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budget address5

2019 Budget Highlights new era of Transformation


Premier and Minister of Finance Don Romeo

The Hon Donaldson Romeo, Premier and Minister of Finance of Montserrat, for four years and seven months on Wednesday,  May 15, 2019, presented his fifth and largest budget of $202.2 million in a BUDGET SPEECH, under the theme, “A New Era of Transformation: A Platform for Progress”,  during a meeting of the Legislative Assembly at the Montserrat Cultural Centre where he outlined the spending and revenue expectations for this financial year.

No surprise that the budget focused as it did representing the largest sum of moneys over the time of the PDM government, which is represented in a modest increase of nearly 5% over  last year and substantial capital budgeted sums.

It was that capital injection that delayed the budget as the Premier noted when he was moved to address the matter through special interviews with the media.

The Premier stated “this budget which marks a milestone in the long journey to build strong and sustainable foundations for a better Montserrat, and in our development partnership with the UK.  Given the significance of the transformational projects in the budget, we now stand on the threshold of an era of growth and progress towards a robust future.  We have strengthened our governance framework, with financial management systems and controls that improve the trust and confidence in public spending.  In that context, we are now seeing key infrastructure investments and interest by local and international investors that could open up further opportunities for a new Montserrat economy”. 

The Premier highlighted that “the upcoming Little Bay breakwater and berth will bring better tourism and trade opportunities. The upcoming Fibre Optic Cable Project opens up room for a digitally based sector.  The new 250 kiloWatt Solar PV power plant points to a greener energy future.  The new tourism strategy and economic growth strategy lay out a ten-year road-map to take advantage of these opportunities.  That’s why projected growth in our economy for the year ahead is 3.2 – 3.5%.  We are on the way to the growth targets outlined in our economic strategy”.

The Premier continued to discuss the actual sums involved stating “We have moved to a much more credible budget which was critical to implementing the programs you the people have charged us to deliver.  Estimates of recurrent Revenue and Expenditure for 2019/20 provide for a total of $137.77 million dollars. This is a 4.81% increase over the previous year.  On the capital side there is EC$ 64.40 million to finance several key infrastructure projects that will open the doorway for faster, self-sustaining growth of our economy in years to come”.

Go here to find the speech and estimates:

http://www.gov.ms/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Budget-Speech-2019-20.pdf

http://Budget Estimates- http://www.gov.ms/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Budget-Estimates-2019-20.pdf

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Special High Court sitting in Montserrat

Special High Court sitting in Montserrat


Montserrat Reporter‏ @mratreporter

Yesterday, April 5 2018, at Special sitting of High Court in Montserrat – Justice Morley presides over tributes in memory of Judge Redhead

12:27 PM – 6 Apr 2019

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Martin Parlett redone

New Head of Programme Management Office installed

If there are those truly concerned with the haste that is needed to get projects off and concluded, successfully, the other successes notwithstanding, news that a new Head of the new Programme Management Office is on the ground, must be the best news for Montserrat within the last almost two years.

Mr. Carl Gomersal, was the first appointed, just over two years ago before he ‘fired’ without cause, but today it is with expectancy we receive and publish information from release issued today, that “Mr. Martin Parlett has been appointed as the new Head of the Programme Management Office.  He assumes office on Monday, April 1, 2019.”

A leader in the field of portfolio and programme management, Martin is currently managing the establishment of the Enterprise Portfolio Office together with the portfolio and programme management framework, for a significant and complex government subsidiary in the UK, with an annual budget in excess of £2bn.

The release further describes, “Martin marries strategic vision and business understanding, to build and sustain motivated teams with the appetite and momentum for change. Calling upon his expert communication and stakeholder engagement skills, Martin creates meaningful visions for programmes and portfolios, building coalitions of confidence from internal, regulatory and government stakeholders. He has led the authorship of major capital and programme business cases, approved by BEIS and HM Treasury. He has established a new way of understanding and reporting project and programme delivery within the broader context of Enterprise strategy and government outcomes; he is able to integrate business intelligence aspects to articulate a holistic context to inform proactive senior decision making. Before his current role, Martin was responsible for the programme management integration for one of the UK’s highest risk and hazard reduction programmes, establishing best practice arrangements.

“Prior to his work in the nuclear sector, Martin worked as a campaign manager for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign in Virginia, establishing new strategic approaches and communication initiatives that were adopted at the national level. His efforts were recognised in a personal letter of thanks from the future President. This experience influenced Martin’s academic work in the fields of politics, communication and race studies, and he published his first book “Demonizing a President: The Foreignization of Barack Obama” in 2014. In the UK, he is a trustee and director of a charity focused on alleviating acute social need and homelessness, as well as being a Chair of Governors. In 2018, Martin was named as one of the Confederation of British Industry’s ‘35 Under 35’, and serves on its committee.

“Martin received his MA from the University of Oxford, where – together with his wife Lydia – he received an Oxford Leadership Prize. He was subsequently awarded a Canadian Rhodes Foundation Scholarship for his postgraduate research at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. Martin holds qualifications in Managing Successful Programmes (MSP), the Management of Portfolios (MoP), and Portfolio, Programme and Project Office Management (P30).”

Further information, Martin’s wife, Lydia, a secondary school educator, and their daughters Arabella (3) and Cordelia (1), look forward to participating in island life.

When asked about this new opportunity, he said, “It is with great pride and enthusiasm that I accept the position of Head of Programme Management Office for the Government of Montserrat. This role emerges at a threshold moment for the Emerald Isle, and I look forward to building a dynamic and strategically-driven PMO to maximise the Government’s return on investment, whilst enabling the effective execution of transformational programmes for the benefit of all Montserratians. I look forward to collaborating with colleagues across government departments and beyond to build a sustainable path for successful project, programme and portfolio delivery on the island, building confidence for new investments in the future.”

See Related: https://www.themontserratreporter.com/head-of-pmo-dismissed-without-cause-the-premier-laments//

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A Moment With The Registrar of Lands - Part 1: 2019

A Moment With The Registrar of Lands – Part 1: 2019

A moment with the Registrar of Lands

ENCUMBRANCES ON LAND

Restrictive covenants, charges, restrictions… these are all examples of encumbrances that may be registered on one’s land.

An encumbrance is defined as “a right to, or interest in, or legal liability on property that may diminish its [use or] value.”   To be effective and have legal standing, encumbrances must be registered in the Land Registry, recorded in the Land Register page of the particular parcel, so that anyone who considers it prudent to check the Land Register for information on that parcel, would be aware of the encumbrance.   The Land Register is available to the public for searches, so any  person can inquire about any land parcel in Montserrat, particularly before purchasing or otherwise investing in the land.   

Some encumbrances may arise through a contractual arrangement with the land owner, such as restrictive covenants, charges and leases.   

A restrictive covenant is agreed to by the owner at the time of purchase, that he will use the property in the agreed manner only, and that he will refrain from certain actions that may devalue the property, or run contrary to the intended use of the land development.  Common restrictive covenants are for example, that the land will not be used to raise livestock, or that the land will be used for a single-family residence only, not for multiple buildings or a commercial purpose.  A Land Registry search will reveal whether a particular parcel is subject to restrictive covenants. A copy of the specific covenants may be provided as well.

A charge is an interest recorded on land, to signify the existence of a debt on terms which include the use of the land as security for the debt, and a power of the lender to sell the land in the event of default. The owner of the land would have agreed to these terms with the lender that in exchange for the loan.  Banks and credit unions, as the primary financial institutions, account for the majority of charge holders recorded in the Land Registry.   Any person desirous of inquiring whether a land parcel is encumbered with a charge, should request a search of the property at the Land Registry.

The landlord/owner who effects a long-term lease is obliged to register the existence of the lease in the Land Register.  By registration, the Land Register page for the parcel would show the existence and duration of the leasehold interest in the property.  Therefore the property would be subject to, or encumbered with the interests of the lease, as the public record would show that the tenant has a leasehold interest in the property, and that the land lord is entitled to collect rent from the tenant.  If, for example, a landlord entered into a 15- year lease ten years ago, any prospective purchaser or investor in the property would see from the Land Register that there is a 5-year leasehold interest remaining on the property. 

Some encumbrances arise by operation of law, or as a result of competing claims.  These include restrictions and cautions.  For example, the Registrar of Lands may register a restriction on a property to prevent fraud or improper dealing or for any other sufficient reason.  The effect of the restriction is to prevent any dealings with the land until the issue to be resolved is heard and resolved by the Court or the Registrar of Lands.  Affected persons would be notified and given an opportunity to be heard.

A caution is another encumbrance that may be registered on land, to prevent any dealings with the land while the interests of the cautioner subsist.  Like the Charge, the cautioner may be a bank that has loaned money in exchange for an interest in the land.  But a cautioner may also be a person who has an interest in the land that is currently not reflected in the Land Register.  Such a person may be a person who claims part ownership, or who contends that the registered proprietor’s claim is erroneous or fraudulent.  All parties must be given an opportunity to be heard before the caution may be removed and unless there is mutual agreement, caution claims may eventually be ventilated in a formal hearing before the Registrar of Lands or a High Court judge in order for the issues to be resolved.

It is important to landowners to be aware of how encumbrances may affect their property rights, and how encumbrances may be used to protect property rights and property values.  The importance of conducting searches of property before any land purchase or investment, and of seeking legal advice cannot be over emphasized.

For further information please contact the Land and Surveys Department at surveys@gov.ms.

Part 1 2018

A moment with the Registrar of Lands

Applying for a replacement Land Certificate.

Every owner of land in Montserrat is entitled to have a land certificate issued as proof of land ownership.  Landowners must be responsible for keeping their certificate in a secure, safe location, just as they would any other important documents, such as passports and birth certificates.  However, there are times when land certificates get lost or misplaced.  This short article sets out the procedure to replace a lost land certificate.

A land certificate may get lost for several reasons.  The most common reason is that the Land Certificate got lost or misplaced after someone moved or relocated or following the death of a family member.  Land certificates may get lost or destroyed as a result of a fire, flood, hurricane or as a result of criminal activity such as arson or burglary.  There are other instances when the certificate gets lost or misplaced after it is entrusted to a third person, such as a family member, or a lawyer, surveyor, realtor, or banker.

Procedure

Sworn Statement

  • The owner of the land must make a sworn statement or affidavit including facts that would satisfy the Registrar that the certificate has been lost or destroyed.  The statement must detail events leading up to the loss, including where the certificate was last located, and the last time the whereabouts of the certificate were known.  If the certificate was entrusted to a bank, a lawyer, surveyor or family member, then that person would also have to make a statement, to confirm that the land certificate was last in his possession. 
  • Supporting documents must be attached to substantiate the facts stated, such as a police report of a burglary or fire.  In any event, the Registrar of Lands may request any supporting document to satisfy that the Land Certificate is lost or destroyed.

 Publication

After the application has been accepted by the Land Registry, with the statements and supporting documents, the Land Registry must publish a notice to the public that the certificate is lost.  Newspaper publication has been the most effective publication method for lost certificate application.  The most effective publication method for lost certificate application has been publishing in the newspaper.

Publication is a very important step because it:

  • Affords an opportunity to any person who may have information about the certificate to come forward;
  • Is easily documented as proof of publication, which the Registrar requires to cancel the old certificate and issue a new one;
  • Provides an opportunity to prevent loss by a potential equitable chargee, or a person who may have been entrusted with the certificate by the owner in exchange for a loan, or services and who would lose his security if a new certificate is issued without his knowledge.

Undertaking

Because only one certificate should exist for each parcel of land at any time, the applicant must agree or give an undertaking in his statement that if the lost certificate is ever found, it would be handed into the Land Registry.   This is a very important undertaking because the existence of two certificates for the same land parcel would be highly suspicious, and as it would appear that a falsehood or fraud took place to induce the Registrar of Lands to produce a land certificate when a land certificate was already in existence.

Conclusion

Applications for replacement of lost land certificates are not usually complicated.  Once a comprehensive statutory statement is made, most applications are granted within a short time.  Persons may wish to contact their lawyers for assistance in these applications. 

For any questions concerning these or other applications concerning land, contact the Land Registry at (664) 491-3669/3620 or by email at surveys@ gov.ms.

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Bank of Montserrat Ltd

Unclaimed Dividends – OVER 15 YEARS
As At September 30, 2018

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Premier Romeo’s Statement at the memorial service for The Right Hon Professor Dr. George Irish (Harlem, New York, March 1, 2019)

Premier Romeo’s Statement at the memorial service for The Right Hon Professor Dr. George Irish (Harlem, New York, March 1, 2019)

Premier Donaldson Romeo

First and foremost, on behalf of the Government and the People of Montserrat wherever they may be, I would like to express profound condolences with wishes of peace and consolation to the wife, children, close relatives, and friends of The Right Hon Professor Dr. George Irish – son and hero of our native land.

Lives of great men all remind us We can make our lives sublime, And, departing, leave behind us Footprints on the sands of time.

Footprints, that perhaps another, Sailing o’er life’s solemn main, A forlorn and shipwrecked brother, Seeing, shall take heart again.  

I consider it a great privilege to be allowed to stand before you today to honour a great Montserratian whose life has left so many memories, indelible footprints, in all of our hearts.

He has left enduring footprints in our civic life and education, through trade union activity, the Credit Union, political activism and speeches, through lectures, sermons, classes and informal chats.

He has left his mark on Montserratian culture. Memories of the University Centre packed with people: Arrow on stage performing in his platform shoes, Gus white singing his heart out, Joe West playing the role of Willie Bramble, the newly formed Community Singers bringing National pride tears to our eyes with “Oh Montserrat in the Carib Sea”.

He impacted my own home, particularly through my mother, a firm fan of his. In the Black Power days of the late Sixties and early Seventies, we all wore afros, and our mother sewed up a storm of dashikis for the whole family, for just about every occasion. More importantly, we were taught to wear these symbols of our African heritage with pride, just as he did, as an outward sign of an inner liberation.

For, as sons and daughters of slaves, Montserratians had long learnt to be ashamed of our past, of the culture that had grown out of this past, of our so called “bad English”, of our very selves.

Doc Irish’s enthusiasm for Montserratian ness, for our history, our stories, our music, our jokes and our twang, was contagious, and made a priceless contribution to a joyous sense of national pride and celebration. He has left an imprint that goes way deeper than activism, deeper than clothes, or cultural events. He has left us a legacy of freedom and dignity that is encoded in the DNA of our little Caribbean Rock.

But no one could know Doc Irish for very long, especially in the later years of his life, without realizing that this was a man who loved and feared his God.

He clearly understood that the most important footprints any person can leave behind are not those, however inspiring, left in the shifting sands of time, but those he or she has made from standing firmly on the Eternal Rock of Ages.

Though I won’t see him again on the little Rock he loved so well, I hope with all my heart to see him again when God, through the Eternal Rock of ages, calls all His sleeping children back to vibrant life.

Thanks and may God bless us all.

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