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Budget talks, impressive and better than before

DSC_2786Premier the Hon Donaldson Romeo as Her Excellency the Governor and the Department for International Development (DFID) lead manager and local representative, were upbeat following the annual budgetary aid talks now called  Financial Aid Mission, when they met with the local press, ZJB – Radio Montserrat and The Montserrat Reporter.

The Premier organised the meet in keeping with previous years of DFID reporting to the press the progress of the budget talks. The previous two years this did not take place. Last year, 2015, following the PDM government first budget talks, like the previous year the usual reporting did not take place.

Her Excellency the Governor, Hon. Premier and Minister of Finance Donaldson Romeo; Head of DFID, Montserrat, Martin Dawson; Program Manager and Senior Responsible Owner for Budget Aid in Montserrat, Moira Marshal, sat together and in opening statements told the press of their impressions of the talks.

Miss Marshal gave her reflections highlighting in summary two points, beginning with how she was impressed along with her team comprising Infrastructural Advisor, DFID MNI- John Bowker, Deputy Program Manager- Allan Clarkin, Advisor, Human Development- Kirsty Mason, and Economic Analyst- Alice Clark.

She said: “I have to say how impressed I have been and my team have been with the Government of Montserrat’s preparation for these budget discussions.  They have come with a budget that’s been realistic, that’s been thought through, that’s thorough and detailed and very cost cutting.”

She declared that the preparations showed realism with evidence “that we can take back in support of the case for the Financial provision of aid to Montserrat.” She added her delight, “…in particular with the Premier’s commitment to supporting the most vulnerable and Montserrat’s society, and his social policy to support that has been in place…”

The Premier for his part, said how particularly proud and pleased  he was, “with the way discussions has gone over the week,” adding, “we’ve done allot of work on both sides… the local team have prepared and have engaged themselves in discussions with DFID… we have a better understanding of each other, what the requirements are, the pressures on DFID that are passed to us that we have to step up our game,” he said.

The Premier in that opening statement concluded: “All in all I’m very pleased with the way the whole negotiation and discussions have gone,” he said commenting further that there was great improvement over previous years. “As I understand it from those who’ve been in the process for a long time this is far improved in every way to what has gone on before.”

Miss Carriere, Governor, was somewhat more pragmatic in her reflections. “I think we’ve set a new standard for those discussions…” suggesting that probably most people in the public don’t really understand what takes place in a week of budget discussions between the government of Montserrat and the UK Government.

She explained – “this is a discussion of the Government of Montserrat priorities and strategies for the years going ahead that it is seeking funding from the UK for and this year in particular the preparation that when into saying what the Government’s priorities were, the government figuring that out for itself looking at its practices, where it spends its money, what its priorities are.” She cited, “this was really exemplary; emphasising that it was hard work. That it took more than a few weeks, “but it really showed and that’s really important because that presents a credible story to the funder.”

The Governor added an observation that the funder came with a very open view and a very respectful view of the government setting its own priorities and setting its own direction. She however emphasised that “I have heard in the public people saying oh you know the UK government is coming here to dictate to the government of Montserrat.”


“It is not that way at all,” she noted. ”It is a very mature, mutual discussion of where the government wants to go for the future of Montserrat and have frank discussion from the UK Government side, of what in the case of DFID of what monies it can get with all the competing priorities that the UK has internationally and nationally.”

“I just want to, if that helps to set the record straight of what the nature of these discussions is,” she concluded.

Martin Dawson said he had little more to add to what his colleagues on all sides said, but reiterated the Governor’s point, one which clarification was sought later in the meeting. “There is this just misconception that it is almost like two boxers coming into the ring and you’ve got UK on one side and the Government of Montserrat on the other, that simply is not the case!” he said.

He informed, “…this week of dialogue is just another building on the dialogue we have on a regular basis – the dialogue that I have on island doing my job is very consultative, we’ve all got the same agenda – we want the best and to get out the best of what we can for Montserrat.”

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DSC_2786Premier the Hon Donaldson Romeo as Her Excellency the Governor and the Department for International Development (DFID) lead manager and local representative, were upbeat following the annual budgetary aid talks now called  Financial Aid Mission, when they met with the local press, ZJB – Radio Montserrat and The Montserrat Reporter.

The Premier organised the meet in keeping with previous years of DFID reporting to the press the progress of the budget talks. The previous two years this did not take place. Last year, 2015, following the PDM government first budget talks, like the previous year the usual reporting did not take place.

Her Excellency the Governor, Hon. Premier and Minister of Finance Donaldson Romeo; Head of DFID, Montserrat, Martin Dawson; Program Manager and Senior Responsible Owner for Budget Aid in Montserrat, Moira Marshal, sat together and in opening statements told the press of their impressions of the talks.

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Miss Marshal gave her reflections highlighting in summary two points, beginning with how she was impressed along with her team comprising Infrastructural Advisor, DFID MNI- John Bowker, Deputy Program Manager- Allan Clarkin, Advisor, Human Development- Kirsty Mason, and Economic Analyst- Alice Clark.

She said: “I have to say how impressed I have been and my team have been with the Government of Montserrat’s preparation for these budget discussions.  They have come with a budget that’s been realistic, that’s been thought through, that’s thorough and detailed and very cost cutting.”

She declared that the preparations showed realism with evidence “that we can take back in support of the case for the Financial provision of aid to Montserrat.” She added her delight, “…in particular with the Premier’s commitment to supporting the most vulnerable and Montserrat’s society, and his social policy to support that has been in place…”

The Premier for his part, said how particularly proud and pleased  he was, “with the way discussions has gone over the week,” adding, “we’ve done allot of work on both sides… the local team have prepared and have engaged themselves in discussions with DFID… we have a better understanding of each other, what the requirements are, the pressures on DFID that are passed to us that we have to step up our game,” he said.

The Premier in that opening statement concluded: “All in all I’m very pleased with the way the whole negotiation and discussions have gone,” he said commenting further that there was great improvement over previous years. “As I understand it from those who’ve been in the process for a long time this is far improved in every way to what has gone on before.”

Miss Carriere, Governor, was somewhat more pragmatic in her reflections. “I think we’ve set a new standard for those discussions…” suggesting that probably most people in the public don’t really understand what takes place in a week of budget discussions between the government of Montserrat and the UK Government.

She explained – “this is a discussion of the Government of Montserrat priorities and strategies for the years going ahead that it is seeking funding from the UK for and this year in particular the preparation that when into saying what the Government’s priorities were, the government figuring that out for itself looking at its practices, where it spends its money, what its priorities are.” She cited, “this was really exemplary; emphasising that it was hard work. That it took more than a few weeks, “but it really showed and that’s really important because that presents a credible story to the funder.”

The Governor added an observation that the funder came with a very open view and a very respectful view of the government setting its own priorities and setting its own direction. She however emphasised that “I have heard in the public people saying oh you know the UK government is coming here to dictate to the government of Montserrat.”


“It is not that way at all,” she noted. ”It is a very mature, mutual discussion of where the government wants to go for the future of Montserrat and have frank discussion from the UK Government side, of what in the case of DFID of what monies it can get with all the competing priorities that the UK has internationally and nationally.”

“I just want to, if that helps to set the record straight of what the nature of these discussions is,” she concluded.

Martin Dawson said he had little more to add to what his colleagues on all sides said, but reiterated the Governor’s point, one which clarification was sought later in the meeting. “There is this just misconception that it is almost like two boxers coming into the ring and you’ve got UK on one side and the Government of Montserrat on the other, that simply is not the case!” he said.

He informed, “…this week of dialogue is just another building on the dialogue we have on a regular basis – the dialogue that I have on island doing my job is very consultative, we’ve all got the same agenda – we want the best and to get out the best of what we can for Montserrat.”