Lord Tariq Ahmad makes short visit to Montserrat

Lord Tariq Ahmad

FCO Minister for Overseas Territories – Commissions MV Heliconia, surveys Montserrat’s hurricane resiliency needs with team of business development experts

Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon, is the Minister of State for the Overseas Territories at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). He visited Montserrat for one day arriving on the evening of May 31 and departing 24 hours later today on June 1, which was part of a week-long visit to the region.

It is most unfortunate how Montserrat Governor and Government have deviated from what used to be very good practice whereupon visits to the island such as this recent visit by the Hon Minister Lord Ahmad that much and appropriate time is afforded them to speak to the people of Montserrat which they do through press briefing and conferences with the press.

This time the Minister, who we belatedly recognise as the one who has run into deep and what Anguilla’s Chief Minister refers to “…an atmosphere of mutual respect…an honest relationship where I can be candid”, paid us a visit in much different atmosphere, where brought with him ‘a small team of business experts’; and attending the formal commissioning and dedication of the MV Heliconia Star, the new Royal Montserrat Police Service vessel purchased by the FCO.

The 48-minute ceremony took place in the ferry terminal building and was very well attended, from whence they went to the vessel parked up alongside the Little Bay jetty where the ribbon cutting, and then the breaking of champagne on the bow of the vessel took place.

TMR was not privy to the schedule of the Minister’s visit, but we were forewarned of a thirty-minute press conference at the DMCA a few yards from the John Osborne Airport where he was due to catch a flight at 5.30 p.m.

It turned out we were limited to a 15-minute window to meet with the Minister after his whirlwind tour and events throughout the island. He addressed in that short time his commitment to work with Montserrat in developing civil society, giving much-needed assistance to build hurricane resiliency and spoke to the ‘beneficial ownership issues plaguing some of the BOTs.

His team of business experts was referred to as a ‘trade mission’ who met with a select few business persons which included me, but which due to their lateness in the rush of completing their own tours, caused me to miss the commissioning ceremony.

Lord Ahmad had said prior to his visit: “I am hugely looking forward to visiting Montserrat, about which I have heard so much, and to renewing my discussions with the Premier.  I am particularly keen to explore ideas to assist with the development of Montserrat’s private sector economy…

 “With hurricane season just around the corner, I also want to see what work is underway to make sure Monserrat is best prepared in the event of a repeat of the terrible hurricanes that hit the region last year.”

No comment from the Premier, but His Excellency the Governor, Andy Pearce, commented, on the Minister’s visit. “The Minister’s visit is very timely and valuable in the context of Montserrat’s development and its resilience, both physical and economic, to future hazards and economic shocks.  I know he will receive a famous Montserratian welcome.”

Next week we will report fully on the Lord Ahmad’s visit.

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Lord Tariq Ahmad

FCO Minister for Overseas Territories – Commissions MV Heliconia, surveys Montserrat’s hurricane resiliency needs with team of business development experts

Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon, is the Minister of State for the Overseas Territories at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). He visited Montserrat for one day arriving on the evening of May 31 and departing 24 hours later today on June 1, which was part of a week-long visit to the region.

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It is most unfortunate how Montserrat Governor and Government have deviated from what used to be very good practice whereupon visits to the island such as this recent visit by the Hon Minister Lord Ahmad that much and appropriate time is afforded them to speak to the people of Montserrat which they do through press briefing and conferences with the press.

This time the Minister, who we belatedly recognise as the one who has run into deep and what Anguilla’s Chief Minister refers to “…an atmosphere of mutual respect…an honest relationship where I can be candid”, paid us a visit in much different atmosphere, where brought with him ‘a small team of business experts’; and attending the formal commissioning and dedication of the MV Heliconia Star, the new Royal Montserrat Police Service vessel purchased by the FCO.

The 48-minute ceremony took place in the ferry terminal building and was very well attended, from whence they went to the vessel parked up alongside the Little Bay jetty where the ribbon cutting, and then the breaking of champagne on the bow of the vessel took place.

TMR was not privy to the schedule of the Minister’s visit, but we were forewarned of a thirty-minute press conference at the DMCA a few yards from the John Osborne Airport where he was due to catch a flight at 5.30 p.m.

It turned out we were limited to a 15-minute window to meet with the Minister after his whirlwind tour and events throughout the island. He addressed in that short time his commitment to work with Montserrat in developing civil society, giving much-needed assistance to build hurricane resiliency and spoke to the ‘beneficial ownership issues plaguing some of the BOTs.

His team of business experts was referred to as a ‘trade mission’ who met with a select few business persons which included me, but which due to their lateness in the rush of completing their own tours, caused me to miss the commissioning ceremony.

Lord Ahmad had said prior to his visit: “I am hugely looking forward to visiting Montserrat, about which I have heard so much, and to renewing my discussions with the Premier.  I am particularly keen to explore ideas to assist with the development of Montserrat’s private sector economy…

 “With hurricane season just around the corner, I also want to see what work is underway to make sure Monserrat is best prepared in the event of a repeat of the terrible hurricanes that hit the region last year.”

No comment from the Premier, but His Excellency the Governor, Andy Pearce, commented, on the Minister’s visit. “The Minister’s visit is very timely and valuable in the context of Montserrat’s development and its resilience, both physical and economic, to future hazards and economic shocks.  I know he will receive a famous Montserratian welcome.”

Next week we will report fully on the Lord Ahmad’s visit.