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EU launches fund to assist Caribbean countries

EU launches fund to assist Caribbean countries

by staff writer

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – The European Union has launched a Euro 28 million (One Euro=US$1.29 cents) Regional Climate Resilience Building Facility that will provide financial resources for technical assistance, disaster insurance and resilient investment facilitation.

The facility is the largest grant-funded resilience building project in the Caribbean to date and will be implemented by the World Bank and the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF).

EU Ambassador, Daniela Tramacere

“What we want from this programme is to address real needs. For this, governments and partner entities will have to define clear priorities, without which a targeted implementation is not possible,” said EU Ambassador, Daniela Tramacere, at the weeklong Understanding Risk (UR) Caribbean Conference that is organized by the World Bank in partnership with the Barbados government, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and the EU.

The EU diplomat said the action should have as its ultimate objective, the genuine interest of Caribbean citizens translated in terms of resilience building at community and individual levels.

The technical assistance aims to strengthen the capacity of public institutions and civil society organisations which are capable of protecting citizens from disasters. The support to the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility will help countries cope and recover better from the effects of extreme weather events.

“The support to resilient investment will stimulate the private sector to better adapt businesses and jobs to the priority needs of countries and citizens,” she added.

The Regional Resilience Building Facility is one of the many resilience programmes being financed by the EU in the Caribbean. Additional support for countries to build societal resilience by encouraging the transition to green economies and progress towards a sustainable economic path is being provided by various other EU programmes.

The EU said it is also partnering with regional governments and institutions on climate adaptation and ecosystem resilience and on hydrological meteorological data gathering.

Earlier this week, Canada also announced the  launch a CAD$20 million (One Canada dollar=US$0.74 cents) Canada-Caribbean Resilience Facility initiative to help regional countries better prepare for and respond to natural disasters.

“This initiative is being undertaken with Canada’s Caribbean support as a direct response to the lessons learned following the devastating hurricanes in the Caribbean in 2017 that have impacted our neighbouring countries so severely,” says Marie Legault, High Commissioner of Canada to Barbados and the OECS.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Climate/Weather, Earthquake, Environment, Hurricane, International, Local, News, Regional, TOURISM0 Comments

Dupigny DSC_7248web

New Port development launched

Concept design – Full to be available by August

The Government of Montserrat through the Ministry of Communication and Works on Friday, May 17, 2019, conducted the Montserrat Port Development Project Launch which has been seriously undertaken when Premier Romeo announced in February last year, that the funds had been sourced for the project.

The event was hosted at the Montserrat Port Authority – Ferry Terminal Building, with an overflow of persons who were outside of the small available space, but with the apparent intention to afford guests the opportunity to tour the site and to ask pertinent questions, especially that there is not yet a design for the actual port.

Port Authority manager Joseph O’Garro chaired the proceedings which began with the singing of the Territorial song and a prayer led by Fr. Carlisle Vyphius of the Anglican church.

Following, were welcome and opening remarks by the port manager, referred to as the Chief Executive Officer – Montserrat Port Authority on the program; H.E. Governor Pearce, CDB Representative Andrew Dupigny, Head of Infrastructure Partnerships, Hon. Paul Lewis, Minister of MCWEL, a feature address by Premier Donaldson Romeo and finally a vote of thanks by MCWEL Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Beverley Mendes.

Seated in the front row l-r, Governor, Premier, Minister, Dupigny and PS with CDB officials in the back row

Mr. O’Garro briefly in his opening and welcome outlined what most or all of the remarks noted, that the project will provide safe, secure and modern port facility for Montserrat, that will provide critical access and reduce down-time especially in times of poor weather.

He, again like others, in addressing the down time noted that about 12% of the vessels calling at Little Bay had not come into, or leave or port.

CEO O’Garro and Governor Pearce

The Governor said about the project. “It works with the grain of our small island community and it sort of aligns with the niche nature of our economy,” preceding that with the observation. “Size is not everything, quality and balance are key – it matches the scale of little Montserrat – we aren’t going to get and we don’t want almost 4000 berth cruise ships, hopefully smaller ones – we can host graciously…

CDB’s Andrew Dupigny, who has been with the project from early 2017, in his remarks, noted that, “…On completion it is expected that the new facility will provide direct and positive impact on the  economy with the potential that would increase employment, improved productivity and overall improvements in the business environment.

Andrew Dupigny

Sounding like coming straight out of a business case, he continued to say: “Over the long term the provision of a reliable access and connectivity to the island, the movement of people goods and services would increase its creativity potential which would ultimately positively impact growth – improve the efficiency effectiveness and resilience of the port facility to provide safety and accessibility.” –

When we say that this project goes way, 12 years, further than the Premier would later recall, Dupigny noted “This actually dovetails very well with the government of Montserrat’s ongoing activities to restore access and connectivity to the island,” which he said, “…was articulated in the Hon Premiers presentation of the budget address in 2017 when he declared ‘access is perhaps our single biggest challenge to growth.’”

He connected this to: “CDB’s strategic plan for the period 2015 to 19 similarly recognises, the positive relationship between infrastructure economic growth and poverty reduction.”

 He offered, “Good transportation is one of the main elements that supports national development. A Key success of any project especially a project such as this which will impact every community across Montserrat is the participation of stakeholders.”

“We are therefore extremely pleased to see the enthusiasm evidenced by your numbers here this morning as well as a high level of participation in the workshop that took place over the past few days.”

This was a workshop that this long-standing stakeholder in all Montserrat progress media house was excluded and knew nothing about. Such could very well be to the detriment to any project, except for dishonest follow-ups which in the end will as we say be detrimental to Montserrat.

Minister Lewis was firm in his presentation as he set out the history of loss and difficulties with a port that far than less served the required needs of Montserrat, but finally, “a solution.”

He spoke to how, “with unreliable sea access for the last 23 years Montserrat lost opportunities for economic growth, our country’s people suffered other losses, including vessels running aground and the destruction of cargo vessels; loss of fishing vessels and yachts unable to come into port; cost of goods have increased after additional charges were placed on shipping given the uncertainty of docking on arrival in Montserrat and having to wait, perhaps even leave before returning a second time to off load,” referring to unsuccessful attempts as they try to dock in rough waters, having to return to Antigua – the road to a solution has not been without challenges.

He spoke of the benefits to be gained as the project progresses, as well as the revealing that, “The project will also provide employment for 72-100 workers over 18 months to two years.

With all other requirements in place and September this year, for a design and build contractor will take place, thereafter, the successful company will be mobilizing to start work by the end of the year

Funding for this project, after a £23 million offer by the UK was turned down (technically) in early 2014, came with a £14.4 million grant to GoM from the UK government via the United Kingdom Caribbean Infrastructure Partnership Fund (UKCIF), augmented by another £7 million budgetary support from the European Union.

With the (CDB) making an initial allocation for the project, advised to GoM in July 2016, an application for the grant made in March 2017, the agreement between the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Government of Montserrat for £14,400,000 was signed by Premier Romeo on Wednesday, April 11, 2018.

Premier Romeo and Minister Lewis

The Premier was set to deliver the feature address for the event. He, following what took his Government nearly three years to get to this point, recently accessing the needed additional funds, he was relieved probably more than excited.

“Today, marks one of the first, breakthrough step towards the fulfillment of a twenty four-year old hope for Montserrat; a protected sea port here in the safe zone.  Yes, the first safe harbour in Montserrat’s history,” he began.

He continued by recalling as many of the arguments that had no doubt, like Dupigny recalled, made in the business case that had to be presented for the port. He quoted DFID: “The principal barrier to economic growth and development on the island is poor physical access.. . . Without the development of Little Bay and Carr’s Bay, improved access, and reduced costs of doing business, Montserrat will remain uncompetitive in attracting [Foreign Direct Investment].”

So he told an appreciable number of many of whom were invited for the event. “The port development project is therefore one of the strategic keys for unlocking growth and building Montserrat’s future.” 

Concurring that this key we will open up the door for local and foreign investment and for self-sustaining, private sector led growth, he added: “It will create jobs during the construction phase, and it will provide more reliable docking for Cruise ships and for cargo vessels.”

Like other speakers he pointed out that “due to rough seas…out of a total of 478 calls, vessels were unable to berth 58 times…one vessel out of every eight had to turn back. “Yes, that is not sustainable. We had to fix the problem,” he said

That’s why a safe harbour “is of vital importance in providing connectivity to the island of Montserrat and for supporting economic activity.”

He reminded of earlier attempts at building a port, that the Government of the day had envisioned a sea port development in Carrs Bay, and it had actually knocked down part of Gun Hill to facilitate the project.

With no design yet in place for the current project, he noted that in the previous case, a design was made and developed, being presented to the public at 60% and 90% points. “But, alas, it was very costly and suitable private sector partners were hard to secure,” but giving no details of the contrasts.  

He recalled also a statement made by former Chief Minister John Osborne, deceased, in the aftermath of Hurricane Hugo on July 30, 1990: “With assistance in developing its infrastructure, including a proper airport and a safe harbour, Montserrat could develop a viable economy and opt for independence.”

Before closing his address, the Premier gave an insight as to how the project will move from this launch. “First, through presentations and workshops that have been going on for a few days, we look at preliminary designs, then adjust towards a preferred option. The preferred option will then be fully developed as a technical design, starting in August. Then, once that design is completed and accepted, construction will begin.

He revealed that “Construction will take considerable time, over a year,” with a caution. “However, we must always recognise that we are dealing with the sea, which has its own power, its own ways and its own voice; which can force changes to our proposed schedules.”

He concludes after thanking several key authorities, Minister Lewis, UK govt and other key personel, and then: “Let us see, how we can work together as a people as we put in place one of the foundation stones for building our future.”

Discussing the possible design

The P:S gave a fairly descriptive and comprehensive vote of thanks, praising the Ministry and staff for the work done so far on the project and hosting the morning’s event which ended with people looking at and discussing the site from the concept drawing.

Related: https://www.themontserratreporter.com/planning-to-begin-for-a-breakwater-facility-at-little-bay/

https://youtu.be/jhkzwryf-2w

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1-cZXxLq1fMwTeH0q5kA4vBcaQdyCsAbz?usp=sharing

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhkzwryf-2w&feature=youtu.be

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, CARICOM, Environment, Featured, International, Local, News, TOURISM, Videos0 Comments

Expert warns of Caribbean heat season

Expert warns of Caribbean heat season

By Kenton X. Chance

PHILLIPSBURG, St. Maarten, May 24, CMC —  A Caribbean climatologist says that while the Caribbean is best known for having wet, dry and hurricane seasons, a little known fact is that the region also has a distinct heat season.

Cédric Van Meerbeeck, climatologist at the Barbados-based Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) says that since about 1995, the Caribbean has had a distinct heat season which lasts from about May to October and is forecast to be more intense this year that the last two years.

“But the heat season is something that didn’t happen in the past. Yes, people feel more comfortable and sometimes even cold around Christmas time and you know that it gets hotter towards September. But it’s not really common knowledge that there is a six-month period that noticeably warmer than the other part of the year and that is May to October….

“And during that heat season, you find that the levels of heat discomfort and heat stress [increases] so that’s impacting your health, also the health of some animals,” Van Meerbeeck said, adding this has implication for comfort levels as well as major sectors in the region, such as tourism and agriculture.

He told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) on the side-line of the Caribbean Climate Outlook Forum (CariCOF) that while the heat season peaks in September, the region has its most heat waves between August and October.

“Heat waves might not look as extreme as they are in some desert areas or some part of the United States and other regions. However, they do impact us because mostly that’s also the time of the year when the humidity is high,” Van Meerbeeck explained.

“When humidity is high, your body doesn’t cool as effectively as when the air is quite dry and so you feel more heat stress even though the temperature does not increase immensely,” Van Meerbeeck said, urging people to stay as cool as possible, especially from August onward.

The climatologist said that for the first half of the heat season, the air is still relatively dry, therefore, the temperatures are not necessarily so uncomfortable.

“But it is really that second part of the heat season that we want to warn against. Keep cool; don’t go in the sun in the middle of the day; seek shade, seek ventilation in your homes.

“If you have an AC, make sure you run the AC while you sleep so that your brain and your body can recover better and that you can function normal in the face of the heat,” the climatologist advised.

“Last year, we were quite fortunate that there were not many heat waves. It was not that brutal. A comparable season would have been 2016 when we really had a lot of heat between August and October.”

Van Meerbeeck said the cause of the higher temperature is the rising temperatures of the ocean, which releases heat into the atmosphere during the heat season.

“It doesn’t change the weather much from day to day, but over longer periods of time, it does affect the amount of energy that is in the atmosphere and therefore that is the temperature that you feel,” the climatologist said, adding this is definitely linked to climate change.

“And this is one of the clearest links that we observe in the Caribbean beside sea level rise. The increasing temperature now means that even though we didn’t have a heat season outside of maybe August to October in the past, now you find that heat waves actually occur for a longer period of time every year in the warmer years particularly.

“But now, in the cooler years, you now have heat waves. That didn’t used to be the case up until about 1995. It’s really something recent, where the trend of temperate going up with climate change is really affecting the heat level that we have in the season.”

He said this has implication for agriculture and fisheries, especially the livestock subsector and fish, especially in the northern Caribbean, that are sensitive to the heating of the sea surface.

“But for livestock, it’s important to also provide cooling for them. For us that is important. Maybe ethically that’s one thing but also in terms of our food security, our protein stock really comes from chicken and chicken are amongst the most sensitive animals to excessive heat especially broilers.”

Van Meerbeeck said it is a good practice to keep poultry birds cool “so you can to make sure that your chicken stock does not reduce and does not experience that heat stress which leads to less protein being available at a reasonable cost for us”.

As regard tourism, the climatologist said that heat is not that much of a problem as long as awareness is built with tourists.

“But they should really do their best to keep cool whenever they can, stay hydrated, seek the shade, seek well-ventilated places; if you go in the sun, don’t go in the middle of the day,” Van Meerbeeck said, adding that hotels should also remind tourists to stay cool.

Posted in CARICOM, Climate/Weather, Environment, Local, OECS, Regional, Science/Technology0 Comments

William Gelling

John Gordon and Will Gelling directors for OTS to visit Montserrat

William Gelling, Deputy Director, OTS at FCO, UK

John Gordon is the Deputy Director for the OTs and the Caribbean at DFID, along with Will Gelling, Deputy Director for the OTs at the FCO, will visit Montserrat from  Monday, for two days next week during a familiarisation visit to the Caribbean.

While on island, they are expected to meet with Premier and other ministers and senior officials in the Government of Montserrat. They will discuss a fair range of critical issues including disaster resilience and security, transport, environment, health, education and tourism polices and challenges.

They will also meet with key members of the business and political communities.

According to information from the Governor’s office, in between these discussions, both officials will visit the hospital, port and breakwater, airport, Montserrat Secondary School and the Davy Hill and Look Out communities. They will also view the volcanic exclusion zone.

The visit will end with a press briefing at the Governor’s Office in Brades.

Posted in Announcements/Greetings, Business/Economy/Banking, Environment, International, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

Solar pv handover

Is this end of Geothermal Energy development?

“No!” says Premier Romeo, also Minister Lewis – as solar energy emerges

https://www.themontserratreporter.com/bright-openings-for-2019/

Solar Energy Released

Even coming on the heels of the pulling out of Icelandic drilling equipment from the compound encompassing the MON3 well, the drilling site for the continuing project of “Unlocking the Geothermal Potential of Montserrat” and the news of the report that end of the project, Montserrat on Monday celebrated a milestone in the “green” renewable energy development.

Premier Romeo as he thanked the European Development Fund, EDF 10, for major funding, with other funding, “sourced through our own Ministry of Finance; and as always, this was supported by DfID,” opened his remarks at the handing over ceremony of the completed 250 kilowatt solar project to Montserrat Utilities Limited (MUL).

“Today is a milestone for Montserrat, as we formally commission our 250-kilowatt Solar, photovolt type powerplant. It’s good news to know that it is now on grid, and it represents 10% of our load demand. MUL now has a renewable energy driven powerplant that is capable of carrying about 10% of our peak load.

“As we go forward. Plans are in place to add a further 750 kilowatt of solar PV capacity with some battery back-up. When this is in place we will have one megawatt of solar PV capacity which can supply about 40% of our current electricity consumption. We will not stop here, clearly. For as we continue to explore green energy, like the rest of the world, we will keep an eye on wind, biofuels, electric vehicles, and of course, geothermal.

“On geothermal, we have already two wells that have proven capacity to support our needs. And, a third well that has unfortunately met with technical difficulties. However, we are still moving forward to develop this form of green energy, through working with partners to bring geothermal power plant in place,” he said.

He noted: “Thanks are due to – through hard, persistent work the Ministry of Communications and Works, the consultants, STANTEC and the contractor SALT Energy, all led by Hon Lewis, the plant was successfully completed within the EDF 10 deadline.”

ZJB reported that on Monday, in the history of electrical generation on Montserrat, Hon Energy Minister Paul Lewis, handed over the completed 250 kilowatt solar project to MUL, during a special ceremony at the MUL car park at the station.

The project is the realisation of Mr. Lewis and the government’s vision to see solar become a key contributor to Montserrat’s green energy production capabilities.

It is anticipated, the report continued, that with the inclusion of the 250kilowatt solar into the National grid, there will be an expected reduction in the fuel surcharge. And eventually lower MUL’s consumer bills. The 250kilowatt solar project.

The reported noted this is the first phase of the eventual one megawatt solar PV project as planned. The next stage will be the 750kilowatt solar PV project with box for storage and as Minister Lewis explains the aim is to incorporate other sources of renewable energy into the national grid.

Meanwhile Kendal Lee the Managing Director of (MUL) outlined that the historic storage integration of solar power into the national grid is in line with the vision of the company.

He explained that the consensus of a staff meeting some years ago was that the company should become the greenest provider of utility services in the Caribbean, and, now he concedes that the reintroduction of renewable energy generation into company’s electricity portfolio shows that they are heading in the right direction.

European Union (EU) officer Kyle Walrond who was present at the handing over ceremony cemented the EU’s committment to supporting the renewal of energy and the sufficiency sustainable development as [Montserrat] like other territories in the region progress to agreeing economy.

The EU rep noted, “As you know we are committed to support the effort that goes toward mitigation of climate change worldwide and every step, small or big towards our common goal of making peace with our planet. This occasion marks yet another milestone in our countries’ development. As Montserrat forges ahead with its goal of transitioning from a fossil fuel based energy sector to a renewable based energy sector.”

He revealed that the  EDF program will also assist the government and its goals to replace conventional street light with LED lighting, solar lighting for roads and other infrastructure matters adjacent to main powers will also be installed with support from the European Union.

The last time the company utilized renewable energy as part of its generation mix was from 1989 through to 1995. When it operated 2 – 100 kilowatt vectors wind turbine machines at St. George’s Hill.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Energy, Environment, Featured, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

Survivors of boating tragedy appear in court

Survivors of boating tragedy appear in court

by staff writer

NASSAU, Bahamas, Feb 13, CMC – Two days after 22 Haitians were buried after they drowned while attempting to enter the Bahamas by sea earlier this month, the 18 who survived the ordeal have been charged with illegally entering the country.

The 17 men and one woman appeared before Magistrate Kara Turnquest-Deveaux telling her they were “looking for a better life” when they boarded they boarded the 40-foot vessel that ran aground in waters off Abaco on February 3.

So far 31 bodies had been recovered but the authorities said that nine were in such poor condition that they were buried in Abaco. The authorities have since called off the search for other survivors.

Magistrate Turnquest-Deveaux thanked the survivors for their early plea of guilt and turned them over to immigration officials for processing.

Last week, Foreign Affairs Minister, Darren Henfield, said that Nassau has in the past warned of the dangers associated with the illegal migration by sea to the Bahamas.

He said the survivors will be repatriated and the Department of Immigration also said that there will be no special treatment for the survivors.

“The department’s policy in reference to the handling of the illegal migrants remains the same. There has been no change in regard to this policy,” the department said.

During the funeral service on Sunday, Bishop Simeon Hall told the mourners “to be poor and destitute (in Haiti) is still far better than to be dead and gone.”

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Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, CARICOM, Court, Elections, Environment, International, Local, News, Politics, Regional0 Comments

Barbados joins other CARICOM countries in banning single-use plastic products

Barbados joins other CARICOM countries in banning single-use plastic products

by staff writer

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Jan 23, CMC – Barbados has become the latest Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country to announce a ban on the importation, retail, sale and use of petro-based single use plastic products.

It said that products such as  single-use plastic cups; cutlery, including plastic knives, forks and spoons; stirrers; straws; plates; egg trays -both plastic and Styrofoam – and Styrofoam containers used in the culinary retail industry will be banned from April 1.

Jamaica, St. Lucia, Grenada, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda are among CARICOM countries that have already instituted or announced plans to ban the use of these plastic products.

Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy Minister, Kirk Humphrey, and Minister of the Environment and National Beautification, Trevor Prescod, made the announcement regarding the ban.

Humphrey said that with effect from January 1, 2020, there will be a ban on all petro-based plastic bags, with the exemption of those used for the packaging of pharmaceuticals/medicines, hygiene and the preservation of food.

In addition, a moratorium has been extended on the use of tetra pack straws, while poultry producers have been given more time to find alternatives to the Styrofoam trays used to package chickens.

“Barbados has to be a value-driven country. We have large expectations for ourselves. We have said that we want to be fossil fuel free by 2030; we want to have a renewable platform; we want to be a country that when we speak to the world we speak as an environmentally friendly country and destination.

“[Therefore] these are the things that we must do if our words and our actions are to be aligned.  And so, we have made ourselves clear as to where we stand on single-use plastic,” Humphrey said.

He said the decision came after months of consultation with stakeholders, including plastic bag manufacturers, persons in the poultry industry, the Barbados Manufacturers’ Association, the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Customs Department, and importers.

Humphrey said that the ban on petro-based plastic bags was extended until January 1, 2020, to allow manufacturers to come up with alternative ways of making plastic bags from a bio-based material that was environmentally healthy and friendly.

“We do not wish to coere to an established industry that employs Barbadians and deprive them of opportunity, but we also know that the cost of continuing to use these things in Barbados will outweigh any potential benefits,” he said.

Prescod said that plastic bottles used in the production of juices will not be subjected to the ban.  He added that the required legislation needed to be in place to allow consumers to take the bottles back to the suppliers to be part of a recycling process.

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Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, CARICOM, Environment, International, Local, News, Regional, TOURISM0 Comments

President Trump signs measure to reopen the government

President Trump signs measure to reopen the government

The longest ever shutdown of the U.S. government is over.

President Trump tonight signed the continuing resolution that provides funding until Feb. 15. 

The bill was signed in private tonight, without reporters present.20 hr 13 min ago

Where the shutdown stands now

Both the Senate and the House approved a measure to temporarily reopen the federal government. The plan — which President Trump announced earlier today — will fund the government through Feb. 15.

What happens now: The measure is heading to Trump’s desk for his signature. Once it is signed, it will put an end to the longest government shutdown in US history.

You can follow the latest on the government shutdown here.21 hr 15 min ago

Trump insists “this was in no way a concession”

From CNN’s Liz Stark

President Trump tonight is trying to push back on the way today’s agreement to reopen the government is being portrayed.

He tweeted moments ago:I wish people would read or listen to my words on the Border Wall. This was in no way a concession. It was taking care of millions of people who were getting badly hurt by the Shutdown with the understanding that in 21 days, if no deal is done, it’s off to the races!”

House votes to reopen the government

From CNN’s Phil Mattingly

Win McNamee/Getty Images

The House of Representatives just passed a continuing resolution to fund the government until Feb. 15.

The measure was passed by the Senate earlier today. Now, it heads to President Trump’s desk for his signature.23 hr 33 min ago

This is the role Nancy Pelosi played in reopening the government

From CNN’s Liz Landers 

Win McNamee/Getty Images

Over the past few days, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been in “constant contact” with Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer as he had discussions with Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell on a path forward, according to a senior Democratic aide. The two regularly consulted as those discussions proceeded.

Throughout this shutdown, Pelosi made clear that the first step would be to reopen government and only then conduct negotiation. This aide says it was “a position the President finally embraced today.”

This aide pointed to the 11 votes to reopen government since the Democrats took control on Jan. 3 as a key part of the strategy by Pelosi. To do so many appropriations votes — starting with the individual Senate Republican bills — ultimately led to “unsustainable pressure on Senate Republicans.”5:25 p.m. ET, January 25, 2019

McConnell told Trump he didn’t know if GOP could keep holding the line

From CNN’s Manu Raju

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke with President Trump twice on Thursday — and Trump made the decision late Thursday that he wanted the shutdown to end, per a person familiar with their conversations

The first call came after a contentious Senate GOP lunch where Republican senators vented frustration at Vice President Mike Pence about the lack of strategy to get out of the shutdown. McConnell told Trump that it was unclear how much longer he could get GOP senators to hold the line — especially if there were another round of votes to end the shutdown.

A few hours later, Trump called McConnell back with a new perspective: Trump made clear he wanted the shutdown to end, which led to the deal that was approved by Congress Friday.

What’s unclear, according to the source, is what exactly got Trump to change his mind in the intervening hours between their two phone calls.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Environment, Featured, International, Local, News, Politics, Regional0 Comments

Caribbeean News Service logo

EU disburses First Economic Development Tranche of EC$17.55M to Montserrat

2018 Hurricane Maria exposed some areas of weak resilience

Jan 9, 2019 – Caribbeean News Service – The European Union has disbursed EC$17.55 million (€5.72M) to the Government of Montserrat (GoM) as the First Fixed tranche under the Multi Sector Sustainable Economic Development Budget Support Programme.

Logos - Interreg

The assistance is inclusive of an emergency top-up payment of EC$1 million (€320,000) as additional support to help with the economic recovery of Montserrat after Hurricane Maria struck in September 2017.

The overall objective of the Budget Support Programme is to assist in setting Montserrat on a path of sustainable economic development, based on its 2017-2021 Medium Term Economic Policy (MTEP).

The assistance is expected to support Montserrat’s renewable energy thrust and new port development to facilitate accessibility to the island. It is also geared towards enhancing the country’s tourism industry as well as improving the business environment and more inclusive private sector development.

The European Union Delegation will continue to support Montserrat’s efforts to create a coherent, comprehensive and sustainable policy framework that will ensure sustained and inclusive economic growth in the long term.

The EU welcomed the determination of the Government of Montserrat to increase economic resilience through strategic sector projects and mainstreaming resilience in all policies. This includes ensuring adequate building codes and standards in order to mitigate socio-economic losses in the event of natural disasters.

The EU Delegation expressed satisfaction to the Government of Montserrat as it continues to show progress and commitment towards prudent Public Financial Management (PFM), good Budgetary Transparency reforms and the pursuit of stable macroeconomic policies.

The overall programme (Grant) of the current 11 European Development Fund intervention is approximately EC$57.35 million (€18.72M).

The programme is expected to run until 2022, with EC$54.30 million (€17.72M) earmarked for multi sector development as budget support.

Montserrat also benefits from regional EU assistance for Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs).

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Climate/Weather, Environment, Featured, International, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

Genesys - DSC_0591

Nite of Pan – Festival 2018

Genesys Pan orchestra opens the side show for the 2018 Semi-Final calypso show

The annual ‘Nite of Pan’ stages tonight at Festival Village in Little Bay, Montserrat.

Herman “Cupid” Francis, through once again to another Calypso Final,  organises the Nite of Pan. He can take the credit of keeping pan alive in Montserrat for the many years.

Tonight as for the past several years there will be visiting stars from Antigua, fresh from the Mood of Pan competition just concluded and in which the newish pan group Genesys participated a few days ago.

The Antigua group, Panache, is reportedly led by Zahra Lee, Antigua’s first female steel pan arranger, tied with Hell’s Gate Steel Orchestra to win the 2018 edition of Panorama during the island’s summer festival this past August.

The lineup for the show tonight beginning at 8.00 p.m. will include the steel pan orchestras from the local primary schools, as well as Genesys and the Volpanics.

All are welcome! There is an entrance fee – adults and children.

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