Categorized | Editorial, Local, News, Regional

Change of government had nothing to do with it…

May 13, 2016

May 13, 2016

In our most recent editorial there was a mention of political ‘stability’ in our discussion over about corruption, to which no doubt many just continued to turn the blind eye, confirming our position on the situation.

This week our attention was drawn to an article in the Daily Herald coming out of St. Maarten, which began: “No investor wants to have ties with any destination with a constant change of the people in charge and no country can properly develop if policies and plans are changed constantly with the political wind…”

We suggest the situation described here does not apply to Montserrat as some want to expound. We would like to hear from anyone who suggests that while there has been, a different party from the previous two in power prior to 1991, there was any real difference in policy/plans! The fiery inferno of volcanic activity followed in 1995. We then promptly got Montserrat’s first coalition, of sorts; in 2001 a New PLM; in 2006 another coalition till 2009; then MCAP under a repeat 2001 leadership; and the green, hurried, brand new PDM.

If there was a change in stability and or direction in 91-96, there has really been none since the volcanic activity began. In fact, political stability has not been an issue. Not many may have realised, but stability was at all times vital to investors. They were certainly concerned that the government in power was not flighty or in any way irresponsible. But for Montserrat, there was no issue, in that being a Colony, an Overseas Territory under the guarantee of the United Kingdom, investor confidence was certain, with the belief that UK would in the first instance be watchful as the quality of investor and investment.

Then came the new phrase of PPI (Public Private Investment) and public private partnership (PPP). There is also mentioned, ‘Foreign Direct Investment’ (FDI). These phrases became popular since the infamous May 1, 2012 MOU and the conditions therefrom. A rushed signing, with conditions known, but dubious and strongly questioned by particularly independent media.

It was the failed promise to obtain PPIs, PPPs and FDIs that DFID’s Alan Duncan used as the official reason to deny funding of the US$150 million Carrs Bay port, thus killing with it the ‘ambitious’ MCAP government strategy, where they concentrated so much on that Carrs Bay and Little Bay Development plan, ignoring the rest of the strategy which included fibre optics, geothermal, tourism; and “Improving the business environment”. Just as a tired reminder we have highlighted much of this and will draw attention to the failure of former Premier Meade to show he could continue the dream which was his bid for reelection 2014.

However part of that big failure was also due to what we know is the highlight in that St. Maarten article, where it says, “Disney Cruises had its eye on St. Maarten and discussions were ongoing before the UP-led government was kicked out of office and along with it the innovation and boost St. Maarten needed.”

Montserrat had the offer of a lifetime that Disney Cruises had made before moving to the BVI. (we continue to wait for a denial of this). This present government does not help itself or the island not to see how they can remedy that situation. Or maybe we should ask, what has DFID said on that matter and how it influenced the eventual withdrawal or ‘call’ on the ‘ambitous’ strategy?

The Daily Herald article read: “…the ability to plan well for the future and stay on the cusp of the cruise industry has been severely hampered in recent years due to instability,” Heyliger said.

The destination and its economy have suffered “a huge blow” with the opening up of a new pier in Tortola. The investment by Disney Cruises in the British Virgin Islands came at the loss of St. Maarten, said Heyliger.”

So did Montserrat, with that, ‘No thank you.’ There have been no difference in policy for the recovery and virgin growth for Montserrat. Just the plans were not adhered to by this planning government, something else other than the wealth and welfare of Montserrat was sought; how otherwise did we refuse Disney’s offer so cherished by others and so fitting to the Montserrat ambitious strategy?

Then, how can the next government with no change in policy or plan so far not have a clear way forward, a clear moderation or alternative for the way forward? Soon we will present what we believe was and is still on the table. Hopefully there will be a different perspective than the one just presented.

 

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

May 13, 2016

May 13, 2016

In our most recent editorial there was a mention of political ‘stability’ in our discussion over about corruption, to which no doubt many just continued to turn the blind eye, confirming our position on the situation.

This week our attention was drawn to an article in the Daily Herald coming out of St. Maarten, which began: “No investor wants to have ties with any destination with a constant change of the people in charge and no country can properly develop if policies and plans are changed constantly with the political wind…”

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We suggest the situation described here does not apply to Montserrat as some want to expound. We would like to hear from anyone who suggests that while there has been, a different party from the previous two in power prior to 1991, there was any real difference in policy/plans! The fiery inferno of volcanic activity followed in 1995. We then promptly got Montserrat’s first coalition, of sorts; in 2001 a New PLM; in 2006 another coalition till 2009; then MCAP under a repeat 2001 leadership; and the green, hurried, brand new PDM.

If there was a change in stability and or direction in 91-96, there has really been none since the volcanic activity began. In fact, political stability has not been an issue. Not many may have realised, but stability was at all times vital to investors. They were certainly concerned that the government in power was not flighty or in any way irresponsible. But for Montserrat, there was no issue, in that being a Colony, an Overseas Territory under the guarantee of the United Kingdom, investor confidence was certain, with the belief that UK would in the first instance be watchful as the quality of investor and investment.

Then came the new phrase of PPI (Public Private Investment) and public private partnership (PPP). There is also mentioned, ‘Foreign Direct Investment’ (FDI). These phrases became popular since the infamous May 1, 2012 MOU and the conditions therefrom. A rushed signing, with conditions known, but dubious and strongly questioned by particularly independent media.

It was the failed promise to obtain PPIs, PPPs and FDIs that DFID’s Alan Duncan used as the official reason to deny funding of the US$150 million Carrs Bay port, thus killing with it the ‘ambitious’ MCAP government strategy, where they concentrated so much on that Carrs Bay and Little Bay Development plan, ignoring the rest of the strategy which included fibre optics, geothermal, tourism; and “Improving the business environment”. Just as a tired reminder we have highlighted much of this and will draw attention to the failure of former Premier Meade to show he could continue the dream which was his bid for reelection 2014.

However part of that big failure was also due to what we know is the highlight in that St. Maarten article, where it says, “Disney Cruises had its eye on St. Maarten and discussions were ongoing before the UP-led government was kicked out of office and along with it the innovation and boost St. Maarten needed.”

Montserrat had the offer of a lifetime that Disney Cruises had made before moving to the BVI. (we continue to wait for a denial of this). This present government does not help itself or the island not to see how they can remedy that situation. Or maybe we should ask, what has DFID said on that matter and how it influenced the eventual withdrawal or ‘call’ on the ‘ambitous’ strategy?

The Daily Herald article read: “…the ability to plan well for the future and stay on the cusp of the cruise industry has been severely hampered in recent years due to instability,” Heyliger said.

The destination and its economy have suffered “a huge blow” with the opening up of a new pier in Tortola. The investment by Disney Cruises in the British Virgin Islands came at the loss of St. Maarten, said Heyliger.”

So did Montserrat, with that, ‘No thank you.’ There have been no difference in policy for the recovery and virgin growth for Montserrat. Just the plans were not adhered to by this planning government, something else other than the wealth and welfare of Montserrat was sought; how otherwise did we refuse Disney’s offer so cherished by others and so fitting to the Montserrat ambitious strategy?

Then, how can the next government with no change in policy or plan so far not have a clear way forward, a clear moderation or alternative for the way forward? Soon we will present what we believe was and is still on the table. Hopefully there will be a different perspective than the one just presented.