Fibre Optic Cable Shocker

This will be taken forward as a ‘joint venture between UK Government and Montserrat”

When the media gathered at the Governor’s press conference at the Governor’s office today, October 6, 2017, at 8.30 which was scheduled to be a contended time of 45 minute, there were high expectations to hear about the stalled Fibre Optic Cable installation for Montserrat; of which we had strangely heard absolutely nothing, from the exited on-island DFID Representative Martin Dawson. It should have been the ONE thing that he could have claimed as ‘an achievement’ during his three-year tenure in Montserrat.

Today the four-month appointed Deputy Head for the Montserrat department in DFID Mr. Indranil Chakrabarti told the Montserrat press: “I’ve had a number of discussions about fibre optics this week with the relevant stakeholders here on the island. It’s not really for me to say what the next steps are; it’s with the relevant stakeholders here to set those out but. As with the broader reconstruction effort. It will require a joint government, private sector potentially.”

DFID Mr. Indranil Chakrabarti

When pressed, Mr Chackrabarti merely said: “…the UK Government stands ready to facilitate leverage support necessary to meet the reasononable infrastructure needs for Montserrat…”

When pressed further, H E Carriere protected, by declaring, “I think you got the answer that Mr Chakrabarti is able to give you so I think we should move on to another question…”

As we reported  in the August 20, 2017 newspaper, “The Montserrat Reporter has learnt the delay in this already long approved Fibre-Optic reinstallation back in 2013 in Montserrat was seriously affected by someone with knowledge of what strings to pull at a time when the UK high spend share of its budget, Department for International Development was undergoing scrutiny and review, occasioned by its new Minister Priti Patel.

“… Expressions of Interest request was published…it was submitted again this time by DFID for a Response Required By Mon 29 August 2016…”

Premier Romeo has here and abroad, lamented on this among other projects which have been languishing. Very recently Minister of Communications and Works reported that there has been no progress on the project but that it was hoped to be revised soon.

This shocking news is being processed, quietly as of today, by Government as informed by the DFID-MNI Deputy head and there is speculation that outrage is expected to begin to flow early next week.

In May 2013 a Government Information Unit (GIU) informed: “The United Kingdom is making good on its commitment to support Montserrat’s redevelopment and move towards financial independence.

“Department for International Development (DfID) Minister of State, Alan Duncan, and Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), Mark Simmonds, the UK government has reaffirmed its commitment to finance future capital projects for the island as long as they were clearly justified and sustainable.”

“The ministers reiterated that all investment decisions must be based on the following: that they “(i) are financially and economically viable, both individually and taken as a whole; (ii) contribute to reducing budget dependency; (iii) account fully for the contingent and reputational risks, and (iv) clarify any institutional changes and other arrangements required to make the SGP a success.”

The UK government had said it will proceed with the implementation of other SGP components: Fibre optic cable being one of three components, whereby “– GoM should work on the planning, design and appraisal phase. If a viable economic and financial business case that fully explores private sector participation is made it will be considered for funding.”

That had progressed to approval where in early 2014 Premier Meade reported, “Fiber optics” – Already promisedand that as we later confirmed was approved following a 32 page Business Case Intervention Summary, which among other convincing and accepted statements, said in, “Footnotes to Economic Appraisal (Table 1): Assumed total construction cost of US$7.45 million, £4.84 million (EC$20.68 million), with completion over an 18-month period.  This provides 2 links, Montserrat to St. Kitts and Montserrat to Antigua.  This excludes the costs of the laying of cable ducts along road alignments (included in the proposed AO1 and AO2 road projects).”

During the press conference Governor Carriere prior to the shocking news, reporting on the just past hurricanes, Irma, Jose and particularly Maria mentioned the setbacks including communication shortcomings which would have included the lack of fibre optic cabling.

 But quoting from the Business Case, “Montserrat has remained without international fibre optic connectivity since 1997, and is one of the last Caribbean states or territories without it… The fragility of the existing Montserratian telecommunications network has been identified as the island’s single biggest weakness in the event of regional hurricane activity… The goal of Montserrat’s undersea and terrestrial network development should be to eliminate uncertainty surrounding the country’s ICT development and provide future-proof broadband capacity as a cornerstone of growth and access, coupled with the island’s strategy to open sea and air access and promote macroeconomic growth.  International investors, including retirees, will have the confidence that they will be able to remain on island with full ICT service availability.

This also represents a significant area of market failure and the justification for UK public sector intervention.

It is against the foregoing and more that we present the shocking news.

Please read on line or August 4, 2017 newspaper print copy: https://www.themontserratreporter.com/fibre-optics-delay-is-a-set-up/

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This will be taken forward as a ‘joint venture between UK Government and Montserrat”

When the media gathered at the Governor’s press conference at the Governor’s office today, October 6, 2017, at 8.30 which was scheduled to be a contended time of 45 minute, there were high expectations to hear about the stalled Fibre Optic Cable installation for Montserrat; of which we had strangely heard absolutely nothing, from the exited on-island DFID Representative Martin Dawson. It should have been the ONE thing that he could have claimed as ‘an achievement’ during his three-year tenure in Montserrat.

Today the four-month appointed Deputy Head for the Montserrat department in DFID Mr. Indranil Chakrabarti told the Montserrat press: “I’ve had a number of discussions about fibre optics this week with the relevant stakeholders here on the island. It’s not really for me to say what the next steps are; it’s with the relevant stakeholders here to set those out but. As with the broader reconstruction effort. It will require a joint government, private sector potentially.”

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DFID Mr. Indranil Chakrabarti

When pressed, Mr Chackrabarti merely said: “…the UK Government stands ready to facilitate leverage support necessary to meet the reasononable infrastructure needs for Montserrat…”

When pressed further, H E Carriere protected, by declaring, “I think you got the answer that Mr Chakrabarti is able to give you so I think we should move on to another question…”

As we reported  in the August 20, 2017 newspaper, “The Montserrat Reporter has learnt the delay in this already long approved Fibre-Optic reinstallation back in 2013 in Montserrat was seriously affected by someone with knowledge of what strings to pull at a time when the UK high spend share of its budget, Department for International Development was undergoing scrutiny and review, occasioned by its new Minister Priti Patel.

“… Expressions of Interest request was published…it was submitted again this time by DFID for a Response Required By Mon 29 August 2016…”

Premier Romeo has here and abroad, lamented on this among other projects which have been languishing. Very recently Minister of Communications and Works reported that there has been no progress on the project but that it was hoped to be revised soon.

This shocking news is being processed, quietly as of today, by Government as informed by the DFID-MNI Deputy head and there is speculation that outrage is expected to begin to flow early next week.

In May 2013 a Government Information Unit (GIU) informed: “The United Kingdom is making good on its commitment to support Montserrat’s redevelopment and move towards financial independence.

“Department for International Development (DfID) Minister of State, Alan Duncan, and Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), Mark Simmonds, the UK government has reaffirmed its commitment to finance future capital projects for the island as long as they were clearly justified and sustainable.”

“The ministers reiterated that all investment decisions must be based on the following: that they “(i) are financially and economically viable, both individually and taken as a whole; (ii) contribute to reducing budget dependency; (iii) account fully for the contingent and reputational risks, and (iv) clarify any institutional changes and other arrangements required to make the SGP a success.”

The UK government had said it will proceed with the implementation of other SGP components: Fibre optic cable being one of three components, whereby “– GoM should work on the planning, design and appraisal phase. If a viable economic and financial business case that fully explores private sector participation is made it will be considered for funding.”

That had progressed to approval where in early 2014 Premier Meade reported, “Fiber optics” – Already promisedand that as we later confirmed was approved following a 32 page Business Case Intervention Summary, which among other convincing and accepted statements, said in, “Footnotes to Economic Appraisal (Table 1): Assumed total construction cost of US$7.45 million, £4.84 million (EC$20.68 million), with completion over an 18-month period.  This provides 2 links, Montserrat to St. Kitts and Montserrat to Antigua.  This excludes the costs of the laying of cable ducts along road alignments (included in the proposed AO1 and AO2 road projects).”

During the press conference Governor Carriere prior to the shocking news, reporting on the just past hurricanes, Irma, Jose and particularly Maria mentioned the setbacks including communication shortcomings which would have included the lack of fibre optic cabling.

 But quoting from the Business Case, “Montserrat has remained without international fibre optic connectivity since 1997, and is one of the last Caribbean states or territories without it… The fragility of the existing Montserratian telecommunications network has been identified as the island’s single biggest weakness in the event of regional hurricane activity… The goal of Montserrat’s undersea and terrestrial network development should be to eliminate uncertainty surrounding the country’s ICT development and provide future-proof broadband capacity as a cornerstone of growth and access, coupled with the island’s strategy to open sea and air access and promote macroeconomic growth.  International investors, including retirees, will have the confidence that they will be able to remain on island with full ICT service availability.

This also represents a significant area of market failure and the justification for UK public sector intervention.

It is against the foregoing and more that we present the shocking news.

Please read on line or August 4, 2017 newspaper print copy: https://www.themontserratreporter.com/fibre-optics-delay-is-a-set-up/