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Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell

Public workers on strike in support of union demands for increased payment

By Linda Straker

ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada, Oct 16, CMC – The Government Negotiating Team (GNT) Monday described as “disappointing” a decision by two trade unions to call out its members as part of the efforts to get the Grenada government to conclude negotiations for the 2013-16 period.

Last weekend, the Technical and Allied Workers Union (TAWU) and the Public Workers Union (PWU) both announced plans for the industrial action.

TAWU president Andre Lewis, said that his members are on strike and will announce the next step later on Monday. The authorities have not yet indicated whether the work stoppage has affected the public service

The unions had originally sought EC$2,000 (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents) as a one-off payment for the period 201316 but reduced their demand to EC$1,500 after they accepted a payment of EC$1, 000 earlier this year with an assurance from the Keith Mitchell government of a possible increase in July.

The government has offered EC$650 but the unions have described that amount as “insulting” to the workers, who they said made sacrifices during the period of the structural adjustment programme.

“The Government Negotiating Team is indeed disappointed that the leadership of the Public Workers Union and the Grenada Technical and Allied Workers Union has rejected the mediation effort of the Minister for Labour to settle the dispute of the one-off payment to public service employees,” the GNT said in a statement broadcast on radio here.

“Such withdrawal will adversely affect service delivery to the general public including vital areas such as healthcare, revenue collection and the payment to the private sector for goods and services.”

The negotiating team said that while it recognizes that the union leadership may demand more for its members, the government has to be guided by its responsibility to the entire country.

“Workers in the private sector, banking and telecommunications, for example, have lost jobs, while government has protected the jobs of its employees. Unlike what occurred in other Islands, the Grenada government has not retrenched a single employee,” the GNT said, noting that more than EC$106 million have been paid to public servants since the said the government came to power four years ago.

It has appealed to the trade unions to accept the recommendation of the Minister for Labour, noting also that the government would be faced with additional expenditure given its commitment to the restoration and reform of pensions.

“It is just not possible for the State to pay more without seriously damaging the fiscal recovery programme and violating the Fiscal Responsibility Act, which could jeopardise the debt forgiveness of over EC$400 million and return the country to the economic state prior to the Structural Adjustment Programme,” the statement added.

Now PM Mitchell hopeful for early end to strike action

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell Tuesday said he hoped “common sense will prevail” and that public workers, who started industrial action to force his administration to heed the demands of two trade unions to conclude negotiations for the 2013-16 period.

“I am very hopeful that common sense will prevail and we will see an end to this impasse,” Prime Minister Mitchell said as he responded to the strike action by public workers.

Last weekend, the Technical and Allied Workers Union (TAWU) and the Public Workers Union (PWU) both announced plans for the industrial action over the failure to pay compensation to workers during the period when the island was implementing an International Monetary Fund (IMF) sanctioned package.

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell

The workers walked off their jobs on Monday.

The unions had originally sought EC$2,000 (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents) as a one-off payment for the period 201316 but reduced their demand to EC$1,500 after they accepted a payment of EC$1, 000 earlier this year with an assurance from the Keith Mitchell government of a possible increase in July.

The government has offered EC$650 but the unions have described that amount as “insulting” to the workers, who they said made sacrifices during the period of the structural adjustment programme.

The Government Negotiating Team (GNT) has described the strike as “disappointing” and that the unions have rejected the mediation effort of the Minister for Labour to settle the dispute of the one-off payment to public service employees.

Mitchell said that if his administration agrees to the demands of the union, it would place an additional financial burden of approximately nine million EC dollars on government expenditure.

He said he feared it could also result in the government losing millions in debt relief while violating at the same time the fiscal responsibility legislation.

“I cannot and will not do anything that will injure our ability to get debt relief…we ought not to do anything that will interfere with our opportunity,” Prime Minister Mitchell told reporters following the weekly Cabinet meeting.

The unions say they are pleased with the workers support for the strike, but Prime Minister Mitchell, who is the Minister for Finance, said that most of the employees are on the job.

“his is not having the desired result as they though it would have had,” he said, while admitting that in places where workers did not show up, members of the  management team were lending support.

“The leaders are there doing the work,” he said.

Late Monday, the government issued a statement thanking the workers, who had turned up for work, even as the unions announced an escalation of the industrial action.

“Government is pleased with the patriotic and reasonable action of these employees who, by their reporting for work maintained service to the public, particularly at the hospitals, Government Revenue Departments, Customs and several other divisions throughout the state,” the statement noted.

“Government again restates its call for the unions’ leadership to resolve the dispute through the dispute procedure. Government reaffirms its care and respect for all of its employees, and recognizes the right of workers to strike. However, workers are reminded that the exercise of their right to strike extinguishes their right to be paid,” it added.

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Dominica aerial

PM Skerrit says despite no revenue, government keeping financial obligations to public servants

ROSEAU, Dominica, Oct 4, CMC – Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit Wednesday said that public servants had received their salaries for the month of September even though the government has not received “one dollar” since Hurricane Maria pummelled the island on September 18.

Speaking at the daily briefing updating Dominicans on the progress of rehabilitation, Skerrit said that his administration was also in talks with the private sector on plans to get them functional as quickly as possible and hinted at the possibility of providing land and concessions in that regard.

Dominica aerial
Aerial view of the damage caused to Dominica by Hurricane Maria

He said while the World Bank had made available loans and grants totalling more than US$60 million to the island, he was hoping for further negotiations to bring the figure up to US$100 million and would soon be holding talks with representatives of the Washington-based financial institution.

He said while the salaries were paid and the government had been meeting its financial obligations, “further discussions will be held with our creditors.

“We have not earned one dollar since the hurricane,” Skerrit told the briefing, adding that his administration is bracing for the “serious fiscal challenge that the government will have now and in the months to come”.

Skerrit also announced that the authorities have decided to declare the capital a “pedestrian area” banning all vehicular traffic into the city.

Just too many people come into the city…if you have no business in town just don’t come into town,” he said, adding that the government will enter into an agreement with several bus drivers to provide free rides for people to and from the outskirts of the city.

“My appeal to all of us is to cooperate,” he said, adding that the high number of vehicles in the capital was hampering the work of the rescue and other teams.

Skerrit also acknowledged that the country is facing a problem with heavy duty equipment to clear roads and as a result an agreement had been reached with operators in the region so that in the next few days heavy fleet of equipment expected here soon.

“Our intention is to clean from Roseau going out,” he said, adding that heavy equipment will also be placed in the north of the island to help in the cleaning up exercise.

“Our intention is to get commercial activity going on,” Skerrit said.

Prime Minister Skerrit also indicated that the authorities would be examining the possibility of lifting the state of emergency and curfew in some areas, but said that would depend on the advice provided by the police.

“The intention is to end the curfew in some parts of the country…but that advice will be given by the Commissioner of Police later today,” he said.

Regarding the availability of supplies, Skerrit said that while many friendly governments were providing relief material to Dominica, his government had entered into an agreement with a business concern in Barbados for the supply of supplies.

He said a decision on the re-opening of the Douglas-Charles airport, north of here will also be taken soon and reminded Dominicans “this is not the time for any type of complains”.

Hurricane Maria left a trail of death and destruction when it hit the island last month, with preliminary estimated indicating that the damage could be in the vicinity of billions of dollars (one EC dollar=US$0.37 cents).

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UK joint task force

UK Joint Task Force head says territories ‘moving back towards normality’ after Hurricane Irma devastation

 TORTOLA, British Virgin Islands, Oct. 8, CMC – One month after the most powerful hurricane in decades pummeled the Caribbean, head of the United Kingdom (UK) Joint Task Force, Chris Austin, says life in affected British Overseas Territories is “moving back towards normality.”

“We have had a month of extensive emergency relief – stopping people from getting blown away, and giving them basic shelter and basic foods,”  Austin told the British Press Association.

UK joint task force “Through to schools now reopening, airports and ports are functioning, hospitals functioning, power is being reconnected, the water supply fixed – all of those things we have helped with, largely with the brilliant military effort,” he added. “So, the next stage is how we are going to get the economy rebooted.”

Austin said across the Turks and Caicos, Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands (BVI), the territories “are in different ways, open for tourists,” adding that hotel bookings and cruise ships are starting to “line themselves up.”

“It is moving back towards normality, but it is still pretty rough; and there will be people in all of those territories who have got it worse than others.”

At least 38 people were killed in the Caribbean by Hurricane Irma, with the weather  also blamed for manydeaths across the American states of Florida, South Carolina and Georgia.

Less than two weeks later, the region was rocked by a second major storm, Hurricane Maria, which narrowly missed hitting the affected British Overseas Territories with full force – but decimated Dominica and Puerto Rico.

To date, the UK government has pledged £57 million towards hurricane relief efforts, and announced an additional £5 million in financial support for the island of Dominica.

More than 132 tons of UK aid has also already arrived in the region and at the peak of relief efforts, there were more than 2,000 UK military personnel working in the Caribbean – “making it the largest deployment of British troops anywhere in the world.”

But Austin said that the military response is now “drawing down”, stating: “They will have pretty much left by the middle of next week.”

UK International Development Secretary, Priti Patel, who visited the BVI and Anguilla days after Hurricane Maria barreled through the Caribbean, said there are “signs of daily life getting back to normal.”

“Our UK Task Force is now working with the governments of the overseas territories to help them get on with the vital reconstruction work and to make sure the islands are built back more resiliently than in the past, so a future hurricane won’t be as devastating,” she said.

But, with the hurricane season set to run into November, Austin warned that the recovery is “still quite fragile” and another major storm could “reverse” any progression.

“If there is another hurricane, we are ready to respond as quickly as we did to Irma, which I think was a quick response rather than a slow response,” Austin said.

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ExxonMobil finds more oil in new well offshore Guyana

TEXAS, Oct. 5, CMC –  US based oil giant, Exxon Mobil Corporation on Thursday announced it made a fifth new oil discovery after drilling the Turbot-1 well offshore Guyana.

oilTurbot is ExxonMobil’s latest discovery to date in Guyana, adding to previous discoveries at Liza, Payara, Snoek and Liza Deep.

Following completion of the Turbot-1 well, the Stena Carron drillship will move to the Ranger prospect – an additional well on the Turbot discovery is being planned for 2018.

“ExxonMobil affiliate Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Ltd. began drilling the Turbot-1 well in August and encountered a reservoir of 75 feet of high-quality, oil-bearing sandstone in the primary objective,” said ExxonMobil in a statement.

The well was safely drilled to 18,445 feet in 5,912 feet of water on September 29.

The Turbot-1 well is located in the southeastern portion of the Stabroek Block, approximately 30 miles to the southeast of the Liza phase one project.

“The results from this latest well further illustrate the tremendous potential we see from our exploration activities offshore Guyana,” said Steve Greenlee, president of ExxonMobil Exploration Company.

“ExxonMobil, along with its partners, will continue to further evaluate opportunities on the Stabroek Block,” he added.

The Stabroek Block is 6.6 million acres .

Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited is operator and holds 45 percent interest in the Stabroek Block. Hess Guyana Exploration Ltd. holds 30 percent interest and CNOOC Nexen Petroleum Guyana Limited holds 25 percent interest.

ExxonMobil, the largest publicly traded international oil and gas company, uses technology and innovation to help meet the world’s growing energy needs.

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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.

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Dominica 8

Caribbean disaster experts to discuss ways to assist region during SOTIC conference

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Oct 4, CMC – Leading experts in disaster preparedness and mitigation, recovery, funding, airport development and maintenance among other stakeholders will meet in Grenada net week to discuss ways on how the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) conference in Jamaica in November can assist Caribbean countries battered by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett Wednesday said that the four hour discussions will be held on October 12 as part of the weeklong Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) State of the Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC) to be held in St. George’s.

Dominica 8He said it is the hope that the outcome of the meeting could into the special session of the November 27-29 UNWTO conference in Jamaica “and that a document will emerge from SOTIC which will help to inform that session at the Jamaica/UNWTO summit”.

“Recover & Rebuild will focus on the economic cost of the disasters, including the potential impact on gross domestic product, employment, the cost to rebuild and the recovery time. Key recommendations emerging from Recover & Rebuild will form part of the comprehensive document which we believe will have industry-wide international significance,” Bartlett said.

He said he was urging all stakeholders within the tourism industry to attend both the Grenada and Jamaica meetings adding that “these two crucial events will help set the course for recovery and growth for all of us over the next year and shape the future of tourism for the Caribbean region”.

Several Caribbean countries, notably, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, St. Maarten were battered by the hurricanes last month as they made their way through the Lesser Antilles leaving a trail of death and destruction estimated at billions of dollars.

Bartlett said that Jamaica “continues to extend our thoughts and prayers to our Caribbean brothers and sisters” and recognises that the entire Caribbean region will be adversely impacted by the lasting results of two hurricanes.

He said Kingston has recognised the efforts of the Barbados-based CTO, in conjunction with the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) as well as the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) in assisting the region and ensuring that timely and accurate information is disseminated.

“We are aware that CTO and CDEMA technical teams have been on the ground in the various islands doing rapid needs assessments and coordinating with the national authorities in managing the various interventions, to mitigate the pain and hardships that are so pervasive at this time.”

He said a meeting held last month in China of the UNWTO and attended by 10 countries from the Caribbean and Latin America agreed on the need “to assist in the Caribbean natural disaster risk management and response initiatives” and to include in the Jamaica conference an opportunity for all interested parties to discuss and implement a plan of action.

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World Bankk

World Bank says remittances to the Caribbean recover modestly after two-year decline


WASHINGTON, Oct 4, CMC – The World Bank says remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean are expected to increase by 6.9 per cent to US$79 billion this year.

In the latest edition of the Bank’s Migration and Development Brief, the Washington-based financial institution noted that “economic growth and improvement in the labour market in the United States is having a positive impact on the outlook for remittance flows”.

World BankkDilip Ratha, the lead author of the Brief said “remittances are a lifeline for developing countries; this is particularly true following natural disasters, such as the recent earthquakes in Mexico and the storms devastating the Caribbean.

“It is imperative for the global community to reduce the cost of remitting money, by eliminating exclusivity contracts, especially in the high-income OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries. There is also an urgent need to address de-risking behaviour of global banks,” he added.

However, the report notes growth in remittances to the region will moderate in 2018 to US$82 billion.

The World Bank estimates that officially recorded remittances to developing countries on a whole are expected to grow by 4.8 per cent to US$450 billion for 2017.

It said global remittances, which include flows to high-income countries, are projected to grow by 3.9 per cent to US$596 billion and that the recovery in remittance flows is driven by relatively stronger growth in the European Union, Russian Federation, and the United States.

The Bank says those regions likely to see the strongest growth in remittance inflows this year are Sub-Saharan Africa, Europe and Central Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean.

It said in keeping with an improving global economy, remittances to low- and middle-income countries are expected to grow modestly by 3.5 per cent in 2018, to US$466 billion, adding that global remittances will grow by 3.4 per cent to US$616 billion in 2018.

The Bank noted that the global average cost of sending US$200 remained stagnant at 7.2 per cent in the third quarter of 2017, adding that this was significantly higher than the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target of three per cent.

The Brief presents the results of a survey, conducted by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development (KNOMAD), on recruitment costs paid by low-skilled migrant workers.

Reducing recruitment costs is a part of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of promoting safe, regular and orderly migration. Such costs can be exorbitantly high in some corridors, the Brief noted.

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Karolin Toubetzkoy

Regional hoteliers launch “One Caribbean Family” initiative

MIAMI, Oct 3, CMC – The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) has launched a booking initiative that allows hotels across the region to help those who have been adversely impacted by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

The CHTA said that the initiative will also highlight the fact that more than 70 per cent of Caribbean destinations have not been affected and are ready to welcome visitors as usual.

Karolin Toubetzkoy
Karolin Toubetzkoy

CHTA said that it’s “One Caribbean Family” movement has been developed to help the vital tourism industry get back on its feet and will serve as a hub for hotels, travel advisors and tour operators who would like to make a contribution through guest bookings.

It said donations made through the initiative are sent to the Caribbean Tourism Recovery Fund managed by Tourism Cares, a non-profit organization which has partnered with CHTA to anchor the tourism industry’s hurricane recovery efforts in the Caribbean.

“We want to show our solidarity with the Caribbean countries affected by these storms, not just in words but with actions that can bring relief to those in need,” said CHTA president, Karolin Troubetzkoy.

She said while she is encouraged by the initial pledges of support for the One Caribbean Family initiative by some of the region’s hotels and international tour operators and travel advisors, she would like to see more Caribbean hotels and trade partners come on board.

“How can any hotel or hotel chain in the region and our trade partners feel good about securing incremental business as a result of hotel closures due to hurricanes?”

“While this may sound idealistic, the need to come together and act as one Caribbean tourism family has never been greater,” she said, applauding the tourism industry partners who have launched fundraising initiatives of their own, but hopes these will not deter them from also participating in the One Caribbean Family initiative.

“To bring aid to the countries and the people who were affected will be an enormous task, and the One Caribbean Family initiative is a unique way to spread the good word that most of the Caribbean is open for business while helping those destinations most in need,” she opined.

Troubetzkoy said her company is pledging to donate up to US$50 for each booking for travel between October 1, 2017 and December 19, 2018.

“We started this pledge for direct reservations and bookings through our travel advisors, but now we are also including some wholesalers who will match our donation,” she said, adding that guests wishing to make additional contributions to the Fund will receive resort credits up to US$250, depending on their contribution.

“When any part of the region is affected, it hits us so close to home, because the entire Caribbean is our home,” she said, adding “this is one tangible way our tourism community can stand in solidarity with our neighbours.”

The Caribbean Tourism Recovery Fund allows tourism industry stakeholders and friends of the region throughout the world to pool their resources in support of vulnerable, devastated parts of the Caribbean that welcome millions of visitors in a region that supports 2.4 million tourism-related jobs.

The Fund’s focus on the recovery of islands directly affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria complements existing relief efforts and gives the tourism industry a way to leverage its resources to help the region bounce back, ideally better than before.

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Prime Minister R Skerrit

Dominica reiterates importance of agriculture as it rebuilds following Hurricane Maria

ROSEAU, Dominica, Oct 6, CMC – The Dominica government Friday reiterated that the agricultural sector remains ‘a  critical” aspect of the island’s re-development following the passage of Hurricane Maria late month that killed 28 people and left billions of dollars in damages.

“We have said many times since the hurricane, that agriculture is a critical component of our re-building efforts, to ensure that we can start producing food and make food available not only to our domestic markets but also to our export markets in the region,” Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit told the daily news briefing here.

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit

He said people in several parts of the part of the island depend on agriculture for their livelihood, sustenance as well as income “and we need to ensure that our people can go back to work in the quickest possible time”.

Skerrit said that a loan facility in place at the Agricultural Industrial and Development (AID) Bank prior to the hurricane, targeted farmers and said ‘we shall be reviewing that financing facility…to allow it to be more robust and more nimble in its application so that those funds can get into the farms, fields and farmers as quickly as possible.

“The idea is to provide both an advance technical assistance to farmers, planting material to farmers, assisting them with the payment of farm labour , to accelerate their planting opportunities,” Skerrit said, adding that the Ministry of Agriculture will outline later on Friday ‘special initiatives” outlined by the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) “which we have greatly accepted”.

Skerrit said that seedlings would be distributed to farmers “but the whole idea is to get farmers back in the fields post haste, to start with the short term crops…things that we can harvest in two to six weeks”.

He said the intention also is to have bananas and plantains available in the country within the next seven months, not only for domestic but for regional consumption.

Skerrit told reporters that his administration is in discussions with the food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), OECS, the European Union, Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) and other stakeholders and that the hope is ‘that very soon we shall convene a stakeholders consultation with all of our partners…specifically targeting agriculture and livestock”.

He said the government was also putting in place a national task force  for the resurgence of agriculture in Dominica” with the membership coming from “beyond our boundaries…to monitor, to assess the implementation of the strategy”

Skerrit said instruction had also been given to the Ministry of Agriculture to get the abattoir up and running and provide assistance to livestock farmers in that regard.

Skerrit said that Dominica has not been importing eggs more than 25 years and he hopes that it would remain so as the farmers move quickly to rehabilitate their farms.

“Agriculture for us, food security for us is priority number one and we will be articulating further some of the more specific interventions, specific support we will be providing to the farmers across the country,” Skerrit added.

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Governance hitting a real low, which arm of government?

Governance hitting a real low, which arm of government?

October 6, 2017

We believe this chaos of governance began long ago since HMG seemed to have lost their own focus of good governance and back when Montserrat governments began asking for involvement in the selection and appointment of Governors for the island. We were probably appeased on that matter, we then unknowingly somehow thought, when in mid-late 2000s, Government could propose and select a Deputy Governor.

Perhaps just like how he was recalled functioning as Hon. Speaker from time to time since he retired, he should have been the first substantive Deputy Governor for about a year at least while training. The truth on that however is that we have kept turning away, persons we considered to be suitable for the position. We have had two Deputy Governors with a third acting and in training, within the ten years.

All our Governors, or most of them for many years now have come to us with little or no experience or training through the Foreign Commonwealth office. That has been a burden and more and more, a weakness in our governance. In recent times we have suffered because either we had an experienced political head, taking advantage, or, one who is taken advantage of. We stand ready to hear the full truth of a Governor, who after all the earlier rhetoric, we believe has been recalled posing the problem of having to wait six months before she can be replaced. If we had a substantive Deputy Governor that situation would have been different.

Since hurricanes Irma and Maria there have been some developments, some we’ve reported on, others prior, such as the Gomersall’s firing. We have discovered that all of these as we suggested had a level of corruption that shows that the people involved in making the decisions did so either deliberately in an effort to slow down, ridicule our political leader or worse, ignorantly or otherwise thwarting the progress of the island.

A Montserrat by the way, which has not lost its uniqueness in its need for rebuild and redevelopment, nor is the responsibility and obligation that HMG has lessened in any way, compared to the disasters that some of the other Overseas Territories have experienced; lets add Barbuda and Dominica.

We will find that both Anguilla and BVI are already reporting signs of recovery. Montserrat had been there, and that was our experience. Only that a little less than six years after Hugo, we were to experience an extinction from which 22 years later Montserrat has not yet recovered, not to mention a return to that place in a lifetime perhaps for the person born before 1995.

How is it we landed a Governor who after two years did not understand her roles under her responsibilities, (not power!! As have so long been referred); and her accountability and to whom? Why could she feel she should dare to ridicule, belittle, upstage the Premier on his duty to speak and report to his people and to OECS and CARICOM; worst yet she under her own responsibility had fallen short in reporting on such matters. Just as she admitted in the press conference, which she abruptly ended, after she questioned about being harassed.

It is that corruptible desire, in the face of their own shortcomings and the hearts of others that brought about the circumstances that Her Excellency could not explain her error in boastfully she had signed a declaration for a ‘period of emergency’ under “Your Constitution which you voted for”. That we learnt came in the presence of some 15-20 ENDPRAC meeting participants. Then there was the claim of ‘confidentiality’.  

The Governor’s report on the passage of hurricanes was brief and on brief questions later found wanting but pointing out the shoddiness of the preparation. She promised during her walkout to go into more details at later meets.

Just a quick word on the shocking news, when one listens to or reads about UK parliamentarian Boris Johnson, Theresa May, and DFID’s Priti Patel, it is not only shocking but disgraceful the position that Patel’s Deputy Head brought to Montserrat, when they are urgently talking about making their Territories resilient to be telling Montserrat they will have firstly co-fund the installation of the fibre-optic cable ‘economic’ game changer for Montserrat, something that would be economically beneficial even to the ‘motherland’. This after they have signed off years ago and have put in motion the funding.

Governor Carrier could have used the shortage of time during her press conference for not answering about her knowledge or even involvement in this, but may reconsider for future as the current DFID rep should be prepared to answer as to her knowledge or involvement in that outcome.

See articles in this issue of matters mentioned above

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The Montserrat Reporter - August 18, 2017