Categorized | Editorial, Local, News

Serious and honest dialogue needed to change the planning culture

Editorial – November 14, 2014

Quite often the question is posed, but never in the right places with a rather, call it whatever name you wish, unkind perhaps, government, ”how come the persons/businesses that were at the forefront, bringing ITC to Montserrat over 20 years ago have not been involved in any ITC promotion programs?”

It may be remembered as someone who one day may publicly declare, Bennette Roach/The Montserrat Reporter ran the first Facebook through the newspaper online GuestBook. Webmaster and the one who furthered the initial online involvement is none other than the gentleman, who through the said persons mentioned above strongly recommended to Government to lead, as he does today, Montserrat’s ascendancy in the internet and online work.

Indeed, like the New York Times newspaper the Montserrat Reporter first appeared online in 1996, following its circulation by email before that. It has survived to put it kindly, unprofitably through many difficulties and financial hardships with deliberately orchestrated additional hardships and lack of resource of all kinds. And brings us to this point.

This past week we had been invited, as usual, to cover activities of the National ICT Council first week of activities, unable to do so because of the lack of resources. However Miss Nerissa Golden provided the report for the Council on the first of the week’s activities of a series dubbed AfterWork Chats which forms the lead story in this week’s newspaper.

The article naturally interested us. But we wondered who else and how many others did the presentation reach or interest. When this gets published we will know how many people show interest, and who. First reaction was to question, but also to agree and be critical of some of the statements.

Of course he was speaking in an ITC ‘setting’ where the people present must have had some interest in the topic, ‘Montserrat as a Mobile App Development Hub’. We have heard Dr. Joseph lament before, the need for experts and assistance for developers. But it is difficult to understand his use or reference to Silicon Valley as a benchmark for aspirants and for Montserrat, in the setting that he acknowledges. “Montserrat’s economy was small and without a vibrant private sector, calling it a false economy as it was driven by international donor funding.”

Did he get this right when he suggested that the OECS Economic Union and the CARICOM Common Market also did not encourage cross-border collaboration? This could be true, “… getting products to market would be a challenge because of the various regulations and different central banks which would need to give approval.”

There has been much discussion going on directly on these topics at both levels and among the islands. We have to join in to determine our best course of action. With our talent and perspective we can surely even lead the discussion. There are others in the OECS who share the dream.

He did have much to say that we can agree and even identify with. For example: “Montserrat would have to import developers and we do not have people who are willing to invest in research. True! but maybe we can develop some. We have to start especially when he says, “The Government cannot fund it and they also don’t have the ability to pick the right companies to invest in…” Brings to mind what a Chief Minister said in 1998-99 about preparing our people to study and take on the things Montserrat will need for its development going forward.

The he says, “…another key factor is that Montserratians as in many other Caribbean territories subscribe to a very linear method of thinking. “We reward people that follow the rules. We continue to protect the old industries, but they must die for new technologies to take over. Startup hubs need a liberal environment to flourish. “All true. So here is what we hope, that if this talk and conversation which needs to happen is not all selfish, as suspicious as we are, let us begin the dialogue on a national level. We go further to say that in agreeing with some of these findings and opinions, should actually reach the eyes or ears of those people who have the authority to make changes. Education, etc.?

We are not willing to let go of the idea that tourism is the answer although we can see from neighbouring countries that they are in financial trouble although they are welcoming millions of tourists every year. So true! Makes the SGP and Little Bay, Carrs Bay master development plan, no longer a fantasy, ignorance to a degree, really more of the same.

The call from here time to re-think and re-plan, before it’s too late. Be more inclusive than any time before. Forget, ‘they do not like us, as well as all those other selfish, greedy, dishonest and pardon us, moronic thoughts. There are really those who truly believe what it is, “to have Montserrat at heart.” Find them.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

Editorial – November 14, 2014

Quite often the question is posed, but never in the right places with a rather, call it whatever name you wish, unkind perhaps, government, ”how come the persons/businesses that were at the forefront, bringing ITC to Montserrat over 20 years ago have not been involved in any ITC promotion programs?”

It may be remembered as someone who one day may publicly declare, Bennette Roach/The Montserrat Reporter ran the first Facebook through the newspaper online GuestBook. Webmaster and the one who furthered the initial online involvement is none other than the gentleman, who through the said persons mentioned above strongly recommended to Government to lead, as he does today, Montserrat’s ascendancy in the internet and online work.

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Indeed, like the New York Times newspaper the Montserrat Reporter first appeared online in 1996, following its circulation by email before that. It has survived to put it kindly, unprofitably through many difficulties and financial hardships with deliberately orchestrated additional hardships and lack of resource of all kinds. And brings us to this point.

This past week we had been invited, as usual, to cover activities of the National ICT Council first week of activities, unable to do so because of the lack of resources. However Miss Nerissa Golden provided the report for the Council on the first of the week’s activities of a series dubbed AfterWork Chats which forms the lead story in this week’s newspaper.

The article naturally interested us. But we wondered who else and how many others did the presentation reach or interest. When this gets published we will know how many people show interest, and who. First reaction was to question, but also to agree and be critical of some of the statements.

Of course he was speaking in an ITC ‘setting’ where the people present must have had some interest in the topic, ‘Montserrat as a Mobile App Development Hub’. We have heard Dr. Joseph lament before, the need for experts and assistance for developers. But it is difficult to understand his use or reference to Silicon Valley as a benchmark for aspirants and for Montserrat, in the setting that he acknowledges. “Montserrat’s economy was small and without a vibrant private sector, calling it a false economy as it was driven by international donor funding.”

Did he get this right when he suggested that the OECS Economic Union and the CARICOM Common Market also did not encourage cross-border collaboration? This could be true, “… getting products to market would be a challenge because of the various regulations and different central banks which would need to give approval.”

There has been much discussion going on directly on these topics at both levels and among the islands. We have to join in to determine our best course of action. With our talent and perspective we can surely even lead the discussion. There are others in the OECS who share the dream.

He did have much to say that we can agree and even identify with. For example: “Montserrat would have to import developers and we do not have people who are willing to invest in research. True! but maybe we can develop some. We have to start especially when he says, “The Government cannot fund it and they also don’t have the ability to pick the right companies to invest in…” Brings to mind what a Chief Minister said in 1998-99 about preparing our people to study and take on the things Montserrat will need for its development going forward.

The he says, “…another key factor is that Montserratians as in many other Caribbean territories subscribe to a very linear method of thinking. “We reward people that follow the rules. We continue to protect the old industries, but they must die for new technologies to take over. Startup hubs need a liberal environment to flourish. “All true. So here is what we hope, that if this talk and conversation which needs to happen is not all selfish, as suspicious as we are, let us begin the dialogue on a national level. We go further to say that in agreeing with some of these findings and opinions, should actually reach the eyes or ears of those people who have the authority to make changes. Education, etc.?

We are not willing to let go of the idea that tourism is the answer although we can see from neighbouring countries that they are in financial trouble although they are welcoming millions of tourists every year. So true! Makes the SGP and Little Bay, Carrs Bay master development plan, no longer a fantasy, ignorance to a degree, really more of the same.

The call from here time to re-think and re-plan, before it’s too late. Be more inclusive than any time before. Forget, ‘they do not like us, as well as all those other selfish, greedy, dishonest and pardon us, moronic thoughts. There are really those who truly believe what it is, “to have Montserrat at heart.” Find them.