Safe Hands?

Safe hands

De Ole Dawg (still gots teets)

BRADES, Montserrat, Sept 24, 2015 – Seven weeks ago, during her acceptance speech HE, incoming Governor Elizabeth Carriere spoke of “Good Governance” five times, and of a “partnership” three times.

For example, she said:

I want to foster this notion of partnership, of shared responsibility and mutual commitment, and help to promote a mature relationship between the Government of Montserrat and the Government of the United Kingdom. Effectively addressing the serious issues of safety, security and good governance is central to this relationship.

She also drew attention to the FCO 2012 OT White Paper’s declaration that the Overseas Territories are ‘an integral part of Britain’s life and history’.

Thirdly, she spoke to some specific points:

I am happy to say that plans for fibre-optic connectivity are moving forward . . . . there is work now underway to improve schooling and housing, and great hopes of building a new hospital . . . . children and other vulnerable people need care and attention and protection – so they can feel safe and empowered to develop their potential and to contribute to the present and future of the Island. This is something I will be paying a great deal of attention to. [ H’mm: seven weeks later . . . ]

All of this requires and underpins a vibrant economy. They are mutually important and beneficial. Poised as it is to grow economically again – there are barriers and setbacks to Montserrat’s growth that need to be addressed realistically . . . But we all know one thing for certain – none of this will succeed if the conditions for business are not sound. This is about good governance – a well functioning and efficient civil service, sound legal practices, probity, transparency and accountability, good and well-functioning systems for financial and material investments and a safe and secure environment in which to flourish . . . . Without safety, security and good governance, investors (the right kind) will not come, infrastructure will be poorly built and maintained, businesses will fail, and Montserrat will not be able to promote itself as a sound place to do business. Without such a reputation – investment, energy, enthusiasm, ideas and talent will not yield productive and sustainable results.

All true, and all vital.

However, there is another, less well known document. One, that Hon. Premier Donaldson Romeo mentioned during his recent press conference with HE Governor Carriere. The May 2012 St Helena yardstick declaration:

Safe hands insertLet’s track this down, step by step:

1 → Due to the UK’s legal obligation under the UN Charter Article 73, the first call on DFID’s budget is to see to the well being of the people in Montserrat and the other OT’s.

2 → Three territories are on regular budgetary aid, “Montserrat, Pitcairn and St Helena.”

3 → If there is good reason to see that a Territory can become self sufficient, HMG is willing to invest in key breakthrough initiatives able to spark private sector led economic growth, “such as the construction of an airport in St Helena.”

4 → That’s the yardstick we can use to measure our (lack of) progress over these twenty years since the volcano began erupting on July 18, 1995.

5 → As our side of the bargain, the OT government must undertake associated reforms to promote economic growth.

6 → Now, Pitcairn has 50 people living there and has no hope for becoming self sufficient.

7 → By 2012, HMG has already invested about £ 250 millions in St Helena, and the new 5,000 ft airport is expected to open in 2016.

8 → Three on the list, one is the yardstick, one is just not able.

9 → That leaves just one territory on the list: Montserrat.

By logical elimination, DFID has given us a big hint that if we can put together a good proposal for development, if we can show it is economically viable in the long run and if we can undertake appropriate good governance reforms, they will fund the development. And, here, we can see that DFID is not arguing as to how different we are from St Helena, but how similar we are.

Is there money to make an investment like that?

Yes, from 2006 to 2011, DFID’s budget rose from £ 5 billions to £ 7.7 billions, right through the heart of the recession. Since 2011/12, the budget has now gone beyond £ 10 billions, and is to rise further. Indeed, as HE Governor Adrian Davis told us in his farewell speech, the 0.7% of GDP commitment to development aid is now UK law, and the OT’s have first call on that budget for reasonable assistance needs.

So, what is holding us back?

Put yourself in the shoes of a senior DFID Official, maybe visiting Whitehall on a trip from East Kilbride.

One of the FCO’s big-wigs asks her the same question.

She pulls up news stories, official reports and other documents, and says, are these safe hands to trust with a St Helena-style investment?

No wonder, Good Governance and Strengthened Partnership are on the table as the top items on the new order of business.

Now, let us fast-forward a year or two.

The same DFID officer is walking by the Thames, across from Runnymede, and as she muses on MP Andrew Rosindell’s remarks in the Commons, that “British is British is British, “ she glances across and remembers how the notorious King John, in June 1215, was forced by the Barons to sign to the Magna Carta, including the declaration, “To no one will we refuse, to no one will we delay, right and justice.”

What can we put on the table and on the ground in the next two years, so that when she turns back to thinking on the meeting in Whitehall later that day, she can confidently answer yes, they have shown they are serious, safe hands; Montserrat is now more than ready to move ahead?

That is the agenda we must pursue – if, we are to make real progress.

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Safe hands

De Ole Dawg (still gots teets)

BRADES, Montserrat, Sept 24, 2015 – Seven weeks ago, during her acceptance speech HE, incoming Governor Elizabeth Carriere spoke of “Good Governance” five times, and of a “partnership” three times.

For example, she said:

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I want to foster this notion of partnership, of shared responsibility and mutual commitment, and help to promote a mature relationship between the Government of Montserrat and the Government of the United Kingdom. Effectively addressing the serious issues of safety, security and good governance is central to this relationship.

She also drew attention to the FCO 2012 OT White Paper’s declaration that the Overseas Territories are ‘an integral part of Britain’s life and history’.

Thirdly, she spoke to some specific points:

I am happy to say that plans for fibre-optic connectivity are moving forward . . . . there is work now underway to improve schooling and housing, and great hopes of building a new hospital . . . . children and other vulnerable people need care and attention and protection – so they can feel safe and empowered to develop their potential and to contribute to the present and future of the Island. This is something I will be paying a great deal of attention to. [ H’mm: seven weeks later . . . ]

All of this requires and underpins a vibrant economy. They are mutually important and beneficial. Poised as it is to grow economically again – there are barriers and setbacks to Montserrat’s growth that need to be addressed realistically . . . But we all know one thing for certain – none of this will succeed if the conditions for business are not sound. This is about good governance – a well functioning and efficient civil service, sound legal practices, probity, transparency and accountability, good and well-functioning systems for financial and material investments and a safe and secure environment in which to flourish . . . . Without safety, security and good governance, investors (the right kind) will not come, infrastructure will be poorly built and maintained, businesses will fail, and Montserrat will not be able to promote itself as a sound place to do business. Without such a reputation – investment, energy, enthusiasm, ideas and talent will not yield productive and sustainable results.

All true, and all vital.

However, there is another, less well known document. One, that Hon. Premier Donaldson Romeo mentioned during his recent press conference with HE Governor Carriere. The May 2012 St Helena yardstick declaration:

Safe hands insertLet’s track this down, step by step:

1 → Due to the UK’s legal obligation under the UN Charter Article 73, the first call on DFID’s budget is to see to the well being of the people in Montserrat and the other OT’s.

2 → Three territories are on regular budgetary aid, “Montserrat, Pitcairn and St Helena.”

3 → If there is good reason to see that a Territory can become self sufficient, HMG is willing to invest in key breakthrough initiatives able to spark private sector led economic growth, “such as the construction of an airport in St Helena.”

4 → That’s the yardstick we can use to measure our (lack of) progress over these twenty years since the volcano began erupting on July 18, 1995.

5 → As our side of the bargain, the OT government must undertake associated reforms to promote economic growth.

6 → Now, Pitcairn has 50 people living there and has no hope for becoming self sufficient.

7 → By 2012, HMG has already invested about £ 250 millions in St Helena, and the new 5,000 ft airport is expected to open in 2016.

8 → Three on the list, one is the yardstick, one is just not able.

9 → That leaves just one territory on the list: Montserrat.

By logical elimination, DFID has given us a big hint that if we can put together a good proposal for development, if we can show it is economically viable in the long run and if we can undertake appropriate good governance reforms, they will fund the development. And, here, we can see that DFID is not arguing as to how different we are from St Helena, but how similar we are.

Is there money to make an investment like that?

Yes, from 2006 to 2011, DFID’s budget rose from £ 5 billions to £ 7.7 billions, right through the heart of the recession. Since 2011/12, the budget has now gone beyond £ 10 billions, and is to rise further. Indeed, as HE Governor Adrian Davis told us in his farewell speech, the 0.7% of GDP commitment to development aid is now UK law, and the OT’s have first call on that budget for reasonable assistance needs.

So, what is holding us back?

Put yourself in the shoes of a senior DFID Official, maybe visiting Whitehall on a trip from East Kilbride.

One of the FCO’s big-wigs asks her the same question.

She pulls up news stories, official reports and other documents, and says, are these safe hands to trust with a St Helena-style investment?

No wonder, Good Governance and Strengthened Partnership are on the table as the top items on the new order of business.

Now, let us fast-forward a year or two.

The same DFID officer is walking by the Thames, across from Runnymede, and as she muses on MP Andrew Rosindell’s remarks in the Commons, that “British is British is British, “ she glances across and remembers how the notorious King John, in June 1215, was forced by the Barons to sign to the Magna Carta, including the declaration, “To no one will we refuse, to no one will we delay, right and justice.”

What can we put on the table and on the ground in the next two years, so that when she turns back to thinking on the meeting in Whitehall later that day, she can confidently answer yes, they have shown they are serious, safe hands; Montserrat is now more than ready to move ahead?

That is the agenda we must pursue – if, we are to make real progress.