Categorized | Editorial

They will find MDC the best, but for greed, mediocrity and ignorance

Editorial – March 27, 2015 :

If there was anything unusual about the 2015/16 Budget presentation and debate it was the near absence of the word MDC (Montserrat Development Corporation).

We had mentioned in an earlier Editorial this year, which was captioned “There is nothing wrong with the MDC, clean it up”. In it we mentioned that we could not remember any series of stories in the newspaper that had received as much interest and attention at the beginning as these stories.

Everyone is now familiar with the fact that the new Government had changed the Board of Directors, that although the Governor initially appeared to suggest that the Board was dismissed/changed as the result of a report or reports concerning the activities and functioning of the MDC, that was not his intention to do.

But very soon the Government after announcing the closure of most of the projects being carried on at or by the MDC, appointed a Task Force to carry out a Review of the MDC, pointing out at the end of the Review, having not publicized the report for at least two weeks, that Task Force did not conduct an Investigation.

While most might have figured there was something wrong, the Governor went on record saying ‘there was nothing sinister’ going on at the MDC. We argued that there were wrong doings that would fit being sinister while he was arguing that if even there was wrong doing they were not criminal actions as more to do with errors and even ignorance. He argued that strongly with regards to the Procurement problems while we disagreed.

In the Reuben Meade 2013/14 Budget there little said about it other than mention of some of the activities it was about to undertake like it has established a One-Stop Shop to facilitate inward investors; and, “the MDC has received interesting proposals for various development undertakings but we must evaluate them properly.”

But with all that happening with the MDC the government did not mention it and the Opposition mentioned it asking ‘why we can’t hear anything about MDC?’, also criticizing an allocation of $2million for the MDC, and the hiring of the interim chairman who had been let go from the MDC for non-performance.

We still believe however that the MDC as the catalyst for development is the perfect animal. That it was in some way abused or misused as we have been pointing out has only to do with its governance and management.

Over five years ago we observed to DFID that Montserrat suffers from a lack of knowledge of how boards should function and that they should organize some training sessions for all boards on Montserrat. From cabinet to the smallest committee of the least significant organization, government, church or otherwise.

We wager that much that will come out of that Review has to do with the governance, that they just did not follow the bye-laws even though there has been some achievement, much was done ‘illegally’.

In the budget presentation of 2003, we found this: “Government has agreed an overall master plan for the development of Little Bay. It is anticipated that this area will be developed mainly as a tourist and entertainment area. There will be civic and commercial buildings along with middle and high-income housing. In an effort to facilitate private sector development, government is willing to allocate lands at Little Bay for investment. These allocations will be based on private sector led proposals (including concepts and drawings) given that government’s finances are limited.

Interesting! What delayed this the organisation. We still say they will find very little wrong if anything with the MDC. Whatever they propose, it must never be to have government Ministries and Departments running them. The board structure may need a serious look over; and if the politics is interfering, as shareholders the Ministers maintain the power.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

Editorial – March 27, 2015 :

If there was anything unusual about the 2015/16 Budget presentation and debate it was the near absence of the word MDC (Montserrat Development Corporation).

We had mentioned in an earlier Editorial this year, which was captioned “There is nothing wrong with the MDC, clean it up”. In it we mentioned that we could not remember any series of stories in the newspaper that had received as much interest and attention at the beginning as these stories.

Everyone is now familiar with the fact that the new Government had changed the Board of Directors, that although the Governor initially appeared to suggest that the Board was dismissed/changed as the result of a report or reports concerning the activities and functioning of the MDC, that was not his intention to do.

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But very soon the Government after announcing the closure of most of the projects being carried on at or by the MDC, appointed a Task Force to carry out a Review of the MDC, pointing out at the end of the Review, having not publicized the report for at least two weeks, that Task Force did not conduct an Investigation.

While most might have figured there was something wrong, the Governor went on record saying ‘there was nothing sinister’ going on at the MDC. We argued that there were wrong doings that would fit being sinister while he was arguing that if even there was wrong doing they were not criminal actions as more to do with errors and even ignorance. He argued that strongly with regards to the Procurement problems while we disagreed.

In the Reuben Meade 2013/14 Budget there little said about it other than mention of some of the activities it was about to undertake like it has established a One-Stop Shop to facilitate inward investors; and, “the MDC has received interesting proposals for various development undertakings but we must evaluate them properly.”

But with all that happening with the MDC the government did not mention it and the Opposition mentioned it asking ‘why we can’t hear anything about MDC?’, also criticizing an allocation of $2million for the MDC, and the hiring of the interim chairman who had been let go from the MDC for non-performance.

We still believe however that the MDC as the catalyst for development is the perfect animal. That it was in some way abused or misused as we have been pointing out has only to do with its governance and management.

Over five years ago we observed to DFID that Montserrat suffers from a lack of knowledge of how boards should function and that they should organize some training sessions for all boards on Montserrat. From cabinet to the smallest committee of the least significant organization, government, church or otherwise.

We wager that much that will come out of that Review has to do with the governance, that they just did not follow the bye-laws even though there has been some achievement, much was done ‘illegally’.

In the budget presentation of 2003, we found this: “Government has agreed an overall master plan for the development of Little Bay. It is anticipated that this area will be developed mainly as a tourist and entertainment area. There will be civic and commercial buildings along with middle and high-income housing. In an effort to facilitate private sector development, government is willing to allocate lands at Little Bay for investment. These allocations will be based on private sector led proposals (including concepts and drawings) given that government’s finances are limited.

Interesting! What delayed this the organisation. We still say they will find very little wrong if anything with the MDC. Whatever they propose, it must never be to have government Ministries and Departments running them. The board structure may need a serious look over; and if the politics is interfering, as shareholders the Ministers maintain the power.