and Failure to agree on  approved DFID projects.”

This past week Anguilla’s Chief Minister has been holding meetings with civil society to address similar concerns as were expressed in TCI. News out of that British Overseas Territory said: “The UK Minister for the Overseas Territories, Henry Bellingham has been insisting that the Anguilla Government commit to further taxation and a cut in the size of the civil service workforce by at least 30% and also make further cuts to the civil service salaries.”

The report continued that “Chief Minister Hubert Hughes and his Government have taken the position that to comply with those directives at this time will have the adverse effect of plunging Anguilla into further financial difficulties and create previously unimaginable social hardships.”

Chief Minister finished his answer by saying that “…whereas our situation is not dissimilar to that of many other countries in the world Montserrat at least grab the opportunity before it escalated out of proportion and having to be told we took the initiative ourselves to make the corrective actions.”

In that same interview the CM in response to a question regarding the status of the Montserrat Development Corporation (MDC), said, “MDC as we knew it is no longer in the systems…the private sector development of things has not moved so therefore what we are saying is let us put in place a system which will more readily provide us with opportunities for development the private sector side let us get the private sector development going…”

In his statement to the Legislative Council the CM had said that private sector is not able to get the economy moving and the Public Sector would have take on the burden.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

CM Meade listens to Bennette Roach question in interview. Photo: courtesy - Nerissa Golden

In an interview with Chief Minister Reuben Meade on December 1, 2010, Bennette Roach asked him if Montserrat faced similar constraints as were passed on to the Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands following their meetings with Her Majesty’s Government (HMG).

The Chief Minister responded that was not the case. “Montserrat has not been told the same thing,” he said.

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The Montserrat Reporter (TMR) on December 3, 2010, published the following which came out of the TCI from an article titled ‘Tough decisions coming’ “…Residents of the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) can brace themselves for some “tough decisions in the weeks ahead”, according to the Advisory Council.”

The information came from a release which did not specify or elaborate on what those measures would be, but it stressed that they will be “tough”.

The article said, “Ian McKendry, a visiting senior official from  the UK Department for International Development, underlined the importance which UK Ministers attached to credible plans to balance the budget as a basis for providing support. The Council also discussed the state of the TCI economy following an update from Chief Economic Advisor to the Governor, Brian Titley.”

The name Ian McKendry is not unfamiliar to Montserrat. He has visited Montserrat and had held meetings with our Chief Minister and his government.

CM Meade in the interview continued, “Montserrat had taken the decision prior to the Conservative Liberal government coming into office, that the situation in Montserrat was such that we had to bring it under control and you can recall in last year’s budget, we spoke in terms of the privatisation, effectiveness and efficiency in government service, the need for privatising some of government activities, and the need also to develop the private sector…”

The CM referred to the ‘road map’ (which had been promised to TMR since early in the year, but not yet provided). He said that government was looking at the road map developed with DFID, “… where we are in relation to the road map which we have developed in consultation with DFID and determining what resources are required for us to move further ahead.”

The budget address was delivered in April and since then the Chief Minister made a Statement in the Legislative Council when he accused DFID of holding back projects for ‘trivial and questionable’ reasons. In that Statement he lamented that funds were low. Since that he had made statements that caused concern to civil servants about the late payment of salaries because of the unavailability of funds. This past week as Civil Servants who are accustomed to receiving salaries earlier than the normal date around the 26th, they were worried with the threat that payment might not be forthcoming at all or on time. Payments began on December 21.

Opposition member and predecessor Chief Minister Dr. Lowel Lewis commented on CM Meade’s Statement later and said: “Trivial and questionable means: failure to act on instructions regarding the IP scandal; Failure to conclude the Registrar of Interests Bill; Failure to  correct the unsustainable pension arrangement where civil servants could get a pension of 60% of final salary and Failure to agree on  approved DFID projects.”

This past week Anguilla’s Chief Minister has been holding meetings with civil society to address similar concerns as were expressed in TCI. News out of that British Overseas Territory said: “The UK Minister for the Overseas Territories, Henry Bellingham has been insisting that the Anguilla Government commit to further taxation and a cut in the size of the civil service workforce by at least 30% and also make further cuts to the civil service salaries.”

The report continued that “Chief Minister Hubert Hughes and his Government have taken the position that to comply with those directives at this time will have the adverse effect of plunging Anguilla into further financial difficulties and create previously unimaginable social hardships.”

Chief Minister finished his answer by saying that “…whereas our situation is not dissimilar to that of many other countries in the world Montserrat at least grab the opportunity before it escalated out of proportion and having to be told we took the initiative ourselves to make the corrective actions.”

In that same interview the CM in response to a question regarding the status of the Montserrat Development Corporation (MDC), said, “MDC as we knew it is no longer in the systems…the private sector development of things has not moved so therefore what we are saying is let us put in place a system which will more readily provide us with opportunities for development the private sector side let us get the private sector development going…”

In his statement to the Legislative Council the CM had said that private sector is not able to get the economy moving and the Public Sector would have take on the burden.