Categorized | Editorial

Editorial: Did the Government make a wrong move?

This past week the DFID team led by Karen McGeough (Montserrat Programme Manager) within DFID met to discuss with the press and updated about on the ‘mid-term budget review’. They  reported what on the surface sounded good and showed expected progress, but warned, the MCAP Government’s 2009 Economic Roadmap, “needed to be revised to reflect the changed economic landscape.”

The reported that  “GoM agreed to revisit the roadmap as a matter of urgency, including setting out measures that are both realistic and achievable…”

Karen McGeough said that from the evidence showed for the first 6 months of this year the estimates look to be very conservative.  “Key sectors are growing, including Construction (15%), Retail and Wholesale Trade (8%), Financial Intermediaries (10%), with others including Agriculture and Mining growing by 30% and 50% respectively.  Tourist arrivals is up 14%.”

When TMR Bennette Roach noted that is not reflected on the ground as the Customs and Port Authority warehouse was almost void of imports; and that the supermarkets shelves were sparse of commodities, they responded that any improvement on last year when the economy contracted 5% would seem good, (on paper). McGeough notes in her report, “For FY 2011/12 GoM projected the economy would stagnate so 0% growth was included in the budgetary estimates.

As if the details of the report were not discouraging enough, in spite of the expected growth and improvement within the last six months of the year, there is still the hurricane season to see through. Meanwhile, the Chief Minister speaking prior to this press conference had bore news of poor performances, which in some cases he described as “seeing some improvement,  ‘modest’ though it is,” regarding the performance of the private sector, which is expected to provide the best service that the public deserves. That all includes “ensuring that the private sector development is accorded top priority in order to encourage economic diversity, investment and employment that is sustainable.”

All that became worse when the Review Team confirmed what the CM in that earlier press conference had revealed, that Geothermal development had (for us) suffered a serious, setback. An application was made to the International Climate Fund (ICF)and that application has not been successful,” the Chief Minister reported.

While it is appears confusing (and only appears) enough why that application was made to that ICF and not to DFID as the CM said would now happen, we are told that DFID must have an economic (financial) study before a decision is made to provide any further progress on the geothermal project, that is determining whether to drill or not.

The question put to this team was, “what was the real reason for the stall and delay?” Minister Mitchell had confirmed commitment to see this matter on the way. Did Montserrat fail the requirement regarding geothermal development, which he posed at the time of making the commitment in February? “If the Chief Minister and his Ministers are able to drive forward this opportunity in a transparent way, ensuring that it is dealt with according to the best practice, principles of openness, and as I say,” he repeated,  “transparency, then I think that will be a very significant gain for Montserrat…”

What DFID seems to be doing now is nothing less than unwarranted delay and some form of punishment on the people of Montserrat. It may have been a step in the wrong direction not applying to them as everyone was led to believe was the case, for the funding needed and promised, to go forward.

There are no private sector developments, nothing is happening with the Little Bay (town) development, although the CM reports there will be first week in October, some visit by a ‘charette’. Sand mining faces serious delay and the road project as a result is going nowhere, never mind constant speeches otherwise. Housing – grandiose sounds and a PIU which is costing the country money, while claiming success.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

This past week the DFID team led by Karen McGeough (Montserrat Programme Manager) within DFID met to discuss with the press and updated about on the ‘mid-term budget review’. They  reported what on the surface sounded good and showed expected progress, but warned, the MCAP Government’s 2009 Economic Roadmap, “needed to be revised to reflect the changed economic landscape.”

The reported that  “GoM agreed to revisit the roadmap as a matter of urgency, including setting out measures that are both realistic and achievable…”

Karen McGeough said that from the evidence showed for the first 6 months of this year the estimates look to be very conservative.  “Key sectors are growing, including Construction (15%), Retail and Wholesale Trade (8%), Financial Intermediaries (10%), with others including Agriculture and Mining growing by 30% and 50% respectively.  Tourist arrivals is up 14%.”

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When TMR Bennette Roach noted that is not reflected on the ground as the Customs and Port Authority warehouse was almost void of imports; and that the supermarkets shelves were sparse of commodities, they responded that any improvement on last year when the economy contracted 5% would seem good, (on paper). McGeough notes in her report, “For FY 2011/12 GoM projected the economy would stagnate so 0% growth was included in the budgetary estimates.

As if the details of the report were not discouraging enough, in spite of the expected growth and improvement within the last six months of the year, there is still the hurricane season to see through. Meanwhile, the Chief Minister speaking prior to this press conference had bore news of poor performances, which in some cases he described as “seeing some improvement,  ‘modest’ though it is,” regarding the performance of the private sector, which is expected to provide the best service that the public deserves. That all includes “ensuring that the private sector development is accorded top priority in order to encourage economic diversity, investment and employment that is sustainable.”

All that became worse when the Review Team confirmed what the CM in that earlier press conference had revealed, that Geothermal development had (for us) suffered a serious, setback. An application was made to the International Climate Fund (ICF)and that application has not been successful,” the Chief Minister reported.

While it is appears confusing (and only appears) enough why that application was made to that ICF and not to DFID as the CM said would now happen, we are told that DFID must have an economic (financial) study before a decision is made to provide any further progress on the geothermal project, that is determining whether to drill or not.

The question put to this team was, “what was the real reason for the stall and delay?” Minister Mitchell had confirmed commitment to see this matter on the way. Did Montserrat fail the requirement regarding geothermal development, which he posed at the time of making the commitment in February? “If the Chief Minister and his Ministers are able to drive forward this opportunity in a transparent way, ensuring that it is dealt with according to the best practice, principles of openness, and as I say,” he repeated,  “transparency, then I think that will be a very significant gain for Montserrat…”

What DFID seems to be doing now is nothing less than unwarranted delay and some form of punishment on the people of Montserrat. It may have been a step in the wrong direction not applying to them as everyone was led to believe was the case, for the funding needed and promised, to go forward.

There are no private sector developments, nothing is happening with the Little Bay (town) development, although the CM reports there will be first week in October, some visit by a ‘charette’. Sand mining faces serious delay and the road project as a result is going nowhere, never mind constant speeches otherwise. Housing – grandiose sounds and a PIU which is costing the country money, while claiming success.