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Premier Donaldson Romeo – Christmas Message 2015

MNI prem office logoPremier Romeo - Christmas messageFellow citizens, residents and friends of Montserrat

I wish everyone a Joyous Season and a bright and prosperous 2016 when it comes. I must make special mention of all the visitors who have travelled from far to spend this Festive Season, with friends and family here on Island. I am told that over 1000 persons have arrived so far and I think that most would agree that the increased traffic and activities are warmly welcomed. Thank you for coming!

Let us reflect on the true spiritual meaning of this season, and as we ponder resolutions for the new year, let us remember to focus on working together to rebuild our nation.

This year marked the twentieth anniversary of the first volcanic eruptions on July 18, 1995. As we reflected on the Journeys of the last twenty years of Volcanic Crisis, let us draw those lessons which will serve to guide us. I am quite grateful that at the close of the year, Her Majesty’s Government and especially the Department for International Development, have committed to working with our government to formulate and carry out a 15 to 20 year plan that will not just provide short term employment, but will place Montserrat in a better position to be self-sustainable and independent of UK Aid.

In the meanwhile, we will work hard to see that various projects due to come on stream in the weeks and months to come are expedited, to put bread on our tables and enable vital infrastructure and other programs in place.

We have have a New year’s gift: the Power Plant Project is almost completed. We will soon benefit from the new 1.5W Generator which will deliver a more reliable and efficient electricity supply. Thanks to DfID, in early 2016 as well the drilling of the third Geothermal well is expected to begin as the steady path towards 100% reliable, cost effective renewable energy is set. Additional road works and the 5 emergency homes due to have started weeks ago will go to tender in a month or so. As the New Build Hospital project moves ahead, work to improve the existing hospital building and to provide new equipment are in progress and will continue from here on.

Thanks to EU funding 62 material grants and 5 new homes are already in train as I speak. Then there is the ever faithful BNTF with a new road and other projects and programs to build our communities will start in January and spread throughout the coming year.

Despite the closing of the MDC, the Tourism Division continues to carry out its functions. With the support of a team within the Ministry of Finance the new View Pointe Hotel project aims to have its Restaurant, Conference Room and Main Building in good repair by March of 2016. Then by December 2016, twelve guests rooms will be made available for our visitors next Christmas and beyond. Apart from brightening up and energizing the real estate and beach front in the neighbourhood, the revived Vue Pointe Hotel venture is expected to create a number of construction related jobs in the short-term. It will also lead to long-term employment as our tourism sector begins to redevelop; jobs for administrative staff, waiters, cooks, gardeners, pool maintenance, entertainers, taxi men and more.

Thanks again to our aid partners and our local tax payers and people for the good news at Christmas. Another community is being revived for the good of all.

While prospects of work to put bread and butter on our tables is great news at Christmas, at the same time we must be concerned about the social, governance and spiritual issues that are critical to building a wholesome and economically viable community economy.

Over the years, DFID has made it clear that good governance reforms have to go hand in hand with economic development initiatives. I am even more convinced that good governance, transparency and accountability, will be key ingredients in the recipe for growth in Montserrat.

Early this month, Montserrat sent a delegation to the annual Joint Ministerial Council, and we also had meetings with DFID officials. As a part of this process, we had discussions with the Hon. Desmond Swayne, Secretary of State for International Development. In his follow up letter to me on December 15th, 2015, he wrote (and I quote): “ Your Government needs to quickly put in place a clear strategy, improved policy capability and an economic business plan to begin to address the many issues that you are grappling with including job creation, access, tourism, housing, health and engaging the Diaspora. I am confident that if the necessary change is realized, it will pay dividends for the people of Montserrat. My team stand ready to help.” (end of quote )

At this junction, I say special thanks my fellow Ministers and Members, all public servants, private sector individuals and businesses and their employees, NGO’s, the media, and all for their hard work, good ideas and other support. To the Opposition, may the joy and peace of the season enfold you. Every one of us has a role to play. Thanks to you.

I want also to send special holiday greetings to the aged and infirmed, many of whom take the time day by day to pray and encourage those of us who bear the responsibility of servant leadership.

So, as we pause again to reflect on that first Christmas, and as the new year approaches, let us give thanks for our blessings, and let us build on these many blessings as we work towards a brighter future in 2016.

Fellow citizens, residents and friends of Montserrat: May God bless each and every one of you and may God bless Montserrat.



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Building Society

Christmas Greetings – 2015

Arts Council Building SocietyBBCAngelos

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IPACT Justice

IMPACT Justice Hosts Community Mediation Training in St. Vincent and the Grenadines

IPACT Justice(BARBADOS, November 26, 2015) Social workers, child care workers, welfare officers, community activists and community development officers are among a group of 32 persons to receive training as community mediators under the Canadian Government funded, Improved Access to Justice in the Caribbean (IMPACT Justice) Project. IMPACT Justice is a five-year regional justice sector reform project which is being implemented from within the Caribbean Law Institute Centre, UWI, Cave Hill Campus.

According to Prof. Velma Newton, IMPACT Justice Regional Project Director, speaking about the training, said: “We are seeking to increase the number of individuals who are available to assist in solving disputes at the community level before they escalate and have to be taken to the court. The idea of using mediation is to redirect some cases away from the courts.”

The training, which takes place from November 30 to December 4, 2015, at the Blue Lagoon Hotel, Ratho Mill, is part of IMPACT Justice’s mandate to build the capacity for community mediation services around the region in an effort to reduce the burden on the courts. The regional justice reform project is slated to develop or increase the pool of community mediators in 13 CARICOM Member States and assist in the development of a legislative framework within which mediations may be conducted. IMPACT Justice has already conducted community mediation training in Barbados, Dominica and St. Kitts and Nevis.

This is the second IMPACT Justice training programme undertaken in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The Project facilitated two Restorative Practices training workshops for educators in St. Vincent and the Grenadines under its broader Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Programme. These were held in September, 2015.

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Edgar Nkosi White

An extraordinary holiday greeting to Montserrat

By Edgar Nkosi White

Edgar Nkosi White

Edgar Nkosi White

Dear family: God created man and man created rum in self-defence.

There have been many who have wondered why exactly I have retired to Montserrat and will never leave.

There are two answers:  (1) The Montserrat Christmas is the least painful in the world (and forgive me folks, I hate Christmas everywhere but in Montserrat, the desperation is much less).  The second reason is that Montserrat is so inaccessible.  (You have to really want to get here to reach.)  This has been Montserrat’s greatest asset though few realize it.  Certainly not the Tourist Board.

I would just like everyone to stop for a minute and remember the amount of diseases that arrive every holiday season regular as clockwork.  After Christmas, everyone routinely comes down with some variation of Influenza.  And now we have the added blessing of Chikungunya (the new blessing from abroad with the diaspora).  What do you think those who have to overnight in Antigua are bringing to us in their suitcases along with tourist dollars? And what would happen to Montserrat if we had daily invasions from tourists, like—say, beloved Antigua?

For some peculiar reason, our leaders—in their infinite wisdom—think that we have to sell Montserrat.  Montserrat does not need selling.  Our greatest resource is our innocence though we fail to see this.

When I was born God gave me three gifts:  The first was talent and the second was opportunity to use that talent.  The third gift was wisdom.  Unfortunately, that one, He took His time to give.  Had I gotten wisdom early, I would have been much greater.  Had I gotten it early, I would have been much less.  So He gave me the talent and not a clue as to what the hell to do with it except destroy myself.

Now to move on to something else I have to admit by way of transparency (favourite Montserrat buzz-word now).  I have to confess that despite the fact that I did not grow up in Montserrat (having left as a child) I still have not been able to avoid the pathological disease of Montserrat which is the need to become a Preacher.  I studied at seminary in New York and am even guilty of becoming an ordained minister.  It is for this very reason that I refuse to attach myself to any organized religion.  They all are guilty of the same fatal flaw which is believing that they alone have the answer and are the only ones who will enter Paradise.  When the Rapture comes, only the Pentecostals or the Methodists or Anglicans or Adventists will cross over, which is fine, but it still leaves a hell of a lot of people behind.

Of all the religions on island, the Catholics are the kindest because at least their Mass is the briefest (leaving out most of the melodrama).  They get you in and out in an hour and a half which leaves plenty of time to go out and sin anew.

Though of course I don’t attend there either, I, none the less, must give thanks and praise for Father George and his recovery which few thought he would ever make, and I welcome his return to Montserrat.  (Who no dead, no call he ghost.)  He is one of the few on island wise enough to preach not sin but people.  His sermons are always simple, to the point and always about Montserrat.

I must make mention also of the legendary Methodist preacher, Quamina Williams who died in 1922 and yet his sermons are still been used today.  He is the only person in Montserrat to be so named. Quamina is an African name (like the Jamaican Kumina from Pocomania).   He too had the gift (many are called but few are chosen).  Who knows, were he alive today I might even attend a service.

Lastly, I would like to say by way of blessing and sorrow:  I thank God for this past year despite the passing of men like Jackie Fire who carved a house of dreams and whose face and smile I see before me every day at sunrise.  I ask also healing mercy for those like Winspeare (of the Rude Boyz String Band) and thank him for giving us the words to the tune, Run, Run Ben Dyer Run, and my only prayer is that God doesn’t love him more than I doWho no dead no call he ghost.

We thank you for the healers and the men like Scriber who know every inch of Montserrat even in the dark of night.  My only sadness is that when that generation goes who will they leave the knowledge with?  The only knowledge of agriculture our youth has is how to grow ganja, which is a useful knowledge but now and again, it’s good to be able to grow food and few have that knowledge anymore and so we treasure men like John Allen (the Man from Baker Hill) and Murphy of Carr’s Bay.  And men like Pupa.  And Fred White of the Cassava and the Bush Rum.  And Pops Morris the artist, Masquerade master, Calypsonian and teacher to De Bear.

We thank you Lord for these gifts and others still among us.  And as to our leaders, the kindest thing that they can do for Montserrat is to leave it the hell alone.  Don’t exploit either the land or the children.

Allow children to be children and try not to exploit them as an industry.  There is enough of the world waiting to destroy them when they come of age.  We need not do it ourselves.

This is my holiday greeting to you.  Bless you my Montserrat.  I still love your secret and sacred body.

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LIME shares with you and your family this Christmas-1

LIME – Press Release – sharing this Christmas.

LIME shares with you and your family this Christmas-1

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Rare natural triplets delivered in Anguilla

The Anguillan

L-R-Nurse-Christmas,-Dr-Brett-Hodge-and-Eudlyn-Brooks---DSC_5789-300x225While we were recording a viewing of a triplet in Antigua, ‘The Anguillan’ newspaper was publishing the following, a new ‘triplet story’

Wednesday, August 7, 2013, has been recorded in Anguilla as the first time that triplets were born on the island within the last twenty years – the others having been born overseas.

The three girls appear to be identical, according to Anguillian Physician and Obstetrician, Dr Brett Hodge, who managed and delivered them. The proud parents are Eudlyn Brooks, 32, and her partner, Craig Gumbs, 39, of North Side.The babies were delivered by caesarean section at the Princess Alexandra Hospital.

“You can say that the babies are natural triplets,” Dr Hodge told The Anguillian. “It is a very rare event and we were able to manage them to a successful outcome. The main complication was premature labour. The mother and babies are doing quite well.The mother and her children should leave the Princess Alexandra Hospital by Wednesday, August 14.”

Dr Hodge spoke further about the babies as follows:
“They were born on the 7th of August. The first baby (K’lyn V.Gumbs) was delivered at 3.21 am. Her weight was 4 pounds 14 ounces or 2.25 kilograms. Baby two (Ky’licia G. Gumbs) was delivered at 3.25 am. Her weight was 4 pounds 7 ounces or 2.02 kilograms; and the third baby (Ky’li C.Gumbs) was delivered at 3.26 am. Her birth weight was 4 pounds 5 ounces or 1.95 kilograms. They all came out in good conditions.”

Responding to further questions, Dr Hodge continued: “We were expecting twins but were surprised that they were triplets. Natural triplets, as I said, are very rare, but some cases of triplets are now associated with the use of medications to induce ovulation. In this case, however, we did not use any medications.”

Dr Hodge expressed thanks to the staff of the hospital, especially Nurse Chris Smith-Lake, and the theatre staff, particularly Dawn Gumbs, and the Paediatrician, Dr. Singh. He was happy that the triplets were successfully managed and delivered in Anguilla, and that this was a further indication of the improved medical and health services on the island despite limited resources.
Dr Hodge has been a practising Obstetrician in Anguilla for some 22 years. He studied medicine at the University of the West Indies and did his post graduate training in the United Kingdom. He has managed and delivered scores of babies in Anguilla. Among the children he managed were triplet girls at Rey Hill but who were delivered in the U S A.

Ms Brooks, the babies’ mother, who already has a six-year-old son, is employed at Malliouhana Insurance Company where she serves as a Policy Services Underwriter. She has expressed gratitude to Hodge Medical Services as well as to her mother, Patricia Brooks, who has always been there for her and who, along with others, will give her plenty of help in caring for the triplets. “I am excited and afraid because it is three of them, but I will have a lot of help so I will be okay,” she chuckled.Eudlyn’s father is the well-known Wycliffe Richardson, owner of Anguilla Television Channel 3.







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Expression of Thanks


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