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Premier: ‘Hitting 90% of the target’ for its Strategic Growth Programme

Following the cancelled press conference in which Department for International Development (DFID) budgetary aid mission and Government of Montserrat (GOM) were to report on the visit, Premier Reuben T. Meade decided to go it alone on Wednesday, Feb. 26 and issued an invitation to local media.

Following are excerpts from the report issued by GIU on the press conference which resulted in an exclusive with ZJB radio.

GIU – The Premier of Montserrat, the Honourable Reuben T. Meade, is reporting that the island, in recovery phase following the devastation caused by the Soufriere Hills volcano, is well on its way to meet targets set for its Strategic Growth Programme being developed largely with British government funding assistance.

“In terms of our MOU (Memorandum of Understanding with the UK government) (and) our Strategic Growth Programme, I think we have hit about 90% of the targets,” Mr  Meade said at the end of a series of in-depth meetings with  the DFID delegation.

A multi-million dollar extensive rebuilding programme has been taking place on Montserrat covering major infrastructural projects and a plethora of administrative processes that the island is required to adhere to.

“This a new Montserrat”, Premier Meade declared. “We have the opportunities for a new beginning, we have organisations willing to help us like DFID and the European Union, coming together to provide us with the resources.”

Premier Meade went on explain that where targets have not been reached “that was not due to any defect or deficiency on our part” but in part the result of the workload involved and some staffing issues.

He did admit that there were processes which fell short of the required grading standards agreed with the British government, but said that steps were being taken to address those by seeking the necessary technical expertise to bring them up to the required standard.

According to the Montserrat leader, “it is about how can we together as a partnership (Ed. Montserrat and the international agencies) work at continuing the growth path and the development of Montserrat.”

“As a matter of fact there are a couple members on the team who have intimated that this has been one of their better aid missions in terms of the developments that have taken place, the quality of documentation, the effort that has been made…”

The Premier particularly commended the civil servants working on project administration and related areas for the long hours that they had put in a bid to meet the exacting requirements of the review process.

He also stated that there is an understanding and commitment from the British government to match Montserrat’s efforts at effective project management and delivery with the necessary UK support.

“They are saying to us, ‘we will put in place certain conditions on you, once you achieve these conditions we will then provide the additional resources’.”

Premier Meade also announced that there were a number of further projects under consideration utilising British funds, among them improving and expanding airline and ferry services into the island. He reported that DFID had given a commitment for a Montserrat-owned ferry.  The island currently relies on services provided by an off-island based ferry company. Discussions are also underway to expand airline services to the island.

The DFID team’s report on the Budgetary and Economic Review meetings here is due to be released around mid-March.

Montserrat is presently undergoing a large scale rebuilding process as it sets about the task of returning to normal after almost two-thirds of the island, including the administrative and commercial capital Plymouth was laid waste by the Soufriere Hills volcano in a series of eruptions starting in 1995.

Volcanic activity has subsided considerably over the past several years allowing for the massive scale rebuilding that has been taking place across all sectors in the northern portion of the island where a new capital, Brades, is located.

 

 

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

Following the cancelled press conference in which Department for International Development (DFID) budgetary aid mission and Government of Montserrat (GOM) were to report on the visit, Premier Reuben T. Meade decided to go it alone on Wednesday, Feb. 26 and issued an invitation to local media.

Following are excerpts from the report issued by GIU on the press conference which resulted in an exclusive with ZJB radio.

GIU – The Premier of Montserrat, the Honourable Reuben T. Meade, is reporting that the island, in recovery phase following the devastation caused by the Soufriere Hills volcano, is well on its way to meet targets set for its Strategic Growth Programme being developed largely with British government funding assistance.

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“In terms of our MOU (Memorandum of Understanding with the UK government) (and) our Strategic Growth Programme, I think we have hit about 90% of the targets,” Mr  Meade said at the end of a series of in-depth meetings with  the DFID delegation.

A multi-million dollar extensive rebuilding programme has been taking place on Montserrat covering major infrastructural projects and a plethora of administrative processes that the island is required to adhere to.

“This a new Montserrat”, Premier Meade declared. “We have the opportunities for a new beginning, we have organisations willing to help us like DFID and the European Union, coming together to provide us with the resources.”

Premier Meade went on explain that where targets have not been reached “that was not due to any defect or deficiency on our part” but in part the result of the workload involved and some staffing issues.

He did admit that there were processes which fell short of the required grading standards agreed with the British government, but said that steps were being taken to address those by seeking the necessary technical expertise to bring them up to the required standard.

According to the Montserrat leader, “it is about how can we together as a partnership (Ed. Montserrat and the international agencies) work at continuing the growth path and the development of Montserrat.”

“As a matter of fact there are a couple members on the team who have intimated that this has been one of their better aid missions in terms of the developments that have taken place, the quality of documentation, the effort that has been made…”

The Premier particularly commended the civil servants working on project administration and related areas for the long hours that they had put in a bid to meet the exacting requirements of the review process.

He also stated that there is an understanding and commitment from the British government to match Montserrat’s efforts at effective project management and delivery with the necessary UK support.

“They are saying to us, ‘we will put in place certain conditions on you, once you achieve these conditions we will then provide the additional resources’.”

Premier Meade also announced that there were a number of further projects under consideration utilising British funds, among them improving and expanding airline and ferry services into the island. He reported that DFID had given a commitment for a Montserrat-owned ferry.  The island currently relies on services provided by an off-island based ferry company. Discussions are also underway to expand airline services to the island.

The DFID team’s report on the Budgetary and Economic Review meetings here is due to be released around mid-March.

Montserrat is presently undergoing a large scale rebuilding process as it sets about the task of returning to normal after almost two-thirds of the island, including the administrative and commercial capital Plymouth was laid waste by the Soufriere Hills volcano in a series of eruptions starting in 1995.

Volcanic activity has subsided considerably over the past several years allowing for the massive scale rebuilding that has been taking place across all sectors in the northern portion of the island where a new capital, Brades, is located.