Categorized | Editorial

Governor Needs to Get it Right

The following is from an Editorial in October 1997, but let’s begin with a short excerpt of an article written by Bennette Roach in the same issue, “Governor Abbott insults Montserratians”.

When Governor Anthony Abbott arrived in Montserrat on September 9, 1997, he came prepared to spread the British Government’s message of development for Montserrat, “as long as the north remains safe”. The rest is from the Editorial captioned above.

His  Excellency the Governor Anthony John Abbott in an interview with Richard Aspin, EOC Information Officer, on Wednesday on ZJB Radio spoke of his vision for Montserrat in the future while reviewing the aid Britain has put into the island since the start of the volcanic crisis.

The Governor said that he is hopeful that Montserrat will one day resume its former state and that he would do everything in his power to ensure a future for the island.

In reply to the question as to whether the British Government (BG) had plans to depopulate the island, the Governor replied by asking why would the BG commit over £45 million to the development of the north of the island. He went on to some of the projects and infrastructure that the BG had been financing from the committed funds. As mentioned here before, big business always plans budgets its losses carefully and well in advance.

It is probably not fair to the world to continue to mention these sums of money. Less than a month ago the Rt. Honourable Clare Short told the House of Commons Select Committee that the sum spent to date was £22.5 million.

On the question of depopulating Montserrat, the Governor needs to understand that the idea of a total evacuation of Montserrat is not new and to many seems very real. This was exposed by a visiting Bernie Grant, who said he was one of those promoting the idea. At the same time Clare Short was struggling but had to admit that the BG had not spent £45 million but £22.5 million, she said, “It (total evacuation) has never been the case up to now although, of course, there could be circumstances in which that would have to become the case.” She defended the previous government on that, but then it was not the first time that Clare Short did not have her facts straight.

This is how she puts it: “”We have been dealing with a cumulating emergency rather than a stable situation where we can plan for the future, there are a lot of officials on the island, the Governor and so on, who live in the central part and there are questions to be considered as to whether that is safe in the long-term. If that became unsafe it would create another major problem about how many people were going to remain, what a viable community would look like.”

Is there any doubt as to the necessity for the ‘waiting game.’

Governor Abbott will have a difficult time convincing many Montserratians that his employers still do not have plans to reduce the number from the current 4,000 to one where they can say, when we may have to agree, ‘it is not worth it.’

Miss Short was asked about a ‘viability number’, something she made repeated reference to throughout her evidence on the crisis. But she provided insight as to why they have not been forthcoming with the funds as promised. She said she could not speak with authority for decisions of the previous (Conservative) government, but, “until quite recently, the pyroclastic flow in July, people were temporarily evacuated but the expectation is that Plymouth will be able to be reoccupied.” She called on Mr. Bearpark for support on this and he said, “Until July it had always been expected that Plymouth would at some stage be lost. There may be those who emotionally hoped they would be able to return but the planners had always assumed that Plymouth in the south of the island would be lost.”

Immediately after this exchange Miss Short admitted, “it has never been planned until possibly very recently that we would accommodate a large number of people in the north.”

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

The following is from an Editorial in October 1997, but let’s begin with a short excerpt of an article written by Bennette Roach in the same issue, “Governor Abbott insults Montserratians”.

When Governor Anthony Abbott arrived in Montserrat on September 9, 1997, he came prepared to spread the British Government’s message of development for Montserrat, “as long as the north remains safe”. The rest is from the Editorial captioned above.

His  Excellency the Governor Anthony John Abbott in an interview with Richard Aspin, EOC Information Officer, on Wednesday on ZJB Radio spoke of his vision for Montserrat in the future while reviewing the aid Britain has put into the island since the start of the volcanic crisis.

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The Governor said that he is hopeful that Montserrat will one day resume its former state and that he would do everything in his power to ensure a future for the island.

In reply to the question as to whether the British Government (BG) had plans to depopulate the island, the Governor replied by asking why would the BG commit over £45 million to the development of the north of the island. He went on to some of the projects and infrastructure that the BG had been financing from the committed funds. As mentioned here before, big business always plans budgets its losses carefully and well in advance.

It is probably not fair to the world to continue to mention these sums of money. Less than a month ago the Rt. Honourable Clare Short told the House of Commons Select Committee that the sum spent to date was £22.5 million.

On the question of depopulating Montserrat, the Governor needs to understand that the idea of a total evacuation of Montserrat is not new and to many seems very real. This was exposed by a visiting Bernie Grant, who said he was one of those promoting the idea. At the same time Clare Short was struggling but had to admit that the BG had not spent £45 million but £22.5 million, she said, “It (total evacuation) has never been the case up to now although, of course, there could be circumstances in which that would have to become the case.” She defended the previous government on that, but then it was not the first time that Clare Short did not have her facts straight.

This is how she puts it: “”We have been dealing with a cumulating emergency rather than a stable situation where we can plan for the future, there are a lot of officials on the island, the Governor and so on, who live in the central part and there are questions to be considered as to whether that is safe in the long-term. If that became unsafe it would create another major problem about how many people were going to remain, what a viable community would look like.”

Is there any doubt as to the necessity for the ‘waiting game.’

Governor Abbott will have a difficult time convincing many Montserratians that his employers still do not have plans to reduce the number from the current 4,000 to one where they can say, when we may have to agree, ‘it is not worth it.’

Miss Short was asked about a ‘viability number’, something she made repeated reference to throughout her evidence on the crisis. But she provided insight as to why they have not been forthcoming with the funds as promised. She said she could not speak with authority for decisions of the previous (Conservative) government, but, “until quite recently, the pyroclastic flow in July, people were temporarily evacuated but the expectation is that Plymouth will be able to be reoccupied.” She called on Mr. Bearpark for support on this and he said, “Until July it had always been expected that Plymouth would at some stage be lost. There may be those who emotionally hoped they would be able to return but the planners had always assumed that Plymouth in the south of the island would be lost.”

Immediately after this exchange Miss Short admitted, “it has never been planned until possibly very recently that we would accommodate a large number of people in the north.”