Categorized | Local, News

The Scrap Metal scandal continues to unfold

By Bennette Roach

2014-06-06-11

MUL’s power plant in Plymouth stripped of copper metal

In the ongoing investigation being conducted into the more apparent scandal of persons with or without permission, legal or otherwise, gathering valuable/old shirt scrap metal in the Exclusion Zones, in particular Plymouth and Waterworks environs, His Excellency Governor Adrian Davis has complicated his confirmation of the Hon Premier Reuben Meade’s assertion that he acted on the authority of Cabinet decisions and SR&Os.

As reported three weeks ago in the headlined story beginning on May 23 and continuing May 30, dealt with a brewing scandal which began well before the Premier’s Agreement with Caribbean Pro. Metal Ltd. to, “take away scrap metal from ‘government’ buildings”… with verification from a government official that such buildings belong to the Government of Montserrat.

The Premier, Reuben T. Meade in his response to questions surrounding the removal of scrap metal from buildings generally in Plymouth had said that via Cabinet decisions and SR&Os he gave permission to the company Caribbean Pro. Metal Ltd. as mentioned above, but government did not collect any revenue for the “valuable” (Governor’s description) that have resulted in substantial revenue to the ‘scrap metal merchants’, (also Governor’s description). The Premier had likened the material to an “old shirt” in a closet, not used but given away to anyone who could make use of it.

2014-06-06-12.06When we broke the story of the scavenging of materials from Plymouth of buildings other than Government’s, the Governor had issued a press release highlighting the issues of the lack of control on persons, as we referred to them, “who whether under the guise of authority of being there legally or illegally enter the Exclusion Zone and commit crimes removing or harvesting scrap metal and precious wire from privately owned buildings and that of Montserrat Utilities Ltd. (MUL) (the power plant and its environs). It should be noted that Public Works buildings are located in the same vicinity as MUL’s generating plant in Plymouth.

The Governor confirmed now proven otherwise in his press release of 27th May, 2014, referred to: “…Cabinet decision in late 2011, Caribbean Metal was given permission to harvest scrap metal…”, suggesting that the Premier acted on that authority when he signed the Agreement. The Governor since then has been asked, particularly by the Leader of the Opposition to provide the Cabinet decision and any accompanying SR&O as the Premier had referred.

There has been much scampering in search for the Cabinet decision to justify the Premier’s action, but on June 10, 2014, the Governor finally responds: “It appears I referenced the wrong decision in my press release of 27 May. ..I should have referenced the decision of 18 July 2013 which states that:

2014-06-06-11

MUL Power plant – switches demolished back and front

Emerald Metal  Co. Ltd (Removal of Metal Products from Exclusion Zone) Cabinet approved that Emerald Metal Co., LTD be allowed to remove metal products from the Government abandoned buildings and related properties in the exclusion zone for stockpiling and exporting to be certified by the Ministry of Finance. Cabinet also agreed that the Customs Department should put in place a mechanism for the inspection and certification of scrap metal exports from Montserrat.”

That shows that another company was given similar permission as Caribbean Metal…, but as of today no response from the Governor as to whether there does exist SR&O or cabinet decision for the Dec 20, 2011 Premier’s Agreement. The Governor did confirm at his recent press conference that Hon. Donaldson Romeo has been also asking questions on the matter and was due to visit Plymouth to see the destruction of private properties, and in particular MUL’s plant which shows that even the three relatively new engines left there since 1996 have been scavenged of material.

A tour under the guidance of Hylroy Bramble a senior officer at the electricity section of MUL showed and described the widespread destruction of equipment which facilitated the harvesting of the precious wire and metals from the entire plant and its surroundings. (see The Montserrat Reporter website and Facebook page for more pictures)

TMR learnt that about the same time the Premier had given his agreement to a company to harvest metal, David Osborne had submitted a proposal to Government to formally harvest metal from Plymouth for a return of 33% of profits to Government. Osborne said he delivered his proposal to the Premier on Jan 13, 2012 after formal discussions, but was never told that those privileges had been given elsewhere. According to Osborne when he did find out there was vehement denial and that was the source of his first real mistrust of the Premier and which led to further serious distrust and altercations and his eventual departure from MCAP.

In his letter of resignation Osborne wrote, to the Premier/leader of MCAP: “Our views on what is in the best interest of this Island, continue to differ tremendously and it is my belief that this conflict creates a divide that is not harmonious nor in keeping with the unity that connected us in the first place…The obvious disrespect and lack of care exhibited over the past year to not just 2014-06-06-12me but to the people of Montserrat, have caused me to re-think my affiliation with the MCAP …”

It is notable that while Carib Metal Pro Ltd. registered since March 2011, had received duty and tax free concessions to bring in their equipment to harvest metal in July 2011, they obtained official permission via an agreement which the Premier said he had permission to exercise until December 20, 2011. Now Governor Davis is at odds to provide the Cabinet decision claiming that he had been referring to the May 13, 2013 Cabinet decision.

Where is the Cabinet decision that the Premier claim he acted on in Dec 2011? None of his cabinet members knew of it or any agreement in Jan 2012 for the company to operate when the agreement was made for a proposal to come forward from their fellow legislator who was acting on behalf of an US concern.

The Premier said that permission was given with regards to scavenging derelict vehicles as well in 2011, and that any removal of scrap metal from private buildings was a matter for the police. The Governor agrees and points to arrests being made of persons within the last six months in the exclusion zones, while promising to provide information dating much further back.

The Governor may not have understood the question as to his involvement in the scandal, at the time perhaps two weeks ago expecting to have that Cabinet decision to support. He referred to a letter he received from Attorney David Brandt asking for an inquiry into matters relating to the removal of copper metal from Waterworks.

The Governor must be aware of this matter and the fall out therefrom involving reportedly hundreds of thousand of dollars and cases being thrown out in court. With regards to that matter he said: “… about the Waterworks Estate…we have a separate letter. If you’re talking about MUL and Lovers Lane, all we have are unspecified allegations.

There is then the eventuality of Emerald Metal Co., LTD who were also given permission for the same removal of scrap metal in Plymouth. They were registered 13 May, 2013 and owners/directors are Reuben Meade and Kharl Markham, while Caribbean Metal Pro Ltd. date of registration is 16 March, 2011 and owners/directors are Teodoro Cordero and Myrtillia Williams.

 

 

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

By Bennette Roach

2014-06-06-11

MUL’s power plant in Plymouth stripped of copper metal

In the ongoing investigation being conducted into the more apparent scandal of persons with or without permission, legal or otherwise, gathering valuable/old shirt scrap metal in the Exclusion Zones, in particular Plymouth and Waterworks environs, His Excellency Governor Adrian Davis has complicated his confirmation of the Hon Premier Reuben Meade’s assertion that he acted on the authority of Cabinet decisions and SR&Os.

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As reported three weeks ago in the headlined story beginning on May 23 and continuing May 30, dealt with a brewing scandal which began well before the Premier’s Agreement with Caribbean Pro. Metal Ltd. to, “take away scrap metal from ‘government’ buildings”… with verification from a government official that such buildings belong to the Government of Montserrat.

The Premier, Reuben T. Meade in his response to questions surrounding the removal of scrap metal from buildings generally in Plymouth had said that via Cabinet decisions and SR&Os he gave permission to the company Caribbean Pro. Metal Ltd. as mentioned above, but government did not collect any revenue for the “valuable” (Governor’s description) that have resulted in substantial revenue to the ‘scrap metal merchants’, (also Governor’s description). The Premier had likened the material to an “old shirt” in a closet, not used but given away to anyone who could make use of it.

2014-06-06-12.06When we broke the story of the scavenging of materials from Plymouth of buildings other than Government’s, the Governor had issued a press release highlighting the issues of the lack of control on persons, as we referred to them, “who whether under the guise of authority of being there legally or illegally enter the Exclusion Zone and commit crimes removing or harvesting scrap metal and precious wire from privately owned buildings and that of Montserrat Utilities Ltd. (MUL) (the power plant and its environs). It should be noted that Public Works buildings are located in the same vicinity as MUL’s generating plant in Plymouth.

The Governor confirmed now proven otherwise in his press release of 27th May, 2014, referred to: “…Cabinet decision in late 2011, Caribbean Metal was given permission to harvest scrap metal…”, suggesting that the Premier acted on that authority when he signed the Agreement. The Governor since then has been asked, particularly by the Leader of the Opposition to provide the Cabinet decision and any accompanying SR&O as the Premier had referred.

There has been much scampering in search for the Cabinet decision to justify the Premier’s action, but on June 10, 2014, the Governor finally responds: “It appears I referenced the wrong decision in my press release of 27 May. ..I should have referenced the decision of 18 July 2013 which states that:

2014-06-06-11

MUL Power plant – switches demolished back and front

Emerald Metal  Co. Ltd (Removal of Metal Products from Exclusion Zone) Cabinet approved that Emerald Metal Co., LTD be allowed to remove metal products from the Government abandoned buildings and related properties in the exclusion zone for stockpiling and exporting to be certified by the Ministry of Finance. Cabinet also agreed that the Customs Department should put in place a mechanism for the inspection and certification of scrap metal exports from Montserrat.”

That shows that another company was given similar permission as Caribbean Metal…, but as of today no response from the Governor as to whether there does exist SR&O or cabinet decision for the Dec 20, 2011 Premier’s Agreement. The Governor did confirm at his recent press conference that Hon. Donaldson Romeo has been also asking questions on the matter and was due to visit Plymouth to see the destruction of private properties, and in particular MUL’s plant which shows that even the three relatively new engines left there since 1996 have been scavenged of material.

A tour under the guidance of Hylroy Bramble a senior officer at the electricity section of MUL showed and described the widespread destruction of equipment which facilitated the harvesting of the precious wire and metals from the entire plant and its surroundings. (see The Montserrat Reporter website and Facebook page for more pictures)

TMR learnt that about the same time the Premier had given his agreement to a company to harvest metal, David Osborne had submitted a proposal to Government to formally harvest metal from Plymouth for a return of 33% of profits to Government. Osborne said he delivered his proposal to the Premier on Jan 13, 2012 after formal discussions, but was never told that those privileges had been given elsewhere. According to Osborne when he did find out there was vehement denial and that was the source of his first real mistrust of the Premier and which led to further serious distrust and altercations and his eventual departure from MCAP.

In his letter of resignation Osborne wrote, to the Premier/leader of MCAP: “Our views on what is in the best interest of this Island, continue to differ tremendously and it is my belief that this conflict creates a divide that is not harmonious nor in keeping with the unity that connected us in the first place…The obvious disrespect and lack of care exhibited over the past year to not just 2014-06-06-12me but to the people of Montserrat, have caused me to re-think my affiliation with the MCAP …”

It is notable that while Carib Metal Pro Ltd. registered since March 2011, had received duty and tax free concessions to bring in their equipment to harvest metal in July 2011, they obtained official permission via an agreement which the Premier said he had permission to exercise until December 20, 2011. Now Governor Davis is at odds to provide the Cabinet decision claiming that he had been referring to the May 13, 2013 Cabinet decision.

Where is the Cabinet decision that the Premier claim he acted on in Dec 2011? None of his cabinet members knew of it or any agreement in Jan 2012 for the company to operate when the agreement was made for a proposal to come forward from their fellow legislator who was acting on behalf of an US concern.

The Premier said that permission was given with regards to scavenging derelict vehicles as well in 2011, and that any removal of scrap metal from private buildings was a matter for the police. The Governor agrees and points to arrests being made of persons within the last six months in the exclusion zones, while promising to provide information dating much further back.

The Governor may not have understood the question as to his involvement in the scandal, at the time perhaps two weeks ago expecting to have that Cabinet decision to support. He referred to a letter he received from Attorney David Brandt asking for an inquiry into matters relating to the removal of copper metal from Waterworks.

The Governor must be aware of this matter and the fall out therefrom involving reportedly hundreds of thousand of dollars and cases being thrown out in court. With regards to that matter he said: “… about the Waterworks Estate…we have a separate letter. If you’re talking about MUL and Lovers Lane, all we have are unspecified allegations.

There is then the eventuality of Emerald Metal Co., LTD who were also given permission for the same removal of scrap metal in Plymouth. They were registered 13 May, 2013 and owners/directors are Reuben Meade and Kharl Markham, while Caribbean Metal Pro Ltd. date of registration is 16 March, 2011 and owners/directors are Teodoro Cordero and Myrtillia Williams.