Categorized | Editorial, Local

There must be a game, but who is playing, the accuser or the accused?

Editorial – April 12, 2013

Prior to writing our editorial of last issue, we had learned the reason why the feedback flowing to us after the budget and the ensuing Legislative Assembly debate, was somewhat low-key  and questionable.

We had known that something was not all right, but could not confirm until after the budget debate that DFID had not agreed on the level of budgetary aid that Montserrat would enjoy for 2013/14 and that to satisfy legislation, the Minister of Finance, Premier Meade would have to do something. That did not have to be the one he chose which was to pretend or mislead his people that he was presenting an honest to goodness budget, that would have to undergo modifications throughout the year.

No one would tell us exactly what the Premier’s plans or thoughts were, maybe no one knows, since that seems to be a kind of pattern, as he does continue in many ways his one-manism. What we do know is that DFID had issued what they call an ‘Aid Memoire’ which set out the reason why they had obviously, not up to near budget day conveyed to the government anything different to what they said. “The DFID team left Montserrat unable to provide GoM with conclusive findings or an indication of the budget aid settlement for 2013/14.”

They left Montserrat very early February and while we have not been able to date the Aid Memoire, it was believed to  have been generated by late February and it was conveyed to the Premier, who did not share with top stakeholders, other leaders of government. DFID in that document did state, “This is likely to result in GoM putting a temporary budget before the Legislative Assembly to ensure funds remain available to Ministries when the new financial year starts.”

We know and DFID has confirmed they DO NOT tell the Montserrat elected Government what to do. That will not be admitted on one side or the other. We understand that there are some issues and matters that ought not to be shared world-wide but call that the above dishonest, at the least not transparent. There are just some things that should be shared with the people, since it would help the management of the country, which that Aid document shows to be wanting.

This is not to say there is no management or no leadership It is simply that what is being said with the lips and the actions much of the time is not in keeping with what most will say is for the genuine good of the country, but rather for what is called to be kind, ‘special interests’.

It is difficult to adhere to ‘certain’ pressures, when you have to depend on more than 50%  as is required to balance the recurrent budget. But the truth of the matter is, when that pressure is because you do not keep your side of agreements and responsibilities, it is not difficult to find “it only gets worse”. One thing that we will find is that DFID will always lean back and admit as they have done before, that it sometimes take too much time to get some things done. Others are simply unavoidable and we have heard our Premier accede to that.

However, when we learn that Montserrat, for many years have not accessed offers of assistance to improve our capacity with technical help, filling key posts, is it not more than likely that we will not be able to provide as DFID says we have not,  “all of the information and documents required to allow the review team to fully assess budget and revenue performance in 2012/13 and GoM’s forecasts for 2013/14 and beyond”?

The answer that is needed, especially when considers that this has been going on for years, why is this allowed to continue? If you ask this of DFID reps and the Governor, as we have, you hear of the of the reasons and excuses of the ‘reality’ why these situations ‘continue’ to exist. The question we must ask, why would these appear as issues in an Aide Memoire as observations or complaints of Montserrat’s non-cooperation, refusal, or just the government’s desire to do something their own way or simply do not agree?

One government official while not responding to the fact that the budget was somewhat of a ‘farce’ said that Government was concentrating on the capital budget which gives them ability to put the private sector to work and do something towards improving the economy. Sounds good, if however that really is so, and it is not only going to serve special interests, and the insider trading that is so popular. But, who is going to manage the capital budget and make it a success, if we do not access much more than 30% of the technical assistance, both short term and long term, as well as fill the key posts in the public sector?

Much more need and can be said and expansion, so let’s keep sounding. What is the game and who are playing? What are the stakes, or who?

 

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

Editorial – April 12, 2013

Prior to writing our editorial of last issue, we had learned the reason why the feedback flowing to us after the budget and the ensuing Legislative Assembly debate, was somewhat low-key  and questionable.

We had known that something was not all right, but could not confirm until after the budget debate that DFID had not agreed on the level of budgetary aid that Montserrat would enjoy for 2013/14 and that to satisfy legislation, the Minister of Finance, Premier Meade would have to do something. That did not have to be the one he chose which was to pretend or mislead his people that he was presenting an honest to goodness budget, that would have to undergo modifications throughout the year.

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No one would tell us exactly what the Premier’s plans or thoughts were, maybe no one knows, since that seems to be a kind of pattern, as he does continue in many ways his one-manism. What we do know is that DFID had issued what they call an ‘Aid Memoire’ which set out the reason why they had obviously, not up to near budget day conveyed to the government anything different to what they said. “The DFID team left Montserrat unable to provide GoM with conclusive findings or an indication of the budget aid settlement for 2013/14.”

They left Montserrat very early February and while we have not been able to date the Aid Memoire, it was believed to  have been generated by late February and it was conveyed to the Premier, who did not share with top stakeholders, other leaders of government. DFID in that document did state, “This is likely to result in GoM putting a temporary budget before the Legislative Assembly to ensure funds remain available to Ministries when the new financial year starts.”

We know and DFID has confirmed they DO NOT tell the Montserrat elected Government what to do. That will not be admitted on one side or the other. We understand that there are some issues and matters that ought not to be shared world-wide but call that the above dishonest, at the least not transparent. There are just some things that should be shared with the people, since it would help the management of the country, which that Aid document shows to be wanting.

This is not to say there is no management or no leadership It is simply that what is being said with the lips and the actions much of the time is not in keeping with what most will say is for the genuine good of the country, but rather for what is called to be kind, ‘special interests’.

It is difficult to adhere to ‘certain’ pressures, when you have to depend on more than 50%  as is required to balance the recurrent budget. But the truth of the matter is, when that pressure is because you do not keep your side of agreements and responsibilities, it is not difficult to find “it only gets worse”. One thing that we will find is that DFID will always lean back and admit as they have done before, that it sometimes take too much time to get some things done. Others are simply unavoidable and we have heard our Premier accede to that.

However, when we learn that Montserrat, for many years have not accessed offers of assistance to improve our capacity with technical help, filling key posts, is it not more than likely that we will not be able to provide as DFID says we have not,  “all of the information and documents required to allow the review team to fully assess budget and revenue performance in 2012/13 and GoM’s forecasts for 2013/14 and beyond”?

The answer that is needed, especially when considers that this has been going on for years, why is this allowed to continue? If you ask this of DFID reps and the Governor, as we have, you hear of the of the reasons and excuses of the ‘reality’ why these situations ‘continue’ to exist. The question we must ask, why would these appear as issues in an Aide Memoire as observations or complaints of Montserrat’s non-cooperation, refusal, or just the government’s desire to do something their own way or simply do not agree?

One government official while not responding to the fact that the budget was somewhat of a ‘farce’ said that Government was concentrating on the capital budget which gives them ability to put the private sector to work and do something towards improving the economy. Sounds good, if however that really is so, and it is not only going to serve special interests, and the insider trading that is so popular. But, who is going to manage the capital budget and make it a success, if we do not access much more than 30% of the technical assistance, both short term and long term, as well as fill the key posts in the public sector?

Much more need and can be said and expansion, so let’s keep sounding. What is the game and who are playing? What are the stakes, or who?