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Spain stepped up and offered to take in a rescue ship carrying more than 600 migrants after Italy and Malta refused.

Pancake chain IHOP teased a name change to “IHOb,” finally revealing that the new “b” stood for “burgers.”

The repeal of “net neutrality” has taken effect, six months after the FCC voted to undo Obama-era rules which had barred broadband and cellphone companies from favoring their own services and discriminating against rivals such as Netflix.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has reversed a landmark 2014 decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals to rule that fleeing from domestic abuse and gang-related violence should not be considered a basis for being granted asylum in the United States, except in rare cases.

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same sex

Ban on same-sex weddings comes into effect

HAMILTON, Bermuda, Jun 1, CMC – A controversial new law which bans same-sex marriage in Bermuda but gives gay and straight couples the chance to enter into civil unions has come into effect.

The Domestic Partnership Act 2018 (DPA) became law Friday as marriage-equality campaigners await a ruling from the Supreme Court on their attempt to have part of the legislation struck out on constitutional grounds.

same sexThe DPA was approved by this British Overseas Territory’s parliament last December, sparking criticism from human rights activists and UK MPs, including Prime Minister Theresa May, who said she was “seriously disappointed”.

Opposition British Labour Party MP Chris Bryant, a former Overseas Territories Minister who forced a debate on the bill in the House of Commons in London, said the law reversal would make Britain a “laughing stock in the human rights field”.

Governor John Rankin gave the legislation royal assent on February 7 but Home Affairs Minister Walton Brown, who tabled the legislation, deferred its implementation until June 1 to give gay couples who had already made wedding plans extra time to tie the knot.

The DPA reversed a Supreme Court ruling in May last year — two months before the ruling One Bermuda Alliance lost the general election to the Progressive Labour Party — that paved the way for gay couples to get married in Bermuda and on ships registered in the island.

The Supreme Court decision came in a judgment by Justice Charles-Etta Simmons after Bermudian Winston Godwin and Greg DeRoche, his Canadian partner, litigated against the Registrar-General for refusing to post their wedding banns.

Despite their landmark victory, Godwin and DeRoche chose to marry in Canada, but there were 10 same-sex marriages on the island up to the middle of February, plus four at sea on Bermuda-flagged ships.

Banns were also posted for two more maritime marriages.

The latest civil proceedings in Supreme Court were brought against Attorney- General Kathy Lynn Simmons by gay Bermudians Rod Ferguson and Maryellen Jackson and the charity OutBermuda.

The plaintiffs claimed the part of the DPA that reaffirmed that a marriage is void unless the parties are male and female was unconstitutional.

Chief Justice Ian Kawaley reserved judgment in the case until a later date.

Bermuda is the only country in the world to reverse its position on marriage equality. The Netherlands was the first country to legalise same-sex marriage in 2001.

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Rescue teams at scene of accident (Photo courtesy Tribune Newspaper)

Four killed, several others injured, as truck slams into Labour Day parade

NASSAU, Bahamas, Jun 1, CMC – At least four people were killed and 24 others injured after a truck slammed into people celebrating Labour Day activities here on Friday, police said.

Eyewitnesses said the unoccupied truck rolled down the street, hitting several people as it picked up speed. It later crashed into another vehicle, pinning an individual between the two vehicles.

Rescue teams at scene of accident (Photo courtesy Tribune Newspaper)

Video pictures of the accident show people screaming for someone to move the truck.

Police said two women died on the scene and two others died in hospital.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Kendal Strachan said the vehicle rolled on after the driver, who is assisting in the investigations came out of the vehicle.

“ … it went forward colliding first with a child along the side of the street, then descending the hill, continuing north running into several persons who were participating in the Labour Day parade along the eastern side of East Street, coming to rest against a Nissan Micra and the building just at that intersection,” he said.

Labour Minister Dion Foulkes told a news conference that “this is a difficult thing.

“A parade of that nature is normally stop and go at not more than five mph (for vehicles). Constantly on these parades you would find police officers asking persons who are on the vehicles to be properly seated within the vehicles. Yes there are large trucks on the parade where persons are standing but we don’t want to see persons hanging off the side of the vehicle,” he added.

He said the incident sent shockwaves throughout the country but also showcased quick and effective work from health professionals who worked to prevent a rise in the death toll.

“Today is an extremely sad day for the Commonwealth of the Bahamas,” said Health Minister Dr Duane Sands.

“Having endured such a tragic incident, the one thing I can say is from the time of the incident doctors, nurses responded even in their grief to care for the victims. The EMS staff, nursing staff, physicians at PMH made their country proud today and they provided care with a level of professionalism.”

The parade was cancelled following the incident.

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Sisters for Progress: A Committee Organising an Event for International Women’s Day 2018

On March 10, 2018, noting March 17, 2018 would mark the 250th anniversary of the massacre in Montserrat of enslaved Africans who had allegedly plotted to rise up against their enslavers to secure their freedom and more specifically, “There is historical evidence suggesting that it was a drunken woman who informed of the plot”; a committee of inspired group of women, led a gathering of women at the Arts and Education Centre in Brades, in an event captioned, “SISTERS GATHERING FOR PROGRESS”.

They noted further that International Women’s Day where the call, “let’s all be tenacious in accelerating gender parity. Collectively, let’s all Press for Progress..”,  coincided with the period. The result, “this year a small group of women have come together under the theme of International Women’s Day-“Pressing for Progress”. The aim of this event also marking International Women’s Day was to facilitate a gathering of women in Montserrat, to voice their concerns about living in the emerging society and how they could “Press for Progress”.

The women gathered and held a five-hour program from 9:30 am-2:30 pm with a 4o minute break for lunch, which actually took place at the end because of the eventual intensity of the event. It opened with – A Moment of Praise! Led by Miss Sonja Smith followed by Opening Remarks by Chair- Dr. Vernie Clarice Barnes and Welcome and Remarks by the  Honourable (Deputy Premiere) Minister of Education, Health, Social Services, Gender and Ecclesiastical Affairs.

Mrs. Pornpun Pearce, wife of His Excellency the Governor led off with brief remarks, then followed Remarks by Head of DFID Mrs. Moira Marshall which was to be followed by a Keynote Address and Discussion by Professor Opal Palmer Adisa-Award winning Writer and Director of the Institute of Gender and Development  Studies, Mona, University of the West Indies.  Unfortunately, there developed a hitch in the program occasioned by the late arrival of the speaker which was due to the transport difficulties of travel into Montserrat at that period. That item forced a change in the program which brought forward some inspiring ten-minute presentations chaired by Mrs Roslyn Cassell Sealey, by several women, all under the theme of sisters “pressing for progress”;, that included, Mrs. Teresina Fergus, progressing in spirit; Miss Denise Silcotte – Young Women Pressing for Progress; Dominican (Dominican Republic) Women Pressing for Progress – Mrs Carmen Farrell; Pressing for Progress in Women’s Health and Community Wellbeing – Miss Violet Browne; Visually Impaired Women Pressing for Progress – Mrs Harjinder Jutle; Montserrat Diaspora Women Pressing For Progress – Mrs. Sandra Charles Harper; Haitian Women Pressing for Progress; Pressing for Political Progress – Hon Shirley Osborne; Women Pressing for Progress in Higher Education-Miss Gracelyn Cassell. These were followed by other women in the gathering sharing their own experiences and inspirations on the theme.

By the end of that session, the keynote speaker arrived and gave an impressive interactive presentation.

A follow-up report on the event ably covers the proceeding to include the professor’s presentation.

“International Women’s Day 2018 is long gone but echoes of the voices of seventy or more women on Montserrat who gathered to celebrate under the international theme “Pressing for Progress” are still being heard. Women of all nations, classes, denominations, ages, and abilities and disabilities raised their voices on issues that affect them. Voices resounded with respect to spirituality, health and community well-being, politics, education, disability, youth, Hispanic, Haitian and disabled women.

“Keynote Speaker Professor Opal Palmer Adisa, University Director of the Institute of Gender and Development Studies brought energy and clarity to the gathering highlighting, key figures and struggles of the Caribbean Women’s Movement. She urged women on Montserrat to identify with those struggles yet be determined to define their activism according to the realities of life on Montserrat.

This sentiment was expressed earlier by Dr Clarice Barnes who chaired the gathering: ‘We have gathered in the context of a long history of women struggling for equality. We have gathered with our unique stories from our experiences of that struggle.  We are gathered here to raise our voices on the issues that affect us as women living on Montserrat…We gather inclusively, signifying our understanding that our unified voices are important for the progress of Montserrat. Today I choose to honour the memory of Mrs Ellen Peters a woman who was in the vanguard of the struggle for Adult Suffrage in Montserrat and the Labour Movement   Hers is a history that needs to be written in more detail…She is a woman deserving to be a National Hero’.”

A note followed about the ‘distinguished’ guests who sat at the head table, who are mentioned earlier here, to include the Honourable Deputy Premier and Minister of Gender Affairs, Mrs Delmaude Ryan who in her address informed of the Social Service’s work on Gender and Development.  Ms Moira Marshall gave a similar presentation on the gender work of DFID.   

“The gathering ended with a call for national machinery and structures to be established in line with those that are in place elsewhere in the Region and internationally in order that the issues affecting women might be addressed systematically.”

The Sisters for Progress gathering was sponsored by Delta Petroleum and through the self- help efforts of the committee Sisters for Progress.

Since then, a very well attended Gender Based Violence Forum was facilitated by Sisters for Progress in collaboration with the Honourable Speaker of the House on May 7, 2018.   The voices of men and women were heard on this issue. 

Other fora are planned for the future.  Look out for the next one which will be “Gender Issues in Disaster”.

From Jamaica to Montserrat: Another Caribbean Home”

Presented here in her own words, Professor Opal Palmer Adisa, captures the essence of her presentation. She titled her presentation “From Jamaica to Montserrat: Another Caribbean Home” By Opal Palmer Adisa, Ph. D., University Director of the Institute for Gender and Development Studies, University of the West Indies, Mona

The magic and mystery of life is that we can never predict the various turns and paths our life will take. As I sit here in Montserrat on the day of my departure, looking at the rolling mountains, peering into the verdant valley, trying to imagine the lives of those persons whose colorful houses are perched on the hillside, and feeling at peace, I cannot fathom the immense trauma that resulted from the devastating  Soufrière Hills volcanic eruption that has diminished the population to less that half, just under five thousand, and rendered more than half the island inhabitable.

Simultaneous with this trauma is bravery, a sort of defiance on the part of those Montserratians who insist on staying, who have forged ahead and each day is working assiduously to rebuild and develop the society. I am humbled in the face of such valor and such generosity of spirit and robust welcoming.  The last time I visited Montserrat was in 2012 with my mother, who recently died, February 21, at the age of 89, so I bring her spirit with me on this trip, and know like the Montserratian who have so warmly welcomed me home, that I will return again to these shores.

My trip this time was enabled by the Sisters for Progress, a women’s forum, that invited me to give the keynote in celebration of International Women’s Day on the theme # Push for Progress.  As a gender justice advocate, University Director for the Institute for Gender and Development Studies at the University of the West Indies, Mona, and a writer who for the last thirty years have written about the plight and resilience of women, I pay acute attention of the progress women throughout the Caribbean region have made in the last thirty years and areas where there are still  much work to be done.  I am gratified that we have progressed from the women in development model was essential twenty odd years ago, but now know we have to create a new paradigm, and have moved to a gender and development model, which engages women and men equally if we are to create  a society where all benefit and social justice and equity rule.

Five days is but a short time, but careful planning can allow one to accomplish a great deal, make inroads, but for me connect and speak to and with a wide variety of women and a few men. In all of this, literature is important so I have shared and donated two copies of my latest books, Love’s Promise, a short story collection, and Look! A Moko Jumbie, a children’s picture book, to the library because I didn’t just want to come and leave, without leaving a presence. I also enjoyed working with the early childhood education students at the Open Campus and sharing with them why gender sensitivity, diversity awareness and inclusion are so important for teachers who are given the important task of nurturing and guiding the minds of the next generation. I really enjoyed reading from my poetry collection, I Name Me Name, and the above mentioned short story collection, to the group who gathered at the invitation of Dr. Clarice Barnes at her Ginger Rock home, and I was especially stimulated by the conversation and sharing that followed the reading. Then there was the interview that Dr. Barnes conducted for “Under the Tamarind Tree,” so reminiscent of a life that is past, but still exist. And all the activities, some of which I was able to attend surrounding the two-week St Patrick’s activities in which Irishness, ironically, is celebrated though the Africaness which is undeniable in Montserratians.

Like the rest of the Caribbean, Montserratians are a resourceful people, kind and gentle, braver than smouldering rocks, more hopeful and optimistic than a brand-new day, endearing and pushing forward to leave a legacy of their existence.  I applaud each and every one of you, and thank you for welcoming me to another Caribbean home.

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Six awarded in the 2018 National Awards

As announced earlier, on Friday evening, March 16, 2018, at the Montserrat Cultural Centre six individuals who stood out as having had a significant and a positive impact on Montserrat were recognized in the 2018 national honours and awards ceremony.

Mr. William Fred White Bodkin, Reverend Dr Beatrice Allen and to Mr. Cecil Cepekee Lake received the Order of Merit for meritorious contributions to national development.

Rev. Allen, recognized for a contribution and a longstanding work in the areas of religion and community service she accepted the award with grace and humility. “I did not know in my wildest dreams see this coming. Neither from a distance nor closeup. This has taken me completely by surprise, she said. I thank God for giving me the opportunity, strength and desire to serve my community over these years, thanking her family for their support and guidance all the way.

“I look back with humble joy and personal satisfaction at my early days in the classroom and in the Library service and in the ministry of the church. It has all been a rewarding journey that has given purpose and meaning to all my efforts; and so I say hitherto hath the Lord helped me.”

Cecil Cepekee Lake who for his contribution to the Arts and culture specifically for his numerous contributions to the Calypso art form, accept his award. Lake who was then recovering from a serious illness shared an emotional response. “Now on occasions like this, you would want to prepare your laundry list but I don’t think time would allow me to go through all the names but let me first give God thanks because I think you know what happened to me. He deserves all the thanks and all the praise. And you could probably just say a little prayer, three lines. For me, to live is Christ. For I know He will never leave me. For you are my God, Amen,” he said with some emotion.

Meanwhile, the order of distinction was bestowed upon retired teacher Miss Menelva Greenaway, for her distinguished and outstanding service in the areas of education, religion and community service, “I enjoyed working with children because I just loved them and fortunately I worked with head teachers who taught to me to teach, and staff teachers who when I became a head teacher were very supportive, and we were therefore able to accomplish quite a number of feats in the primary schools. In the village of Corkhill, the Only Corkhill, the best a village in Montserrat, my neighbours, they were very supportive and I appreciated it, I learned a lot from them.

Mrs. Margaret Mary Dyer-Howe and Dr. Lowell Lewis accepted the Order of excellence for their extraordinary and nonwavering commitment and distinguished service to the development of Montserrat. Mrs. Dyer-Howe’s husband Robert received the award in her absence for her service in the socio-economic development of Montserrat.

Meanwhile Dr. Lewis upon receiving his award for his service in the practice of medicine, politics, the public and community, as he paid tribute to the nurses, doctors and health care professionals who have been instrumental in his career to date, had this to say: “…I have to mention the fact that without my health colleagues here I would not have been able to do anything, and I would hope that this honor is part of the honor bestowed upon them. We’ve worked miracles. In particular, I’m going to talk about 400 operations a year. It is a lot of work but what is most important is that of the probably three/four thousand surgeries I did, I never lost any patients from anesthetic deaths, so, I have to give credit to Dr. Perkins,” he said.

Not finished he continued: “I need to go back a little bit to hurricane period and the things that we did at the old school room where we still are, (St. John’s school) where patients were lying on the floor; and nurses I cannot say in enough words of the respect I have for all those nurses, who allowed us to continue serving to the people of Montserrat for next to nothing

“During that time I was a lecturing surgery University of West Indies in Barbados and I came back every two weeks or so to do surgery and look after patients. Occasionally I would say to my Registrar, hold on for me today I’ve got a man in Montserrat who needs an operation and I would fly down, do the operation and go back. So, it was a privilege to serve.”

Of the other recipient Excellence Award recipient, Mrs. Margaret (Annie) Dyer-Howe, he said:

“When she really became Minister of Health in 1983 and she heard I was coming home to be the island’s surgeon, through Dr. Wooding – I got a message saying ‘can he do public health as well?’ I quit my surgical training and took the year in public health so I got a diploma in public health, and so we had a surgeon and Chief Medical Officer in one stroke.

“And just before I came back they also said you better do some obstetrics and gynecology as well you know. So, while I was doing the public health I had three months with an obstetrics unit – and I became an expert at that as well.

Thus he concluded, “Mrs. Annie Dyer-Howe, I thank her very much for being an instrument in my career.”

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Nerissa Golden Launches Return to Love Book Series

BRADES – Author and entrepreneur Nerissa Golden launched her Return to Love book series February 21, 2018, in the presence of colleagues and friends at the Montserrat Public Library.

There are currently two books in the series, with Golden aiming to add two more. Love’s Sweet Joy is book one and tells the story of Monique Sinclair, a single mother who returns to Montserrat after she inherits a small pastry shop and is struggling to get her business together. Callen Saunders has Montserrat roots and is hired to coach a local basketball team after he is injured but he is extremely bitter.

Local business consultant and teacher, Angela Greenaway said she enjoyed the first novel and has been anxiously awaiting the second book.

Hon. Minister of Education Delmaude Ryan who was read both novels, congratulated Golden on the series.

Golden said she took a different path with book two, In Plain Sight. It is a romantic suspense and centres around a Dutch police officer who is hired to train the local police team. However, his job becomes more difficult as trouble washes up on local beaches.

The author said her vision was to create stories which showed possibilities for love and job creation on Montserrat.  “I’ve had women tell me they recognize their story in the book or it feels like therapy. That makes me feel good as sometimes we just need a bit of encouragement and hope to keep going. Montserrat is a character in the book as well because there are so many beautiful locations to feature and stories waiting to be told.

Both books are available online and locally from the author.

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Shan

Shan Murrell’s Gallery re-opens – In Remembrance

by Cathy Buffonge

Inspired artist and craftsperson Shan Murrell died tragically last March, and since then her art and craft Gallery in Salem, still with its sign up, has been standing closed. Based in Britain, Shan, who had Montserrat roots, used to come down every year to the island to visit her father and sell her attractive paintings, unique craft items and gifts under the label “Little Island Designs”.

Then she returned to Montserrat to live full time and built the Gallery, her long-held dream, a pretty blue building in Salem. The Gallery officially opened on December 1, 2016, with the ground floor featuring an attractive display of her work, while the lower ground floor was designed as her workshop and for classes in arts and crafts.

All this was in place and going strong when her untimely death occurred last year. But when her father and brother expressed interest in reopening The Gallery, a group of volunteers quickly rallied round and have worked hard over the past three months to organize and ready the space for reopening. The intention is to display and sell her remaining work (which is plentiful) to the public on behalf of the family.

At the recent informal reopening ceremony, after some background information by Jean Handscombe, who introduced and thanked those involved, Shan’s father Dennis Murrell cut the ribbon to the building, and those present were able once again to walk in and admire the work on display.

These include vibrant, colourful paintings and prints of attractive scenes on Montserrat and elsewhere, always from an original angle; gift cards, cushion covers, ear rings and other jewelry, and a host of other items. Originality and uniqueness were hallmarks of Shan’s work, and all are a pleasure to look at.

With many visitors, both tourists and overseas Montserratians, expected on island, this will be a great opportunity for people to visit the Gallery and see for themselves Shan’s brilliant work. For information on dates and times when it will be open, interested people can visit the Facebook page Little Island Designs at the Gallery. The opening times are also posted on the door of the building.

The Gallery is located in Salem, a pretty blue building on the corner just above the Catholic church. All who are interested in art and craft are encouraged to visit, and whether local or visitor you are bound to find a souvenir or gift to send or take back with you, or you are welcome just to look around and enjoy the display.

The volunteer group, with the family’s approval, also intends in the future to invite other art and craft practitioners to make use of the Gallery, to display their work and to share their expertise with others. This will help to continue Shan’s legacy into the future, as she herself would have wished. The Gallery is a fitting tribute to the memory of this special person who created so many beautiful things.

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National Exhibit on the 1768 Uprising Opens

Trials, Tragedy & Resilience…

Is an international exhibit  officially opened on Montserrat on Friday, March 9, 2018 at the National Museum in Little Bay. Trials, Tragedy & Resilience is an exhibit recognizing and celebrating Montserrat’s rich cultural heritage on the 250th anniversary of the attempted St. Patrick’s Day slave uprising on 17 March 1768.

According to Executive Director Sarita Francis, MNT, she said: “This  Exhibition pays tribute to those who lost their lives during that period and also to those who continue to educate and liberate our minds from mental slavery whether through formal education, the arts, or through literature. The main objective of this Exhibition today is to provide documentary evidence of 1768 attempted uprising.  We have researched and worked with a number institutions to provide whatever written accounts that we can find.  We are aware that the documents were written by the oppressors at the time and  are written from their perspective during that era.”

In attendance for the opening ceremony was Hon. Deputy Premier Delmaude Ryan, historian Sir Howard Fergus, Hon. Leader of the Opposition Easton Farrell-Taylor and Hon. Member of Parliament Claude Hogan.
Photos of the exhibits are not allowed. However, they tell the story of the 1768 uprising primarily from the view point of the slave masters and other whites who lived on Montserrat during that period. Documents shared include legal and newspaper accounts of what happened on St Patrick’s Day in 1768 and the subsequent killings and court cases.

The exhibit will be running concurrently at the National Museum on Montserrat, the Grosscup Museum of Anthropology at Wayne State University in Detroit, the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, and the Department of Archaeology and Sustainable Heritage at Aarhus University in Denmark. The exhibit is co-sponsored by these institutions and the Montserrat National Trust.
The exhibition will run locally until March 19th and at the other institutions until April 20, 2018.

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March Montserrat & Hurricane Poems, a New Collection from Sir Howard Fergus

Brades, Montserrat – Sir Howard Fergus, Montserrat’s most experienced and accomplished author and writer, has released a new collection of poems. March Montserrat & Hurricane Poems. This book contains a collection of over one hundred fifty points that were written in a span of three months, which according to Nerissa Golden who had only a few days earlier launched her own new book, “takes us from the cold streets of England to warm and breezy nights in Montserrat.”

Fergus shared that over the past 18 months he’s been experiencing an unusual ability to write poems more fluidly and quickly. This he said, enabled him to capture moments of life on Montserrat as well as a short period of time he spent in England in 2017.

This new collection of poems sets us in the midst of hurricanes, volcanoes, election campaigns and royal romance, sports legends, cultural celebrations and community heroes. With his wit and words, the stately gentleman immortalises young innovators such as the 4th Dymension team in Virtual Montserrat.

He pays tribute to his wife Lady Eudora Fergus as well as his grandchildren. Dr. Fergus also manages to turn social media interactions into fodder for poems.

During the 2018 St Patrick’s Festival, he took the time to share his work at readings at the local library, the 1768 play by the Silk Cotton Theatre Company and at other community events, including the St. Patrick’s annual lecture, delivered by Claude Hogan who had commented earlier on the book.

In comments after the launch the author said: “Writing is my life to be honest. There are challenges in writing in making sure that the sentiments are clothed in the right kind of verse form and so on, but quite apart from that I take joy in writing. I would like them (aspirers) to realise that one can write on any subject.”

Some reviews on Sir Howard’s work: “His work is quite witty and if you notice it’s actually quite comedic if you’ve paid attention to how he’s managed to put our stories together in a really funny way, so I’m really happy for him,” said Nerissa who had assisted in staging the launch.

Hogan said: “I like the fact that he traverses all aspects of life in Montserrat and the Caribbean including concerning our response to volcano and hurricanes and of course March St. Patrick’s Day, was pretty much the one he started with. I mean Sir Howard is just voluminous in his output of poems.”

A visitor: “Well I’ve been a fan if that’s the right word of Dr. Fergus’ poetry for quite a while so to come and actually hear him reading material is a wonderful opportunity for me…”

Fergus announced discounted prices on several of his earlier productions.

March Montserrat & Hurricane Poems is available locally and on amazon.com

 

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Ferry travel to Montserrat failed for high seas

By Bennette Roach

The March seas struck again and stranded over 100 passengers in Antigua on Wednesday, March 7, just like it did last year also in March, when that time the ferry successfully docked and landed passengers at the Plymouth jetty in the exclusion zone. This followed cancellations the week before when hundreds had already begun to arrive for the Festival.

The Access Division had arranged for the passengers who had been stuck in Antigua since high seas caused cancellation of the ferry service on Sunday, 4th to travel down and dock at Port Plymouth.

But later it would be observed that there were some miscalculations. The Jaden Sun was on advice that it would be able to dock at the port Plymouth arrived just about mid-day before the sea changed its composure and the waters surged just as the ferry docked. The surge caused the ferry to pull against its rope and broke a mooring on deck, just when our attention was drawn to the water rising by an official who had been at the port waiting for the arrival of the ferry. He pointed out prior to that the water was relatively ‘flat’.

The Jaden Sun captain known for his deep concern for safety of passengers and his ship, decided that he would not risk the discomfort and possible danger for passengers to alight from the boat, immediately pulled away heading back towards Antigua.

A total of 114 passengers were reportedly aboard, but officials told us that the captain would check the waters in Little Bay to see if the situation was different. On arrival at Little Bay we observed how the water seemed flat and noted also that the Jaden Sun was slowly approaching, as was reported to have a look. It held up a distance from the jetty when a wave as seen in the photographs which caused a good ride up and down. Not abnormal in similar circumstances. But anyone listening to the reaction by persons ashore from videos gone viral, it would seem as the boat was in some danger, which it wasn’t. So too as later reported that passengers were shaken by the sudden ride that boat took on with the single big wave. The captain blew his horn and took off back to Antigua with some obviously frustrated passengers, some of whom had not been back to Montserrat as far back as the 70’s.

Hold up in Antigua getting to Montserrat

The island is expected an estimated 2000 people to arrive in the days, this set some of whom were in Antigua since the Sunday, March 4th on their way to enjoy the annual St Patrick’s Festival which officially began on Friday, March 9.

The Honourable Premier Donaldson Romeo explained on ZJB Radio that the decision to dock in Plymouth was not taken lightly and early morning indications had shown that it would be safe for the ferry to dock there. However, by the time the ferry arrived at noon, the surf had increased and made it unsafe to dock.

Premier Romeo said the government “has taken the responsibility to provide meals, transport and accommodations to the passengers, pending further plans.”

The Access Division announced late Wednesday that flight arrangements were being finalised for the elderly and children to be flown in on Thursday March 8, 2018.

The festivities are in high gear – grand finale begin tomorrow

This year marks the 250th anniversary of the failed slave rebellion on March 17th 1768 and authorities here are forecasting that over 7,000 people will flock the island for the commemoration.

The Tourism Division has informed that on St. Patrick’s Day itself, more than 1500 persons will travel via ferry from Guadeloupe, St. Kitts and Nevis, Dominica and Antigua.

The Jeans for Freedom Ferry is expected to arrive on Montserrat with 437 people from Guadeloupe on March 17th.

568 passengers are also expected in from Antigua and Barbuda on St. Patrick’s Day, 218 passengers on the Jayden Sun and 350 on the MV lovely 1.

The Sea Hustler will transport 150 passengers from St. Kitts and Nevis on March 16th with a return date of March 18th.

The Tourism Division says based on its promotions in Antigua, it is also anticipating several yachts, based in English Harbour, to journey over to Montserrat during the week.

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