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Governor Davis, speaks of priorities for Montserrat

ExCo to have substantive debate for Action and Results

His Excellency the Governor Adrian Davis

His Excellency the Governor Adrian Davis was completing only his third week in Montserrat, but in his first press conference expressed that action and results are his main objectives. He reiterated his ideas of how he sees his duties as Governor in Montserrat.

With regard to representing the people of Montserrat, “it’s about representing Montserrat in the UK, arguing the case within London for the issues that I think Montserrat needs help with; assistance with and also trying to get Montserrat to agree to perform on the commitments that it had in relation to the road map to economic sustainability…,” he explained.

He spoke to what he considers priorities for Montserrat, expressing disappointment at the papers being presented in Executive Council (ExCo) for debate. He said in his first three weeks the Executive Council (ExCo) papers have not been substantive, and would like to see them being more aligned with the strategic goals of the government. “ExCo papers should be more focused on the commitments we have made towards the goals and I want to work with the chief minister to accomplish that,” he said.

He singled and highlighted ‘Access’ as a number one priority, noting that, for Montserrat’s economy to have a chance, reliable access has to be a priority. “I don’t think you can market Montserrat as a destination, until you have proper and reliable access by air and sea; and that also helps with the cost of goods, so that ships can visit year round…” he said.

He added that there is no other way to encourage travellers and also to reduce the costs of shipping without improving the options for persons and goods to get to the island.

As to indicate his seriousness and his readiness for action, he noted that as a first step, a quick win was to extend the opening hours at the John A. Osborne Airport (at least) for the summer months from 6.00 a.m. to 7.00 p.m. This will be in place until the end of August. “Extending the hours was always an option but no one bothered to use it,” he stated, adding, “Access is one thing I want to focus on.”

Still on the issue of access, the Governor was asked whether Montserrat could expect similar treatment to St. Helena. He suggested that in principle Montserrat can be treated the same as St. Helena. “In principle,” he said, “the answer is yes…”

He explained that St. Helena signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the UK government which committed them to certain things before the airport could go ahead…all about making some things as citizenship and buying land, etc…all relevant to Montserrat…more complicated for Montserrat but the analogy between the two is valid… subject to conditions in the road map etc.

His Excellency Governor Davis

Governor Davis, an economist with a long career with the Department for International Development (DFID), admitted that Montserrat’s present investor climate resembles that of the chicken and egg story, which comes first. “We must provide an environment that is profitable to do business in.”

He spoke strongly on the issue of transparency and accountability, acknowledging from the outset and all the way, that Montserrat has its challenges, but reminded of his promise that he would like to hold monthly press conferences to inform the general public of what is happening, because the more information we provide, “the better you can explain to people what you are doing on their behalf.”

His Excellency reported that he has been actually quite very busy. ”I’ve seen all the ministers, I think I’ve met all the senior civil servants.” He said he spent all Tuesday, going around to all the schools in Montserrat, including the community college and the UWI campus. “I personally met virtually every child in the system,” he concluded.

He expressed his appreciation for the welcome he and his wife had so far received. “I’ve been really impressed by the warmth and hospitality of the people I have met; by the welcome my wife and I have received.” Here he reminded again, “… but I am aware that there are challenges for Montserrat. Over the next three to four years, as I said in my swearing in speech I’m committed to working with the government to try and meet some of these challenges and to let Montserrat take its place in the world community in a way that I think it should.”

Among his main priorities, he spoke about getting the essential infrastructure in place, “either in place or being implemented that will give Montserrat  a chance to generate sustainable growth.”

He spoke about an infrastructure which he spelt out as: “proper access by air and by sea. By sea will include a more sensible ferry option and it would include the port and the breakwater; it would include the development of infrastructure at Little Bay and the town; it would include trying and making progress in relation to geothermal power; and it would look at the opportunities for minding volcanic ash in a more sustainable way than we’re doing; and looking to make investments in information, communications and technology.”

These he said,  “will enable Montserrat to be a place where people could do business..” reminding that he said this in his opening speech on arrival. “Montserrat is a small island but does not need to have a small island mentality.”

He noted the globalization of the internet. “You can run business from anywhere, but you need quick and relatively cheap internet communication which I don’t think we have here,” concluding, “so my overall priority is for Montserrat to be able to grow sustainably.”

The Governor very much unlike his predecessor, spoke very little of the volcano, but showed his awareness, concern and where his focus really lay. “Of course there are….in relation to the volcano and other natural disasters…let’s leave that one side and lets concentrate on growth over the next three to four years”, he encouraged.

Mark Turner, New Head of Governor's Office

Sitting in with Governor Davis at this first press conference was the new Head of Governor’s Office, Mark R. Turner, who replaced Carol Cullen.

Mr. Turner had only just arrived and said that he has been a long-term diplomat serving with the Foreign Commonwealth office, coming from a previous posting in Mexico City. Mr. Turner told reporters that it was his hope that with the Governor with his DFID background and his Foreign Office background would be properly complemented. “My role with the rest of the office team will be to support HE to do the things you have been just discussing,” he said, adding that he looks forward to the challenges that are ahead of him.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

ExCo to have substantive debate for Action and Results

His Excellency the Governor Adrian Davis

His Excellency the Governor Adrian Davis was completing only his third week in Montserrat, but in his first press conference expressed that action and results are his main objectives. He reiterated his ideas of how he sees his duties as Governor in Montserrat.

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With regard to representing the people of Montserrat, “it’s about representing Montserrat in the UK, arguing the case within London for the issues that I think Montserrat needs help with; assistance with and also trying to get Montserrat to agree to perform on the commitments that it had in relation to the road map to economic sustainability…,” he explained.

He spoke to what he considers priorities for Montserrat, expressing disappointment at the papers being presented in Executive Council (ExCo) for debate. He said in his first three weeks the Executive Council (ExCo) papers have not been substantive, and would like to see them being more aligned with the strategic goals of the government. “ExCo papers should be more focused on the commitments we have made towards the goals and I want to work with the chief minister to accomplish that,” he said.

He singled and highlighted ‘Access’ as a number one priority, noting that, for Montserrat’s economy to have a chance, reliable access has to be a priority. “I don’t think you can market Montserrat as a destination, until you have proper and reliable access by air and sea; and that also helps with the cost of goods, so that ships can visit year round…” he said.

He added that there is no other way to encourage travellers and also to reduce the costs of shipping without improving the options for persons and goods to get to the island.

As to indicate his seriousness and his readiness for action, he noted that as a first step, a quick win was to extend the opening hours at the John A. Osborne Airport (at least) for the summer months from 6.00 a.m. to 7.00 p.m. This will be in place until the end of August. “Extending the hours was always an option but no one bothered to use it,” he stated, adding, “Access is one thing I want to focus on.”

Still on the issue of access, the Governor was asked whether Montserrat could expect similar treatment to St. Helena. He suggested that in principle Montserrat can be treated the same as St. Helena. “In principle,” he said, “the answer is yes…”

He explained that St. Helena signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the UK government which committed them to certain things before the airport could go ahead…all about making some things as citizenship and buying land, etc…all relevant to Montserrat…more complicated for Montserrat but the analogy between the two is valid… subject to conditions in the road map etc.

His Excellency Governor Davis

Governor Davis, an economist with a long career with the Department for International Development (DFID), admitted that Montserrat’s present investor climate resembles that of the chicken and egg story, which comes first. “We must provide an environment that is profitable to do business in.”

He spoke strongly on the issue of transparency and accountability, acknowledging from the outset and all the way, that Montserrat has its challenges, but reminded of his promise that he would like to hold monthly press conferences to inform the general public of what is happening, because the more information we provide, “the better you can explain to people what you are doing on their behalf.”

His Excellency reported that he has been actually quite very busy. ”I’ve seen all the ministers, I think I’ve met all the senior civil servants.” He said he spent all Tuesday, going around to all the schools in Montserrat, including the community college and the UWI campus. “I personally met virtually every child in the system,” he concluded.

He expressed his appreciation for the welcome he and his wife had so far received. “I’ve been really impressed by the warmth and hospitality of the people I have met; by the welcome my wife and I have received.” Here he reminded again, “… but I am aware that there are challenges for Montserrat. Over the next three to four years, as I said in my swearing in speech I’m committed to working with the government to try and meet some of these challenges and to let Montserrat take its place in the world community in a way that I think it should.”

Among his main priorities, he spoke about getting the essential infrastructure in place, “either in place or being implemented that will give Montserrat  a chance to generate sustainable growth.”

He spoke about an infrastructure which he spelt out as: “proper access by air and by sea. By sea will include a more sensible ferry option and it would include the port and the breakwater; it would include the development of infrastructure at Little Bay and the town; it would include trying and making progress in relation to geothermal power; and it would look at the opportunities for minding volcanic ash in a more sustainable way than we’re doing; and looking to make investments in information, communications and technology.”

These he said,  “will enable Montserrat to be a place where people could do business..” reminding that he said this in his opening speech on arrival. “Montserrat is a small island but does not need to have a small island mentality.”

He noted the globalization of the internet. “You can run business from anywhere, but you need quick and relatively cheap internet communication which I don’t think we have here,” concluding, “so my overall priority is for Montserrat to be able to grow sustainably.”

The Governor very much unlike his predecessor, spoke very little of the volcano, but showed his awareness, concern and where his focus really lay. “Of course there are….in relation to the volcano and other natural disasters…let’s leave that one side and lets concentrate on growth over the next three to four years”, he encouraged.

Mark Turner, New Head of Governor's Office

Sitting in with Governor Davis at this first press conference was the new Head of Governor’s Office, Mark R. Turner, who replaced Carol Cullen.

Mr. Turner had only just arrived and said that he has been a long-term diplomat serving with the Foreign Commonwealth office, coming from a previous posting in Mexico City. Mr. Turner told reporters that it was his hope that with the Governor with his DFID background and his Foreign Office background would be properly complemented. “My role with the rest of the office team will be to support HE to do the things you have been just discussing,” he said, adding that he looks forward to the challenges that are ahead of him.