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De Ole Dawg – Part 7 2016: “Catalytic” Development Projects

De Ole Dawg – Part 7 2016: “Catalytic” Development Projects

What about the “catalytic” development projects?

BRADES, Montserrat, Feb 2, 2016 – In their 22-page “Business Case and Intervention Summary” for the MDC, 2012 – 13,  DFID notes:

“Although [the Government of Montserrat] has identified an ambitious strategy to move Montserrat towards self-sufficiency . . . GoM does not have sufficient resources to fund public investments and related institutional arrangements that are required without financial support from the UK [p. 1] . . . .

The International Development Act 2002 specifically exempts aid to the OTs from the poverty reduction criteria that apply to the rest of the DFID aid budget.  With the exception of the EU, UKG is the only source of significant grant funding.  The UK’s obligation to the OTs derives from the UN Charter [i.e. Article 73, which has force of international law] . . . . The UK’s responsibilities to Montserrat and to all the aided OTs are to:

  • meet the reasonable assistance needs for public services;
  • accelerate the territory towards economic self-sufficiency, where this is possible;
  • manage the risk of contingent liability.” [p.3]

Now, from the 1960’s – 1980’s Montserrat was able to move itself to an economy that by and large stood on its own two feet, and we still have considerable tourism potential. So there is good reason to think that we can move towards significant economic self-sufficiency again . . .  after the volcano eruption.

DFID continued – and we need to hear this from the horse’s mouth:

“The principal barrier to economic growth and development on the island is poor physical access. This is particularly the case for sea access . . . . The lack of a centralised location for the island’s tourist, commercial, trade and civic activities continues to hinder and hamper economic and social development . . . . Little Bay and Carr’s Bay are the only  developable sites left on the island capable of offering access by sea, providing a base for new FDI [Foreign Direct Investment] in tourism and other sectors, providing new commercial space and civic amenities and housing the critical mass of population and business necessary to stimulate local private sector development . . . . Without the development of Little Bay and Carr’s Bay, improved access, and reduced costs of doing business, Montserrat will remain uncompetitive in attracting FDI . . . .

There is currently no prospect of the private sector making significant investment in major capital investments or in complementary institutional support. This is because the market for leisure and commercial transport to Montserrat is perceived by the private sector as too small and high risk. Initial and catalytic investments are therefore required by the public sector and these need to be properly designed and implemented.” [pp. 3 – 4, p. 8.]

So, DFID has long been on record as to what needs to be done to get Montserrat moving economically, but instead –  again and again –  we have seen fits, starts, and stops. Mostly stops. And – with all due respect, in 2012 (four years ago!) DFID plainly gave MDC a Grade F:  “failure” . . . and set about reforming it.

We need to hear this, too, straight from the horse’s mouth:

“ . . . the MDC has not performed to date as had been expected. The diagnosis of this failure is clear – too broad a remit given the staffing constraints, over ambitious targets and expectations, lack of clarity on how much independence and authority MDC was to be given, poor governance arrangements, a micro-managing Board of Directors and inadequate performance from the original implementing consultants.”      [p. 4]

Whatever pros and cons may be debated, sadly, by 2014 – 15, MDC was again under a cloud. No wonder, as  a Montserrat Reporter columnist recently spoke of how “the $200 million investment at Little Bay [is being] used as a boat trailer park.” [TMR, Jan 29, 2016, p. 7.]

DFID – who is paying the piper – clearly lost confidence and MDC was not going to get a third try.

My concern is, after the finger-pointing shouting match is over, the priority development projects will still be in limbo. So, I am convinced that unless the whole approach to key projects is drastically reformed, the same thorny problems will spring back up and will block progress again and again.

How can we uproot the thick patch of kusha?

First, we need a clear development partnership agreement with DFID that gives a 10 – 20 year timeline for action on the agreed  “required” and   “catalytic” projects. Second – urgently! – the agreement should bring these projects and timeline together under a definite programme of action to be expedited through a strategic projects unit that has adequate technical capacity.  To get things moving quickly, a good slice of that capacity will have to be brought in, while we also provide training and capacity building. Fourth, DFID simply will not invest unless there are major good governance reforms.  As a part of that, there should be an agreed project cycle management framework, based on the EU and DFID models. Finally, the unit, projects and timeline should be under a joint GoM-DFID oversight team that reports regularly to our Cabinet and the DFID Minister.

Candidate projects should include:

  • (a) the Sea Port (and the Air Port) – also, general access,
  • (b) electrical power supply – in progress,
  • (c) Geothermal energy, wind, solar, biofuels etc. – in progress,
  • (d) information access (e.g. the Fibre Optics cable – in progress?),
  • (e) the new town development,
  • (f) major development of tourism, agriculture,  technology-based industries, financial services etc.,
  • (g) business development through enterprise incubation and venture capital funding (especially for small and micro businesses),
  • (h) good governance initiatives,
  • (i) well-being – social welfare, health, youth, children, education and training, women, the aged, the vulnerable, the mentally challenged and disabled, poverty, employment, social and affordable housing,
  • (j) repatriation, diaspora outreach and building up our population,
  • (k)

So, yet again, we must ask: if not now, when? If not here, where? If not us, who?

ENDS –

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What about the “catalytic” development projects?

BRADES, Montserrat, Feb 2, 2016 – In their 22-page “Business Case and Intervention Summary” for the MDC, 2012 – 13,  DFID notes:

“Although [the Government of Montserrat] has identified an ambitious strategy to move Montserrat towards self-sufficiency . . . GoM does not have sufficient resources to fund public investments and related institutional arrangements that are required without financial support from the UK [p. 1] . . . .

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The International Development Act 2002 specifically exempts aid to the OTs from the poverty reduction criteria that apply to the rest of the DFID aid budget.  With the exception of the EU, UKG is the only source of significant grant funding.  The UK’s obligation to the OTs derives from the UN Charter [i.e. Article 73, which has force of international law] . . . . The UK’s responsibilities to Montserrat and to all the aided OTs are to:

Now, from the 1960’s – 1980’s Montserrat was able to move itself to an economy that by and large stood on its own two feet, and we still have considerable tourism potential. So there is good reason to think that we can move towards significant economic self-sufficiency again . . .  after the volcano eruption.

DFID continued – and we need to hear this from the horse’s mouth:

“The principal barrier to economic growth and development on the island is poor physical access. This is particularly the case for sea access . . . . The lack of a centralised location for the island’s tourist, commercial, trade and civic activities continues to hinder and hamper economic and social development . . . . Little Bay and Carr’s Bay are the only  developable sites left on the island capable of offering access by sea, providing a base for new FDI [Foreign Direct Investment] in tourism and other sectors, providing new commercial space and civic amenities and housing the critical mass of population and business necessary to stimulate local private sector development . . . . Without the development of Little Bay and Carr’s Bay, improved access, and reduced costs of doing business, Montserrat will remain uncompetitive in attracting FDI . . . .

There is currently no prospect of the private sector making significant investment in major capital investments or in complementary institutional support. This is because the market for leisure and commercial transport to Montserrat is perceived by the private sector as too small and high risk. Initial and catalytic investments are therefore required by the public sector and these need to be properly designed and implemented.” [pp. 3 – 4, p. 8.]

So, DFID has long been on record as to what needs to be done to get Montserrat moving economically, but instead –  again and again –  we have seen fits, starts, and stops. Mostly stops. And – with all due respect, in 2012 (four years ago!) DFID plainly gave MDC a Grade F:  “failure” . . . and set about reforming it.

We need to hear this, too, straight from the horse’s mouth:

“ . . . the MDC has not performed to date as had been expected. The diagnosis of this failure is clear – too broad a remit given the staffing constraints, over ambitious targets and expectations, lack of clarity on how much independence and authority MDC was to be given, poor governance arrangements, a micro-managing Board of Directors and inadequate performance from the original implementing consultants.”      [p. 4]

Whatever pros and cons may be debated, sadly, by 2014 – 15, MDC was again under a cloud. No wonder, as  a Montserrat Reporter columnist recently spoke of how “the $200 million investment at Little Bay [is being] used as a boat trailer park.” [TMR, Jan 29, 2016, p. 7.]

DFID – who is paying the piper – clearly lost confidence and MDC was not going to get a third try.

My concern is, after the finger-pointing shouting match is over, the priority development projects will still be in limbo. So, I am convinced that unless the whole approach to key projects is drastically reformed, the same thorny problems will spring back up and will block progress again and again.

How can we uproot the thick patch of kusha?

First, we need a clear development partnership agreement with DFID that gives a 10 – 20 year timeline for action on the agreed  “required” and   “catalytic” projects. Second – urgently! – the agreement should bring these projects and timeline together under a definite programme of action to be expedited through a strategic projects unit that has adequate technical capacity.  To get things moving quickly, a good slice of that capacity will have to be brought in, while we also provide training and capacity building. Fourth, DFID simply will not invest unless there are major good governance reforms.  As a part of that, there should be an agreed project cycle management framework, based on the EU and DFID models. Finally, the unit, projects and timeline should be under a joint GoM-DFID oversight team that reports regularly to our Cabinet and the DFID Minister.

Candidate projects should include:

So, yet again, we must ask: if not now, when? If not here, where? If not us, who?

ENDS –