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World Bank Approves US$11.9 Million Additional Financing for Telecommunications Development in the Eastern Caribbean

WASHINGTON, March 26, 2020 – The World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved today, additional financing of US$11.9 million for the Caribbean Regional Communications Infrastructure Program (CARCIP) underway in Grenada, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

This financing will allow the completion of the regional broadband network as well as training activities, business incubation loans, and implementation support. The program has established undersea cables connecting the three countries and is rolling out terrestrial fiber optics. More than half of the office buildings in all three islands have been connected to the internet and over half of schools are connected in two of the countries. With this additional financing, schools in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines will be connected to internet services. Key results include increasing access to regional broadband networks and helping develop an Information and Communications Technology (ICT)-enabled services industry. 

“Development of digital technology is essential for local, national, regional, and global connectivity and it is especially important for the small states in the Eastern Caribbean,” said Tahseen Sayed, World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean. “Affordable and good quality high-speed internet is critical and plays a central role in connecting people, creating efficiency in public and private services, enhancing productivity and increasing countries’ capabilities to manage natural disasters and crises.”

The program was developed as part of the Caribbean region ICT strategy—the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Digital Agenda 2025—which was designed to address the challenges of a fragmented market and uneven distribution of resources in this sector.

The ongoing CARCIP program provided financing in the amount of US$25 million. Of the US$11.9 million approved today, US$3 million will go to Grenada, US$4.1 million to Saint Lucia, and US$4.8 million to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. These additional funds will cover financing gaps, including cost increases in infrastructure construction and training activities.


In Washington, Hannah McDonald-Moniz, (202) 250-4498,

For more information, please visit:
Twitter: @WBCaribbean 

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St. Patrick's Day - week of celebrations

St. Patrick’s Day – week of celebrations

So, with all the cancellations around the world, tiny Montserrat, though not claiming invincibility from ‘C virus(s), it’s a whole week plus – ten days of celebrations. Don’t miss out on the specials of this growing Festival…

Here is the official list of events for this year’s St. Patrick’s Festival slated to run from March 6 to 18, 2020.


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Friday, March 6, 2020

  • 10 am – 4 pm – Mountain a Glow Exhibition, National Museum, Little Bay
  • 6 PM – St. Patrick’s Festival Torch Lighting Ceremony – Silk Cotton Tree, Cudjoe Head
  • 8 PM – Official Opening of St. Patrick’s Festival – Heritage Village, Salem
  • 9 PM – CZF Promotions Presents Car Clash – Salem Ball Court
  • 9 PM – Rhythm Night – Salem Centre

Saturday, March 7, 2020

  • 6 PM – Junior Calypso Competition – Cultural Centre
  • 10 PM – A1 Promotion presents Fully loaded – Good Life

Sunday, March 8, 2020

  • 6 PM – National Awards – Cultural Centre
  • 7 PM – Road to Revenge DJ Finals, Little Bay Beach (Near Calabash Shanti)

Monday, March 9, 2020

  • 9 AM to 4 PM – MSS Heritage Day – Salem Campus
  • 10 am – 4 pm – Mountain a Glow Exhibition, National Museum, Little Bay
  • 11 AM – until – St. John’s Action Club Lunch – St. John’s Centre
  • 10 PM – Fitz & Fabien presents St. Patrick’s Green & White Launch Party – VIP Club

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

  • 10 AM & 1 PM – Heritage Bus Tour of Cultural & Historic sites – Meet at Brades Arts & Education Ctr Car Park
  • 10 am – 4 pm – Mountain a Glow Exhibition, National Museum, Little Bay
  • 1- 6 PM – The Montserrat Action Movement “Together We Strive” – Family Fun Day – Salem Park
  • 6 PM – DHP – 3×3 Basketball, Sports Centre – Little Bay
  • 6 PM – St. Patrick’s Lecture – Cultural Centre Conference Room
  • 7 PM – Red Cross Fundraising Dinner – Sir George Martin Auditorium – Cultural Centre

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

  • 10 AM & 1 PM – Heritage Bus Tour of Cultural & Historic sites – Meet at Brades Arts & Education Ctr Car Park
  • 6 PM – Rhythm Night – St. Johns Centre
  • 8 PM – Bethel School Reunion – Night of Entertainment – Salem Park
  • 8 PM – Time Out Bar & Grill Live Band Music
  • 10 PM – Girls Invasion Pt. 2 – Cultural Centre
  • Chuch-Gut Ent./ Energy Promo – Sound Clash – Good Life Night Club
    • 5 pm – Pre Lime
    • 12 AM – Clash

Thursday, March 12, 2020

  • 6 AM – Scriber’s Freedom Hike
  • 10 AM – 5PM – St. Patrick’s Business Expo – Brade’s Arts & Education Centre
  • 6 AM – 6PM – Top Notch Promotions – St. Patrick’s Beach Fete – Old Road Bay
  • 10 AM & 1PM Pick Up – Heritage Bus Tour of Cultural & Historic Sites – Meet at Brades Arts & Education Centre
  • 2 PM – National Trust/ 50th Anniversary Flower Show & Tea Party and Hat Parade – Salem ($20)
  • 6 PM – Rhythm Night – Cudjoe Head
  • 5 PM – Bethel School Reunion Banquet & Awards Ceremony – Venue TBA
  • 6 PM – Movie Night – Premiere of No Island Like Home – Cultural Centre
  • 10 PM – Hypnotik Montserrat – Leprechaun’s Revenge & Breakfast Fete – Leprechaun’s Valley

Friday, March 13, 2020

  • Sunrise – Farmer’s Market – Salem School
  • 10 AM & 1 PM Pick Up – Heritage Bus Tour of Cultural & Historic Sites – Meet at Brades Arts & Education Centre
  • 10 AM – 5 PM – Montserrat National Trust 50th Anniversary Flower Show – Salem ($5 Entrance)
  • 3:30 PM – Kevin West Water Colour Exhibition & Book Launch – Montserrat Museum, Little Bay (Runs until March 22)
  • 10 AM – Until – Goat Water, Fish, Coconut Water & Ital Festival – Carr’s Bay Center
  • 1 – 4 PM – Emerald Isle Bush Rum Factory Lime – Piper’s Pond
  • 7 PM – Movie – No Island Like Home – Salem Park
  • 8 PM – 2AM – Olde School Ball to Benefit Meals on Wheels – Vue Pointe Hotel ☘️ Only $50EC
  • 11 PM – All-White Affair – Cultural Centre Parking Lot

Saturday, March 14, 2020

  • 7:30 AM – 6 PM – SPAcation2020 – Isle’s Bay Beach Bar
  • 9 AM – 8th Annual MAPS Invitational Golf Tournament – Collins Park Golf Course, Old Towne
  • 10 AM Until – Trials Reunion – Woodlands Beach
  • 10 AM & 1PM Pick Up – Heritage Bus Tour of Cultural & Historic Sites – Meet at Brades Arts & Education Centre
  • Noon – Nicki’s Seafood Fest – Little Bay
  • 1 PM – Acoustic Sounds of Montserrat & Masquerade Dancing Competition – Marine Village
  • 3 PM – Imperial Entertainment – Wet Dreams – Tropical Mansions
  • 6:30 PM – Movie – No Island Like Home – Venue TBA
  • 7PM – St. Patrick’s Annual Dinner -Vue Pointe Hotel
  • 7:30 PM – House of Refuge Gospel Explosion – Cultural Centre
  • 10 PM – Gold Rush 4 – Salem

Sunday, March 15, 2020

  • 4 AM – 11 AM – Island Diva Mas Leprechaun’s Dust – Leprechaun Valley
  • 9:15 AM – National St. Patrick’s Day Church Service – St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Look Out
  • 10 AM – 4PM – Luck of the Irish – Day Party – Venue TBA
  • 11 AM – Scriber’s Boat Tour and Party – Little Bay
  • 2 – 6 PM – Montserrat Old Times – National Museum, Little Bay
  • 4 PM – Afro Madras Fashion Show – Moose’s Place – Little Bay
  • 3 PM – Emerald City Fest feat Jah Cure and other artists – Salem Park
  • 6:45 PM – Movie Premiere – Wendy – Montserrat Cultural Centre
  • 7:30 PM – Emerald Community Singers – Vue Pointe Hotel, Old Towne

Monday, March 16, 2020

  • 10AM – 6PM – Chess Entertainment presents Boozey Brunch Day Fete – Good Life Parking Lot
  • 3PM to 12AM – Emerald Splash – Pool and Jacuzzi Party – Chez Mango Villa
  • 6:45PM – Movie – Wendy (Sports Centre TBC)
  • 7PM – Matrixx Dancers presents Unveil – Cultural Centre
  • 8PM – Movie – No Island Like Home
  • 10PM – Stratify – Salem Park (Various artists)

Tuesday, March 17, 2020 (National Holiday)

  • 1 AM to 6 AM – Drum Jam
  • 5:30 AM – St. Patrick’s Heritage Jouvert: Powered by Chatter Box – MSS to Salem Centre
  • 5:30 AM – Freedom Run & Walk – Cudjoe Head
  • 8 AM – 5PM – MS Star Pride Cruises in Little Bay Port
  • 12 PM – St. Patrick’s Day Parade – MSS to Heritage Village, Salem
  • 2 PM – Slave Feast, Heritage Village, Salem
  • 4 – 8 PM – Closing Ceremony & Cultural Show, Heritage Village, Salem
  • 10 PM – Squad First Promotions “Illuminate the Night – The Official St. Patrick’s Festival Cool Down Fete, Salem
  • 10 PM – Yellow Fete – Salem Park

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

  • 7 PM – Faith Tabernacle Pentecostal Church “Freedom” Concert – Cultural Centre
  • Black Nice UK Ltd presents Music is “Da Rod” Festival – Road Show, Salem Park
    • 6 am Jouvert
    • 8 pm Concert

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

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

Reprint from the Irish Times

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sick pay

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Coronavirus outbreak: Main developments on Monday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

David Yu

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

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Montserrat works with Caribmedevac for air ambulance services

CaribMedevac’s Pilatus PC-12 at JAO airport

The Air Ambulance by St. Barth Executive (St. Barth Executive’s ‘Caribmedevac’ – SBE) made an inaugural landing at the John A. Osborne Airport at approximately 11:35 a.m. on Tuesday, February 4, 2020, in their Pilatus PC-12 (See more on the aircraft at

This was part of an approval process to operate flights from Montserrat, in finalising arrangements for an additional airline to provide medical evacuation services (medevac) from Montserrat to other countries with the Government of Montserrat through the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS). The process is finally to be able to transfer some of the islands critical patients to other regional hospitals, and further afield, as required.

Caribmedevac touches down and taxiing during its tests of landing and taking off exercises at JAirport on Feb 4 20 Caribmedevac

Once they have been approved to operate commercially, Caribmedevac and its medical crew will be available, based on the MOHSS request, to provide medical transportation services from Montserrat to other destinations, including long-range international flights to the USA.

Invited to a Press Briefing and Air Ambulance Tour, MoHSS officials and mostly other staff, nurses, doctors, involved in the process were on hand to witness the first arrival of the Air Ambulance (air ambulance aircraft) by St. Barth Executive Caribmedevac an organisation which has been operating for five years already.

Vincent Beauvarlet, CEO
Minister of Health Charles Kirnon with PS Gerald and CMO Greenaway-Duberry in the background

There was a welcome ceremony for the medical transportation visit opening with a prayer, followed by welcome by Permanent Secretary Mrs. Camille Thomas-Gerald, brief addresses by the Hon Health Minister Charles Kirnon and Chief Medical Officer Mrs. Sharra Greenaway-Duberry,  who at her turn said she was more than excited that the hard work to bring in the SBE to Montserrat had reached this far. She expressed gratitude to the medical staff, officials, fire and rescue and all of those who support the work of the ministry for their unwavering support.

Minister Kirnon noted that this arrangement will add an extra level of resilience in Montserrat’s health sector, and is timely, especially as we are moving towards the goal of a new hospital.

, CEO Vincent Beauvarlet MoHSS officials and staff – above: Veronica Dorsette-Hector and OECS, official

“This air access development for our medical services links with the broader healthcare development and the new hospital, so that we maximize and improve our healthcare services and outcomes, stabilizing our health system now and for the future,” he said, while Mrs. Camille Thomas-Gerald echoing the sentiments and further noted that securing this service is part of the Ministry’s strategic objective.

“The MOHSS has an obligation to ensure that our patients are being provided with optimal healthcare services at all times, and to do this we must continually explore avenues through which we can expand and optimize healthcare delivery, for our patients on the ground and those we are transporting overseas,” Mrs. Gerald said.

Pilots who flew in the Caribmedevac aircraft

Prior to this arrangement with ‘Caribmedevac’, local commercial airline Fly Montserrat, provided air transportation services exclusively for the MoHSS when requested. “I want to also acknowledge the role that Fly Montserrat has played over the years, and will continue to play along with St. Barth Executive’s ‘Caribmedevac’ for our medical air transfers”, added Health Minister, Honourable Kirnon.

Fly Montserrat will continue to provide the short 20-minute trips to Antigua. Minister Kirnon added that it is his hope that the island will become less dependent on the need to fly patients out of Montserrat.

Vincent Beauvarlet, CEO and Director of Operations who also addressed the small gathering, gave details of the French company an air carrier under European Commission Regulation, which boasts Safety, Experience, and services.  ‘Caribmedevac’ is based Guadeloupe, St. Barthélémy and St. Martin, is an EASA-certificated scheduled air carrier servicing the region with urgent air transportation for a medical crew, medical equipment, blood, organs or lab samples. Caribmedevac is a Trademark of St Barth Executive.

Beauvarlet explained that their aim is to offer rates which are about 10% of what many countries presently pay for medivacs. He cited Dominica who may need to send a critical care patient to Trinidad must hire a plane out of Miami at a cost of around US$25,000.  He points out that since St. Barth Executive, will have planes on St. Barths, Guadeloupe and St. Martin it will make it much easier and more affordable to serve the region.

At question time TMR prompted by the sounds of the high costs involved, asked the only question that time allowed before three groups of ten were afforded a tour of the air ambulance aircraft under the guidance of the two pilots. “How do you get paid? Is it going to be done by an insurance company or strictly by the government?”

The CEO did take some time with his answer, continually reminding that his English is not very good. He said: “…most of the time it is the hospital who manages everything, the local hospital, the local hospital call us and says we have this case… then our doctors can study it, this is the first step… then we do a quote the best quote we can with one medics or two medics…”

He gave an example of how the money is raised: “…they share, the insurance put 20 %, the social security put 10% and the family put 50%, sometimes it’s the opposite. Sometimes social security puts 50% sometimes insurance puts 40%, sometimes the insurance calls for 100% if they have full coverage…”

He noted: “very few citizens of Caribbean – full coverage because of the rates… we have no issue on payments everyone is trusting everyone so when we need to, we take off…” suggesting all along that the payment gets worked out.

The idea of that question was to raise the question and propose that the government and people of Montserrat to benefit from the upscaled services, notwithstanding the Minister’s hope that with the new hospital, Montserrat ‘will’ not have a need for too much of that kind of service.

As later explained by the pilots, the aircraft, which is Swiss made, is able to fly to Trinidad in one hour from Montserrat and 55 minutes to Barbados at a height of 31,000 feet.

The CEO in his delivery noted, confirming Minister Kirnon, that they will not replace FlyMontserrat as their services will only provide longer runs. He provided in-depth details of their service. Some of the features of the air ambulance include reduced cabin noise in flight; no vibration; last generation special air medical pressure and the ability to fly around and above any weather disturbance.

He points out that they meet the region’s medivac needs, with trained maintenance technicians and engineers at its various hubs to service the aircraft. The Pilatus PC-12 NG aircraft designed by the Swiss only needs half of the airport runway for takeoffs and landings says the CEO. It also has the ability to maintain the cabin pressure at ground level although it is at 30,000 feet in the air. This allows them to fly quickly like a jet. Doctors are a part of the team and work to ensure the patients are stabilised before they are transported.

To be able to accomplish its goal of serving the region’s medivac needs, the airline has trained maintenance technicians and engineers at its various hubs to service the aircraft.

The Pilatus PC-12 NG aircraft with its single-engined turbine designed by the Swiss only needs half of the airport runway for takeoffs and landings says the CEO. It also has the ability to maintain the cabin pressure at ground level although it is at 30,000 feet in the air. This allows them to fly quickly like a jet. Doctors are a part of the team and work to ensure the patients are stabilised before they are transported.

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5.0 quake hits southern Puerto Rico amid ongoing tremors

A 5.0 magnitude earthquake hit southern Puerto Rico on Saturday at a shallow depth, raising concerns about unstable infrastructure in a region that has been hit by quakes every day for nearly a month.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake occurred at a depth of eight miles (13 kilometres) around the southern coastal town of Guayanilla, located close to the epicenters of most of the recent earthquakes. “We felt it really hard,” town spokesman Danny Hernandez told The Associated Press, saying authorities were patrolling the area to investigate any potential damage.

The newest quake comes a day after hundreds of people in the island’s southern region were evacuated from earthquake shelters that flooded after heavy rains hit the U.S. territory. In the coastal city of Ponce alone, more than 350 people on Friday were moved back into a school that served as the initial shelter when the ground first began shaking, Angel Vazquez, the city’s emergency management director, told the AP.

He said no damage was immediately reported in Ponce, but that crews were out inspecting buildings in areas affected by a 6.4 magnitude quake that hit Jan. 7, killing one person and damaging hundreds of homes. A 5.9 aftershock that hit the same area on Jan. 11 caused further damage. The ground in southern Puerto Rico first began shaking on Dec. 28, and while experts say several local faults are to blame, they are still analyzing data to determine why the earthquakes continue.

U.S. President Donald Trump has approved a major disaster declaration for more than dozen municipalities in Puerto Rico following earthquakes that officials say have caused more than $200 million in damage.

The number of 4,000 people representing nearly the recently declared population of Montserrat, remain in shelters.

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CORONAVIRUS spreading from China

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Weather system causes disruption to Ferry Service

Weather system causes disruption to Ferry Service

Jaden Sun

The Access Division, under the portfolio of the Office of the Premier, is informing travelers that a high-pressure system in the region is expected to produce rough sea conditions over the next few days, which is resulting in the cancellation of the ‘Day Tour Service’ and will possibly disrupt other scheduled ferry services from Friday, January 10 to 14.

Daily assessments of sea conditions will be done to determine whether the ferry service will operate and customers will be informed of changes to the ferry services following these assessments. Customers are therefore encouraged to monitor all media platforms for regular updates on potential changes to the ferry service.

Travelers are asked to note that the ferry is scheduled to depart Montserrat for Antigua at 6:00 a.m. tomorrow Friday, January 10 and a determination will be made on whether or not the ferry will operate its normal return journey from Antigua to Montserrat in the evening.

As a result, ‘Day Tour Service’ for tomorrow, Friday, January 10, has been canceled.

Customers are therefore advised to review their travel arrangements considering the upcoming disruptions.

Ferry Agents can be contacted on the following numbers:

Montserrat: Jemmotte Shipping (664) 496-9912
Antigua: Jenny Tours 1-268-722-8188

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5.2 magnitude earthquake jolts Caribbean islands

5.2 magnitude earthquake jolts Caribbean islands

Jan 8, 2020

An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.2 rocked several Caribbean countries on Wednesday as regional countries were being urged to continue monitoring the situation in Puerto Rico where two strong quakes have been blamed for the death of one man and damage to several buildings in that country.

 The Trinidad-based Seismic Research Centre at the University of the West Indies said that the quake occurred at 10: 01 local time and was located Latitude: 15.18N; Longitude: 61.22W and at a depth of 123 kilometres.

The centre said that the quake was felt 23 km southeast of Roseau in Dominica as well as 66 km north, northwest of Fort-de-France, the capital of the French island of Martinique and 124 km south, southeast of Point-à-Pitre, the capital of Guadeloupe.

 It said there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage and the Barbados-based Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) Wednesday joined the centre in urging Caribbean countries to monitor the situation in Puerto Rico.

 CDEMA further urged countries said to be guided by the established protocols outlined in their respective tsunami and coastal hazard plans

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Prime Minister Skerrit sworn into office

Prime Minister Skerrit sworn into office

by Peter Richards

ROSEAU, Dominica, Dec 7, CMC – Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit was sworn into office for a fourth consecutive term on Saturday, mere hours after leading the ruling Dominica Labour Party to a sweeping general elections victory.

But even as he was being sworn in, the leader of the main opposition United Workers Party (UWP), Lennox Linton, was hinting at “irregularities” in the polls that saw his party’s seat count in the 21-member Parliament reduced from six to four, according to the preliminary results.

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit being sworn into office by President Charles Savarin (CMC Photo)

“We should never elevate skulduggery to a virtue by congratulating those who succeed by dishonest ways. The 2019 general election in Dominica was not free, it was not fair, it was rigged, it was stolen, plain and simple,” Linton said in a Facebook page post, urging followers and supporters to join him later on Saturday night when he addresses them.

But in a speech after he was sworn into office, Prime Minister Skerrit extended a hand to Linton, urging him to get together for the benefit of the country even while saying that he believes the “external forces” that sought to derail Friday’s general election did not treat Linton right.

“I have never seen so much external interest in our campaign,” Skerrit said, saying that he is hoping that now that the electorate had spoken quite forcefully that they would now channel their interest into rebuilding Dominica.

He reminded Linton that the DLP, which according to the preliminary figures had 17 of the 21 seats,  had secured both the seats and the popular votes.

“I think the external people did not deal Mr. Linton right, they used him,” Skerrit said, noting that Linton instead of focusing on his campaign was being used “to carry out their plans”.

Skerrit, who led the DLP into a fifth consecutive term, said that he had sympathy for Linton because as a legislator, he has never had to sit in Opposition.

“I do not envy him. I never had the opportunity of being in opposition, people have told me it is not nice,” Skerrit said.

He had earlier thanked the voters in the northern village of Vielle Case, whom he has been representing since 2000, adding that the Dominica Constitution makes it quite clear that you could only become Prime Minister by being an elected member of Parliament.

He said the election showed that Dominica had become a “more mature nation, mature people” given that the “world was watching us and I think we have confounded many who thought our political system would have descended into chaos”.

He insisted that “no one can contest” the validity of the elections and that within the first 100 days of his new administration, the issue of electoral reform would be a priority.

But Skerrit maintained that Dominica has always had “free and fair elections” and that Dominicans both here and abroad would soon have an opportunity to engage themselves in the electoral reform process.

He said also that the government would consider establishing a think tank of people both here and in the diaspora that provide guidance on socio-economic plans and examine policies “more objectively”.

Skerrit said that his new Cabinet would be sworn in on December 17.

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by Joseph Kirnon

For some time, a discussion has been ongoing on the island concerning its past, its present level of development and its future. I have been fortunate to be on island to hear some of these discussions. Yet I am sure that I have also missed a lot. Given this understanding, I am going to comment only on the basis on my limited knowledge of all the relevant issues.

I will phrase my comments from a four-point perspective of life on the island:

a) The Social life

b) The Political Life

c) The Economic Life

d) The Religious Life

The social life of a society has its roots embedded in the structure of its familial relationships. That is, the importance that it gives to strong family ties, and the relationship between the leader(s) and the led.

As a society, that is, a community of people with a common understanding of who they are, where they are, where they are going and how to get there, Montserratians seem to fall short. We seem to be in a quandary. We seem to want to be some of everything. We want to be British and Irish and Africans, when we are truly none of these things. There seems to be a lot of ideas, with little planning for implementation. Crosscutting of each other. Wanting everything now. Wanting to be the (BM) big man. As intelligent as we are, and I will be the first to state that Montserratians are some of the smartest people walking this earth. So let us stop and appraise our situation from an intelligent approach and make good decisions as we move forward to a turning point on our journey as a people: The coming election.

We are a population of approximately 5000 people. We know it could be a little less or a little more, but for argument’s sake let us use that number. Of that number the colonial power, Great Britain, has responsibility for maybe 3000, as the rest are nationals of other nations (Guyana, Trinidad, Haiti, Jamaica, Sri Lanka, Antigua, Canada, etc). Technically Great Britain, is not really responsible for those individuals, even though they may have been on island for decades (take note of the deportation of Haitians in the Bahamas during this moment of crisis). No matter the terminology used, at the end of the day – MONTSERRAT IS A COLONY OF GREAT BRITAIN. Its responsibility is both internal and external. Its responsibility is social, political and economical and their interconnected linkages. We will come back to this shortly.

Before the volcano we can approximate the population to have been about 12,000 people, give or take a 1000 on each end. The number of immigrants in that number being relatively small. So numerically Great Britain had a greater responsibility before the volcano. That the population is outside of the island is not new information. The focus is on knowing and then developing mechanisms to re-incorporate then back into the life of the society even if they are far away through novel ideas. More to say on this as we go on. So, what do we do. BEGIN WHERE WE ARE.

An average common man of the land said to me some years ago about being in Montserrat, that one has to “set yourself up for the future”. From a son of the soil who does not hold a BA, MA or PHD, this is a wise understanding of life to move forward with. Especially since those with BAs, MAs, PhDs and those of legal and other academic knowledge seems incapable of addressing the real issues facing Montserrat.  I took it to mean that one should plant the seeds and watch them grow. To do this requires patience and constancy. BEGIN WHERE WE ARE.

Within the last year, I asked another Montserratian about what he thinks is going on in the country. His response to me was in this order:

1. Construction
2. Rum
3. Religion
4. Prostitution

I thought about their impact on the island in this manner:

Construction- A positive force for the development of society
Rum- A wreck on the human and productive resources in the society
Religion- Blinded by the Light. Oh ye of little faith
Prostitution- Moral degradation. Social and family breakdown.  Negative investment.

Granted that this individual might be of low on the socio-economic scale, I voucher to say that many would agree with his assessment.  Often the less fortunate of society are more closely attuned to what is really going on, and if we look closely with open eyes and listen intently with our ears, we may admit that this fellow is close to the target. How do we proceed? BEGIN WHERE WE ARE.

Do not change the government in the coming election.  Here I am speaking to the voting public, not to or for and political party or person. I am not in favor or against any of them. I am for the process that leads to intelligent development and progress of the island. I am advising the voting public not to be “party-minded” but to be “process specific”. The persistent change in government is disruptive to the social, political and economic development and progress, which should be like a stream flowing smoothly to its destination with the expectation of a few rough currents when the winds (circumstances) change in the environment of operation. Remember set yourself up for the future-Anticipate difficulties and try to prepare for them as you continue to push forward.


The immediate role of any government regardless of its form or philosophy is to:

1. To maintain order and domestic tranquility
2. To provide for the general welfare of the people

If the above two conditions are not adequately addressed, then the citizens may contemplate a change.

Internally, in Montserrat, the government is an elected body. It means that they are members of the society elected (voted in) and charged to carry out a program approved by the members of that society

(the electorate) for the social, political and economical improvement and development of the society.

Keep in mind that at its present stage of political development, the island is tied to and can be constrained by its colonial relationship – MONTSERRAT IS A COLONY.

Getting back to this elected body. They can bring suggestions and plans to the people on how to develop the society socially, politically and economically, BUT the society itself must have a plan or platform on which anybody or party it elects must continue to work on. It is the responsibility of the society to hold that elected body responsible for the continuing of the national plan or program. Persistent change is not the way to achieve this. DO NOT CHANGE THE GOVERNMENT. HOLD IT TO RESPONSIBILITY.

In the government’s first role – order and domestic tranquility, this is a shared role between the elected body from the people and the colonial power. It is both internal and external. Externally the island is not facing or embroiled in any dispute or conflict for which the colonial power would take prime responsibility. Internally this is a cooperative responsibility that involves immigration, customs, coast guard and the local police forces against acts of criminality. Internally through its power, the elected the ability to arrest, charge, convict, imprison and deport violators of public order and domestic tranquility.

Growth and development cannot take place in an environment or atmosphere of disorder. As an example of a small city-state with minimal natural resources that developed into a world financial and shipping center, we can look at Singapore, once an insignificant backwater part of the British Empire. Its rise came about as a result of a strong, firm, disciplined leadership, following a planned economic program, and social order of compliance by members of the society.  Growth and development can take place in an environment of the disorder. It is important to also understand that control of the forces that are charged to maintain disorder and tranquility internally and externally are subject to the direct authority of the colonial power, as civil servants, through its governorship. MONTSERRAT IS A COLONY.

Before moving to a discussion of governments second role, let me clarify and explain why I say: DO NOT CHANGE THE GOVERNMENT. HOLD IT TO RESPONSIBILITY.

MONTSERRAT IS A COLONY, governed by a colonial power, that has mandated responsibility for its development towards self-development and sustainability. These responsibilities are enshrined in the articles of the charter of the United Nations. The concerns of the island are exactly where they should be.  Montserrat is exactly where it should be- under the light and support it should receive from the United Nations. This is a TREMENDOUS ACHIEVEMENT of the present elected body. This is a MONUMENTAL STEP towards self-development. A power, and influence outside of the colonial power will be monitoring the colonial power’s intent and efforts towards the island’s preparation for self-government, self-efficiency, and sustainability. The interests of the island are on the world stage as it has never been. It is not a time to be changing internal government it is a time to close the ranks and come together as a unified body, exhibiting strength and determination. It is important for us to keep in mind that Great Britain, is one of the members of the UN Security Council and has a strong presence and vote in what the UN approves or disapprove. Nonetheless, it has mandated responsibilities as a colonial power that it is obligated to adhere to. It is a place to which our concerns and disagreements with the colonial power can be taken for redress. The present elected officials under the leadership of Premier Donaldson Romeo, have taken the concerns of a small island to a large body of nations. As intelligent thinking people, we cannot allow this connection, this link to be broken. It is something that as a nation Montserrat must strive to expand. This will take unity(oneness), not diverging or competing influences. This step requires a common unity (Community) of all the parties seeking to represent the people of Montserrat. This must be the platform that the society must have as the working tool for self-development and sustainability. This must be the NATIONAL platform from which we work.

 ALL PROJECTS AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENTS (ports, hospital, airports, schools) can be and should be reasoned through this avenue.

This is not to be a bullwhip on or over the colonial power. Rather it is a light to see what they should have done, should be doing and must do. WE ARE NOT ALONE. THIS IS A SLOW DELIBERATIVE PROCESS, BUT WITH PATIENCE, CONSTANCY, AND UNITY IT HAS WORK, DOES WORK AND WILL CONTINUE TO WORK, in the places where men of principle and fairness value human dignity and freedom.


Premier Donaldson Romeo, has called for unity after the election, hold him and all other contenders to this need. As a small non-independent colonial possession, Montserrat is set to take on a giant power

on the world stage. Premier Romeo is right it is a time for unity. We need a common front.

It is important for me to state at this time that nothing mentioned above is against Great Britain or inferring that Great Britain has been neglectful in its responsibility to Montserrat. Everything is to be taken as an indication in the interest of the future of Montserrat. DO NOT CHANGE THE GOVERNMENT, HOLD IT TO RESPONSIBILITY AND BEGIN WHERE WE ARE.

Let us now look at the second role of government- to provide for the general welfare of the people. What does this mean? It is in our understanding of the term “general welfare”. We can postulate that this can be understood as the basic human needs:

1. Food
2. Clothing
3. Shelter

We could have identified a fourth- Security- but that should have been provided through the first role of government. I am going to sidestep a discussion on clothing and shelter, as these needs are influenced by other economic and development factors and will be touched upon later.

Let us recap two(2) important understandings – 1- the elected governments are members of the society and 2- the elected government should be following a  plan or program of development, that is designed to move the society forward no matter what party or person is at its helm. This means that the society must have something on the table that the elected government is adhering to. The society itself must be an agent of responsibility for its development. BEGIN WHERE WE ARE.

This idea of “general welfare” has to be the consideration and formulation of providing for FOOD SECURITY. This should be an internal priority for the society NOW and for its future. We can have better hospitals, ports, airports, tourism and digital connection to the outside world, but if we are without food, none of them means anything. We must be thinking people. The society must formulate a developmental plan on how it will feed itself during normal times and during periods of crisis such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and droughts. Governments’ role will be to marshal the resources need to implement such a plan, but it is the society that must be committed to the plan. Anyone looking a “food security” on the island must see a major problem (this does not include the amount of unlabeled or time dated food in the supermarkets). This is internal food production itself. It is a harbinger of future problems, public disorder and the upsetting of domestic tranquility that the society itself has changed the elected body to maintain.

The island has an import-based economy.

The student of economics should be familiar with the term “Comparative advantage”.  For the layman, it simply means that a nation should produce for itself those goods and services that it can produce cheaper or more cost effective than somewhere else. And it should import those products and commodities in which it has the least comparative advantage.  The position of placing food security as a priority national effort should direct our attention to the DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE.

When on island I often take the time to listen to HARD TALK, on Tuesday nights, chaired by Messrs. Wade, Queeley(?), etc.  In one episode they indicated that the last three Ministers of that Ministry has done nothing to push forward agriculture. Not having complete information on that assumption, on this, I cannot agree or disagree.  Most elected aspirants want to be over Finance or Public Works, but in the National Plan, the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, and Environment is the most critical to our future development and success.

Most of the food consumed on the island is imported. This is a monumental problem. Exacerbating this problem further is that the sources of this imported food are in the hands of non-nationals. We are a very, very careless group of people.

Let me state emphatically that we should not be against people from Mars opening businesses and making money. What the society must wrestle with and come to grips with, is that if it is to progress, and is serious about its future and the future of its children, it cannot have its food supply in the hands of non-nationals. Only and insane or mentally enslaved group of people would do that. Just think about it (to the men). You, your wife and children, your friends and extended family cannot eat if someone else doesn’t provide the food???? We tread on very sensitive matters here, but it is the truth.

Scientists and other researchers have already predicted that future conflicts and wars will be over food and water. The recent devastation in the Bahamas, highlighted the problem of adequate food in a time of crisis. China recently halted exportation of pork and has stored reserves, and India recently banned exports and the hoarding of Onions. 


Because we are somewhere!

I recently had an engaging discussion with a former government worker from the Agriculture Department, who pointed out some of the efforts the current government is making in this endeavor. Such as crop rotation, irrigation, plowing at minimal or no expense to the farming community, whose enthusiasm in some areas was not positive.  It must be a long-term educating process from the government to the people on this issue, but it is the people to bring it to fruition. There is also visible evidence of more people growing food around their homes.


1.  External:  Continued presentation of our needs, rights, and entitlements under the UN Charter and working with Great Britain on Infrastructural Developments (ports, airports, etc). This is to be government-directed and people supported.

2.   Internal:  Development of National Plan to increase Food production and Security.

                       Expansion of the role of the Agriculture Department in the Economy and national development

                       People directed; government-supported.

It is my belief that if we promote our development along these lines, it will make Montserrat

more attractive to investors, tourists and our own overseas nationals. This will not be an overnight

accomplishment, but it can be done. What it needs is a stable environment, dedicated, selfless leadership and committed men and women with the fire of liberation.


Montserratians, as a society espouses deep religiosity. As mentioned before close examination of reality may lead us to a different conclusion. In this light let us remember the biblical story of Joseph. Joseph’s story has many stories inside of it. One of those stories is Food Security.  Notwithstanding the circumstances, Joseph was placed in Egypt for a time that was to come. A time of famine. As a people, we should take measure of this and set ourselves up for the future.

The message of Food Security should be trumpeted by the religious establishment on each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. It is true revealed knowledge whose application is for all times.


This does not mean that there are not qualified individuals in other parties, but given the circumstances, the Queens Loyal Opposition must become Montserrat’s Loyal Cooperators.


To be continued……..

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