Categorized | Editorial, Local

Premier returns from Dubai, Brussels and UK, upbeat

Editorial – April 26, 2013

On Friday last week the Premier reported that as a result of his trip to Dubai where he met with potential investors in the Little Bay Development and Carrs Bay port plans in Montserrat. He said the trip was a follow-up to possible investor interest, specifically in the hotel and villa development in Little Bay.

He reported to the media at that press conference following which he agreed to hold another the following Wednesday, April 24, that he came back with a letter of intent for a 150 room-hotel in Little Bay and 20 luxury villas on Potato Hill. MDC board has agreed the letter of intent, he informed. He said that already the wholly owned by government Montserrat Development Corporation (MDC) board has already agreed the letter of intent and a letter should be on its way to the company in Dubai,  Golf Classic. The Premier said that the letter had couple of elements strictly for government which will require cabinet decisions, and which would be dealt with in time. He refused to give any details.

He also revealed that he held preliminary discussions with the Taiwanese while in the UK where he went to after he had stopped off in Brussels. They were going to follow by writing their interests to Government. He also said that he had discussions with DFID on all of the matters he had dealt with while on that side of the world.

In Brussels, he had updated as he promised, the EU on the matters relating to the balance funding under  EDF 9. He was seeking the funds which will disappear if certain matters such as signing contracts for certain preparatory works on the port are not completed by June 30 this year.

He made specific reference to the breaking away of the bluff known as Gun Hill for which tenders should be out by the end of this month. There has been much expenditure being carried out on what is claimed to be preparation for the port development, but with the plans supposedly nearing completion there is much discussion as to whether the monies are being spent to any real development plan other than to impress the EDF funders.

We were surprised to learn that there were no discussions in support of the need for a new airport in Montserrat, which most thought was an absolute necessity notwithstanding the sounds of the acquisition of a purpose built ferry. The Governor had made the statement that there was no plan on the horizon for either an extension of the present airport or the building of a new one. Although there was no public comment from the Premier on that statement, he reportedly said that the Governor was not speaking for the government. Even if he said that, the Governor was quoting from the strategy development plan that we hear so much about, so he could not have been speaking out of turn. And as a matter of fact the Premier has now confirmed that Montserrat’s future travel for a long time will be air service as it is with a ferry which cannot guarantee regular travel between the Islands and Montserrat.

What he did say on Friday, is that the plans to make twin otter services to Montserrat more available is very much in the access plan.

But, in case there those who believed that such a plan would damper the planned up scaled tourism business, the Premier informed that the hotel developers would actually prefer that Montserrat was not that easily accessible as a means to keeping the uniqueness of Montserrat. They would include helicopter services as a preferred option. “They preferred Montserrat to be a unique destination where people would want to pay money to come to,” the Premier said.

What this will do for ordinary or regular travel to Montserrat must be discussed thoroughly, as it seems there may be the willingness to restrict tourism to the hotel industry not yet seen in 2-4 years. No one should base the tourism travel plans on the activities of last December’s travel by the 3,000 Montserratians who took the one time opportunity to come back for the 50th festival celebrations.

We hope that the strategies and forward plans on the Little Bay and Carrs Bay developments will not be managed to facilitate the elections due by September 2014. It would not be difficult to see through that, without there being total lack of transparency.

 

 

 

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Editorial – April 26, 2013

On Friday last week the Premier reported that as a result of his trip to Dubai where he met with potential investors in the Little Bay Development and Carrs Bay port plans in Montserrat. He said the trip was a follow-up to possible investor interest, specifically in the hotel and villa development in Little Bay.

He reported to the media at that press conference following which he agreed to hold another the following Wednesday, April 24, that he came back with a letter of intent for a 150 room-hotel in Little Bay and 20 luxury villas on Potato Hill. MDC board has agreed the letter of intent, he informed. He said that already the wholly owned by government Montserrat Development Corporation (MDC) board has already agreed the letter of intent and a letter should be on its way to the company in Dubai,  Golf Classic. The Premier said that the letter had couple of elements strictly for government which will require cabinet decisions, and which would be dealt with in time. He refused to give any details.

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He also revealed that he held preliminary discussions with the Taiwanese while in the UK where he went to after he had stopped off in Brussels. They were going to follow by writing their interests to Government. He also said that he had discussions with DFID on all of the matters he had dealt with while on that side of the world.

In Brussels, he had updated as he promised, the EU on the matters relating to the balance funding under  EDF 9. He was seeking the funds which will disappear if certain matters such as signing contracts for certain preparatory works on the port are not completed by June 30 this year.

He made specific reference to the breaking away of the bluff known as Gun Hill for which tenders should be out by the end of this month. There has been much expenditure being carried out on what is claimed to be preparation for the port development, but with the plans supposedly nearing completion there is much discussion as to whether the monies are being spent to any real development plan other than to impress the EDF funders.

We were surprised to learn that there were no discussions in support of the need for a new airport in Montserrat, which most thought was an absolute necessity notwithstanding the sounds of the acquisition of a purpose built ferry. The Governor had made the statement that there was no plan on the horizon for either an extension of the present airport or the building of a new one. Although there was no public comment from the Premier on that statement, he reportedly said that the Governor was not speaking for the government. Even if he said that, the Governor was quoting from the strategy development plan that we hear so much about, so he could not have been speaking out of turn. And as a matter of fact the Premier has now confirmed that Montserrat’s future travel for a long time will be air service as it is with a ferry which cannot guarantee regular travel between the Islands and Montserrat.

What he did say on Friday, is that the plans to make twin otter services to Montserrat more available is very much in the access plan.

But, in case there those who believed that such a plan would damper the planned up scaled tourism business, the Premier informed that the hotel developers would actually prefer that Montserrat was not that easily accessible as a means to keeping the uniqueness of Montserrat. They would include helicopter services as a preferred option. “They preferred Montserrat to be a unique destination where people would want to pay money to come to,” the Premier said.

What this will do for ordinary or regular travel to Montserrat must be discussed thoroughly, as it seems there may be the willingness to restrict tourism to the hotel industry not yet seen in 2-4 years. No one should base the tourism travel plans on the activities of last December’s travel by the 3,000 Montserratians who took the one time opportunity to come back for the 50th festival celebrations.

We hope that the strategies and forward plans on the Little Bay and Carrs Bay developments will not be managed to facilitate the elections due by September 2014. It would not be difficult to see through that, without there being total lack of transparency.