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Premier to sign MOU to get aid package for now and future

by Bennette Roach

It smells like blackmail somewhere! Is this what doing the “right thing” is?

In this week’s Editorial we made reference to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that was on the say and we asked, “Will GoM discuss with, advise the public on these matters before hand or even report on their plans?”

 We also published a brief item, “Budget support for Montserrat delayed …” Just hours after we went to press we received an invitation to witness the signing of ‘the’ MOU on Monday at mid-day to be followed by a video conference with Secretary of State for International Development Rt. Hon. Andrew Mitchell. The invitation was followed by a press release, captioned, “Premier Meade expected to sign MOU with DFID for Montserrat’s new aid package”.

MOU (draft) to be signed on Monday, Apr 30, 2012

 The release below speaks to the new capital aid package for the budgetary cycle 2012/2013.” It links the government’s commitment of last October to creating a Strategic Growth and Development Plan (SGDP), which is linked to receiving future financial support from DFID.

The MOU speaks to the following three areas:

  1. improving the business environment;
  2. developing Montserrat as a tourism destination; and
  3. strengthening GoM’s capacity to deliver reforms and key strategic investments.

Clause 3.2 of the MOU states: Improving the business environment will be achieved through reviewing GoM’s investment, immigration and tax policies so that Montserrat has a clear, simple, transparent and development-friendly system for non-Monsterratians to be allowed to enter, live, work and invest in Montserrat.  This will be achieved through exploring options for creating a Special Economic Zone at Little Bay, reviewing immigrant land-holding policy and speeding up customs clearance times at the port.

The immediate preceding paragraph to involve what some people would call “the people’s birth-rights”. The question that will be asked is whether that and other matters in the MOU are of significant national interest and importance that much more ought to have been heard about this and discussed.

TMR had hoped for the opportunity to have this aired with the people, if at least via a press conference/discussion. The Premier discussed holding a press conference which he scheduled for last Tuesday in the presence of his Cabinet Secretary and Permanent Secretary and the Director of Information/Communication. It was obvious the time was available since the Legislative Assembly was being cancelled, but also obvious is the Premier’s staff complete lack of interest in the Premier’s obligation to at least inform the public on matters how insignificantly important to them. No effort was made for the press conference, which did not take place.

TMR protests the signing of this MOU and is considering how we will express this. It is simply not enough to tell the people about this after the fact. We listened to the DFID local representative as he

sought to explain the delay for the completion or the agreement by DFID on the package, but there were no details.  (Click and listen to Kimbugwe… (Gov press conf Apr 18_Dr. Kimbugwe and Gov. Davis address budget support


Following is the text of the press release  written by Nerissa Golden, Director of Information & Communications:

BRADES – The Honourable Premier Reuben Meade is scheduled to sign off shortly on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) on its new capital aid package for the budgetary cycle 2012/2013.

“According to DFID Private Sector Representative Dr. Kato Kimbugwe, Premier Meade is to sign the MOU on Monday April 30 in the presence of members of the Legislative Assembly. This will be followed by a video conference with Secretary of State for International Development Rt. Hon. Andrew Mitchell.

Although the new financial year began April 1, there was a delay on agreeing to funds for capital project financing as the two sides negotiated a list of proposed reforms.

Last October the government committed to creating a Strategic Growth and Development Plan (SGDP), which is linked to receiving future financial support from DFID. Some of the reform commitments expected to be in the MOU are: a streamlined tax administration system to increase tax collection and compliance; implementing the eGovernment Strategy and introduce online payments for public services; a revamped immigration and land acquisition policy; appropriate legislature for environmental management; policies to increase private sector participation in the economy; and the outsourcing of several government services.

A press conference is to follow the signing to outline the full list of time bound reforms which the Government of Montserrat has agreed to deliver in order to be compliant with receiving future commitments of aid from the UK Government.

The government needs the assistance of the UK to continue its push to develop its economy and more specifically investment in the development of a new town at Little Bay, exploration of geothermal energy; and aid for private sector stimulation. ENDS”

We would be pleased to hear from anyone who may wish to send their questions or  simply express an opinion:

Skype the Editor at: bgmroach; or send your email to: editor@themontserratreporter.com

Related articles: http://www.themontserratreporter.com/editorial/the-time-is-upon-montserrat-and-its-leaders-to-take-action-about-its-future

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

by Bennette Roach

It smells like blackmail somewhere! Is this what doing the “right thing” is?

In this week’s Editorial we made reference to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that was on the say and we asked, “Will GoM discuss with, advise the public on these matters before hand or even report on their plans?”

Insert Ads Here

 We also published a brief item, “Budget support for Montserrat delayed …” Just hours after we went to press we received an invitation to witness the signing of ‘the’ MOU on Monday at mid-day to be followed by a video conference with Secretary of State for International Development Rt. Hon. Andrew Mitchell. The invitation was followed by a press release, captioned, “Premier Meade expected to sign MOU with DFID for Montserrat’s new aid package”.

MOU (draft) to be signed on Monday, Apr 30, 2012

 The release below speaks to the new capital aid package for the budgetary cycle 2012/2013.” It links the government’s commitment of last October to creating a Strategic Growth and Development Plan (SGDP), which is linked to receiving future financial support from DFID.

The MOU speaks to the following three areas:

  1. improving the business environment;
  2. developing Montserrat as a tourism destination; and
  3. strengthening GoM’s capacity to deliver reforms and key strategic investments.

Clause 3.2 of the MOU states: Improving the business environment will be achieved through reviewing GoM’s investment, immigration and tax policies so that Montserrat has a clear, simple, transparent and development-friendly system for non-Monsterratians to be allowed to enter, live, work and invest in Montserrat.  This will be achieved through exploring options for creating a Special Economic Zone at Little Bay, reviewing immigrant land-holding policy and speeding up customs clearance times at the port.

The immediate preceding paragraph to involve what some people would call “the people’s birth-rights”. The question that will be asked is whether that and other matters in the MOU are of significant national interest and importance that much more ought to have been heard about this and discussed.

TMR had hoped for the opportunity to have this aired with the people, if at least via a press conference/discussion. The Premier discussed holding a press conference which he scheduled for last Tuesday in the presence of his Cabinet Secretary and Permanent Secretary and the Director of Information/Communication. It was obvious the time was available since the Legislative Assembly was being cancelled, but also obvious is the Premier’s staff complete lack of interest in the Premier’s obligation to at least inform the public on matters how insignificantly important to them. No effort was made for the press conference, which did not take place.

TMR protests the signing of this MOU and is considering how we will express this. It is simply not enough to tell the people about this after the fact. We listened to the DFID local representative as he

sought to explain the delay for the completion or the agreement by DFID on the package, but there were no details.  (Click and listen to Kimbugwe… (Gov press conf Apr 18_Dr. Kimbugwe and Gov. Davis address budget support


Following is the text of the press release  written by Nerissa Golden, Director of Information & Communications:

BRADES – The Honourable Premier Reuben Meade is scheduled to sign off shortly on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) on its new capital aid package for the budgetary cycle 2012/2013.

“According to DFID Private Sector Representative Dr. Kato Kimbugwe, Premier Meade is to sign the MOU on Monday April 30 in the presence of members of the Legislative Assembly. This will be followed by a video conference with Secretary of State for International Development Rt. Hon. Andrew Mitchell.

Although the new financial year began April 1, there was a delay on agreeing to funds for capital project financing as the two sides negotiated a list of proposed reforms.

Last October the government committed to creating a Strategic Growth and Development Plan (SGDP), which is linked to receiving future financial support from DFID. Some of the reform commitments expected to be in the MOU are: a streamlined tax administration system to increase tax collection and compliance; implementing the eGovernment Strategy and introduce online payments for public services; a revamped immigration and land acquisition policy; appropriate legislature for environmental management; policies to increase private sector participation in the economy; and the outsourcing of several government services.

A press conference is to follow the signing to outline the full list of time bound reforms which the Government of Montserrat has agreed to deliver in order to be compliant with receiving future commitments of aid from the UK Government.

The government needs the assistance of the UK to continue its push to develop its economy and more specifically investment in the development of a new town at Little Bay, exploration of geothermal energy; and aid for private sector stimulation. ENDS”

We would be pleased to hear from anyone who may wish to send their questions or  simply express an opinion:

Skype the Editor at: bgmroach; or send your email to: editor@themontserratreporter.com

Related articles: http://www.themontserratreporter.com/editorial/the-time-is-upon-montserrat-and-its-leaders-to-take-action-about-its-future