Categorized | Editorial, News

The processes they include corruption and lack of transparency

Undoubtedly it should have come as any surprise to anyone attentive enough, that there would have been some change/s at the Montserrat Development Corporation (MDC) whether with the work they were carrying on or not carrying on, functions or structure.

The MDC was the catalyst hub the Reuben Meade government was relying on to carry out the Strategic Development Plan based perhaps on the Sustainable Development Plan, all of which looked and maybe sounded good on paper, even promises from the Montserrat main benefactors, Her Majesty’s Government (HMG). Montserrat is one of a few UK Overseas Territories, somewhat non-descript as dependent. The British Virgin Islands is described as “Internal self-governing Overseas territory of the UK” while three others are called Crown dependency. Montserrat does depend on Britain for about 60% of its budgetary aid, its capital aid, as it hopes to receive from others such as the European Union.

On its web site home page the MDC states that it, “promotes economic growth throughout Montserrat. Our mission is to help Montserrat achieve economic and fiscal self-sufficiency. We aim to support growth in jobs and business opportunities.” But, according to the Governor, after three and a half years, Montserrat has “not gone very” far in achieving what he had hoped to see during his term of office, which continues for another six months, maybe. He said this readily, but would have been very upbeat three months ago.

The Governor sounded quite pleased enough that ready action was taken following the report that we understand was more an FCO initiative than a ‘DFID report’ which was sent to him seemingly before it reached the DFID rep. While one would easily think that the dismissal of the board had directly to do with the investigative report of processes, we do not know when that board was installed. There are members who had been dismissed from that board and still not been informed as to why. What we mostly need to understand is that the MDC is wholly owned by the single shareholder the Government of Montserrat through Cabinet which is controlled by the leader of Government business, the Premier.

The shareholders elect the directors, but the articles direct how it should be done and who they should be and what sector of the community they represent. How is the business of the MDC conducted? E.g. the Chairman and Deputy Chairman (if there is one) shall be appointed by the shareholders (Cabinet, the Premier). The directors (of the board) shall as often as may be required appoint, through a process of open and competitive selection, a Chief Executive Officer. So figure this, “the directors shall submit all material (but, “may submit any other contract”) for approval or ratification”, at a meeting of the shareholders called for the purpose of considering the same. Question

From the earliest time possible when HMG through DFID began funding GoM’s MDC, (since its last effort) it was to promote economic growth (and development) throughout Montserrat and this was to be achieved through procurement processes. Since 2011 the word corruption was also mentioned in preparatory documents: “and that the corruption risk is moderate.” That was the stated belief, but note: moderate is not low. So, “Steps forward were made in FY 2011/12 in a number of reform areas to strengthen financial management and mitigate risks of corruption, in particular the budgeting process, timeliness of accounting/external audit and transparency in procurement processes.” Were these even practiced or seem to exist?

What was Premier Meade’s government thinking or planning? We challenged immediately on the grounds of transparency and suspected corruptible practices, especially with poor procurement practices, running foul with the 2012 Procurement Act. Unless the current government and the Governor intend to continue and encourage the malpractices that were the reasons this government ascended into power, they must consider and take note of all their own actions, NOW.

The Leader of the opposition, although his very ardent followers still chose to be disastrously blind to his actions, he should be cautious how he shows up some of the things that actually brought about the downfall of his government.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

Undoubtedly it should have come as any surprise to anyone attentive enough, that there would have been some change/s at the Montserrat Development Corporation (MDC) whether with the work they were carrying on or not carrying on, functions or structure.

The MDC was the catalyst hub the Reuben Meade government was relying on to carry out the Strategic Development Plan based perhaps on the Sustainable Development Plan, all of which looked and maybe sounded good on paper, even promises from the Montserrat main benefactors, Her Majesty’s Government (HMG). Montserrat is one of a few UK Overseas Territories, somewhat non-descript as dependent. The British Virgin Islands is described as “Internal self-governing Overseas territory of the UK” while three others are called Crown dependency. Montserrat does depend on Britain for about 60% of its budgetary aid, its capital aid, as it hopes to receive from others such as the European Union.

On its web site home page the MDC states that it, “promotes economic growth throughout Montserrat. Our mission is to help Montserrat achieve economic and fiscal self-sufficiency. We aim to support growth in jobs and business opportunities.” But, according to the Governor, after three and a half years, Montserrat has “not gone very” far in achieving what he had hoped to see during his term of office, which continues for another six months, maybe. He said this readily, but would have been very upbeat three months ago.

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The Governor sounded quite pleased enough that ready action was taken following the report that we understand was more an FCO initiative than a ‘DFID report’ which was sent to him seemingly before it reached the DFID rep. While one would easily think that the dismissal of the board had directly to do with the investigative report of processes, we do not know when that board was installed. There are members who had been dismissed from that board and still not been informed as to why. What we mostly need to understand is that the MDC is wholly owned by the single shareholder the Government of Montserrat through Cabinet which is controlled by the leader of Government business, the Premier.

The shareholders elect the directors, but the articles direct how it should be done and who they should be and what sector of the community they represent. How is the business of the MDC conducted? E.g. the Chairman and Deputy Chairman (if there is one) shall be appointed by the shareholders (Cabinet, the Premier). The directors (of the board) shall as often as may be required appoint, through a process of open and competitive selection, a Chief Executive Officer. So figure this, “the directors shall submit all material (but, “may submit any other contract”) for approval or ratification”, at a meeting of the shareholders called for the purpose of considering the same. Question

From the earliest time possible when HMG through DFID began funding GoM’s MDC, (since its last effort) it was to promote economic growth (and development) throughout Montserrat and this was to be achieved through procurement processes. Since 2011 the word corruption was also mentioned in preparatory documents: “and that the corruption risk is moderate.” That was the stated belief, but note: moderate is not low. So, “Steps forward were made in FY 2011/12 in a number of reform areas to strengthen financial management and mitigate risks of corruption, in particular the budgeting process, timeliness of accounting/external audit and transparency in procurement processes.” Were these even practiced or seem to exist?

What was Premier Meade’s government thinking or planning? We challenged immediately on the grounds of transparency and suspected corruptible practices, especially with poor procurement practices, running foul with the 2012 Procurement Act. Unless the current government and the Governor intend to continue and encourage the malpractices that were the reasons this government ascended into power, they must consider and take note of all their own actions, NOW.

The Leader of the opposition, although his very ardent followers still chose to be disastrously blind to his actions, he should be cautious how he shows up some of the things that actually brought about the downfall of his government.