Premier Donaldson Romeo – Christmas Message 2015

MNI prem office logoPremier Romeo - Christmas messageFellow citizens, residents and friends of Montserrat

I wish everyone a Joyous Season and a bright and prosperous 2016 when it comes. I must make special mention of all the visitors who have travelled from far to spend this Festive Season, with friends and family here on Island. I am told that over 1000 persons have arrived so far and I think that most would agree that the increased traffic and activities are warmly welcomed. Thank you for coming!

Let us reflect on the true spiritual meaning of this season, and as we ponder resolutions for the new year, let us remember to focus on working together to rebuild our nation.

This year marked the twentieth anniversary of the first volcanic eruptions on July 18, 1995. As we reflected on the Journeys of the last twenty years of Volcanic Crisis, let us draw those lessons which will serve to guide us. I am quite grateful that at the close of the year, Her Majesty’s Government and especially the Department for International Development, have committed to working with our government to formulate and carry out a 15 to 20 year plan that will not just provide short term employment, but will place Montserrat in a better position to be self-sustainable and independent of UK Aid.

In the meanwhile, we will work hard to see that various projects due to come on stream in the weeks and months to come are expedited, to put bread on our tables and enable vital infrastructure and other programs in place.

We have have a New year’s gift: the Power Plant Project is almost completed. We will soon benefit from the new 1.5W Generator which will deliver a more reliable and efficient electricity supply. Thanks to DfID, in early 2016 as well the drilling of the third Geothermal well is expected to begin as the steady path towards 100% reliable, cost effective renewable energy is set. Additional road works and the 5 emergency homes due to have started weeks ago will go to tender in a month or so. As the New Build Hospital project moves ahead, work to improve the existing hospital building and to provide new equipment are in progress and will continue from here on.

Thanks to EU funding 62 material grants and 5 new homes are already in train as I speak. Then there is the ever faithful BNTF with a new road and other projects and programs to build our communities will start in January and spread throughout the coming year.

Despite the closing of the MDC, the Tourism Division continues to carry out its functions. With the support of a team within the Ministry of Finance the new View Pointe Hotel project aims to have its Restaurant, Conference Room and Main Building in good repair by March of 2016. Then by December 2016, twelve guests rooms will be made available for our visitors next Christmas and beyond. Apart from brightening up and energizing the real estate and beach front in the neighbourhood, the revived Vue Pointe Hotel venture is expected to create a number of construction related jobs in the short-term. It will also lead to long-term employment as our tourism sector begins to redevelop; jobs for administrative staff, waiters, cooks, gardeners, pool maintenance, entertainers, taxi men and more.

Thanks again to our aid partners and our local tax payers and people for the good news at Christmas. Another community is being revived for the good of all.

While prospects of work to put bread and butter on our tables is great news at Christmas, at the same time we must be concerned about the social, governance and spiritual issues that are critical to building a wholesome and economically viable community economy.

Over the years, DFID has made it clear that good governance reforms have to go hand in hand with economic development initiatives. I am even more convinced that good governance, transparency and accountability, will be key ingredients in the recipe for growth in Montserrat.

Early this month, Montserrat sent a delegation to the annual Joint Ministerial Council, and we also had meetings with DFID officials. As a part of this process, we had discussions with the Hon. Desmond Swayne, Secretary of State for International Development. In his follow up letter to me on December 15th, 2015, he wrote (and I quote): “ Your Government needs to quickly put in place a clear strategy, improved policy capability and an economic business plan to begin to address the many issues that you are grappling with including job creation, access, tourism, housing, health and engaging the Diaspora. I am confident that if the necessary change is realized, it will pay dividends for the people of Montserrat. My team stand ready to help.” (end of quote )

At this junction, I say special thanks my fellow Ministers and Members, all public servants, private sector individuals and businesses and their employees, NGO’s, the media, and all for their hard work, good ideas and other support. To the Opposition, may the joy and peace of the season enfold you. Every one of us has a role to play. Thanks to you.

I want also to send special holiday greetings to the aged and infirmed, many of whom take the time day by day to pray and encourage those of us who bear the responsibility of servant leadership.

So, as we pause again to reflect on that first Christmas, and as the new year approaches, let us give thanks for our blessings, and let us build on these many blessings as we work towards a brighter future in 2016.

Fellow citizens, residents and friends of Montserrat: May God bless each and every one of you and may God bless Montserrat.

 

 

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MNI prem office logoPremier Romeo - Christmas messageFellow citizens, residents and friends of Montserrat

I wish everyone a Joyous Season and a bright and prosperous 2016 when it comes. I must make special mention of all the visitors who have travelled from far to spend this Festive Season, with friends and family here on Island. I am told that over 1000 persons have arrived so far and I think that most would agree that the increased traffic and activities are warmly welcomed. Thank you for coming!

Let us reflect on the true spiritual meaning of this season, and as we ponder resolutions for the new year, let us remember to focus on working together to rebuild our nation.

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This year marked the twentieth anniversary of the first volcanic eruptions on July 18, 1995. As we reflected on the Journeys of the last twenty years of Volcanic Crisis, let us draw those lessons which will serve to guide us. I am quite grateful that at the close of the year, Her Majesty’s Government and especially the Department for International Development, have committed to working with our government to formulate and carry out a 15 to 20 year plan that will not just provide short term employment, but will place Montserrat in a better position to be self-sustainable and independent of UK Aid.

In the meanwhile, we will work hard to see that various projects due to come on stream in the weeks and months to come are expedited, to put bread on our tables and enable vital infrastructure and other programs in place.

We have have a New year’s gift: the Power Plant Project is almost completed. We will soon benefit from the new 1.5W Generator which will deliver a more reliable and efficient electricity supply. Thanks to DfID, in early 2016 as well the drilling of the third Geothermal well is expected to begin as the steady path towards 100% reliable, cost effective renewable energy is set. Additional road works and the 5 emergency homes due to have started weeks ago will go to tender in a month or so. As the New Build Hospital project moves ahead, work to improve the existing hospital building and to provide new equipment are in progress and will continue from here on.

Thanks to EU funding 62 material grants and 5 new homes are already in train as I speak. Then there is the ever faithful BNTF with a new road and other projects and programs to build our communities will start in January and spread throughout the coming year.

Despite the closing of the MDC, the Tourism Division continues to carry out its functions. With the support of a team within the Ministry of Finance the new View Pointe Hotel project aims to have its Restaurant, Conference Room and Main Building in good repair by March of 2016. Then by December 2016, twelve guests rooms will be made available for our visitors next Christmas and beyond. Apart from brightening up and energizing the real estate and beach front in the neighbourhood, the revived Vue Pointe Hotel venture is expected to create a number of construction related jobs in the short-term. It will also lead to long-term employment as our tourism sector begins to redevelop; jobs for administrative staff, waiters, cooks, gardeners, pool maintenance, entertainers, taxi men and more.

Thanks again to our aid partners and our local tax payers and people for the good news at Christmas. Another community is being revived for the good of all.

While prospects of work to put bread and butter on our tables is great news at Christmas, at the same time we must be concerned about the social, governance and spiritual issues that are critical to building a wholesome and economically viable community economy.

Over the years, DFID has made it clear that good governance reforms have to go hand in hand with economic development initiatives. I am even more convinced that good governance, transparency and accountability, will be key ingredients in the recipe for growth in Montserrat.

Early this month, Montserrat sent a delegation to the annual Joint Ministerial Council, and we also had meetings with DFID officials. As a part of this process, we had discussions with the Hon. Desmond Swayne, Secretary of State for International Development. In his follow up letter to me on December 15th, 2015, he wrote (and I quote): “ Your Government needs to quickly put in place a clear strategy, improved policy capability and an economic business plan to begin to address the many issues that you are grappling with including job creation, access, tourism, housing, health and engaging the Diaspora. I am confident that if the necessary change is realized, it will pay dividends for the people of Montserrat. My team stand ready to help.” (end of quote )

At this junction, I say special thanks my fellow Ministers and Members, all public servants, private sector individuals and businesses and their employees, NGO’s, the media, and all for their hard work, good ideas and other support. To the Opposition, may the joy and peace of the season enfold you. Every one of us has a role to play. Thanks to you.

I want also to send special holiday greetings to the aged and infirmed, many of whom take the time day by day to pray and encourage those of us who bear the responsibility of servant leadership.

So, as we pause again to reflect on that first Christmas, and as the new year approaches, let us give thanks for our blessings, and let us build on these many blessings as we work towards a brighter future in 2016.

Fellow citizens, residents and friends of Montserrat: May God bless each and every one of you and may God bless Montserrat.