Categorized | Features, Health, Local, News

Premier refuses discussion on the start of tobacco manufacturing

By Bennette Roach

After introducing the matter of the construction of a tobacco factory in Montserrat, a topic he knew was sure to come up at his most recent press conference on September 18, Premier Meade referred to “some people making noise about whether it is right to be doing tobacco factory…” and shut down any further question or discussion on the topic.

He was responding to a question about the support for the private sector. “Is there a private sector?” he was asked.

He talked about, “making decisions which will create employment and growth.”

“And, I want to go back to the tobacco factory because I hear allot of people making noise about whether or not its right to be doing tobacco factory and whatever. It’s a legal product for export, people are willing to buy it, we’re willing to buy it from other people and charge taxes on it and until somebody can find for me an alternative that will provide employment  the economic benefits to the people of Montserrat we will go ahead with projects of that nature,” he optimised.

He sought to justify even further. “We’re not goanna sit back and say ok, look we’re all moral and what have you, it’s legal, it’s legitimate, it provides employment and income for the people, and this is what we can get now we will take this until something better comes forward,” he said.

He then concluded with some finality. “I don’t want to get too caught up in the discussion on that it is a decision that government has made you can preach Paul the project will go forward, the SR&O  will go to the Legislative Assembly tomorrow. The legal bases, the factory is being converted and reconfigured so let’s not waste any time on it… If there is a rum factory that wants to come into Montserrat I will say yes. If there is for example, a company that wants to come here to do gambling, I will say no, because gambling in Montserrat will include local people, it also includes a certain level of criminality into your society…I want us to stop being so very hypocritical where a project comes forward, you have objections to it but when it was happening in the society without people of Montserrat benefiting there are not make any objections, anybody (“like you”) object to people smoking in Montserrat or government collecting taxes…” concluding, “I am not going to answer any more questions on tobacco.” 

[vsw id=”fhWTjd7dh3M” source=”youtube” width=”200″ height=”150″ autoplay=”no”]

The Premier had sought to keep the tobacco manufacture a secret for as long as he could, and it was some time after the secret was revealed that he has commented at all. The secret became known when organisers on the island boasted about their monthly pay packet of US$6,000.00.

When he first hinted about the ‘industry that would come to Montserrat’, he said it would bring 45 jobs. That became 15 as time progressed by which time the Economic Development Unit’s Incentives Committee had declined approval for concessions and incentives for the operation. Sources revealed that the Premier himself led the thrust in seeking approvals, presenting at least one principal after it had been discovered that he had already advised approval to the principals of the tobacco manufacture.

Statutory Rules and Orders (SR&O) 29 of 2012 made by Governor on the advice (orders) of Cabinet, gives exemption from paying duty and consumption tax to Montobacco Ltd. for ten (10) years on the importation of all plant, equipment and raw materials; specialist materials not available locally for remodeling and renovation of the factory shell.

The Premier says that the products will not be available locally, but under the SR&O if Montserrat wants to benefit anything from the product, only if it is sold locally, then consumption tax and duty must be paid

One cabinet minister defended cabinet’s approval of the project, noting that the Incentives Committee is merely an advisory body. That his concern in the face of arguments against the tobacco packaging in Montserrat, was for anything that provided jobs, pointing out that I had been posing the question about new jobs for Montserrat.

More sources said that the factory might bring only eleven jobs expected to go primarily to the Spanish community, although sources say Montobacco Ltd. is registered in Canada, it is reportedly owned by businesses out of Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic).

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

By Bennette Roach

After introducing the matter of the construction of a tobacco factory in Montserrat, a topic he knew was sure to come up at his most recent press conference on September 18, Premier Meade referred to “some people making noise about whether it is right to be doing tobacco factory…” and shut down any further question or discussion on the topic.

He was responding to a question about the support for the private sector. “Is there a private sector?” he was asked.

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He talked about, “making decisions which will create employment and growth.”

“And, I want to go back to the tobacco factory because I hear allot of people making noise about whether or not its right to be doing tobacco factory and whatever. It’s a legal product for export, people are willing to buy it, we’re willing to buy it from other people and charge taxes on it and until somebody can find for me an alternative that will provide employment  the economic benefits to the people of Montserrat we will go ahead with projects of that nature,” he optimised.

He sought to justify even further. “We’re not goanna sit back and say ok, look we’re all moral and what have you, it’s legal, it’s legitimate, it provides employment and income for the people, and this is what we can get now we will take this until something better comes forward,” he said.

He then concluded with some finality. “I don’t want to get too caught up in the discussion on that it is a decision that government has made you can preach Paul the project will go forward, the SR&O  will go to the Legislative Assembly tomorrow. The legal bases, the factory is being converted and reconfigured so let’s not waste any time on it… If there is a rum factory that wants to come into Montserrat I will say yes. If there is for example, a company that wants to come here to do gambling, I will say no, because gambling in Montserrat will include local people, it also includes a certain level of criminality into your society…I want us to stop being so very hypocritical where a project comes forward, you have objections to it but when it was happening in the society without people of Montserrat benefiting there are not make any objections, anybody (“like you”) object to people smoking in Montserrat or government collecting taxes…” concluding, “I am not going to answer any more questions on tobacco.” 

[vsw id=”fhWTjd7dh3M” source=”youtube” width=”200″ height=”150″ autoplay=”no”]

The Premier had sought to keep the tobacco manufacture a secret for as long as he could, and it was some time after the secret was revealed that he has commented at all. The secret became known when organisers on the island boasted about their monthly pay packet of US$6,000.00.

When he first hinted about the ‘industry that would come to Montserrat’, he said it would bring 45 jobs. That became 15 as time progressed by which time the Economic Development Unit’s Incentives Committee had declined approval for concessions and incentives for the operation. Sources revealed that the Premier himself led the thrust in seeking approvals, presenting at least one principal after it had been discovered that he had already advised approval to the principals of the tobacco manufacture.

Statutory Rules and Orders (SR&O) 29 of 2012 made by Governor on the advice (orders) of Cabinet, gives exemption from paying duty and consumption tax to Montobacco Ltd. for ten (10) years on the importation of all plant, equipment and raw materials; specialist materials not available locally for remodeling and renovation of the factory shell.

The Premier says that the products will not be available locally, but under the SR&O if Montserrat wants to benefit anything from the product, only if it is sold locally, then consumption tax and duty must be paid

One cabinet minister defended cabinet’s approval of the project, noting that the Incentives Committee is merely an advisory body. That his concern in the face of arguments against the tobacco packaging in Montserrat, was for anything that provided jobs, pointing out that I had been posing the question about new jobs for Montserrat.

More sources said that the factory might bring only eleven jobs expected to go primarily to the Spanish community, although sources say Montobacco Ltd. is registered in Canada, it is reportedly owned by businesses out of Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic).