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Dublin’s St Patrick’s Day Parade, which is attended by hundreds of thousands of people is set to be cancelled this year in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus.  Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Coronavirus: Three new Irish cases confirmed as St Patrick’s Day parades cancelled

Reprint from the Irish Times

€2.6bn sick pay measures and business liquidity fund announced; stocks markets plunge

Dublin’s St Patrick’s Day Parade, which is attended by hundreds of thousands of people is set to be cancelled this year in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus.  Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times
Dublin’s St Patrick’s Day Parade, which is attended by hundreds of thousands of people is set to be canceled this year in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Fiach Kelly, Martin Wall, Paul Cullen Updated: about 15 hours ago

Three newly discovered cases of coronavirus were reported on Monday evening, bringing the total of confirmed cases in the Republic to 24.

 The new cases included three women who had close contact with a confirmed case. Two, including one healthcare worker, are in the south of the country, and one is in the west.

 It has also emerged that one previously reported case involved a person who had traveled from Africa through a European country. This is the only travel-related case not linked to Italy.

Fourteen of the 24 cases are associated with travel from an at-risk zone, seven came from contact with a confirmed case and two have arisen in the health service. Three cases are the result of community transmission for which there is as yet no explanation.

Chief medical officer at the Department of Health Dr. Tony Holohan said Ireland remained in a containment phase, but would “eventually” move to a delay phase and then on to a mitigation phase.

Ireland still has a “relatively small number of mostly isolated, sporadic cases,” he said.

He said it is planned to introduce a number of measures relating to individual and collective behaviour but it was not to start these before they are necessary. “The measures we deploy have to be deployed at the right time,” he said, otherwise people would become “fatigued” and their compliance would drop.

The new cases come after the Government agreed on an aid package of some €3bn  to deal with the public health and economic impact of coronavirus. It has also canceled all St Patrick’s Day Parades in the State in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.

Sick pay

People affected by coronavirus are to receive sick pay of €305 per week from their first day of illness under a new initiative announced by the Government. 

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the existing conditions surrounding the sick payments, such as having a specific number of contributions, would be waived. 
Payments will also be available to the self-employed.  The Taoiseach said emergency legislation to change the existing rules governing sick pay would be introduced in the Dail next week.  This measure is estimated to cost €2.4bn. 

The decisions were made following a meeting of the new Cabinet sub-committee on Covid-19 and followed advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team.

It says the HSE  is scaling up its actions to deal with a population impact over the coming months which will cost in the region of €435 million in 2020. It says a package for business will include a €200m “liquidity fund”. 

At a press conference in Government Buildings, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: “It is possible we are facing events that are unprecedented in modern times”.

Related

Mr. Varadkar said the State’s response has to be “modulated and has to be calibrated” and said decisions on how to react to Coronavirus will not be made “on foot of pressure” from business, politics, the media or social media.

He said the Government will have to make sure “that the interventions that are going to take place have to work” at the right time. He said the spread of Coronavirus cannot be stopped but “it can be slowed” and that it warrants a societal response as well as a medical response.

“If the worst projections come true – come to be the case – if a vaccine and a treatment is not developed then obviously the situation is going to be not like anything that we’ve experienced in our living memory,” he added.

Coronavirus outbreak: Main developments on Monday

In Northern Ireland, two schools have been closed for a deep clean after a student tested positive for coronavirus.  The health minister Robin Swann told the North’s Assembly that the schools are located on the same site.  Northern Ireland currently has 12 confirmed cases of coronavirus.

Councilors in Belfast have voted to cancel the city’s St Patrick’s Day parade because of coronavirus. 

The St Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin draws nearly 500,000 people and it is the latest in a series of large public events to be canceled. The celebrations were expected to generate  €73 million for the economy.

The last time St Patrick’s Day parades were canceled was due to the foot and mouth restrictions in 2001.

Concerns over the impact of coronavirus on the global economy on Monday prompted some of the biggest one-day stock market falls since the 2008 crash.

US stocks plunged 7 percent after opening on Monday, triggering a 15-minute trading halt for the first time since December 2008.

The France-Ireland Six Nations game which was scheduled to conclude the Guinness 2020 Six Nations in the Stade de France next Saturday was postponed until October.

It has also been confirmed Mr. Varadkar will shorten his St Patrick’s visit to the US to attend further meetings about coronavirus.

Mr. Varadkar is not attending an engagement in New York on Tuesday and instead will begin his trip in Washington on Wednesday.

Ireland’s match against France in the Six Nations has been postponed until October. Photograph: Reuters
Ireland’s match against France in the Six Nations has been postponed until October. Photograph: Reuters

Stock markets were also spooked by the stand-off between Saudi Arabia and Russia which has triggered a 30 percent crash in oil prices.

More than 110,000 people have been infected in 105 countries and territories and 3,800 have died, mostly in mainland China, according to a Reuters tally.

Europe

The whole of Italy is to be put on lockdown to deal with Coronavirus, the prime minister Giuseppe Conte announced on Monday.

He will move to extend restrictive measures on travel — currently in force in the north — throughout the rest of the country in a bid to limit the spread of coronavirus after the number of cases soared by 25 percent. He also said all public gatherings will be banned.

The country has also reported 463 deaths from the virus an increase of 97 from Sunday. Italy’s cabinet is expected on Wednesday to approve a €7.5 billion package to help to offset the hit from the crisis.

Five people have died and 319 people have tested positive for the disease, up from 273 at the same point on Sunday, the UK’s department of health said.

All sporting activity at all levels in Italy has been suspended until April 3rd at the earliest, the Italian national Olympic committee (Coni) has announced.

The French government announced on Sunday it was banning all gatherings of more than 1,000 people in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Germany has reported four deaths and has also implemented a similar ban on gatherings of more than 1,000 people.

European Union leaders will hold emergency talks soon to discuss a joint response to coronavirus, officials said on Monday, as the bloc’s executive considers relaxing state subsidy rules to allow extra public spending.

In the United States, officials are preparing to receive thousands of people onboard a cruise ship with at least 21 people on board infected by coronavirus.

More than 3,500 people on the ship come from 54 countries, including Ireland. – Additional reporting agencies

See below – more cancellations of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations:

https://www.bostonglobe.com/2020/03/09/metro/will-boston-cancel-sundays-st-patricks-day-parade-southie/

Boston cancels St. Patrick’s Day parade in South Boston amid coronavirus fears

By Danny McDonald Globe Staff,Updated March 9, 2020, 12:07 p.m. 126

A pipes-and-drum band marches in the St. Patrick's Day parade in South Boston last year.
A pipes-and-drum band marches in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in South Boston last year. Nathan Klima for The Boston Globe

The St. Patrick’s Day Parade in South Boston scheduled for Sunday has been canceled amid rising numbers of coronavirus infections in Boston, Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced Monday.

“This decision is being made out of an abundance of caution to ensure that we are doing what is needed to keep the residents of Boston safe and healthy,” Walsh said in a news release that described the decision as a collaboration with state and city representatives and David Falvey of the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council.Related: Mass. coronavirus cases rise to 41 as events are canceled

CANCELED: 169th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Festival | San Francisco

Saturday, March 14, 2020 – All Day | Cost: FREE
Market Street | Market Street and Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CAFinancial DistrictSan Francisco

https://sf.funcheap.com/san-franciscos-st-patricks-day-parade/

David Yu

THIS YEAR’S FESTIVITIES HAVE BEEN POSTPONED
The 2020 San Francisco Saint Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival has been postponed. The permits for the Parade and the Festival—both scheduled for Saturday, March 14th, 2020—were canceled by the City and County of San Francisco on Friday, March 6th, 2020, as part of a series of measures designed to reduce the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Culture, Health, International, Local, News, Regional, TOURISM, Travel0 Comments

UK Caribbean Deportations to Go Ahead

UK Caribbean Deportations to Go Ahead

St. Kitts-Nevis Observer

By snr-editor – February 10, 2020

Rishi Sunak

A senior minister has defended a plan to deport 50 people toJamaica despite widespread calls to halt the flight chartered by the Home Office.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Rishi Sunak insisted today that those being forcibly removed had committed “very serious offences” and their deportations were “reasonable”.

It comes after more than 150 cross-party MPs and peers, including Jeremy Corbyn, wrote to Boris Johnson calling on him to stop tomorrow’s flight.

One man facing deportation is 30-year-old Reshawn Davis (pictured above).

He was convicted of robbery 10 years ago and served a two-month jail sentence for the offence.

Mr. Davis has lived in the UK since he was 11 and if deported tomorrow, would have to leave behind his British wife and daughter – he has said he is “terrified” at the thought of returning to Jamaica.

This is the second flight to Jamaica after the Windrush Scandal, when it emerged that dozens of people had been wrongly deported from the UK by the Home Office.

In wake of the controversy, the government suspended charter flights as they could not guarantee that no wrongful deportations would take place.

The protest was organised by Nottingham East Labour MP Nadia Whittome, who warned that the government could repeat the mistakes of Windrush.

In the letter she said the deportation was intended to oust people who have been resident in the UK for decades and argued that deportations should be halted until a report into the Windrush controversy is released.

The MP said: “The fact is that many of the individuals in question have lived in the UK since they were children and at least 41 British children are now at risk of losing their fathers through this charter flight.

“The government risks repeating the mistakes of the Windrush scandal unless it cancels this flight and others like it until the Windrush Lessons Learned Review has been published and its recommendations implemented.”

But Mr Sunak said he believes the flight is “right” and the British public would expect foreign national offenders to be deported.

“What that plane is about is deporting foreign national criminals. Many of these people have committed crimes such as manslaughter, rape, other very serious offences,” he told Sky News.

Tajay Thompson came to the UK when he was five and has only visited Jamaica twice since

Another facing deportation to Jamaica is 23-year-old Tajay Thompson, who was convicted of a Class A drug offence as a teenager.

Mr. Thompson was brought to Britain as a five-year-old and lives with his mother and younger brother in south London, having only visited Jamaica twice on holidays since.

“I feel like I was born here. Jamaica is not my country,” he said.

“It’s not like I’m a rapist or a murderer, I’ve made a mistake when I was 17 and it’s now going to affect my whole life.”

Human Rights Appeal

An appeal has been renewed for Human Rights organisations worldwide to come to the aid of Caribbean immigrants who are the direct victims of the Windrush scandal.

Foreign Affairs Minister for Antigua and Barbuda EP Chet Greene echoed the call on Sunday on the Big Issues as the UK government gets ready to deport Caribbean nationals, some of whom arrived in the UK as children, and are parents of British children.

A flight, which is expected to depart the UK for Jamaica on Tuesday with approximately 60 deportees on board, is reportedly the second since the Windrush scandal erupted about two years ago.

“We are calling on all those rights organisations to come to the aid of the Caribbean people in the face of this wicked, very vindictive, very unlawful act on the part of the British government of deporting persons who have equity and stake in Britain,” Greene said.

The Windrush scandal erupted in 2018 when it came to light that some migrants from Commonwealth countries, including Antigua and Barbuda, who were encouraged to settle in the UK from the late 1940s to 1973, were being wrongly categorised as “illegal immigrants.”

News of the move sent shockwaves throughout the Caribbean and the rest of the Commonwealth, with many pundits raising alarm over the decision.

Posted in Court, Culture, Features, International, Legal, Local, News, Politics, Regional, UK - Brexit0 Comments

rasta protest march6

Police accused of wearing masks at ‘stop and search’ ‘routines’

Police tactics under complaint scrutiny

During this past week, an investigation has been launched into allegations made initially on social media, and accordinly from direct complaints about the approach taken by Officers while conducting stop and search procedures, here.

It is alleged that some officers of the RMPS, have been taking an aggressive approach when conducting stop & search activities. Some persons also claim that officers have been wearing facemasks, while carrying out these activities, and were not wearing ‘police’ uniform.  

Following now, is our first knowledge of the ongoing situation which is not from Social media, but as indicated.

Around the middle of the month our attention was drawn to an article by a colleague Jeevan A. Robinson – MNI Media | Date: 15 September 2019 – Montserrat | What is Happening at the RMPS? MNI Media Writes an Open Letter to the Gentlemen In Charge of the Royal Montserrat Police Service

It is further understood that names and identification as to who these Officers were, was refused when requested, Robinson said.

He continued that “The purpose of MNI’s open letter to you both today, as the two in charge of the RMPS, is not to offer condemnation; as I am almost certain that the aims of your role are to ensure that the island is served efficiently and appropriately by the Officers that make up the Police Service on Montserrat. However, MNI is sure you both are aware of recent instances where members of the public have been voicing openly, via social media, their concerns over the treatment they have experienced when interacting with some your Officers.

The article drew attention to a specific post on Facebook which we followed and found as follows: Trevon M Pollard 

September 15 at 1:45 AM · 

“Moments ago I was attacked by Four police officers Two from the previous batch released from the Montserrat Police Service and Two from the recent one all wearing dark clothing, except one in uniform they used indecent language, some threatening language such as you better watch yourself, you do not know what you have done , one also said Karma is a bitch, on not finding anything in my car they tried all kind of ploys to get me to attack one of them . One recruit as I was leaving threw himself on the bonnet of my car to say, “you want to knock me down that is assaulting an officer.” I am calling on the powers that be to take the necessary course of Justice as I made a formal report minutes ago.”

The MNIMedia editor in his article reported that he checked, as most journalists are expected to with stories that appear on social media, with Pollard.

He continued in his articled ‘open letter’, “It is known that factually the RMPS do conduct stop and search on members of the public. You have a job to do and that is understandable.

On the night Mr. Pollard was stopped and searched, it is understood that he was informed that he was suspected of having Cannabis (marijuana) in his possession. 

However, is it standard practice that RMPS Officers pull over citizens wearing face masks? Are these standard issue gear for your Officers? 

Is it also standard issue that your RMPS Officers should be wearing studded gloves that can inflict undue harm whether intentionally or unintentionally on members of the public with whom they come into contact?

Rastas marching up goverment headquaters

See the full article at: http://www.mnialive.com/articles/what-is-happening-at-the-rmps-mni-media-writes-an-open-letter-to-the-gentlemen-in-charge-of-the-roya

The information that came from this was shocking enough and got us all here asking questions with ZJBNews also picking up on the story and reporting later.

What we discovered was even more surprising particularly that before and after the Commissioner reacted on ZJB radio there have been similar and worse complaints before, regarding the conduct of the police with the public in fairly recent times. We were surprised to learn that several of these complaints had been made to the police before that which caused the media to call for answers.

One returning and visiting Montserratian woman complained of being aggressively hustled out of her car and accused of having too many persons in the car, never knowing whether these were indeed police. She did launch a complaint but was too shaken to ask for IDs etc or names of the person carrying out the stop. Another woman complained of being harassed having been stopped three times within a short space of time and asked the same question even after she had complied by taking her driver’s license and registration records to the police station, the first-time round.

Some similar complaints from persons who have been accosted by who they realise are police officers, later, sometimes after skirmishes or unpleasant exchanges with who they discover were police officers, wearing masks. The police were often, mostly in plain clothes and there was at least one person who said that there was in one instance an officer in uniform, but who hid initially, making identification of the alleged police officers.

The Commissioner when challenged with the issue initially was cautious but spent much time explaining the police functions require them in carrying out their protection of the law to behave in a certain way, that is in keeping with the law, pointing out that no one is above the law. Eventually on the matter of the masks, he said that they are not part of the police kit.  Later speaking with ‘Basil on the Breakfast show’ last Friday, he reported that an internal investigation is on the way. He requested that persons with evidence of the same experience to contact ‘the police, through whatever means they chose.

We discovered that several persons who experienced the ‘stop and search’ accompanied by reportedly unusual and aggressive behaviour, even suffered loss.

Some persons claiming themselves to be members of the Rastafarian community who gather around the Carrs Bay area in Montserrat, also complained that the police had been behaving improperly, impose and trespass on their constitutional rights.

Hearing little and fearing no positive response following their complaints they were eventually moved to protest, launching a march today, which was being planned since Wednesday, to the Governor’s office, with placards and chants: “Police in masks? Terrorists! What we need? Justice! And who are we? Rastafari!

Outside the Governor’s office, spokesperson Karen Allen with whom I had spoken the Wednesday, spoke briefly pointing out the concerns centering around how they feel their constitutional rights have been abused. There they requested and met with the Governor and the Police Commissioner.

At the Governor’s press meet on the Wednesday 26th, we raised the issue of the recent complaints of the unconventional activities and behaviour of the police and the discomfort and distrust the public was beginning to express. With time running out, he responded that he had great confidence in the Police Commissioner who he said was handling the situation as described earlier. He startled us however, that regards to the masks, denying the allegations, “there were no masks he said, they were police gear…”

We will update this report as to the outcome of the Rastas’ protest march which included one of the stops and search victims who lost property, and the subsequent meeting with Governor Pearce and Commissioner Foster.

Posted in Crime, Culture, Featured, Local, News, Police, Regional, Religion0 Comments

Vernaire Bass

New head of Planning and Production at MAC

The Montserrat Arts Council (MAC) has a mandate to foster the development of art; uplift the condition of arts and artists; advise the Minister on art and cultural matters; ensure the implementation of the government’s cultural policy; implement government’s regional and international cultural commitments; and co-ordinate the activities of the agencies in Montserrat responsible for cultural activities.

It is on that background of responsibility that the MAC with an operational budget which is 100% funded by the Government of Montserrat, moved to appoint a Head of Planning and Production.

Vernaire Bass

The announcement came in a release on September 2, 2019, which said that “Vernaire Bass has been appointed to the position of Head of Planning and Production.”

Miss Bass is a recent returnee to Montserrat and brings to the position more than 10 years of experience as a project manager and business strategist.
Bass acquired a Bachelor of Arts with honours in Business and Business Law at the London Metropolitan University in 2009. Since leaving university, Vernaire has worked for large U.K. organisations including the Royal College of Physicians, the Ministry of Defence, Capita PLC, Birmingham City Council, and most recently for the Ministry of Health and Social Services in Montserrat.

MAC’s Director Kenneth “Rabo” Silcott said Bass’ “extensive experience in project management, programme design and execution made her a natural fit for the Head of Planning and Production role. She comes to the MAC at a time when we are repositioning the organisation to better support the development of culture as a strong economic catalyst. I am very pleased to have her join the team.”

The senior role leads on logistics and planning of all MAC programmes, including festivals and cultural events. She will also support the director as the point of contact between private stakeholders and vendors on production-related matters and is expected to identify new cultural industry products that will enhance Montserrat’s tourism product and generate economic activity.

Miss Bass joins the team as of September 6, 2019.

Posted in Announcements/Greetings, Business/Economy/Banking, Culture, Entertainment, Local, News, OECS, Regional, TOURISM0 Comments

Documentation will get speedy remedies and actions

Documentation will get speedy remedies and actions

September 20, 2019


The Montserrat Premier has said several weeks ago that General Elections due in Montserrat before mid-January 2020 will likely be held before Christmas this year. Unsubstantiated and still no confirmation from a few weeks, a source mentioned that the elections would be held on December 8, 2019, but that’s a Sunday, then yet another says December 4.

What is certain is that just following the calamitous disaster of over two weeks ago in the Bahamas, electioneering utterances, well below the lowly Montserrat norm are increasing. And, we can begin to believe that it will not be too long now as we can hear reactions and jingles from the incumbents.

However, so far there is very little, as the old struggle of leadership among groupings, and party if they really exist, where none with the exception of Dr. L. Lewis and Easton T. Farrell, and Charles Kirnon have more than ten years’ service as a legislator. Then, the only one among the top three, Dr. Lewis is heads above the lot in many ways and some that count than the rest. Statements and denials regarding the matter surely do not help, as this place is far too small, numbers too few, to fool the people. A people whom we believe are smarter than the ignorance exhibited in some circles, too many for fact.

Just like the political education seem to be so wonting, there is a growing need for a serious rounded education system. The lack of a different, better and more fitting system results in that the fewness in our numbers leaves so many after 16 plus years – how could any child leave the Secondary School without mastering the very basics of reading and counting.

 It might be that there are a few, or maybe more than imaginable who feel smug about the so–called teachers protest at the beginning of this month. If all the reasons and expressed are correct for the need to get out and parade (protest) in front of the Karney Osborne Building that house the Ministry of Education, there was certainly some dishonest and ill directed motives involved.

Upon investigation of the situation one will find it difficult not to also conclude, surprisingly though it may be, that the whole concoct was politically motivated, if not wholly.

It was surprising to hear the Minister suggest that there was a shortage of communication that might have encouraged the outing, but that may well be expected given their record. However, there are teachers and top education officials who will say, “not true, even if they didn’t tell us all, we knew there were problems…”

We note that since May there was talk and discussionof some situations. And then quickly some things come to mind, with the low-level quality of the Human Resource Division and going back to about 2012-13 when the education budget was decreased, the system malfunctioning, with so many other variables.

One thing eventually crowned all, when the final report came to light, it sounded ecstatic for someone to say that coming out of the resulting protest meetings, they had been asked to put into writing what the issues has been that faced at school so the matter is looked at for speedy remedy. Really!? Very hard to comprehend that without some documentation a situation can end up to be in such bad state that people were ‘no wonder’ encouraged out in protest.

But then! That has been an issue for much of the problem we face which make a further problem as when it comes to dealing with the processes which involve documentation, it invokes discomfort, reluctance, refusal and confusion and of course problems with not so welcome consequences.

That the issues will need to be put in writing, some will surely suffer as there will be no trail to follow, and it might just be difficult to justify some requests. This is not referencing the new buildings to include those that need to be replaced. There are many more issues that need urgent and serious attention, with some honest planning and understanding to move them along.

Documentation works with truth, an obstacle in our culture, these days.

Posted in Culture, Editorial, Education, Local, Politics, Regional0 Comments

Jamaicans warned against using bleaching creams

Jamaicans warned against using bleaching creams

by staff writer

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Sept 11, CMC – Health and Wellness Minister, Dr. Christopher Tufton, is urging Jamaicans to desist from using bleaching creams as anti-aging formulas.

He wants people who are aging to focus on eating healthy and exercising, rather than using quick formulas to look younger, as the creams oftentimes have long- term side-effects that impact the health of the users.

“I am saying to the population, bleaching cream is unhealthy. It’s not going to make you look better and enjoy longevity of life. It won’t solve the aging issue,” Tufton said, as he launched Caribbean Wellness Day 2019 that will be observed across the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) on Saturday.

“Bleaching cream and plastic surgery cannot deal with aging… I think the world has become enticed, whether through marketing efforts, anecdotal evidence, our own personal hopes and aspirations, that there’s a quick fix to everything that we do, and can be enticed with measures for self-preservation that give a very short-term hope and ultimately leads to dismay and disaster,” he added.

Tufton said there are some fundamental underpinning of healthy aging, driven by science and research, with best practices that include living a lifestyle that moderates consumption habits with activities each day, which he is encouraging Jamaicans to consider, instead of bleaching their skin.

“The real solution lies in how we treat with ourselves and how we take responsibility for caring for ourselves and, indeed, beyond that, planning for the future… We need to see aging as an opportunity, not as a threat,” he said.

On Saturday, the Ministry of Health and Wellness, along with its stakeholders, will be hosting numerous activities in recognition of Caribbean Wellness Day 2019.

Some of these activities include health expos and health fairs. One major activity promoting healthy lifestyles  is the Colour Me Happy Run, which is endorsed by Jamaica Moves.

Posted in CARICOM, Culture, Education, Fashion, Local, News, Regional, Youth0 Comments

The deep state swamp dragon (HT scerg, DA)

Montserrat: why do we need a Development Partnership MoU with the UK?

Part 10/2019 (Contribution)

Is there a real “deep state swamp dragon,” which will try to block our progress?

BRADES, Montserrat, August 30, 2019 –   One of the commonest complaints about key development projects for Montserrat, is how they move in a dragged out, stop, study, start, re-study, consult, stop again . . . pattern. In many cases, for 10 to 20 years now. This indefensible outrage clearly points to the need for an agreed framework that moves us ahead steadily on the key, catalytic initiatives needed to re-spark self-sustaining growth like we once had, before the volcano crisis.

So, just as we looked at the need for, usefulness of and possible format of a Charter of Good Governance “last time”[1] we also need to ponder what a credible framework for a Development Partnership with HMG should look like. 

For instance, why not:

  • A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between our government and the UK Government, acting through DfID and FCO? (With attached technical agreements with DfID the main implementing agency on the UK side.)
  • Using the usual “whereases” to set a context for why such a partnership is needed and what sets out its motives and purpose.
  • Setting out the joint commitment to development based on the acknowledged legal force of the UN Charter, Article 73.[2]
  • Setting out other UK commitments given the 2012 FCO Whitepaper on Overseas Territories, including the “notorious” first call on the UK aid budget principle.
  • Expressing determination to put in place key projects that will help to catalyse economic development, health, education and social progress.
  • Launching an agreed programme of action that builds on the CIPREG framework but broadens scope under the full force of the Article 73 mandate.
  • Setting out an agreed framework that identifies priority transformational projects, sets a time frame to move them forward and establishes principles and organisation for the programme-based project cycle management needed to move such projects forward (without undue delays).
  • Establishing the required organisational units and capacity-building framework, perhaps using the PRINCE2, Axelos framework for qualifications, organisation, management and governance.
  • Setting up agreed funding, staffing and implementation with expediting and oversight.
  • Premier Romeo’s recent call for a UN resident facilitator could also be brought into such a framework.

Can such be done? (Obviously, yes – once there is willingness.)

Will such be done? (Not until the roadblocks that made sure it “didn’t get far” the last time around are dismantled and those who put up the roadblocks face accountability over what they did. And, over what it cost Montserrat.)

The deep state swamp dragon (HT scerg, DA)

These days, we hear of a lot of back and forth accusations about the “deep state” establishment entrenched in and/or unduly influencing Governments, the civil service, the military, finance, media etc. Some, of course, dismiss the idea as myths, or even “conspiracy theories.”

But wise change agents know better. 

There is always “an unofficial party of business as usual” that has its own quarrelling factions and internal, dirty, stab-in-the-back power games.

However, it is in the mutual interest of the power players to patch together some sort of live and let live. This results in an agenda that the power players are willing to go along with, at least for now. Of course, depending on the state of play the power games that agenda will shift.  That’s what sets the real agenda of governance: how the big decisions are really made, and how they are made to stick.

Hey, presto: meet your friendly, local, deep state[3] swamp dragon.

But, but, isn’t this a mere myth?

Best advice: if the river mullet says, there is a crocodile in the river, believe him.

The deep state dragon is real enough, and of course it means that genuine reforms of our civil service (especially at senior levels) are necessary. So will be, wider governance reforms; hence, the Charter of Good Governance.

However, here in Montserrat, our deep state challenge is much broader than our local problems: we have to deal with TWO of the most notorious UK Government Departments.

The Foreign and Colonial [→ oops, “Commonwealth”] Office, FCO, ruled much of the world for centuries.

DfID has a sobering reputation, including not only questions about actual ability to deliver on development promises and repeated corruption scandals that go far beyond the Daily Mail’s perpetual attack on development aid, but also for the subtle threat: DfID protects its own.

We have to put in place something strong enough to be a counter-weight to such deep state dragons, ours and theirs.

That’s why we need [a] a Charter of Good Governance we establish through our elected – so, accountable – representatives AND [b] a development partnership MoU with the UK Ministers. Then, [c] a declared Cabinet Policy on Governance reforms and [d] a technical implementing agreement for onward development partnership can de-claw and de-fang the deep state swamp critters.

To get there, we will have to chop our way into the swamp and drain it sufficiently that the old dragons cannot hide anymore in murky, smelly waters. (That’s part of why fearless independent media are so important for building Montserrat’s future. Especially, a serious newspaper, serving as The People’s College.)

So, now, let us demand action on a charter of good governance and on a development partnership MoU.

Never mind, what that fire-breathing dragon crawling out of the swamp over there behind you is muttering about how such could “never” work. (Since when could we trust hungry dragons with smoke coming out of their mouths to tell the truth?)

Folks, it’s up to us, the ordinary people:  if not now, then, when? If not here, then, where? If not us, then, who?


[1] TMR: https://www.themontserratreporter.com/%ef%bb%bfmontserrat-fixing-governance/

[2] TMR: https://www.themontserratreporter.com/%ef%bb%bfhow-the-un-charter-governs-montserrats-relationship-with-the-uk/

[3] See Politico: https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/09/05/deep-state-real-cia-fbi-intelligence-15537

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Columns, Culture, De Ole Dawg, Education, Local, News, Politics, Regional0 Comments

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Montserrat represents at CARIFESTA

Returning, ready for growth overall and better performances by 2021

4th Dymension set up TTT Live morning host Rishi to explore Plymouth
ASG – Dr. Douglas Slater

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Assistant Secretary-General, Dr. Douglas Slater, said that CARIFESTA was “another exciting experience and a platform for regional integration”.

Trinidad and Tobago’s Acting Prime Minister Colm Imbert said he was also pleased with the tremendous financial and other contributions made by the private sector towards the success of CARIFESTA.
“This CAIFESTA XIV was a resounding success, it was incident-free, highest quality, well attended. It was a safe place for your family,” he said noting that Port of Spain intends to build upon the festival “into tangible actions affecting our national policies for the creative arts.

“We will use what we have learnt here to revitalise our rural and urban communities with cultural showcases and unique community-oriented festivals,” Imbert said.

It can be said that it is on this backdrop Nerissa Golden filed the following official release which serves as a report covering what is referred to as a ‘commendable performance’ from the Montserrat delegation and the upgraded Montserrat Art Council’s plan to take higher the “areas Montserrat can play a key role at the next festival,” which is to be held next door in neighbouring Antigua.

Opening night to a glittering showcase of regional culture

Golden in her official capacity is already calling for “A greater investment in promotional material must be made. Those in the hospitality industry should consider participating in future festivals…”

LITTLE BAY, Montserrat – CARIFESTA Logistics Coordinator and outgoing Interim Director of the Montserrat Arts Council Nerissa Golden has returned with the remaining nine members of the 29 member delegation.  Mrs. Daphne Cassell Head of Delegation joins with Miss Golden in stating that the Montserrat Delegation has participated commendably in the festival. Mrs. Cassell said that she is pleased with what the delegation has achieved at the festival.

“Montserrat has not sent a delegation of this size to the regional festival in many years and this was a trial run in preparation for a heightened presence in 2021. There are various moving parts of participating in the festival and we also lacked an artistic director, therefore, the focus was on understanding all that is involved and ensuring we are better positioned for the next one and our artists and products are at the standards expected for an international stage,” Cassell stated.

Tabu along with the other artists in the Across Boundaries Art Exhibition 8-26-19

The work of Visual artist Kelvin “Tabu Duberry” was selected to represent Montserrat in the Across Boundaries exhibition at the National Museum and Art Gallery of Trinidad & Tobago. Six of the 10 pieces sent were used in the exhibition which featured artists from across the Caribbean and ran for the length of the festival. He also participated in the Artist Talk along with fellow artists from Belize, Haiti and Guyana. Tabu also taught classes at his booth in the Craft Market and shared his work with the thousands who visited the CARIFESTA Grand Market daily.

Montserrat Festival winners Trevvle, Nyne and Sylk performed during the popular Live at Lunch show in the Grand Market at the Savannah. Trevvle also performed at the Carifesta Youth Village held at a nearby high school.
“Carifesta XIV was a great experience for me. My performances were well received and I took advantage of the opportunity to network. As a young recording artist, being able to perform at  CARIFESTA solidified my direction as I traverse the music industry,” shared Trevon “Trevvle” Pollard, the reigning Groovy Soca Monarch.

Nia Golden on stage at the Trinidad & Tobago Central Bank

Vocalist Nia Golden was part of the All Jazzed Up Show at the National Academy for the Performing Arts. She performed with the James Jesse Joseph Band, a combination of musicians and singers from Haiti and Trinidad. She also had performances at the Trinidad & Tobago Central Bank and on  CARIFESTA Radio.

Authors Chadd Cumberbatch, Juliana Meade, and Nerissa Golden read at various events at the Bocas Lit Fest tent which was also at the Grand Market. Meade also represented various crafters and designers on the island and offered memorabilia and other locally made products at the Montserrat Country Booth.

“It was again a wonderful experience and more persons should think of going to participate and share in this amazing cultural experience,” said Meade. “People from the diaspora should look at it as a learning vacation for what can be done on the island. It brings new ideas to focus on. It will also assist in improving the size of the Montserrat contingency.”

The virtual reality experience of the Plymouth Recreation project by 4th Dymension was a popular attraction at the Country Booth. Jerely Browne and Carlon Braithwaite were able to share this VR experience on Trinidad’s most popular television morning show, TTT Live Now. The video from their interview has already racked up over 10,000 views on Facebook.

Children were intrigued by the virtual reality experience although there is an age requirement to be able to use the game

“My experience at  CARIFESTA was epic. The whole atmosphere in Trinidad, the way they set up the presentations, the vibes, the culture is one to remember. I’m happy that I got to go as 4th Dymension to display our hard work. I am truly thankful to all who made it possible for selecting us to go to CARIFESTA XIV,” Browne shared upon his return.

Golden along with Browne attended the Script to Screen talk, an event hosted by the TT National Artist Registry for aspiring filmmakers. Golden was one of the featured presenters discussing film financing and promotion.

“While at the event we began discussions on what areas Montserrat can play a key role at the 2021 festival. The country booth was busy every day, all day and with more than 15,000 visitors daily to the Grand Market, it was a great space to share information on Montserrat and how people can come to visit. Greater investment in promotional material must be made. Those in the hospitality industry should consider participating in future festivals as there is a lot of interest from Caribbean people,” Golden said .

Montserrat masquerades at CARIFESTA

“There is much Montserrat can do on the knowledge level at the symposiums, in technology and also in exposing the meaning of the mask and rituals of the Montserrat masquerade who were a definite hit at the festival. We hope our artists work harder at building their careers and our entrepreneurs improve the quality of the products being developed so they are comparative to what other islands are bringing to CARIFESTA. The MAC must also establish a committee immediately to plan and secure funding for Montserrat’s participation in CARIFESTA 15 in 2021.”

The Office of the Premier was the main sponsor of the delegation to CARIFESTA XIV. Six members of the official delegation paid their own way to the festival. Additional financial support was received by the Department of Trade, the Ministry of Communications and Works ICT Division and 4th Dymension.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, CARICOM, Culture, Entertainment, Featured, International, Local, News, Regional, TOURISM, Youth0 Comments

Kenneth Silcott

Kenneth “Rabo” Silcott – appointed Director of the Montserrat Arts Council

Kenneth ‘Rabo’ Silcott

LITTLE BAY, Montserrat (August 2, 2019) – The Board of Directors of the Montserrat Arts Council is pleased to announce that Kenneth Silcott has been appointed as the new Executive Director.

Chairperson Dr Clarice Barnes welcomed Mr. Silcott, who will take up the new position on Tuesday, August 6, 2019. Silcott previously served as the Head of Planning and Production with the Council from 2015 to 2018.

The MAC’s Executive Director has the responsibility to manage and provide strategic direction for the implementation of the Cultural Strategic Plan, National Cultural Policy. Develop, promote and ensure the preservation of Montserrat’s culture. He will also be expected to provide professional and efficient oversight and management of the island’s national festivals and events, including the annual Christmas Festival, to enable the generation of economic activity, while preserving and promoting Montserrat’s culture.

The new director is a former clients service manager with JP Morgan, an author, songwriter and calypsonian. He won the Montserrat Festival Calypso crown in 2017. Silcott, is also President of the St. John’s Action Club, which works to improve the village community and care for the elderly and youth. He also serves as Chairman of the St. John’s Community Resource Centre and the People’s Warden of the Anglican Church.

Nerissa Golden, who served as the Interim Director while the board conducted the job search, will work along with the new director until September 30, 2019 to implement several new policies and continue preparation for the Annual Festival slated to begin December 21, 2019 to January 1, 2020.

Learn more about the Montserrat Arts Council at www.artscouncil.ms.

Posted in Culture, Entertainment, Local, News, Regional, TOURISM0 Comments

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Montserrat Sends 29 to Carifesta XIV in Trinidad & Tobago


LITTLE BAY, Montserrat (August 13, 2019) – Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Premier Mrs Daphne Cassell heads a delegation of 29 to the 14th edition of Carifesta which will be held in Trinidad and Tobago from August 16 to 25.

The delegation comprises seven members of the Emerald Shamiole Masquerades along with their musicians and chaperones. Also in the delegation are Montserrat Festival winners Calypso Monarch Garnet “Sylk” Thompson,  soca monarchs Trevon “Trevvle” Pollard and Samrun “Nyne” Woodley. Vocalist Nia Golden,  two members of 4th Dymension, poet Chadd Cumberbatch as well as representatives from the tourism and business community are also in the group.

“This CARIFESTA should be a learning experience in an effort to prepare for the event when it comes to Antigua in 2021,” said new director of the Montserrat Arts Council Kenneth Silcott. “We want to be ready to make an impact and be ready to showcase the best of Montserrat’s culture.”

Several television appearances have also been arranged for members of the delegation.

Visual artist Tabu Duberry will be the artist in residence on TTT Now, the morning news and variety show on Friday.  Ten pieces of his work are also part of the Caribbean exhibition at the National Museum and Gallery for the duration of CARIFESTA.

“It’s been a challenge but a lot of fun pulling the plans together for the delegation”, said Nerissa Golden,  Logistics Coordinator for the Carifesta group. “Montserrat will be very visible at the festival in art, dance, literature,  media and music.”

The Office of the Premier made available EC$100,000 for the CARIFESTA delegation. Other sponsors for the trip are the Department of Trade, the Ministry of Communications and Works’ ICT Division and 4th Dymension.

The main delegation leaves the island on Thursday, August 15. The opening ceremony will be on Friday, August 16 at 7 PM.

Learn more about the more than 200 events happening over 10 days at carifesta.net

Check the Opening session here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0thcaPvK-dc&feature=youtu.be

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, CARICOM, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Local, News, OECS, Regional, TOURISM, Videos, Youth0 Comments

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