Archive | Featured

Where is the new Hospital?

Where is the new Hospital?

It has long time gone that the Government of Montserrat should present to the people the real situation of what the general state of affairs was that existed in September 2014, and now, in particular, to get current, the circumstances that brought the ‘Hospital’ project to the obvious sad state it is in.

The hospital project began as far back in 2008 to the point where in 2009, first on the agenda of the first MCAP government was the hospital. following the call for elections in 2009 by the Lowel Lewis government, of which members of MCAP were predominant. At that point, Executive Council (pre Constitution) did not want to bother to listen to details of the project as it was already a done deal.

Then in 2012 the Montserrat Hospital and Health Care Improvement Project got a start date (taken from a DFID document): 01-Nov-12  End Date: 30-Nov-16 with a Programme Value of £8.42 million with the EC$ around that being 4.00 plus. That is why at the time this sum was stated at about $33 million.

There was to be a Review Date of 10th – 14th November, 2014. Things seemed to have been progressing well up to January, 2014, but by March with things going well; design etc. and contract awarded; detailed design expected by July, construction was expected to start early 2015.

The inserts here are taken from a DFID document on the project following general elections in September 2014. The PDM government took over and following the review, “…the decision was taken to bring this poorly performing project to an early conclusion.”

Then:

(see: A new Hospital to break ground in six – nine months- Posted on 25 September 2015. (Minister – “But there was no approved project in August last year”)

Here it is now that three plus years later and the people are being asked to consider a report that had been anticipated. The people, or more accurately those who felt moved to comment on what was being presented, probably without the knowledge of the history of this project, express nothing but rejection.

Dr. Lewis was a panelist on a radio program soliciting public input on the functional review and health financing study, and having heard much of the comments that appear below, had this to say. “Not only does it cause a lot of problems for the patients and the families but it un-trains our people, it means we will end up with nurses and doctors who have no experience to guarantee a certain level of services and it will be devastating for young Montserratians at school aspiring to become obstetricians and gynecologists and pediatricians to think that they will never be able to work in their homeland and look after their people. But there are certain situations in which people will have to go overseas, we know that we do not have critical care services former intensive care unit, we can in fact and should try and at least have an interim arrangement until we can do that permanently.”

The functional review and health financing study created by consultants Mott McDonald presents the Government of Montserrat with five options for hospital services and two options for health financing. Prior to Dr. Lewis’ panel statement the process was described as ‘highly controversial’ even though it all pointed into one direction – rejection. Many persons believe that the options presented are not acceptable and are not in the best interest of Montserrat.

One candidate at the last general elections expressed that the report should have been rejected by the health minister immediately and not brought to the public for comment.

“It is so disrespectful that I think it should have been stopped right in the offices of the Ministry of Health. It is inconceivable that such a report would have ever been formulated, why, who is going to bring a report to a country that is going to say that your health needs can be externally provided for because that in itself what this report is saying that Montserrat is not capable of taking care of its citizens so we will get our next door neighbor to deal with it for you, who does that?” she said.

One news report said that the Mcdonald report was rubbished with the general sentiment heard from almost everyone who commented otherwise, that we can subscribe to, that the recommendations if accepted would return Montserrat to a less developed state (that existed pre the 1960s).

Another politician, former parliamentarian said: “This thing here sounds like a joke to me, I don’t know if we could be serious, we’re retrogressing now. We’re asking to have only adult surgery on Montserrat; this for me is ridiculous and there will be a cost to the persons taken off island for those who would be sent away. I myself way back in the forties you know this type of surgery was offered in Montserrat for bringing forth children; and now we’re saying that it must not be done in Montserrat? We cannot accept that, period.”

A social activist said: “When you send people overseas and they have to say there for a week or two, what support they have, as a matter of fact a caller before said that this should not be even on the radio and I agree with the caller. I mean I feel some people are getting worked up but I feel sad and I think that we need to sing nearer my God today because we are dying we’re not going anyplace.”

Another female caller continued: “Where in the region are they offering this type of substantive health care or accommodation to any of the other British Overseas Territory? Which other island are they offering this to? Because, I have never heard this before where you go from bad to worse. This is really a bad situation, all over the world everyone wants to improve health care, want to improve accommodation, want to improve everything that they took away. So which other island is this happening on? I think the people need to know that.”

The Health Minister Delmaude Ryan said it would have been irresponsible of her Government not to present the report to the public before it makes a final decision revealing that the Ministry had until January 30th to give its final response to DFID.

The Minister said: “Now it will require the unity of all of us to unite on this and one of the callers mentioned even placarding and protesting in relation to this whether at 10 Downing street or even right here for the world to understand how unfairly we have been treated here in Montserrat. I so want us to continue with that unity as we continue in voicing our rejection to the recommendations but as we put forward what was presented before and for us, nothing less than the thirty beds that we would already have in place, that is what we’re working forward with and we have the documentation to justify why. Many of you have contributed some very valid points which have been taken into consideration and we will continue to engage with you as we progress and let you know what the outcome of this review will be.

Former parliamentarian Chedmond Browne in the NPLM government, and social commentator has opined that the origins of the controversial functional review and health financing study produced by consultancy firm Mott McDonald is not a new document. While asking for a sensible health care package for Montserrat he called for a total rejection of the Mott McDonald report in its current form.

He said, “A large portion of that report was already given to the Government of Montserrat in 1998, so what we looking at is a repetition a continuous repetition of reports that basically say the same thing… people who are involved would recognize by now that when they go into a meeting to discuss a report will say ‘wait a minute I’ve heard this before’…”

There is still to be substantiated, the report that leading up to September 2014, the Hospital Project was changed where the project value had almost doubled and that was the real cause for the project to be abandoned.

Posted in Featured, International, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

Andrew Pearce  sworn in as  Montserrat’s  Governor

Andrew Pearce sworn in as Montserrat’s Governor

By Bennette Roach

Montserrat, welcomed new Governor (designate) Andrew Pearce OBE at a special sitting of the Legislative Assembly at the Cultural Centre on Thursday, February 1 with a little less flair than his predecessor but with the usual pomp and circumstance after the welcome and thank you speeches, and the usual inspection of a guard of honour.This followed his arrival with his wife and one of two daughters the day before, January 31, 2018, at the John A. Osborne airport where he was met by the Ag. Governor Mrs Lyndell Simpson, the Hon Premier Donaldson Romeo, other members of the Legislative Assembly and residents of Montserrat.

The Hon Speaker Shirley Osborne after declaring the special Assembly sitting in her opening welcome remarks, explained the format which would, of course, be different from the normal sitting of the Assembly. Listen to the Hon Speaker Shirley Osborne Welcoming Remarks

Acting Governor Simpson, the substantive Deputy Governor delivered a handing over address in which she spoke appropriate words fitting for the time. “…and never more so than in those times and on those occasions when relationships (have) become fractious and frayed, as you travel the length and breadth of the island over the coming weeks as you get to know and understand the aspirations of our people as you experience the warmth and hospitality, and that special undefinable thing that is uniquely Montserratian, I trust that we will grow on you and you on us and that together we will make significant strides in realizing that vision of a thriving twenty-first century economy, a thriving social and cultural island and empowered public service that is fit for purpose.”

 Offering her support to the Governor, she closed. “In my substantive capacity as Deputy Governor I wish to assure you of my absolute support and I do look forward to working with you. I welcome you to Montserrat and I extended every best wish for a most successful tenure.” Listen to the Honourable Deputy Governer Mrs Lyndell Simpson

Following the reading of the royal warrant of his appointment, the Honourable Ag. Attorney General Mrs Sheree Jemmotte-Rodney then administered the oath, in which Governor Pearce, swore to be faithful and bare true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, her heirs and successors according to law.

The welcoming addresses began with the Hon. Speaker who in her own particular deviating style, noted to the importance of his posting at a time when Montserrat is marking the 250th anniversary of the failed slave uprising in 1768, inviting Governor Pearce and his family to share in the history of Montserrat and its people.In her quickened way of speaking, she addressed the Governor: “Our youngest people want to know what happened in Montserrat between 1768 and 1995… so with technological savvy and creativity of young people, this year March 17th we’re going to remember just for them. It will be an unparalleled opportunity for you to get to know us as a people, for you to get to comprehend some of our concerns and ambitions and understand what truly drives us to continue to struggle to gather the pieces of our broken hearts and rebuild the life that was shattered most recently when the volcano commenced its eruptions in 1995.”

She closed by repeating some she said she told Governor Carriere while welcoming her: “Montserrat is more precious to us than any other thing in the entire world, we feel very strongly, very strongly about our little island and we’re giving everything we have, everything that we have in us to bring Montserrat back to being a place of health, wealth and happiness. We Montserratians are determined to thrive we thank you for having come to join us in the effort and we look forward to working with you side by side shoulder to shoulder as peers as equals to bring this about.” Listen to the Hon Speaker Shirley Osborne

Next on the program the Hon. Opposition Leader Easton Taylor-Farrell addressed the Governor, on behalf of the royal opposition noting that welcome and farewells to Governors have become a routine in the lives of Montserratians and that has become a “part of our tradition.” He then went on to layout to the Governor that as Her Majesty’s representative, it is how he is able to help to move the country forward out of the state of dependency that exists. Listen to Opposition Leader Easton Taylor Farrell

The Hon. Premier had the distinction of ending the addresses. His full address is published elsewhere in this issue, and maybe listened to online at the website: www.themontserratreporter.com or at our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/themontserratreporter/

He packed in as much as he could laying out for the Governor the fact that after nearly 23 years after volcanic activity began in 1995, Montserrat was still steeped in dependency with no sight of climbing out. He said he was looking forward to sharing with him the national vision which is to achieve a modern economy with a friendly vibrant community in which all people through enterprise and initiative can fulfil their hopes in a truly democratic and God-fearing society. Listen to Premier Romeo’s welcome address

His Excellency Governor Pearce responded saying after thanking all for their words of welcome, how he was deeply honoured to be governor of Montserrat. He said, “I will do my utmost to fulfil my responsibilities to the Government and people of Montserrat and the UK Government and to represent Her Majesty the Queen honourably and diligently,” as he announced that, while he had been briefed on the island, nothing prepared him and his family for the first sight of the island as it came into view from the air.

“In the few short months since my appointment was confirmed, I have heard and learned much about Montserrat, its charms and its challenges. But nothing could have prepared my wife and me and our daughter for our first sight of Montserrat as we approached the island yesterday,” he declared.

He noted, the first line of the chorus of the territorial song, “Montserrat, by nature blessed” could not be more appropriate. Adding, “my wife and I feel equally blessed to be here and to be given the opportunity to spend the next three to four years working with you and living among you.”

The Governor gave a brief background of himself and his career.

“I grew up in rural Norfolk in England and am very much still a country boy at heart. I love the natural world and am at my happiest hiking on a ridge top or digging about in a garden. I studied chemistry at university and did a bit of research into new battery technologies before joining the Foreign Office,”

He informed further: “My career saw me finding my lovely wife, Pornpun, whilst on my first posting to Thailand. We have been posted together with our family since to Israel, South Africa, Romania and Thailand again. Most recently I have served as Head of Security for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, a fascinating and demanding job navigating the threats of the Arab Spring, and as Charge D’Affaires in Vilnius in Lithuania.”

After saying he has “enjoyed all my jobs,” and that most importantly for him is, “to do my part in making things better for the Montserratian community,” a theme that kept on in his address, he paid tribute to his predecessor, Elizabeth Carriere, and the work she did in a number of areas.

“I applaud her,” he said. In particular on public sector reform through the Empowering Excellence Programme.

He declared, “A modern, motivated and efficient public service is a cornerstone and driver of a thriving economy and business environment in Montserrat.”

He stressed, “It is through the support, work, creativity and commitment of many other people, both inside and outside the public service.”

But most worthy of note, he said: “It is the people of Montserrat who matter.”

He ended: “Please do let us know your feelings and concerns. We can’t solve everything and cannot do everything, but I will always be keen to listen and learn. And above all I will always do my best to help make things better – simpler, stronger, nicer and happier – wherever

https://www.themontserratreporter.com/governor-swearing-ceremony-speeches-audio/possible.”

Please, those who can, listen to his address and all the others before him by visiting the website: www.themontserratreporter.com the individual speeches are there and so too, you may watch the video of the ceremony. See also TMR Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/themontserratreporter/

 

Posted in Entertainment, Featured, General, International, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

children in class room

A Third of Secondary School Children in Eastern Caribbean At Risk of Dropping Out or Failing

Caribbean360 January 23, 2018

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, January 23, 2018 – A ground-breaking study has found that up to 33 per cent of the children in secondary schools across the Eastern Caribbean are at risk of either dropping out or failing.

The report from the study, co-authored by lecturer in Social Studies Education in the School of Education at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Dr Verna Knight, and Director of the School of Education, Dr Babalola Ogunkola, also concluded that 17 per cent or just over 1,700 children at the primary level faced similar risks.

The 2017 study, ‘Global Initiative on Out of School Children: Eastern Caribbean’, was supported by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Argentinian NGO Asociacion Civil Educación para Todos.

It analysed information on enrolment by age, grade, repeaters, dropouts and graduates from early childhood (4 years) and primary and secondary levels using data collected from administrative data units in ministries of education in Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines and the Turks and Caicos Islands for the periods 2012-2013 and 2013-2014.

The study centred on a framework designed by UNICEF and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Institute for Statistics that highlighted two general categories for exclusion – present or total exclusion (children who are out of school), and potential or partial exclusion (children who are enrolled in school but not engaged at the school level).

This was then divided into five dimensions of exclusion – children of early childhood age who were not in the school system, children who were of primary school age but were not in school, children of secondary school age but were not enrolled in primary or secondary school; children of primary school age and are enrolled but were at risk of dropping out or failing, and those of secondary school age who were enrolled but were also at risk of dropping out or failing.

The researchers found that 0.5 per cent of children of pre-school age (4+ years) were out of school completely, while this stood at 1.4 per cent (840) for primary school children and 3.3 per cent (over 1,000) for those of secondary school age.

“When we dug a little deeper into the notion of potential exclusion we saw that the exclusion begins as early as kindergarten. For example, when you look at the region we saw 8 per cent of the students were at least one year behind at kindergarten level. We saw this increase to 11 per cent at grade one level, 13 per cent at grade two level and 17 per cent at grade three level. By the time we got to form five, it was 38 per cent. This shows us that the problem is identifiable at the kindergarten level but when it’s not addressed it’s very difficult for those children to improve,” Dr Knight said.

The resultant effect was students starting to drop out of school as early as first form due to their inability to cope.

The study also concluded that boys were twice as impacted as girls, with repetition and dropout rates for boys standing at 8 per cent and 6 per cent respectively.

While data for the five-year period for the same cohort of males and females was absent, the scholars examined the number of students enrolled in first form compared to the number of them in fifth form, noting an overall 24 per cent decline.

“There was a 15 per cent loss for girls between first and fifth form compared to 32 per cent for the boys. This shows that the boys are most impacted by this exclusion, the first to drop out, most represented in the repetition classes, the suspension list, with discipline issues,” Dr Knight indicated.

Following a review of recently-conducted empirical studies, they arrived at 12 barriers to potential exclusion, which were later narrowed down to five, following consultation workshops with key interest groups in each country.

The main problems were: inadequate support for struggling learners, inadequate special needs provisions, negative teacher attitude towards academically weak students, weak academic performance and participation of boys, and low parental engagement and involvement in children’s education.

While the latter did not emerge as a factor at the early childhood level, poverty did.

“It wasn’t a surprise to find that teachers were reluctant to teach ‘weak’ students at the secondary level, but when we saw it emerging at the primary level and the early childhood level too it became a greater concern. If we are saying that potential exclusion begins at kindergarten level where we begin to see the gaps and this continues at primary school and into fifth form levels where it seems to widen then there’s need to bring those teachers together to ensure that their training and professional development are really addressed,” Dr Knight stated.

“Half of the teachers were untrained to begin with. Less than 50 per cent of the secondary school teachers across the region are certified as trained so they were untrained and there were these students coming in who couldn’t read, couldn’t write and they still had to teach them Principles of Business, Social Studies, History, the same curriculum. The performance level of the students began to fall in the subject areas and the teachers blamed the children and said ‘those students don’t belong here, they need to be kept in the same primary school or sent to a different type of secondary school or something’.

“It got so bad that some teachers don’t want to teach low performing students and the children were separated based on ability. What we found was that once the students went into a particularly stream [classes based on abilities] they continued in that stream throughout the entire schooling period, which have implications for their motivation, self-confidence and self-esteem,” she added.

An exhaustive list of recommendations have been put forward to remedy the deficiencies, including school outreach to parents, the development of stronger partnerships with families, the facilitation of parent orientation sessions so they could better understand their roles, parenting classes and more home visits by trained counsellors and teachers.

Additionally, the researchers suggest innovative changes to classroom instruction methods and teaching aids at primary and secondary school levels for children with problems learning.

For teachers with negative attitude towards academically weak students, they believe professional support should be provided targeting problem areas, the provision of mentorship for younger teachers, the introduction of bridging programmes to support children in the transition from primary to secondary school level and targeted support for children who repeat a class level.

Posted in Education, Featured, Features, International, Local, News, Regional, Youth0 Comments

ECCB (5)

Montserrat not ready for Investors

Montserrat’s realities, says ECCB – Governor Antoine

By Bennette Roach

As the week of busy budgetary and economic updates, seminars, discussions, negotiations and workshops on border security and control ended in Montserrat, there could no doubt that what stands out and expected to be developed as a firm message or a request to HMG/DFID can be found in the words delivered by the East Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) Governor.

Only moments later following after the media who had a sitting with the ECCB Governor Timothy Antoine and his team, the Premier and the DFID Financial Aid Mission (FAM) team told us that there were absolutely no discussions on capital projects for Montserrat.

At a formal opening of the FAM briefing the Premier told senior public servants and media, et al, “recurrent budget funding on its own will never get us out of dependency. In addition, I would like to see urgent action and real progress made around future proofing of Montserrat with regards to our resilience to hurricanes and other threats, we know too well how it has affected our neighbors, this is an urgent request.”

Head of the Mission, Senior Governors’ Advisor, Senior Responsible Owner for Financial Aid Alex Stevens, at the press briefing stuck to his script as he explained: “There were no substantive discussions on capital projects. This is a discussion about the recurring budget and the UK’s contribution to the recurring budget.”

On the question about the ‘capital projects’ side as anticipated of the budget, he said: “That’s not to say that discussions about capital projects won’t occur in the coming weeks and they definitely will, but this is not the purpose of the Financial Aid Mission.” He added, “…obviously we heard from the ministers and we heard the importance to them and reflected the importance to us and making sure there is a capital project a capital budget in this coming eighteen nineteen (2018/19) year.”

The Premier for his part expressed his own disappointment but also said they were unable to mention any outcomes from the talks, reporting that they will have to wait for some weeks after the team goes back and hold discussions with their superiors.  (See editorial this week).

The background to questions regarding the capital budget discussion came in light of the suggestion and the hope raised at the FAM talks opening by the Premier; and also in light of recent expressions from DFID requiring the government to seek Private Public Partnerships (PPP) arrangements on the development (capital) projects, even those previously agreed and approved for funding.

It was in light of this that ECCB Governor responded during his two-day country visit mission concluded on Friday, during which time he noted that Montserrat’s economy would show growth after it fell last year. But that his support team had pointed out was due to the UK support in the very budgetary aid, they provide. The position was noted to them as to the lack of real or meaningful growth and the position being taken by DFID/HMG. It was then the Governor who seemed not at all surprised, responded as follows, hoping that the position should be clear.

“The Caribbean has an infrastructure deficit and that is particularly profound magnified in Montserrat on account of the volcano. It therefore means that Montserrat requires grant financing, not debt, because it will not be able to repay that debt given the small population size and revenue base,” he said.

He clarified: “It needs grant financing for some key infrastructure projects whether those are in the area of ports, whether that’s in the area of energy or in fact in a number of other parts of the economy. (BR – such as our communication) Very important fibre-optic – telecommunication – that’s critical, so that has to be clearly understood.”

The Governor explained more fully: “In other countries in the region we look for grants and soft loans, but they have bigger populations, and even there they’re challenged.

“In the case of Montserrat, it’s a no brainer, grants are required. In some cases, private sector participation is possible but even then, there will need to be appropriate arrangements to incentivize the private sector, to reduce the risk for the private sector because the recovery or payback period is likely to be a lot longer because of the small size and the population or domestic market. Those are Montserrat’s realities; there’s no question about that.”

The Central Bank Governor Antoine was earlier blunt saying investors would not be easily interested in Montserrat as it would take far too long for recovery of their investment. His message then: “So, what I want to encourage is a concerted effort by, of course the Government of Montserrat working with the UK Government and other development partners, and the people of Montserrat, to push forward on some key projects, have them implemented, and give Montserrat the chance to then grow and potentially double the population and of course the economy.”

In is final words driving home the reality and support of his message: “My colleague pointed out to me that the Montserrat economy is still less than half of what it was before the volcano. That’s significant and that needs to change and has to change through investments and of course an increase in the population.”

The Governor also suggested that his argument may not be new while offering the Central Bank’s support in the discussion and as a partner. “… I suspect I am saying what you already know because you live here and you know this place far better than I do. But, I just want to encourage these investments and to say the Central Bank, our role we see is to also support as a development partner.”

Posted in Buisness/Economy/Banking, Featured, International, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

C M O Dr Kernanet-Huggins - 2014

Hospital plans ready to go in 2014

Below is a video presentation (one of very few) hosted by Mrs. Sujue Davis at Government House, where Chief Medical Officer Dr

Former C M O Dr Kernanet-Huggins – 2014

Kernanet-Huggins explained the hospital plans, consulted, discussed and approved, ready for the hospital which was to be completed by 2017. Now in 2018 we are now asked to look at options for another study.

So how do they compare and then the question why a new study? True the new study is said to have incorporated parts of the previous. What difference the cost of that money would have made if put into the things which would give us a better hospital?

To come are a few pictures of one of the many ‘fine’ hospitals in the UK. Remembering that prior 1994 there was a spanking new Glendon hospital next door to the old hospital…

Posted in Buisness/Economy/Banking, Featured, Features, Health, International, Local, News, Regional1 Comment

Small but colourful parade Ends 2017 Montserrat Festival

Small but colourful parade Ends 2017 Montserrat Festival

RX Invasion – (Nia Golden Photo)

As DiscoverMNI ‘themed’, “There is no denying that 2017 was a challenging year on Montserrat for many reasons, much of which manifested in a smaller annual festival,” which they said was, “due to limited funds for sponsorship, attend events, and troupes participation.”

Calypsonian Maxcine didn’t make the final ten in one of the few festival highlights, but caught our attention with the song ‘Happy Birthday Festival, Happy 55’ with great melody and lyrics. So, the curtains came down on Festival fifty-five after a condensed New Year’s Parade and closing ceremony on Tuesday, January 2, 2018.

But, despite the challenges, and the complaints and the requests for an examination as to  ‘festival dead’, with the decline in the number participating troops this year, the parade was described by many onlookers as colorful and lively. Revelers got creative and came out to participate in the final two days of mas. And the crowd responded.

Festival Day, which was on January 1, observing the holiday which fell on a Sunday, brought out many who had not attended any of the previous festival events, to get a first look at the costumes. It is also a prerequisite for troupes and groups who wish to be a part of the Best of Festival competition for a chance at cash prizes which would be on the road the next day.

So it was on Parade Day, January 2, the route adjusted partially due to the smaller number of troupes, began at Government Headquarters at about 2:30PM and wound its way through Carrs Bay towards the Festival Village in Little Bay.

The parade consisted of three schools Brades Nursery, Brades Primary and the St. Augustine Primary School. St. Augustine walked away with the prize for prince and princess of the band while Brades Nursery grabbed the award for most creative troupe for their colourful depiction of crayons.

St. Augustine also copped the prize for Best Children’s troop for their tribute to Caribbean islands affected by hurricanes this year, the troop entitled “Hands Across the Caribbean” featured the children wearing neon reflective construction vests representing their readiness to assist in the reconstruction of the devastated homes and buildings. A new category “Wire Dance Creations” was added to the display

A notable entry was Walking Talk, a stilt-walking group led by Kirk Brade-Kentish. The group of five, which included two women presented African Mythological Creatures. Other fun pieces were Hurricane by Ron Barzey and The Gift by Basil Chambers.

The combined nursery schools were at their colourful best in their troupe Crayons, organised by Lorraine Lewis.

St. Augustine Primary dedicated this year’s group to the people of the Caribbean who were devastated by hurricanes. Hands Across the Caribbean depicted the children in their neon vests and with cardboard tools, as workers preparing to go in and reconstruct houses.

Brades Primary continued their reading focus with their version of the Dr Seuss classic, Cat in the Hat. The children’s faces were painted like the cat, and they all wore hats 

There were two t-shirt troupes on the street. The Montserrat Secondary School’s business class project Ink Invasion, were back for the second year with Colour Craze. This year, it was the Splash edition which meant by the time the revellers arrived at the village they were all wet.

Jeweline Roberts Riley offered another t-shirt troupe called MNI Tie Dye. This was made up of both adults and children in colourful tie-dyed shirts. A few donned headpieces with lots of feathers to enhance the look.

There were smaller groups of two and three people such as RX Invasion and the Maniacs. Following the street parade, there were live performances in the park from dance groups and also calypsonians.

Further: Two wire dance creations copped prizes Tyler Lewis walked away with the second-place award for the best individual costume in the children’s section while Cordelia Yearwood took home the prize for best individual adult.

The prize for best individual costume in the children’s section went to Azalia Morton the winner of the 2017 St. Johns Action Club Princess Show. Miss Goosey in a colourful neon orange and green piece took the second place prize in the adult troop section, the Montserrat Secondary School Troop Ink Invasion won the prize for best T. Shirt and the Spirit of Carnival. RX Invasion was named most colourful troupe while Maniacs was named the best adult troop.

Parade Results 
Princess of the Band – St Augustine Primary
Prince of the Band – St Augustine Primary
Spirit of Carnival – Ink Invasion
Most Creative – Brades Nursery – Crayons
Most Colorful – RX Invasion
Best Children’s Troupe – St Augustine Primary – Hands Across the Caribbean
Best Nursery Troupe – Combined Nursery – Crayons
Best Adult Troupe – Maniacs – Julisia and Maxine Lee
Best Individual Child – Azalia Morton
2nd Best Individual Child – Tyler Lewis – Wiredance
Best Individual Adult – Cordella Yearwood – Wiredance
2nd place – Miss Goosey
Best T-shirt Troupe – Ink Invasion

Click on Link see photos by DiscoverMNI. https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10155374090805852.1073742061.203080105851&type=1&l=d8f0c50b4a

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Plain Sight (Return to Love Book 2)

By Nerissa Golden

$5.99

Rated 4 out of 5 by 1 reviewers on Amazon.com

Buy Now

Posted in Entertainment, Featured, Local, News0 Comments

Governor

Governor Carriere departs

with as much failure, as she notes the development challenge remains

Governor Elizabeth Carriere

Brades, Dec. 26, 2017 – During her final press conference held at the Governor’s Office, Dec. 21, departing Governor Elizabeth Carriere was invited to comment on Montserrat’s development challenges going forward. This as it turns out with economic growth strategy discussions and consultations, it is a major point of concern for Montserratians, funders and friends of Montserrat.

So perhaps we can learn from her responses; towards finding a more effective way as we move on to the upcoming Andrew Pearce Governorship. For, in her replies to questions raised by TMR, Discover Montserrat and ZJB, she highlighted focal themes she raised in her first press conference as Governor, in September 2015.

At that time, the TMR put on record[1] (see: https://www.themontserratreporter.com/governor-carriere-lays-her-focus-up-front/) that, six weeks into the job, Governor Carriere pointed back to her first public speech as Governor.  In that speech, she announced themes for her Governorship: “the importance of partnership . . .  the importance of good governance, the importance of a sustainable economy and the importance of safety and security.”

In her first press conference, Governor Carriere then laid out “five areas, main areas that I will be focusing on.” As the Reporter quoted at that time:

[First:] “One comes under the general question of how Montserrat can turn the corner from recovery to success on its road to self-sufficiency? So this is all to do with the theme of respecting the past and embracing the future and what comes under that is certainly the economy, infrastructure, investment and so on.”

[Second:] “the second question is, how can Montserrat be made a safer place to live, to visit and to work? That includes preparedness and response to disasters which all of us has been very much engaged with over the last month, issues around criminality and issues around general safety for Montserratians and visitors.”

[Third:] “Another key thing for me and I know is very important to Montserratians as well is how can we better protect the young and the vulnerable from neglect and exploitation:”

“Fourth . . . How can we better develop the huge potential of Montserrat? I know in my acceptance speech I focused on the importance of people as an essential resource the key resource of Montserrat. So, the potential of its people especially is youth, is key part of that answering that question. Certainly, the island’s beauty and its environment and the unique character of this island!”

“And finally, my fifth question is, “how can we better ensure that Montserratians get the quality of service they deserve from their Public Service.”

At the closing conference, however, the focal issues of her opening statement and responses were narrowed. The Governor mainly spoke to:

a] Improvements in child safety and in protection of the vulnerable

b] Improvement of the Montserrat Public Service

c] Improvements in security capabilities (such as through the new police drone and the patrol vessel)

She then spoke to various challenges, including:  the slowness of decision-making and action here  and a lack of sufficient mutual understanding and agreement between our Government and the UK on policies and initiatives. It is also notable that, when TMR asked her about economic transformation and sustainable development, Governor Carriere responded that the economy was the remit of the Government of Montserrat and particularly the Minister of Finance, rather than the UK Government or herself, ‘Representative of the Queen.‘

She then declined to comment further on this subject. However, given her five focal areas in September 2015, such a response would mean that she had largely set aside as she spoke only to her first and fourth priority points. Points that especially at this time are among the most urgent concerns for ordinary Montserrat.

Unsurprising then in her subsequent Christmas Message, Governor Carriere has now provided some comments on economic development. In it, she notes that “there are good strategies and plans for the development of the Island: the Access Strategy, the Tourism Strategy, and now the Economic Growth Strategy . . . plans to develop a breakwater, install a fibre-optic cable, build a new hospital; upgrade our infrastructure, build new housing, and move to sustainable energy including the use if geothermal and solar energy . . .” all of which that have been in existence before her venture to Montserrat, “to kick start the private sector, and improve the way the Government manages its finances and delivers its programmes.” 

She then echoed and adjusted her earlier remarks. These further thoughts are: “these matters are led by the Honourable Premier, who has responsibility as Premier and Minister of Finance for policies related to economic development and financial management. But as Governor I do what I can on the sidelines to promote good governance in these endeavours.” 

 

However, such an “on the sidelines” response is still troubling. It leads straight to a further quite troubling question: do we not have a long-term development partnership with the UK, especially with the FCO and DFID?

No kudos – the shortening of her tenure leaves too many shadows in failure

(The Reporter further notes, that the Economic Growth Strategy has been under development through the new chief Economist, Mr Raja Kadri and through a Mott-MacDonald consultancy. It calls for a strong focus on tourism and other high growth potential economic sectors – millions of tourists visit neighbouring islands. Similarly, the delayed Fibre Optic Cable digital access project has gone back out to market engagement. The Geothermal Energy project is at early market engagement. Under the UKCIF fund, on December 14, 2017, CDB’s Board of Directors has approved a £14.4 million project to build a breakwater, improving sea access. However, no major airport improvement project is currently being discussed. This is a key issue, as we arguably need at least a 3,000 foot runway, as we had before the volcano disaster hit. Indeed, in 1995 we had just replaced the jetty lost to Hugo and were trying to put in a 5 – 6,000 foot runway, as adequate air access is even more important for tourism development than sea access. Also, according to the ECCB, Montserrat’s economy is projected to be currently growing at about 1 – 2%, which is comparable to the wider EC$ region.)

In her final Christmas message,[2] Governor Carriere also pointed to key questions she raised in September 2015. Such as: How can Montserrat turn the corner from recovery to success, on its road to self-sufficiency while respecting the past and embracing the future? How can we better develop the huge potential of the island?”

In highlighting these concerns, Governor Carriere (perhaps unconsciously) echoed concerns raised by her predecessor. For, in his final “Magic Wand” speech to our assembled Civil Servants, Governor Adrian Davis laid out how:

“He said he understood [that] the role of the Governor, in brief, “is to represent Montserrat in the UK and the UK in Montserrat…that boiled down to being a critical but supportive friend who is willing to tell the truth to both sides and to try and iron out any misunderstandings.” [TMR, “Gov Davis wants a magic wand”  June 26, 2015.[3]]”

Ironically, it was under Governor Davis that the FCO negotiated the famous 2011 – 12 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that then shaped an agenda of action that achieved some limited success. Governor Carriere was therefore asked by TMR about whether a fresh, development partnership-based MoU would help to build mutual understanding and agreement towards action. She responded, that such efforts had faltered for many reasons including an apparent lack of sufficient interest to carry it through.

Equally ironically, when Governor Carriere was invited to comment on and clarify the “First Call” development aid principle, she indicated that it has not been clarified in specific terms.  She hinted that the UK’s policy towards Overseas Territories is in flux after a string of hurricanes struck three territories in September: Anguilla, BVI and TCI. During the recent Joint Ministerial Council, other OT’s pointed out that in twenty years, they have no desire to be in a similar condition of dependency as we now are. Clearly, we now have an opportunity to change to a better development path.

END

PS: A TMR video tape of Governor Carriere’s final press conference can be found here:  and the audio is here 

[1]     See TMR: https://www.themontserratreporter.com/governor-carriere-lays-her-focus-up-front/

[2]     See TMR: https://www.themontserratreporter.com/christmas-message-2017-by-her-excellency-the-governor-elizabeth-carriere/

[3]     See TMR: https://www.themontserratreporter.com/gov-davis-wants-a-magic-wand/

Posted in Featured, International, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth Gives a Surprisingly Romantic Shout-Out in Her Annual Christmas Speech

People – Royals
Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II – John Stillwell/WPA Pool/Getty

Lindsay Kimble and Simon Perry

December 24, 2017

Queen Elizabeth is keeping her sentiments focused on home during her annual Christmas message, paying tribute to her husband Prince Philip, as well as the people of the United Kingdom during the 2017 broadcast.

Honoring the Duke of Edinburgh, 96 — with whom she just celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary — the Queen voiced praise for Philip’s “support and unique sense of humor.”

“I don’t know that anyone had invented the term ‘platinum’ for a 70th wedding anniversary when I was born,” she said. “You weren’t expected to be around that long. Even Prince Philip has decided it’s time to slow down a little – having, as he economically put it, “done his bit”. But I know his support and unique sense of humor will remain as strong as ever, as we enjoy spending time this Christmas with our family and look forward to welcoming new members into it next year.”

And like proud grandmothers and great-grandmothers everywhere, the Queen had a few beloved family photos on display on her desk during the broadcast. Framed photos of Prince George and Princess Charlotte sat nearest to the Queen. She also had a photo from her wedding day and the official portrait she and Philip took this year to mark their 70th wedding anniversary.

During the address, the Queen noted, “We think of our homes as places of warmth, familiarity and love… there is a timeless simplicity to the pull of home.”

She also noted the technological advances during her record-breaking reign: “Sixty years ago today, a young woman spoke about the speed of technological change as she presented the first television broadcast of its kind. She described the moment as a landmark.”

“Back then, who could have imagined that people would one day be watching this on laptops and mobile phones – as some of you are today. But I’m also struck by something that hasn’t changed.  That, whatever the technology, many of you will be watching this at home.”

The 91-year-old also paid tribute to her country’s resilience amid terror attacks in 2017 on both London and Manchester.

Sky News/Getty

“This Christmas, I think of London and Manchester, whose powerful identities shone through over the past twelve months in the face of appalling attacks,” the Queen remarked.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who died and those who lost so much; and we are indebted to members of the emergency services who risked their own lives, this past year, saving others.  Many of them, of course, will not be at home today because they are working, to protect us,” she said.

<iframe src=’//players.brightcove.net/416418724/default_default/index.html?videoId=5688713901001′ allowfullscreen frameborder=0></iframe>

The message was filmed this year in the 1844 Room at Buckingham Palace and also features performances by the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir, conducted by Artistic Director, Paul Carroll.

The choir was comprised of 52 children, in representation of the 52 nations of the Commonwealth.

For the occasion, the Queen wore an ivory white bouclé dress embellished with Swarovski crystals, designed by Angela Kelly.

 

The Queen’s address was broadcasted on television and radio on Christmas day, and was also available on the Royal Channel on Youtube.

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip headed from Buckingham Palace to Sandringham House last week, where they’re celebrating Christmas.

 
 

Chris Jackson/Getty

Last year, the Queen skipped out on much of the festivities due to a heavy cold. She didn’t go out on Christmas Day for the services at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene and she wasn’t seen in public until early January. Then, she headed to church with Prince William and Kate Middleton – and helped them celebrate Kate’s 35th birthday, by entertaining the couple and their friends at a dinner.

In addition to further celebrating her and Philip’s anniversary, the royal couple will be joined by Prince Harry and fiancé Meghan Markle.

Posted in Announcements/Greetings, Featured, International, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

WhatsApp Image 2017-12-19 at 15.36.18

The SPCCU reports progress at its 46th AGM

The St. Patrick’s Co-operative Credit Union Ltd. (SPCCU) has been in existence long before it was registered as such in 1969. The co-operative was actually established for the catholic congregation on June 18, 1957 encouraged by a Catholic nun and Bishop Antoine Demets.

It later opened its doors to all and tith a current membership of 4,227, the co-operative held its 46th Annual General Meeting at its Credit Union House hall in Brades, under the theme “Building Resilience On The Positives”. The Board tabled its Audited Financial Statements 2015 & 2016 prepared by PKF Antigua, St John’s, Antigua and Barbuda and prior to that various reports by the Board, Credit Committee and the Supervisory Committee.

The SPCCU reported in the face of poor domestic regional and global economic conditions it recorded a surplus of $192,927 in 2016 compared to net profits of 97,041 in 2015.

Its assets grew from $48 million in 2014 to $56.5 in 2017. This represents growth in assets of $5.6 million or 11% the 2016 financial year, compared to growth of $2.4 million or 5% in 2015.

Members deposits grew by approximately $4.9 million or 10.7% during financial year 2016 to close   at $50.8 million. This was preceded by growth in deposits of 5.7% in 2015. Also of importance, savings deposits also known as core deposits registered the growth of approximately $3.9 million 15.9% over financial year 2016. This compared to 3.9% the previous year.

These represent growth trends in the right direction, but, the Board says it is still under capitalized.

SPCCU Members have expressed satisfaction for the progress made by the Cooperative with an attractive booklet, when it is considered during the height of the volcanic the institution was encouraged to fold when the going had hit rock-bottom.

 

Posted in Featured, Local, News0 Comments

Premier Romeo and recent JMC meetings in London

Premier Romeo and recent JMC meetings in London

GoM Premier Donaldson Romeo

The report came out even before his return to Montserrat from his participation at the recent Joint Ministerial Council JMC meeting in London that the Hon. Premier Donaldson Romeo has made an impassioned intervention warning the UK government against on-due delays in supporting hurricane relief efforts in the Caribbean region.

But as most Montserrat stakeholders, residents and diaspora have expressed is what was revealed upon the Premier’s return in a press release. “The Honourable Premier, in his meetings with the UK Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary and other Leaders at the Joint Ministerial Council (JMC), reiterated the need for Montserrat’s development efforts to be disaster resilient and urged that upcoming negotiations for capital projects for the year 2018/2019 include a commitment from the Department for International Development (DFID).”

One report states that he made an impassioned intervention warning the UK government against on-due delays in supporting hurricane relief efforts in the Caribbean region. He told them that delays in supporting the recovery efforts in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria might result in a similar outcome to that experienced in Montserrat which were made them heavily dependent upon the U.K. over twenty years after the volcanic eruption that devastated the southern part of the island.

As pointed out in the release from the Premier’s Information and Communication department, “Premier Romeo acknowledged the devastating impact of hurricanes Irma and Maria on Anguilla, British Virgin Islands and Turks and Caicos Islands.  As a result of these impacts, four out of five UK Overseas Territories in the Caribbean, including Montserrat, are now facing the challenge of climate change resilience and transformational redevelopment.

“As he did the week before at the UN general Assembly, Premier Romeo spoke openly of Montserrat’s experience of over twenty years of post-disaster challenges, to highlight the need for urgency in addressing our post-disaster recovery, resilience and redevelopment. For over twenty years after the first volcanic eruptions in 1995 and the deadly pyroclastic flows of June 25, 1997 (which killed nineteen people), Montserrat is still without a purpose-built hospital and requires key infrastructure.

“These include an adequate sea-port, the main road upgrade and underground utility lines project, fibre optic cable access and housing for some four hundred households, most of whom are evacuees still on a waiting list for hurricane worthy housing after twenty years.”

The release did emphasise that Premier Romeo urged that upcoming negotiations with DfID over capital projects for the year 2018/19 need to include a commitment for housing, main road and underground ducting, undersea fibre optic installation, among others.

Overall, the three day JMC centered mostly on the 2017 hurricane season that wreaked havoc throughout the Caribbean annihilating lives and livelihoods that lay in the paths of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. It’s been reported that the event not only shone a light on the inadequacy of the logistics of hurricane relief and recovery but the question of funding sustainable recovery, resilience building and preparedness. The three most affected territories being the Turks and Caicos Islands, the British Virgin Islands and Anguilla, were each represented by their respective political leaders. They benefited from their governors also being present during much of the event.

At the beginning of the annual event British Prime Minister Theresa May held a preliminary meeting with the OT Leaders at Number 10 Downing Street in which she set out her government’s desire to cement the enduring partnership that existed between the U.K. and the Overseas Territories and the U. K’s ambition to support their diverse economies and natural heritage.

End

Posted in Featured, International, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

Newsletter

Archives