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De Ole Dawg – Part 5:2017 – The Patel Aid Solution

The Patel Aid Solution

DFID Minister Priti Patel, Development Aid & Montserrat’s Future

BRADES, Montserrat, Feb 9, 2017 – In a recently released Government of Montserrat article on Building Montserrat’s Future, it was argued that:

“many credible development projects for Montserrat have been unduly delayed through a pattern of starts and stops, and re-starts. . . Another several decades of recurrent budget aid, directly funded by the British tax payers is not in their or our best interest. The choice at this economic crossroad is clear; strategic capital investments to return Montserrat to self-sufficiency or continued annual Aid for generations to come. Redevelopment and the hoped for economic self-sufficiency will clearly not happen overnight, but we can and should speed up the rebuilding process; starting today.” [TMR, Feb. 3, 2017, p. 11.]

But, why are we facing so many delays, road-blocks and the like?

Especially, given that it is a long settled UK policy that (due to obligations under the UN Charter Article 73 and to many other commitments) the reasonable assistance needs of the Overseas Territories are a first call on the UK Aid Budget. Also, where it is possible, the UK intends to take steps to move Overseas Territories forward to economic self-sufficiency.

What is the road-block?

Is it that there is no money and no mechanism to carry out the required development aid? No, under the 2002 UK International Development Act, DFID was set up to give aid, and the OT’s like Montserrat are first in the line for development aid. From 2005/6 to 2013/14 the UK aid budget doubled to in excess of £10 billion per annum, as the UK hit the UN’s 0.7% of national income aid target. A target that — as former Governor Adrian Davis reminded us during his farewell speech — was actually passed into law by the UK Parliament.

So there obviously was plenty room to carry forward needed economy transforming aid-funded projects here while the budget was growing – between 2005 and 2014. Projects, such as a proper sea port, a hospital and more. Yes, a power plant project moved ahead, yes we have had geothermal energy exploration, yes we are hoping to see a new fibre optic cable, tourism development projects (Challenge Fund) – never mind recent unwarranted and senseless remarks in the Daily Mail and the Sun.

Now, too, according to EurActiv, last August the new UK DFID State Secretary, Miss Priti Patel (see photo), went on record during an interview in India :

“Speaking to the First Post newspaper in India, Patel recommitted to the 0.7% target, although without renouncing her previous opposition to DfID. She told the paper: ‘We [the government] have a very clear remit when it comes to international development and aid. Let’s not forget that a year ago, my government was elected with a majority on a manifesto that had some very clear commitments to aid, such as the spending of 0.7% of national income on foreign aid, such as our commitments for women and girls, and dealing with big diseases like malaria, tuberculosis. These are manifesto commitments and we will obviously continue to deliver on these.’”
That seems to be quite a shift in her position, getting it, from three years ago, when she called for DFID to be abolished and replaced by a trade and investment agency; as we looked at last time. However, things are a bit murkier than this happy note suggests. For instance, we may read in a Guardian article of September 14th 2016 :

“Too much of Britain’s aid money is wasted, stolen or spent on inappropriate projects, the new minister overseeing the aid budget has declared, as she served notice of plans to take an approach based on ‘core Conservative principles’ . . . . ‘As secretary of state for international development, my objective will be to challenge and change the global aid system so that it properly serves the poorest people in the world and the taxpayers who foot the bill,’ she wrote [in the Daily Mail].”

Similarly, in a December 13, 2016 Independent report, we see that:

“Britain’s foreign aid budget is likely to be cut in the next parliament, [UK Prime Minister] Theresa May signalled today. The law requiring 0.7 per cent of gross national income to be spent on aid will be reviewed before 2020, the Prime Minister’s spokeswoman said. The move follows fierce attacks by Conservative MPs and newspapers . . . [Aid has increased while domestic spending] continues to be cut. There has also been growing criticism of the way some of the £12bn budget is spent.”

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The Patel Aid Solution

DFID Minister Priti Patel, Development Aid & Montserrat’s Future

BRADES, Montserrat, Feb 9, 2017 – In a recently released Government of Montserrat article on Building Montserrat’s Future, it was argued that:

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“many credible development projects for Montserrat have been unduly delayed through a pattern of starts and stops, and re-starts. . . Another several decades of recurrent budget aid, directly funded by the British tax payers is not in their or our best interest. The choice at this economic crossroad is clear; strategic capital investments to return Montserrat to self-sufficiency or continued annual Aid for generations to come. Redevelopment and the hoped for economic self-sufficiency will clearly not happen overnight, but we can and should speed up the rebuilding process; starting today.” [TMR, Feb. 3, 2017, p. 11.]

But, why are we facing so many delays, road-blocks and the like?

Especially, given that it is a long settled UK policy that (due to obligations under the UN Charter Article 73 and to many other commitments) the reasonable assistance needs of the Overseas Territories are a first call on the UK Aid Budget. Also, where it is possible, the UK intends to take steps to move Overseas Territories forward to economic self-sufficiency.

What is the road-block?

Is it that there is no money and no mechanism to carry out the required development aid? No, under the 2002 UK International Development Act, DFID was set up to give aid, and the OT’s like Montserrat are first in the line for development aid. From 2005/6 to 2013/14 the UK aid budget doubled to in excess of £10 billion per annum, as the UK hit the UN’s 0.7% of national income aid target. A target that — as former Governor Adrian Davis reminded us during his farewell speech — was actually passed into law by the UK Parliament.

So there obviously was plenty room to carry forward needed economy transforming aid-funded projects here while the budget was growing – between 2005 and 2014. Projects, such as a proper sea port, a hospital and more. Yes, a power plant project moved ahead, yes we have had geothermal energy exploration, yes we are hoping to see a new fibre optic cable, tourism development projects (Challenge Fund) – never mind recent unwarranted and senseless remarks in the Daily Mail and the Sun.

Now, too, according to EurActiv, last August the new UK DFID State Secretary, Miss Priti Patel (see photo), went on record during an interview in India :

“Speaking to the First Post newspaper in India, Patel recommitted to the 0.7% target, although without renouncing her previous opposition to DfID. She told the paper: ‘We [the government] have a very clear remit when it comes to international development and aid. Let’s not forget that a year ago, my government was elected with a majority on a manifesto that had some very clear commitments to aid, such as the spending of 0.7% of national income on foreign aid, such as our commitments for women and girls, and dealing with big diseases like malaria, tuberculosis. These are manifesto commitments and we will obviously continue to deliver on these.’”
That seems to be quite a shift in her position, getting it, from three years ago, when she called for DFID to be abolished and replaced by a trade and investment agency; as we looked at last time. However, things are a bit murkier than this happy note suggests. For instance, we may read in a Guardian article of September 14th 2016 :

“Too much of Britain’s aid money is wasted, stolen or spent on inappropriate projects, the new minister overseeing the aid budget has declared, as she served notice of plans to take an approach based on ‘core Conservative principles’ . . . . ‘As secretary of state for international development, my objective will be to challenge and change the global aid system so that it properly serves the poorest people in the world and the taxpayers who foot the bill,’ she wrote [in the Daily Mail].”

Similarly, in a December 13, 2016 Independent report, we see that:

“Britain’s foreign aid budget is likely to be cut in the next parliament, [UK Prime Minister] Theresa May signalled today. The law requiring 0.7 per cent of gross national income to be spent on aid will be reviewed before 2020, the Prime Minister’s spokeswoman said. The move follows fierce attacks by Conservative MPs and newspapers . . . [Aid has increased while domestic spending] continues to be cut. There has also been growing criticism of the way some of the £12bn budget is spent.”