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Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court – Notice

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Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court – Notice

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Nominated Candidates – 2019 General Elections

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Writ of Elections – 2019

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Nomination Notice – 2019

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Premier Romeo’s presentation at the UN General Assembly

4th COMMITTEE IN NY

Premier Donaldson Romeo

Presented On October 10, 2019

(Following his presentation to the subsidiary C24 on Decolonisation;
made on the 22nd Anniversary of the fatal volcanic eruption of June 25th1997)

Mr President,

On behalf of the Government and People of Montserrat, I must first express thanks for allowing me to address you today.  Secondly I wish to use this opportunity to thank the United Kingdom for agreeing to allow the UN C 24 Committee to visit Montserrat in the month of December, 2019.

I am very impressed with the wisdom, foresight and compassion which members of the UN demonstrated some decades ago when they put in place the UN 4th Committee and the UN C24 committee, whose task, as I understand it, is to see that “the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners could sit together at the table of brotherhood” to reconcile their painful past.  Apart from educating the People of Montserrat face-to-face in December concerning its true purpose under Article 73, the C 24 Committee will at last be in a position to assess firsthand what has been done in nearly half a century to remove Montserrat from its list of Territories to be decolonized.

It is obvious that the 4th committee, the C 24 Committee as well as the UK, have long known that Montserrat has always had, the God given right, the means, the motivation, the opportunity and the skills to be economically, politically, educationally and socially liberated; liberated to the point where Montserrat could long have been well advanced in its development; yes, long before the volcano erupted in 1995, and yes, even, or especially at this present time.

Unfortunately, the People of Montserrat have been largely unaware of the rights and opportunities afforded them under Article 73. Had we fully understood this as a People and, together with our Government, insisted on timely fulfillment and deliverables according to an agreed time frame, Montserrat would long have stood on its own two feet politically, economically and otherwise, prior to the volcanic eruptions and especially since.

There was no need for the level of loss of life, property, economy and population, and the suffering which resulted from delay and lack of critical funding for both the immediate, recovery, and redevelopment response needed in the face of a volcanic eruption. The risks were predicted long before the volcano erupted and even while it erupted the true hazards were covered up in an effort to avoid spending a few pounds.  Evidence of all of this was provided in my recent letter to the Chair of the UN C 24 Committee.

The good news is that Her Majesty’s Government (HMG) has finally made a significant step in addressing Montserrat’s long-standing need for both transformational and basic capital infrastructure lost to the volcano, and long needed to rebuild our society and economy.

At last, as I speak, I am particularly happy to report that after ten years of effort, through the recent help of the UK, the project to install a replacement subsea fiber optic cable to Montserrat is going through.  As I speak, my technicians are finalizing the contractual agreements for the UK funded 4.9 Million sterling undersea fiber optic cable lost 20 years ago.

Regrettably, this also tells the post volcano disaster story of Montserrat in a nutshell.  It took a decade, 10 years of haggling and red tape with the UK to get this far.

The same goes for the main road project, which even with the recent injection, may only address a portion of the relatively limited main road infrastructure, never mind that of the entire island’s roads. In the same way, is the 4.3 million pounds awarded for housing?  For it addresses less than 1/8 of the 400 households, mostly evacuees on the island waiting for permanent hurricane-worthy housing after some 20 plus years.  What then of the housing needs of over 6,000 driven into involuntary exile overseas (mainly in the UK), with no plan in place to assist them to return to their homeland as promised when they were given an attractive package to move from deplorable conditions in overcrowded shelters to the UK, where (and we are grateful for this) housing, food, education, and health care, were, and continue to be provided.

The renewed commitment by the UK is welcomed and commendable but is way behind the curve of the crisis in many respects; as many as 10 to 20 years. 

The GoM still struggles to retain essential workers like teachers, police and nurses.  The youth have continued to leave in droves each year while even the adults, including the retired, move to greener pastures in the UK.  Pensions, salaries, social welfare benefits are long and way behind the ever-increasing cost of living.  The temporary housing stock, especially many built by the government itself dare not face even a Category 3 hurricane never mind a Category 5.  All of this is well known by HMG from many studies and consultancies, but little positive action has been taken. 

When the C 24 visits, it will see children at the only secondary school standing outside in the open with no assembly room to congregate; or eating lunch under the trees and on the sidewalk once of course it is not raining, because there is nowhere else to go; no proper play area because the promised new school has sat on the agenda for more than a decade, government after government.

They will meet over 200 households living in temporary, hurricane-vulnerable housing built by the Government with no commitment to address the disaster in waiting.

They will see the successfully dug geothermal wells awaiting the grant funding needed to be completed and made operational.

They will meet single mothers and the working poor, as well as civil servants, who, after a ten-year wage freeze, were refused a salary increase because the then UK Secretary of State objected that she could not give a 3% increase to public servants in the UK at the time.

On June 25 past, I requested – among other things – that the United Nations assist GoM in coordination with HMG regarding:

  • a charter framework for good governance
  • assistance with public education and a constitutional review
  • support for putting in place key infrastructure, including a hospital
  • addressing sorely needed social housing
  • moving forward on developing Montserrat’s huge geothermal energy potential
  • aid in resettlement of our involuntary exiles, and
  • a neutral, UN-supported facilitator on island

I stand by these requests and other requests previously made to the UN C 24 Committee.

In Conclusion: The cardinal request which I wish to make today, is that after the upcoming C24 field visit to Montserrat, the Committee and the Fourth Committee work with the UK and the GoM to establish a framework, a timeline and an action programme for the full decolonization of Montserrat. This would include the requests in my previous presentations and the strategic thrust of the Montserrat Economic Growth Strategy; which I will communicate to the chair of this Committee along with other documents mentioned today.

Mr. President, thank you in advance for your attention to these important matters.

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LegAss Summary Report 8-9_Page_1

Summary Report of Proceedings of the Legislative Assembly Meetings held on 15th May, and 9th July, 2019

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STATEMENT TO THE UN C24 COMMITTEE IN NEW YORK 2019[40976]_Page_7

Statement to UN C24 Committee – Premier Donaldson Romeo

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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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