Categorized | COVID-19, Editorial, Legal, News, Regional

Retrogression is upon this UK Overseas Territory

November 20, 2020

Since our last publication of April 3, 2020, we have prepared and made attempts to publish, the existing, ‘dire’ circumstances at the time notwithstanding. These were seriously aggravated by a Government which we must say surprisingly if not disappointingly showed the kind of ignorance or badness, which must disturb even some among them. With that said, we still leave that to the saying, ‘who the cap fit, let them wear it’!

There is much more we hope to cover that may well be more important than the scant items covered in this resurrecting issue, though there is much that must fall in place for this to continue. However, as we go forward striving to go ‘up’ where we had hoped to be as far back as 2005, we will get there.

Lord Ashcroft wrote about St. Helena in May, an article captioned, “The damage that even the threat of the virus is wreaking on St Helena”, which at the time had already highlighted some of the poor attitude and actions of the Montserrat government. Some may recall what exposed how ignorant or uninformed the Government (some of them, since nothing here, is intended to indict ‘all’ of them), when on more than one occasion, by whispers at press conferences, they would make statements that are actually contrary to what really is, or may have been published.

St. Helena up to that point did not have a case of COVID-19, and they took action, early, to ensure that did not happen, which caused them to take on such as the cancellation of St Helena Day celebrations on May 21, which as Ashcroft writes “morale on the island is said to be low. That’s entirely understandable: after all, how many setbacks can one small island take?”

On March 28, 2020, when the question of financing was put to the Government of Montserrat (GoM) at a virtual press conference, it was done with the knowledge/information that St. Helena, Cayman Islands, and indeed other OTs, had already received the £2.5 million pounds. St. Helena had already closed its borders. (Our leaders made fun at a later press conference when this was noted to them, that “nobody goes there anyway, etc.”) They seemed ignorant that the airport St. Helena now has serves their tourist industry that they rely. Montserrat should have shared that experience, if not 16 years ago, certainly four years later, i.e. 12 years ago. We were reminded of that eight/nine years ago., Today, where are we? So, is this news to anyone? Let’s talk about it!

It is still a mystery, to us here anyway, how and why there was placed before our Legislative Assembly a ‘deficit’ budget; maybe we should call it a decrepit budget. One explanation heard is that there was the anticipated shortfall in revenue because of COVID-19. Was that whole matter discussed with DFID/FCO? If so why, or where is the pressure that the Premier/Minister of Finance mentioned about being questioned, ‘how are we going fix the “problem?”

For information, Montserrat’s end of year is March 31. The government received UK approval that $79.6 million was allocated, with the additional $8.5 million added few days later; with a promise that there will be further sums after discussions would take place on submissions going further. In normal times DFID usually make good to cover needs re the budget as the year progresses. Was our Premier etc. not familiar with all those ‘sham’ (no unkindness intended here) budgets over the years he served as Minister? Maybe we should not be surprised when he stated in February this year about their ‘just observing, learning’ the discussions at the FAM talks! “…most of the sessions and the only reason why we did that is because we want to be familiar with how it works;

Somehow, hearing so little from Governor Pearce since he had recanted, rather, clarified what he said, ‘we shouldn’t be talking finance but rather concentrate on the health issues’, there seems to be something amiss with conversations with FCO/DFID. That new arrangement which began ten years ago, was what caused the Governor to be able to say regarding the above on March 28, the UK is about to settle the budget allocation and will also provide additional funds…etc.

Indeed, at least two months ago UKG had already mentioned the support they would be providing for their own existence that naturally (without saying so) included the OTs.

It has been a year since the new government and it certainly was mystifying to hear the Premier admitting that all they will be doing in the near future going forward, is continue and complete the projects began by the previous government, above asking for cooperation from a hurt and disgruntled people. The questions to follow are obvious, but they will be exposed. Hopefully by then there will be answers to the questions with admissions and at least explanations.

Of grave concern is how the relief moneys allocated by UKG for the pandemic assistance with more to come as needed, why some businesses and individuals did not benefit from the funds provided by the UKG to provide needed relief, that would save much problems later on.

Unfortunately, very early after the laisse faire approach, when it became urgent to recover and change, it was that same attitude that created hardship in how they managed what they could have avoided. They did not understand the demography and the lives of the people, nor were they familiar with the status of the not so well off. Listening to the ‘uncaring’ statements spouted in all places such as the Legislative Assembly was unbearably sickening. And to think it continues. That is more than sad. Perhaps they do not know or probably do not care but all those actions and lack of plans going forward hurt the island and the people therein. The one word that is matching is ‘retrogression’.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

November 20, 2020

Since our last publication of April 3, 2020, we have prepared and made attempts to publish, the existing, ‘dire’ circumstances at the time notwithstanding. These were seriously aggravated by a Government which we must say surprisingly if not disappointingly showed the kind of ignorance or badness, which must disturb even some among them. With that said, we still leave that to the saying, ‘who the cap fit, let them wear it’!

There is much more we hope to cover that may well be more important than the scant items covered in this resurrecting issue, though there is much that must fall in place for this to continue. However, as we go forward striving to go ‘up’ where we had hoped to be as far back as 2005, we will get there.

Lord Ashcroft wrote about St. Helena in May, an article captioned, “The damage that even the threat of the virus is wreaking on St Helena”, which at the time had already highlighted some of the poor attitude and actions of the Montserrat government. Some may recall what exposed how ignorant or uninformed the Government (some of them, since nothing here, is intended to indict ‘all’ of them), when on more than one occasion, by whispers at press conferences, they would make statements that are actually contrary to what really is, or may have been published.

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St. Helena up to that point did not have a case of COVID-19, and they took action, early, to ensure that did not happen, which caused them to take on such as the cancellation of St Helena Day celebrations on May 21, which as Ashcroft writes “morale on the island is said to be low. That’s entirely understandable: after all, how many setbacks can one small island take?”

On March 28, 2020, when the question of financing was put to the Government of Montserrat (GoM) at a virtual press conference, it was done with the knowledge/information that St. Helena, Cayman Islands, and indeed other OTs, had already received the £2.5 million pounds. St. Helena had already closed its borders. (Our leaders made fun at a later press conference when this was noted to them, that “nobody goes there anyway, etc.”) They seemed ignorant that the airport St. Helena now has serves their tourist industry that they rely. Montserrat should have shared that experience, if not 16 years ago, certainly four years later, i.e. 12 years ago. We were reminded of that eight/nine years ago., Today, where are we? So, is this news to anyone? Let’s talk about it!

It is still a mystery, to us here anyway, how and why there was placed before our Legislative Assembly a ‘deficit’ budget; maybe we should call it a decrepit budget. One explanation heard is that there was the anticipated shortfall in revenue because of COVID-19. Was that whole matter discussed with DFID/FCO? If so why, or where is the pressure that the Premier/Minister of Finance mentioned about being questioned, ‘how are we going fix the “problem?”

For information, Montserrat’s end of year is March 31. The government received UK approval that $79.6 million was allocated, with the additional $8.5 million added few days later; with a promise that there will be further sums after discussions would take place on submissions going further. In normal times DFID usually make good to cover needs re the budget as the year progresses. Was our Premier etc. not familiar with all those ‘sham’ (no unkindness intended here) budgets over the years he served as Minister? Maybe we should not be surprised when he stated in February this year about their ‘just observing, learning’ the discussions at the FAM talks! “…most of the sessions and the only reason why we did that is because we want to be familiar with how it works;

Somehow, hearing so little from Governor Pearce since he had recanted, rather, clarified what he said, ‘we shouldn’t be talking finance but rather concentrate on the health issues’, there seems to be something amiss with conversations with FCO/DFID. That new arrangement which began ten years ago, was what caused the Governor to be able to say regarding the above on March 28, the UK is about to settle the budget allocation and will also provide additional funds…etc.

Indeed, at least two months ago UKG had already mentioned the support they would be providing for their own existence that naturally (without saying so) included the OTs.

It has been a year since the new government and it certainly was mystifying to hear the Premier admitting that all they will be doing in the near future going forward, is continue and complete the projects began by the previous government, above asking for cooperation from a hurt and disgruntled people. The questions to follow are obvious, but they will be exposed. Hopefully by then there will be answers to the questions with admissions and at least explanations.

Of grave concern is how the relief moneys allocated by UKG for the pandemic assistance with more to come as needed, why some businesses and individuals did not benefit from the funds provided by the UKG to provide needed relief, that would save much problems later on.

Unfortunately, very early after the laisse faire approach, when it became urgent to recover and change, it was that same attitude that created hardship in how they managed what they could have avoided. They did not understand the demography and the lives of the people, nor were they familiar with the status of the not so well off. Listening to the ‘uncaring’ statements spouted in all places such as the Legislative Assembly was unbearably sickening. And to think it continues. That is more than sad. Perhaps they do not know or probably do not care but all those actions and lack of plans going forward hurt the island and the people therein. The one word that is matching is ‘retrogression’.