Categorized | Editorial

The sand mining issue may be a good thing but it must be for all the people’s benefit

Much and more are the opinions and concerns on the lips and minds of Montserratians, residents, friends of Montserrat and those who do not yet know but have heard of the landscape and the beauty the island called and known as Montserrat.

Naturally, while it remains a lovely place to visit, it can only remain so if those who wish to keep it that way and enjoy a life here, can feel satisfied enough that their existence and living in Montserrat can be more than mere survival. A mistake that keeps away homeowners, visitors and tourists, and more so investors will have horrendously disastrous consequences.

The issue of the Belham Valley and Mining Proposal/s is now being touted an avenue for much economic activity for the island. But the question being asked, for who? The island, Government and people for select Government officials and sand miners? Where do the rest of the people fit in.

There are those who obviously will benefit directly from sand mining who will spare no effort to make it appear that some do not want sand mining.  The contrary is true because those who see themselves, their lives and living in jeopardy of disappearing, acknowledge the benefits of sand mining if the right thing is done and consideration given to the economic benefits for the island as a whole. No one believes that it is necessary to destroy everything for Isle’s Bay and Old Towne to achieve this economic activity, especially if only a few will benefit from it, while the majority of others will suffer.

These arguments have been laid before the Governor and the Chief Minister, time and time again. “…of most concern to us, is the sand mining strategy if the location of the jetty is to be at Isles Bay.

This appears contrary to the recommendations of both the Oxford and Halcrow Reports, respectively:

“We accept that there is a need for sand mining, and would support the strategy February, with the proposed jetty at Foxes Bay, and mining in the upper reaches of the Belham Valley. This would minimize the environmental disturbance and impact on residents on both sides of the valley, who generate significant revenue for the island. The jetty/road cost could also be shared with the geothermal project.”

We should note the Governor’s warning that no legislation is ignored; and the IMF’s suggestion that whatever is done must have national concensus. That of course can only be, if the nation is considered and not just a few.

We agree, that the Chief Minister and Government will be considering all the issues, in order to find the most sustainable solution that will provide the greatest long term benefit to Montserrat and to all who live, work, and visit as guests, enabling them to continue to enjoy the special qualities this beautiful island has to offer.

The Chief Minister’s comments indicated that the decision was still open, but the “talk’ is that the jetty will be sited at Isles Bay. It is this, that created much anxiety amongst residents, and indeed serious concern.

The Governor and the CM were told: “During the Oxford Report consultations, we knew not of a single resident of the 100 or so villas who is in support of the Isles Bay option.”

Some well known person, well accepted as being the largest operator of plant on Montserrat, who said Isles Bay location was better for “marine considerations” and “Safety”, as operators would need only escape via one zone and not two (zones “C” & “B”) in an emergency? Is this going to be the big influence on government?

But it is argued that, “a Halcrow report’ recommended Foxes Ray as the best location for the jetty, because a jetty in Isles Bay will require constant dredging, due to material coming down the Belharn Valley during rainfall, as well as lahars following heavy rain, which could destroy the jetty.

The biggest matter is, no decision should be taken by government, some of whom should on this issue, absent themselves from top level decision making discussions, without the full revelation of the pros and cons regarding the economic benefits for mining sand when it comes to a jetty in Isles Bay/Old Towne, as against the economic loss as a result from people having to give up on Montserrat.

We believe any such decision that destroys the well being of people in this area can have far more disastrous effect on Montserrat for many years to come. We need investors to trust the promises of the government of Montserrat.

We further believe that in the interest of transparency, before any decision, there should be a declaration of all companies, their directors, shareholders and beneficiaries, direct and indirect.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

Much and more are the opinions and concerns on the lips and minds of Montserratians, residents, friends of Montserrat and those who do not yet know but have heard of the landscape and the beauty the island called and known as Montserrat.

Naturally, while it remains a lovely place to visit, it can only remain so if those who wish to keep it that way and enjoy a life here, can feel satisfied enough that their existence and living in Montserrat can be more than mere survival. A mistake that keeps away homeowners, visitors and tourists, and more so investors will have horrendously disastrous consequences.

The issue of the Belham Valley and Mining Proposal/s is now being touted an avenue for much economic activity for the island. But the question being asked, for who? The island, Government and people for select Government officials and sand miners? Where do the rest of the people fit in.

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There are those who obviously will benefit directly from sand mining who will spare no effort to make it appear that some do not want sand mining.  The contrary is true because those who see themselves, their lives and living in jeopardy of disappearing, acknowledge the benefits of sand mining if the right thing is done and consideration given to the economic benefits for the island as a whole. No one believes that it is necessary to destroy everything for Isle’s Bay and Old Towne to achieve this economic activity, especially if only a few will benefit from it, while the majority of others will suffer.

These arguments have been laid before the Governor and the Chief Minister, time and time again. “…of most concern to us, is the sand mining strategy if the location of the jetty is to be at Isles Bay.

This appears contrary to the recommendations of both the Oxford and Halcrow Reports, respectively:

“We accept that there is a need for sand mining, and would support the strategy February, with the proposed jetty at Foxes Bay, and mining in the upper reaches of the Belham Valley. This would minimize the environmental disturbance and impact on residents on both sides of the valley, who generate significant revenue for the island. The jetty/road cost could also be shared with the geothermal project.”

We should note the Governor’s warning that no legislation is ignored; and the IMF’s suggestion that whatever is done must have national concensus. That of course can only be, if the nation is considered and not just a few.

We agree, that the Chief Minister and Government will be considering all the issues, in order to find the most sustainable solution that will provide the greatest long term benefit to Montserrat and to all who live, work, and visit as guests, enabling them to continue to enjoy the special qualities this beautiful island has to offer.

The Chief Minister’s comments indicated that the decision was still open, but the “talk’ is that the jetty will be sited at Isles Bay. It is this, that created much anxiety amongst residents, and indeed serious concern.

The Governor and the CM were told: “During the Oxford Report consultations, we knew not of a single resident of the 100 or so villas who is in support of the Isles Bay option.”

Some well known person, well accepted as being the largest operator of plant on Montserrat, who said Isles Bay location was better for “marine considerations” and “Safety”, as operators would need only escape via one zone and not two (zones “C” & “B”) in an emergency? Is this going to be the big influence on government?

But it is argued that, “a Halcrow report’ recommended Foxes Ray as the best location for the jetty, because a jetty in Isles Bay will require constant dredging, due to material coming down the Belharn Valley during rainfall, as well as lahars following heavy rain, which could destroy the jetty.

The biggest matter is, no decision should be taken by government, some of whom should on this issue, absent themselves from top level decision making discussions, without the full revelation of the pros and cons regarding the economic benefits for mining sand when it comes to a jetty in Isles Bay/Old Towne, as against the economic loss as a result from people having to give up on Montserrat.

We believe any such decision that destroys the well being of people in this area can have far more disastrous effect on Montserrat for many years to come. We need investors to trust the promises of the government of Montserrat.

We further believe that in the interest of transparency, before any decision, there should be a declaration of all companies, their directors, shareholders and beneficiaries, direct and indirect.