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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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Honourable Premier Donaldson Romeo 2019 New Year Statement

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Romeo - PDM

Honourable Premier Donaldson Romeo 2019 New Year Statement


First, let me wish a happy, God-blessed new year to the people of Montserrat young and old, near and far; to all citizens, residents, visitors and friends. May we all go forward with God together in this New Year which God has graciously allowed us to see.

As we move forward into 2019, there is great hope and good reason to be optimistic. Over the past two years we have been blessed with several breakthroughs that open up opportunities to build a sound future. Yes, the sea port, the undersea fibre optic cable, geothermal and solar energy development, the pending hospital, the EU funding, the new growth strategy, a five-year capital programme, several investment opportunities and more are now open before us, as I discussed in my recent interview with our acting Communications Director.

In the past four years the Government of Montserrat (GoM) has been able to weave the landscape that now projects the opportunity for growth, development and a thriving economy.  We stood on our own two feet before this crisis, and after 23 years of resilience training, we are ready to do it again. 

First I must give some good news on private sector investment initiatives. For example, in Dick Hill the Art Housing project has put in place the foundations and the road infrastructure to the 10 unit villa project.  The next stage will resume where we shall see the buildings going up. This was confirmed on my recent visit to the UK.  Meanwhile, we continue to advance potential projects in water bottling and the digital sector of our economy. These projects will provide services to the outside world and bring significant employment and revenue to the Government and People of Montserrat.

Let us now take note of the progress with various ongoing projects. Some of the following projects are more visible than others, but we are making good progress that will help us to build a solid future:

Carr’s Bay Bridge: With funding in place, we can all see that frameworks have been set up, concrete has been poured for the main bridge structures and work is ongoing. The bridge deck, base and vertical walls are already in place. The wing walls, the catchment, the outfall and the head walls will follow. Works on the Carr’s Bay Bridge are scheduled to be completed by January 31st.

Barzeys Road and bridge:  We have completed 820ft  of concrete roadway with an average width of 20ft.  The work also required kerbs, drains, retaining walls, building a bridge and re-aligning the roadway. The resilience, safety and access on this section of road have been greatly improved as a result of the works completed. 

Sea Port, Phase 1: A year ago, Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) approved 14.4M pounds (about EC $50 million) for the development of Port Little Bay under the UKCIF fund.  GoM will provide an additional 7M pounds (EC 24 Million) to assist with the project expenditure. CDB & GoM have developed Terms of Reference (ToRs) for the procurement of the Project Manager, Marine Consultants, Environmental and Social Impact Assessment Consultant (ESIA). Land has to be acquired; asking prices suggest that we will need to take the compulsory acquisition process route.

The Public Procurement Board has issued an award letter in Dec 2018 to STANTEC Consultants out of Barbados, who will be on ­­­­­­­­island in early January 2019. A Project Coordinator for the Port project is expected to be in place by February 2019. The ESIA for the Port Project will be done by the Technical Consultants, to meet a deadline of Mar 2019. The Technical Consultants will also advance the tender process for the Design Build Contractor. This should start in June or July.  Under the European Development Fund (EDF), the Port project must be completed by 2020/21.

Airport: Construction drawings for the new Air Traffic Control Tower are nearly complete and tender documents are being developed.  The Prefabricated Cab for the Tower was expected on island by end of December 2018.  Of the EC$2.315m of GoM/Department for International Development (DFID) and EU funding for this project, EC$961,531.00 has been spent on the Cab.  EC$324,732.04 has been spent on equipment for the new Air Traffic Control Tower.  The remainder will be spent on a final payment for the pre-fabricated cab, as well as on the construction of the Shaft.  

Fibre Optics Cable: This is a priority project for GoM and DfID.  It will greatly enhance resiliency of our communications in the face of hurricanes and open the way for a powerful digital sector in our economy. Funding of about £5 millions is assured. The request for proposals is being finalized and should go to the Market this month.  It will then take another month to have a contract in place. We intend to have the fibre optic cable in place for the peak of the Hurricane season, August.

Hospital and healthcare: The hospital project is a part of the five-year capital programme being further developed with the UK, which helps to secure funding.  A steering committee is being set up for the project. Wider ongoing developments include better pediatric care, improved psychiatric care, sharing of anaesthesiology resources with neighbouring islands and creation of Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs).  Options are being explored for better air ambulance services to Guadeloupe.  Healthcare in Montserrat continues to benefit from technical support through the UK departments, such as Public Health England and the Department of Health, as well as DFID and FCO in meeting its international health obligations while we address local challenges.

ZJB New Building: This is now nearing completion and the Station will soon be moving house.  Equipment for the new building was successfully tendered and a new generator should arrive shortly.  While waiting on the new equipment to arrive I have given the directive for them to occupy and broadcast from the New ZJB building with our present equipment. 

250 kW Solar PV project: This project is expected to be completed by the middle of March and will increase the resilience of our Electricity supply through solar energy.  Upon completion the roof top solar installation is expected to produce 250 kw of solar energy. This project’s capacity is approximately 10% of our peak power load, and it is intended to develop a second phase, of 750 kW, as was announced last November when CARICOM Energy Month was launched here. Installation is scheduled to begin on the 14th January 2019. The total expenditure to-date has been $870,490.

Geothermal Well 3: Regarding the drilling of the third well, DFID will provide an update on the negotiation between DFID and Iceland Drilling Company (IDC). This should inform the strategic approach on the final drilling completion and development of the third well.

Geothermal power plant: GOM has completed an early market engagement on the development of a geothermal surface plant to generate electricity. DFID and GOM after assessing the early market engagement report agreed to move to the geothermal generation stage.  The technical assistance required for the geothermal surface plant development and implementation will be financed by DFID.

Housing: We were able to provide permanent housing to five households who were able to enjoy their first Christmas living in their new homes.  Montserratians have a strong desire to own a piece of the rock and as a result we will be providing new lots in the Lookout Area.  We intend to extend the Drummonds housing development, through the construction of another complex with six two-bedroom apartments.  We are presently negotiating with DfID, our funding partner, to build a number of new homes over the next five years. 

Port Buildings Project: Work was to be done on the Montserrat Port Authourity (MPA) warehouse roof and on the Ferry terminal. Of the EC$1.1M, spend to date is $670,000. The other $430,000 is to be spent on the Office Accommodation and the final aspects of the Ferry Terminal Canopy.  The project is 85% complete and works are expected to be completed by March 2019. The MPA roof repairs and Ferry Terminal Canopy Cover are completed, including construction of a staircase, a verandah at the arrival section, paving works and reconfiguration of the fencing.  The anticipated Canopy which will form the roof for the newly paved areas will be installed shortly.  

Liquid Waste Management Project: This project has four components: [1] the Margetson Sewage Treatment Plant, [2] The Lookout warden assisted accommodation walkway, [3] the Lookout warden assisted accommodation sewage balancing tank and [4] the New Windward sewage stabilization ponds. The first three components are already completed.  Work on the New Windward ponds is still in progress. The installation of the pond liners was delayed due to late arrival.  Completion of this project is now scheduled for later this month.

Tourism: The new tourism director will now be in place shortly.  It is anticipated that he will advance the discussion of the formal twinning of Montserrat and Antigua as one tourist destination. The future looks bright for the anticipated EU funded tourism development which would increase the tourism dollars for the private sector.

Another key sign of progress comes from the testimony to the Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) by Lord Ahmad, Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) Minister for Overseas Territories, on December 18th 2018. This is the same FAC that I testified before and also submitted written evidence. 

In his testimony Lord Ahmad confirmed that along with the Secretary of State, (Penny Mordaunt) and his colleague Lord Bates, the view they are now taking involves much more long-term support of Capital projects in Montserrat as in each British Overseas Territory.  He confirmed that we  are working  through  the  details  of  a  £30  million-plus  programme  supporting infrastructure. However, having surveyed our needs, GoM asked for significantly more than £50 million. 

GoM acknowledges and thank Lord Ahmad and Lord Bates for the critical role they have played so far in the negotiations over the 5-year Capital programme.  For it is time we agree a real programme of action to recreate a civilized home for the People of Montserrat.

Given the legal obligations to support OT’s, Montserrat has a priority claim on DfID’s £12 billion plus development aid budget. According to the 2002 UK International Development Act, we must not be put in competition with very poor third world countries.  The key projects we are proposing are transformative and — with timely and adequate support — will help to get Montserrat out of dependency on annual grants from the UK.

It is definitely good news that, apart from having discussions with us year after year over budget support, GoM, FCO and DfID are now also discussing the first long-term capital programme with many projects.  This will not only help to set Montserrat on a course out of dependency on the British tax payers but will fulfill the UK’s obligations under the United Nations Charter, Article 73, by ensuring our advancement, economically, socially, educationally and even politically while also promoting constructive measures of development.

That is why I shall continue to call on HMG to honour the UK’s policies which are very supportive and allows them to do what is right by the people of Montserrat while doing what is in the interest of the British tax payers. 

So, 2019 is indeed the time for UK policies and actions to match. 

2019 is also the time for us as a people to be assertive about our rights as British Nationals under the UN Charter.  Those who refuse to accept this and who sometimes even laugh at it are unintentionally working against Montserrat’s interests. That must now stop and we must come together to move forward with a united force.

Finally, the key strategic move for 2019 and beyond is to turn our breakthroughs into a breakout that moves us beyond dependency and lingering impacts of the volcano disaster to resilient, self-sustaining, inclusive growth and development.  With key infrastructure and projects coming in place, 2019 is the year for us to all work together to continue to attract the right kinds of support. This includes local and foreign investments and business that will build a modern, thriving, diverse, resilient, and lasting economy. One, in which all of our people, whether citizens, residents, visitors or friends, young and old — through enterprise and initiative — can fulfil their hopes in a truly democratic and God-fearing society

Let us therefore continue to commit 2019 into God’s hands and seek his wisdom as we work together to build our future.

God bless the People and Government of Montserrat in this year of our Lord, 2019.

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