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Britain wants more emphasis on capital and technical investment for Montserrat

Montserrat (GIU) — Head of Britain’s Department for International Development (DFID) Economic & Budgetary Aid Mission Karen McGeough says resources would be better spent on capital investments and technical capacity than maintaining the government of Montserrat’s recurrent budget.

Karen McGeough and Kato Kimbugwe

McGeough, who is also the Montserrat programme manager for DFID, along with DFID’s private sector advisor and in country representative Kato Kimbugwe, met with members of the press at the conclusion of a week of meetings with the government budget team to look at the island’s needs for the coming fiscal year and beyond.

She reiterated the sentiments of UK Secretary of State Andrew Mitchell, who was on island two weeks ago and called for more fiscal responsibility and execution of plans that would be to Montserrat’s long term sustainability.

The programme manager said it would be an easier sell to the UK taxpayer that DFID’s continued commitment to the island was being invested in capital projects and assistance that would enable Montserrat to become more self sufficient.

“Supporting the island’s recurrent budget was maintaining the status quo and we don’t believe that is to the islands benefit,” she said.

Both officials said the meetings were positive and they felt that there was clarity between both sides on how to build a stronger partnership. McGeough said there were several areas for revenue earning potential that needed to be exploited by the government and that in an effort to manage the available resources local officials may have to make some “unpopular decisions.”

Kimbugwe added that the donor agency was supportive of efforts to look into renewable energy such as wind and the geothermal and was aware that expertise was needed to properly evaluate the viability of the proposals being presented from private sector groups.

An aide memoire recording the outcome of discussions and recommendations made to the DFID senior management will be released in the coming weeks.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

Montserrat (GIU) — Head of Britain’s Department for International Development (DFID) Economic & Budgetary Aid Mission Karen McGeough says resources would be better spent on capital investments and technical capacity than maintaining the government of Montserrat’s recurrent budget.

Karen McGeough and Kato Kimbugwe

McGeough, who is also the Montserrat programme manager for DFID, along with DFID’s private sector advisor and in country representative Kato Kimbugwe, met with members of the press at the conclusion of a week of meetings with the government budget team to look at the island’s needs for the coming fiscal year and beyond.

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She reiterated the sentiments of UK Secretary of State Andrew Mitchell, who was on island two weeks ago and called for more fiscal responsibility and execution of plans that would be to Montserrat’s long term sustainability.

The programme manager said it would be an easier sell to the UK taxpayer that DFID’s continued commitment to the island was being invested in capital projects and assistance that would enable Montserrat to become more self sufficient.

“Supporting the island’s recurrent budget was maintaining the status quo and we don’t believe that is to the islands benefit,” she said.

Both officials said the meetings were positive and they felt that there was clarity between both sides on how to build a stronger partnership. McGeough said there were several areas for revenue earning potential that needed to be exploited by the government and that in an effort to manage the available resources local officials may have to make some “unpopular decisions.”

Kimbugwe added that the donor agency was supportive of efforts to look into renewable energy such as wind and the geothermal and was aware that expertise was needed to properly evaluate the viability of the proposals being presented from private sector groups.

An aide memoire recording the outcome of discussions and recommendations made to the DFID senior management will be released in the coming weeks.