Categorized | Features, General

De Ole Dawg – JMC Special

What about the JMC and Montserrat’s Development Partnership?

 

BRADES, Montserrat, Dec 14, 2015 – On December 1st and 2nd 2015, representatives from Overseas Territories met with HMG to discuss the ongoing partnership with the UK. The aim was to  “provid[e] leadership and shared vision for the Territories. Its mandate is to monitor and drive forward collective priorities for action in the spirit of partnership . . .”

Development was a major focus for the meeting. The Communique[1] therefore touched on some very significant (and familiar) themes:

“our shared vision to work together to ensure the Territories reach their full potential as open, dynamic and sustainable economies, delivering growth, prosperity and employment for their citizens”

“the importance of citizens and businesses of the Overseas Territories having access to merchant and correspondent banking services, the lack of which can have a damaging effect on economic growth”

“We reaffirmed that the reasonable assistance needs of the Overseas Territories are a first call on the UK’s international development budget”

“The UK Government committed to expediting infrastructure development in the Territories to facilitate improved transportation, communications, commerce and provision of social and community development within agreed timelines”

  • “We reaffirmed the commitment to work together to ensure that priority infrastructure needs, such as the harbour at Tristan da Cunha, continue to be monitored, addressed and supported where appropriate”

“We committed to seeking relevant financing solutions to improve infrastructure within the Territories, which may include public-private partnerships and developmental aid where appropriate”

  • “We renewed our commitment to ensuring procurement processes in the Territories were open, transparent and delivered value for money, in line with international best practice”
  • l “We reflected on the marking this year of the 800th Anniversary of the Magna Carta [NB: one key commitment King John was forced to sign: to no one will we deny, to no one will we delay, right and justice]”

l  “cooperation in the field of good governance, rule of law and public service reform”

l  “we committed to work in partnership as appropriate to support capacity building and the development of expertise [for priority areas]”

These themes strongly echo the St Helena yardstick laid out in DFID’s May 2012 report on its work with overseas territories:

The big question, then, is not whether there is a shared vision and an agreement that development partnership with HMG is vital, but: how can we strengthen the partnership and get it moving forward steadily on an agreed timeline without undue delays?

That has of course been a focus throughout this series. This, from No. 3, is particularly relevant (and pardon a few “big words” that are explained in that article[2]):

“ . . . over the next year or so, we need to:

l  identify and carry out agreed “safe hands” good governance reforms

l  develop an agreed list of “parallel priority,” economy- transforming “catalytic” investments (e.g., the sea port, geothermal energy, the new capital town, etc.)

l  set up a 10 – 20 year time-line for these key projects (that’s how long it took last time – from the 1960’s – 80’s . . .)

l  agree with DFID on a programme-based project cycle management framework to carry out and oversee the group of “catalytic” projects

l  put the agreements in black and white, through a development partnership MoU with DFID

l  establish joint GoM-DFID oversight, to keep things on track and on time . . . .

Then – instead of  “going back to the drawing board” over and over again – we can move on to implementing, monitoring and control to keep things on track, on time. We will also need a joint GoM-DFID oversight commission that involves the private sector and civil society, with designated expediters specifically accountable to keep things moving to time.”

As a result, we will be able to challenge those who put up undue delays and roadblocks, “why do you want to delay or cripple the Montserrat development programme by road-blocking or ruthlessly cutting X, one of the Economy-transforming “catalytic” projects?

That alone can make a huge difference.

We need to start with ideas, proposals, plans and initiatives that have been put forward (some of them, long since . . . ) and whatever new ones can be brought on board in good time.

We then need to pull together a national charter on commitment to good governance,  including public sector reforms. We need a national council of stakeholders, a broad based forum for “mainstreaming” consultation with the people on policy, law, concerns and issues. We should negotiate a second development partnership MoU with DFID that lays out the programme of action, joint oversight and project cycle mangement framework we need to move on the agreed timeline. We need to write agreed business cases for the key projects in the programme of action.

We especially need to highlight the need for a proper sea port as a critical development priority, and for a better solution to the air port problem. From what has been in the news, Fibre Optic Cable access and the Geothermal Energy project are already in train, but these must move to a faster tempo. Solar PV and wind energy should be seriously considered. Tourism needs to be kick-started, and other projects need to get moving steadily. We the people need to hear regular updates on progress, delays and what is to be done to keep to time.

For, we have the St Helena £ 250 million airport project as a yardstick, we have means and opportunity. So, if not now, then when – and why?

ENDS –

 

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

What about the JMC and Montserrat’s Development Partnership?

 

BRADES, Montserrat, Dec 14, 2015 – On December 1st and 2nd 2015, representatives from Overseas Territories met with HMG to discuss the ongoing partnership with the UK. The aim was to  “provid[e] leadership and shared vision for the Territories. Its mandate is to monitor and drive forward collective priorities for action in the spirit of partnership . . .”

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Development was a major focus for the meeting. The Communique[1] therefore touched on some very significant (and familiar) themes:

“our shared vision to work together to ensure the Territories reach their full potential as open, dynamic and sustainable economies, delivering growth, prosperity and employment for their citizens”

“the importance of citizens and businesses of the Overseas Territories having access to merchant and correspondent banking services, the lack of which can have a damaging effect on economic growth”

“We reaffirmed that the reasonable assistance needs of the Overseas Territories are a first call on the UK’s international development budget”

“The UK Government committed to expediting infrastructure development in the Territories to facilitate improved transportation, communications, commerce and provision of social and community development within agreed timelines”

“We committed to seeking relevant financing solutions to improve infrastructure within the Territories, which may include public-private partnerships and developmental aid where appropriate”

l  “cooperation in the field of good governance, rule of law and public service reform”

l  “we committed to work in partnership as appropriate to support capacity building and the development of expertise [for priority areas]”

These themes strongly echo the St Helena yardstick laid out in DFID’s May 2012 report on its work with overseas territories:

The big question, then, is not whether there is a shared vision and an agreement that development partnership with HMG is vital, but: how can we strengthen the partnership and get it moving forward steadily on an agreed timeline without undue delays?

That has of course been a focus throughout this series. This, from No. 3, is particularly relevant (and pardon a few “big words” that are explained in that article[2]):

“ . . . over the next year or so, we need to:

l  identify and carry out agreed “safe hands” good governance reforms

l  develop an agreed list of “parallel priority,” economy- transforming “catalytic” investments (e.g., the sea port, geothermal energy, the new capital town, etc.)

l  set up a 10 – 20 year time-line for these key projects (that’s how long it took last time – from the 1960’s – 80’s . . .)

l  agree with DFID on a programme-based project cycle management framework to carry out and oversee the group of “catalytic” projects

l  put the agreements in black and white, through a development partnership MoU with DFID

l  establish joint GoM-DFID oversight, to keep things on track and on time . . . .

Then – instead of  “going back to the drawing board” over and over again – we can move on to implementing, monitoring and control to keep things on track, on time. We will also need a joint GoM-DFID oversight commission that involves the private sector and civil society, with designated expediters specifically accountable to keep things moving to time.”

As a result, we will be able to challenge those who put up undue delays and roadblocks, “why do you want to delay or cripple the Montserrat development programme by road-blocking or ruthlessly cutting X, one of the Economy-transforming “catalytic” projects?

That alone can make a huge difference.

We need to start with ideas, proposals, plans and initiatives that have been put forward (some of them, long since . . . ) and whatever new ones can be brought on board in good time.

We then need to pull together a national charter on commitment to good governance,  including public sector reforms. We need a national council of stakeholders, a broad based forum for “mainstreaming” consultation with the people on policy, law, concerns and issues. We should negotiate a second development partnership MoU with DFID that lays out the programme of action, joint oversight and project cycle mangement framework we need to move on the agreed timeline. We need to write agreed business cases for the key projects in the programme of action.

We especially need to highlight the need for a proper sea port as a critical development priority, and for a better solution to the air port problem. From what has been in the news, Fibre Optic Cable access and the Geothermal Energy project are already in train, but these must move to a faster tempo. Solar PV and wind energy should be seriously considered. Tourism needs to be kick-started, and other projects need to get moving steadily. We the people need to hear regular updates on progress, delays and what is to be done to keep to time.

For, we have the St Helena £ 250 million airport project as a yardstick, we have means and opportunity. So, if not now, then when – and why?

ENDS –