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Premier Meade – progress with investors

By Bennette Roach

Premier's-Press-conf-May-13-14-(9)

from left,  Hon. Premier T. Mead, and Mr. John Ryan, MDC Chairman

 

2013-master-plan_poster-layout-web

The area of current investor interest

On April 25 we reported that the Hon. Premier and Minister of Finance, Reuben T Meade had gone off to seek investors to satisfy, as UK Minister Alan Duncan described, ‘Moving Montserrat towards financial independence.’ We reported this on the backdrop of the Minister’s letter to which also spoke to an agreement to “give you the time you need and the necessary technical expertise to negotiate the newer idea of a PPP (Public Private Partnership) agreement on co-investment in Carr’s Bay port/breakwater.”

We noted the Minister’s insistence that for the UK to continue support for the project and others in the Strategic Growth Plan (SGP) the Premier needed to have firm commitments from investors.

All Montserrat, especially the doubters that the Master Plan involving Little Bay, hotel and villa development, and Carrs Bay port, would ever materialize and set out.

The Premier returned and on Tuesday, May 13, 2014, the local press corps, ZJB radio and The Montserrat Reporter gathered to hear him report on the trip to Dubai. He informed that the search mission, along with himself included, “Mr. John Ryan as MDC Chairman, Mr. Ivan Browne as CEO of MDC (Montserrat Development Corporation), the one that is leading the Little Bay development including the Little Bay Port development; the Hon. Financial Secretary Mr. John Skerritt, who has been a part of the mission before, his son Michael Skerritt who is the acting director of Public Works went as the person who has been leading on the port development working with the consultants. The premier thought it prudent and noted that the MDC party’s wives paid their way to join their husbands on the trip.

Premier's-Press-conf-May-13-14-(8)

from left, Mr. Bennette Roach of The Montserrat Reporter and Mr. James White of ZJB Rdio

The premier reported firstly on developments regarding the port, announcing that transshipment will be included in its activities. “Having met with the Vice President of Dubai ports, they were satisfied with the approach that we are taking,” he said. However looking at their port development, the Premier said, “we needed to look at our port development in a larger context; it must not be seen as a cargo handling and just as a cruise ship and cargo handling facility,” adding we’ve been encouraged to look at a ‘free zone’ concept including a transshipment type operation in Montserrat, because we are sitting in the middle of the middle of the Caribbean sea aisle.

As to commitment to their investment the Premier said they have been asked to provide additional financial information regarding the container movement and traffic within the region, etc, “so that they can come back to us with a firm decision,” which he said, “We are hoping to be in a position to provide all of that additional information within the next thirty days.”

The hope is to have this all concluded, “maybe as early as July, possibly as late as August to try to concertize that,” he said further.

In addition the Premier explained how he intended to fund Montserrat’s input into the port project. ”The concept which we are also looking at is that given the offer of DFID to spend twenty three million pounds (US$30 million) on the breakwater to protect the little jetty which we have, and the refusal by Government of Montserrat to accept that investment, the deal which we are trying to work with DFID is to retain those funds so that we can put it in as part of the larger development with the understanding that the remainder of the funds will be sourced through public private (Dubai) partnership.”

Dubai Ports see that investment as being critically important for any decisions which they are likely to make.

The premier pointed out there were two investment possibilities, the other investor, “which we spoke with is a construction company, principally a construction and engineering company.”

He reported that they are looking at “the phase one build out of Little Bay Town Centre, the Town Centre first block of buildings.”

The Premier explained that they had, “the concept of partnering with them…doing a 50% split; they are saying they are willing to fund the entire development of that first phase,” leaving the entire development and the local funds will then be able to finance other developments within the town centre.

This he, “we should by the end of his year hopefully be in a position to start construction on that particular facility.”

He suggested firmness in this find, in that, “The engineering/project manager for the company has already scheduled a visit to Montserrat for August, the time which he’ll have to come and do that,” positing, “that time frame we will be able to work out the economics, the numbers and the draft legal agreement between MDC and that company, so that we can at least start that project on proper grounds.”

“We would expect again in this case that there will be a signing agreement between the MDC and the company … sometime in august to be able to move things forward,” he said, announcing that “MDC will

The Premier said later that there is a very clear indication from the investor, that, “I am making that investment in the facility.” He said the fact they are coming out to see the situation on the ground, where, “although the land (Pipers Pond) is being built up, you still need the building to be on piles, and that is the basis of the foundation. So they want to be part of that progress, to be part of the engineering, to make sure that everything is going on stream. They want to be able to come and have discussions with possible contractors to put in the structure up,” he said.

The Premier during questions said he would not speculate as to whether he will be able to access the funds offered for use of developing the Jetty in Little Bay. He said that there have been private discussions going on between himself and Minister Duncan, arguing that these personal and private discussions. He said he will visit the UK in June to finalise discussions…“to have close door discussion with the minister on a one on one basis without necessarily the rest of the DFID support team there.

The Premier offered in response to accusations that all his discussions are being done in secret.   “…yes we do deals behind closed doors, because that is the way government works,” adding that the minister has indicated to me these are private discussion between yourself as Reuben Meade the premier of Montserrat, myself as the minister of DFID and we would like to keep those discussion confidential until we are in a position to disclose the public where we are…”

Listen to the full press conference @ www.themontserratreporter.com.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

By Bennette Roach

Premier's-Press-conf-May-13-14-(9)

from left,  Hon. Premier T. Mead, and Mr. John Ryan, MDC Chairman

 

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2013-master-plan_poster-layout-web

The area of current investor interest

On April 25 we reported that the Hon. Premier and Minister of Finance, Reuben T Meade had gone off to seek investors to satisfy, as UK Minister Alan Duncan described, ‘Moving Montserrat towards financial independence.’ We reported this on the backdrop of the Minister’s letter to which also spoke to an agreement to “give you the time you need and the necessary technical expertise to negotiate the newer idea of a PPP (Public Private Partnership) agreement on co-investment in Carr’s Bay port/breakwater.”

We noted the Minister’s insistence that for the UK to continue support for the project and others in the Strategic Growth Plan (SGP) the Premier needed to have firm commitments from investors.

All Montserrat, especially the doubters that the Master Plan involving Little Bay, hotel and villa development, and Carrs Bay port, would ever materialize and set out.

The Premier returned and on Tuesday, May 13, 2014, the local press corps, ZJB radio and The Montserrat Reporter gathered to hear him report on the trip to Dubai. He informed that the search mission, along with himself included, “Mr. John Ryan as MDC Chairman, Mr. Ivan Browne as CEO of MDC (Montserrat Development Corporation), the one that is leading the Little Bay development including the Little Bay Port development; the Hon. Financial Secretary Mr. John Skerritt, who has been a part of the mission before, his son Michael Skerritt who is the acting director of Public Works went as the person who has been leading on the port development working with the consultants. The premier thought it prudent and noted that the MDC party’s wives paid their way to join their husbands on the trip.

Premier's-Press-conf-May-13-14-(8)

from left, Mr. Bennette Roach of The Montserrat Reporter and Mr. James White of ZJB Rdio

The premier reported firstly on developments regarding the port, announcing that transshipment will be included in its activities. “Having met with the Vice President of Dubai ports, they were satisfied with the approach that we are taking,” he said. However looking at their port development, the Premier said, “we needed to look at our port development in a larger context; it must not be seen as a cargo handling and just as a cruise ship and cargo handling facility,” adding we’ve been encouraged to look at a ‘free zone’ concept including a transshipment type operation in Montserrat, because we are sitting in the middle of the middle of the Caribbean sea aisle.

As to commitment to their investment the Premier said they have been asked to provide additional financial information regarding the container movement and traffic within the region, etc, “so that they can come back to us with a firm decision,” which he said, “We are hoping to be in a position to provide all of that additional information within the next thirty days.”

The hope is to have this all concluded, “maybe as early as July, possibly as late as August to try to concertize that,” he said further.

In addition the Premier explained how he intended to fund Montserrat’s input into the port project. ”The concept which we are also looking at is that given the offer of DFID to spend twenty three million pounds (US$30 million) on the breakwater to protect the little jetty which we have, and the refusal by Government of Montserrat to accept that investment, the deal which we are trying to work with DFID is to retain those funds so that we can put it in as part of the larger development with the understanding that the remainder of the funds will be sourced through public private (Dubai) partnership.”

Dubai Ports see that investment as being critically important for any decisions which they are likely to make.

The premier pointed out there were two investment possibilities, the other investor, “which we spoke with is a construction company, principally a construction and engineering company.”

He reported that they are looking at “the phase one build out of Little Bay Town Centre, the Town Centre first block of buildings.”

The Premier explained that they had, “the concept of partnering with them…doing a 50% split; they are saying they are willing to fund the entire development of that first phase,” leaving the entire development and the local funds will then be able to finance other developments within the town centre.

This he, “we should by the end of his year hopefully be in a position to start construction on that particular facility.”

He suggested firmness in this find, in that, “The engineering/project manager for the company has already scheduled a visit to Montserrat for August, the time which he’ll have to come and do that,” positing, “that time frame we will be able to work out the economics, the numbers and the draft legal agreement between MDC and that company, so that we can at least start that project on proper grounds.”

“We would expect again in this case that there will be a signing agreement between the MDC and the company … sometime in august to be able to move things forward,” he said, announcing that “MDC will

The Premier said later that there is a very clear indication from the investor, that, “I am making that investment in the facility.” He said the fact they are coming out to see the situation on the ground, where, “although the land (Pipers Pond) is being built up, you still need the building to be on piles, and that is the basis of the foundation. So they want to be part of that progress, to be part of the engineering, to make sure that everything is going on stream. They want to be able to come and have discussions with possible contractors to put in the structure up,” he said.

The Premier during questions said he would not speculate as to whether he will be able to access the funds offered for use of developing the Jetty in Little Bay. He said that there have been private discussions going on between himself and Minister Duncan, arguing that these personal and private discussions. He said he will visit the UK in June to finalise discussions…“to have close door discussion with the minister on a one on one basis without necessarily the rest of the DFID support team there.

The Premier offered in response to accusations that all his discussions are being done in secret.   “…yes we do deals behind closed doors, because that is the way government works,” adding that the minister has indicated to me these are private discussion between yourself as Reuben Meade the premier of Montserrat, myself as the minister of DFID and we would like to keep those discussion confidential until we are in a position to disclose the public where we are…”

Listen to the full press conference @ www.themontserratreporter.com.