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REMARKS TO COMMEMORATE THE 25th ANNIVERSARY OF SOUFRIERE HILLS VOLCANIC ERUPTIONS

Premier, Hon. Joseph E. Farrell

Montserratians at home and abroad, friends of Montserrat I greet you on this the 25th Anniversary of the eruption of the Soufriere Hills Volcano.

We come together today as a people bound by our past, bound by our faith in Almighty God, and bound by our genuine love for this island called Montserrat; Alliougana –the Emerald Isle.

It has often been said, that no generation can choose the age or the circumstance into which they were born.  But through unity, courage, enterprise, and leadership we can choose to become agents for change and prosperity.

Alliougana – land of the prickly bush; 11 miles long and 7 miles wide. Ours is not a perfect history. And we are not a perfect people. 

 We have had our fair share of natural disasters, earthquakes, hurricanes, and floods.

But none have brought the kind of change to the island’s physical landscape, the displacement of our peoples, and the destruction of lives and livelihoods, as the eruption of the Soufriere Hills Volcano.

Many of us had to flee our homes during the phased eruptions, moving northwards, to Salem, and beyond, camping along the way to our final destinations—North of Montserrat and even overseas.

Communal living in public spaces, such as schools, churches, and shelters became our way of life in those early years but in the spirit of resilience we have survived, we have endured and, we have overcome.

Over thirty years ago in September of 1989 Hurricane Hugo damaged over 90% of the homes on island.

In July 1995, the Soufriere Hills Volcano erupted

In June 1997, major volcanic eruptions killed 19 persons, flattening our villages, forests, and agricultural lands.

In December 1997, a series of devastating volcanic explosions rendered almost two-thirds of our beloved island uninhabitable.

In 2003, further significant eruptions destroyed additional land and agriculture infrastructure.

The Emerald Isle of the Caribbean – picture-perfect and evergreen; well known for our natural beauty. 

Its physical landscape battered in places but not obliterated. It is God who spared our lives and spared Monserrat and for this we are eternally grateful.

Twenty-five 25 years and we are still here to God be the glory!

In 2020, as the world sits at the cusp of a pandemic brought about by the coronavirus, COVID-19, I say to you as your Premier and Leader of Government business that, this too shall pass.

 We will not be swallowed up.  Rest assured that the health and well-being of the Montserrat population will always be my government’s highest priority and we will continue to work together to protect each other.

I will always remind all of us, that we are in this together, — the whole world is in this pandemic and we will all come out victorious.

So even as we reflect on the volcano’s eruption and subsequent crisis, our thoughts and prayers are also with the thousands of families who have lost loved ones to COVID-19, and to the millions of persons who have been infected by the virus. We feel your pain, knowing full well that it could have been any one of us.

Do stay strong.

We are a unique and blessed people who have come this far by faith, not because we deserve God’s favour, but because he cares so much for us.  And that is why earlier this week, we joined with the Montserrat Christian Council in a National Day of Prayer and Thanksgiving to observe this twenty-fifth anniversary of the volcanic eruptions.

I believe that as a people we have much to thank God for.

He has bestowed on us much more than we deserve, and so I ask that we continue to pray,  giving him thanks for all of his blessings, protection and guidance over these past 25 years.

I close with these words from a hymn written by Philip Doddridge:

O God of Bethel by whose hand
Thy children still are fed
Who through this weary wilderness
Has all our fathers led
Such blessings from thy gracious hand
Our humble prayers implore
And Thou shall be our chosen God
And Portion evermore

To God be the glory!

Joseph E. Farrell
Premier
July 18, 2020

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Premier Farrell’s Remarks commemorating the 25th Anniversary of Soufriere Hills Volcanic Eruptions

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COVID19-Report-April-17

Active cases down one, with second person recovered

as of April 17, 2020

With the Royal Montserrat Police Force (RMPS) boasting and becoming it seems the most important agency in the fight against COVID-19, with the emphasis on containment in the unknown or the most serious method of transmission, they announce and give a breakdown of the 46 arrests they have made since the Health Act began to show its emergency powers.

Today, the Ministry of Health in its most recent release via the Government Information Unit says, “A second person has fully recovered from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on Montserrat.”

The release explains confirmation by CARPHA after investigating “seven (7) local samples which included five (5) follow-up swabs from confirmed cases and two (2) suspected cases. These latest results mean that Montserrat’s active, on–island cases have now decreased to eight (8), and recoveries have increased to two.

Unfortunately, with the police saying the 46 arrests they have made between March 28 and April 14, it is bothersome that between those dates there were two newly confirmed cases of infected persons with the virus. More worrisome was, that the Premier in his statement and subsequent press conference on Good Friday said that the reason for imposing a complete shutdown as of April 12 from midnight was, being “…aware that not everyone carrying the virus, exhibit symptoms…the danger where persons who are asymptomatic are walking around affecting others.”

He provided no evidence for this and even denied that was what he said. That was preceded with the excuse, “The Ministry of Health is unable to undertake wide-scale testing at this time…” a position created by their slothfulness even up to that point, shown up in the March 28 press conference.

According to the police, the most arrests occurred on April 11, (Saturday after Good Friday) when 15 persons were arrested.  A further breakdown of the arrests during this period is as follows: 18 arrests were made between March 28 to April 8; three arrests on April 10; two arrests on April 2 and 4 arrests on April 13 and 14. Between March 28 and April 8, the police had to issue 12 warnings, which included two juveniles.

Sounding like a boast with no new cases, “All 46 arrests will advance to court on breach of the Public Health (COVID-19 Control and Suppression) (no 2) Order S.R.O. 22 of 2020 (those before April 13), and breach of the Public Health (COVID-19 Shelter in Place) Order 25 of 2020, for those arrested after 12:00 a.m on April 13.

While no matter the size of the population 46 arrests within that space of time, statistically is considerable, though the demography may be an important consideration. It would be interesting to learn the reasons being proffered by these persons for their suspected infractions. It may not surprise that some of those reasons may be the shortcoming of how the whole situation is being managed.

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COVID19-Report-April-12

Montserrat increases its Caribbean record as the highest per capita (10000) as it records two new cases and one recovery

As of April 12, 2020

Press Release: April 12, 2020 – GIU, Davy Hill, Montserrat

Montserrat has recorded its first full recovery; while two persons have tested positive for COVID-19.

The Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) has received the results of eight samples recently dispatched to CARPHA Reference Laboratory for testing.  The results returned with two (2) of the eight (8) samples, testing positive for COVID-19.

The new positives include one hospitalized individual while the other is in self–isolation at their residence.

Among the six (6) samples testing negative was the second repeat test of one of the islands previously confirmed cases. This means that this individual is Montserrat’s first full recovery from COVID-19.

Therefore, Montserrat has recorded 11 confirmed cases overall—10 confirmed cases on the island, nine of which are active cases, as one has now recovered.

While the recovery of one patient represents a win in the fight against COVID-19, the Ministry noted that the battle is far from over. Residents of Montserrat are therefore advised to remain aware of the symptoms of the disease, and to contact the St. Peter’s Clinic at 491- 5436 or 496-9724 or the Glendon Hospital Casualty Department at 491-2802 or 491-2836 should they experience fever, cough, difficulty breathing or any other ‘flu-like’ symptoms.

The public is also encouraged to continue to practice the highly effective public health measures of hand hygiene, social distancing and cough etiquette, and to strictly adhere to the seven (7) day full lockdown which commences tomorrow Monday, April 13 at 12:00 a.m.   These measures will keep us all safe from COVID-19.

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Contingency Plan activated – Ferry to dock at Plymouth Jetty today

Update

Following a safe docking and landing of passengers as desired in Plymouth, the Jaden Sun has reportedly returned to Antigua and has left with passengers who will now be able to disembark and Port Little Bay.

UPDATE: That hope did not materialise – the second departure from Antigua with about 220 passengers with plans to dock at Port Little Bay around midnight. Instead went on to dock at Plymouth, ending the whole disembarkation and processing close to 4 a.m. There were other trips during today and all back to normal by tonight with Access reporting another big day tomorrow into Friday. But with calmer waters. GIU information says following assessments of conditions at Little Bay being favourable, the ferry is expected to dock at Little Bay. The latest report says the ferry Antigua left at approximately 10.20 p.m. which means a possible arrival time at Little Bay around midnight.

The first trip to Port Plymouth brought 100 passengers and according to GIU info, the second trip will bring about 220 persons, easing considerably the need for the near 400 persons expected today to overnight in uncertain accommodation tonight.

Here’s to more favourable times; remembering March 7, 2018, when the sea rose-up just moments after the ferry reached Plymouth and was about to dock, forcing the ferry to return to Antigua. But only after the same thing happened shortly after at Little Bay only a bit more aggressively.

Passengers getting ready to disembark when the water got a bit naughty

GIU, Davy Hill Montserrat–  The Access Division in the Office of the Premier has activated its contingency plan for the ferry to dock at the Plymouth jetty as sea conditions continue to pose a challenge at the jetty located at Little Bay.

Assessments of the sea conditions in Plymouth have indicated that the conditions there are more favourable for the ferry to operate. As a result, His Excellency the Governor, Andrew Pearce has granted approval for the ferry to disembark at the Plymouth Jetty.   The Jaden Sun Ferry will therefore depart Antigua promptly at 4:00 p.m. today Tuesday, March 10, 2020. 

To ensure as many persons as possible are able to travel on this trip, passengers will only be allowed to carry their hand luggage. All other luggage (bags) will be transported separately on the Typhoon Express ferry.

Following the arrival of the Jaden Sun ferry at Port Plymouth this afternoon, a further determination and subsequent announcement will be made about the other trips.

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Lionel Baker to be awarded 1st National Youth Award

February 17, 2020, GIU, Davy Hill, Montserrat– For the first time, the National Honours and Awards, will include a National Youth Awardee—Lionel Baker will be bestowed with the first National Youth Awards on Montserrat for excellence in sports. 

Lionel Baker gleeful in action

Mr. Baker will be awarded for his involvement and contribution to sports on Montserrat, and particularly for his involvement in cricket.  In 2008, Baker became the first cricketer from Montserrat to represent the West Indies at Test Cricket.  He made history when he debuted for the West Indies in a one-day international match against Pakistan in November 2008.

The Premier, Honourable Joseph Farrell said he is pleased to be able to confer the first National Youth Award on a young Montserratian who has made noticeable contributions to Montserrat, through sports.  He also noted that it is important for youth to be acknowledged for their contributions as it serves as motivation for continued nation-building, and instills a sense of national pride.

Mr. Baker will receive the prestigious award during the 6th National Honours and Awards Ceremony, which will be held at the Montserrat Cultural Centre on Sunday, March 8, 2020.   

The National Youth Awards will now be a regular part of the National Honours and Awards ceremony and is aimed at recognizing the contribution of youth on Montserrat to national development, community, and nation-building.

Mr. Baker will join the other awardees who are being bestowed with National Honours during the ceremony.

The other awardees, as was previously announced are Mr. Justin “Hero” Cassell for his service and achievements towards the advancement of music regionally and internationally; and, Mr. Charles “Jim” Allen for his contributions and achievements in the field of sports, specifically Cricket.  Both will be receiving Orders of Excellence.

Two persons will be awarded the Order of Distinction.  They are Mr. Alric Taylor, for his contributions in the areas of civil service and education; and Mrs. Vera Weekes, for her service in the area of education.

The Order of Merit for meritorious contributions to Montserrat is being bestowed upon Mr. Charles “Nick” Ryan for his contribution and service in the field of Disaster Management; and Mrs. Margaret Browne for her commitments to education development.

The National Honours and Awards Ceremony is organised by the National Honours and Awards Planning Committee under the remit of the Office of the Premier.

Posted in Government Notices, International, International Sports, Local, News, Regional, Regional Sports, Youth0 Comments

Weather system causes disruption to Ferry Service

Weather system causes disruption to Ferry Service

Jaden Sun

The Access Division, under the portfolio of the Office of the Premier, is informing travelers that a high-pressure system in the region is expected to produce rough sea conditions over the next few days, which is resulting in the cancellation of the ‘Day Tour Service’ and will possibly disrupt other scheduled ferry services from Friday, January 10 to 14.

Daily assessments of sea conditions will be done to determine whether the ferry service will operate and customers will be informed of changes to the ferry services following these assessments. Customers are therefore encouraged to monitor all media platforms for regular updates on potential changes to the ferry service.

Travelers are asked to note that the ferry is scheduled to depart Montserrat for Antigua at 6:00 a.m. tomorrow Friday, January 10 and a determination will be made on whether or not the ferry will operate its normal return journey from Antigua to Montserrat in the evening.

As a result, ‘Day Tour Service’ for tomorrow, Friday, January 10, has been canceled.

Customers are therefore advised to review their travel arrangements considering the upcoming disruptions.

Ferry Agents can be contacted on the following numbers:

Agents:
Montserrat: Jemmotte Shipping (664) 496-9912
Antigua: Jenny Tours 1-268-722-8188

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UN Special Committee on Decolonisatioin begins visiting mission to Montserrat

A release today from the Government Information Unit informs of the following which is the result of an invitation made by former Premier, hon Donaldson Romeo.

Hon Donaldson Romeo extending the invitation at the Committee sitting earlier this year

The United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization (C-24) has dispatched a Visiting Mission to Montserrat, from 17th to 20th December 2019, to gather first-hand information on the situation in Montserrat, focusing on its political, economic, social and environmental development and challenges to achieve sustainable development, particularly the impacts of the volcanic eruptions since 1995.

Given the number of Montserratians who relocated to Antigua since the onset of volcanic eruptions in 1995, the Mission, chaired by Her Excellency Keisha Aniya McGuire of Grenada, will also be holding meetings in Antigua including a representative group of citizens of Montserrat who continue to live there.  The meeting with Montserratians living in Antigua, will be conducted today (Tuesday, December 17). 

The Mission will then arrive on Montserrat on Wednesday, December 18. The visiting mission to Montserrat is comprised of four members of the Special Committee:  Grenada (Chair), Antigua and Barbuda, Indonesia and Sierra Leone; supported by three secretariat employees. 

The Programme of Work to be conducted by the Mission will include meetings with individuals from the Public Sector, Private Sector and Civil Society.  Meetings are scheduled to be conducted with His Excellency the Governor, Mr. Andrew Pearce OBE; the Premier, Honourable Joseph Farrell and his Cabinet; Leader and Members of the Legislative Opposition; former Legislators; Ministers of the Clergy; Constitutionalists; Women Affairs Groups; Non-governmental Organisations; Political Parties; and Business owners.  

In keeping with the practice, nature and methods of work of Visiting Missions, all meetings will be closed, there will be no media interviews and interactions with the public outside of the agreed Programme of Work, nor the holding of press conferences.  The Visiting Mission will prepare a report which will be made public.

Montserrat has been on the United Nations list of Non‑Self‑Governing Territories since 1946.  In 2019, the United Nations General Assembly, by its resolution 74/113, reaffirmed that UN Visiting Missions to the Non-Self-Governing Territories were an effective means of ascertaining the situation of the peoples of the Territories.  The C-24 has dispatched a total of 37 visiting and special missions to 23 Non-Self-Governing Territories since 1965. 

17 Non‑Self‑Governing Territories currently remain under the Special Committee’s purview:  American Samoa, Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands (Malvinas)*, French Polynesia, Gibraltar, Guam, Montserrat, New Caledonia, Pitcairn, Saint Helena, Tokelau, Turks and Caicos Islands, United States Virgin Islands and Western Sahara.

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jaden

Ferry back in service

Jaden Sun

The Access Division, Office of the Premier is notifying the traveling public that the ferry is scheduled to operate tomorrow (Tuesday, December 3).  The ferry is expected to depart Montserrat at 6:00 a.m.

Check-in will start at 4:30 a.m.

However, please note that sea conditions are still a bit rough.  Therefore, the Access Division will continue to monitor the conditions at the Port, and if there is any change, the Access Division will inform the public.

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Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court – Notice

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