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Press Statement of the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC)

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – The following is the full text of statement issued by the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) following an incident involving our correspondent Mr. Kenton Chance and a member of the Barbados Coast Guard in Dominica on October 5, 2017.

“The Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) is aware of an incident between our correspondent Kenton Chance and a member of the Barbados Defence Force (BDF) that occurred in Dominica on Thursday, October, 5.

CMC1“Mr. Chance reported that while on assignment covering the relief efforts at the Dominica Port with officials from the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), a member of the Barbados Coast Guard “grabbed” his camera while he was filming the activities there.  Our correspondent said that the uniformed member of the Barbados Coast Guard, who was armed with an assault rifle, forcefully relieved him of his camera at the instruction of a man in civilian wear.  The Coast Guard official had also threatened to delete the footage already gathered.

“The equipment was only returned following the intervention of Acting Inspector of Police Hospidales of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Force and another member of his team who accompanied Chance back to the scene of the incident. Chance also informed (Retired) Brigadier General Earl Arthurs of CDEMA, who spoke to Hospidales and the man, after which the camera was returned to him.

“CMC strongly condemns the actions of the member of the Barbados Coast Guard. As the premier regional media outfit our primary role is to engender and foster the tenets of regional unity through information gathering and sharing.

“We gladly embraced the invitation to go to Dominica through a partnership between CDEMA and the Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU) to ensure that the Caribbean and the diaspora are made fully aware of the unfolding situation in Dominica as a result of Hurricane Maria.

“The role of the authentic media is even more important now in light of the trend in societies to embrace what is often termed “fake news”; some of which were peddled in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Maria striking Dominica.

“CMC has since taken note of a statement issued by the BDF that it intends to carry out a full investigation into the matter and the apology issued therein.

“CMC will continue to support the work of its correspondents across the region as it seeks to carry out its mandate to provide credible information to all the publics in the Caribbean.

“In that regard, we will continue to work with all stakeholders, including the Barbados Defence Force, the Association of Caribbean Media Workers (ACM) and the CBU.

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

DSC_2615

Governor Carriere claims harassment – ends press conference

We had already expressed our displeasure that the Governor’s press conference where her guest was the Deputy Head of DFID department scheduled for Friday, October 6, 2017, would be reduced to 45 minutes. We noted that it highlighted the disinterest or as we have said before the ignorance in keeping especially the public of Montserrat, appropriately informed.

Here then was Governor Carriere expressing her frustration and asking Bennette Roach if he was harassing her while he tried to get from her the specifics regarding the State of Emergency she said she had signed but was eventually not published.

A knowledgeable source of government matters shared the recording which can be heard here: (https://montserratradioecho.wordpress.com/2017/10/07/saturday-october-7-2017-this-weeks-press-conference-by-her-excellency-elizabeth-carriere-governor-of-montserrat/ and shared with the following: “Listen to the end. DFID official totally inept and disingenuous. Then listen as Bennette Roach is calling out the Governor for lying about her attempt to unilaterally declare a State of Emergency. She gets flustered and claims harassment and abruptly ends the Press Conference.”

Another source said: “She is totally lying… ask a few other people what she said in the meeting. One of the biggest things for me was when she went out of her way to state that, ‘it is Your Constitution’ that you voted for.’”

That source opined on an issue that has been reported in government circles: “…that statement was made because she knew she was upstaging the Premier…but she was saying neither he nor anybody could stop it because, ‘it is our Constitution.’” This information went on to say she said: “I have just signed the papers and I am declaring a state of Public Emergency.”

The question to the Governor came from Radio Montserrat’s James White: “…it’s been rumoured. that there was a plan to invoke a state of emergency at some point in time, what even triggered this thought? James asked.

The Governor no doubt expected the question, as the matter raised many questions and some reactions, being more than a rumour to some of the media.

“OK,” she began, “I think that’s useful to clarify that because a lot of people don’t understand that every time we have a disaster approaching the documents for declaring a state of emergency or proclaiming a state of emergency are prepared and those documents are for the governor to sign – And we did that as we always do we did… so that was just before we sort of knew the full situation and what kind of response we were we could expect from the U.K… So, I can say I signed the document. But that does not mean that there was a declaration because it has to be decided…” continuing to speak in confused terms even though it was declared understood.

She eventually continued, “And it became obvious that it wasn’t needed… So it was never proclaimed so there was no state of emergency that was just a preparation for a state of emergency and I really want to clarify that so however it is very important that we understand the whole process and I think what this instance brought to light was that we I don’t think we were as prepared as we should have been.”

Her response really said little as why she signed the ‘frustrated” declaration, but continuing to circumvent the real problem that developed after she had boasted about having signed the declaration of a State of public emergency.

Listen here:

She moved to clarify further, and without saying why her declaration became stuck. “Because you know we need to have more consultation – but we need to have consultation outside of the NDPRAC (National Disaster Preparedness and Response Advisory Committee) because although we talked about that quite a bit in the NDPRAC it needs to be outside and the there is this body the National Advisory Committee, (here she must have erred slightly as it must be she was referring to the National Advisory Council) that is mandated in the Constitution.

Section 18 of the Constitution deals with: Provisions for periods of public emergency

“Section 18.—(1) The Governor may, by proclamation published in the Gazette, declare that a period of public emergency exists.

(2) Without prejudice to the power of the Legislature to make laws under this Constitution, during a period of public emergency the Governor may make such regulations for Montserrat as appear to him or her to be necessary or expedient for securing the public safety, the defence of Montserrat or the maintenance of public order, or for maintaining supplies and services essential to the life of the community.”

(4) Before exercising any function under subsection (1) or (2) or under any emergency law enacted by the Legislature, the Governor shall consult the National Advisory Council or, if that is not practicable in the circumstances, the Premier;”

After pointing out that the NAC (which of course is also the synonym for National Advisory Committee under the NDPRAC) “it hasn’t met for five years,” adding, “when I looked into it and I looked into what the Constitution said about what their responsibilities with regard to security in general but also with regard to emergencies, I thought it would be important to convene that group very quickly which I have done…” much of which was quite irrelevant but served only to divert thought on the matter and the real issue of what invoked her misfire…

She moved further to point out that the NAC (Constitution’s National Advisory Council) had one additional member in the leader of the Opposition, to the NAC – NDPRAC.

Governor Carriere’s claim of being harrassed

Following the convoluted attempt at clarity to the question on the thought behind the signed proclamation of public emergency and questions directed at her guest the Deputy Head of DFID Mr. Indranil Chakrabarti, aware that the Governor had not been quite forthcoming with her response on the Emergency issue, I sought of her to be more forthright on the matter of her signed but (stalled) unpublished declaration and the necessity for it.

Following is what ensued, following which Governor Carriere exited the room leaving her guest behind. “…and actually if you look at the Constitution you will see that part of that consultation should be with the N A C. Now that that motion or that document was not enacted – so there was no state of emergency. OK. So so I want to be clear on that there was no emergency proclamation that was legally enacte,” “Your excellency…,” I interrupted, “Are you harassing me Mr Roach?” You can call that whatever you wish…” I said…whereupon she continued, “Well I think I’m going to bring this line of questioning to a close because we have reached the end of our time…” She proceeded to end the press conference, with five minutes still to go of the 45 minutes she had allowed, storming out, leaving her guest behind.

Listen here:

Here is the press conference:

 

Posted in Featured, Hurricane, International, Local, News0 Comments

Fibre Optic Cable Shocker

Fibre Optic Cable Shocker

This will be taken forward as a ‘joint venture between UK Government and Montserrat”

When the media gathered at the Governor’s press conference at the Governor’s office today, October 6, 2017, at 8.30 which was scheduled to be a contended time of 45 minute, there were high expectations to hear about the stalled Fibre Optic Cable installation for Montserrat; of which we had strangely heard absolutely nothing, from the exited on-island DFID Representative Martin Dawson. It should have been the ONE thing that he could have claimed as ‘an achievement’ during his three-year tenure in Montserrat.

Today the four-month appointed Deputy Head for the Montserrat department in DFID Mr. Indranil Chakrabarti told the Montserrat press: “I’ve had a number of discussions about fibre optics this week with the relevant stakeholders here on the island. It’s not really for me to say what the next steps are; it’s with the relevant stakeholders here to set those out but. As with the broader reconstruction effort. It will require a joint government, private sector potentially.”

DFID Mr. Indranil Chakrabarti

When pressed, Mr Chackrabarti merely said: “…the UK Government stands ready to facilitate leverage support necessary to meet the reasononable infrastructure needs for Montserrat…”

When pressed further, H E Carriere protected, by declaring, “I think you got the answer that Mr Chakrabarti is able to give you so I think we should move on to another question…”

As we reported  in the August 20, 2017 newspaper, “The Montserrat Reporter has learnt the delay in this already long approved Fibre-Optic reinstallation back in 2013 in Montserrat was seriously affected by someone with knowledge of what strings to pull at a time when the UK high spend share of its budget, Department for International Development was undergoing scrutiny and review, occasioned by its new Minister Priti Patel.

“… Expressions of Interest request was published…it was submitted again this time by DFID for a Response Required By Mon 29 August 2016…”

Premier Romeo has here and abroad, lamented on this among other projects which have been languishing. Very recently Minister of Communications and Works reported that there has been no progress on the project but that it was hoped to be revised soon.

This shocking news is being processed, quietly as of today, by Government as informed by the DFID-MNI Deputy head and there is speculation that outrage is expected to begin to flow early next week.

In May 2013 a Government Information Unit (GIU) informed: “The United Kingdom is making good on its commitment to support Montserrat’s redevelopment and move towards financial independence.

“Department for International Development (DfID) Minister of State, Alan Duncan, and Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), Mark Simmonds, the UK government has reaffirmed its commitment to finance future capital projects for the island as long as they were clearly justified and sustainable.”

“The ministers reiterated that all investment decisions must be based on the following: that they “(i) are financially and economically viable, both individually and taken as a whole; (ii) contribute to reducing budget dependency; (iii) account fully for the contingent and reputational risks, and (iv) clarify any institutional changes and other arrangements required to make the SGP a success.”

The UK government had said it will proceed with the implementation of other SGP components: Fibre optic cable being one of three components, whereby “– GoM should work on the planning, design and appraisal phase. If a viable economic and financial business case that fully explores private sector participation is made it will be considered for funding.”

That had progressed to approval where in early 2014 Premier Meade reported, “Fiber optics” – Already promisedand that as we later confirmed was approved following a 32 page Business Case Intervention Summary, which among other convincing and accepted statements, said in, “Footnotes to Economic Appraisal (Table 1): Assumed total construction cost of US$7.45 million, £4.84 million (EC$20.68 million), with completion over an 18-month period.  This provides 2 links, Montserrat to St. Kitts and Montserrat to Antigua.  This excludes the costs of the laying of cable ducts along road alignments (included in the proposed AO1 and AO2 road projects).”

During the press conference Governor Carriere prior to the shocking news, reporting on the just past hurricanes, Irma, Jose and particularly Maria mentioned the setbacks including communication shortcomings which would have included the lack of fibre optic cabling.

 But quoting from the Business Case, “Montserrat has remained without international fibre optic connectivity since 1997, and is one of the last Caribbean states or territories without it… The fragility of the existing Montserratian telecommunications network has been identified as the island’s single biggest weakness in the event of regional hurricane activity… The goal of Montserrat’s undersea and terrestrial network development should be to eliminate uncertainty surrounding the country’s ICT development and provide future-proof broadband capacity as a cornerstone of growth and access, coupled with the island’s strategy to open sea and air access and promote macroeconomic growth.  International investors, including retirees, will have the confidence that they will be able to remain on island with full ICT service availability.

This also represents a significant area of market failure and the justification for UK public sector intervention.

It is against the foregoing and more that we present the shocking news.

Please read on line or August 4, 2017 newspaper print copy: https://www.themontserratreporter.com/fibre-optics-delay-is-a-set-up/

Posted in Buisness/Economy/Banking, Featured, Hurricane, International, Local, News, Regional, TOURISM0 Comments

Head of PMO dismissed without cause - the Premier laments

Head of PMO dismissed without cause – the Premier laments

by Bennette Roach

It was shocking news that “the Head of the Project Management Office (PMO) has been relieved of his duties.” One witness to the action being conducted, described it as he was “frogged marched” by a person with military background who demanded that he follow and leave his office in the Ministry of Finance.

Carl Gomersall

This gentleman, head of the PMO had come to be very highly respected because of keenness to his duties and his great desire to see the work of his office bring results quickly for Montserrat. A very appreciative Premier Donaldson Romeo, had waited long for this kind of assistance, similar to that provided by the trio Kimbugwe, Greenaway, and Meade, not forgetting Governor Davis, arranged meetings where both Mr. Carl Gomersall and Chief Executive Adviser Raja Kadre explain to private sector and public sector personel the duties and expectations of his office. (See today’s Editorial)

Among his initial achievements he had already put in place in a short space of time, new high-transparency, high-accountability frameworks for project, programme and portfolio management through world-class standards based on the PRINCE2 project management system. (see: https://www.themontserratreporter.com/de-ole-dawg-part-13-2017-prince2-and-moving-towards-an-economy-transformation-programme/ )

 He had also been making contributions to developing key development projects such as the Sea Port breakwater initiative.

In our introduction story of Mr Carl Gomersall published last February, we said, “the head of the recently established PMO for the Government of Montserrat (GoM) is promoting that transparency and quality assurance are two fundamental principles that would guide the operations of the government…”

He had spoken to the principles that were to guide his office. He began saying “the PMO serves as an instrument within the Ministry of Finance with a mandate to support the government’s development agenda.”

He said in addition: Assisting, cooperating, supporting I think that’s more the role that the PMO will have because the PMO is in actual fact an instrument,” he said. “It’s a little bit like a tool that the Premier and the Office of the Premier will actually be utilizing in fulfilment of the actual vision, the mission and the strategies that have actually been put forward and how they will be cascaded down in to the deliverables,” he continued.

Gomersall said that his focus will be on the deliverables. “But,” he said, “at the same time these deliverables are not just construction projects. These deliverables are all part of the development, so, in terms of what we are here, we’re looking at providing the opportunity to people to learn more about project management, to learn more about program management and to assist them in understanding…”

In May, The Premier Donaldson Romeo, arranged meetings with stakeholders where both the PMO Head and the Chief Economist Mr Raja Kadre explained to private sector and public sector personnel the duties, plans and expectations of his office. He, Gomersall had already put in place new high-transparency, high-accountability frameworks for project, programme and portfolio management through world-class standards based on the PRINCE2 project management system. He had also been making contributions to developing key development projects such as the Sea Port breakwater initiative. 

But not atypical according to reports, concurred by two top officials, egos, hunger for power, corruption and the problem now so endemic, have reached unprecedented, surprising levels.

The Premier (overseas at the time when advised of the official firing occurred) has claimed ignorance to the eventual firing of Gomersall, said he had advised against any rash action without ‘due process’ in dealing with matters he had heard of. He said he was surprised when he was advised of the firing.

We confirm the ZJB report of the firing which said, among other corruptible stories we have learnt “sources told ZJB News that Carl Gomersall had been engaged in a number of breaches of protocol on several occasions.

That report went on to say that, “sources have revealed that Gomersall was found to be transmitting data and other confidential information of Government of Montserrat directly to the Department for International Development (DFID) and other unauthorized sources.”

We further learnt Gomersall had at some point resigned in protest and communicated his reasons to relevant parties. He was then persuaded to return. Such facts suggest that the manner of his recent firing by being frog marched out of his office raises questions of ‘whistleblower retaliation’, a suggestion from sources close to these matters.

Further investigation of the sources made a contrasting comparison where an earlier import employee had been dismissed for misrepresenting instructions, information and discussions of Government to London damaging the running of affairs in Montserrat. The judgment of these sources informed that was in stark contrast to that complaint that has surfaced.

It is however our information that Gomersall was not communicated with information for his being frogged marched from his office, but rather that the Governor’s office had indicated he was being dismissed under a ‘no fault clause’ of his contract.

In the end and while protests of one kind or another is ensuing, Gomersall has engaged legal representation to take the matter to the courts as necessary.

The Premier has expressed displeasure at losing an employee of the caliber and service GOM has already received from Gomersall, acknowledging he is aware of matters which had been dealt with, such as disagreements involving the Hon. Financial Secretary who officials say may have initiated ‘complaints’ that resulted in the firing of Gomersall.

Our further information is that underlying all that has been hinted to the public is the corruption that has been rife among some very top officials in the Government. Gomersall it is reported to have been quick to highlight wrong doings and potential wrong doings. It is said he is paying the price for wanting good for Montserrat.

TMR has been informed that Mr Gomersall has engaged legal representation to take matters to the court as necessary.

 

 

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F A Rupert Mullings, CD

Passing of a Caribbean stalwart – F A Rupert Mullings

Rupert Mullings

The passing of F A Rupert Mullings, CD, – Feb 2, 1930 – July 18, 2017, late of of Bull Savannah and Big Woods (St Elizabeth Parish, Jamaica), the Caribbean Development Bank, Barbados and the Ministry of Finance, Jamaica, was announced quietly, he having died shortly after his son Gordon, who resides in Montserrat with his wife and family, had arrived to visit with him in hospital in Jamaica.

At the age of 87 he left his lovingly remembered by wife; Winnifred (Winnie), sons; Gordon (lives with wife and children in Montserrat) and Ian, brother; Alfred, sisters; Jasmine, Leonora and Cynthia, grandchildren; Jacinth and Allen, nieces, nephews, other relatives, friends and colleagues

F A Rupert Mullings, CD

A thanksgiving service was held for the life of F A Rupert Mullings at St Aidan Anglican Church, Bull Savannah, on August 5, 2017; “in-urn-ment” of ashes followed at 11:00 a.m. on August 11, at Bull Savannah.

The scripture Verse for life that appeared on the service program: 2 Tim 2:15a: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God.”

Among the many tributes that were published after his passing, the following captures what most who know would likely and say of Mr. Mullings.

PERSONAL AND CDB TRIBUTE FOR THE LIFE OF FAIRFAX AMYAS RUPERT MULLINGS

Marius St Rose, August 5,  2017, St Aidan Church, Bull Savannah, St Elizabeth, Jamaica

My first encounter with Mr Mullings was in 1971 in Jamaica where he tried to recruit me to join him and now the late Aynsley Elliot to assist in establishing a research department for the Jamaica Tourist Board. Our lives became virtually psychologically and philosophically bonded, when five years later, and in Barbados, over a span of eleven years he became my and CDBs Director of Economics and Programming, and later, the institutions ranking Vice President. He mentored, tutored, inspired, encouraged and guided me through a meteoric rise in CDB from the positions of Economist, Assistant Director, Deputy Director, Director and, ultimately, as his replacement as Vice President Operations over the comparatively short period of under twelve years.

He was invited to be part of the early formative CDB management team for this premiere regional financial institution but chose to influence its ownership, governance and financial structures and corporate philosophy from the sidelines of the Ministry of Finance, where he was Deputy Financial Secretary of Jamaica which country, is, with Trinidad and Tobago, CDB’s largest shareholder. But when he did get on board in 1976, he began to make his influence felt. He continued the work of Arthur Lewis in enhancing the intellectual rigour of CDB’s work to contribute to the optimal social and economic development of our English speaking Caribbean, and gave the institution international credibility, integrity and respect. He never got, formally, to the top but was as effective, influential and as, and even more impactful, than many of its formal leaders. Mr Mullings was an invaluable asset to any institution but his uncompromising attitude to rightly principles, and his unscrupulous integrity and honesty would never see him ascending to the top in man made institutions. In the next three years when the fiftieth anniversary of CDB is evaluated and celebrated the following five names will stand out as the greatest management contributors to the early and lasting development of CDB: Sir Arthur Lewis (vision, management, international profile); William Demas (economic development and regionalism); Sir Neville Nicholls (legal issues and matters); Crispin Sorhaindo (public administration and human resource management; and Rupert Mullings (macro-and micro- economic and financial analysis).

To those who knew Mr Mullings well will remember him and his qualities and attributes and his legacy around the following:

  • Endowed with a brilliant mind, effectively utilized to serve God’s purpose;
  • A capacity and willingness for hard work;
  • Charitable and generous and always willing to help spiritually & materially;
  • A very indefatigable and relentless fighter for causes that he was convinced about;
  • Exemplary Christian Living;
  • Privately proud of his undisputed abilities but very modest in public about them;
  • Self-confident and articulate public speaker;
  • Maintained few but deep, loyal and genuine friendships; and
  • A great keeper of Official Secrets and Personal

We both retired from CDB to our respective homelands: his loving Bull Savannah for him and Saint Lucia for me. We maintained frequent telephone contact and, once, about three years ago, I had the privilege of visiting him, and his lovely wife Winnie, in Bull Savannah. When I recall all that he had done for me, for CDB, Jamaica, and for the region and noting the continuing sharpness of his mind and the clarity of his thought and expression I encouraged him to write his memoirs for its own intellectual stimulation, his grandchildren, for posterity and to be an inspiration to the many who are coming after him who need positive role models. He did, and wrote an unpublished 101 page manuscript entitled “Little Man from Bigwoods” :Brief Memoirs of Fairfax Amyas Rupert Mullings. I will give him the last words that he wrote in the manuscript:

“LAST LICK: Little Clay of Bigwoods lo(o)sing Plasticity”

“Now, like the personality in a Western movie, I must ride off into the sunset, never to have another act. And here ride I, without a horse, but “with a saddle bag of miracle pills, that replace other miracle pills which have lost some of their miracle”. I trudge, and stoop, and grunt, and stagger and stop. But I press on, knowing that very few people of my age die; because they are already dead. I know I must join them. But I am ready. For I

trust my living Saviour to make me live again! And with no grief, and no pain. May I, though dead, yet speak to those, who remain. And touch them like the school boys ‘las lick’, which was really “Goodbye, till tomorrow! ” Amen!

The St Rose, Sir Neville Nichols and CDB families join his wife for 10 days short of 61 years, your nuclear and extended blood and adopted families to say farewell, to commend you for a long life well spent, and to wish you the perpetual and pain free peace yearned, as promised, us by our Dear Saviour, Jesus. Your biggest regret was predeceasing Winnie but you know that everything will be alright as God is in charge and knows best.

Farewell dear friend and mentor!

 

Our condolences from Montserrat Printing & Publishing Inc. and The Montserrat Reporter especially to Gordon Mullings and his family.

 

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

	Newtown, an area in Dominica-

Major Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria

by Bennette Roach

Destruction dominate and total devastation to northern Caribbean Islands, the wrath avoids Montserrat

Readers who can are encouraged to visit: www.themontserratreporter.com and its facebook page: The Montserrat Reporter (https://www.facebook.com/themontserratreporter/) for more detailed coverage.

Hurricane Maria visited Dominica

Officially, the Atlantic hurricane season runs from 1 June to 30 November. But this year will up till no doubt be recorded as having the worst hurricane disasters in known history.

The major hurricanes began with hurricane Harvey said when it was approaching its run as an extremely destructive Atlantic hurricane which became the first major hurricane to make landfall in the United States since Wilma in 2005. No one will forget what she did to Katrina, but when Wilma hit it ended a record 12-year drought in which no hurricanes made landfall at such an intensity in the country.

A flooded residential neighborhood near Interstate 10 in Houston, Texas

But then came Harvey. It was the eight named storm, evolving into the third hurricane and the first major one for this year. Harvey developed from a tropical wave to the east of the Lesser Antilles, reaching tropical storm status on August 17. The storm crossed through the Windward Islands on the following day, passing just south of Barbados and later near Saint Vincent. Upon entering the Caribbean Sea, Harvey degenerated into a tropical wave north of Colombia early on August 19.

People displaced by flooding fill the shelter at the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston

By August 23, Harvey then began to rapidly intensify, on August 24, regaining tropical storm status and becoming a hurricane later that day. Moving generally northwest, Harvey’s intensification phase stalled slightly overnight from August 24–25; however, Harvey soon resumed strengthening and quickly became a major hurricane and attained Category 4 intensity later that day.

Hours later, Harvey made landfall near Rockport, Texas, at peak intensity. Afterwards, rapid weakening ensued, and Harvey had degraded to a tropical storm as it stalled near the coastline of the state, dropping torrential and unprecedented amounts of rainfall over the Lone Star state. On August 28, it emerged back over the Gulf of Mexico, strengthening slightly before making a third and final landfall in Louisiana on August 29. As Harvey drifted inland, it quickly weakened again as it became extratropical on September 1, before dissipating two days later, drenching texas with a record near 52 inches of rain.

That ended beginning on a strange part touching off Guyana, Trinidad and Barbados, countries what rarely ever worry about hurricanes, killing one in Guyana and 83 in the US wreaking damage estimated from US$70 to $200 billion. (http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-hurricane-harvey-explained-20170825-htmlstory.html)

That ended, but thus began the record that will go down in history as said earlier, in time for the beginning of a repeated devastation of islands in the lesser Antilles in the northern Caribbean.

Evan Myers, chief operating officer of AccuWeather, said in a statement, of Irma ripening on the heels of the dying Harvey, usually with a focus firstly and generally on the US. “This hurricane has the potential to be a major event for the East Coast. It also has the potential to significantly strain FEMA and other governmental resources occurring so quickly on the heels of (Hurricane) Harvey,” he said.

“We’re looking at Irma as a very significant event,” Ronald Jackson, executive director of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, said by phone. “I can’t recall a tropical cone developing that rapidly into a major hurricane prior to arriving in the central Caribbean.”

So, here comes Hurricane ‘Irma’ and close on its heel ‘Jose’. There is no shortage of imagination on Social Media as there was “A little annonymous shared message to Irma!”

💥Dear IRMA💥

Listen darling, we understand you and HARVEY had some ups and downs, and then he left you and his son JOSE…💔

But you don’t have to chase him, honey! 😡

Women get their hearts broken everyday but they don’t just take that drama out on EVERYBODY that’s close to them! 😭

Why don’t you and little JOSE just chill and enjoy the Atlantic? WE don’t want to be in the middle of all your domestic mess PLEASE!!!

But as if to show consternation, Irma hit the islands with glancing blows to Dominica, Guadeloupe Montserrat, incrementally to Antigua, St. Kitts and Nevis, while almost totally devastating and Anguilla, Barbuda forcing complete evacuation of that island. Irma continued on to shatter St. Martin, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten and St. Barts. Vieques, Culebra, the British and U.S. Virgin Islands with Category 5 winds and gusts up to near 200 mph. It moved on to Puerto Rico, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

That all began on the 4th through the 6th and 7th and continuing, and then here comes jealous Maria after Jose had gone into the Atlantic on a lonely journey. Maria maintaining a WNW but on a more southern path that Irma, touched off St. Lucia but Dominica who had been devastated two years ago by Erica, took the brunt with the eye path travelling dead centre across Dominica. Irma also started out as a tropical storm but whammed into Dominica with Category 4 winds passing Guadeloupe and Montserrat well south, but still causing Montserrat however, to experience its strongest winds yet since Hugo.

By Wednesday Maria had pounded Dominica and Puerto Rico and Montserrat after shutting down businesses at noon on Monday, opening hurricane shelters by 6.00 p.m., better withstood mostly winds. some rain, gusts.

One report on Montserrat was as follows: The island experienced heavy gusts and severe rainfall, particularly in the most-densely populated north, but there are no/no reports of fatalities or serious injuries and the hospital is undamaged

Mobile, landlines, TV and radio networks are largely down and the radio broadcast tower was toppled.

Premier Donaldson Romeo in a statement late on Thursday described in more detail: “Montserrat has been fortunate.  However, our Island has sustained from the passage of MARIA.  From what I have seen and the information gathered so far in assessing our current situation, we realize that many of our crops and trees have been damaged or totally uprooted.  Some have partially or totally lost roofs and side walls to their homes and businesses.  There have been minor damages that resulted in leaks to the hospital building.  However, full services at the hospital have been restored.  Some of our Government Offices in Brades, have lost sections of their roofs, and large sections of the outer prefab walls were ripped out.”  

There have been some criticisms of the fact that Montserrat has always been slow and in some instances not stating a value of the damage to the island after hurricane and other natural disastrous events. The Premier however, said in the statement “Public Works Department is currently doing an Island wide assessment of damages to the roads, bridges, private homes, businesses and Government buildings.”

“He said special attention is being given to houses in Look Out and Davy Hill or where temporary structures were built,” advising meanwhile, “CDERA (Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency) has already been contacted, in order to secure their expertise and support going forward.”

Reportedly, the Premier’s statement was met with consternation, with an unconfirmed suggestion that the Premier should consult with her on issues of such nature. It is reported several members of the NDPRAC Committee considered the Governor’s intervention disrespectful of the Premier. Both Premier and Governor co-chair NDEPRAC.

The truth of this would be very confusing, but some official reports suggest that an attitude has developed as to a power struggle in the affairs of Montserrat

The Premier continued in his statement to lament that “the entire Island has been without electricity since Tuesday evening.  However, Montserrat Utilities has reported the following:

  • Electricity has already been restored from the Carr’s Bay main road all the way south to most of the woodlands area. In the upcoming days MUL will be working tirelessly to restore power throughout the entire island.
  • Generators have been deployed to the main water reservoirs, to ensure that the tanks are refilled and that the water supply is not interrupted.
  • Roads continue to be cleared, starting with the main roads and working gradually into villages.”

He noted air access to and from Montserrat, “has already resumed.  The ferry will recommence its operations as soon as the sea has calmed and it is safe to do so.”

Telecommunication services by both Flow and Digicel are gradually being restored.

While pointing out that hurricane season is not over and “we may, God forbid, have to prepare for another storm before the season ends.”

He thanked ALL. “Special thanks to those who took friends and relatives into their homes.”

“I must also recognize the hard work of the staff and volunteers of the DMCA, the Police, Fire & Rescue workers, Red Cross volunteers and First Aiders,” he continued. Thanking on the way “doctors, nurses and health staff, shelter managers, other volunteers and public servants…”

“Special thanks to all essential services workers, especially the staff at MUL, Flow and Digicel, who now have the task of working to restore services to the Island,” concluding , “We must also show appreciation to the private sector for their efforts in supporting in one way or the other to make services continue to be available to our people.”

First of course it was Irma that completely demolished Barbuda of the twin island state with Antigua, so it did Anguilla, St. Maarten, British and US Virgin Islands, in particular Tortola.

Statistics and briefs of the onslaught of Irma and Maria follow, up to September 22, 2017.

Statistics  
Fatalities Anguilla : 1 (TBC)

Antigua & Barbuda: 1 (TBC)

British Virgin Islands (BVI): 7 (TBC)

Cuba: 10 (TBC)

Dominica: 15 (TBC)

Injured Anguilla: 13 (TBC)

BVI: hundreds (TBC)

People affected Up to 265,000 people (UNOCHA)
People displaced 34,000 displaced in Haiti and Dominican republic

1,413 evacuated from Barbuda to Antigua

Houses damaged / destroyed 75,000 buildings exposed to 252 Km/H wind zone (UNOCHA)
Context
  • Maria made landfall in Dominica in the early hours of Tuesday morning, passing close to Guadeloupe and Montserrat.
  • Maria remains a dangerous Cat 5 having passed Montserrat overnight
  • Hurricane Maria made landfall over Puerto Rico as a category 4 hurricane.
  • During Thursday, Maria passed close to the north coast of the Dominican Republic, probably remaining offshore.
  • UNOCHA released their regional response plan on 14.09.17 with support of CDEMA (Caribbean Disaster and Emergency Management Agency).
  • Early remote assessments estimate economic losses totalling US$10,000,000,000 across the affected islands
Situational update

Anguilla:

  • DFID have imported a replacement generator for the desalination plant to be installed this week. Network requires testing but hoping for restoration of public water supply within a week or two.
  • Supply chains reestablished with ships regularly offloading at Sandy Ground commercial port.
  • Shops and banks reopening since 14th September. ATM withdrawals currently limited to $200.
  • Petrol/diesel supplies restored. Fuel rationing relaxed but still queues at fuel stations.
  • High demand for building supplies. UK mobilising resources & transport.
  • It is hopeful that the ALHCS and Public Primary schools will commence teaching in early October. Outreach Pre-School will open on Monday, September 18th.
  • The airport and cargo port are functional. The air traffic control tower suffered some damage but emergency planes are able to land. Roads have already been cleared of debris but wires from power lines are still visible on many roads.
  • Food and water are not a priority. Supermarkets are open and the main issue is ensuring that they continue to be stocked.
  • Security situation is calm and prisoners remain in the prison. There has been some limited “looting” mostly for alcohol, and people taking advantage of unsecured goods.
  • Needs assessments estimate that over 90% of the housing stock has been severely damaged with many houses uninhabitable.

British Virgin Islands:

  • The Power station was considered vulnerable thus a planned shutdown has been effected. Similarly, local mobile phone networks have been deliberately shutdown causing a temporary communications and power outages.
  • Terminal building for ferry to Jost Van Dyke severely damaged but immigration official confirmed that there is a private individual who is operating an informal ferry, the Jetty is functional.
  • Official email for persons seeking information Dept for Disaster Management: bviddmirma@gmail.com.
  • Communication systems have been impacted and remain unreliable.
  • Shelter is currently the biggest need identified. Schools, Community centres and churches are currently being used as emergency shelters. Main role of RC is to support running of these. However no confirmed figure for those residing in temporary shelter.
  • Main BVI affected, Tortola
  • The department of Disaster Management building has been badly damaged and they are working from the hospital.

 Dominica

  • The IFRC has lost almost all contact with Dominica but has reported significant damage and widespread flooding in the capital city of Roseau.
  • Maria made landfall on Monday 18 Sept in Dominica. Reports of severe damage to property, flooding, and landslides; damage likely to be catastrophic.
  • The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) will deploy a Rapid Needs Assessment Team (RNAT) to Dominica on 20 September, along with partners and UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination personnel.

Turks and Caicos Islands:

  • There are currently 18 NGOs on TCI and a coordination meeting was held on 16.09.17
  • 09.17. Flow restored mobile services to South Caicos and Fortis succeeded in restoring power to some areas. TCIG agreed with TCIAA for persons to be allowed to charge their phones at the Airport.
  • Digicel continues to restore areas and traveled to Grand Turk today to continue efforts to restore full connectivity.
  • Waiver issued on 14.09.17 for the road tax on fuel which should see a reduction in fuel ahead of the influx of generators.
  • Grand Turk: Biggest priority is drinking water. Supplies running low, desalination plant is damaged (Govt is working on it but could take long time), water tankers not operating as no electricity, no rain and very hot, shallow well water is not drinkable.
  • Power and water companies prioritising the restoration of service across all islands; limited electricity in Providenciales with other islands dependent on generator/solar power.
  • Electricity can be expected to be inoperable for several months, possibly until Jan.2018.
  • Mosquito presence increasingly aggressive: the Ministry of Environmental Health have conducted larviciding.

Montserrat

  • The island experienced heavy gusts and severe rainfall, particularly in the most-densely populated north, but there are no/no reports of fatalities or serious injuries and the hospital is undamaged
  • Mobile, landlines, TV and radio networks are largely down and the radio broadcast tower was toppled. Governor has VHF comms to disaster management dept.

Antigua & Barbuda:

  • Approximately 100 unaccompanied minors from Barbuda evacuated in Antigua.
  • Barbuda is the worst affected from Irma, more than 90% of buildings affected.
  • Prime Minister said that 50% of the population of around 1,000 people left homeless.
  • On 08.09.17, authorities carried out a mandatory evacuation to the larger island of Antigua in preparation for hurricane Jose.

St Kitts & Nevis:

  • Minor damage has been reported in Nevis and St Kitts is conducting an initial situation assessment.
  • The Island Prime Minister reported significant damage to property and infrastructure, as well as power failures. The airport reopened on 07.09.17

Cuba:

  • The country continues the recovery efforts following Hurricane Irma, with an emphasis on affected people protection, restoration of water supply and electricity services, and sanitation actions for public places.
  • Joint work is being carried out in the recovery of damaged health facilities. Collapsed medical offices of affected communities are relocated. Health authorities maintain active epidemiological surveillance and outbreaks of transmissible diseases have not been registered.
  • Cuba withstood damages to 13 of its 15 provinces, reporting damage to water supply, agriculture and telecommunications.
  • Most major airports in Cuba have reopened, but Cayo Coco Jardines del Rey Airport (CCC) and Santa Clara Abel Santamaria Airport (SNU) are both scheduled to remain closed until the last week of September due to damage from Irma.
  • In Havana, Irma landed with the force of a tropical storm, damaging electrical infrastructure, which has yet to be repaired due to flooding. Nearly 400 schools were affected, and one of the main hospitals in the capital, Hermanos Ameijeiras saw flooding on the bottom floors.
  • Government has declared that electric infrastructure has been affected in almost all the countries.
  • Irma made landfall – the first category five hurricane to do so in Cuba since 1924 – on the Camaguey archipelago, just off the northern coast, late on 08.09.17.
  • 1 million people have been evacuated.

Please visit our Facebook page for photos of the ravages : The Montserrat Reporter – Facebook/

 

 

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2017-09-20-PHOTO-00000146

Prime Minister says Dominica needs “all the help the world can give”, left dazed

ST. JOHN’S , Antigua, Sep. 21, CMC – The Prime Minister of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit has issued an urgent appeal for the island, following the passage of Hurricane Maria earlier this week.

Skerrit in an emotional interview on ABS television on Thursday said the entire nation  has been impacted by the powerful storm and at least 15 people are dead and 20 others are missing .

“The entire east, the extreme south, the inner communities…the rain forest areas where the indigenous people reside…there are significant challenges,” he said.

2017-09-20-PHOTO-00000146Skerrit, who also lost the roof his home during the storm, said the “logistics of getting supplies will be critical” and he has authorised and approved a distribution strategy.

“The most immediate needs are tarpaulins, water,  and food supplies…..every village I’ve been to, they are in need of water and more water and baby supplies.”

However the Prime Minister said the resilience of Dominicans is evident even in the midst of crisis and the “community spirit is kicking in”.

“People are on the move, clearing the streets to create access to buildings. Some of them are still in shelters….. there are also many who have no place to sleep at night.”

Concerning telecommunications, the Prime Minister said experts from both Digicel and Flow have been working feverishly to restore services as there is limited cellular coverage.

Skerrit said the road to recovery will be a long one.

“It is going to be a very long a difficult journey, but I am confident that if we remain united as a people we can bounce back. It will take us sometime but as for myself I am completely committed to the country in doing what I can to  assist in raising the necessary finances and making contacts.

The Prime Minister said he will be travelling to New York on Friday to address the United Nations general Assembly.

Skerritii“I originally had no intentions of going …. But I will speak to the international community, to have meetings with UN Secretary General, to outline Dominica’s situation . So we will not leave any stone unturned. We have all been impacted and we can only make life better.”

In making reference to the health sector, the Prime Minister said patients in need of critical care at the hospital – that lost its roof, must be airlifted.

“The hospital is being run on an archaic system…..the dialysis machines are down, the ICU has been destroyed by the hurricane. That is one of our major concerns.Any country that can assist us with airlifting patients to Martinique. One patient who has to receive dialysis everyday walked over 21 miles and I met him at the hospital….another patient, if he doesn’t get airlifted, he will expire.”

Skerrit also pointed to the  need for access to resources to build more resilient countries.

“We have been playing our part but the extent of the resources required to put in the mitigation systems is beyond us…..”

In a message to  Dominicans in the Diaspora, Skerrit said the country needs them.

“If there has ever been a time that Dominica needed its people the most, it is now…..I am here to speak on behalf of the 72-thousand people who call Dominica home – everyone of us need you.”

Dominicans dazed by destruction of Hurricane Maria

By Peter Richards

ROSEAU, Dominica, Sept 21, CMC – Martin Dell is unapologetic when it comes to begging after Hurricane Maria.

“Man we need all the help we can. Man I have been crying for days, I have been looting food. I have no choice it is a hard time, not even water,” he told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) Thursday as he and others watch as several people began looting a shop in the heart of the capital.

One other person, who did not want to be identified said that Hurricane Maria, which tore into the island as a Category 5 Storm on Monday night, has left behind, not only destroyed houses, broken bridges, uprooted trees, torn roofs, but also broken lives.

“Everything gone in Dominica I tell you. My house gone, everything go, my bank book, my car. My brother I have a child, a boy, I have to think about him,” he says, insisting that Dominica is “indeed broken”.

The hurricane tore into the island just as it was recovering from the ravages of Tropical Storm Erika that killed at least 30 people and left hundreds of millions of dollars in damages two years ago.

Maria 1
Storm damage in Roseau (CMC Photo)

From the air, the country looks like a total war zone. As the British Military helicopter hoovers over the capital on its way down to Windsor Park Stadium that was built a few years ago with tremendous funding from overseas donors, the magnitude of the damage become real.

The hills are no longer lush green, but brown and the trees that once bent gently in the afternoon breeze, are no more. Instead, tree stumps shoot out, as if begging for forgiveness. The authorities have not yet been able to make their way to other parts of the capital and on Thursday efforts were underway to try to get the road leading from the Douglas Charles airport to the capital, re-opened.

“The disaster is total,” said Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary General, Irwin la Rocque, a Dominican, who was among several officials on board the helicopter coming to have a first hand view of the damage caused by Maria when it hit the islands with winds of over 180 miles per hour (mph).

“I have seen some other aerial pictures taken by the Regional Security System (RSS) and not a single village, not a single area has been spared, “ La Rocque said, acknowledging too that his house did not escape the fury of the storm.

“There is not a community that has not been affected in Dominica,” he told CMC, while the executive director of the Barbados-based Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA), Ronald Jackson, who was also on the helicopter noted “it certainly confirming the widespread devastation.

“A lot of people have lost their roofs. We have not been getting in much supplies to help the people,” he said, adding “it is only now that you are on the ground you will understand how challenging the reconstruction will be.

“It is one of the most powerful storms to hit the Caribbean and obviously the challenges presented by the terrain of Dominica makes it that even more devastating,” Jackson said.

The former secretary general of the Caribbean Congress of Labour (CCL), Kertist Augustus, who wanted to assure his former regional and international colleagues that he had survived the storm and that the ghost of Hurricane David has again come to haunt Dominicans.

“I am more concerned as to what is happening to the membership of the Waterfront and Allied Workers Union (WAWU). We have heard about deaths but we cannot confirm whether they are associated in any way with the membership of the union”.

“But for everyone I want them to stay as strong as possible. Once you have life, you will be able to get back to where you were,” he said, hoping there will be assistance from the regional and international affiliates.

Augustus, who like several other Dominicans were carrying buckets of water to deal with the situation caused by the storm, said that it is indeed going to be difficult, because ‘some of us remember what transpired with David in 1979. Maria in 2017, is 10, 20 30 times worse and we would have to get together with the people of the country, the leadership of the country and all interested people in the country to formulate a strategy to carry us forward”.

Most, if not all of the hotels on the island, are either severely damaged or destroyed.

Marvin James, the general manager of the Fort Young Hotel that overlooked the harbour, told CMC “we have lost quite a bit of our rooms.

‘We have 51 guests on the property from all nationalities. They are still here waiting for word to get out of the country. For us that’s the main objective so that we can begin the recovery project,” she added.

The nearby Garraway Hotel did not fare any better and so too many of the Churches in the capital, including the Anglican Church that was destroyed when David struck in 1979 and the Roman Catholic Church that was being rehabilitated under a multi-million dollar project.

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, whose home also failed to withstand the fury of Maria, has gone to neighbouring Antigua and Barbuda to deliver a message through the media there to the diaspora and is due to travel to the United States to address the United Nationals General Assembly (UNGA) along with his partner leader from Antigua and Barbuda, Prime Minister Gaston Browne on international assistance to rebuild their countries.

The state-owned DBS radio, which was knocked out during the storm, has resumed broadcasting, albeit with the coverage confined mainly to the capital.

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PDM deceptors some - web

Premier Romeo fires Minister Hogan, replaced by Osborne

By Bennette Roach

Initially creating the potential for the dissolution of parliament and new General Elections

A storm more critical to the overall future of Montserrat ensued while this newspaper was about to feature the previous week’s disastrous visit of hurricane Irma that left deaths and near total destruction to some of our close neighbours and sister Overseas territories.

This presentation is different as we have not been able to publish (in print or online) as a result of Hurricane Maria’s visit and passage, that finished off some from Irma’s visit and adding to the disaster to the northern Caribbean.

Some PDM team at the start of their governing stint – l-r: Hons. Ryan, Hogan, Lewis (ministers) Willock (standing Duberry un-elected) and Premier Romeo. On the Warren Cassell ZJB radio show

Romeo (with three Ministers) was sworn into office in September 2014, after leading the People’s Democratic Movement of Montserrat (PDM) to victory defeating the incumbent Movement for Change and Prosperity (MCAP) – 7-2 headed by Premier Reuben T. Meade. (None of the independents were considered. The result was mainly due to the top class winning campaign strategy conducted by Dr. Newton Isaac, which afterwards had been surprisingly discounted by some of the beneficiaries.)

I was seeking clarification from Premier Romeo about what the now relieved Minister of Agriculture and Environment, Claude Hogan had said on Thursday, Sept. 14 as reported by ZJB Radio regarding, “where there is smoke there is fire”; following reports that were rampant especially after the Minister had also denied there were plans afoot to replace Romeo as the party observed its third anniversary in office from Sept 12, 2014.

Hon. Claude Hogan speaking at Gap Analysis workshop

Premier Romeo briefly explained how he was accosted by members at what was supposed to be a ‘house party’ then showed me his statement prepared for the media as he waited for the Instrument of Revocation of Minister Hogan’s appointment to the said Ministry to be delivered to the Minister.

He announced he had just held a meeting with his Ministers and other members of his government, where he advised that he was revoking Minister Hogan’s appointment, and that he had asked one of the two Parliamentary Secretaries backbenchers to accept the vacant ministry. That was Hon. David Osborne who was eventually sworn in as a Minister, replacing Hogan on September 21, one week later as the Minister of Agriculture, Trade, Lands, Housing and the Environment in accordance with 33(2) of the Montserrat Constitution Order 2010.

Delmaude Ryan

Paul Lewis – CSA president at CPSA 2012 Convention in Montserrat

There had been several stories (rumours some turned out to be) of what transpired leading up to the firing of Hogan. This being correct, that a contingent of persons comprising On. Hogan, Hon. Minister Paul Lewis; Hons. David Osborne and Gregory Willock, to H E Governor Elizabeth Carriere where they informed her that they have among other things lost confidence in Premier Romeo and wish to replace his leadership. What was not correct is that Hon. Ingrid Buffong, independent, had failed to show to join these four, moments before she was on her way to exit Montserrat to pursue her Chevening scholarship. Nearer the truth is that she had actually turned them down and promised to the Premier, her belief in his efforts, but informing party leaders of the threat. Also dubious, with conflicting information, that Hon. Delmaude Ryan was named as supporting the four while with the Governor.

Earlier this had prompted a reminder of the post-election 2006 debacle when talks between Chief Minister elect by the NPLM group and the MCAP four elected members broke down. Following that one member of that party had then sought to put together a team of at least five persons to approach the Governor, Deborah Barnes Jones. That MCAP member, not the then leader Roselyn Cassell-Sealy, had approached former CM David Brandt who was then just reelected after he had not contested the 2001 elections to complement this new group. Reportedly Brandt gave his positive response but was at the moment preparing to join Lewis and the three NPLM members to form the new Government.

The four-member grouping on this occasion, according to one credible report had actually been waiting in expectation for the Premier to join them as he was to admit to the Governor his agreement to step aside, allowing someone else to take on the helm.

Investigations have shown that at least two of these persons, the numbers and individuals changing at times, do not attend some of the Party’s caucus meetings under new chairmanship since Hon. Shirley Osborne quit that position when she became the new Speaker of the Legislative Assembly.

Further information, but uncorroborated, was that Hon. Dr. Sammy Joseph was later approached to make up the team, but declined as one had heard former MCAP leader R T Meade had said repeatedly his party would not be involved in any such ‘shenanigans’ and that the PDM party should get their act together (the real difficulty PDM faced from early) and try and get the island on a better footing. But who knows, circumstances change and opportunities when available, may see strange reverses.

ZJB carried the following conversation with Claude Hogan and also Gregory Willock. Hogan said: “I am not confirming anything like vote of no confidence or soon because that comes as a matter of Parliament. We have not gone there yet,” he said, even as he told radio listeners “where there is smoke there must be fire’.

He refers to the ‘caucus’ – “This is one of the problems I have in respect of some of my caucus members. It’s just like you cannot express yourself about reformation or changes that you think on this third anniversary would make us more resilient,” but continued, “Of course, you have to have these discussions. I don’t want the people to see it like we are trying to overthrow or remove anybody. We are having discussions about what we need to do different and we can’t fire the Premier. The Premier can fire each and every one of us, I want to make that very clear.”

“But we have to force him to come to the table with us to decide what does he think, what would he agree with in the context of our discussions that are the new things we need to do,” Hogan said.

The question who everyone asks, all of whom believe he should have been dismissed long ago, “How can he say that (above) and end up going to the Governor seeking to replace him, (my addition – seeking to invoke section 33(1) of the Montserrat Constitution, which David Brandt in commenting on the ‘fracas’ noted. “The Governor shall appoint as the Premier the elected member of the Legislative Assembly who demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Governor that he or she commands the confidence of a majority of the elected members of the Assembly”

In addition, some persons who actually made comments mostly said also, that the minister did not and has never supported Premier Romeo, revealing that the firing had to be in the making for a long time. There have been people who said that from the time Hogan began campaigning before the election he had indicated he expects and will be the “next” Premier. I will say he told me that was never his intention and he would not do such. Hogan even denied earlier reports that he had been master-minding the move.

We gleaned from closed reports, is that the plan to replace the Premier broke down when two persons vied to be the Premier. One of these had been one of three who stood for leadership going into the election as Hogan had not been yet a part of the PDM candidate slate.

Hon. Willock on the other hand who also appeared on radio the same day, spoke about his expectations and their lack of responsibility as a group. “…my political opinion is that we have not been as effective as we could have been and it’s clear that the people on the ground has felt the frustration…So that’s what’s in front of us and we can’t hide it, we can’t run away from it. Unless we don’t care about the people and we just gonna  continue and ignore their concerns,” he said.

Only once there was a hint in the extract that was given of what he said as mentions ‘change’. “We are PDM team, we’re not telling you about going back to the polls and all this conversation that you’re having. We’re saying let us be honest. Are we being as effective as we could be with the talent pool that we have in this team and are we structured properly to deliver. Where are we going?…we are making this adjustment because we feel it is necessary to have a change of approach towards how we are delivering for you the people.”

It was after these activities, of which there were more, that Premier Romeo claimed he had to act. He informed that he had while advising his other government members of his decision to revoke Hogan’s ministerial appointment, he advised that he was willing to ask the Governor to dissolve parliament which would force a General election.

And the immediate reaction on the street to the possibility of a general election, were soundings of the people’s readiness, much more candidates for an election and the choice of political leadership for the future of Montserrat.

 

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2017-09-20-PHOTO-00000148

Prime Minister of Dominica declares state of emergency, BVI gives all clear

This was Wednesday

ROSEAU, Dominica, Sep. 20, CMC  – A state of emergency has been declared in Dominica following the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria.

In a statement on Wednesday,  Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said the Commonwealth of Dominica is still isolated with no means of communications and and transportation connections to the neghbouring islands.

2017-09-20-PHOTO-00000148Skerrit said the French government is sending a helicopter to the devasted  country to provide assistance and facilitate the evaluation of the situation .

The Prime Minister said with recovery now underway he has declared a state of emergency and a curfew from 4pm to 8pm daily.

In the aftermath of the hurricane, seven persons have been confirmed dead .

“It’s difficult to determine the level of fatalities but so far seven are confirmed, as a direct result of the hurricane. That figure, the Prime Minister fears, will rise as he wades his way into the rural communities today – Wednesday,” said Hartley Henry , the Prime Minister’s principal advisor.

On Tuesday the executive director of the Barbados baed Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA)  Ronald Jackson said that based on historical knowledge of Dominica and the fact that the eye of storm swept across the island from southeast to northwest, there would be “billions of dollars” in damage, with virtually every one of the estimated 70,000 population directly or indirectly impacted.

Meanwhile Governor gives all clear to essential and emergency workers

TORTOLA, British Virgin Islands, Sep. 20, CMC – Governor of the British Virgin Islands, Augustus Jaspert on Wednesday gave an all-clear signal for essential and emergency workers to resume operations following the close passage of Hurricane Maria .

However, he urged everyone else to stay indoors, adding that debris and damage caused by Maria pose some amount of risk to residents.

PROD-DESTRUCTION-IN-BRITISH-VIRGIN-ISLANDS“The Premier and I, in consultation with the Director of The National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) are satisfied that the immediate serious threat posed by Hurricane Maria to the territory is over.”

“Therefore, I am now giving the all-clear to emergency and essential workers only to help conduct the rapid assessment and to ensure that we are able to clear roadways. This means that only critical agencies should be on the roads – all other persons must still stay off the roads. There are still risks from debris and damage from Maria,” he said.

The Governor added that although Maria continues to move away from the BVI, squalls, rain and high surf will continue to affect the territory throughout the day until the hurricane moves away fully.

According to Jaspert, following assessment of the damage caused by Maria, the Government will re-establish plans to continue with the recovery efforts.

“I urge all persons of the BVI, to please adhere to the instructions being given and to ensure full cooperation. The curfew remains in place for all people apart from emergency responders. Please continue to remain indoors and allow us adequate time to complete the assessments and initiate the necessary immediate response. I will advise you later in the day when the public all-clear is given,” he said.

He offered sympathies to Dominica and the US Virgin Islands which were badly affected by Hurricane Maria and noted that he fully supports the call by the Governor of Puerto Rico to ensure individuals are fully prepared for the approaching Hurricane.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Maria  knocked out power to the entire island of Puerto Rico.

Head of the Diaster Management Agency, Abner Gómez said the hurricane had damaged “everything in its path”.

Maria weakened to a category three storm with winds of 115 mph (185km/h) as it moved across the island.

The National Hurricane Centre at 2:00 pm (local time) said Maria had moved offshore the northwestern coast of Puerto Rico and was moving toward the northwest near 12 miles per hour.

It said the center will then pass offshore of the northeastern coast of the Dominican Republic on Wednesday night  and Thursday and then move near the Turks and Caicos Islands and southeastern Bahamas Thursday night and Friday.

Little change in strength is forecast during the next 48 hours, and Maria is expected to remain a dangerous major hurricane through Friday.

Posted in Climate/Weather, Featured, Hurricane, International, Local, News, Regional, Travel0 Comments

Mariai

Strengthening Hurricane Maria closes in on Leeward Islands

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Sept 18, CMC – Hurricane Maria was rapidly intensifying into a major hurricane with weather forecasters predicting that the eye of the storm would move through the Leeward Islands later on Monday.

In its 11.00 am (local time) weather bulletin, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) said that the Category 3 storm moving towards the west-northwest near 10 miles per hour (mph) and this motion with some decrease in forward speed is expected through Tuesday night.

Mariai“On the forecast track, the center of Maria will move across the Leeward Islands late today and tonight, over the extreme northeastern Caribbean Sea Tuesday and Tuesday night, and approach Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands on Wednesday,” the NHc said.

Hurricane Maria, which is coming less than two weeks after Hurricane Irma swept through the Leeward Islands killing more than 40 people and causing millions of dollars in damages, is now located about 60 miles east of Martinique and 95 miles, east south east of Dominica.

It has maximum sustained winds of 120 mph and NHC said “additional rapid strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours.

“Maria is expected to be a dangerous major hurricane as it moves through the Leeward Islands and the northeastern Caribbean Sea,” the NHC said, warning that hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 15 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 125 miles.

A Hurricane warning is in effect for Guadeloupe, Dominica, St. Kitts, Nevis, Montserrat , St. Lucia and Martinique, while a hurricane watch has been issued for Puerto Rico, Vieques, and Culebra, U.S. Virgin Islands,  British Virgin Islands, Saba and St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, St. Martin and St. Barthelemy and Anguilla

A Tropical Storm warning is in effect for Antigua and Barbuda, Saba and St. Eustatius while

Barbados and St. Vincent and the Grenadines have been placed under a tropical storm watch.

The regional airline, LIAT, has announced the cancellation of 23 flights for Monday in the wake of the hurricane. It said most of the cancel flights are between St Vincent to St Lucia, Antigua, Dominica and St Kitts.

Dominica and St. Lucia have already announced a close down of businesses, schools and other non-essential services while in St. Kitts-Nevis, banks have advised customers that they would be closing from midday.

NHC warned that hurricane conditions are first expected within portions of the Leeward Islands by late Monday, with tropical storm conditions beginning during the day.

It said hurricane conditions are possible within the hurricane watch area by Tuesday, with tropical storm conditions possible tonight.  Tropical storm conditions are possible in the tropical storm watch area through tonight.

Hurricane Maria is expected to produce total rain accumulations of six to 12 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 20 inches across the central and southern Leeward Islands, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, through Wednesday night.

“Maria is also expected to produce total rain accumulations of two to four inches with isolated maximum amounts of eight inches over the remaining northern Leeward Islands from Barbuda to Anguilla, as well as the Windward Islands and Barbados.  Rainfall on all of these islands could cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides,” NHC added.

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The Montserrat Reporter - August 18, 2017

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