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Solar pv handover

Is this end of Geothermal Energy development?

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

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

Solar Energy Released

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Barr-D-Trump-Mueller

The Mueller Report Is Much Worse for Trump Than Barr Let On

https://www.wired.com/

JIM WATSON/Getty Images

If president Donald Trump isn’t guilty of obstruction of justice, who ever could be? Special counsel Robert Mueller’s 448-page report, made public Thursday in redacted form, outlined over nearly half of those pages how the president reacted to and fumed over the Russia probe, seeking to undermine it, curtail it, and even fire the special counsel himself.

AG Barr, President D**** Trump, SC Mueller

The first section of the Mueller report details Russia’s efforts to upend the 2016 presidential campaign, and scrutinizes the many interactions between Trump associates and Russia. But it’s in the second half, which provides a litany of instances in which Trump may have obstructed justice, that the real bombshells await.

‘I’m F***ed’

According to the report, Trump’s reacted to Mueller’s appointment as special counsel in May 2017 as follows: “Oh my god, this is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I’m fucked.”

And then, as Mueller lays out in sometimes lurid detail, in at least 10 episodes over the ensuing months Trump sought to block or stop that very investigation. He did so even as Mueller doggedly made public the “sweeping and systematic fashion” in which the Russian government attacked the 2016 presidential election, and brought serious criminal charges—and won guilty pleas—from a half-dozen of the president’s top campaign aides.

Little if any of those revelations had made their way into attorney general William Barr’s four-page summary of the Mueller report last month. Even as he correctly summarized that Mueller did not find that Trump’s campaign conspired—distinct from colluding, which the report makes clear—with the Russian government, Barr appears to have misled the public about the severity of the evidence on obstruction of justice. He also misrepresented Mueller’s reasoning for not making a “traditional prosecutorial decision” on the obstruction half of his investigation.

The attorney general has implied that Mueller left that choice to Barr. In truth, the report makes clear that Mueller felt constrained by the Justice Department policy that a sitting president could not be indicted. Don’t mistake lack of prosecution, in other words, for absence of wrongdoing. “If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the president did not obstruct justice, we would so state,” Mueller’s report says. “Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

Mueller then points to Congress, not the attorney general, as the body appropriate to answer the question of obstruction. As Mueller wrote in what seems to be all but a referral for impeachment proceedings, “The conclusion that Congress may apply the obstruction laws to the President’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balanced and the principle that no person is above the law.”

Low Barr

That the contents of the Mueller report diverges so sharply from Barr’s portrayal has long seemed possible, based on his initial summary and subsequent appearance before Congress. Barr was appointed, after all, after writing a memo casting the Mueller investigation as illegitimate. In the hours leading up to the report’s release, that suspicion increased sharply.

Ninety minutes before the public had a chance to read the report, Barr held an odd and at times curt 22-minute press conference in which he re-summarized his views, presenting an argument that made him sound more like the president’s personal defense attorney rather than the nation’s chief law enforcement officer. “The special counsel found no collusion,” said Barr. “That’s the bottom line.” Barr went on to stress how frustrating the Russia probe was to the president, asking reporters to consider Donald Trump’s emotions and mental state.

Barr further praised Donald Trump for “fully cooperating,” ignoring the president’s refusal to sit for an interview with Mueller’s investigators, along with the fact that Trump tried at least once to fire the special counsel, consistently attacked the legitimacy of the investigation in public, and openly encouraged witnesses not to cooperate. Barr also never mentioned that a half-dozen of the president’s top campaign aides—including the former campaign chairman, deputy campaign chairman, national security advisor, and personal lawyer—have all pleaded guilty to crimes stemming from the probe.

The true scope and implications of Mueller’s work didn’t sink in until over an hour later, when the report itself was posted to the Justice Department’s website. It quickly became clear that the report didn’t line up with the rose-colored glasses with which Barr had presented it over the preceding month.

The contrast was especially stark in the matter of obstruction. The 10 episodes the report details include a Trump lawyer’s attempt attempt to keep national security advisor Michael Flynn from implicating the president, and Trump’s attempts to pressure White House counsel to cover up or stall the investigation of national security advisor Michael Flynn in the opening days of the presidency, and Trump instructing White House counsel Don McGahn to deny that Trump had ever ordered him to fire Mueller. Trump also, the report says, complained that McGahn kept notes of their meetings.

There was, Mueller also concludes, good reason for the president to attempt to obstruct the ongoing FBI probe. “The evidence does suggest indicate that a thorough FBI investigation would uncover facts about the campaign and the President personally that the President could have understood to be crimes or that would give rise to personal or political concerns,” Mueller wrote.

After reading through the numerous episodes, it seems almost nothing short of a miracle that Mueller’s probe appears to have wrapped up on his own terms, though not for lack of effort on Trump’s part to derail it. Instead, Mueller paints a picture of a commander-in-chief who fought back in private and public against the probe, but was ultimately saved from his worst instincts by aides like McGahn, who cooperated extensively with Mueller’s probe and testified for some 30 hours before his team. “The President’s efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful,” the report reads, “but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests.”

The Russia Probe

The question of obstruction will rightly take much of the spotlight Thursday. But the Mueller report also clarifies some questions about the Trump campaign and Russia—again offering a corrective to Barr’s enthusiastic exoneration of Trump.

The report’s first volume is a highly detailed and deeply informed investigation of the two-pronged attack by Russia on the 2016 campaign. It encompasses both the information influence operations of the Internet Research Agency and the active cyberthefts and document dumps of the Russian military intelligence agency GRU, funneled through WikiLeaks using the thinly veiled online personalities of DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0. As Mueller wrote, “The Russian government interfered in the 2016 election in sweeping and systematic fashion.”

In the report’s first 200 pages, Mueller walks through Moscow’s efforts, as well as the various odd instances where Trump campaign officials or Trump aides met with Russian-linked individuals. While none of the interactions between Trump associates and Russians apparently rose to the level of a prosecutable conspiracy, Mueller himself set a high bar for such charges—defining such applicable charges as only arising out of an agreement, tacit or explicit, with the Russian government itself. Mueller was careful to say, though, that the Trump campaign apparently “expected” to benefit from Russia’s help.

Barr had previously quoted in his summary the second half of a single sentence on the first page of Volume I, telling Congress that “the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference efforts.” The full sentence is decidedly more troubling. As Mueller actually wrote: “Although the investigation established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and that the Campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts, the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference efforts.”

Moreover, Mueller makes clear that part of the reason he couldn’t find a prosecutable conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia was because he was stymied by lies, obstruction, and evidence deleted by his investigative targets. “The Office cannot rule out the possibility that the unavailable information would shed additional light on (or cast in a new light) the events described in the report,” Mueller wrote. In one specific example, Mueller says he was unable to reconcile the purpose of a long-mysterious meeting in the Seychelles because two key figures, campaign chair Paul Manafort and Blackwater founder Erik Prince, had deleted their exchanges about the meeting.

What Happens Next

There were countless moments—some accounted in great detail in the Mueller report—where it seemed that Mueller himself might be axed or his investigation hamstrung, including threats from the president and the still-inexplicable appointment of Matthew Whitaker as the acting attorney general. Yet, in the end, despite all the breathless cable coverage and breaking news headlines, both Mueller and deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein endured through to the completion of the investigation on Mueller’s own terms. In Barr’s first letter to Congress announcing the end of the probe, he—as legally required to do—explained that there were no significant areas where he or Rosenstein blocked Mueller.

Given the nearly 200 pages of obstruction-related episodes and evidence that Mueller amassed, including confirmation that Trump tried to remove Mueller and gain control of the probe himself, that fact alone seems like a testament to the resiliency of the country’s democratic institutions.

But the report’s release also made clear just how much more investigation there may be still to unfold, even as Mueller himself prepares to wrap up work in the days ahead and return to private life. Mueller has evidently referred at least 14 ongoing investigations onto other prosecutors, including 12 that are redacted in the report to prevent harm to ongoing cases. The other two, which focus on Michael Cohen and former Obama White House counsel Greg Craig, have been publicly known for some time.

And beyond those, House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler has already requested that Robert Mueller testify before Congress no later than May 23. Nadler has also said he plans to subpoena for the full, unredacted report, as well as any underlying materials. Which is to say: This is far from over. The long-awaited “Mueller Time” may have come Thursday, but Mueller’s impact will reverberate for some time to come.


More Great WIRED Stories


Garrett M. Graff (@vermontgmg) is a contributing editor for WIRED and the author, among other works, of Mueller’s War, available on Scribd. He can be reached at garrett.graff@gmail.com.

Posted in Crime, Featured, International, Legal, Local, News, Opinions, Politics, Regional0 Comments

Gov Prem Dep G Mrs Redhead passes DSC_4761

Judge Redhead Eulogised

by Bennette Roach

He was lauded at his retirement in Montserrat in 2016

Justice Morley opens special sitting to honour Judge Redhead

By invitation from the Registrar of the High Court office in Montserrat it stated that we (media) were “invited to attend a Special Sitting of the High Court of Justice on Friday, 5th April, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. – In Recognition of the Late Justice Albert Redhead.

Judge Redhead on the bench at his retirement in 2016
Mrs. June Redhead

It showed that the late Judge was born in 1938 and died in 2019. This tribute was in honour “… to his fearless contribution to justice in the OECS and his long service in Montserrat.

Justice Ian Morley who replaced Judge Redhead when he retired (before returning to assist at various times as he did prior), presided over the special sitting where he, in his welcome read the names and titles where required of the long list of persons who were in attendance in the small now packed make-shift courtroom at Government Headquarters, upstairs the High Court Registry.

The order of the addresses as shown on a programme was adhered to by His Lordship Morley. Order of Addresses; – The Honourable Attorney General – Mrs. Sheree Jemmotte Rodney; Mr. Kenneth Allen Q.C. O.B.E – Inner Bar;  Mr. David S. Brandt – Senior Counsel Utter Bar; Mr. Jean Kelsick – President, Montserrat Bar Association; Mr. Oris Sullivan – Director of Public Prosecutions; Mr. Kharl Markham – Utter Bar; Ms. Amelia Daley – Public Bar; and, Reply by His Lordship the Honourable; Mr. Justice Iain Morley Q.C.

A quick change to that order was allowed when Antigua veteran Attorney Ralph Francis, on court duty in Montserrat was granted permission to speak as he had missed the events and opportunity to do so during the events surrounding the deceased ceremonial events and his subsequent burial.

Judge Morley named a long list of persons in his opening welcome at the sitting. They included a list similar to the sitting at which Justice Redhead presided with a junior female judge Agnes Actee beside him.

(see: https://www.themontserratreporter.com/judge-redhead-retires-in-montserrat/).

QC Kenneth Allen, OBE
David Brandt, Senior Counsel
AG Sheree Jemmotte Rodney

He named them: His Excellency Governor Pierce; Premier Romeo, other Ministers of Government, Delmaude Ryan, Paul Lewis; other Legislative members to include Ag. Minister Claude Hogan and wife Cherlyn Hogan, and other hon members of the Legislative Assembly; Government Claude Hogan and Hon Deputy Governor Mrs. Lyndell Simpson and Mr. Roger Simpson; Attorney General Mrs. Sheree Jemmotte-Rodney, Hon Financial Secretary Colin Owen and Mrs. Owen, Professor Sir Howard Fergus; Senior magistrate Miss Pyumini Weeratunpga and Director of Public Prosecution Mr. Oris Sullivan. Then members of the public service commission, permanent secretaries, heads of departments Commander of the Royal Montserrat Defence Force, Major Alvin Ryan; Commissioner of Police, Mr. Steve Foster; President of the Montserrat Bar Association, Mr. Jean Kelsick; members of the Inner Bar, and members of the Utter bar. Members of the clergy, invited guests; Ladies and gentlemen. The judge then said, “welcome and what a long list here to honour Mr. Justice Redhead.

The judge recounted what had taken place already in Antigua for the judge and his funeral. “Albert had the most extraordinary send off on Antigua. There was a special sitting with the Chief Justice and chief justices from other parts of the Caribbean on Monday, 25th March,” he said which lasted for three hours and seven minutes. “And there was a service,” which lasted three hours and 43minutes. And a procession to Parham where I along with my brother and sister judges walked behind Albert in his hearse.”

Clearly impressed with those proceedings, he concluded, “And it was a wonderful day.”

Jean Kelsick, President Bar Association
Kharl Markham
DPP Oris Sullivan

Before calling on the bar members to address their tributes, Judge Morley noted the picture of Redhead on his right and a book of condolence to his left in which he invited guests to enter their names, at the end of the siting and also noting that names had already been entered; as the book  had already been at the entrance to the court room.

The AG Mrs. Jemmotte Rodney, began the tributes, and put the proceedings well into perspective. She had along with few others attended those proceedings in Antigua, where she told colleagues there, that Montserrat had already made tributes to Redhead at his retirement special sitting in Montserrat.

“…it’s unfortunate that as Caribbean people we wait Caribbean people we wait until after someone has passed to basically give them their flowers…in Montserrat we didn’t wait until Justice Redhead had passed…we had a special sitting for Justice Redhead upon his retirement. I was pleased to be able to say that,” she said.

She added an explanation for the reason of “this special sitting.” “My lord that notwithstanding it was still necessary for us to have this sitting. Mainly because we as counsels, we want to pay our final respects. And it also gives Mrs. Redhead and the other members of the family who are here, an opportunity to hear from us. What we thought of Justice Redhead and again, the impact that he had in us as counsels,” adding also, the impact that he had on the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court.

Amelia Daley, public bar
Judge Iain Morley, Presiding

The AG noted making the point of deviation from not just the usual platitudes, but representing some of the Montserrat recollections of the judge. “Now the people of Montserrat have fond and not so fond memories of…” she declared, adding, it all depends on the circumstances in your interactions with him….”

“He was famous for his harsh sentences. Especially in relation to persons who came before him on child abuse and were convicted of sexual offenses… So basically, you came before him sitting in the dock, then you don’t have very fond memories.”

Immediately following was QC Kenneth Allen OBE, eldest member of the bar in Montserrat. He informed that the judge was called to the bar in the UK in society of the Middle Temple in 1972 returning to his home in Grenada. He gave an outline of Redhead’s career as a judge which began in 1985, following his first meeting with him in St. Kitts in 1975 when he served there as a Registrar. In 1985 he was appointed to serve Montserrat and Antigua.

QC Allen was brief as he continued to speak more of Mr. Redhead’s upward movement in the ECSC where he also served in the appeal courts.

He recalled as he reflected on the great life of Mr. Redhead, a thought that would not leave his mind, “how quickly memories of even very great men fade away.” After citing a story of Harry Belafonte who was a guest speaker at an event in St. Kitts which he attended, it brought him to say, “I hope and pray the memories of Mr. Justice Redhead would never fade away.”

Mr. Allen recalled incidents and remember the judge’s statement, cited by others, when he would win an appeal against Judge Redhead, he would react, “Well, you cannot always be right.”

From the inner bar to the utter bar, senior counsel David S. Brandt was next, and in his tribute, he pronounced: “Abraham Lincoln said “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character give him power”.

 “Albert Redhead was one of the most powerful men I’ve ever known. His power derived from extra-ordinary intelligence, eloquence, charisma and wit, not to mention 34 years as a Judge. Yet the legacy he leaves is not about power. It’s about character,” he said.

He saw the judge as a role model, mentor and best friend to many.  He was fearless and stood up to power, as he cited one trial which involved former deceased Chief Minister John Osborne, where the Governor made certain requests, but refused vehemently by Redhead.

He said the judge had respect for lawyers, prosecutors and defence, and disagreements were not held over.

As he concluded, “…But I can’t help thinking that the Judge would want us to concentrate on what we have been given and what we can give, to celebrate life and carry on his legacy.”

Visiting Antigua Attorney Ralph Francis


The other attorneys who addressed as listed earlier all spoke in the same terms as much was said by the main earlier speakers. All present heard from Mr. Jean Kelsick – President, Montserrat Bar Association; Mr. Oris Sullivan – Director of Public Prosecutions; Mr. Kharl Markham – Utter Bar; Ms. Amelia Daley – Public Bar; and Antigua veteran Attorney Ralph Francis. Then the Reply by His Lordship the Honourable; Mr. Justice Iain Morley Q.C. He informed the rest of the proceedings for the departure from the court room, repeating the availability of the Condolence book and a gathering after in the Administration building meeting area.

 

 

HE Governor, Premier Romeo, Deputy Governor –
Mrs. Redhead leads procession at end of sitting 

 (These addresses may be heard as they become available at www.themontserratreporter.com or on soundcloud in due course).

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Posted in CARICOM, Court, Featured, International, Local, News, OECS, Police, Regional0 Comments

PM's deal will 'damage the union'

Brexit mess: Montserrat LegAss mess

Brexit mess How did we get here and what could come next?

And Montserrat Assembly, we know how it got there, but what will happen next?

See: https://www.themontserratreporter.com/the-brexit-and-legislative-assembly-mess-cumulating-same-day/

by Bennette Roach

In his analysis of the future for Brexit, Mark Stone says a deal is still possible but it won’t be easy.

By Mark Stone, Europe correspondent in Brussels

Image: Is there still hope for a Brexit deal with the European Union?

Let’s take a step back.

There are two documents at the heart of the Brexit debacle: One is 585 pages, dense and legally binding.

The other is 26 pages, aspirational and not legally binding.

The long one is the withdrawal agreement and it is the divorce deal. It tackles three key areas – citizens (what happens to them after Brexit?), money (how much does the UK owe the club it’s leaving?) and the Irish border (what happens to that after Brexit, given that it becomes an EU border?).

The short one is the political declaration and it deals with the future relationship the UK wants with the EU after Brexit.

For simplicity here, I’ll call them “the long one” and “the short one”.

Brexit supporters march through London

The long one is, as I said, legally binding. It’s the EU’s method of legally tying up loose ends created by Brexit.

It was negotiated by both sides over two years and agreed by the 27 remaining EU countries and by the UK.

It contains the “demon” known as the backstop. “Remind me what that is again?”, I hear you ask.

It’s an insurance clause designed to ensure that the border between Ireland (in the EU) and Northern Ireland (exiting the EU) remains open and free of infrastructure in all circumstances. This is to ensure the integrity of the EU’s single market while also honouring the principles of the Good Friday peace agreement.

To achieve its aim, the backstop, if activated (in the absence of UK/EU free trade deal), locks the UK in a customs union with the EU until alternative arrangements, which meet the same ends as the backstop (no border) are found.

Brexiteers hate the backstop because, far from allowing the UK to “take back control”, it locks the UK to the EU until alternative arrangements (which they say are available now) are realised.


We’re reaching the limits of this process’

The short document is not legally binding. It is a set of aspirations for the sort of relationship the UK and the EU want to have post-Brexit.

At the moment the short document is styled towards Theresa May’s form of Brexit. It doesn’t aspire to a so-called soft Brexit which would see the UK in a form of customs union and/or single market.

It is in keeping with Mrs May’s pledge to stop free movement of people and allow the UK to pursue its own trade deals.

The short and long document together – the deal – have been voted on twice in so-called meaningful votes. They were voted down both times.

Mrs May has allowed the clock to tick down and been able to present the choice as her deal versus no Brexit or a very delayed Brexit (after a majority of MPs rejected allowing no deal to happen – though legally it still could).

In her latest attempt to get the deal through, Mrs May asked MPs to vote only on the big document. Only that document needs a positive vote in order to secure Brexit.

It still didn’t go through. Some Brexiteers held their nose and voted for it but some didn’t and Labour decided it was a “blind Brexit” because it didn’t contain the short document on the future (even though they didn’t like the current contents of that document).

So what now?

Well – firstly – it’s really very very hard to accurately predict anything at the moment.

The two new key dates are 10 April (when the EU has called all leaders to Brussels for an emergency summit) and 12 April which is, ostensibly, the new 29 March – no-deal Brexit day.

Between now and 10 April, the UK has to come up with a plan B.

The central question is: “Will the UK take part in the European Parliament elections?”

If the UK wants a longer extension – which is now almost the only alternative to a no deal rupture – then it must commit to taking part in the elections which are on 24 May.

Why? Because if the UK continues to be a member of the EU after those elections then, legally and democratically, it must have MEPs in the European Parliament.

If the UK commits to those elections (a hard/impossible pill to swallow for Britons who voted leave) then the EU will probably grant a long extension at that 10 April summit.

But there is a view gaining traction among some in governments across the EU that the time is fast approaching to cut the UK loose.

No breakthrough: Brexit vote results in full

The pendulum on the risk/benefit analysis of no deal (very damaging) versus long extension (continued paralysis) is moving.

If the UK committed to the European Parliament elections but had no plan B for sealing an exit deal then it might not be enough to secure the extension.

The EU doesn’t want to prolong the uncertainty. They want a credible, deliverable alternative path from Westminster.

Back to the documents. Remember that while the long document is closed and can’t be changed, the short one can be rewritten in a matter of days.

Therefore, if as a consequence of the indicative votes process where MPs are whittling down the future relationship options they are prepared to countenance an option which gets the thumbs-up from a majority of MPs, then we could be back in business for a deal or a guaranteed extension.

PM’s deal will ‘damage the union’

The next indicative vote round is on Monday. At the last one, both a second referendum and membership of a customs union came close to a majority.

If either one secured a majority next week then the short document could be rewritten by UK and EU negotiators to reflect that.

The short document and the long one could then be married together again and voted on late next week.

That could result in the deal passing.

Many Brexiteers, who held their noses and voted for the long document at this last vote, would probably not do so again (they hate both a customs union and a second referendum) but many on the opposition benches who didn’t vote for the long document this time probably would vote for it.

If the customs union option formed the basis of the new short document then there is still the prospect that Brexit could happen on 22 May – the original extension granted by the EU.

That scenario would mean the UK doesn’t need to take part in the European Parliament elections because they don’t take place until 23 May.

If the confirmatory referendum option was chosen then a longer extension would be required and so too would participation in the European elections.

There is, of course, a snag. Now that Mrs May has committed to stepping down if her deal goes through, many pro-EU MPs will fear that a harder line Brexiteer replaces her and then, down the line, rips up the reworked shorter document.

In that scenario, the future relationship negotiations would break down and the backstop would come into effect – which would be that future Brexiteer prime minister’s nightmare.

Honestly, though by the time you read this, anything could have happened. I haven’t even mentioned a general election.

The Brexit and Legislative Assembly mess cumulating same day
The Brexit and Legislative Assembly mess cumulating same day

See for Legislative Assembly mess: https://www.themontserratreporter.com/the-brexit-and-legislative-assembly-mess-cumulating-same-day/

Posted in Featured, International, Local, News, Politics, UK - Brexit0 Comments

brexit-0327-uk-parliament-medium-plus-169

Brexit

The State of Brexit on the 29th March 2019 – leaving day 

Today was supposed to be the day the United Kingdom walked away from the European Union. But the world’s most contentious divorce is far from settled. So, instead of throwing lavish parties celebrating the UK’s split from the EU, Brexit supporters plan protests outside Parliament today, while lawmakers inside will vote again on a version of Prime Minister Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement. If the deal passes today, Brexit will happen on May 22. If the vote fails, then the UK crashes out of the EU on April 12 with no deal, which many have predicted would be a financial calamity for Britain.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Featured, International, Local, News, Politics, Regional, UK - Brexit0 Comments

MNI wins Cayman Is new

Big moment for Montserrat football

The win – Montserrat 2 – Cayman Islands 1.

So this is where we were taken from – FB – Craig Brewin

The eight other teams in contention for the last four qualifying places are St Kitts & Nevis, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Dominican Republic and Bermuda (who play each other), Guyana & Belize (who also play each other), and French Guiana. To add some spice to the final round of matches, and some unpredictability, CONCACAF has arranged things to ensure that each team plays someone of a similar ranking. This is also the final round of qualifying for next season Nations League groupings so everyone has something to play for.

The following is how the weekend needs to pan out for Montserrat.

Day 1: Friday 22nd March. Cayman Islands v Montserrat.

Montserrat has to win. A big win may help. Montserrat is now ahead of Cayman Islands in the FIFA rankings and given its form so far, a win for Montserrat is possibly the more likely option.

Day 2: Saturday 23rd March. Guyana v Belize. Surinam v St Kitts &Nevis.

Either Guyana or Belize will almost certainly finish above Montserrat if they win. St Kitts will finish above Montserrat if they win.

Day 2: Saturday 23rd March. El Salvador v Jamaica.

Kicking off after the two earlier games have finished, El Salvador needs a win against a Jamaica team looking to qualify for League A in the Nations League. It is possible that a big win in the Cayman Islands could see Montserrat stay ahead of El Salvador on goal difference.

Day 3: Sunday 25th.  Dominican Republic v Bermuda.

This game is sudden death, with the winners virtually guaranteed to finish ahead of Montserrat.

Day 3: Sunday 25th. Canada v French Guiana.

This match kicks off at the same time as the game in the Dominican Republic. Montserrat will need French Guiana to lose or draw. It has a good team but was beaten 4-2 by Canada when they met in the 2017 Gold Cup.

Day 3: Sunday 25th. Barbados v Nicaragua. A win for Nicaragua will see them finish ahead of Montserrat. Unless French Guiana, St Kitts and Nevis, and El Salvador have failed to win, it will probably all be down to this game. Montserrat will need Nicaragua to fail to win.

Of course, if Montserrat doesn’t beat Cayman Islands then none of this will matter. Not in terms of the Gold Cup anyway. But there is still next season’s Nations League.

Posted in Featured, International, International Sports, Local, Local Sports, News, Regional, Regional Sports, Youth0 Comments

330px-D._Orlando_Smith_(cropped)

2019 BVI general election


Country and people interest matters we might give as a reason that we almost lost sight or rather did not post re General elections which were held in the British Virgin Islands Monday, on  February 25, 2019.[1] For the first time, four parties with at least one incumbent member were contesting an election.

Premier Andrew Fahie

The result was a decisive victory for the Virgin Islands Party, which won eight of the 13 elected seats under the leadership of Andrew Fahie. The ruling National Democratic Party won only three seats, with new party leader Myron Walwyn losing his seat.[2]

Seven of the thirteen seats were won by candidates contesting an election for the first time, all for the Virgin Islands Party, a territory record.

In June 2018 the Premier and leader of the National Democratic Party (NDP), Orlando Smith indicated he would be stepping down and not contesting the next general election.[9] In the subsequent leadership contest the party chose Education Minister Myron Walwyn to lead the party into the next election.[10]

The elections were the first in the British Virgin Islands to use electronically tabulated voting rather that manual counts.[3] Voter turnout was 65.26%.

Election monitors reported that they saw “no real evidence of corruption”, but highlighted a large influx of voter registrations in Districts 5 and 8 which had been regarded in some quarters as potential attempt to manipulate results.[4]

14,866 of the registered voters representing 65.3% turned out to vote.

Background

The House of Assembly normally sits in four year terms. The Governor must dissolve the House within four years of the date when the House first meets after a general election unless it has been dissolved sooner.[5] Once the House is dissolved a general election must be held after at least 21 days, but not more than two months after the dissolution of the House. The third session of the House of Assembly first met on 23 June 2015,[6] and therefore in the ordinary course of things the latest possible date of the next British Virgin Islands general election would have been one day short of four years and two months after that date, i.e. on 22 August 2019.

However, Delores Christopher, member of the House of Assembly representing the 5th District died on 16 October 2018.[7] There was broad agreement that it was undesirable to hold two elections so close together (a by-election to appoint a new representative for the 5th District, followed by a general election). Accordingly, after taking legal advice and consulting with the Premier Orlando Smith the Governor, Augustus Jaspert, advised that it had been agreed that no separate by-election should be held, and the election would be held on or before 16 April 2019.[8]

The House of Assembly was dissolved on 23 January 2019 and an election date was immediately announced for 25 February 2019.[1]

New leaders and new parties

Both of the main political parties which had contested the prior election had leadership contests, and in both cases the person who lost the leadership contest left to form their own party. Accordingly, in the 2019 election there will be an unprecedented four different political parties with at least one sitting member contesting the general election.

National Democratic Party

Former Premier (retired and did not contest elections)

In June 2018 the Premier and leader of the National Democratic Party (NDP), Orlando Smith indicated he would be stepping down and not contesting the next general election.[9] In the subsequent leadership contest the party chose Education Minister Myron Walwyn to lead the party into the next election.[10]

In the wake of Dr Smith’s announced retirement, rumours of splits within the ruling National Democratic Party began to circulate almost immediately.[11] Eventually Ronnie Skelton, runner up in the leadership contest, left to form his own political party,[12] named the Progressive Virgin Islands Movement (PVIM).[13][14]

Second District Representative Melvin “Mitch” Turnbull also left the NDP to join Skelton,[15] as did at-large representative, Archie Christian.[16] Certain media houses began to sarcastically refer to the PVIM as “NDP 2”.[17]

Virgin Islands Party

The Virgin Islands Party (VIP) also had a leadership contest, and the sitting leader, Julian Fraser, was ousted by the challenger, Andrew Fahie. Fraser subsequently announced he would leave the VIP and set up his own party, which he called Progressives United (PU).[18][19]

Controversies

Myron Walwyn eligibility issue

In the run up to the election there were repeated suggestions in the press that Myron Walwyn was not eligible for election to the House of Assembly because his parents are not from the BVI. His father is from Nevis and his mother is from Antigua.[20][21] Leader of the opposition Virgin Islands Party, Andrew Fahie, distanced himself from questions about Walwyn’s eligibility.[22]

Speaker of the House issue

Some controversy arose when leaked lists of candidates suggested that the speaker of the House, Ingrid Moses-Scatliffe, was to stand as an NDP candidate.[23] A number of public figures, the most prominent being Deputy Premier Kedrick Pickering, expressed concern at her being held out as a candidate for a political party whilst occupying the position of Speaker of the House.[24] Ms Moses-Scatliffe refused to confirm or deny that she would be a candidate for the NDP, and the Attorney General rendered an opinion indicating that even if she were, this would not legally preclude her from acting as Speaker of the House in the interim. Ultimately she was not named as a candidate.

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market day - DSC_2764

Market Day in Salem

Opening up a period of healthy remembrance and celebrations

By B. Roach

A ZJB report gives account of Agricultural Minister David Osborne praising farmers who he said have been braving adverse conditions to ensure that the island is self-sufficient in certain agricultural produce.

The day was staged today beginning at the crack of dawn and as our photo shows farmers are seen setting up their vegetable, plants and even pastry stalls, of varying descriptions.

Small section of plants were on show – for sale

The Minister boasted that the day’s event hosted in Salem because of the beginning of the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, was sending a message that Montserrat is bouncing back and forging ahead with agricultural production. He mentioned the abundance of @fresh organically grown onions, carrots and cabbage, lettuce and tomatoes, among other vegetables.

Pastries, sugar cakes, coconut cakes

Visitor and residents alike agree with the Minister, the day was a success, but there were some disgruntled onlookers who asked the question, what was the purpose of building a market in Little Bay if market days would be held elsewhere. But the counter is that they have missed the point, adding, “maybe here should not have been a market built for that purpose.”

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2-28-18-winair

St. Patrick’s Day festival preparations

As the preps heat up, plans are made to ensure people arrive ‘on time’

Testing docking ability Jaden Sun at Plymouth jetty in case bad seas overtake Little Bay port

Last year the St. Patrick’s Day festival was in celebration to mark the 250th anniversary of the failed slave rebellion on March 17, 1768, when authorities forecasted that “over 7,000 people will flock the island for the commemoration.” The actual arrival numbers were disputed eventually but there was no hold back on touting the revenue that resulted, especially when wooing Government to put more into the event.

As the bulk of people began to arrive on island from March 4, 2018 or thereabout, people became stranded in Antigua as the March seas struck again “over 100 passengers were stranded in Antigua on Wednesday, March 7, just like it did last year also in March, when that time the ferry successfully docked and landed passengers at the Plymouth jetty in the exclusion zone. This followed cancellations the week before when hundreds had already begun to arrive for the Festival.” (see: https://www.themontserratreporter.com/ferry-travel-to-montserrat-failed-for-high-seas/)

The wave when it broke scared many on shore at Port Little Bay, hid the ferry from view

The Access Division had arranged for the passengers who had been stuck in Antigua since high seas caused cancellation of the ferry service on Sunday, 4th to travel down and dock at Port Plymouth. But things went awry when that plan failed because of the timing. The ferry was unable to dock and after checking the situation at Little Bay which at first seemed calm, the sea again turned up and forced the ferry to return to Antigua with a reported number of 114 passengers.

This year, in anticipation of the known March conditions, we received the following information provided from a release from the DMCA on the ferry, captioned, “Ferry Does Test Run at Plymouth Jetty”. It is uncertain what media witnessed if any, but independent media was either ignored as had been attempted prior, or was just not informed of the event due to take place.

So, according to the report from the DMCA, the MV Jaden Sun ferry successfully docked at Port Plymouth in Zone V on Wednesday, February 27th, 2019, the following being information as provided.

According to Senior Disaster Management Coordinator at the Disaster Management Coordination Agency (DMCA), Astrid Wade, the ferry berthing at the Plymouth Jetty was to test the agency’s contingency plan for the docking of the ferry in the event of rough seas at Little Bay during Montserrat’s hosting of the 2019 St Patrick’s Festival in March.

He said the exercise also tested putting on fenders on the jetty to mitigate against any damage to the MV Jaden Sun.

The Senior Disaster Coordinator confirmed that a disembarkation and embarkation gangway was placed on the ferry to test the safe exit of passengers getting on and off the ferry.

Jaden Sun being secured at Plymouth Jetty in docking test

The exercise today led by the DMCA involved several key agencies on island namely the Montserrat Port Authority, Royal Montserrat Police Service, Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO), Montserrat Tourist Board (MTB), Access Division, Montserrat Customs and Revenue Service (MCRS) and Integrated Border Security (IBS) to ensure successful docking of the ferry, MV Jaden Sun, in the event circumstances warrant the use of the Plymouth facility if Little Bay is deemed unsuitable as a result unfavourable sea conditions.

Improved flight arrangements for the Festival season

As part of its St Patrick’s preparations and contingency planning, for such eventualities as experienced over the years, the Access Division, within the Office of the Premier, is encouraging additional support due to the level of demand outlined by customers for both air and sea travel.

Ferry Services:

The ferry service has increased its initial schedule from a six-day to a seven-day schedule for a two-week period surrounding the St Patrick’s festival. The service has seen a number of additional adjustments to better cater for the travelling public. Customers will be able to check and book via the live ferry service schedule online at www.ferry.ms. The ferry will run every day from the 5th March to the 24th March except on Sunday 17th March, when it will be hosting Scriber’s, “Round the island adventure tour”.

Air Services:

Air services will also see additional flights due to increased customer demand. Both regular airline operators Fly Montserrat and SVG (ABM)Air have increased their daily flights.  Some additional support will be provided by WinAir on selected days, during the period March 5th to 21st.  Customers can check and book on each Operator’s website for available flights within the March period.

WINAIR flying to Montserrat for St Patrick’s Festival 2019

WinAir aircraft

This new flight arrangement may be coming somewhat late to serve as a true test of how beneficial it might be for travelers to, and for Montserrat. The decision, we have been reliably informed was made months ago, may even be over a year. However, attempts to block this development is a matter that raises its head to higher and in ways to devious behaviour by some who seek glory for themselves at the expense of Montserrat.

Such an option may be useful for those still trying to make bookings to fly in for St Patrick’s Festival. Here is another old but new option on WINAIR – back for a few select dates in March.

The first scheduled flight in between Antigua and Montserrat is Tuesday, March 5. The final scheduled flight is Wednesday, March 20, 2019.

The access division provides the following for reservations – book online at www.fly-winair.sx .

Posted in Featured, International, Local, News, Regional, TOURISM, Travel0 Comments

andrew

Same Sex Marriage in Montserrat!

British Foreign Affairs Committee calls for BOTs to get in line on gay marriage

Original By Peter Richards

Adapted by Bennette Roach

LONDON, Feb 22, CMC – The House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee wants all British Overseas Territories (OT), including those in the Caribbean, to legitimise same sex marriages.

In addition, the Committee believes that the British government could do more than “simply support” same sex marriages in principle.
In its 44-page report titled “Global Britain and the British Overseas Territories: Resetting the Relationship,” the Committee said “it is time for all OTs to legalise same-sex marriage and for the UK Government to do more than simply support it in principle.

Foreign Affairs Committee hearing – Lord Ahmad and Ben Merrick provide the answers and OT’s positions to the questions particularly surrounding Same Sex marriage and Beneficial Ownership

“It must be prepared to step in, as it did in 2001 when an Order in Council decriminalised homosexuality in OTs that had refused to do so. The Government should set a date by which it expects all OTs to have legalised same-sex marriage. If that deadline is not met, the Government should intervene through legislation or an Order in Council.”

Lord Ahmad, Minister with responsibilties to include the Caribbean and Overseas Territories, with Ben Merrick, Director of the OTs affairs

The OTs in the Caribbean include Montserrat, British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Bermuda, Turks and Caicos Islands and the Cayman Islands.
In the report, the Committee is also calling on the British government to urgently address concerns in the OTs about the issue of citizenship by descent and anomalies in the British Nationality Act that have taken too long to resolve.

Ian Austin, supporting…

“It should also consider options for removing quotas on the number of people in the OTs that can access NHS (National Health Service) services in the UK when their 32 Global Britain and the British Overseas Territories: Resetting the relationship own health systems cannot provide the care and treatment they need”

Mike Gapes, Chairman, leading the charge
Chris Bryant, supporting the charge

It said that this may be difficult from a bureaucratic point of view but it is an important test of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s (FCO) ability to fight the OTs’ corner in the UK.

The Committee says belongership and its equivalents are wrong, noting that “while we recognise that the OTs are small communities with unique cultural identities, we do not accept that there is any justification to deny legally-resident British Overseas Territory and UK citizens the right to vote and to hold elected office.

“This elevates one group of British people over another and risks undermining the ties that bind the UK and the OTs together in one global British family.”

Andrew Rosindel, leading for a modern relationship,
on fair and even playing field

It suggests that London should initiate a consultation with the elected governments of the OTs and work with them to agree a plan to ensure that there is a pathway for all resident UK and British Overseas Territory citizens to be able to vote and hold elected office in territory.

“In its response to this report the FCO should lay out a timetable for this consultation process and set a deadline for phasing out discriminatory elements of belongership, or its territory-specific equivalents”.

The OTs are a set of largely self-governing territories spanning nine time zones, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, the Antarctic to the Caribbean. These territories are not part of the UK and each has its own constitution, but all share a bond with the UK.

The Committee notes that for the Overseas Territories, Global Britain is a living reality and they have a valuable part to play in it.

In the report, the Committee notes that while the UK has a duty under international law to provide for the development of the OTs, it also has a responsibility to UK taxpayers to ensure that the considerable amount of money it spends on the OTs is not wasted.

“This means not only transparency and accountability in day-to-day spending, but also ensuring that capital investment is genuinely capable of delivering the Government’s long-term objective to ensure that the OTs are financially self-sufficient.

“We are seriously concerned by evidence suggesting that, despite significant capital investment in some OTs in recent years, much more remains to be done to provide infrastructure in OTs such as Montserrat, Tristan da Cunha and St. Helena, with no clear end in sight,” the Committee noted.

It said also the government “must offer clarity on its long-term vision for the funding of the OTs, including replacing any lost EU funding, and continuing and expanding Blue Belt funding after 2020”.

It said towards this end, the British government should explore options for a dedicated development and stimulus fund for the OTs, which would allow for the long-term, sustainable development of aid-dependent territories; help to stimulate the economies of those who need a stimulus but do not qualify for official development assistance; and help territories that are otherwise financially self-sufficient respond to crises such as hurricanes.

“This long-term vision must be based on a clear-eyed assessment of how the UK will balance the needs of individual OTs against value for money for UK taxpayers. There must be scope to ask hard questions about the long-term sustainability and viability of individual OTs without further significant levels of UK capital investment. If the Government does not think significant capital investment is possible, then it must be frank about what it will spend and towards what end.”

The Committee said also that the government “must clarify the UK’s future relationship with the European Union as soon as possible and analyse the impact on the OTs, what funding will be required to ensure the OTs are not losing out, and what input the OTs will have on the replacement of EU funding in the future”.

The report notes that some of the Overseas Territories feel that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office should not be the lead UK department for the OTs.

It said that some of the countries believe that this arrangement reinforces the perception that the OTs are foreign and that it is not fit for purpose given the cross-government nature of the UK government’s modern relationship with the OTs.

“However, not all OTs agree and some feel that the FCO has long experience of working with the OTs, it has expertise in managing relationships with the countries that surround the OTs, and it deals on a daily basis with international treaty obligations relevant to the OTs.

“It is time for the UK Government to seriously engage with this issue and to do so in a fair and transparent manner. Before the next full meeting of the OTs Joint Ministerial Council, the Government should, therefore, commission an independent review into cross-government engagement with the OTs and the FCO’s management of its responsibilities towards them.

“Drawing on international comparisons, this review should consider alternatives to the FCO and assess the costs, benefits and risks associated with moving primary responsibility for the OTs away from the FCO,” the Committee said, adding that the findings of the review should be presented to the House and shared with the elected OT governments as soon as is feasible.

Related:

Editorial – Feb 22, 2019: https://www.themontserratreporter.com/it-is-not-just-money-power-and-sex/

Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing on the OTs – Inquiry on new relationship

FAC Report pushes for homosexualisation of marriage How can Montserrat respond reasonably and responsibly

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