Categorized | Editorial, Local, News

The haste should be for an appropriate airport

EditorialEditorial -April 29, 2016 :

Following the disruption of the ferry services at key times within the last four months, (Christmas and St. Patrick’s Day festivals), the subject of the condition of the ports in Montserrat have been receiving a fair amount of examination, discussion and attention.

Politics, bad politics, bad politicians concentrated their conversations on protecting, pretending to be interested in the welfare and management of the country, while some remain distracted and uncertain about what is required to manage, locked into a world where uncertainty and worry about the urgent rather than the important, ruled.

In all the conversations particularly surrounding the ferry, possibly because there are some who do not want the facts to be known, which they ought to be, there was little to improve the main issue, efficient and productive access.

That a sea port is very important to the economic existence of a country and cannot be said to be less important than an airport, as far as a seaport for Montserrat, that matter has been settled and should proceed taking in consideration all of the factors to date.

The recent ferry fiasco as we’ve called it, if looked at realistically and honestly will take all that has transpired from the delivery of Gerald’s now John A Osborne airport in 2005. A very distorted and willful misrepresented exposure of what was pretended to be an effort to show ignorance on the part of the Premier and his cabinet, will probably not be exposed as the PDM government continues and attempts to govern in secrecy and a misunderstanding of what transparency really is, protecting the bad and the ugly.

Who understands that a ferry as the main mode of transportation into the island, takes Montserrat  more than 50 years back? It will never be a catalyst in the development of the tourism industry for Montserrat now or in the future! Does anyone wonder that there is still no design for a purpose built ferry since 2012? That the issue of a late attempt for a ferry contract was the corruptible behavior that has become the norm by some?

To understand what has happened in the interim, those managing the country must stop hiding behind the myths and face that which was admitted by HMG (DFID) that an airport at Gerald’s was a mistake.

The admission noted that at the time when the decision was made, there was little belief or certainty that Montserrat would ever need anything more than a temporary airport. But the statement, “we will do anything it takes to correct that,” was never taken advantage of. Instead, by 2013 with no attention paid to tourism since 2009, the decision was to do nothing about the development of an airport to take Montserrat into the future, in the face of DFID/HMG repeatedly drawing attention to the £250 (EC$1 billion) airport, just completed in St. Helena. (See related links and references below)

When then Premier revealed his concentration on only the sea port, told the media that an airport was in fact not a priority because potential investors interested in Little Bay development had no interest in it and would rather not have it, that was shocking enough. The talk continued to promote a ‘ferry’ for Montserrat. Please see: (http://www.themontserratreporter.com/no-upgrade-to-the-airport-there-cant-be-any-seriousness-about-tourism/) for details of the foregoing. It will refer to earlier factual reports on the issue.

What everyone remembers now, without thinking about how and why the selfish, myopic thought has became priority, is the need that developed for two weeks now doubled in the year. There is no thought whatsoever that that does not meet the revenue derived the rest of the year which can make the limited revenue of those two weeks, look like it never was.

The statistics department reportedly revealed in a short article captioned ‘Arrivals Down for January and February 2016’ which we adapted: “There were 667 by air and 423 by sea for 2016 while in 2015 for the same period, 804 came by air and 354 by sea.” (See in this issue – Arrivals Down for January and February 2016. We should note that day tourists who never do spend enough meaningful time in Montserrat, spending at best four hours after spending three hours on sea. In 2014 arrivals by sea and air was 16,359 (of which the pattern was the same as above). If day trippers arriving by sea are included in these numbers, the situation would seem more untenable to support the ferry argument, which is perhaps the strongest argument for it.

A certain tourism director corruptly rejected through the MDC task force report, had shown early as she began to reconstruct the development and future of tourism in Montserrat, that the statistics showed exactly the pattern just described.

The reality from the statistical presentation given by that tourism director, while not the focus of the presentation, showed that the plan that allowed for cruise ship visits at a Little Bay protected port while allowing for cargo and other facilities to be accommodated for well in the future could not serve the gradual development and growth of the economy.

Put alongside the scenario presented in the factual accounts in the articles from 2013 et al, we find that the need for an airport as described, desired and recognised by HMG/DFID in 2008 will serve Montserrat very well. The arguments that to develop a port at Little Bay would be a repeat of the construction of Gerald’s airport is very far from the truth and serves only one or a few persons, but not Montserrat.

St. Helena has a sea port which has been all that served them for many years. Their population is the same as Montserrat currently. An airport to the tune of £250 million pounds (US$375 million) was to put them on the world stage and spike their development. Montserrat has an airport?, was already on the world stage, had an airport then and a seaport; now a volcanic crisis exposed it more on the world stage, negatively at first, but now can be a centre of its attraction or a by-product of again being on the world stage, there being other things to attract.

HMG was ready to support the construction of US$96 million port, providing private interests met the cost of a connected marina to the tune of US$50 million, until either they learnt, like we did, that Montserrat sometime in 2012/13 had turned down an offer to get a cruise port with supporting infrastructure on land, because someone said there was no money it for them, or they listened to the then Premier saying that Dubai had suggested that the Carrs Bay port ‘might’ be better served by or for something else than cruise ships.

The total of the venture, let’s say, was US$150.00, and by the way that was to come with the other developments for Little Bay and Carrs Bay (not including Rendezvous that would have sounded really great without Carrs Bay port); this HMG had at signing their intent and conditions, said was ambitious. A serious warning!

Scrapping that ambition, HMG offered $33 million for a safe harbor at Little Bay. That leaves US$63 million from 96 million; and for comparison to bring reality to the discussion, leaves US$342 million from that given to St. Helena. How much will it need to provide Montserrat what it needs to truly compliment the TDP (Tourism Development Plan) already agreed to several years ago, with the reality of geothermal energy and fibre optic cable?

Then HMG, those genuine Montserrat lovers, the selfish too (who will benefit just the same) by 2020, all those plans, wishes and hopes, if sincere will be realised with multiplying effect, incorporating much of those things TMR had been promoting that would help as precursors.

We urge this government, if your desire is ultimate nationhood and prosperity which goes beyond the experience of the corruption of the lack of integrity and loyalty; and dishonesty; stop allowing yourselves and those who believe in the qualities and virtues and desires, to be distracted by failures of the past with their corrupt and myopic thinking. Dust off the little good, if any, and get moving. But dust you must.

Please read also related articles published here for your convenience in this issue; or at: http://www.travelweekly.co.uk/articles/61458/st-helena-airport-opening-postponed

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/st-helena-airport-opening-postponed-again-a7002226.html

http://www.airportsinternational.com/2016/04/st-helena-airport-opening-postponed/17578

 

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

EditorialEditorial -April 29, 2016 :

Following the disruption of the ferry services at key times within the last four months, (Christmas and St. Patrick’s Day festivals), the subject of the condition of the ports in Montserrat have been receiving a fair amount of examination, discussion and attention.

Politics, bad politics, bad politicians concentrated their conversations on protecting, pretending to be interested in the welfare and management of the country, while some remain distracted and uncertain about what is required to manage, locked into a world where uncertainty and worry about the urgent rather than the important, ruled.

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In all the conversations particularly surrounding the ferry, possibly because there are some who do not want the facts to be known, which they ought to be, there was little to improve the main issue, efficient and productive access.

That a sea port is very important to the economic existence of a country and cannot be said to be less important than an airport, as far as a seaport for Montserrat, that matter has been settled and should proceed taking in consideration all of the factors to date.

The recent ferry fiasco as we’ve called it, if looked at realistically and honestly will take all that has transpired from the delivery of Gerald’s now John A Osborne airport in 2005. A very distorted and willful misrepresented exposure of what was pretended to be an effort to show ignorance on the part of the Premier and his cabinet, will probably not be exposed as the PDM government continues and attempts to govern in secrecy and a misunderstanding of what transparency really is, protecting the bad and the ugly.

Who understands that a ferry as the main mode of transportation into the island, takes Montserrat  more than 50 years back? It will never be a catalyst in the development of the tourism industry for Montserrat now or in the future! Does anyone wonder that there is still no design for a purpose built ferry since 2012? That the issue of a late attempt for a ferry contract was the corruptible behavior that has become the norm by some?

To understand what has happened in the interim, those managing the country must stop hiding behind the myths and face that which was admitted by HMG (DFID) that an airport at Gerald’s was a mistake.

The admission noted that at the time when the decision was made, there was little belief or certainty that Montserrat would ever need anything more than a temporary airport. But the statement, “we will do anything it takes to correct that,” was never taken advantage of. Instead, by 2013 with no attention paid to tourism since 2009, the decision was to do nothing about the development of an airport to take Montserrat into the future, in the face of DFID/HMG repeatedly drawing attention to the £250 (EC$1 billion) airport, just completed in St. Helena. (See related links and references below)

When then Premier revealed his concentration on only the sea port, told the media that an airport was in fact not a priority because potential investors interested in Little Bay development had no interest in it and would rather not have it, that was shocking enough. The talk continued to promote a ‘ferry’ for Montserrat. Please see: (http://www.themontserratreporter.com/no-upgrade-to-the-airport-there-cant-be-any-seriousness-about-tourism/) for details of the foregoing. It will refer to earlier factual reports on the issue.

What everyone remembers now, without thinking about how and why the selfish, myopic thought has became priority, is the need that developed for two weeks now doubled in the year. There is no thought whatsoever that that does not meet the revenue derived the rest of the year which can make the limited revenue of those two weeks, look like it never was.

The statistics department reportedly revealed in a short article captioned ‘Arrivals Down for January and February 2016’ which we adapted: “There were 667 by air and 423 by sea for 2016 while in 2015 for the same period, 804 came by air and 354 by sea.” (See in this issue – Arrivals Down for January and February 2016. We should note that day tourists who never do spend enough meaningful time in Montserrat, spending at best four hours after spending three hours on sea. In 2014 arrivals by sea and air was 16,359 (of which the pattern was the same as above). If day trippers arriving by sea are included in these numbers, the situation would seem more untenable to support the ferry argument, which is perhaps the strongest argument for it.

A certain tourism director corruptly rejected through the MDC task force report, had shown early as she began to reconstruct the development and future of tourism in Montserrat, that the statistics showed exactly the pattern just described.

The reality from the statistical presentation given by that tourism director, while not the focus of the presentation, showed that the plan that allowed for cruise ship visits at a Little Bay protected port while allowing for cargo and other facilities to be accommodated for well in the future could not serve the gradual development and growth of the economy.

Put alongside the scenario presented in the factual accounts in the articles from 2013 et al, we find that the need for an airport as described, desired and recognised by HMG/DFID in 2008 will serve Montserrat very well. The arguments that to develop a port at Little Bay would be a repeat of the construction of Gerald’s airport is very far from the truth and serves only one or a few persons, but not Montserrat.

St. Helena has a sea port which has been all that served them for many years. Their population is the same as Montserrat currently. An airport to the tune of £250 million pounds (US$375 million) was to put them on the world stage and spike their development. Montserrat has an airport?, was already on the world stage, had an airport then and a seaport; now a volcanic crisis exposed it more on the world stage, negatively at first, but now can be a centre of its attraction or a by-product of again being on the world stage, there being other things to attract.

HMG was ready to support the construction of US$96 million port, providing private interests met the cost of a connected marina to the tune of US$50 million, until either they learnt, like we did, that Montserrat sometime in 2012/13 had turned down an offer to get a cruise port with supporting infrastructure on land, because someone said there was no money it for them, or they listened to the then Premier saying that Dubai had suggested that the Carrs Bay port ‘might’ be better served by or for something else than cruise ships.

The total of the venture, let’s say, was US$150.00, and by the way that was to come with the other developments for Little Bay and Carrs Bay (not including Rendezvous that would have sounded really great without Carrs Bay port); this HMG had at signing their intent and conditions, said was ambitious. A serious warning!

Scrapping that ambition, HMG offered $33 million for a safe harbor at Little Bay. That leaves US$63 million from 96 million; and for comparison to bring reality to the discussion, leaves US$342 million from that given to St. Helena. How much will it need to provide Montserrat what it needs to truly compliment the TDP (Tourism Development Plan) already agreed to several years ago, with the reality of geothermal energy and fibre optic cable?

Then HMG, those genuine Montserrat lovers, the selfish too (who will benefit just the same) by 2020, all those plans, wishes and hopes, if sincere will be realised with multiplying effect, incorporating much of those things TMR had been promoting that would help as precursors.

We urge this government, if your desire is ultimate nationhood and prosperity which goes beyond the experience of the corruption of the lack of integrity and loyalty; and dishonesty; stop allowing yourselves and those who believe in the qualities and virtues and desires, to be distracted by failures of the past with their corrupt and myopic thinking. Dust off the little good, if any, and get moving. But dust you must.

Please read also related articles published here for your convenience in this issue; or at: http://www.travelweekly.co.uk/articles/61458/st-helena-airport-opening-postponed

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/st-helena-airport-opening-postponed-again-a7002226.html

http://www.airportsinternational.com/2016/04/st-helena-airport-opening-postponed/17578