Categorized | Editorial

Is there sincere interest in the future development of Montserrat

One of the most pressing matters facing the government and the island must centre around how to get some economic activity to begin that might sensitise the hopes of Montserrat into the future.

There seems two or three pressing issues facing our government and decisions it would appear have already been made as to path that would be taken to give some sense that something will happen. These  issues are to do with energy (geothermal and diesel power in particular), sand mining and town centre (Little Bay) development.

It is believed, that in addition to savings on electricity bills the advent of geothermal energy would invite various types of industries to gravitate to Montserrat or the sale of energy to neighbouring islands. The benefits are more obvious to some that others and the one about industries gravitating to Montserrat is not spoken about in the public arena, but that is huge. Already there are questions and doubts as to whether the government is making the right moves and who those moves are benefiting.

Sand mining is not seen by the general public to be of benefit to them, but rather to probably just a handful of persons who would hire operators and bus drivers already in the business. Then it is perceived, that government will get more revenue with the increase of activity in that sector. But, it is here that the decision is crucial since it is already accepted that sand mining will go on. Firstly, some action must be taken in diverting the trucks from the northern roads, which development is being held back until the trucks will not be using the roads regularly. Then, the decision where to put a jetty or wharf to facilitate the movement of the mined sand from Montserrat.

The Chief Minister at his last press conference delayed revealing the preferred location for the jetty at either Isles Bay/Old Road bay or Foxes Bay. The residents of both Isle’s Bay and Old Road are adamant that sand mining activity in the area will very seriously affect their lives and living in the areas. The views are so strong that they residents in the area concerned that this will not only affect them but the result will be much of the employment that exists in the area will disappear further depressing the islands economy, not to mention the fall-outs. It is little secret that these residents are prepared to go to court to force government to make the more sensible decision to take the activity to Foxes Bay which is one of the options before them.

Here are some of the concerns of the residents.
•    critical health and safety concerns
•    a strong possibility that the valley and beach will become a dump site littered with debris from mining and eventually non-mining sources
•    a strong possibility of value added activity including rock crushing
•    a strong likelihood that mining will persist after the volcano recedes considering the replenishing volume of material and the substantial investment in the jetty facility and mining infrastructure.
They see that sacrificing the Belham Valley villa community and beach to commercial sand mining for export will negatively impact the northern villa community as well.

Property values will decline further and, more importantly, any recovery in prices will be stunted due to a loss in confidence in Government’s commitment to property rights and investors.

Island amenities will decline.  Lower occupancy will make it more difficult for amenity businesses to survive (restaurants, bars, store inventories, etc.).  A large array of local businesses will suffer, from hardware stores to utilities, to airlines.

The social network that is enjoyed in Montserrat will diminish.
The loss of undoubtedly the best remaining beach on island.
It is claimed that these are only a few obvious reasons, though not recognizable to all, for government to act sensibly.

The town centre development has been around for well over 10 years and the benefits have been spoken about but failure to move forward has been the only story.

The question at the end of all this, “is it the people’s interest and Montserrat’s progress and future, being considered or the selfish interests of a very small few?”

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

One of the most pressing matters facing the government and the island must centre around how to get some economic activity to begin that might sensitise the hopes of Montserrat into the future.

There seems two or three pressing issues facing our government and decisions it would appear have already been made as to path that would be taken to give some sense that something will happen. These  issues are to do with energy (geothermal and diesel power in particular), sand mining and town centre (Little Bay) development.

It is believed, that in addition to savings on electricity bills the advent of geothermal energy would invite various types of industries to gravitate to Montserrat or the sale of energy to neighbouring islands. The benefits are more obvious to some that others and the one about industries gravitating to Montserrat is not spoken about in the public arena, but that is huge. Already there are questions and doubts as to whether the government is making the right moves and who those moves are benefiting.

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Sand mining is not seen by the general public to be of benefit to them, but rather to probably just a handful of persons who would hire operators and bus drivers already in the business. Then it is perceived, that government will get more revenue with the increase of activity in that sector. But, it is here that the decision is crucial since it is already accepted that sand mining will go on. Firstly, some action must be taken in diverting the trucks from the northern roads, which development is being held back until the trucks will not be using the roads regularly. Then, the decision where to put a jetty or wharf to facilitate the movement of the mined sand from Montserrat.

The Chief Minister at his last press conference delayed revealing the preferred location for the jetty at either Isles Bay/Old Road bay or Foxes Bay. The residents of both Isle’s Bay and Old Road are adamant that sand mining activity in the area will very seriously affect their lives and living in the areas. The views are so strong that they residents in the area concerned that this will not only affect them but the result will be much of the employment that exists in the area will disappear further depressing the islands economy, not to mention the fall-outs. It is little secret that these residents are prepared to go to court to force government to make the more sensible decision to take the activity to Foxes Bay which is one of the options before them.

Here are some of the concerns of the residents.
•    critical health and safety concerns
•    a strong possibility that the valley and beach will become a dump site littered with debris from mining and eventually non-mining sources
•    a strong possibility of value added activity including rock crushing
•    a strong likelihood that mining will persist after the volcano recedes considering the replenishing volume of material and the substantial investment in the jetty facility and mining infrastructure.
They see that sacrificing the Belham Valley villa community and beach to commercial sand mining for export will negatively impact the northern villa community as well.

Property values will decline further and, more importantly, any recovery in prices will be stunted due to a loss in confidence in Government’s commitment to property rights and investors.

Island amenities will decline.  Lower occupancy will make it more difficult for amenity businesses to survive (restaurants, bars, store inventories, etc.).  A large array of local businesses will suffer, from hardware stores to utilities, to airlines.

The social network that is enjoyed in Montserrat will diminish.
The loss of undoubtedly the best remaining beach on island.
It is claimed that these are only a few obvious reasons, though not recognizable to all, for government to act sensibly.

The town centre development has been around for well over 10 years and the benefits have been spoken about but failure to move forward has been the only story.

The question at the end of all this, “is it the people’s interest and Montserrat’s progress and future, being considered or the selfish interests of a very small few?”