Categorized | News

Brandt’s Address – Tragedy

New CM David S. Brandt

My people.

About 12:30 yesterday, the volcano erupted and devoured everything in its path.

Several of you have lost your homes, your crops, your animals, your possessions and have been put to great inconvenience, you have even suffered physical and emotional injury.

I wish to extend my sincere sympathies and condolences to persons who have suffered personal injury, the relatives and friends of those who are still missing, and all of you who have suffered any personal loss.

To the people of Cork Hill, I urge you to be vigilant and closely observe all instructions and guidance. We want you to be fully aware that we will be working nonstop to ensure your safety.

I wish to assure all of you that I will work with every fibre of my being on your behalf

You may recall that in previous broadcasts that I warned the British that this could happen.

I told them to build storage for your personal effects. I told them to pay you compensation for your crops. I told them to provide the money for us to find a place for you to farm and tether your animals in the safe zone.

I told them that after two years of this crisis that you shouldn’t be living in these open shelters.

I told them that several of you are staying with relatives in the safe zone, but you have outlived your welcome.

I told them that several of you have to be paying rent and you are not working and that you cannot live on $120 per month and that your two year old children cannot live on $10 per month, and instead of your having to go to England to collect $500 per week for a family of three, and a fully furnished flat, they could provide the same facilities here. And they refused to do anything about it.

Some of our people who were in Farrells farming yesterday, were there because they had no land in the safe zone to farm.

Some of our people who stayed in their homes, stayed because there was no housing for them in the safe zone.

Several of my constituents have told me that they would rather die in their own homes that suffer the indignity of living in a shelter. Should a man have to choose between life and indignity? This should never happen in a British Dependent Territory. Dependency must mean something.

And people should never have to make that choice, and they are forced into this because the British refuse make money available for permanent housing.

Here it is that they have approved six million dollars for housing in the form of material assistance, and they have not spent one cent up to this point.

Yet many people in desperate need have been waiting for months and have presented their applications. To coincide with the visit of Baroness Symons, the British officials made a grand announcement with much fanfare that 6.3 million dollars had been approved for the material assistance program. But in spite of the urgency of the situation and your desperate needs, two weeks have passed and Ministers cant get one cent to spend for you.

What I know is that they spend millions of dollars on Jeeps for British consultants drive around in. But when it comes to letting go money for housing for you, not one red cent. But money for Jeeps.

We are now in an escalated crisis, yet the British are applying the same rules that apply to normal times. Here we are, living in the time of tribulation and desolation and we plead with the British to relax these rules. But they are saying that they cannot change the rules.

Everybody knows about the problems of waste disposal in the safe area, and the difficulties of getting proper soak pits. Government has no equipment to do the task, and has appealed to the British for a new excavator. We must have an efficient excavator. The existing equipment is 17 years old and can no longer be maintained.

After much argument and a seven page document they finally agreed that there is a need for the new excavator months ago. But up to Friday last week they did not even ordered the new excavator. This is madness and it must stop.

I wish to thank the British taxpayers for their assistance to date, but British Ministers are being fooled by civil servants who want to sit in London and Isles bay Hill and run Montserrat.

They are using procedures and rules that are crippling the local government in this crisis.

When it became obvious that the Windward constituency was threatened, both myself and the Minister of Agriculture made repeated appeals to the resident head of the Aid office for just five thousand dollars to build a shed to store his tools valued at over $100,000.

This young man invested all of his savings, and with no assistance from government built a small house for himself and his family. He then started to build a work-shed to secure his equipment but ran out of funds. When he appealed to the Minister of Agriculture his case was forcefully put to the British who refused to help.

He lost all of his tools yesterday. And this need not have happened. Here it is the scientists said that you must come out because of the danger. You obeyed them. This young man came out and left his tools behind in his workshop. He took what little money he had and invested it in building a little workshop to work so that he could support his family.

The British say they have œ25 million to help us. But because of some rule they refused to help him. And he lost all of his tools. I am your representative and I will never rest until I get the British to pay you for your crops, to find a place to tether animals, to provide permanent housing for you, to provide a place to put your valuables and increase the amount they give you for vouchers. Those officials must tell me how Jim Semper is going to get $100,000 to replace his tools.

Before yesterday I never flew in the helicopter, but I needed to see for myself what the situation was like.

When I said earlier that the place was devoured, I witnessed the devastation and desolation first hand from the helicopter.

Former CM Bertrand B. Osborne

When I went up I asked what other transportation was available, and I learned that the Dutch sent a helicopter, and the French are sending a helicopter, but where are British?

All of the agricultural land in Farrells is gone. The reason why farmers had to risk their lives and farm in Farrells is because the British Government refused to buy land in the safe zone for farmers to work.

The crux of the matter my people is that we need a more responsive system. When our people need housing we want houses, not consultants. It is Montserratians who designed and built all the villas and swimming pools that the British are living in now, so we could build house for ourselves. Just give us the money. People should not have to choose death over indignity.

Several of the people who came out today have nothing but the clothes on their back. Some have already said that they would rather go back and face death than to suffer shelter living.

I am calling on the British to immediately provide the following with no strings attached:

  1. Storage for people who have valuables in threatened areas, including Plymouth, Parsons and other marginal areas.
  2. Money to build permanent housing in the North.
  3. Compensation for lost crops, animals and other personal effects.
  4. Land for agriculture, social and recreational use.

We need to provide our people with hope and evidence that the North is indeed safe. The way to do this is to invest in the North. My friends, we cannot allow our society to be scattered to the four corners of the earth. We must tackle the task of rebuilding our country with urgency and vigor. We must not only hear of the 25 million pounds, but we must see it being spent to our benefit.

Finally my friends, I wish to remind you that the darkest hour is before dawn, but we have shown resilience and courage as a people in the past, and our finest hour is yet to come.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

New CM David S. Brandt

My people.

About 12:30 yesterday, the volcano erupted and devoured everything in its path.

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Several of you have lost your homes, your crops, your animals, your possessions and have been put to great inconvenience, you have even suffered physical and emotional injury.

I wish to extend my sincere sympathies and condolences to persons who have suffered personal injury, the relatives and friends of those who are still missing, and all of you who have suffered any personal loss.

To the people of Cork Hill, I urge you to be vigilant and closely observe all instructions and guidance. We want you to be fully aware that we will be working nonstop to ensure your safety.

I wish to assure all of you that I will work with every fibre of my being on your behalf

You may recall that in previous broadcasts that I warned the British that this could happen.

I told them to build storage for your personal effects. I told them to pay you compensation for your crops. I told them to provide the money for us to find a place for you to farm and tether your animals in the safe zone.

I told them that after two years of this crisis that you shouldn’t be living in these open shelters.

I told them that several of you are staying with relatives in the safe zone, but you have outlived your welcome.

I told them that several of you have to be paying rent and you are not working and that you cannot live on $120 per month and that your two year old children cannot live on $10 per month, and instead of your having to go to England to collect $500 per week for a family of three, and a fully furnished flat, they could provide the same facilities here. And they refused to do anything about it.

Some of our people who were in Farrells farming yesterday, were there because they had no land in the safe zone to farm.

Some of our people who stayed in their homes, stayed because there was no housing for them in the safe zone.

Several of my constituents have told me that they would rather die in their own homes that suffer the indignity of living in a shelter. Should a man have to choose between life and indignity? This should never happen in a British Dependent Territory. Dependency must mean something.

And people should never have to make that choice, and they are forced into this because the British refuse make money available for permanent housing.

Here it is that they have approved six million dollars for housing in the form of material assistance, and they have not spent one cent up to this point.

Yet many people in desperate need have been waiting for months and have presented their applications. To coincide with the visit of Baroness Symons, the British officials made a grand announcement with much fanfare that 6.3 million dollars had been approved for the material assistance program. But in spite of the urgency of the situation and your desperate needs, two weeks have passed and Ministers cant get one cent to spend for you.

What I know is that they spend millions of dollars on Jeeps for British consultants drive around in. But when it comes to letting go money for housing for you, not one red cent. But money for Jeeps.

We are now in an escalated crisis, yet the British are applying the same rules that apply to normal times. Here we are, living in the time of tribulation and desolation and we plead with the British to relax these rules. But they are saying that they cannot change the rules.

Everybody knows about the problems of waste disposal in the safe area, and the difficulties of getting proper soak pits. Government has no equipment to do the task, and has appealed to the British for a new excavator. We must have an efficient excavator. The existing equipment is 17 years old and can no longer be maintained.

After much argument and a seven page document they finally agreed that there is a need for the new excavator months ago. But up to Friday last week they did not even ordered the new excavator. This is madness and it must stop.

I wish to thank the British taxpayers for their assistance to date, but British Ministers are being fooled by civil servants who want to sit in London and Isles bay Hill and run Montserrat.

They are using procedures and rules that are crippling the local government in this crisis.

When it became obvious that the Windward constituency was threatened, both myself and the Minister of Agriculture made repeated appeals to the resident head of the Aid office for just five thousand dollars to build a shed to store his tools valued at over $100,000.

This young man invested all of his savings, and with no assistance from government built a small house for himself and his family. He then started to build a work-shed to secure his equipment but ran out of funds. When he appealed to the Minister of Agriculture his case was forcefully put to the British who refused to help.

He lost all of his tools yesterday. And this need not have happened. Here it is the scientists said that you must come out because of the danger. You obeyed them. This young man came out and left his tools behind in his workshop. He took what little money he had and invested it in building a little workshop to work so that he could support his family.

The British say they have œ25 million to help us. But because of some rule they refused to help him. And he lost all of his tools. I am your representative and I will never rest until I get the British to pay you for your crops, to find a place to tether animals, to provide permanent housing for you, to provide a place to put your valuables and increase the amount they give you for vouchers. Those officials must tell me how Jim Semper is going to get $100,000 to replace his tools.

Before yesterday I never flew in the helicopter, but I needed to see for myself what the situation was like.

When I said earlier that the place was devoured, I witnessed the devastation and desolation first hand from the helicopter.

Former CM Bertrand B. Osborne

When I went up I asked what other transportation was available, and I learned that the Dutch sent a helicopter, and the French are sending a helicopter, but where are British?

All of the agricultural land in Farrells is gone. The reason why farmers had to risk their lives and farm in Farrells is because the British Government refused to buy land in the safe zone for farmers to work.

The crux of the matter my people is that we need a more responsive system. When our people need housing we want houses, not consultants. It is Montserratians who designed and built all the villas and swimming pools that the British are living in now, so we could build house for ourselves. Just give us the money. People should not have to choose death over indignity.

Several of the people who came out today have nothing but the clothes on their back. Some have already said that they would rather go back and face death than to suffer shelter living.

I am calling on the British to immediately provide the following with no strings attached:

  1. Storage for people who have valuables in threatened areas, including Plymouth, Parsons and other marginal areas.
  2. Money to build permanent housing in the North.
  3. Compensation for lost crops, animals and other personal effects.
  4. Land for agriculture, social and recreational use.

We need to provide our people with hope and evidence that the North is indeed safe. The way to do this is to invest in the North. My friends, we cannot allow our society to be scattered to the four corners of the earth. We must tackle the task of rebuilding our country with urgency and vigor. We must not only hear of the 25 million pounds, but we must see it being spent to our benefit.

Finally my friends, I wish to remind you that the darkest hour is before dawn, but we have shown resilience and courage as a people in the past, and our finest hour is yet to come.