On November 1 and 2 the Montserrat delegation met with JMC delegations from other Overseas Territories representing Anguilla, Ascension, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn, St. Helena and Tristan da Cunha.
The Premier reported that apart from the JMC meeting they met with several groups, ministers and parliamentarians, and that prior to the Council meeting, they met especially with Baronesss Anelay, Minister of State at the FCO whose portfolio includes responsibility for the Overseas Territories, the Honourable Donaldson Romeo had time to briefly outline to the Foreign Affairs Committee the issues arising from inadequate infrastructure which is hampering development on the island and contributing to Montserratians not returning to the island.
The opportunity provided the Honourable Premier to brief the Baroness on the urgent need for infrastructure development, citing that progress needs to be made in getting a sea port fit for purpose, commitment on the generation of geothermal energy to ensure that the investment made by Department for International Development to ascertain adequate resource is fully realised. The Honourable Delmaude Ryan outlined her concerns regarding health, education and social services, and reported on the progress made in child safeguarding both at policy and implementation levels.
Eventually, the Honourable Delmaude Ryan while speaking on the state of the healthcare in Montserrat, expressed her thanks for the support given by HMG as a result of previous JMC commitment and look forward to building on this.
Premier Romeo, specifically outlined the critical need for infrastructure development including the sea port, fibre optics and the need to realise the investment made by the Department for International Development in geothermal energy by a commitment to fund its generation so that residents and investors alike can benefit from cheaper energy. The session was jointly chaired by Baroness Anelay and the Rt. Honourable The Lord Bates, Minister of State for International Development.
AS the talks continued, The session flowed easily into the next on the UK-OT future partnership which was chaired by the Overseas Territories Minister. Leaders assured Baroness Anelay of their support of the UK and the decision by the UK electorate to exit the EU.
On the Brexit issue Britain’s Exit from the European Union the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Exiting the European Union (EU) attended the JMC to discuss the challenges and opportunities for the Overseas Territories of the UK’s decision to exit the EU. From the Communique out of the JMC, “The UK Government is clear that the referendum result does not change the UK Government’s position on sovereignty over the Territories. The UK reaffirmed that while the UK remains a member of the EU, current EU funding arrangements continue unchanged and clarified that where Territories are eligible for EU funds that have been covered by assurances from Her Majesty’s Treasury, those guarantees will extend to the Territories.”
In the report from Montserrat’s delegation it said: “The Leaders were assured by both Baroness Anelay and Mr. Walker that Territories’ concerns will be taken into account, including freedom of movement, upholding the right of self-determination, and minimum restrictions on trade. Both HMG ministers requested these be fed into the appropriate channels and through the FCO. “
While in the UK there have been reports still to come on some other meetings now normal deriving from or related to the Government’s visit on the occasion, such as the Government meeting with Montserratians and friends of Montserrat whether it be at Parliamentarians level with resident Montserratians in the UK.
One such usual meeting is one where the JMC delegations meets with the Montserratians at the Tottenham town hall. There the audience was introduced to the two ferries being tendered for service to Montserrat beginning, they report in about two weeks’ time.