Categorized | Features, Man from Baker Hill

Three magic words: Sustainable Economic Development

By Man from Baker Hill

“Acquire The Land”! These three magic words have been the cornerstone of every successful economic and social thrust on Montserrat. We need not look back too far to see the truth of that statement.  Just consider the development of Look Out and at the Government Headquarters. We, the government, had to acquire the land first. Now consider the promise of Little Bay.  Surely, all hope for the future of Montserrat rest with Little Bay development; but the government had to acquire the land first. And no matter how or what you think about the Gerald’s Airport, it could not have been possible without land acquisition.

This article is mostly for the consideration of DFID. Not so long ago, the calypso monarch proclaimed that she would vote for DFID in any and every election because dem is de people who run dis LAN. These days I have come to accept the truth of those words. ZJB radio also makes IT ABSOLUTELY CLEAR who is in charge by making more reference to Dr. Kato’s utterances than to the writings of the editor of TMR. Without a doubt, it is apparent to all and sundry that DFID has notched up a gear or two with their direct involvement in Montserrat affairs. And that is wonderful. After all DFID pays for the music so they should dance too. And surely, they are dancing!

Clearly, there will be no meaningful development with any economic thrust unless we acquire de LAN in sufficiently adequate sizes. Then we must seek to put in the infrastructure and utilities, before construction begins. Purchasing a small plot of land at Davy Hill or Drummonds and send in bulldozer or excavator and petty contractors will never provide the economic impetus that Montserrat requires or desire. No, never!  These are merely ‘money in our pockets excursions’ or adventure into the realm of development that will always produce nightmarish concrete jungles like Manjack or Barzeys or the Chris Fenton Cudjoe Head Loop or the back of Judy Piece un-navigable hairpin bends.

To understand land and housing development, we must look back at the Beachettes development for a point of reference. Back then, the land owners joined with professional developers to create a residential environment which fifty years later is still the envy of the Leeward Islands Governments, even though some of these areas are impacted by the volcano.  Again consider the LOOK OUT development. It is the envy of every Caribbean personality who lays eyes on this Montserrat spectacle. These two developmental projects, of the distant and near past, created economic impetuses and maturity worthy of analysis by financial analysts and development economists. We must go back and study these projects and seek to understand the process of building economies and nationhood if we seriously want to create and maintain sustainable impetus to Montserrat’s economy.

Three more magic words: UNDERSTAND DE PROCESS.

It has been said, ‘knowledge is too much for a fool’. A fool will never understand anything. But Montserratians are not fools, we can absorb knowledge. We will understand the process! So educate us, please, somebody. To be sure, I would assist; but it is not the intention of this article to explain the process from land ownership to developmental projects to robust and sustainable economic activity. It is the duty of the Government to educate its citizens so that they understand the process of the art and practice of sustainable social and economic development through land acquisition. It is the government who must educate us so that we can understand the connections among projects, crown land or land acquisition, fiscal policies, taxation, the economy and social balance. The education must remove fear from the words land acquisition and leasehold property.

The Government and DFID can use the Beachettes land development and the construction boom of the Bramble’s political era to illustrate and educate on the economic benefit of single projects. I remember those days very well. The private sector was vibrant. Almost ‘everybody else’ was working at MORECO or at BURL Johnson; there was no such thing as no jobs for the school leavers.  Montserrat did not know of the word unemployment. In fact a small number of Montserratians millionaire evolved from the Beachettes development projects. A greater number of millionaires will evolve from the acquisition and development of Silver Hills. We can have massive population growth if the unused lands in the centre hills were acquired and properly developed for agriculture. Yes bring in some Haitians to work the mountains.

Three more magic words: NATIONALIZE SAND MINING.

We must nationalise the sand. We must seek help to develop a sand mining industry that can provide adequate economic benefit to the government and people of Montserrat. At present there is inadequate exploitation of the natural resource and an absolute waste of capital. We need to pay more attention to the methods and standards of reporting and accounting for sand revenues and manufacturing expenses.

by Man from Baker Hill

For the future development of Montserrat, we must acquire all the lands of Silver Hills now and do whatever it takes to add value so that there will be continuous development. We must identify the land at Blake’s Estate suitable for a future airport and acquire it now. We must identify the lands in the Centre Hills suitable for agricultural purposes and acquire them now.  We must not continue to wait for the land owners to die and then wait to join their descendants in the struggle for rights to the land.  If the land fits into the sustainable development plan for Montserrat’s future, acquire it now. It hardly matters the price DFID pays for the land; as long as value is added and development is phased, Montserrat will reap sustainable economic impetus not yet seen in this land.

And here are some more magic words.

Montserratians, do the right thing.  Montserratians wake up and understand that we must do for self. Money in our pockets will not stimulate an economy. Montserratians, co-operate with one another. Montserratians, we must form partnerships to create viable businesses and to share business risks; Montserratians, follow the Hensey Fenton Bank of Montserrat’s model.  Successful social and economic recovery is not beyond us; we will get help. We have always gotten help from the UK and DFID. Taxation presupposes adequate record keeping by residents. Seek to understand Leasehold rights!  Believe in social balance! Know that Montserrat shall overcome!

Leave a Reply

Newsletter

Archives

By Man from Baker Hill

“Acquire The Land”! These three magic words have been the cornerstone of every successful economic and social thrust on Montserrat. We need not look back too far to see the truth of that statement.  Just consider the development of Look Out and at the Government Headquarters. We, the government, had to acquire the land first. Now consider the promise of Little Bay.  Surely, all hope for the future of Montserrat rest with Little Bay development; but the government had to acquire the land first. And no matter how or what you think about the Gerald’s Airport, it could not have been possible without land acquisition.

This article is mostly for the consideration of DFID. Not so long ago, the calypso monarch proclaimed that she would vote for DFID in any and every election because dem is de people who run dis LAN. These days I have come to accept the truth of those words. ZJB radio also makes IT ABSOLUTELY CLEAR who is in charge by making more reference to Dr. Kato’s utterances than to the writings of the editor of TMR. Without a doubt, it is apparent to all and sundry that DFID has notched up a gear or two with their direct involvement in Montserrat affairs. And that is wonderful. After all DFID pays for the music so they should dance too. And surely, they are dancing!

Insert Ads Here

Clearly, there will be no meaningful development with any economic thrust unless we acquire de LAN in sufficiently adequate sizes. Then we must seek to put in the infrastructure and utilities, before construction begins. Purchasing a small plot of land at Davy Hill or Drummonds and send in bulldozer or excavator and petty contractors will never provide the economic impetus that Montserrat requires or desire. No, never!  These are merely ‘money in our pockets excursions’ or adventure into the realm of development that will always produce nightmarish concrete jungles like Manjack or Barzeys or the Chris Fenton Cudjoe Head Loop or the back of Judy Piece un-navigable hairpin bends.

To understand land and housing development, we must look back at the Beachettes development for a point of reference. Back then, the land owners joined with professional developers to create a residential environment which fifty years later is still the envy of the Leeward Islands Governments, even though some of these areas are impacted by the volcano.  Again consider the LOOK OUT development. It is the envy of every Caribbean personality who lays eyes on this Montserrat spectacle. These two developmental projects, of the distant and near past, created economic impetuses and maturity worthy of analysis by financial analysts and development economists. We must go back and study these projects and seek to understand the process of building economies and nationhood if we seriously want to create and maintain sustainable impetus to Montserrat’s economy.

Three more magic words: UNDERSTAND DE PROCESS.

It has been said, ‘knowledge is too much for a fool’. A fool will never understand anything. But Montserratians are not fools, we can absorb knowledge. We will understand the process! So educate us, please, somebody. To be sure, I would assist; but it is not the intention of this article to explain the process from land ownership to developmental projects to robust and sustainable economic activity. It is the duty of the Government to educate its citizens so that they understand the process of the art and practice of sustainable social and economic development through land acquisition. It is the government who must educate us so that we can understand the connections among projects, crown land or land acquisition, fiscal policies, taxation, the economy and social balance. The education must remove fear from the words land acquisition and leasehold property.

The Government and DFID can use the Beachettes land development and the construction boom of the Bramble’s political era to illustrate and educate on the economic benefit of single projects. I remember those days very well. The private sector was vibrant. Almost ‘everybody else’ was working at MORECO or at BURL Johnson; there was no such thing as no jobs for the school leavers.  Montserrat did not know of the word unemployment. In fact a small number of Montserratians millionaire evolved from the Beachettes development projects. A greater number of millionaires will evolve from the acquisition and development of Silver Hills. We can have massive population growth if the unused lands in the centre hills were acquired and properly developed for agriculture. Yes bring in some Haitians to work the mountains.

Three more magic words: NATIONALIZE SAND MINING.

We must nationalise the sand. We must seek help to develop a sand mining industry that can provide adequate economic benefit to the government and people of Montserrat. At present there is inadequate exploitation of the natural resource and an absolute waste of capital. We need to pay more attention to the methods and standards of reporting and accounting for sand revenues and manufacturing expenses.

by Man from Baker Hill

For the future development of Montserrat, we must acquire all the lands of Silver Hills now and do whatever it takes to add value so that there will be continuous development. We must identify the land at Blake’s Estate suitable for a future airport and acquire it now. We must identify the lands in the Centre Hills suitable for agricultural purposes and acquire them now.  We must not continue to wait for the land owners to die and then wait to join their descendants in the struggle for rights to the land.  If the land fits into the sustainable development plan for Montserrat’s future, acquire it now. It hardly matters the price DFID pays for the land; as long as value is added and development is phased, Montserrat will reap sustainable economic impetus not yet seen in this land.

And here are some more magic words.

Montserratians, do the right thing.  Montserratians wake up and understand that we must do for self. Money in our pockets will not stimulate an economy. Montserratians, co-operate with one another. Montserratians, we must form partnerships to create viable businesses and to share business risks; Montserratians, follow the Hensey Fenton Bank of Montserrat’s model.  Successful social and economic recovery is not beyond us; we will get help. We have always gotten help from the UK and DFID. Taxation presupposes adequate record keeping by residents. Seek to understand Leasehold rights!  Believe in social balance! Know that Montserrat shall overcome!