Categorized | Local, News

DFID Minister visits following OTCC meetings

FCO Minister Bellingham and DFID Alan Duncan with Reuben T. Meade, Premier, Montserrat in London, 22 November 2011 (FCO Photo)

One day before the annual Overseas Territories Consultative Council (OTCC), held annually since 1999, was due to begin in London to run Nov. 23-24, host, Britain’s Minister for the Overseas Territories, Henry Bellingham was announcing that the main focus of the discussions would be the New strategy for British overseas territories.

That, he said in a statement as HMG brought together chief ministers, premiers and elected representative from across Britain’s Overseas Territories (BOTs), was to be the forerunner of the proposed 2012 White Paper on the Overseas Territories, which have a total population of around 239,000.  Wide ranging subjects were to include especially good governance, criminal justice, economic development, culture, sports, media, pensions and much more.

Prior to his departure to the meetings, Premier Reuben Meade had been speaking about some of the main topics he wished to focus on while there. He mentioned in particular, “Outstanding matters in relation to our role within the OECS…since 1992, I have had discussions with the BG in relation to the unfair treatment of British national nationals and citizens who reside and retire in Montserrat…”

Last week we featured the premier’s concern about the British lack of progress in Montserrat’s economic recovery and development.

Since then and following the end of the meeting, the Governor who also attended the meetings has returned while the premier and his entourage remained in the UK. A release from the Government Information Unit describes the UK minister making special reference to the Territories that needed special assistance. He referred to Montserrat, St. Helena and TCI. “We are investing heavily in the Territories that need the most assistance, including building an airport on St Helena as well as significant development work in Montserrat and on-going work to restore the principles of good governance and sound financial management to the Turks and Caicos Islands,” he said.

The premier returns to Montserrat early next week and will be in time to welcome to Montserrat, Alan Duncan, MP, Minister of State for International Development (DFID) on a visit December 7and 8, 2011.

An invitation on Nov. 18 to a one question per person press conference with the premier and Duncan, stated that the objectives of his visit are:

  • To see the devastation and loss caused by the volcano and understand the economic and developmental challenges Montserrat faces.
  • Promote the vision of the OTs as part of the British family, flourishing and vibrant, and less financially dependent.
  • Set the parameters for future self-sufficiency: more efficient management of the public finances, combined with strategic investments aimed at stimulating growth, improving access and facilitating economic activity.
  • Discuss progress on the Strategic Growth Plan and Economic Roadmap.

It is expected that the premier at that press conference will report on his meetings in the UK.

Editor Bennette Roach has advised that he would not attend a press conference or any other where he would be allowed to ask a single question, on this occasion to either the premier or the MP. He stated in a note to the Premier’s office and copied to the Governor that he considered it, “very insulting” to the people of Montserrat.

“…to a be allowed one question. On this occasion it is even more so considering the state of affairs on the island, previous visits and press conferences with other DFID officials and the most recent with Governor and Premier, who would now have gone and had meetings in London,” Roach wrote in protest disgust.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

FCO Minister Bellingham and DFID Alan Duncan with Reuben T. Meade, Premier, Montserrat in London, 22 November 2011 (FCO Photo)

One day before the annual Overseas Territories Consultative Council (OTCC), held annually since 1999, was due to begin in London to run Nov. 23-24, host, Britain’s Minister for the Overseas Territories, Henry Bellingham was announcing that the main focus of the discussions would be the New strategy for British overseas territories.

That, he said in a statement as HMG brought together chief ministers, premiers and elected representative from across Britain’s Overseas Territories (BOTs), was to be the forerunner of the proposed 2012 White Paper on the Overseas Territories, which have a total population of around 239,000.  Wide ranging subjects were to include especially good governance, criminal justice, economic development, culture, sports, media, pensions and much more.

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Prior to his departure to the meetings, Premier Reuben Meade had been speaking about some of the main topics he wished to focus on while there. He mentioned in particular, “Outstanding matters in relation to our role within the OECS…since 1992, I have had discussions with the BG in relation to the unfair treatment of British national nationals and citizens who reside and retire in Montserrat…”

Last week we featured the premier’s concern about the British lack of progress in Montserrat’s economic recovery and development.

Since then and following the end of the meeting, the Governor who also attended the meetings has returned while the premier and his entourage remained in the UK. A release from the Government Information Unit describes the UK minister making special reference to the Territories that needed special assistance. He referred to Montserrat, St. Helena and TCI. “We are investing heavily in the Territories that need the most assistance, including building an airport on St Helena as well as significant development work in Montserrat and on-going work to restore the principles of good governance and sound financial management to the Turks and Caicos Islands,” he said.

The premier returns to Montserrat early next week and will be in time to welcome to Montserrat, Alan Duncan, MP, Minister of State for International Development (DFID) on a visit December 7and 8, 2011.

An invitation on Nov. 18 to a one question per person press conference with the premier and Duncan, stated that the objectives of his visit are:

It is expected that the premier at that press conference will report on his meetings in the UK.

Editor Bennette Roach has advised that he would not attend a press conference or any other where he would be allowed to ask a single question, on this occasion to either the premier or the MP. He stated in a note to the Premier’s office and copied to the Governor that he considered it, “very insulting” to the people of Montserrat.

“…to a be allowed one question. On this occasion it is even more so considering the state of affairs on the island, previous visits and press conferences with other DFID officials and the most recent with Governor and Premier, who would now have gone and had meetings in London,” Roach wrote in protest disgust.