Categorized | Featured, Features, Local, News

Getting it right

by Bennette Roach

Suggesting "All of Montserrat holds its future"

Suggesting “All of Montserrat holds its future”

The goal posts are the same – What is your plan to score? What do you have to show? Do you know the truth on your side and their side?

As the further economic decline and the eventual fall-out caused by the exit MCAP (Movement for Change and Prosperity) government, exasperated by the incoming unprepared PDM (People’s Democratic Movement) Government, continue for reason easily analysed as described, we sigh as we point out or draw attention to the Governor, DFID (UK Department for International Development) and of course all the people and Government (GoM).

It is obvious that either the remaining public servants minus only two have not been able to, or have not been providing the necessary information since the departure of their ‘super civil servant’ (political leader), or the unprepared do not listen because they want to show their foolhardy ignorance, of knowing it all.

Background and study

With information as highlighted below, they must operate from the knowledge of acceptance, the fact they misunderstand the ‘thank yous’ they incorrectly serve up to DFID. DFID has acknowledged their obligation, since 1999 with their White Paper, their declaration in 2008 following the creation of the MDC; UK Secretary of State Andrew Mitchell, and Minister of State Alan Duncan in 2012 repeated pronouncements of support, commitment and interest; and the White Paper of the said year, (Note: Montserrat through the then Premier and the Governor showed no interest and refused to participate in these White Paper talks/discussions as they were invited to).

The present
Following some very recent pronouncements by former Premier that he refused or gave back monies to the UK shows a kind of unbelievable recklessness and continuation of the deception practiced throughout his recent tenure. People should ask the Premier why he made every effort to lose the last election while securing his own ‘seat’’? The PDM, now steeped in the practice of nepotism in their own ignorance, should really pay attention to the many ‘veiled’ suggestions and warnings, such as ‘…do not do like me!’

DFID’s letter to Reuben Meade, Premier

On February 14, 2012, by letter dated (we have referenced this before), Duncan wrote to the Premier under caption: Breakwater and Other Strategic Growth Plan Investments – “Dear Reuben: As you know, I am strongly committed to investing in the future of Montserrat and taking forward the Strategic Growth Plan (SGP) as set out in our joint Memorandum of Understanding signed in May 2012…

“I am aware that over the last 16 months, you have taken forward work on the design of a port in Carr’s Bay. This was one of the five options that I considered carefully. However, without firm private sector commitment to invest in the landside components of the Little Bay master plan, it remains unclear that this project would be financially viable. I feel that I cannot justify this level of investment – particularly in times of financial hardships in the UK…

“I am therefore pleased to say that I have agreed to take forward work on the design and feasibility of a breakwater at the existing jetty in Little Bay… This package of investment demonstrates my continued support for private-sector led economic development in Montserrat. I look forward to ongoing close engagement between our governments on this. In particular, I hope we may be able to speak in March to agree how we should take forward the important project of the breakwater in Little Bay.”

All this time budget 2014/15 budget talks were underway with general elections announced by the Premier for September. No one knows if and when the Premier shared this letter with his Ministers, but he alluded to it in his Budget debate at the end of March. Governor Davis refused to discuss it at his ensuing press conference suggesting that the “the Premier had addressed it adequately enough for him at the budget debate.”

The Premier

That budget debate as we reported at the time was little more than a farce. Unlike Romeo, also without a completed Aide Memoire this year, Meade did not have an approved budget figure, but said that he was assured it would not be less than the previous year’s. But what could have held up the Aide Memoire from the budget talks since February. Surely, while the rest of the country did not know the grave Duncan February letter, the Premier knew that his ambitious strategy was in jeopardy along with the Little Bay/Carrs Bay developments, saving the Geothermal, Fibre optics and Tourism projects (all mentioned in the Feb letter).

Then follow these two links:First: http://www.themontserratreporter.com/premier-meade-searches-for-investors/. Here we first revealed the Premier’s real trouble with his “ambitious strategy” recently described as “extravagant”; and then : http://www.themontserratreporter.com/premier-meade-progress-with-investors/. There you will find the Premier’s lie from his own words on May 13, 2014 whenhe told of his plans to seek permission to use the US$34 million offer for a jetty etc. in Little Bay from the UK. ”The concept which we are also looking at is that given the offer of DFID to spend twenty three million pounds – on the breakwater to protect the little jetty which we have, and the refusal by Government of Montserrat to accept that investment, the deal which we are trying to work with DFID is to retain those funds so that we can put it in as part of the larger development with the understanding that the remainder of the funds will be sourced through public private (Dubai) partnership.”

The Aide Memoire 2014/15

This document left little to seal the fate of former Premier Meade’s chances of regaining the government at elections in September and he did little to improve the chances, realizing soon enough that people were fed up with his administration and had no intention to “live in the dream”. Too much was already not happening to change their minds.

These matters should have informed Premier Romeo and the rest of his…, we will simply call them ‘unprepared’, entourage. Today they set out to continue the myths that DFID is out to keep Montserrat from progress, refusing to recognize and hold their predecessors accountable, then rising to the occasion. (DFID may be guilty of other things and in fact acknowledged some of them already)

The foregoing is but a portion of the matters this green, inexperienced and unprepared government must take on board and should have discussed long ago before jumping into fire by simply following the recommendation of the DFID-led misguided, prejudice and conflicted Task Force, loaded with people who from the beginning had shown or was aware of the result they were expected to procure. But really what or who is responsible here?

From the Aide Memoire

See: http://www.themontserratreporter.com/dfid-rep-gom-has-made-vast-improvements-in-its-budget-preparation-process/

Reports like this go by without question when it is no more than blinding compliments which are usually followed by damning statements and conditions; and agreements.

This Aiide Memoire was produced in April but never really surfaced till May/June 2014.

To all those beginning with those in the GoM who are complaining without substantiation (even though there may well be some arguments which will themselves not stand under scrutiny). DFID will laugh at them as they do not see individuals but the GoM who indiscriminately agree to conditions with no intentions of keeping commitments and agreements.

The following show that DFID is not moving any goal posts, but rather trying to get GoM to grow up. See the following in the box from which we highlight here:

  1. DFID considers that project and contract management skills across GoM remain weak.
  2. GoM has simplified the indicators of policy performance against the Sustainable Development Plan. More work is required over the next six months however to make these indicators specific and measurable.

Lack of data and technical expertise remain a key barrier to operationalising the MTEF.

DFID and GoM agreed that a next phase MoU would be useful in driving reform. DFID priorities for a new MoU would be: improved delivery against the PSR2 project; successful management of the project portfolio;

review progress and/or any threats to delivery; and the establishment of GoM action plans for all projects. DFID would welcome an MoU indicator related to project portfolio performance. It was agreed that it was useful to include discussions on the project portfolio performance and this would be adopted in future BAMs (Budget Aide Memoires)

Mid-year review

DFID will agree an approach for a mid-year review of the budget and progress on the MTEF Policy Framework; this will be conducted in September/October 2014.

Who doesn’t now know what has happened since? All that was going on just prior to the elections; what a continuing and a follow-up government should have been paying attention to!

What can we expect to see in the Aide Memoire of this year? Is that where the problem developed as DFID sought to continue from where they left off last year, acknowledging the sores of the previous years, finally coming to a head last year?

This government should apologise to the UK government for the indiscretions, wrong doings of their predecessors, promising to hold the responsible accountable, once recognized (as they have in the MDC and GoM procurement disasters); apologize for their own ignorance and noting the accommodation or culpability of the Governor and DFID also; offer and agree a new mandate of better governance and management, recognizing their own shortcomings and limitations. Offer to practice the partnership of developing and setting new plans/targets, just as was suggested/recommended in the Aide Memoire of last year (which no doubt will appear again this year).

Meanwhile they should hastily accept all the TC available and offered; then putting in place a new system of educating those willing to learn, and our young people to take their place in a new world that has left Montserrat behind the bushes in all kinds of ways. We lost two years, maybe three as much as seven, or we can go back 17 years. Oh! for a little commonsense and wisdom. And you know ask the Christian Council, they have their congregations pray every weekend for wisdom for the Government. But wisdom for what?

Get familiar with excerpts from the Aide Memoire of last year. If this Government were even to look it over now, things may get different.

More from the Aide Memoire:

Para 37 Procurement

  1. DFID is pleased to note that in response to the concerns raised during last year’s budget mission, GoM has procured the services of Crown Agents to review and, where necessary, update Financial Regulations. Crown Agents will develop model tender and contract documentation and provide training to key personnel. Whilst progress on strengthening GoM’s procurement systems has been made, DFID considers that project and contract management skills across GoM remain weak. DFID generally welcomes the increased role of the Ministry of Finance in both of these areas, but has sought assurances from GoM that MoFEM is properly resourced to meet its increased responsibility.

38 Overall process

  1. Overall progress in 2013/14 to operationalise the Medium Term Expenditure Framework has been modest.1 As recommended at the 2013 budget mission, GoM has simplified the indicators of policy performance against the Sustainable Development Plan. More work is required over the next six months however to make these indicators specific and measurable. The Monitoring and Evaluation specialist flagged as a need by GoM in the new Monitoring Unit under the Cabinet Secretariat will be key to delivering this. Lack of data and technical expertise remain a key barrier to operationalising the MTEF.

1 The MTEF is linked to the Strategic Development Plan —> too much alphabet soup]; the three year policy framework and departmental strategic plans were introduced in 2011. GoM is now moving into a new phase (2013-17). SDP objectives are cascaded down to three yearly MTEFs and departmental plans.

Project Portfolio

  1. Discussions were held during the BAM on the balance, quality and performance of DFID’s overall project portfolio in Montserrat. The challenge is to manage projects in a way that maximises performance. The recent review of performance of the existing projects revealed a mix of high performing projects, projects that had early set-backs and those that continue to fall short of expected performance. Discussions with GoM identified the following solutions: a stronger role for MoFEM’s Programme Management Unit to improve programme management; monthly DFID/PMU meetings to review progress and/or any threats to delivery; and the establishment of GoM action plans for all projects. DFID would welcome an MoU indicator related to project portfolio performance. It was agreed that it was useful to include discussions on the project portfolio performance and this would be adopted in future BAMs.
  2. Mid-year review

DFID will agree an approach for a mid-year review of the budget and progress on the MTEF Policy Framework; this will be conducted in September/October 2014.

DFID/GoM will agree which sector is to be subject to an in-depth review ahead of the annual budget aid mission in early 2015.

 

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

by Bennette Roach

Suggesting "All of Montserrat holds its future"

Suggesting “All of Montserrat holds its future”

The goal posts are the same – What is your plan to score? What do you have to show? Do you know the truth on your side and their side?

Insert Ads Here

As the further economic decline and the eventual fall-out caused by the exit MCAP (Movement for Change and Prosperity) government, exasperated by the incoming unprepared PDM (People’s Democratic Movement) Government, continue for reason easily analysed as described, we sigh as we point out or draw attention to the Governor, DFID (UK Department for International Development) and of course all the people and Government (GoM).

It is obvious that either the remaining public servants minus only two have not been able to, or have not been providing the necessary information since the departure of their ‘super civil servant’ (political leader), or the unprepared do not listen because they want to show their foolhardy ignorance, of knowing it all.

Background and study

With information as highlighted below, they must operate from the knowledge of acceptance, the fact they misunderstand the ‘thank yous’ they incorrectly serve up to DFID. DFID has acknowledged their obligation, since 1999 with their White Paper, their declaration in 2008 following the creation of the MDC; UK Secretary of State Andrew Mitchell, and Minister of State Alan Duncan in 2012 repeated pronouncements of support, commitment and interest; and the White Paper of the said year, (Note: Montserrat through the then Premier and the Governor showed no interest and refused to participate in these White Paper talks/discussions as they were invited to).

The present
Following some very recent pronouncements by former Premier that he refused or gave back monies to the UK shows a kind of unbelievable recklessness and continuation of the deception practiced throughout his recent tenure. People should ask the Premier why he made every effort to lose the last election while securing his own ‘seat’’? The PDM, now steeped in the practice of nepotism in their own ignorance, should really pay attention to the many ‘veiled’ suggestions and warnings, such as ‘…do not do like me!’

DFID’s letter to Reuben Meade, Premier

On February 14, 2012, by letter dated (we have referenced this before), Duncan wrote to the Premier under caption: Breakwater and Other Strategic Growth Plan Investments – “Dear Reuben: As you know, I am strongly committed to investing in the future of Montserrat and taking forward the Strategic Growth Plan (SGP) as set out in our joint Memorandum of Understanding signed in May 2012…

“I am aware that over the last 16 months, you have taken forward work on the design of a port in Carr’s Bay. This was one of the five options that I considered carefully. However, without firm private sector commitment to invest in the landside components of the Little Bay master plan, it remains unclear that this project would be financially viable. I feel that I cannot justify this level of investment – particularly in times of financial hardships in the UK…

“I am therefore pleased to say that I have agreed to take forward work on the design and feasibility of a breakwater at the existing jetty in Little Bay… This package of investment demonstrates my continued support for private-sector led economic development in Montserrat. I look forward to ongoing close engagement between our governments on this. In particular, I hope we may be able to speak in March to agree how we should take forward the important project of the breakwater in Little Bay.”

All this time budget 2014/15 budget talks were underway with general elections announced by the Premier for September. No one knows if and when the Premier shared this letter with his Ministers, but he alluded to it in his Budget debate at the end of March. Governor Davis refused to discuss it at his ensuing press conference suggesting that the “the Premier had addressed it adequately enough for him at the budget debate.”

The Premier

That budget debate as we reported at the time was little more than a farce. Unlike Romeo, also without a completed Aide Memoire this year, Meade did not have an approved budget figure, but said that he was assured it would not be less than the previous year’s. But what could have held up the Aide Memoire from the budget talks since February. Surely, while the rest of the country did not know the grave Duncan February letter, the Premier knew that his ambitious strategy was in jeopardy along with the Little Bay/Carrs Bay developments, saving the Geothermal, Fibre optics and Tourism projects (all mentioned in the Feb letter).

Then follow these two links:First: http://www.themontserratreporter.com/premier-meade-searches-for-investors/. Here we first revealed the Premier’s real trouble with his “ambitious strategy” recently described as “extravagant”; and then : http://www.themontserratreporter.com/premier-meade-progress-with-investors/. There you will find the Premier’s lie from his own words on May 13, 2014 whenhe told of his plans to seek permission to use the US$34 million offer for a jetty etc. in Little Bay from the UK. ”The concept which we are also looking at is that given the offer of DFID to spend twenty three million pounds – on the breakwater to protect the little jetty which we have, and the refusal by Government of Montserrat to accept that investment, the deal which we are trying to work with DFID is to retain those funds so that we can put it in as part of the larger development with the understanding that the remainder of the funds will be sourced through public private (Dubai) partnership.”

The Aide Memoire 2014/15

This document left little to seal the fate of former Premier Meade’s chances of regaining the government at elections in September and he did little to improve the chances, realizing soon enough that people were fed up with his administration and had no intention to “live in the dream”. Too much was already not happening to change their minds.

These matters should have informed Premier Romeo and the rest of his…, we will simply call them ‘unprepared’, entourage. Today they set out to continue the myths that DFID is out to keep Montserrat from progress, refusing to recognize and hold their predecessors accountable, then rising to the occasion. (DFID may be guilty of other things and in fact acknowledged some of them already)

The foregoing is but a portion of the matters this green, inexperienced and unprepared government must take on board and should have discussed long ago before jumping into fire by simply following the recommendation of the DFID-led misguided, prejudice and conflicted Task Force, loaded with people who from the beginning had shown or was aware of the result they were expected to procure. But really what or who is responsible here?

From the Aide Memoire

See: http://www.themontserratreporter.com/dfid-rep-gom-has-made-vast-improvements-in-its-budget-preparation-process/

Reports like this go by without question when it is no more than blinding compliments which are usually followed by damning statements and conditions; and agreements.

This Aiide Memoire was produced in April but never really surfaced till May/June 2014.

To all those beginning with those in the GoM who are complaining without substantiation (even though there may well be some arguments which will themselves not stand under scrutiny). DFID will laugh at them as they do not see individuals but the GoM who indiscriminately agree to conditions with no intentions of keeping commitments and agreements.

The following show that DFID is not moving any goal posts, but rather trying to get GoM to grow up. See the following in the box from which we highlight here:

  1. DFID considers that project and contract management skills across GoM remain weak.
  2. GoM has simplified the indicators of policy performance against the Sustainable Development Plan. More work is required over the next six months however to make these indicators specific and measurable.

Lack of data and technical expertise remain a key barrier to operationalising the MTEF.

DFID and GoM agreed that a next phase MoU would be useful in driving reform. DFID priorities for a new MoU would be: improved delivery against the PSR2 project; successful management of the project portfolio;

review progress and/or any threats to delivery; and the establishment of GoM action plans for all projects. DFID would welcome an MoU indicator related to project portfolio performance. It was agreed that it was useful to include discussions on the project portfolio performance and this would be adopted in future BAMs (Budget Aide Memoires)

Mid-year review

DFID will agree an approach for a mid-year review of the budget and progress on the MTEF Policy Framework; this will be conducted in September/October 2014.

Who doesn’t now know what has happened since? All that was going on just prior to the elections; what a continuing and a follow-up government should have been paying attention to!

What can we expect to see in the Aide Memoire of this year? Is that where the problem developed as DFID sought to continue from where they left off last year, acknowledging the sores of the previous years, finally coming to a head last year?

This government should apologise to the UK government for the indiscretions, wrong doings of their predecessors, promising to hold the responsible accountable, once recognized (as they have in the MDC and GoM procurement disasters); apologize for their own ignorance and noting the accommodation or culpability of the Governor and DFID also; offer and agree a new mandate of better governance and management, recognizing their own shortcomings and limitations. Offer to practice the partnership of developing and setting new plans/targets, just as was suggested/recommended in the Aide Memoire of last year (which no doubt will appear again this year).

Meanwhile they should hastily accept all the TC available and offered; then putting in place a new system of educating those willing to learn, and our young people to take their place in a new world that has left Montserrat behind the bushes in all kinds of ways. We lost two years, maybe three as much as seven, or we can go back 17 years. Oh! for a little commonsense and wisdom. And you know ask the Christian Council, they have their congregations pray every weekend for wisdom for the Government. But wisdom for what?

Get familiar with excerpts from the Aide Memoire of last year. If this Government were even to look it over now, things may get different.

More from the Aide Memoire:

Para 37 Procurement

  1. DFID is pleased to note that in response to the concerns raised during last year’s budget mission, GoM has procured the services of Crown Agents to review and, where necessary, update Financial Regulations. Crown Agents will develop model tender and contract documentation and provide training to key personnel. Whilst progress on strengthening GoM’s procurement systems has been made, DFID considers that project and contract management skills across GoM remain weak. DFID generally welcomes the increased role of the Ministry of Finance in both of these areas, but has sought assurances from GoM that MoFEM is properly resourced to meet its increased responsibility.

38 Overall process

  1. Overall progress in 2013/14 to operationalise the Medium Term Expenditure Framework has been modest.1 As recommended at the 2013 budget mission, GoM has simplified the indicators of policy performance against the Sustainable Development Plan. More work is required over the next six months however to make these indicators specific and measurable. The Monitoring and Evaluation specialist flagged as a need by GoM in the new Monitoring Unit under the Cabinet Secretariat will be key to delivering this. Lack of data and technical expertise remain a key barrier to operationalising the MTEF.

1 The MTEF is linked to the Strategic Development Plan —> too much alphabet soup]; the three year policy framework and departmental strategic plans were introduced in 2011. GoM is now moving into a new phase (2013-17). SDP objectives are cascaded down to three yearly MTEFs and departmental plans.

Project Portfolio

  1. Discussions were held during the BAM on the balance, quality and performance of DFID’s overall project portfolio in Montserrat. The challenge is to manage projects in a way that maximises performance. The recent review of performance of the existing projects revealed a mix of high performing projects, projects that had early set-backs and those that continue to fall short of expected performance. Discussions with GoM identified the following solutions: a stronger role for MoFEM’s Programme Management Unit to improve programme management; monthly DFID/PMU meetings to review progress and/or any threats to delivery; and the establishment of GoM action plans for all projects. DFID would welcome an MoU indicator related to project portfolio performance. It was agreed that it was useful to include discussions on the project portfolio performance and this would be adopted in future BAMs.
  2. Mid-year review

DFID will agree an approach for a mid-year review of the budget and progress on the MTEF Policy Framework; this will be conducted in September/October 2014.

DFID/GoM will agree which sector is to be subject to an in-depth review ahead of the annual budget aid mission in early 2015.