Categorized | Local, News

Director Hayes of OT Division of FCO makes first visit

by B. Roach

Director of the Overseas Territories Division at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Mr. Peter Hayes

Director of the
Overseas Territories Division
at the Foreign & Commonwealth
Office, Mr. Peter
Hayes

The Director of the Overseas Territories Division at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Mr. Peter Hayes visited Montserrat this week from May 28 to 30, 2013. Mr. Hayes is married with two children and came to the office with a wealth of knowledge and experience as he transitioned from his PHd in nuclear physics, acting head of the FCO’s Counter Proliferation and arms export policy department, and spending a year on secondment as head of public affairs at the London stock exchange.

Shifting to the public service, his most recent diplomatic assignment was as high commissioner to Sri Lanka and non-resident high commissioner to the Maldives from January 2008 until November 2010. He held a number of positions including principal private secretary to former UK foreign secretaries Jack Straw, Margaret Beckett and David Miliband.

Peter also served as counselor in the British Embassy in Washington DC covering energy, environment, science, and climate change, and HM consul general in Washington DC.

In a meet with local media at a press conference hosted by Governor Davis at on Wednesday, May 29, 2013 at the Governor’s Office in Brades. That was shortly before he was entertained at a reception hosted by the Governor and Mrs. Davis at Government House.

Hayes impressed the media with his brevity and yet clear description of his impressions of Montserrat and the several persons and groups with whom he interacted, during his short visit, which he disclosed was part of a tour of the Overseas British Territories.

He his position at the FCO and said that his visit came, “relatively earlier in my time I took over this job as Director for the Overseas Territories about six months ago, in trying to get around each of the British territories,” adding, “I’m delighted to have the chance to visit Montserrat.”

“There is no substitute for actually coming:  you can read the briefing, you can meet the people as they pass through London, but there is no substitute for coming even for a short period (two days), meet the people here, sniff the air get a feel for things, the sort of the emotions, the environment, which you don’t get off of the page,” he opened.

He reported that he met all different sorts of people, community groups, “politicians of course,” government, the development corporation, some of the scientific work on the volcano and so forth, “ and to get a sense for myself of the challenges you’re facing here.”

Mr. Hayes was due to hold discussions with His Excellency the Governor, Mr. Adrian Davis; the Premier Mr. Reuben T Meade; the Leader of the Opposition Mr. Donaldson Romeo and Financial Secretary Mr. John Skerritt.

Mr Hayes reported that he toured the geothermal drilling site and had an over flight of the volcano by helicopter. He was also expected to meet with MVO Director, Rod Stewart and DMCA Director, MDC officials who briefed him on the Little Bay development and on the port development planned for Carr’s Bay.

The OT Director struck the chord of the importance of people understanding and embracing good change. Along the way and following the meetings, he expanded on his impressions Montserrat. “I think first of all it’s a very beautiful island, one that’s struck by her green, her verdant, the hill sides, the birds, the wild life its very striking, very beautiful,” he said with obvious sincerity, as he noted his impression of his sense of a community, “that has been through a lot.”  He reminded, “things take longer to produce than one would hope, but there is a sense of a new opportunities coming as the development program Little Bay, Carrs Bay actually starts to happen… governments can help and then there is the funding, there are the investors but at the end of the day it’s about the people embracing the opportunity for change.”

With cabinet, he said they had broad discussions on a number of issues including cooperation and sharing of ideas between territories.  “We had very broad discussions about lots of the challenges that we’re facing,” but he noted there was a “very strong sense of partnership – we’re working through these things together.”

There were discussions economic development, about public services, about law and order, about all of the sorts of things that government have to deal with.

Director Hayes visits with the media

Director Hayes visits with the media

They talked about learning, from each other, to pull resources, “because again when times are tough, resources are tight you have to be smart, you have to find creative ways of getting things done,” as he encouraged, “working as a group, learning from each other which is a key way of doing things.”

The opposition he said, spoke for themselves. He pointed out, “There was a strong sense of common purpose. Their key objective is of course to build the economy to get Montserrat back on its feet, to get jobs coming in, to get young people coming back, or young people to stay and not go elsewhere; to build their lives and their careers here,” which Hayes said, “that is an essential objective that I think we all share.”

Regarding a personal interest, he said he questioned about the Montserrat agricultural habits, encouraging that people here should become more engaged in backyard gardening. He said he himself produced much of his own vegetables. “…I have been asking lots of questions,  which is purely personal interest although I present it as a professional interest. Because I grow my own vegetables- I am very interested to see the potential here for home gardens, for growers cooperatives; given the cost of food importation and the wonderful climate and small amounts of ash – very useful as a fertilizer; that seems to be an obvious area for a scope for development,”  he said.

He cautioned that he is about going into full time farming. “…but I think more in terms of part-time, you grow your own vegetables, you have a surplus, you get together with other people who have a surplus in different things and then you have a market stall and you sell it,” he advised, adding fittingly, “…and eating home grown crops tends to be healthier it helps to deal with some of the health issues on the island, reduces the cost of food, it seems to be a win, win  opportunity, so I’d certainly like to see more of that.”

Before ending the press conference he fielded questions on Prime Minister’s invitation to the OT’s to visit the UK on global tax matters which he said involved more than appeared. He responded to questions on the role of the FCO in looking after the welfare and economic development in Montserrat, and ensuring that the partnership between the territories and the UK is real.

Visit www.themontserratreporter.com and listen for more on the press conference, and others.

 

Photos:

 

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

by B. Roach

Director of the Overseas Territories Division at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Mr. Peter Hayes

Director of the
Overseas Territories Division
at the Foreign & Commonwealth
Office, Mr. Peter
Hayes

The Director of the Overseas Territories Division at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Mr. Peter Hayes visited Montserrat this week from May 28 to 30, 2013. Mr. Hayes is married with two children and came to the office with a wealth of knowledge and experience as he transitioned from his PHd in nuclear physics, acting head of the FCO’s Counter Proliferation and arms export policy department, and spending a year on secondment as head of public affairs at the London stock exchange.

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Shifting to the public service, his most recent diplomatic assignment was as high commissioner to Sri Lanka and non-resident high commissioner to the Maldives from January 2008 until November 2010. He held a number of positions including principal private secretary to former UK foreign secretaries Jack Straw, Margaret Beckett and David Miliband.

Peter also served as counselor in the British Embassy in Washington DC covering energy, environment, science, and climate change, and HM consul general in Washington DC.

In a meet with local media at a press conference hosted by Governor Davis at on Wednesday, May 29, 2013 at the Governor’s Office in Brades. That was shortly before he was entertained at a reception hosted by the Governor and Mrs. Davis at Government House.

Hayes impressed the media with his brevity and yet clear description of his impressions of Montserrat and the several persons and groups with whom he interacted, during his short visit, which he disclosed was part of a tour of the Overseas British Territories.

He his position at the FCO and said that his visit came, “relatively earlier in my time I took over this job as Director for the Overseas Territories about six months ago, in trying to get around each of the British territories,” adding, “I’m delighted to have the chance to visit Montserrat.”

“There is no substitute for actually coming:  you can read the briefing, you can meet the people as they pass through London, but there is no substitute for coming even for a short period (two days), meet the people here, sniff the air get a feel for things, the sort of the emotions, the environment, which you don’t get off of the page,” he opened.

He reported that he met all different sorts of people, community groups, “politicians of course,” government, the development corporation, some of the scientific work on the volcano and so forth, “ and to get a sense for myself of the challenges you’re facing here.”

Mr. Hayes was due to hold discussions with His Excellency the Governor, Mr. Adrian Davis; the Premier Mr. Reuben T Meade; the Leader of the Opposition Mr. Donaldson Romeo and Financial Secretary Mr. John Skerritt.

Mr Hayes reported that he toured the geothermal drilling site and had an over flight of the volcano by helicopter. He was also expected to meet with MVO Director, Rod Stewart and DMCA Director, MDC officials who briefed him on the Little Bay development and on the port development planned for Carr’s Bay.

The OT Director struck the chord of the importance of people understanding and embracing good change. Along the way and following the meetings, he expanded on his impressions Montserrat. “I think first of all it’s a very beautiful island, one that’s struck by her green, her verdant, the hill sides, the birds, the wild life its very striking, very beautiful,” he said with obvious sincerity, as he noted his impression of his sense of a community, “that has been through a lot.”  He reminded, “things take longer to produce than one would hope, but there is a sense of a new opportunities coming as the development program Little Bay, Carrs Bay actually starts to happen… governments can help and then there is the funding, there are the investors but at the end of the day it’s about the people embracing the opportunity for change.”

With cabinet, he said they had broad discussions on a number of issues including cooperation and sharing of ideas between territories.  “We had very broad discussions about lots of the challenges that we’re facing,” but he noted there was a “very strong sense of partnership – we’re working through these things together.”

There were discussions economic development, about public services, about law and order, about all of the sorts of things that government have to deal with.

Director Hayes visits with the media

Director Hayes visits with the media

They talked about learning, from each other, to pull resources, “because again when times are tough, resources are tight you have to be smart, you have to find creative ways of getting things done,” as he encouraged, “working as a group, learning from each other which is a key way of doing things.”

The opposition he said, spoke for themselves. He pointed out, “There was a strong sense of common purpose. Their key objective is of course to build the economy to get Montserrat back on its feet, to get jobs coming in, to get young people coming back, or young people to stay and not go elsewhere; to build their lives and their careers here,” which Hayes said, “that is an essential objective that I think we all share.”

Regarding a personal interest, he said he questioned about the Montserrat agricultural habits, encouraging that people here should become more engaged in backyard gardening. He said he himself produced much of his own vegetables. “…I have been asking lots of questions,  which is purely personal interest although I present it as a professional interest. Because I grow my own vegetables- I am very interested to see the potential here for home gardens, for growers cooperatives; given the cost of food importation and the wonderful climate and small amounts of ash – very useful as a fertilizer; that seems to be an obvious area for a scope for development,”  he said.

He cautioned that he is about going into full time farming. “…but I think more in terms of part-time, you grow your own vegetables, you have a surplus, you get together with other people who have a surplus in different things and then you have a market stall and you sell it,” he advised, adding fittingly, “…and eating home grown crops tends to be healthier it helps to deal with some of the health issues on the island, reduces the cost of food, it seems to be a win, win  opportunity, so I’d certainly like to see more of that.”

Before ending the press conference he fielded questions on Prime Minister’s invitation to the OT’s to visit the UK on global tax matters which he said involved more than appeared. He responded to questions on the role of the FCO in looking after the welfare and economic development in Montserrat, and ensuring that the partnership between the territories and the UK is real.

Visit www.themontserratreporter.com and listen for more on the press conference, and others.

 

Photos: