Archive | General

JMC-OTs-family-photo-for-media-release-1

Policy paper UK-Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council 2020

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-overseas-territories-joint-ministerial-council-november-2020-communique/uk-overseas-terrirtories-joint-ministerial-council-2020-communique

Communiqué: Published 27 November 2020

Governor’s Office describes: OTs familyMontserrat Premier (c) top row

Contents

  1. The Minister for the Overseas Territories (OTs), Minister for European Neighbourhood and Americas, elected leaders, and representatives of the Overseas Territories met virtually as the Joint Ministerial Council (JMC) from 23 – 26 November 2020. Ministerial colleagues from across the UK Government, including the Home Office, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Justice, Department of Health and Social Care and Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, and the Department for Transport also participated.
  2. Ministers, Territory leaders, and elected representatives were also pleased to welcome Children’s Commissioners for England and Jersey, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, and senior officials representing the UK Government.
  3. Ministers, Territory leaders, and elected representatives gave particular thanks to His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales for his message of support. They also thanked the UK Prime Minister for addressing the Conference and welcomed the Prime Minister’s commitment to intensifying the partnership between the Territories and the UK Government.
  4. The JMC is the highest forum for political dialogue and consultation between the UK and elected leaders and representatives of the OTs for the purposes of providing leadership and promoting cooperation in areas of mutual interest. It provides a forum for the exchange of views on political and constitutional issues between the governments of the Overseas Territories and the UK Government; to promote the security and good governance of the Territories and their sustainable economic and social development; and to agree priorities, develop plans and review implementation.
  5. We continue to share a vision for the Territories as vibrant and flourishing communities, proudly retaining aspects of British identity and generating wider opportunities for their people.

1. Self determination

  1. The principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, as enshrined in the UN Charter, applies to the peoples of the Overseas Territories. We reaffirmed the importance of promoting the right of self-determination for the peoples of the Territories, something which is a collective responsibility of all parts of the UK Government. We committed to explore ways in which the Overseas Territories can maintain international support in countering hostile sovereignty claims. For those Territories with permanent populations who wish it, the UK will continue to support requests for the removal of the Territory from the United Nations list of non-self-governing Territories.

2. COVID-19 and the global health crisis

  1. The UK Government recognised the significant global impact and shared challenges of COVID-19, and congratulated the Territories on their handling of the response to the pandemic so far. The Territories thanked the UK for its outstanding support received both at the Ministerial and official level throughout the pandemic. The UK and Territories had worked together closely to tackle COVID-19 and this had underlined their strong links based on partnership, shared values, and mutual respect. The UK Government reaffirmed its continued support to the Territories during the pandemic and committed to supplying the Territories with COVID-19 vaccines. The UK and Territories shared information about challenges and successes around COVID-19 and committed to continue to work collaboratively to combat health crises, both now and in the future.

3. Economic resilience

  1. The UK is committed to supporting the Overseas Territories in building successful and resilient economies, and promoting the development and the wellbeing of its inhabitants. We recognise that although all are unique, the Overseas Territories, as small and open island economies, are particularly vulnerable to external shocks. Clear economic development plans, underpinned by strong public financial management, can help to create diverse and resilient economies in which people, businesses, and governments can look ahead to the future with confidence. The UK will support the Overseas Territories to increase their economic resilience through technical support and encouraging best practices in financial management.

The UK remains committed to meeting the reasonable assistance needs of Territories where financial self-sufficiency is not possible, as a first call on the aid budget. The UK will also consult the Overseas Territories on support programmes for the next financial year. In times of crisis, the UK stands ready to support the Overseas Territories, as happened following the hurricanes in 2017 and during the COVID-19 crisis. As a first step, the UK will look to the Overseas Territories to make full use of their financial resources to address their needs and will consider further requests for financial support on a case-by-case basis.

4. Exit from the European Union (EU) and trade

  1. The UK Government acknowledges that the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union (EU) will impact on the Overseas Territories, particularly in the areas of eligibility for and access to funding, and trade.
  1. The UK Government has and continues to represent the interests of the Overseas Territories in the UK-EU negotiations, in particular on trade and funding programmes. The UK Government will also continue to engage meaningfully with the Territories and take their interests into account when negotiating new trading relationships with other partners around the world
  2. The UK Government will, in consultation with Territory Governments, take their interests and needs into account when designing future funding streams, programmes, and policies to promote the sustainable economic development of the Territories.
  3. The Territories’ links with the Commonwealth and United Nations will continue to be important. The UK is committed to strengthening these links. The UK also welcomes initiatives to develop links with regional organisations and with Territories and countries neighbouring the Overseas Territories.
  4. The UK Government and the UK’s devolved administrations confirm that students from the Overseas Territories will continue to be eligible for Home Student fee rates on the same basis as now, based on three years’ ordinary residence in an Overseas Territory or the UK.

5. Mental health

  1. The UK Government and the Overseas Territories re-affirmed their commitment to addressing mental health, recognising that “there is no health without mental health”. The importance of raising the awareness and understanding of mental health in our communities was discussed along with tackling the stigma that persists around mental health. We recognise that mental health affects all stages of life and that experiences in childhood can affect mental health in adulthood. It was also recognised that there is already work being done in this area in most OTs. Support from the UK is being provided through Public Health England and the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF). The United Kingdom Overseas Territories Association (UKOTA) will host a webinar on mental health in December 2020 for Territory and UK leaders and experts. It will provide an opportunity to have an open discussion on priority issues around stigma, mental health systems, and awareness campaigns. Overseas Territories and the UK committed to continuing the work to strengthen mental health systems to improve the lives of people with mental health problems, including children and young people, those with severe mental illness, and those in the criminal justice system.

6. Children

  1. We discussed the progress that has been made by Territories in relation to child safeguarding. We acknowledged that we cannot be complacent and that there is always more that can be done to ensure that children can grow up in an environment where they can be free from harm, flourish and meet their potential. We therefore re-affirmed our previous commitments to the highest standards of protection for children and a zero-tolerance approach to abuse. We heard from the Children’s Commissioners for England and Jersey about their roles in speaking up for children, influencing policy, assisting Governments and promoting children’s rights. We committed to consider exploring whether a Children’s Commissioner function or similar role might be appropriate for each Territory.

7. Domestic abuse

  1. We noted the increased incidence of domestic abuse globally, and the damaging effects both for individuals and for society. We acknowledged that tackling domestic abuse requires a holistic approach, including law enforcement, education, and medical professionals, and the criminal justice system. We spoke about the importance of challenging negative attitudes and behaviours and ensuring that victims are able to access the services that they need, when they need them. We heard about initiatives which our Territories are taking in this regard. We committed to identify opportunities and to take measures to tackle domestic abuse and to strengthen our system-wide response.

8. Prisons

  1. The Overseas Territories and UK recognise the unique context and needs of prisons in the Territories. We discussed shared challenges on prison reform and opportunities to work together for common objectives. The OTs and UK are committed to ensuring Territory prisons are safe, decent, and secure places of rehabilitation, compliant with human rights obligations that reduce reoffending and contribute to the security of local communities. Through the Ministry of Justice, the UK will continue to support Territories by providing expertise, project support, and by facilitating a network of experts across the Territories to support the development of tailored Territory prison standards.

9. Border security

  1. We noted the challenges faced globally, including in some Territories, of rising levels of illegal migration and border security issues and the subsequent impacts on society. We welcomed the ongoing work by the UK Government, through the new CSSF funded Border Security Programme, to help build capacity and capability in these areas. We discussed opportunities to build upon cross/multi-agency working to enhance cooperation and increase capability within the Territories. We committed to sharing best practices and lessons learned. We reaffirmed our shared interest in combating threats to our borders by working in partnership across the Territories and with the UK Government.

10. International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Instruments and Implementation (III) Code

  1. The UK reiterated that the representation of the UK and Overseas Territories in the international maritime arena is undertaken as a single entity by the UK on behalf of all and compliance with conventions is a shared collective responsibility.
  2. We recognise that a well-administered maritime infrastructure minimises the risks of a maritime incident in territorial seas and an up-to-date legislative framework provides the legal authority and enforcement powers to pursue the polluter to recover the high-level costs associated with such incidents. We continue to maintain our outstanding reputation for clean clear waters and promote our tourism with confidence. A successful III Code audit outcome will lay the foundations for future opportunities for the Territories through Blue Economies, for the Red Ensign Group to become a global leader on solutions for alternative marine technologies, and to share its expertise with others to drive forward improvements worldwide.
  3. The UK welcomed the ongoing commitment by the Territories to achieving III Code compliance and noted the investment in people and projects so far, whilst recognising the individual challenges. The UK reiterated its continued commitment to assisting the Territories through technical support and capacity building.

11. Environment/COP 26

  1. The Overseas Territories are the custodians of internationally important habitats, with rich and varied biodiversity, from Antarctica to the tropical oceans. Climate change and biodiversity loss has had, and will have, profound impacts on our natural environments, on our economies, and on our societies. Together we must act to tackle climate change and the loss of biodiversity.
  2. As coastal and island communities, our economies rely upon healthy and abundant marine environments. This year, Tristan da Cunha has put in place a vast marine protection zone, supported by the Blue Belt programme which now protects over 4 million square kilometers of ocean around the Territories. Building on the good work already undertaken, we will continue to enhance protection for our environments, both marine and terrestrial. The UK Government will meaningfully engage with the Overseas Territories to achieve local objectives that contribute to global targets for the environment, consistent with Sustainable Development Goals. Commitments to environmental funding such as Darwin Plus will support joint objectives to preserve the wonderful array of biodiversity across the Territories for generations to come, and to be an example to other communities in responding to the global biodiversity emergency.
  3. The Overseas Territories and the UK Government also pledged to work together to secure agreement on ambitious action to tackle climate change on a global scale at the COP26 Summit in Glasgow. By the time of the COP26 Summit, each government endeavours to communicate a territory-led plan for climate change adaptation and mitigation, which contributes towards global carbon emission reductions. The UK Government and Overseas Territories will continue to work together closely in the lead up to COP26, to ensure the Overseas Territories’ interests are represented. As the host of COP26, the UK Government endeavours to offer the Overseas Territories opportunities to showcase their environmental initiatives at the summit, including in areas such as transitioning to renewable sources of energy and disposal of waste. For both biodiversity and climate change actions, the UK Government commits to provide the Overseas Territories with technical and financial assistance where this is required.
  4. The UK Government and Overseas Territories welcomed the opportunity to come together as a Joint Ministerial council as a virtual forum and the opportunity this afforded all to have frank and open discussions on areas of mutual interest. We reiterated our commitment to deepening our unique partnership and looked forward to meeting together in person when the opportunity allows.

Posted in Announcements/Greetings, Business/Economy/Banking, Court, COVID-19, Crime, Featured, Features, General, International, Local, News, Politics, Regional, Security, UK - Brexit0 Comments

Image may contain: text

Montserrat Financial Services Commission – Search for bidders to construct its building:

Image may contain: text

Posted in Advertisements, Business/Economy/Banking, Classified, General, Real Estate0 Comments

Follow the money

The following are just a few excerpts of an article subscribed to TMR and which we will publish fully in the next issue.

by Capt Inspector John

As you have already more than likely suspected by now, there exists a global crime syndicate that has been controlling the global banking system, and by extension, everything on the planet, for a long time. Irrefutable proof can be found in the bad guys’ playbook ‘Pawns In The Game’, written by William Guy Carr, a Canadian naval flag officer.
You will discover everything that has happened since 1774 is covered in this playbook. We know the global crime syndicate has drawn on this playbook, and used the exact same plays, for centuries. Carr documents it comes with documents and eye witness testimony.
It is always about the money.

The global crime syndicate is controlled by the Rothchild central banks. The Rothchild central banks are closely associated with the Vatican crime syndicate. The Jesuits, the military arm of the Vatican, controls the Vatican. The Jesuits control the city of London. The city of London controls the United States, the freemasons, and the Crown Temple B.A.R.

Other major players of the global crime syndicate include the Khazarian Mafia, Illuminati, Council of 300, Council on Foreign Relations, and the Bilderbergers. Collectively, these entities control every penny on the planet.
So what has this all got to do with David Brandt? Let me explain.

First off I will confess my favorable bias toward David Brandt. I was very close friends for years with his ( now deceased) brother Randy, while we both lived in St Thomas. I met Mr. Brandt, his wife, and his daughter in St. Thomas. I found them all to be very nice, honest, salt of the earth type folks, with no pretensions.

When Randy passed away, I contacted Mr. Brandt to inform him of the details. Since I had no contact info on Mr. Brandt, I contacted the Montserrat Reporter for assistance in getting this info to Mr. Brandt. Within 15 minutes of my sending that email, Mr. Brandt called me. I am grateful to the Montserrat Reporter for their amazing assistance in this matter. That is the last time I spoke to Mr. Brandt.

When Mr. Brandt was in St Thomas I offered a proposal. So, at the end of HPRP, I had a large group of vetted, seasoned, hard-working, professional contractors. This was shortly after the volcano blew, and Montserrat was desperate for housing.

I proposed to Mr. Brandt that I could bring these contractors to Montserrat to rebuild. We would be self-sufficient and would require no government assistance of any kind. Not a penny.

Mr. Brandt liked the idea. Sadly, he was unable to get past the British corruption to make that happen.

Follow the money. FYI, I just read the Montserrat Reporter editorials going back to 2015. There is no difference about the type of corruption, and who controls it, in any country on the planet. It is exactly the same in England, and the U.S., as it is in Montserrat.

Why? Nothing happens without the involvement of banks. Mr. Brandt could not get past the global crime syndicate control of everything. And that everything controlled what aid may be given to Montserrat.

My point, at all times, I derived from the facts, and discerned with my heart, that Mr. Brandt was deeply dedicated to the welfare of Montserrat, and its people. He did not ask anything for himself in my presence.

So! How is it, that in such a tiny place as Montserrat, that someone of the stature of David Brandt, could be charged with sexual misconduct 10 years ago, 5 years ago, and 1 year ago, and be incarcerated, and still have no trial, or conviction? Follow the money.

How is it possible to hide such crimes for so long in so small a place, by such a high profile figure? Follow the money.

I submit to you, that at the bottom of this story is pedophilia, human and child trafficking, aka white slavery. Why do I say this?

To be Continued

Posted in Columns, Court, Crime, General, International, Local, Police, Regional, UK - Brexit0 Comments

The electorate showed their expectations in the result

The electorate showed their expectations in the result

November 22, 2019

There aren’t many who think of the seriousness, or of the importance of the election of men and women who will represent and lead them in the affairs of governing them and their land.

But when one reads the following from one of a series of articles which have appeared in TMR over the past several months, again it would take those interested in the seriousness and the reality of the men and women of whom this refers to understand that a general election is indeed a serious thing.

The few lines read: “…if our “permanent government” – the senior civil service – is “not fit for purpose” (as former Governor Carriere said in an unguarded, frank moment) then we are going to be hampered every step of the way by lack of capacity, foot-dragging, outright incompetence, and even corruption. And if many candidates for election are cut from the same roll of cloth,[1] that will only multiply the problem.

“For elections to work, we need to have a choice of credible, competent, good-character candidates with sound policy proposals, and if policies are to be implemented, our senior civil service will need drastic reforms led by Cabinet. We will have to fix the DfID-FCO side of the problem, too.“

This part of the problem is why, over the past several years, months and weeks, here at TMR we have looked at the needed Charter of Good Governance and Development Partnership MoU with the UK; which have actually been on the table for several years but were obviously road-blocked. Such agreements and such Resolutions of our Assembly would give us tools to drain the murky waters so beloved of swamp-dwelling chaos-dragons . . . that’s how they can lurk in ambush.

A capacity-building component would help us build a new generation of policy and political leadership. The creation of a priority transformational programme with agreed “catalytic” infrastructure-building projects supported by designated expediters and sound PRINCE2-style governance systems would then move us beyond the stop, study, start, stop, restudy pattern. For sure, without a protected seaport, without an improved airport, without fibre optic cable digital access and without developed geothermal energy, we are a poor investment and growth prospect.

We would like to offer that although towards the end of the PDM government’s term in office the Legislature was divided 5-4 just as the incoming MCAP government will experience, it is in many ways not the same as that experienced by the former MCAP government of 2009-2014. The Reuben T Meade’s government had three newcomers to his government to the six members at the beginning but ended up with two newbies as this government begins with. This government has four experienced parliamentarians in opposition.

The expectations for this new MCAP team can be reflected in the outcome of the election particularly that during this campaign there were some very key issues that were barely mentioned if at all. Good knowledge of all of which will be very vital to any future success or progress that this struggling island could enjoy.

We hope to take the lead in bringing these seriously to the fore in a brand new and hopefully challenging way as the early months of this new Legislature’s reign.


[1] TMR: https://www.themontserratreporter.com/we-need-a-new-politics-of-truth-soundness-and-national-consensus/

Posted in CARICOM, Editorial, Elections, General, International, Local, Opinions, Politics, Regional0 Comments

Do Not Change The GOVERNMENT – PART 2

By Joseph Kirnon

In continuing the discussion of the development of our little island, we must understand the herculean task that is ahead of us.  We must understand that this can only be accomplished in stages over a long period of time. This is a task that requires men and women of thinking, patience and greatest of all, having the ability to persevere in difficult times.

This is not a call for the person who wants to be seen, and whose chief objective is ego aggrandizement, or the accumulation of wealth and position.  We need selfless people whose desire is for the future of our island and its people. BEGIN WHERE WE ARE.

At this moment we have several parties and individuals contending to lead us into the future. We must take a good look at them and say to ourselves “Is this party or person, right for the coming responsibility?”. And Yes we must be judgmental.  From my perspective, as I have listened to many of these individuals and parties, the one conclusion that I have come to is that many of them had been colleagues and co-conspirators in the past.  As a Montserratian working overseas, you the voting public would know more about the individuals, and parties than I would. It is therefore, not for me to speak good or ill of any of them. YOU KNOW THEM. What I can contribute to is to try and bring some sense of direction to the process based upon where we want to go. The decision is yours.

What I can say is that there are those who consider themselves as having already won and have asked your current Premier to collect his last check, when you yourselves have not made that decision yet by the casting of your vote.  No one should be so presumptuous (and rude). It is you the voting public who has the mandate to vote for or remove the leadership.  Wise and intelligent people do not give power to people who crave it, because they are oft to abuse it.

I stress this issue of leadership because that leader will be the face of the nation to the rest of the world. We cannot have anyone in that position that is corruptible, prone to scandals and or destructive behavior and lacks values. Judge them all and judge them well.

The other necessity is that of continuity. If we are to “BEGIN WHERE WE ARE”, THEN WE MUST HAVE CONTINUITY.  The current leadership has put some issues and ideas for development before the world body.  Representatives from that world body are expected to visit the island to see and discuss these issues and ideas. They should not be confronted with a whole new set of individuals that they do not necessarily know and who may have different ideas towards the process that led to them visiting the island. That would not be a good presentation for moving forward.  A change in government would say that the people are not for the platform or process established with the said world body if they are now having to engage with a new set of people. They should see people fully backing their leadership.

When they leave, they should carry away the feeling, the idea, that the island has good governance and the full support of its people. It is that observation that will strengthen their ability to support our needs vis-a vie our colonial ruler. The United Nations is not the Holy Grail to our development. We are the Holy Grail to our development. The UN is support and our actions and behavior should not be a hindrance in their viewpoint. Let us think wisely and act wisely. Our intentions and actions are to shape the world view of our small island. Let us demonstrate that through stability and continuity.

Above we noted that the UN is not the holy grail to our goals. It is support. It is important that we should be mindful of some of the ideas that the UN itself promotes. As a society, we may not agree or have as an ideal all those that the UN upholds. Some may conflict with our own social, moral and religious ideas. One such idea is that of Humanism and all of its manifestations. An idea that takes the importance away from the Creator and focuses on the Creation. More to say on this concept later. For now, we must think and act wisely.

Okay, so we are placing importance on stability in the society, continuity in the political environment and growth in the development of the nation. We know that there are a large number of infrastructural projects that are in the works. We must focus an all of them, yet prioritize a few wherein we may see a movement forward in the short term and which will impact on others over the long term.

Montserrat is at a stage where its infrastructural development, is based upon “grant-based funding”. The funds needed to finance the projects come to us from external sources. This should let us know that whatever the politicians are promising to do, they have to source the funds outside. They do not have the money. See the need for continuity???

The project that would be most fruitful at this moment, that would bring employment, and has the potential to bring in revenue from outside sources, reduce costs for the local population and provide the island with a marketable export is the Geothermal Project.

We can look at the volcano as the problem that devastated the island and decimated its population. Yet at the same time, we can see it as a path towards our (economic) salvation.  Montserratians see themselves as religious, God-loving people. It is therefore not difficult for them to understand that God does not place a burden on a people, or person greater than they can bear. With this understanding we then see the volcano as an eye-opener to greater understanding. To function or animate anything, the primary need is ENERGY. When properly harnessed, beneath our feet lies that energy.  We have something that we ourselves and others in the world can benefit from – A source of ENERGY.

As an educator, who has taught the Earth and Space Sciences (Geology, Meteorology, Oceanography, and Astronomy), they should be taught from the central idea of Energy. That is Geothermal Energy, Wind Energy, Hydro Energy, and Solar Energy. Montserrat is located on the Earth where it can benefit from all of these sources, with the right thinking, leadership, and investment. Our little island is surrounded by all of these sources. Think, my people. Think.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Elections, General, International, Local, News, Politics, Regional0 Comments

Montserrat: fixing governance

Montserrat: fixing governance

What about the long-promised charter of good governance and development partnership MoU with the UK?

BRADES, Montserrat, July 31, 2019 –  In his June 25th, 2019 statement to the UN Committee of 24 on Decolonialisation, Premier Donaldson Romeo requested the assistance of the UN in –

“creating a charter of good governance that will set a framework for democratic self government, for structured consultations with stakeholders, for guiding reforms, for enhancing transparency and for managing our relationship with the UK . . . ”

Such a charter (and a companion umbrella Development Partnership MoU with the UK) are in fact mentioned in the 2014 PDM Party Manifesto. During a recent question time in the Legislative Assembly, the Premier was challenged concerning these promises, and indicated that while initial drafts were created and consulted on, such “did not get very far.”

Perhaps – as the Premier has now suggested at the UN, it is time to reconsider.

For example, serious concerns over lack of transparency, questions about poor procedures and even shadowy questions of long-standing corruption concerns have long hovered over how key decisions have been made here; the invisible but all too palpable ghosts in the middle of the room. No wonder, then, that former Governor Adrian Davis often spoke to the need for such a charter and former Governor Waterworth spoke to the need for transparency, accountability and responsibility.  Likewise, Governor Carriere, in a perhaps less guarded moment, spoke about our civil service not being fit for purpose – something that is not entirely unexpected, given the lingering impact of the volcano disaster. Governor Peirce frequently speaks of cumbersome, outdated procedures.

As for a development partnership MoU, in her last press conference, Governor Carriere clearly indicated that first steps had been taken, but that there was a lack of “energy” to push the MoU forward in the face of its inevitable obstacles. Where also, in answers to questions on the Hospital, on July 29th Minister Ryan spoke of a repeating cycle of restarting projects when DfID officials change. As a result, we seem to have gone from proposing a hospital development on the current site to short-listing three sites from eight candidates, to picking Hill-Top, and now back to the St Johns site again. At least, this time around we actually have approved funding through CIPREG.

On the face of the matter, we do need a framework of agreed priority transformational projects and an agreed framework for managing the project cycle. The CIPREG initiative and associated projects such as the recently launched Little Bay breakwater and berth project seem to give us a list. The agreed £30 millions in funding for CIPREG gives a financial base. The restarted Programme Management Office (now under Mr Parlett) provides managerial capability. The potential that a proper sea port, improved airport, fibre optic cable and the like have for our economy provide adequate motivation.

However, until a proper, agreed Development Partnership MoU is in place, stop, start, re-study, consult, stop again games are likely to continue. 

Likewise, we clearly need a coherent, reasonably comprehensive framework of principles and commitments that will help to drive reforms towards sounder government and governance. Where, this is much wider than our civil service – we need to bring in the whole of civil society. Where also, clearly, this is a matter for self-determination, perhaps with guidance and support from experts of one form or another.

Accordingly, we can see a need to prepare a draft charter, consult across civil society and then go to a parliamentary debate on a finalised resolution. Such a resolution would be accompanied by a detailed cabinet-issued policy, which we would again control. These frameworks would then also shape an overall framework for a parallel development partnership MoU, to be negotiated with the UK. Such a MoU would probably work best as a joint ministerial policy declaration, framing a series of three-year medium-term technical agreements with FCO and DfID technical officers. At this stage, perhaps this could be developed as a wider framework that takes in the CIPREG and other initiatives as they come on stream.

For sure, the case by case project approach has obviously fallen victim to all sorts of delays, roadblocks, leaks to the tabloid media and general want of determination to expedite the catalytic initiatives we so obviously need if we are to move on beyond perpetual dependency. Twenty-two years of delays are enough, with blame enough for both sides, Government of Montserrat and DfID alike. We need a better way.

It is time for a major exorcism!

Where, too, the proposed UN Facilitator Premier Romeo also spoke of on June 25th could play a role in such developments.

But, what should a charter of good governance look like? Possibly:

  • taking its form as a resolution of our Legislative Assembly (with a Cabinet policy declaration to flesh it out)
  • laying out motivating “whereases” that set out context and aims
  • declaring a commitment to pillars of sound, sustainable, constitutional democratic self government
  • declaring, also, commitment principles of partnership for governance and development as agreed between the UK and Montserrat (informed by the UN Charter’s legal force, especially Article 73)
  • stating, that a companion development partnership MoU should set out the agreed terms for a development programme of action (building on CIPREG and PMO as first steps)
  • declaring that an associated Cabinet policy declaration will give detailed effect to the charter (including laying out a programme of action), with set periodic progress reports to the Assembly
  • setting up a broadly representative stakeholder-based community body for consultation and addressing local, district level issues.
  • highlighting the five main goals of the SDP 2008 – 20 as the ongoing principal development goals for Montserrat under our National Vision
  • and the like.

With such a framework in hand, we can then embark on comprehensive reforms and  transformational development initiatives guided by a clear policy vision and framework voted into effect by our duly elected representatives. And so, if not now, then, when? If not here, then, where? If not us, then, who?

Posted in Columns, De Ole Dawg, General, International, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

We need a new politics of truth, soundness and national consensus

We need a new politics of truth, soundness and national consensus

Part 4/2019 (Contribution)

Can we move beyond the politics of bitterness, slander, half-truths and insincere promises?

BRADES, Montserrat, May 11, 2019 –  In this election year we have just seen two elected members of our assembly suspended for unbecoming behaviour in the Assembly. Behaviour, of a degree that has been unprecedented for eighty-two years. At the same time, we have had to spend time looking at the FAC’s intent to impose “same-sex marriage” on us, and we saw how a Chief Justice in Cayman, to promote the same homosexualisation, tried to rewrite Cayman’s Constitution from the judicial bench. These unfortunate developments are a wake-up call, a sign that we need a better politics, one capable of handling far more ticklish, potentially explosive issues, and handling them soundly and soberly. 

In short, we need “a fresh, serious, public-spirited conversation on how we will govern ourselves as a nation over the next six years.” (Yes, six years, as we must not waste this year’s opportunities.) A great place to begin that conversation is with our official, national vision statement:

A healthy and wholesome Montserrat,
founded upon a thriving modern economy
with a friendly, vibrant community,
in which all our people
through enterprise and initiative,
can fulfill their hopes
in a truly democratic and God-fearing society

It would be hard to object to this.  So, then, why is there so much bitterness, disrespect, untruth, slander, misleading half-truth and insincerity in our politics?

If you doubt me, consider the case of the local commenter who recently claimed on radio that the UK has done “nothing” for Montserrat over the past twenty-five years. Likewise, think about the one who suggested that in awarding a three percent salary increase (after ten years of no increases at all), the government then took it all back through taxes. As a third, ponder the persistent gap between manifesto promises and what our elected governments do in office. Not once, not twice, again and again.

Obviously, long-suffering British taxpayers have cause to object to such an attitude.  For they pay for 60% of our recurrent budget – which is being debated this coming week (after two delays), typically pay for much more of our capital budget and have paid perhaps £500 millions in support to Montserrat since the volcano crisis began. Added up, that’s about EC$  350,000 for each resident of Montserrat, the cost of a good house.

So, as a first step, if we are to build an improved onward development partnership with the UK, we would be well advised to form a more balanced view of what has been contributed and what has been achieved thus far. Yes, results have been very mixed, but without the £500 millions of support to date, Montserrat would have long since completely collapsed.

Likewise, given a progressive tax structure and that someone else is paying 60% of our recurrent budget (someone, who is not getting big tax cuts), it will be very hard for any future local government to cut local income tax rates significantly until we are paying our own way and are collecting enough to cover cuts from other forms of revenue.  The horse pulls the cart, not the other way around.

Also, let us remember: increased consumption is not at all the same as increased investment.

As sustainable economic growth must come from fresh business investment, our national priority must be the “catalytic” infrastructure that opens the door for private sector investment led growth. Then, we can argue that new business investments hire people and buy services from other businesses, starting with construction. We can then use our longstanding tax incentives to help fertilise new investments.  Tourism and the digital sector are obvious priority sectors. Significantly, government just hired a regional person – do we dare say the now dirtied word: “TC”? – to help us move tourism forward. The good news is, it seems the breakwater and berth and the new fibre optic cable – at last, after at least a decade of too often questionable delays and roadblocks – are on the move.

We can also notice that key infrastructure projects are now clearly moving ahead: the sea port, the fibre optic cable project, the 250 kW solar photo voltaic electricity plant, even the new air traffic control tower for the airport. These projects will open opportunities for investment, and while we remain concerned about long delayed geothermal energy development after learning that the drilling equipment was deteriorated and had to be removed even as DfID closed the project, good news is indeed good news. 

So, we must ask pointed questions of those who act as though good news for Montserrat is bad news for them, while bad news for Montserrat is good news for them.  Instead, a fair-minded critic will be balanced and constructive (not bitterly destructive).

Another concern, is that we must find ways to improve administration and project management so that we actually spend out our budgets. Especially, capital budgets. It’s a good thing that we have a new head of the Programme Management Office.

Again, while, yes the EU money came late (November) it is not good that we were only able to expend 27% of the already small capital programme for the 2018-19 budget by the end of March. Obviously, it does no good to be habitually rolling over capital projects into the next year. This, again, points to the urgent need to continue restoring the Programme Management Office now that a new head is in place. Let us use it to build up capacity to manage, govern and execute projects on time, to international standards such as PRINCE2.

Likewise, we need to ask our politicians and pundits some very hard questions about what a local government beholden to DfID for 60% of recurrent budget and for most of our capital budget can realistically achieve.

It is very clear that when Lord Ahmad announced £30 millions for CIPREG, he admitted the need was more like £50 millions. Premier Romeo seems to think £70 millions is more like it. We must take manifestos far more seriously, thinking hard about what it means to lightly break promises to the voting public. Then, when it comes to spreading nasty stories about politicians etc or when we act disrespectfully in the Assembly, are we simply acting out of disregard for truth, disrespect, delight in damaging reputation, habitual gossip or worse?

Jeremiah has some choice words for us:

Jeremiah 9:4 Let everyone beware of his neighbor,
and put no trust in any brother,
for every brother is a deceiver,
and every neighbor goes about as a slanderer.
5 Everyone deceives his neighbor,
and no one speaks the truth;
they have taught their tongue to speak lies;
they weary themselves committing iniquity. [ESV]

Plainly, we cannot build a sound future through lies and liars. Where, a loaded, misleading half truth is a full lie. (TMR noted for the last election, to lie is to speak with disregard to truth, in the hope of profiting from what is said or suggested being taken as true.)

Let us turn from “advantage,” gossip, slander, disrespect etc. – the politics of bitterness and deception.

Turn, to what?

Perhaps, the five principal goals in our seemingly forgotten 2008 – 2020 Sustainable Development Plan:

I.        Prudent Economic Management

II.      Sound Human Development

III.    Robust Environmental Management and Disaster Mitigation

IV.     Good Governance

V.      A Sustainable Population

Okay, let the “fresh, serious, public-spirited conversation” begin.

Budget Speech- http://www.gov.ms/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Budget-Speech-2019-20.pdf Budget Estimates- http://www.gov.ms/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Budget-Estimates-2019-20.pdf

Budget Speech- http://www.gov.ms/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Budget-Speech-2019-20.pdf
Budget Estimates- http://www.gov.ms/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Budget-Estimates-2019-20.pdf

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, De Ole Dawg, General, International, Local, News, Politics, Regional0 Comments

A view of St. Sebastian's Church, damaged in a blast in Negombo, north of Colombo, Sri Lanka, on Sunday (Chamila Karunarathne - AP)

Sri Lanka blames local Islamist extremist group for Easter bombings that killed 290

(Adapted)

By Joanna Slater , Amantha Perera and Shibani Mahtani April 22

Explosions at churches and hotels in Sri Lanka killed 290 people and injured more than 500 Sunday. This is what we know so far:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/video/world/this-is-a-very-cowardly-attack-sri-lanka-blasts-leave-hundreds-dead-on-easter-sunday/2019/04/21/eaecd2dc-9c42-482f-9e09-e3ea06a3372a_video.html

● Government says attack carried out by National Thowheed Jamaath, a local Islamist militant group, with suspected international assistance.

● Churches were attacked by suicide bombers as worshipers gathered for Easter services.

● Prime minister says elements of government had prior intelligence of attacks.

● At least a dozen of the dead were foreigners, including from India, Japan, the United States and Britain.

● The Sri Lankan air force said it defused an explosive near Colombo’s main airport.


‘This is a very cowardly attack’: Sri Lanka blasts leave hundreds dead on Easter Sunday

Coordinated explosions targeting churches and hotels in Sri Lanka killed more than 200 people and injured more than 450 on April 21. (Drea Cornejo, JM Rieger/The Washington Post)

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Sri Lanka on Monday accused a local Islamist extremist group, the National Thowheed Jamaath, of being behind a string of Easter bombings against churches and hotels that killed at least 290 people.

Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said the group, which roughly translates as National Monotheism Organization, perpetrated the attack using suicide bombers against three churches and three hotels, adding that it likely had international links.

“We do not believe these attacks were carried out by a group of people who were confined to this country,” he said. “There was an international network without which these attacks could not have succeeded.”

He also called for the police inspector general, Pujith Jayasundara, to resign because security agencies had received a report warning of attacks by this group against churches and hotels weeks before.

Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena said he would seek “international assistance” in the investigations into the serial blasts. Intelligence agencies have reported that “international organizations” were behind these “acts of local terrorists,” said a statement from his office. The statement also said that the government would implement anti-terrorism measures that give additional powers to police, effective at midnight.

Attention is now focusing on why and how the government and security forces were unable to foil the coordinated bombings. Two officials provided The Post with the three-page intelligence report that the health minister alluded to, in which a senior police official warned of potential suicide attacks by the same Islamist extremist group.

Sri Lankan security forces officers secure a site believed to be a hideout of the militants following a shootout in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on Sunday. (Eranga Jayawardena/AP)

The report also identified several members by name, including its alleged leader, Mohamed Zaharan. Mujibur Rahman, a member of Sri Lanka’s Parliament who was briefed on the report, said it was based on input from Indian intelligence agencies.

The highly coordinated attacks left the island nation reeling, a crushing blow after almost a decade of peace since the end of Sri Lanka’s civil war. 

In that time, tourism in Sri Lanka had been steadily growing, the country transformed by the apparent end of instability, bloodshed and frequent suicide bombings over the 26-year war. 

A huge number of the dead were worshipers at St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, north of Colombo; officials reported at least 104 dead there. A church in Batticaloa on the island’s eastern shore was also attacked.

In Colombo, the three high-end hotels attacked included the Shangri-La and the Cinnamon Grand hotel. An official at the Sri Lankan air force said an explosive was defused close to the city’s main airport, the Bandaranaike International Airport, on Sunday night, probably an additional target. 

At the Shangri-La Hotel, the blast occurred in a restaurant as guests were having breakfast. Investigators who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press said that two suspects had checked into a room at the hotel earlier in the morning and gave local addresses to hotel staff.

A curfew has been imposed from 8 p.m. Monday night until 4 a.m. the next morning.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told reporters Sunday that some government officials had prior intelligence about the attacks but did not act on it.

“Information was there,” he said at a news conference. “This is a matter we need to look into.”

[Sri Lanka timeline: How eight explosions wrought devastation on Easter Sunday]

The security apparatus in Sri Lanka is controlled by the president, Maithripala Sirisena. Relations between him and the prime minister have been at a low point since Sirisena tried to oust Wickremesinghe from office late last year, launching a political crisis. 

Rahman, the member of Parliament briefed on the report, is affiliated with country transformed minister and said Wickremesinghe “had the letter in his hand” when he met with lawmakers Sunday, referring to the notice. 

“He told us that the Indian intelligence had conveyed threats of possible attacks. Two possible dates were mentioned, April 4 and 11,” Rahman said. “Part of the problem is since the October 26 coup, the prime minister has not been invited to the security council meetings, so we don’t know what is being discussed,” he added.

Police arrested 13 people in connection with the bombings, and three police officers were killed during a raid at a suspect’s house. 

Images of splintered pews and bloodstained floors played across local television screens Sunday as the enormity of the attacks, launched on the holiest day of the Christian calendar, became clear.

From the altar of St. Anthony’s Church in Colombo, the Rev. Joy country transformed out at worshipers packed into pews and standing along walls for Easter Sunday.

Nearly halfway through the Mass, as the congregation stood to recite prayers, he heard an enormous blast and saw what he described as a fireball.

The explosion was so powerful that it blew off much of church’s roof, sending debris raining down on the people below.

As the smoke cleared, he saw a terrifying scene: scores of wounded and dead, crying out in pain and fear. At first, Mariyaratnam was motionless with panic. “I was thinking, ‘How could such a thing happen in a place of worship?’” he said. “We are still in shock.”

Delicia Fernando, 52, was sitting toward the front of St. Anthony’s Church in Colombo with her son and two daughters. Her husband Ravi preferred to stand at the back of the church. Her first impulse after the explosion was to run, but then she and her children turned back to look for Ravi. They found him crushed under debris from the roof, his body pierced with shrapnel.

Sitting in the living room of her parents’ home near the church, she said she had never experienced anything like this violence, not even at the height of the country’s civil war.

A view of St. Sebastian’s Church, damaged in a blast in Negombo, north of Colombo, Sri Lanka, on Sunday. (Chamila Karunarathne/AP)

Though a majority of the dead were Sri Lankan, at least a dozen were foreigners including people from India, Japan, Britain, the United States and Turkey. The unidentified bodies of 25 people believed to be foreigners were at a government mortuary in Colombo.

The dead included “several” Americans, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said. He blamed “radical terrorists” for the attacks. 

Sri Lanka is a predominantly Buddhist nation, but it is also home to significant Hindu, Muslim and Christian communities. While there has been intermittent conflict between religious groups — including threats to Christians — nothing remotely like Sunday’s attacks had occurred.

Blasts ripped through three churches in Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa at approximately 8:45 a.m. Sunday as worshipers were gathering for services, police said. 

Ruwan Wijewardene, the state defense minister, said the attacks were carried out by suicide bombers. Six of the attacks occurred between 8:45 and 9:30 a.m.

There was a seventh blast at a banquet hall about 2 p.m. and an eighth at the house raided by police around 2:45 p.m.

The deadliest attack was at St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, known as “little Rome” for its Catholic presence. Also targeted was St. Anthony’s Shrine, Kochchikade, the largest Catholic congregation in Colombo, and Zion Church in the eastern city of Batticaloa.

Two people at the Shangri-La Hotel described a powerful explosion that made the ground shake just before 9 a.m. Photos showed broken windows and shattered glass on a street next to the hotel.

Sarita Marlou, a guest at the hotel, wrote on Facebook that she felt the impact of the explosion in the hotel’s flagship restaurant all the way up on the 17th floor. She described seeing pools of blood as she evacuated the hotel.

Also targeted were the ground-floor Taprobane restaurant at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel and the luxury Kingsbury Hotel.

[Sri Lankan government blocks social media and imposes curfew following deadly blasts]

Three police officers were killed in a clash at a home in the Dematagoda area of Colombo, police said. They had gone there to interrogate an individual.

Pompeo condemned the attacks “in the strongest terms.”

“Attacks on innocent people gathering in a place of worship or enjoying a holiday meal are affronts to the universal values and freedoms that we hold dear, and demonstrate yet again the brutal nature of radical terrorists whose sole aim is to threaten peace and security,” he said in a statement.

A victim’s relative mourns at the police mortuary in Colombo. (Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters)

In an updated travel advisory issued late Sunday, the State Department warned that “terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Sri Lanka,” citing threats to tourist sites, shopping malls, hotels, places of worship and other public areas.

Sri Lankan authorities blocked Facebook and the messaging application WhatsApp in an attempt to halt the spread of false and inflammatory messages. Security was heightened at churches across the country, and the streets of Colombo grew quiet and deserted as the curfew took effect.

Wickremesinghe, the prime minister, condemned “the cowardly attacks on our people today” and urged the country to remain “united and strong.”

The SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks extremist activity online, reported Sunday that Islamic State supporters were portraying the attacks as revenge for strikes on mosques and Muslims.

Yousef A. al-Othaimeen, head of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, “strongly condemned” the “cowardly attacks [on] innocent worshipers and civilians.” The OIC represents 57 predominantly Muslim nations.

People in Sri Lanka expressed a sense of disbelief at the eruption of violence. Biraj Patnaik, South Asia director for the human rights group Amnesty International, said Sri Lanka has witnessed rising hostility toward Christians and Muslims in recent years, including repeated attempts to disrupt prayers at churches. But the scale of Sunday’s attacks, he said, was “shocking and unprecedented.”

The bombings were the worst violence to hit Colombo since 1996, when a blast at the country’s central bank killed nearly 100 people. That attack was carried out by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or Tamil Tigers, which waged a war for a separate Tamil homeland in Sri Lanka’s north for more than 30 years.

Messages of condolence and condemnation on Sunday poured in from around the world.

Pope Francis during his Easter address called the attacks “horrendous” and expressed a “heartfelt closeness to the Christian community, attacked while gathered in prayer, and to all the victims of such a cruel act of violence.”

“I entrust to the Lord all who so tragically died, and I pray for the wounded and all those who suffer because of this traumatic event,” Francis said.

Mahtani reported from Hong Kong. Rukshana Rizwie in Colombo, Niha Masih in New Delhi and Chico Harlan in Rome contributed to this report.

Posted in Crime, Featured, General, International, Local, News, Obituaries, Regional, Religion0 Comments

Romeo - PDM

Honourable Premier Donaldson Romeo 2019 New Year Statement


First, let me wish a happy, God-blessed new year to the people of Montserrat young and old, near and far; to all citizens, residents, visitors and friends. May we all go forward with God together in this New Year which God has graciously allowed us to see.

As we move forward into 2019, there is great hope and good reason to be optimistic. Over the past two years we have been blessed with several breakthroughs that open up opportunities to build a sound future. Yes, the sea port, the undersea fibre optic cable, geothermal and solar energy development, the pending hospital, the EU funding, the new growth strategy, a five-year capital programme, several investment opportunities and more are now open before us, as I discussed in my recent interview with our acting Communications Director.

In the past four years the Government of Montserrat (GoM) has been able to weave the landscape that now projects the opportunity for growth, development and a thriving economy.  We stood on our own two feet before this crisis, and after 23 years of resilience training, we are ready to do it again. 

First I must give some good news on private sector investment initiatives. For example, in Dick Hill the Art Housing project has put in place the foundations and the road infrastructure to the 10 unit villa project.  The next stage will resume where we shall see the buildings going up. This was confirmed on my recent visit to the UK.  Meanwhile, we continue to advance potential projects in water bottling and the digital sector of our economy. These projects will provide services to the outside world and bring significant employment and revenue to the Government and People of Montserrat.

Let us now take note of the progress with various ongoing projects. Some of the following projects are more visible than others, but we are making good progress that will help us to build a solid future:

Carr’s Bay Bridge: With funding in place, we can all see that frameworks have been set up, concrete has been poured for the main bridge structures and work is ongoing. The bridge deck, base and vertical walls are already in place. The wing walls, the catchment, the outfall and the head walls will follow. Works on the Carr’s Bay Bridge are scheduled to be completed by January 31st.

Barzeys Road and bridge:  We have completed 820ft  of concrete roadway with an average width of 20ft.  The work also required kerbs, drains, retaining walls, building a bridge and re-aligning the roadway. The resilience, safety and access on this section of road have been greatly improved as a result of the works completed. 

Sea Port, Phase 1: A year ago, Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) approved 14.4M pounds (about EC $50 million) for the development of Port Little Bay under the UKCIF fund.  GoM will provide an additional 7M pounds (EC 24 Million) to assist with the project expenditure. CDB & GoM have developed Terms of Reference (ToRs) for the procurement of the Project Manager, Marine Consultants, Environmental and Social Impact Assessment Consultant (ESIA). Land has to be acquired; asking prices suggest that we will need to take the compulsory acquisition process route.

The Public Procurement Board has issued an award letter in Dec 2018 to STANTEC Consultants out of Barbados, who will be on ­­­­­­­­island in early January 2019. A Project Coordinator for the Port project is expected to be in place by February 2019. The ESIA for the Port Project will be done by the Technical Consultants, to meet a deadline of Mar 2019. The Technical Consultants will also advance the tender process for the Design Build Contractor. This should start in June or July.  Under the European Development Fund (EDF), the Port project must be completed by 2020/21.

Airport: Construction drawings for the new Air Traffic Control Tower are nearly complete and tender documents are being developed.  The Prefabricated Cab for the Tower was expected on island by end of December 2018.  Of the EC$2.315m of GoM/Department for International Development (DFID) and EU funding for this project, EC$961,531.00 has been spent on the Cab.  EC$324,732.04 has been spent on equipment for the new Air Traffic Control Tower.  The remainder will be spent on a final payment for the pre-fabricated cab, as well as on the construction of the Shaft.  

Fibre Optics Cable: This is a priority project for GoM and DfID.  It will greatly enhance resiliency of our communications in the face of hurricanes and open the way for a powerful digital sector in our economy. Funding of about £5 millions is assured. The request for proposals is being finalized and should go to the Market this month.  It will then take another month to have a contract in place. We intend to have the fibre optic cable in place for the peak of the Hurricane season, August.

Hospital and healthcare: The hospital project is a part of the five-year capital programme being further developed with the UK, which helps to secure funding.  A steering committee is being set up for the project. Wider ongoing developments include better pediatric care, improved psychiatric care, sharing of anaesthesiology resources with neighbouring islands and creation of Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs).  Options are being explored for better air ambulance services to Guadeloupe.  Healthcare in Montserrat continues to benefit from technical support through the UK departments, such as Public Health England and the Department of Health, as well as DFID and FCO in meeting its international health obligations while we address local challenges.

ZJB New Building: This is now nearing completion and the Station will soon be moving house.  Equipment for the new building was successfully tendered and a new generator should arrive shortly.  While waiting on the new equipment to arrive I have given the directive for them to occupy and broadcast from the New ZJB building with our present equipment. 

250 kW Solar PV project: This project is expected to be completed by the middle of March and will increase the resilience of our Electricity supply through solar energy.  Upon completion the roof top solar installation is expected to produce 250 kw of solar energy. This project’s capacity is approximately 10% of our peak power load, and it is intended to develop a second phase, of 750 kW, as was announced last November when CARICOM Energy Month was launched here. Installation is scheduled to begin on the 14th January 2019. The total expenditure to-date has been $870,490.

Geothermal Well 3: Regarding the drilling of the third well, DFID will provide an update on the negotiation between DFID and Iceland Drilling Company (IDC). This should inform the strategic approach on the final drilling completion and development of the third well.

Geothermal power plant: GOM has completed an early market engagement on the development of a geothermal surface plant to generate electricity. DFID and GOM after assessing the early market engagement report agreed to move to the geothermal generation stage.  The technical assistance required for the geothermal surface plant development and implementation will be financed by DFID.

Housing: We were able to provide permanent housing to five households who were able to enjoy their first Christmas living in their new homes.  Montserratians have a strong desire to own a piece of the rock and as a result we will be providing new lots in the Lookout Area.  We intend to extend the Drummonds housing development, through the construction of another complex with six two-bedroom apartments.  We are presently negotiating with DfID, our funding partner, to build a number of new homes over the next five years. 

Port Buildings Project: Work was to be done on the Montserrat Port Authourity (MPA) warehouse roof and on the Ferry terminal. Of the EC$1.1M, spend to date is $670,000. The other $430,000 is to be spent on the Office Accommodation and the final aspects of the Ferry Terminal Canopy.  The project is 85% complete and works are expected to be completed by March 2019. The MPA roof repairs and Ferry Terminal Canopy Cover are completed, including construction of a staircase, a verandah at the arrival section, paving works and reconfiguration of the fencing.  The anticipated Canopy which will form the roof for the newly paved areas will be installed shortly.  

Liquid Waste Management Project: This project has four components: [1] the Margetson Sewage Treatment Plant, [2] The Lookout warden assisted accommodation walkway, [3] the Lookout warden assisted accommodation sewage balancing tank and [4] the New Windward sewage stabilization ponds. The first three components are already completed.  Work on the New Windward ponds is still in progress. The installation of the pond liners was delayed due to late arrival.  Completion of this project is now scheduled for later this month.

Tourism: The new tourism director will now be in place shortly.  It is anticipated that he will advance the discussion of the formal twinning of Montserrat and Antigua as one tourist destination. The future looks bright for the anticipated EU funded tourism development which would increase the tourism dollars for the private sector.

Another key sign of progress comes from the testimony to the Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) by Lord Ahmad, Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) Minister for Overseas Territories, on December 18th 2018. This is the same FAC that I testified before and also submitted written evidence. 

In his testimony Lord Ahmad confirmed that along with the Secretary of State, (Penny Mordaunt) and his colleague Lord Bates, the view they are now taking involves much more long-term support of Capital projects in Montserrat as in each British Overseas Territory.  He confirmed that we  are working  through  the  details  of  a  £30  million-plus  programme  supporting infrastructure. However, having surveyed our needs, GoM asked for significantly more than £50 million. 

GoM acknowledges and thank Lord Ahmad and Lord Bates for the critical role they have played so far in the negotiations over the 5-year Capital programme.  For it is time we agree a real programme of action to recreate a civilized home for the People of Montserrat.

Given the legal obligations to support OT’s, Montserrat has a priority claim on DfID’s £12 billion plus development aid budget. According to the 2002 UK International Development Act, we must not be put in competition with very poor third world countries.  The key projects we are proposing are transformative and — with timely and adequate support — will help to get Montserrat out of dependency on annual grants from the UK.

It is definitely good news that, apart from having discussions with us year after year over budget support, GoM, FCO and DfID are now also discussing the first long-term capital programme with many projects.  This will not only help to set Montserrat on a course out of dependency on the British tax payers but will fulfill the UK’s obligations under the United Nations Charter, Article 73, by ensuring our advancement, economically, socially, educationally and even politically while also promoting constructive measures of development.

That is why I shall continue to call on HMG to honour the UK’s policies which are very supportive and allows them to do what is right by the people of Montserrat while doing what is in the interest of the British tax payers. 

So, 2019 is indeed the time for UK policies and actions to match. 

2019 is also the time for us as a people to be assertive about our rights as British Nationals under the UN Charter.  Those who refuse to accept this and who sometimes even laugh at it are unintentionally working against Montserrat’s interests. That must now stop and we must come together to move forward with a united force.

Finally, the key strategic move for 2019 and beyond is to turn our breakthroughs into a breakout that moves us beyond dependency and lingering impacts of the volcano disaster to resilient, self-sustaining, inclusive growth and development.  With key infrastructure and projects coming in place, 2019 is the year for us to all work together to continue to attract the right kinds of support. This includes local and foreign investments and business that will build a modern, thriving, diverse, resilient, and lasting economy. One, in which all of our people, whether citizens, residents, visitors or friends, young and old — through enterprise and initiative — can fulfil their hopes in a truly democratic and God-fearing society

Let us therefore continue to commit 2019 into God’s hands and seek his wisdom as we work together to build our future.

God bless the People and Government of Montserrat in this year of our Lord, 2019.

Please Support The Montserrat Reporter


Posted in Advertisements, Business/Economy/Banking, Classified, Featured, Features, General, Opinions, Politics0 Comments

economic recovery

Economic Growth Strategy and Delivery Plan

From the Government Information Unit (GIU)

The final version of the Economic Growth Strategy and Delivery Plan for Montserrat is now available online.

The Government of Montserrat has developed the Economic Growth Strategy (EGS) 2018-2022, which will act as the guide for public investment over the next several years; with the goal of the eventual re-balancing of the economy from public sector driven to private sector led. It seeks to accomplish this by analysing the potential of key sectors that have been identified as the most economically viable with the ultimate goal of long-term sustainability. The EGS ensures that actions are tied to these goals by clearly outlining a delivery plan which details the responsible agencies and time-frames for accomplishing tasks geared towards achieving economic milestones. The strategic focus of the EGS is expected to go beyond 2022 as it will dovetail into the development of the new Sustainable Development Plan (2021).

The EGS & Delivery Plan is available The document is available in the publications section of the Government of Montserrat website.  To access the document, individuals should go to www.gov.ms click on the  ‘publications’  tab, then click on ‘Ministry of Finance’ in the list provided.  Once on this page, click on the pdf “Economic Growth Strategy & Delivery Plan – Final’ to open or download the document.  Alternatively, the document can be accessed at the following link http://www.gov.ms/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Economic-Growth-Strategy-Delivery-Plan.pdf

Posted in Advertisements, Business/Economy/Banking, Features, General, Local, News0 Comments

Please Support The Montserrat Reporter

This is bottom line for us! Unless we receive your support, our effort will not be able to continue. Whatever and however you can, please support The Montserrat Reporter in whatever amount you can (and whatever frequency) – and it only takes a minute.
Thank you

TMR print pages

Flow 3X Data on Postpaid

Notice – Clico International Life Insurace Ltd.

Newsletter

Archives

FLOW - Back to School

https://indd.adobe.com/embed/2b4deb22-cf03-4509-9bbd-938c7e8ecc7d