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A child sick with malaria and from malnutrition lies on a bed in a hospital in Bor, South Sudan, March 15, 2014.

Today marks World Health Day for 2014

A child sick with malaria and from malnutrition lies on a bed in a hospital in Bor, South Sudan, March 15, 2014.

A child sick with malaria and from malnutrition lies on a bed in a hospital in Bor, South Sudan, March 15, 2014.

The World Health Organization is highlighting the annual observance with information about the increasing threat of vector-borne diseases.

More than half the world’s population is at risk from diseases such as malaria, dengue, leishmaniasis, Lyme disease, schistosomiasis and yellow fever, carried by mosquitoes, flies, ticks, water snails and other vectors.

Vector-borne diseases affect the poorest populations, particularly where there is a lack of access to adequate housing, safe drinking water and sanitation. Malnourished people and those with weakened immunity are especially susceptible.

More than one billion people are infected and more than one million die from vector-borne diseases every year.

WHO says the diseases are entirely preventable.

newly published brief on vector-borne diseases outlines steps that governments, community groups and families can take to protect people from infection.

WHO Director General Dr. Margaret Chan says “simple, cost-effective interventions like insecticide-treated bed nets and indoor spraying have already saved millions of lives.”

Dr. Lorenzo Savioli, director of WHO’s Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases, says “increased funds and political commitment are needed” to sustain existing vector-control tools and to conduct urgently needed research.

Schistosomiasis, transmitted by water snails, is the most widespread of all vector-borne disease. It affects almost 240 million people worldwide and can be controlled through regular mass treatment of at-risk groups with a safe, effective medicine and access to safe drinking water and sanitation.

WHO says in the past two decades many vector-borne diseases have re-emerged or spread to new parts of the world. Mosquito-borne dengue is now found in 100 countries, putting more than 2.5 billion people – over 40 percent of the world’s population – at risk.

Reports from Greece say that malaria has returned there for the first time in 40 years.

Posted in Features, International, Letters, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

Port Access – health and safety

Dear Editor:

Now that we have a NEW customs and immigration facility we should look carefully

at what has been provided.

Many of our travellers are elderly and some are disabled but NO measures are in place to help them.

Normal passengers who use the ferry do it because it is more economic or they have large packages to bring with them.

It is a long walk from the entry point to the vehicle pick up area.

There are golf buggies on island and no golf course, it would be a good idea if one or two were situated at the customs building to help the disabled get to their cars and

allow others to move large suitcases. Even a wheelchair would help.

Passenger convenience  and health and safety obviously do not figure in the minds of  planners and builders.

 

Sam

Posted in Letters, Local, News4 Comments

Are we going to get Geothermal?

Just come right out and tell us what is exactly happening

Call me a skeptic,  but I found Min. Kirnon’s address/remarks on the ZJB News last night and also listening to the recording in your MNI, was simply unacceptable.

With something so vitally important to the future of Montserrat at stake, I found him to be lackadaisical, and beyond my comprehension.

He should come right out and tell us what the appraisal of Well #1 was, because we were told since the middle of last year that in three months we would be told of the findings/values of the content; minerals; temperature and flow rate, which would tell us what MW’s and type of system (Steam or Binary) we would be able to get.

They/he/DFID/PWD director then told us by year end, then it was later changed to the end of January, because they are massaging Well #2, then the report was to be presented by the end of February, now is the second week of March, now last night Min. Kirnon, told us that another report on minerals in the water will be given by July? Why?

I heard from a reliable source in London that DFID has written off Geothermal for Montserrat !!?

Then there was a delay because the Well #2 had to go deeper and they reduced the well bore pipe to a 4″ pipe, because the well digging machine could not safely turn a larger bore pipe that deep down.

Now a 4″ pipe cannot be used as a production well on any geothermal plant of any magnitude, eg.. more than 1MW max.

Eventual delays on top of delays, just come right out and tell us what is exactly happening!! Are we going to get Geothermal?

Min. Kirnon is telling us that there is no rush (So to speak) as we cannot do anything until the Indian built Power Plant is completed, and installed.

Min. Kirnon, we can start right now (If DFID is really giving us Geothermal) to select the Geothermal plant and start constructing it now.

Come Clean and let the Montserrat Public both here and abroad know, it is our right to know.

Capt. John

 

Posted in Letters, Local, News1 Comment

Derona Semper

Governor Davis to confirm Inspectors Derona Semper and Albert Williams after ‘reverting’ them to Sergeants

Derona Semper and Albert Williams

Albert Williams

In the end of what appeared quietly to Attorney David Brandt untoward and undue delay, and which might well be a next beginning, His Excellency Governor  Adrian Davis, wrote to Mr. Brandt. “Thank you for your various letters and emails on behalf of your clients. I have reviewed again all the correspondence. In addition as I indicated I have also had the benefit of discussion with, and advice from, Cabinet colleagues.

“As a result of this process, both officers will be confirmed as Inspectors. They will be advised of the effective dates in the usual manner,” the Governor advised.

Since our last report, Mr. Brandt had on two separate occasions wrote to the Governor, accusing him of  impropriety, since his deadline letter, to which the Governor had responded by email on 27 February, that he had in fact come to a decision but  was consulting cabinet “in line with Section 39(7)” of the Montserrat Constitution. He also said he had received legal advice from the AG’s Chambers, and advice on policing from FCO’s police adviser.

In the first instance, Mr. Brandt reacted to a letter to Semper and Williams from the Commissioner of Police (Ag.) dated February 28, 2014. On March 4 Brandt wrote the Governor, “…it appears that you have come to a final decision to demote my clients to the rank of Sergeants and communicated the same to a Bradley Siddell Commissioner (Ag) before you will meet with Cabinet on the 6th of March 2014.

“I say this because by letter dated February 28 2014 one day after you wrote to me Mr. Siddell gave my clients the enclosed memo, which in effect commanded my clients to immediately report to Ms. Allen Business Manager , to have items of uniform made for you by the Seamstress or issued by the Storekeeper when available.

It follows naturally that meeting with Cabinet will be a mere formality because it appears you have already informed Mr. Siddle to take the steps he took. It is inconceivable that Mr. Siddell could have written the letters to my clients without your express authority.”

Derona Semper

Derona Semper

The Governor responded the next day: “…It is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the current situation. On 27 January I wrote to both officers Williams and Semper informing them they would revert to Sergeant with immediate effect. That decision is still in force, and DCOP Siddell was simply taking appropriate action in the light of it.”

The Governor went on to note, his discussion “with Cabinet tomorrow is whether, in the light of the various communications I have received from you, and other advice I have received, I should change my original decision.”

This response evoked the hint from Mr. Brandt that a new chapter was about to begin in the matter. He wrote the Governor the following which is presented here in its entirety because of what it represents.

Dear Your Excellency,

It is always a joy to have a dialogue with you on matters of this nature.

In your email to me dated February 27 2014 you indicated that you are carefully considering legal advice you have received from the AG’s Office and advice on policing from the FCO’s Independent Police Advisor and that you have come to a decision but in line with Section 39(7) of the Constitution you need to confer with your colleagues in Cabinet before you can confirm that decision.

If as stated in your email to me dated 5 March 2014 that you had already taken a decision and Mr. Siddle was merely acting upon it why did  you not  place your decision in abeyance. If that is truly the case why did you write to me and say ” My discussion with Cabinet  tomorrow is whether in light of the various communications I have received from you, and other advice I have received, I should change my original decision.”

When you came to the decision that you may change your mind why did you not tell Mr. Siddle to hold off until after you meet with Cabinet?

Section 39(7) clearly states that before exercising any function with respect to the Police you shall consult the Cabinet…

You have created the following documents and caused them to be acted upon namely

(1) Performance and Development Review Guidelines

(2) Integrity Form

(3) Polygraph Testing

(4) Integrity Notice without consulting Cabinet. I say that because by your email dated February 27 2014 , it is clear that it is after you have taken the steps we are complaining about you will consult Cabinet. It is too late it should have been done before.

It is my submission that you cannot rely upon (a) (b) and (c) of Section 39(7) of the Constitution because you state  in your email to me on the March 5 2014  it is only now that you will bring this matter to Cabinet for the first time  which means that you acted  and did not consider that Cabinet should not be consulted on the matter.

Having created and acted on the documents mentioned here-in and demoted my clients and not consulted Cabinet you are in breach of procedural impropriety because when Parliament and  in this case the constitution sets out a procedure to be  followed  you are bound to follow that procedure even though in the end you did not take Cabinets advice.

In the premises you cannot retrospectively legalise your illegal act. I will quote Bob Marley “what gone bad in the morning cannot come good at night”.

Please be guided accordingly.

Yours very truly,

David S. Brandt

Posted in Letters, Local, News34 Comments

MDC told: “wake up to the real world”

Dear Reporter:
I have been watching the development in Little Bay from afar in the US. I’m home now for a few months and have visited the sites, the MDC offices and spoken to all involved. The new beach bars look fantastic and I hope they are a success.
BUT (a huge BUT).
Where did the team get their cruise ship advice from? A 2000 passenger ship docking on Montserrat? How are these visitors going to travel around our island? I asked the MDC; apparently half will travel by boat to Plymouth and half will travel by bus to Plymouth. They will then switch transport methods for the return journey.
Simple math here:
2000 = half by boat = 1000, half by road = 1000 – simple.
1000 by road, assuming a Maxi takes 8 people, means we require 125 Maxi Taxi’s. I repeat – 125 Maxi Taxi’s! Are these going to fit on our road every day without causing chaos? I heard a rumor there would be larger vehicles provided. 50 seat buses would still require 20 vehicles!
Come on MDC, wake up to the real world.
My family and I had dinner by Watermelon Cottage, and as you are probably aware, Trevor is a former cruise ship director yet he was never consulted. He for one thinks this is absurd and questions the advice the MDC has paid for. He tells us this for free.
How much has the MDC paid out for this flawed advice, why can they not see this is an absurd idea. I demand we see the transparency in the process and as this is a Government Department (company) they show us under the freedom of information act.
Marlon Lee

Posted in Letters, Local, News1 Comment

Shirley Osborne

Conversations with Montserrat -2

Shirley Osborne

Shirley Osborne

Hi. M, it’s me again.

(Shirley Osborne)
You remember that the last time we talked, I was asking you about elections and then the discussion turned to your daughters?
Well, one of them told me that I had got it all wrong, that women are in charge all up and down the Montserrat government structure, and that women run things in Montserrat. So, although I really want to talk to you about the elections, we will have to do it another time, because you know how I feel about women’s issues, and about you. Put the two of you together and, for me, that trumps everything else.
Last time, I was telling you how it much bothers me that your daughters are not nearly as good to each other as we should be and that no women have been in the government for a while. Well, your daughter who joined in our conversation, took it upon herself to school me. She sent me a list of the women who are “in charge all up and down the Montserrat government structure.” And, would you believe it, Miss Mon, that daughter actually thought to reprimand me with the same “you are out of touch, you no live ya” argument. Funny woman!
She signed her name as “I Love Women” and this is what she sent me: “The Deputy Governor was a woman, The Speaker of the House is a woman, the Cabinet Secretary is a woman, Senior Magistrate, Attorney General, Director of Public Prosecutions, Auditor General, Chief HR Officer, Permanent Secretary Communications and Works, Permanent Secretary Agriculture, Deputy Financial Secretary, Comptroller of Inland Revenue, Chief Medical Officer, Director of Agriculture, Director of Tourism, and numerous other Directors and Heads of Department and their deputies;”
Well, some of these I knew already, others I did not, and Mother M, you know me well, so you understand what I mean when I tell you that I really and truly wish she hadn’t brought me so much up to speed. On the one hand, she completely demolished my entire women-would-do-it-better theory. Or she would have, except that you and I both know that mostly what happens in Montserrat is that the women take directives from the men, who are the ones who are really in charge; and when the meaningful decisions are to be made, it is the men who make them.
The really painful thing for me, Miss Mon, is that she made my point about the un-sisterly attitude of your daughters. I really, really and truly wish that she had proved me wrong on this one. Furthermore, my sister seemed to want to make the point that I don’t have a point because Montserrat is not the worst in the world when it comes to violence against women. Another person who listened to our conversation also seemed to dismiss the level of violence against Montserrat’s women as being somehow less troublesome because it is a “worldwide problem.”
My question is, if, indeed, it is true that women run things in Montserrat, does no one question how it is that child abuse, relationship abuse, domestic violence, statutory rape, just to give some examples, continue to be what some people describe as “rampant” on Montserrat? What are the women doing? If they have so much power, why are the women not doing more to stem and try to stop these horrors? How is it that men continue to get away with these things in a society in which “women run things”?
I don’t know what to say, M. It seems to me that every time someone dares to call out the things that need to be improved in Montserrat, the stock response is a general huffing and puffing about who dares do so, and how dare they, and the classic – you no live ya! and all the other responses that make me want to tell them please stop speaking – but I shan’t because they are very sensitive, your children!
I wonder if this sensitivity might have anything at all to do with a general feeling of powerlessness that is being whispered about by Montserratians; the feeling I often hear expressed, that the people have no voice, that the people have no say in what goes on in the island, in the government of the island. I wonder.
What do you, think, M?
I know enough about human nature to recognise that some of the responses are the expected deflecting and diverting, and the entirely natural human desire to avoid facing unpleasantness, so I know better than to take it personally. When they do this, the only effect it has on me is that it deepens my worry.
I know for a fact, that it is altogether impossible for one to arrive at, never mind, act on solutions until and unless one has faced up to and named and called out the problem. And I worry that there is so much deflecting and diverting going on around the very real and serious problems that your children continue to find themselves contending with, that there will only continue to be coverings up and turnings away, rationalising, downplaying and dismissing. Even when serious and tragic things occur, many of your sons and daughters elect to rationalise and deflect. In some instances, it is definitely the case that they are deflecting and diverting that attention away from themselves, for reasons that are either well-known or can safely be assumed, because that is how human beings operate.
Miss Mon, you remember a couple of years ago when one of your daughters was hacked to death in her bed by her estranged fiancé? And you remember how some of your sons and daughters responded to that? I know I will never forget some of the things I heard some of them say. I shall never forget which ones of them said those things, either.
And nothing much has changed, M. Just a few months ago, a woman had to be spirited away from you, in fear for her life, and not just because she was in danger from the man who abused her, either. Nn-nn! Her danger was compounded, from what I was told, because those whose duty it is to protect her and others like her, felt themselves bound by a higher responsibility – the protection of her abuser.
How is that? In Montserrat?
I tell you, Miss Mon, I would very much love it if someone would either prove to me that these issues that we are talking about are entirely not true and therefore not in need of any attention or further words from me, or tell me something that is being done to address and alleviate them, and tell me how I could support the effort.
You know how it is, Miss Mon. We know how your children are. I wouldn’t want to offend their sensitive natures by daring to be arrogant enough to offer any suggestions from my personal store of knowledge, especially since, as they keep reminding me, I don’t live there – but I would very much love to hear what they’re doing about – well, about a bunch of things – but I’d be happy to begin with the real status of women, and the very real – and disturbing issue of violence against the women of Montserrat.
***************************

Posted in Letters, Local, News1 Comment

Shirley Osborne

A conversation with Montserrat – (Part 1)

Shirley Osborne

Shirley Osborne

Shirley is back – Who remembers ‘Let’s Talk’? 
So, Dear Montserrat,
Election Days are here again, are they? It’s been nearly five years since the last burst of amazement, stupefaction and wonder, and from what I hear, these 2014 Elections Days look set to top any we have ever had in that regard, my gentle, little island. It looks like, once again, there will be mud-slinging and scandal, lies and fabrications, false promises and lying assurances; there will be dirty laundry and bloody sheets, evil eyes and poisoned darts; ill-will and bad feeling.
Par for the course, I’m told.
I wonder how you feel, Montserrat? Are you excited? Bored? Resigned? Worried? Are you not wishing you could have better? I know, I am.
As the days go by and the date draws nearer, everybody will get involved, even those who cannot or will not vote, those who live with you and those who don’t. And, let me just say right here, for those of us who will object, who are already objecting, to the involvement of those of us who will not or cannot vote and of those who do not live with you, dearest Monti, I have two words for them, the most polite form of which is, “Shut up!!”
That old, “Awe a de one dem who stap ya aftoo de volcano and buil’ back de place,” is tired, juvenile and false. But, if you really want to go there, we can talk about whether the place has, in fact, been built back, and whether, whatever has been done, you did all by yourself.
That other dull, old saw, “Who no live ya, no gat no say!!“, I shall not even address.
However, just in the interests of peace and intelligent discussion, let me, before I go any further, just clarify for those whom it will concern: my name is Shirley Osborne, I was delivered by my grandmother in my grandfather’s house in Salem, to John and Eleanor Osborne, and I grew up in Cheap End, St. Peter’s and on Hope Road, Salem. I have shed blood, sweat and tears on, for and because of Montserrat, and I have enjoyed love, friendship, and support from Montserrat. I have also felt pride in Montserrat, on occasion, and I hope these coming Election Days will provide another such.
I not only can, but I SHALL say whatever I am moved to, and anyone who has a problem with that, you know where to find me.
I speak, because, I am one of those Montserratians who still hopes that your people, O! Gentle Island, will find it in ourselves to be kind to one another, whether we are political opponents, or not. I vividly remember a time when even relatives stopped being friendly to me because they disagreed with my father’s politics. It was a sad and distressing time, which I hope shall never be repeated.
I fervently wish, Mother M, that your children will choose to look after one another, and keep each other safe, whomsoever we support, and whoever gets voted into office. Once, at a political meeting in Salem Centre, a supporter of the opposing party threatened to send my brother to the hospital or to the morgue. And the leader stood by, silent. Those were dangerous and worrying times, never to be repeated, I fervently hope.
My heart is heavy at the thought of your imminent elections, Beautiful One. I am afraid for you. I look at you, and I see scars and fresh wounds on your lands and on the faces of your people, the originals and the new ones. I see wounds that won’t heal even to become scars. I worry that there will come new wounds to make you bleed anew.
I want to tell you some of the things that worry me, M, and some of the things that I find reassuring. They are many, and sometimes they are one and the same, so it will take a little while. Today, I will speak to you of only one or two. We shall speak some more, later.
Here’s one of the things that worries me most – the women in Montserrat; your daughters, M. – the original ones and the ones that came later – you know, the ones from Jamaica and Guyana and wherever else.
The women in Montserrat are not treating one another like sisters. I hear the things they say about one another, especially about the ones that speak Spanish. This is partly because of the appalling behaviour of your sons, which we shall talk about later, but it is not acceptable, no how! There is very little that is nice or sisterly there, Mother M. Very little.
There are no women in the government of you, and there haven’t been for quite a while. This worries me because half of your children are female, but I do understand how it is possible that no women want to run for office. I think most of the women are afraid. They are afraid because they are used to being beaten and mistreated by men – murdered, even – in their own homes, and they get no protection from the men with the authority and the duty to protect them. Physical safety is a priority with my sisters.
Your daughters don’t want to run for political office because they would rather not open themselves to any additional abuse from your sons. As it is, they are already disrespected, violated and abused, far too much, by the men who say they love them, by your sons who are supposed to love them – the fathers, boyfriends, husbands, priests, police officers, bosses, upstanding men in the community and random strangers. That kind of thing wears a woman down and makes her reluctant, even unable, to stand up in public, sometimes.
The women who would run for political office don’t only fear abuse from men – from your sons, M. Your daughters are also uncertain that they wouldn’t have to protect themselves from their sisters – the sisters who turn a blind eye to the domestic abuse that they know is ongoing; the sisters who are hostile to your new daughters, for the simple reason that they exist; the sisters who justify and rationalize when your sons attempt to make punching bags and good-time girls of your new daughters. It is hard for your daughters to trust that they can lean on the sisters who sing and do a nice dance in church, as often as the church doors are open, but who show no sympathy, give no help, offer no support when they are in their offices or on your streets.
What do you think, M? Do you think you will ever get better if so many of your sons are more interested in taking care of themselves than of you, and if so many of your daughters are afraid to?

Posted in Letters, Local1 Comment

Follow-up One Response to “Expat M’rat home-owner suggests cost saver alternative energy to geothermal” Chris Lynt says:

I have been told that the information I presented above was discussed with a member of the energy committee on Montserrat but was “discounted.”
Therefore, I would like to point out that it was based on information from a wind industry informational web site which states that the “costs for a utility scale wind turbine in 2012 ranged from about $1.3 million to $2.2 million per MW [mega watt] of nameplate capacity installed. This cost has come down dramatically from what it was just a few years ago. Most of the commercial-scale turbines installed today are 2 MW in size and cost roughly $3-$4 million installed.”
(see: http://www.windustry.org/resources/how-much-do-wind-turbines-cost)
Of course, an off-shore installation in the tropics might reasonably be expected to cost more than the average $1.3 to $2.2 million to install for numerous reasons.

Posted in Feedbacks, Letters, Local1 Comment

Drunks cannot rule – the people will suffer – what do we see?

 Dear Mr. Editor:

Since I shared these passages with you, I feel moved to ask you to publish these for our people to think about. It can make I think for good discussion as there are those who I am sure will not understand the message, by taking literally every word and not realise when these were written. But please let us remember, as Montserrat claims it is a Christian country, that the words of scripture are eternal.

One bible translation adds the word ‘ruler’. I say this just in case we say we have no kings in Montserrat.

Proverbs 31:1-9 GNBDK

“These are the solemn words which King Lemuel’s mother said to him: “You are my own dear son, the answer to my prayers. What shall I tell you? Don’t spend all your energy on sex and all your money on women; they have destroyed kings. Listen, Lemuel. Kings should not drink wine or have a craving for alcohol. When they drink, they forget the laws and ignore the rights of people in need. Alcohol is for people who are dying, for those who are in misery. Let them drink and forget their poverty and unhappiness. “Speak up for people who cannot speak for themselves. Protect the rights of all who are helpless. Speak for them and be a righteous judge. Protect the rights of the poor and needy.””

Proverbs 31:25-31 GNBDK

“She is strong and respected and not afraid of the future. She speaks with a gentle wisdom. She is always busy and looks after her family’s needs. Her children show their appreciation, and her husband praises her. He says, “Many women are good wives, but you are the best of them all.” Charm is deceptive and beauty disappears, but a woman who honours the Lord should be praised. Give her credit for all she does. She deserves the respect of everyone.”

Now, I would like you to be comforted with the following.

Ecclesiastes 1:18 GNBDK

“The wiser you are, the more worries you have; the more you know, the more it hurts.”

See it at YouVersion.com:

Thank you.

 Lover of this land and all within it

 

Posted in Letters, Local1 Comment

Civil Service Association President’s Letter to Hon. Premier Reuben T. Meade

Download (PDF, 36KB)

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