These are serious times

January 24, 2020 – seemingly never published online

Several Montserrat general elections have taken place within the last three months in a year, some of them in November. Perhaps because the festival time is usually around the corner and the joyousness of Christmas, while not so for some, helps to remove the concern of the complaints and promises made by the winning party especially if it was a new or an opposition party that won the elections.

This last general election took place only five weeks away from Christmas and while a few years back most Ministers would pay to publish Christmas and New Year messages, only the Premier on a few occasions have done so, while for quite some time also the Governors Christmas messages are a rarity. Jus wonderin why this is so. some say “it is because you write ‘bad’ about them. Sad eh!

So the year ended and the new one began with the new MCAP government under its victorious five-some have been spending time feeling their way around with pronouncements as to their intentions or ‘rejections’ of already ‘growth’ plans, still evident when the Premier joined in the ‘friendly’ Financial Aid Mission budgetary and ‘capital’ discussions.

Early this week, there appeared in a message this bit: I will not accept a mediocre cultural standard for Montserrat… not in insurance, not in steel band music, not in the rebuilding of a commercial and government centre, not in architecture, and certainly not in land development.” With it was an excellent youtube video of a steel orchestra band performance out of St. Vincent. So the message continued, “Every other island people play steel band music better than Montserratians.

The message prompted a response of agreement. “…our problems or needs are many, many… where is the roadmap? There was one latest 2008. Something was developed from that with changes and confinement – we know what happened! Then, the ignore and a kind of one (development) 2018 (which I didn’t read but a few lines before I got disgusted… now not a word about any of those but for the puny rhetoric that is already coming.
Who is willing to get ‘on board’ to stem the silent sufferings and quiet criticisms of ‘seemingly going nowhere’? We need to hear from our own rather than FCO/DFID what those challenges, and opportunities they refer to. It is only when those are realised, discerned, and understood that the pie in the sky hope of monies from wherever is not as easy as said.

This pretense, ‘we have to believe that is all it is,’ that especially now that Montserrat has some fairy waiting to wave a wand, rather than engaging the UK NOW as they wait on us to tell them what we see as our way forward.

Adam Pile the FCO man during the FAM press conference, “we’ve been talking to different parts of the Montserrat and government asking some quite difficult questions…but how we’re ready for the challenges and opportunities we…trying to get an understanding of the challenges people are facing and Montserrat the opportunities coming around the corner. (See the lead story in this issue on the FAM talks).

Take this and remember this from the new UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. He spelled out his thinking over foreign aid, telling the Financial Times that if “Global Britain” is going to achieve its “full and massive potential” then we must bring back the Department for International Development (DfID) to the Foreign Office. “We can’t keep spending huge sums of British taxpayers’ money as though we were some independent Scandinavian NGO.” As we now know that is already happening, with DFID and FCO. A group of important UKG officials suggested aid should “do more to serve the political and commercial interests” of Britain.

From The Guardian: “That report “called for the closure of DfID as a separate department and argued the UK should be free to define its aid spending, unconstrained by criteria set by external organisations.” It went on to assert that DfID’s purpose “should be expanded from poverty reduction to include ‘the nation’s overall strategic goals’,” and that “the Foreign Office should incorporate both DfID and the trade department.” Which, is precisely what has been put on the table.”

We believe Adam Pile who was reasonably frank in his answers to our questions at the press conference has sounded these to the Premier, his Ministers, and senior public servant officials in ‘friendly’ discussions.
The following is taken from an article By Benito Wheatley As the BVI celebrates the 70th anniversary of the Great March of 1949. “The miraculous economic transformation of the society from an agrarian economy to a premier tourist destination and international financial centre (IFC) would not have occurred without the granting of greater authority to the local Government over the islands’ affairs.”

Seriously, is Montserrat ready or even thinking about it to take that plunge?

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January 24, 2020 – seemingly never published online

Several Montserrat general elections have taken place within the last three months in a year, some of them in November. Perhaps because the festival time is usually around the corner and the joyousness of Christmas, while not so for some, helps to remove the concern of the complaints and promises made by the winning party especially if it was a new or an opposition party that won the elections.

This last general election took place only five weeks away from Christmas and while a few years back most Ministers would pay to publish Christmas and New Year messages, only the Premier on a few occasions have done so, while for quite some time also the Governors Christmas messages are a rarity. Jus wonderin why this is so. some say “it is because you write ‘bad’ about them. Sad eh!

So the year ended and the new one began with the new MCAP government under its victorious five-some have been spending time feeling their way around with pronouncements as to their intentions or ‘rejections’ of already ‘growth’ plans, still evident when the Premier joined in the ‘friendly’ Financial Aid Mission budgetary and ‘capital’ discussions.

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Early this week, there appeared in a message this bit: I will not accept a mediocre cultural standard for Montserrat… not in insurance, not in steel band music, not in the rebuilding of a commercial and government centre, not in architecture, and certainly not in land development.” With it was an excellent youtube video of a steel orchestra band performance out of St. Vincent. So the message continued, “Every other island people play steel band music better than Montserratians.

The message prompted a response of agreement. “…our problems or needs are many, many… where is the roadmap? There was one latest 2008. Something was developed from that with changes and confinement – we know what happened! Then, the ignore and a kind of one (development) 2018 (which I didn’t read but a few lines before I got disgusted… now not a word about any of those but for the puny rhetoric that is already coming.
Who is willing to get ‘on board’ to stem the silent sufferings and quiet criticisms of ‘seemingly going nowhere’? We need to hear from our own rather than FCO/DFID what those challenges, and opportunities they refer to. It is only when those are realised, discerned, and understood that the pie in the sky hope of monies from wherever is not as easy as said.

This pretense, ‘we have to believe that is all it is,’ that especially now that Montserrat has some fairy waiting to wave a wand, rather than engaging the UK NOW as they wait on us to tell them what we see as our way forward.

Adam Pile the FCO man during the FAM press conference, “we’ve been talking to different parts of the Montserrat and government asking some quite difficult questions…but how we’re ready for the challenges and opportunities we…trying to get an understanding of the challenges people are facing and Montserrat the opportunities coming around the corner. (See the lead story in this issue on the FAM talks).

Take this and remember this from the new UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. He spelled out his thinking over foreign aid, telling the Financial Times that if “Global Britain” is going to achieve its “full and massive potential” then we must bring back the Department for International Development (DfID) to the Foreign Office. “We can’t keep spending huge sums of British taxpayers’ money as though we were some independent Scandinavian NGO.” As we now know that is already happening, with DFID and FCO. A group of important UKG officials suggested aid should “do more to serve the political and commercial interests” of Britain.

From The Guardian: “That report “called for the closure of DfID as a separate department and argued the UK should be free to define its aid spending, unconstrained by criteria set by external organisations.” It went on to assert that DfID’s purpose “should be expanded from poverty reduction to include ‘the nation’s overall strategic goals’,” and that “the Foreign Office should incorporate both DfID and the trade department.” Which, is precisely what has been put on the table.”

We believe Adam Pile who was reasonably frank in his answers to our questions at the press conference has sounded these to the Premier, his Ministers, and senior public servant officials in ‘friendly’ discussions.
The following is taken from an article By Benito Wheatley As the BVI celebrates the 70th anniversary of the Great March of 1949. “The miraculous economic transformation of the society from an agrarian economy to a premier tourist destination and international financial centre (IFC) would not have occurred without the granting of greater authority to the local Government over the islands’ affairs.”

Seriously, is Montserrat ready or even thinking about it to take that plunge?