Categorized | Editorial

Editorial – July 23, 2010

Please explain why go into debt as against making positive investment

The Honourable Chief Minister Reuben T. Meade called only his second press conference since he took office in mid-September last year, the first one in February this year. That is surprising, but Governor Waterworth who had at the beginning of his tenure in 2007 had promised that he would be quite ready to meet with the press especially that he had expected the press to keep him in check as he expected for the government ministers. He has only gone two, none for all of last year.

A quick answer to any question as to why this has continued so long, the one arm of the media, which is government owned is very well taken care of while resources for the rest of the media which are private are scarcer than the press conferences they have had. They contribute to that poverty because ignorance on the one hand and misconceived benefit on the other guide all round. They prefer not hear from or about any other media than that which they control. Part of this also is that we do have a public that have become quite lethargic and backward in their interests, driven by fears of being relegated to a worse position than they currently experience.

Another point is that some officials are fund of telling the public through the government organs pretty much anything they want to tell them. Problem with that, it still leaves the public wanting for information and answers to questions that do concern them.

At the press conference which was held last Wednesday afternoon, the CM came prepared to talk about the new Public Sector Management initiative that he had been talking about ever since he took office. It is worrisome that he had to get that deep into this matter especially there has been workshop after workshop on public sector reform. It seems to be progressing little and it may well be the problem is having public sector trying to reform itself.

Coming out of the press conference was one issue that seems confusing as it was very surprising to learn after all the publicity that had been given to the development and procurement of geothermal energy, as a great economic booster for Montserrat, the government according to the Chief Minister did not see this as any priority within the next five years.

The progress towards this development took new life when an Energy Committee was created to take this matter forward involving CRM (Committee for  the Redevelopment of Montserrat) who had been spearheading the geothermal energy thrust. They had intervened and prevented what was heading to certain disaster when the John Osborne government was ready to sign away Montserrat’s rights and privileges to an off-shore concern. That same concern had begun working with Nevis in a similar venture which little is heard of now.

The CM was responding to a question about geothermal energy which came out of his response to the question, “what do you see as the main economic driver for Montserrat over the next five years?”
Geothermal energy development appeared nowhere in his response to the question, but he then explained when asked, “Geothermal was not spoken of within that five-year framework. We have invited MUL (Montserrat Utilities Ltd.) to take the process forward. We have indicated to MUL to go ahead, have the discussions, seek out the investments and the investors and move the process forward, government will provide the support.”

He explained further: “We do not anticipate that will happen in under five years and hence the reason I did not speak to it within the five year period as the question demanded.”

What is surprising, and some serious answers with information are needed. While it has been obvious for a long time that some steadiness is needed in the island’s electricity supply, finally it is being decided to take the country into debt, for something that cannot be considered an investment, but will bring more strain on the island and its people, instead of vigorously pursuing an investment that has been agreed in several ways, will bring considerable savings and benefit to the island?

Why should Montserrat borrow $30 million when it would take less to have geothermal energy which can eventually bring money to the island? The utility bills will go up. For ten years previous governments have resisted this burden on the people and HMG has been willing to assist in the geothermal exploration. And why not? There are benefits.

It would be very interesting to see the economic analysis and financials that would encourage our government to put the geothermal idea on the side burner for outside of five years. What is the catch?

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

Please explain why go into debt as against making positive investment

The Honourable Chief Minister Reuben T. Meade called only his second press conference since he took office in mid-September last year, the first one in February this year. That is surprising, but Governor Waterworth who had at the beginning of his tenure in 2007 had promised that he would be quite ready to meet with the press especially that he had expected the press to keep him in check as he expected for the government ministers. He has only gone two, none for all of last year.

A quick answer to any question as to why this has continued so long, the one arm of the media, which is government owned is very well taken care of while resources for the rest of the media which are private are scarcer than the press conferences they have had. They contribute to that poverty because ignorance on the one hand and misconceived benefit on the other guide all round. They prefer not hear from or about any other media than that which they control. Part of this also is that we do have a public that have become quite lethargic and backward in their interests, driven by fears of being relegated to a worse position than they currently experience.

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Another point is that some officials are fund of telling the public through the government organs pretty much anything they want to tell them. Problem with that, it still leaves the public wanting for information and answers to questions that do concern them.

At the press conference which was held last Wednesday afternoon, the CM came prepared to talk about the new Public Sector Management initiative that he had been talking about ever since he took office. It is worrisome that he had to get that deep into this matter especially there has been workshop after workshop on public sector reform. It seems to be progressing little and it may well be the problem is having public sector trying to reform itself.

Coming out of the press conference was one issue that seems confusing as it was very surprising to learn after all the publicity that had been given to the development and procurement of geothermal energy, as a great economic booster for Montserrat, the government according to the Chief Minister did not see this as any priority within the next five years.

The progress towards this development took new life when an Energy Committee was created to take this matter forward involving CRM (Committee for  the Redevelopment of Montserrat) who had been spearheading the geothermal energy thrust. They had intervened and prevented what was heading to certain disaster when the John Osborne government was ready to sign away Montserrat’s rights and privileges to an off-shore concern. That same concern had begun working with Nevis in a similar venture which little is heard of now.

The CM was responding to a question about geothermal energy which came out of his response to the question, “what do you see as the main economic driver for Montserrat over the next five years?”
Geothermal energy development appeared nowhere in his response to the question, but he then explained when asked, “Geothermal was not spoken of within that five-year framework. We have invited MUL (Montserrat Utilities Ltd.) to take the process forward. We have indicated to MUL to go ahead, have the discussions, seek out the investments and the investors and move the process forward, government will provide the support.”

He explained further: “We do not anticipate that will happen in under five years and hence the reason I did not speak to it within the five year period as the question demanded.”

What is surprising, and some serious answers with information are needed. While it has been obvious for a long time that some steadiness is needed in the island’s electricity supply, finally it is being decided to take the country into debt, for something that cannot be considered an investment, but will bring more strain on the island and its people, instead of vigorously pursuing an investment that has been agreed in several ways, will bring considerable savings and benefit to the island?

Why should Montserrat borrow $30 million when it would take less to have geothermal energy which can eventually bring money to the island? The utility bills will go up. For ten years previous governments have resisted this burden on the people and HMG has been willing to assist in the geothermal exploration. And why not? There are benefits.

It would be very interesting to see the economic analysis and financials that would encourage our government to put the geothermal idea on the side burner for outside of five years. What is the catch?