Governor Carriere departs

with as much failure, as she notes the development challenge remains

Governor Elizabeth Carriere

Brades, Dec. 26, 2017 – During her final press conference held at the Governor’s Office, Dec. 21, departing Governor Elizabeth Carriere was invited to comment on Montserrat’s development challenges going forward. This as it turns out with economic growth strategy discussions and consultations, it is a major point of concern for Montserratians, funders and friends of Montserrat.

So perhaps we can learn from her responses; towards finding a more effective way as we move on to the upcoming Andrew Pearce Governorship. For, in her replies to questions raised by TMR, Discover Montserrat and ZJB, she highlighted focal themes she raised in her first press conference as Governor, in September 2015.

At that time, the TMR put on record[1] (see: https://www.themontserratreporter.com/governor-carriere-lays-her-focus-up-front/) that, six weeks into the job, Governor Carriere pointed back to her first public speech as Governor.  In that speech, she announced themes for her Governorship: “the importance of partnership . . .  the importance of good governance, the importance of a sustainable economy and the importance of safety and security.”

In her first press conference, Governor Carriere then laid out “five areas, main areas that I will be focusing on.” As the Reporter quoted at that time:

[First:] “One comes under the general question of how Montserrat can turn the corner from recovery to success on its road to self-sufficiency? So this is all to do with the theme of respecting the past and embracing the future and what comes under that is certainly the economy, infrastructure, investment and so on.”

[Second:] “the second question is, how can Montserrat be made a safer place to live, to visit and to work? That includes preparedness and response to disasters which all of us has been very much engaged with over the last month, issues around criminality and issues around general safety for Montserratians and visitors.”

[Third:] “Another key thing for me and I know is very important to Montserratians as well is how can we better protect the young and the vulnerable from neglect and exploitation:”

“Fourth . . . How can we better develop the huge potential of Montserrat? I know in my acceptance speech I focused on the importance of people as an essential resource the key resource of Montserrat. So, the potential of its people especially is youth, is key part of that answering that question. Certainly, the island’s beauty and its environment and the unique character of this island!”

“And finally, my fifth question is, “how can we better ensure that Montserratians get the quality of service they deserve from their Public Service.”

At the closing conference, however, the focal issues of her opening statement and responses were narrowed. The Governor mainly spoke to:

a] Improvements in child safety and in protection of the vulnerable

b] Improvement of the Montserrat Public Service

c] Improvements in security capabilities (such as through the new police drone and the patrol vessel)

She then spoke to various challenges, including:  the slowness of decision-making and action here  and a lack of sufficient mutual understanding and agreement between our Government and the UK on policies and initiatives. It is also notable that, when TMR asked her about economic transformation and sustainable development, Governor Carriere responded that the economy was the remit of the Government of Montserrat and particularly the Minister of Finance, rather than the UK Government or herself, ‘Representative of the Queen.‘

She then declined to comment further on this subject. However, given her five focal areas in September 2015, such a response would mean that she had largely set aside as she spoke only to her first and fourth priority points. Points that especially at this time are among the most urgent concerns for ordinary Montserrat.

Unsurprising then in her subsequent Christmas Message, Governor Carriere has now provided some comments on economic development. In it, she notes that “there are good strategies and plans for the development of the Island: the Access Strategy, the Tourism Strategy, and now the Economic Growth Strategy . . . plans to develop a breakwater, install a fibre-optic cable, build a new hospital; upgrade our infrastructure, build new housing, and move to sustainable energy including the use if geothermal and solar energy . . .” all of which that have been in existence before her venture to Montserrat, “to kick start the private sector, and improve the way the Government manages its finances and delivers its programmes.” 

She then echoed and adjusted her earlier remarks. These further thoughts are: “these matters are led by the Honourable Premier, who has responsibility as Premier and Minister of Finance for policies related to economic development and financial management. But as Governor I do what I can on the sidelines to promote good governance in these endeavours.” 

 

However, such an “on the sidelines” response is still troubling. It leads straight to a further quite troubling question: do we not have a long-term development partnership with the UK, especially with the FCO and DFID?

No kudos – the shortening of her tenure leaves too many shadows in failure

(The Reporter further notes, that the Economic Growth Strategy has been under development through the new chief Economist, Mr Raja Kadri and through a Mott-MacDonald consultancy. It calls for a strong focus on tourism and other high growth potential economic sectors – millions of tourists visit neighbouring islands. Similarly, the delayed Fibre Optic Cable digital access project has gone back out to market engagement. The Geothermal Energy project is at early market engagement. Under the UKCIF fund, on December 14, 2017, CDB’s Board of Directors has approved a £14.4 million project to build a breakwater, improving sea access. However, no major airport improvement project is currently being discussed. This is a key issue, as we arguably need at least a 3,000 foot runway, as we had before the volcano disaster hit. Indeed, in 1995 we had just replaced the jetty lost to Hugo and were trying to put in a 5 – 6,000 foot runway, as adequate air access is even more important for tourism development than sea access. Also, according to the ECCB, Montserrat’s economy is projected to be currently growing at about 1 – 2%, which is comparable to the wider EC$ region.)

In her final Christmas message,[2] Governor Carriere also pointed to key questions she raised in September 2015. Such as: How can Montserrat turn the corner from recovery to success, on its road to self-sufficiency while respecting the past and embracing the future? How can we better develop the huge potential of the island?”

In highlighting these concerns, Governor Carriere (perhaps unconsciously) echoed concerns raised by her predecessor. For, in his final “Magic Wand” speech to our assembled Civil Servants, Governor Adrian Davis laid out how:

“He said he understood [that] the role of the Governor, in brief, “is to represent Montserrat in the UK and the UK in Montserrat…that boiled down to being a critical but supportive friend who is willing to tell the truth to both sides and to try and iron out any misunderstandings.” [TMR, “Gov Davis wants a magic wand”  June 26, 2015.[3]]”

Ironically, it was under Governor Davis that the FCO negotiated the famous 2011 – 12 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that then shaped an agenda of action that achieved some limited success. Governor Carriere was therefore asked by TMR about whether a fresh, development partnership-based MoU would help to build mutual understanding and agreement towards action. She responded, that such efforts had faltered for many reasons including an apparent lack of sufficient interest to carry it through.

Equally ironically, when Governor Carriere was invited to comment on and clarify the “First Call” development aid principle, she indicated that it has not been clarified in specific terms.  She hinted that the UK’s policy towards Overseas Territories is in flux after a string of hurricanes struck three territories in September: Anguilla, BVI and TCI. During the recent Joint Ministerial Council, other OT’s pointed out that in twenty years, they have no desire to be in a similar condition of dependency as we now are. Clearly, we now have an opportunity to change to a better development path.

END

PS: A TMR video tape of Governor Carriere’s final press conference can be found here:  and the audio is here 

[1]     See TMR: https://www.themontserratreporter.com/governor-carriere-lays-her-focus-up-front/

[2]     See TMR: https://www.themontserratreporter.com/christmas-message-2017-by-her-excellency-the-governor-elizabeth-carriere/

[3]     See TMR: https://www.themontserratreporter.com/gov-davis-wants-a-magic-wand/

Leave a Reply

Newsletter

Archives

with as much failure, as she notes the development challenge remains

Governor Elizabeth Carriere

Brades, Dec. 26, 2017 – During her final press conference held at the Governor’s Office, Dec. 21, departing Governor Elizabeth Carriere was invited to comment on Montserrat’s development challenges going forward. This as it turns out with economic growth strategy discussions and consultations, it is a major point of concern for Montserratians, funders and friends of Montserrat.

Insert Ads Here

So perhaps we can learn from her responses; towards finding a more effective way as we move on to the upcoming Andrew Pearce Governorship. For, in her replies to questions raised by TMR, Discover Montserrat and ZJB, she highlighted focal themes she raised in her first press conference as Governor, in September 2015.

At that time, the TMR put on record[1] (see: https://www.themontserratreporter.com/governor-carriere-lays-her-focus-up-front/) that, six weeks into the job, Governor Carriere pointed back to her first public speech as Governor.  In that speech, she announced themes for her Governorship: “the importance of partnership . . .  the importance of good governance, the importance of a sustainable economy and the importance of safety and security.”

In her first press conference, Governor Carriere then laid out “five areas, main areas that I will be focusing on.” As the Reporter quoted at that time:

[First:] “One comes under the general question of how Montserrat can turn the corner from recovery to success on its road to self-sufficiency? So this is all to do with the theme of respecting the past and embracing the future and what comes under that is certainly the economy, infrastructure, investment and so on.”

[Second:] “the second question is, how can Montserrat be made a safer place to live, to visit and to work? That includes preparedness and response to disasters which all of us has been very much engaged with over the last month, issues around criminality and issues around general safety for Montserratians and visitors.”

[Third:] “Another key thing for me and I know is very important to Montserratians as well is how can we better protect the young and the vulnerable from neglect and exploitation:”

“Fourth . . . How can we better develop the huge potential of Montserrat? I know in my acceptance speech I focused on the importance of people as an essential resource the key resource of Montserrat. So, the potential of its people especially is youth, is key part of that answering that question. Certainly, the island’s beauty and its environment and the unique character of this island!”

“And finally, my fifth question is, “how can we better ensure that Montserratians get the quality of service they deserve from their Public Service.”

At the closing conference, however, the focal issues of her opening statement and responses were narrowed. The Governor mainly spoke to:

a] Improvements in child safety and in protection of the vulnerable

b] Improvement of the Montserrat Public Service

c] Improvements in security capabilities (such as through the new police drone and the patrol vessel)

She then spoke to various challenges, including:  the slowness of decision-making and action here  and a lack of sufficient mutual understanding and agreement between our Government and the UK on policies and initiatives. It is also notable that, when TMR asked her about economic transformation and sustainable development, Governor Carriere responded that the economy was the remit of the Government of Montserrat and particularly the Minister of Finance, rather than the UK Government or herself, ‘Representative of the Queen.‘

She then declined to comment further on this subject. However, given her five focal areas in September 2015, such a response would mean that she had largely set aside as she spoke only to her first and fourth priority points. Points that especially at this time are among the most urgent concerns for ordinary Montserrat.

Unsurprising then in her subsequent Christmas Message, Governor Carriere has now provided some comments on economic development. In it, she notes that “there are good strategies and plans for the development of the Island: the Access Strategy, the Tourism Strategy, and now the Economic Growth Strategy . . . plans to develop a breakwater, install a fibre-optic cable, build a new hospital; upgrade our infrastructure, build new housing, and move to sustainable energy including the use if geothermal and solar energy . . .” all of which that have been in existence before her venture to Montserrat, “to kick start the private sector, and improve the way the Government manages its finances and delivers its programmes.” 

She then echoed and adjusted her earlier remarks. These further thoughts are: “these matters are led by the Honourable Premier, who has responsibility as Premier and Minister of Finance for policies related to economic development and financial management. But as Governor I do what I can on the sidelines to promote good governance in these endeavours.” 

 

However, such an “on the sidelines” response is still troubling. It leads straight to a further quite troubling question: do we not have a long-term development partnership with the UK, especially with the FCO and DFID?

No kudos – the shortening of her tenure leaves too many shadows in failure

(The Reporter further notes, that the Economic Growth Strategy has been under development through the new chief Economist, Mr Raja Kadri and through a Mott-MacDonald consultancy. It calls for a strong focus on tourism and other high growth potential economic sectors – millions of tourists visit neighbouring islands. Similarly, the delayed Fibre Optic Cable digital access project has gone back out to market engagement. The Geothermal Energy project is at early market engagement. Under the UKCIF fund, on December 14, 2017, CDB’s Board of Directors has approved a £14.4 million project to build a breakwater, improving sea access. However, no major airport improvement project is currently being discussed. This is a key issue, as we arguably need at least a 3,000 foot runway, as we had before the volcano disaster hit. Indeed, in 1995 we had just replaced the jetty lost to Hugo and were trying to put in a 5 – 6,000 foot runway, as adequate air access is even more important for tourism development than sea access. Also, according to the ECCB, Montserrat’s economy is projected to be currently growing at about 1 – 2%, which is comparable to the wider EC$ region.)

In her final Christmas message,[2] Governor Carriere also pointed to key questions she raised in September 2015. Such as: How can Montserrat turn the corner from recovery to success, on its road to self-sufficiency while respecting the past and embracing the future? How can we better develop the huge potential of the island?”

In highlighting these concerns, Governor Carriere (perhaps unconsciously) echoed concerns raised by her predecessor. For, in his final “Magic Wand” speech to our assembled Civil Servants, Governor Adrian Davis laid out how:

“He said he understood [that] the role of the Governor, in brief, “is to represent Montserrat in the UK and the UK in Montserrat…that boiled down to being a critical but supportive friend who is willing to tell the truth to both sides and to try and iron out any misunderstandings.” [TMR, “Gov Davis wants a magic wand”  June 26, 2015.[3]]”

Ironically, it was under Governor Davis that the FCO negotiated the famous 2011 – 12 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that then shaped an agenda of action that achieved some limited success. Governor Carriere was therefore asked by TMR about whether a fresh, development partnership-based MoU would help to build mutual understanding and agreement towards action. She responded, that such efforts had faltered for many reasons including an apparent lack of sufficient interest to carry it through.

Equally ironically, when Governor Carriere was invited to comment on and clarify the “First Call” development aid principle, she indicated that it has not been clarified in specific terms.  She hinted that the UK’s policy towards Overseas Territories is in flux after a string of hurricanes struck three territories in September: Anguilla, BVI and TCI. During the recent Joint Ministerial Council, other OT’s pointed out that in twenty years, they have no desire to be in a similar condition of dependency as we now are. Clearly, we now have an opportunity to change to a better development path.

END

PS: A TMR video tape of Governor Carriere’s final press conference can be found here:  and the audio is here 

[1]     See TMR: https://www.themontserratreporter.com/governor-carriere-lays-her-focus-up-front/

[2]     See TMR: https://www.themontserratreporter.com/christmas-message-2017-by-her-excellency-the-governor-elizabeth-carriere/

[3]     See TMR: https://www.themontserratreporter.com/gov-davis-wants-a-magic-wand/