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It is not just money, power and sex

It is not just money, power and sex

February 22, 2019

When in our Editorials we continually noted that we needed to be careful to understand the notes regarding the FAC Inquiry, we saw that there would be for serious times ahead, other concerns notwithstanding.

There has always been talking about independence (for Montserrat), and it has always been the belief of this Editor that the reasons given, some we have mentioned before, were not credible enough, or not hitting the mark, missing out on the real matters that ought to be of concern to us as a people. Even if not back then, within the last 20 years at least the talk of ‘economic independence, should never be the concern.

The problem it was always about money – So to stretch it or go into depth now, “Power, Sex and Money”. These are the ailments of the world, whether you do, or especially if you believe in a creator.

Today St. Lucia celebrates, ‘Political’ Independence! So, go ask and try figure, why ‘political…’?

As we followed the Inquiry hearings, it turned out that the submissions, even that from Montserrat’s Premier did address some of the issues mostly being mentioned for, ”Resetting the relationship”, or brought up for review. But as we suspected, high on the UK agenda along with that which caused consternation for some OTs and got much attention from members of our own Legislative Assembly, the matter of ‘beneficial ownership’. But notice what has become prominent was this matter of ‘Same Sex Marriage’, with at least five of the OTs have a problem acceding to.

Listening to and watching, the likes of FAC Committee Chairman Tom Tugendhat and member Chris Bryant, lead the questions and the discussions, speaking with a certain amount disdain to the desires and aspirations of those dissenting OTs with Andrew Rosindell batting for the OTs, talking mostly to fairness and level playing field, it is difficult to believe that these OTs should not immediately in considering the outcome of this recent Inquiry and the resulting report. It was not easy going either for Lord Ahmad who have been closer to the OTs position on some of the issues.

It is our view that same sex unions and marriages matters matter for a people of any country to decide whether they will accept, condone, practice, whether governed by another or protected by another, looked after by another. As put by some commenting on the report out of the BVI.
Simple arguments for Independence!

Relationship over completely! No more UK nations in the Caribbean. They feel we are too colored to have such beautiful wealthy nations… but I see a future that they will not believe. We are a God fearing nation. One nation under God! God’s got this one people! The devil will fall, and fall he must!!!
Gay rights, immigration laws changes, no prayer in schools, changing land ownership laws, land tax increases, land sold and overpriced, employment laws changes, crime rate increases, tourism industry falls and offshore banking relocate, massive UK population increase, systematic enslavery begins.

It is with considerable attention we notice the admission at the beginning of the report. “Relations between the UK and the OTs have been under strain in recent years and steps should be taken to strengthen the bonds between them, say the Foreign Affairs Committee.

The OTs are accused of divergence and friction.

But then there is something we should seek clarity on from the chairman. “The UK and the OTs are family, but that relationship must be underpinned by shared duties to each other and values. Then immediately –That is why we call for the UK government to reconsider the relationship and are critical of Belongership and its equivalents. We also call on the OTs which have not yet done so to legalise same sex marriage.”

They found it difficult to understand why Bermuda would go to the lengths they have. What we find difficult is how they can have difficulty with anyone going to limits to stand for what they believe in the sight of their God.

It seems it is time they begin to think seriously of the overall future of life for the people in their respective territories and what the word ‘independence’ really means.

These OTs must be strong, but the arguments must be carefully presented with the backing it will have. The governments and certainly ours must put a committee together that understand what its people believe in, prepared for the tough times as they are not easy now anyway, to immediately get something that is worth the life that is fulfilling. It is not just money, power and sex.

“There is one, wise and truly awe-inspiring seated upon his throne.” But, “Be sincere of heart and steadfast, incline your ear and receive the word of understanding, undisturbed in time of adversity.”

It seems it is time the territories begin to think seriously of the overall future of life for the people in their respective territories and what the word ‘independence’ really means.

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Russian cargo planes cause stir at Trinidad airport

Russian cargo planes cause stir at Trinidad airport


By Staff Editor
A picture of the Russian cargo plane IIyuhsin arriving at the Piarco International Airport on Thursday. A US Air Force plane also arrived on the same day but has since left.

(Trinidad Guardian) Two Russ­ian car­go aero­planes, one of which ar­rived at the Pi­ar­co In­ter­na­tion­al Air­port on Thurs­day and the oth­er here for al­most a month, have raised con­cerns among im­mi­gra­tion and air­port of­fi­cials.

The Russ­ian-man­u­fac­tured air­craft Ilyushin ar­rived yes­ter­day morn­ing and at least three peo­ple, in­clud­ing an of­fi­cial at the air­port, post­ed a video of the car­go plane’s ar­rival on Face­book.

A US Air­force mil­i­tary plane al­so ar­rived on Thurs­day, ac­cord­ing to pic­tures post­ed. But an of­fi­cial from the Pub­lic Af­fairs sec­tion of the US Em­bassy told Guardian Me­dia “it was a nor­mal month­ly de­liv­ery of sup­plies and that plane had al­ready left.” The of­fi­cial said it was mere­ly co­in­ci­den­tal that the US plane ar­rived al­most around the same time as the Russ­ian Ilyushin.

A sec­ond Russ­ian plane owned by Vol­ga-Dnepr Car­go Air­lines has been in the coun­try for al­most a month, im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials told Guardian Me­dia, rais­ing con­cerns amongst air­port of­fi­cials due to the con­tin­u­ing eco­nom­ic and po­lit­i­cal ten­sion in neigh­bour­ing Venezuela.

“I just find it high­ly un­usu­al for an aero­plane to re­main so long at the air­port,” one im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cial said speak­ing on the con­di­tion of strict anonymi­ty.

This Vol­ga Dnepr car­go plane is be­ing housed in a hangar in the old part of the air­port along with the Ilyushin car­go plane, ac­cord­ing to air­port sources.

Mak­ing ref­er­ence to the Ilyushin plane, one air­port source said, “That air­craft is used for car­go and trans­porta­tion of heavy equip­ment. Hav­ing re­gard to the re­cent con­cerns of the Prime Min­is­ter’s in­ter­ests with Venezuela, I must say it had me con­cerned what those air­craft are do­ing here.”

Ac­cord­ing to a con­fi­den­tial doc­u­ment ad­dressed to the Chief Im­mi­gra­tion Of­fi­cer, en­ti­tled: “Ob­ser­va­tion Re­port,” which Guardian Me­dia ob­tained, the Vol­ga Dnepr car­go plane ar­rived in Trinidad on Feb­ru­ary 5.

One of the crew mem­bers, Mikhail Mini­akov, iden­ti­fied as a pi­lot who could speak Eng­lish, told au­thor­i­ties that they stopped off in “Trinidad for a fu­el stop and crew rest and were await­ing in­struc­tions from their em­ploy­ers in Rus­sia as to their next des­ti­na­tion.” Mini­akov in­di­cat­ed that they had just ar­rived from French Guiana where they had spent two days.

Apart from Mini­akov, Dmit­ry Ageev was list­ed as a pi­lot, along with Vi­ach­eslav Lvov as a nav­i­ga­tor and five en­gi­neers – Pavel Popovich, Valery Sot­nikov, Niko­lai Koso­vo, Alexan­der Ero­feev and Dmitri Losenko.

Mini­akov told au­thor­i­ties “af­ter drop­ping off car­go which they had picked up in Italy, they trans­port­ed con­tain­ers to French Guiana but could give no in­for­ma­tion as to what they con­tain­ers con­tained.”

In the doc­u­ment, im­mi­gra­tion au­thor­i­ties con­firmed that this par­tic­u­lar car­go plane had vis­it­ed in May 2015 and Au­gust 2017 and Spe­cial Branch po­lice of­fi­cers al­so in­ter­viewed Mini­akov and pe­rused the pass­ports of all the crew mem­bers.

The doc­u­ment in­di­cat­ed the crew had been grant­ed an ex­ten­sion to stay in Trinidad un­til Feb­ru­ary 12 and Guardian Me­dia un­der­stands that they were grant­ed a fur­ther ex­ten­sion. The crew is re­port­ed­ly stay­ing at the Mar­riot Ho­tel in Port-of-Spain.

Guardian Me­dia sent ques­tions via email to Air­ports Au­thor­i­ty of Trinidad and To­ba­go (AATT) cor­po­rate com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ag­er Zo­la Joseph yes­ter­day in­quir­ing about the pres­ence of the Russ­ian planes and their pur­pose in Trinidad. How­ev­er, Joseph said the AATT would re­spond to­day.

Civ­il Avi­a­tion Au­thor­i­ty di­rec­tor gen­er­al Fran­cis Reg­is mean­while said he could not shed any light on why the Russ­ian planes were in Trinidad.

Guardian Me­dia al­so sent a ques­tion to Min­is­ter of Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty Stu­art Young, ask­ing him if he had been aware of the planes be­ing in Trinidad and why one of the planes were here for such a lengthy pe­ri­od. How­ev­er, Young failed to re­spond to the ques­tion.

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Guyan rice board

Guyana denies shipping “bad’ rice to Jamaica

by staff writer

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Feb 12, CMC – Guyana says it has not shipped any rice to Jamaica under the “Cinderella” brand for the year after media reports in Kingston said that 70 metric tonnes of White Cinderella rice, had been confiscated by Jamaican authorities.

The reports said that the rice, valued at valued at approximately J$4.6 million (One Jamaica dollar=US$0.008 cents) had been confiscated after officials from the Ministry of Industries, Agriculture and Fisheries had carried out a series of inspections and finding that the product had signs of mould, clumping, discoloration and wetting.

But the general manager of the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB), Nizam Hassa, who has expressed concern over the claims, said no rice has been shipped to Jamaica so far this year, by the miller who packages under the Cinderella brand.

“I am very disturbed by these reports. We have since reached out to the Food Storage and Prevention of Infestation Division in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries in Jamaica and are awaiting a response.

“The situation is puzzling since the last shipment left Guyana on the 15th December and arrived on the 19th December, 2018. Like any other shipment, the rice that was sent to Jamaica underwent a series of physical tests and was certified. The Board conducts such tests on paddy, rice and rice by- products prior to any shipment leaving Guyana,” Hassan said.

GRDB export records also revealed that the supplier, to date, has not received any complaints from the buyer in Jamaica or any other of its markets and has been paid for all rice shipped.

Export reports also indicate no one shipment from the supplier amounted to 70 tonnes.

Hassa said that rice could develop mould if it becomes wet in storage.

“It is very important that the rice be stored in a dry place. Mould and other bacteria can develop on the grain if the rice is exposed to moisture or becomes wet in storage,” Hassan said.

The GRDB said it is urging all players within the industry to remain vigilant as the matter is being investigated.

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We support and welcome contributions, questions, comments

We support and welcome contributions, questions, comments

February 15, 2019

The word Brexit (‘Britain’s exit’ from the European Union) has been like a buzz word around although there has been far too much idle and wasted chatter, mostly uninformed and too little worthwhile discussions.

One legislator, who now obviously has the time, as much as side-lining himself, and should be playing the part of sharing and informing, raised the question in a recent sitting of the Legislative Assembly chiding the Premier (or government) for lack of update on the Brexit matter.

It should first be understood, the reasons how they go there in the first place and whether they should be there.

One reader suggested we should do what we have always held as our responsibility, to inform and ‘educate’, and said, “You should include this if you are publishing soon”.  He said this because he agreed with Saga, “is currently speaking out about the GoM being silent on the issue, and I think he’s right.”

We will publish the article as we welcome all articles, discussions, questions, on any topic that do not put us in danger of being sued for defamatory and libellous. We promise there will be no discrimination whatsoever, especially that many will tend to be political. We believe that by now, contrary to what some may even perceive, while not directly accused, we do not support any political party or individuals, but we welcome any opinion that is critical of anything that goes against or support the progress of this little island and its people.

In that case we too will promote and encourage those individuals who show that their interest is not self but truly that of the progress and viability of Montserrat. And by the way, one more correction. There is no charge for any contribution which in our discretion does not seek to promote the subscriber politically or otherwise. Then we call that advertising, which of course is what enables and pays for the service we provide.

On the Brexit issue: here is the introduction by the subscriber on the matter.

In the unlikely event of a no deal, the Brexit deal UK will leave the EU Budget in March 2019. Without further action, this would mean governments and other organisations in our Overseas Territories could lose future funding for existing projects under EU programmes. However, the Chancellor has agreed that the UK government will guarantee funding for specific EU projects. This will provide certainty for British Overseas Territories governments and participating organisations over the course of our EU exit.

You should include this if you are publishing soon. It’s a statement from the FCO published last year about a no deal Brexit. Saga is currently speaking out about the GoM being silent on the issue, and I think he’s right.

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Survivors of boating tragedy appear in court

Survivors of boating tragedy appear in court

by staff writer

NASSAU, Bahamas, Feb 13, CMC – Two days after 22 Haitians were buried after they drowned while attempting to enter the Bahamas by sea earlier this month, the 18 who survived the ordeal have been charged with illegally entering the country.

The 17 men and one woman appeared before Magistrate Kara Turnquest-Deveaux telling her they were “looking for a better life” when they boarded they boarded the 40-foot vessel that ran aground in waters off Abaco on February 3.

So far 31 bodies had been recovered but the authorities said that nine were in such poor condition that they were buried in Abaco. The authorities have since called off the search for other survivors.

Magistrate Turnquest-Deveaux thanked the survivors for their early plea of guilt and turned them over to immigration officials for processing.

Last week, Foreign Affairs Minister, Darren Henfield, said that Nassau has in the past warned of the dangers associated with the illegal migration by sea to the Bahamas.

He said the survivors will be repatriated and the Department of Immigration also said that there will be no special treatment for the survivors.

“The department’s policy in reference to the handling of the illegal migrants remains the same. There has been no change in regard to this policy,” the department said.

During the funeral service on Sunday, Bishop Simeon Hall told the mourners “to be poor and destitute (in Haiti) is still far better than to be dead and gone.”

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CARICOM reiterates call for peaceful solution to Venezuela crisis

CARICOM reiterates call for peaceful solution to Venezuela crisis

by staff writer

UNITED NATIONS, Feb 12, CMC – Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries Monday reiterated the need for a peaceful solution to the ongoing crisis in Venezuela even as they said they continue to follow closely “the unsatisfactory and increasingly volatile situation” in the South American country, reiterating their position of a policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of Caracas..

“It is with grave concern that we also follow the highly polarised and polarising circumstances surrounding Venezuela,” Barbados Ambassador to the United Nations, Liz Thompson, said as she addressed a meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) In the Trusteeship Council on Tuesday.

Speaking on behalf of the 15-member CARICOM grouping, the Barbados diplomat said the regional countries are also fully aware of “words of bitterness and blame coming from both sides.

Barbados Ambassador to United Nations, Liz Thompson.

“The thoughts and sabre rattling by the internal and external contenders in this deteriorating situation. In all of this we are most concerned for and motivated by the plight of the people of Venezuela, who have been rendered powerless pawns…while others play a form of geo-political chess and brinksmanship,”she told the meeting.

Last week, St. Kitts-Nevis Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris, led a CARICOM delegation to Uruguay for talks aimed at ending the political crisis in the South American country where Opposition Leader Juan Guaidó, backed by the United States and several other western countries, has declared himself the interim leader of Venezuela.

But Russia, China and Cuba are among countries that are supporting President Nicolas Maduro, who was sworn into office last month for a second consecutive term as head of state.

The governments of Mexico and Uruguay had called for the conference with representatives from the main countries and international organisations that hold a neutral position towards Venezuela.

Harris said the Montevideo Mechanism adopted at the conference presents “the only objective mechanism” to address the complex political situation in Venezuela.

The Montevideo Mechanism is regarded as the initiative in response to the call by the United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, to find a pathway to a peaceful resolution through dialogue and from a position of respect for International Law and Human Rights.

“We urge all parties inside and outside of Venezuela in the interest of the wellbeing of the people of that country to give the Montevideo Mechanism the time and space it needs to work. These United Nations know the painful experience of history both ancient and recent, the high and awful price of military intervention and the scourge of war,” Thompson said, adding that the CARICOM countries do not choose “one side or the other.

“We choose principle, the principle which led to the founding of this United Nations and the inclusion in its charter of Article 24, which calls for member states to refrain from the threat or the use of force.

“The principle which birthed Article 21 of the Charter of the Organisation of American States which recognises territorial inviolability. The principles of human rights, international law of the rule of law, the sanctity of national sovereignty, and the pivotal principle of the peaceful settlement of disputes, the pursuit of peace, of dialogue and compromise to ensure the preservation of the dignity and worth of the human person”.

Thompson told the conference that these principles are at the root of multilateralism.

“Indeed they are the very foundation on which this house in which we sit was built. Today we re-affirm our adherence to these principles. Critical for us too is the maintenance of the Caribbean and its wider region as a zone of peace.

“We remain steadfast in our view that economic strangulation and military intervention are not only counter to these principles, but will only exacerbate the already great suffering of the people of Venezuela”.

The Barbadian diplomat said that it is the contention of the Caribbean that ‘there must be a political solution that is crafted and owned by the Venezuelan people themselves and by their leaders.

“We support and call for a pathway to peace, forged not by threats but by dialogue. Not by escalating the tensions but by cooling them down. Not by marksmanship but by mediation. Not by the suffocation of sanctions but by the tools of diplomacy”.

She said those who wished for a peaceful solution and the prosperity of Venezuelans must actively encourage dialogue “where both sides seat, both sides talk and both sides listen, so that the common ground on which they can move forward may be found”.

Thompson said that it is in pursuit of this broad objective that CARICOM has offered itself to facilitate dialogue among all parties with a view to creating a peaceful resolution to the crisis in the South American country.

“We know too from the lesson of history …that peace and prosperity are indivisible. The people of Venezuela have already suffered enough. They deserve to live in peace. They deserve a future that offers prosperity. We urge all sides, difficult and complex though it may be, to enter into a constructive dialogue and to work together to build the pathway to peace for the Bolivarian republic of Venezuela,” Thompson added.

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“In Our Blood”

What it means to play international football for Montserrat

By Craig Brewin

The world is starting to sit up and take notice of the Montserrat Football Team, with regular features starting to appear in World Soccer Magazine, social media, and the national press in

the UK.  Its achievements are drawing comparison’s with Jack Charlton’s Irish side who, 25 years ago, made it to the World Cup quarter finals in the USA with a team made up primarily of players born to, and in one case adopted by, Irish parents and grandparents. For Montserrat the USA also beckons, with qualification for the 2019 Gold Cup (the International Tournament for North and Central America and the Caribbean) a distinct possibility.   Coincidently, Montserrat’s final decisive game of qualifying is 22nd March, a few days after St Patricks Day.

Montserrat’s unexpected charge to the finals is being helped by a number of factors: A one-off free for all qualifying tournament designed to facilitate the creation of the new Concacaf Nations League,  and an expansion of the Gold Cup Finals to 16 teams. They also have a very experienced coach, Willie Donachie, who has coached in the Premier League and been to two World Cups with Scotland. Whether or not the team makes it the USA, the journey has been an experience, with the players clearly relishing the competition. They have already qualified for League B in the New Nations League, which gives them another, but more difficult, chance to qualify for the Gold Cup in two year’s time.

So what does it mean to be an English born Montserrat international? It is clear from reading their interviews and tweets that it means a lot. They are a close group of players. Being a small group, they have known each other for a few years now, and their common Montserratian heritage is something they are proud of.

Brandon Comely said after the El Salvador game: ”it was the first time that I’ve lined up in a game with my brother and going to play for a country that’s in our blood was a proud moment. “Spencer Weir-Daley said: “Playing for your country is one of the best honours in football”  and that the team was honoured to be “representing their parents and grandparents”.

Adrian Clifton has said that “not many footballers get an international call up even those in the Premier League. As a footballer it is one of the proudest things you can do, whether it is playing for a big country or a small island everyone wants to play for their country. With my family coming from Montserrat I’ve got massive support there.” After the Belize game he tweeted: “the phone call I just got from my grandad actually made me cry”.

Captain Lyle Taylor has said “Very few players get the chance to play for their countries, whether it’s the county where they were born or whatever. There was no way I was going to turn that down.” It’s the “chance to represent the country my dad’s side of the family come from”. After his first call up he said: “I can’t wait to show my grandparents the videos and pictures, just to hear about how different things were when they lived there”

Taylor has also spoken about meeting an Uncle “Beep-Beep” who he never knew he had, and Dean Mason has said: “I felt more of a connection with my Grandmother when I went there. It’s a really nice feeling to play for my country and to make her proud. When you meet the locals, they explain to you what they went through with the volcano”.

Whatever the outcome of this season, the achievements over the past few months have shown that the team is far better than their lowly seeding recognised. Donanchie’s assistant, former Everton physio Mick Rathbone, described the win over Belize as the best team performance he had seen in his whole life.

They have to win their last game, and they need their rivals to lose, but they are optimistic of making it to the USA. Joey Taylor said Montserrat “rattled” Belize, and El Salvador struggled to “cope”. “We have a real chance of qualifying” said Weir-Daley, with Dean Mason being more forthright: “Bro, it’s happening, I can feel it in my bones”. “We will show the world what Montserrat are capable of,” said Messiah McDonald, “we are coming for the Gold Cup.”

Craig Brewin writes a ‘blog’ (Living on the Island of Montserrat Montserrat’s only ironically meta blog covering football, human rights and shopping)

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CARICOM concerned at violence in Haiti

CARICOM concerned at violence in Haiti

by staff writer

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Feb 13, CMC – The 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) grouping has expressed concern at the violence in Haiti where opposition parties have been staging street demonstrations demanding the resignation of President Jovenel Moise.

CARICOM chairman and St. Kitts-Nevis Prime Minister, Dr. Timothy Harris, said the regional integration grouping “is deeply concerned about the continuing violent protests in Haiti, which have resulted in the loss of life, property, destruction of infrastructure and caused grave distress.

CMC (File Photo)

“The Community calls for calm and a cessation of the violence, appealing to all involved to engage in constructive dialogue and to respect the Constitution, the rule of law and democratic processes so that issues can be resolved in a peaceful atmosphere and allow for the return to a state of normalcy,” he said in a brief statement.

On Monday, the leaders of the various political parties and groups, adopt a common position demanding the resignation of the President Moïse and his government.

“The country is not governed, said opposition legislator, Senator Youri Latortue, adding it is not about the respect or not of the mandate of Jovenel Moïse.

“The observation is that the country is not governed. We cannot let the country go adrift with an incompetent person at its head,” he added.

Earlier this week, several Western countries condemned the “unacceptable acts of violence” in Haiti and called on all stakeholders, including Haitian leaders “to engage in a constructive and inclusive dialogue in order to identify and implement realistic and lasting solutions, political and economic.

Opposition political parties have been staging street demonstrations in support of their calls for President Moise to step down, after accusing him of not investigating allegations of corruption in the previous government over PetroCaribe, an oil alliance of many Caribbean states with Venezuela to purchase oil on conditions of preferential payment. They are also demanding fresh elections and jobs.

But Moise has dismissed the calls for him to resign.

Over the past few days, demonstrators have taken to the streets burning tyres and sporadic gunshots were heard forcing the closure of many businesses. Police also clashed with protesters near the airport and used tear gas to regain control of the situation. At least four people have been killed and police Wednesday reported that they were investigating reports that several prisoners had escaped.

Earlier this month, the President of the Superior Court of Accounts and Administrative Disputes (CSC/CA), Pierre Volmar Demesyeux, presented a copy of the report on the management of projects financed by the PetroCaribe funds to the Speaker of the Senate Carl Murat Cantave.

Cantave has since presented the report to Senator Youri Latortue, the President of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission.

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This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is De-Ole-Dawg.jpg

Why does Montserrat need a “breakthrough”?

Contribution – Part 2/2019


This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is De-Ole-Dawg.jpg

Why has it taken so long for economy transforming projects to begin to roll out?

BRADES, Montserrat, January 17, 2019 –  In his New Year’s message, Premier Romeo announced a list of “breakthrough” projects.[1] As TMR announced,[2] within days, we then saw a rush of activities on the ground.

For example, just after the New year, the “cab” for the new air traffic control tower was trailered up from the port via Davy Hill and the tunnel to the airport. Yes, it got stuck in the tunnel, but that was just a hiccup. The main point is that with a new control tower and proper lighting, the airport can open at night. That improves access for tourism and for medical evacuations by night. Tourism is our biggest hope for economic growth.

If we go down by the MCWL building, we will see solar PV panels being installed for the new 250 kW – 250,000 Watt – power plant, about 10% of our peak electrical load. Ministry officials tell us that a 750 kW plant is to follow shortly. These plants will improve resiliency and provide diversity for our power grid. Officials also informed the public that announcements on geothermal power plant development are to follow shortly. As there may be up to 100 MW – a hundred million Watts – of geothermal energy, we will be able to replace fossil fuel fired electricity, perhaps reducing prices to the consumer (including fuel surcharge) by 50% and opening up room for economic growth and high quality jobs.

Likewise, Stantec of Canada and Barbados is already doing stakeholder and environmental consultations and in coming months is to work with Government to oversee design and construction of the new breakwater and berthing facility for the sea port.

A subsea fibre optic cable is to be laid in coming months also.

Each of these initiatives has good potential to help move our economy on a growth path. That’s not the issue. The problem is, why did it take so long? What are the barriers, obstacles, roadblocks, undermining etc that have been hindering growth? What can we do to make sure barriers go away permanently and do not kill our key development projects?

A good example is a concern that is now making the rounds on the street. It is credibly said that the TC Canadian Economist who helped to push through our Economic Growth Strategy and who has helped us make key connections that opened up possibilities is being pushed out despite the many contributions he obviously could continue to make. This follows the case where an Engineer and Project Management expert who was already setting up a system for training and certifying world class capability for project management here (as well as introducing the famous PRINCE2 practical Project Management system) was frog marched out of Government headquarters, on a “no cause clause” dismissal. Of course, ever since, the Project Management Office has been put in the freezer, undermining our credibility to manage and properly govern projects and programmes. Indeed, a January 2017 Cabinet instruction to proceed with radical reform of the Premier’s Office has also been delayed, roadblocked, stalled for two years now.

Oh is Don fault, ‘e too soft an’ incompetent!

No, such things should never happen, regardless of who is or is not Premier.

We should not “need” a strong man with raised hand holding a whip over us for us to do our work properly and promptly. Slavery was abolished 150 years ago.

Just so, we should not be found undermining, slandering and pushing out people who are helping us by beginning to deliver results. Similarly, we should not throw out the baby with the bath water and we should not kill the goose that is laying the golden eggs.

It is not for nothing that Scripture warns that where we find envy and selfish ambition there will we find disorder and every evil work. It again counsels, let him who is without fault throw the first stone. As a third counsel, it informs us that we should take out the plank in our own eyes then we will see clearly enough to help our brother down in the saw-pit with the sawdust that got in his eyes.

Once we get our spiritual attitude right, we will then able to act wisely enough to come together with godly teamwork and build a sound future for Montserrat.

Where, clearly – even astonishingly, Premier Romeo and his colleagues have in fact begun to deliver on some key, economy transforming initiatives that have been roadblocked for twenty years.  For all their faults – real and imagined – they have to be getting something right. So, it is time for a balanced look to learn lessons going forward.

Perhaps, we can notice: every one of the key projects that are moving forward is externally managed. A clue. The sea port, CDB and Stantec. The Fibre Optic Cable will be laid by a specialist ship. The Control tower “cab” is prefabricated. SALT Energy is building our solar PV plants. DfID has taken over geothermal development. The subtle signal being sent is that we have to drastically improve project governance and project cycle management capability and credibility. That’s why PRINCE2 would have been making a big difference. We must go right back to where we were in July 2017. That includes, fixing the Premier’s Office – including putting in place a capable Chief Executive Officer he is comfortable working with.

Likewise, after hurricanes Irma and Maria gave us two close calls in two weeks, resiliency moved to first priority. Suddenly power brokers in the UN, the UK and other OT’s hit by the hurricanes were listening keenly as Premier Romeo called attention to the acknowledged legal force of the UN Charter’s Article 73 . The UK is legally bound to “ensure . . . advancement”: socially, educationally, politically and economically. It is to “promote constructive measures of development.” Then the Premier  [a] withdrew Premier Meade’s request to take us off the UN’s list of territories that Article 73 applies to AND [b] invited a UN delegation to visit us. That has to go through the UK. Not too long thereafter, we are getting movement on ever so many long-stalled projects. Each of these projects also has a resiliency component. 

Last, but not least: it’s obviously time to stop scoffing at the “first call” principle and to instead use it as a strong negotiating point.

[1] See, TMR

[2] See TMR, addr

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Teenager commits suicide after mother takes away cell phone

Teenager commits suicide after mother takes away cell phone

by staff writer 

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Feb 4, CMC – A 16-year-old girl is reported to have committed suicide after her mother took away her mobile phone after finding out that she had been posting revealing photographs on social media, the Trinidad Express newspaper reported Monday.

It said that the incident occurred on Saturday when the teenager drank a poisonous statement at her home in Wallerfield in East Trinidad.

The paper reported that a container with “a green liquid” was found in the bedroom.

The mother told police that she had taken away her daughter’s cellphone after relatives discovered she had been posting revealing photographs on social media.

The child was rushed to the Arima Health Facility, where she was pronounced dead


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