Categorized | Editorial, News

Unprepared, but understand the problems, the facts…

Editorial – June 19, 2015 :

It is tiring and often disheartening to hear the ‘ignorance’ (pardon the seeming overuse of the word) that prevail from all quarters of the community, and not surprisingly, the Diaspora as well. Ignorance because it is difficult to believe that they comments are mistaken ones, when it is possible that there are genuine reasons for the distrust, be it in UK Government or even Government of Montserrat (GoM). The issue therefore is the context in which some of the comments are made.

Why should it continually be said, general comments such as DFID or UKG has no interest in Montserrat’s development, or they are moving the goal posts, or softer but equally weighted, they continue to stall… There are those serious people who provide reasons. And while you don’t have to agree, on discussion it is found that some where GoM can hardly press home the point.

Let’s get to the recent past, two to three years back. Now if the persons making the comments do not know some of the things, the conditions, the circumstances, the facts, it is not at all fair to talk on serious issues as the development and welfare of Montserrat in those terms.

Since the signing of the 2012 MOU – DFID Ministers have said that they will consider major strategic investments in Montserrat where these are financially and economically justified, and where these investments can put Montserrat on a faster path to financial self-sufficiency.

A look or a study at repeated discussions, the many letters on the Sustainable Development Plan and the subsequent Strategic Growth Plan (SGP), beginning from the signing of the May 2012 MOU, six months later:

“DFID Ministers have said that they will consider major strategic investments in Montserrat where these are financially and economically justified, and where these investments can put Montserrat on a faster path to financial self-sufficiency.“

Note the new MDC support: Strengthen the Montserrat Development Corporation to attract public and private sector investment in Little Bay / Carr’s Bay (Initial phase: 2012-13)

What support will the UK provide?

The UK will provide up to the lower of EC$ 5.838m and £1.39m to (i) strengthen the Montserrat Development Corporation (MDC) over the design and marketing phase – July 2012 to June 2013 – of the Little Bay / Carr’s Bay development and (ii) strengthen the Private Sector Development (PSD) capacity within the MDC and the Government of Montserrat (GoM). If the Little Bay town / Carr’s Bay port development proceeds, the MDC may require further support until the MDC becomes self-financing.

If so, this will be considered within a business case to be prepared and submitted in early 2013.

This they did – “The UK will provide up to the lower of £4.68m and ECD19.2m over the period August 2013 to June 2016 to support the Montserrat Development Corporation (MDC) in stimulating local and international private investment in the economic development of Montserrat.” And so it was the current worsening of our economic disaster was born…setting the rock back…

A further six months later: “The visit was significant because it clarified the way forward on SGP in a number of areas…work required to implement the other components of the SGP – geothermal, access, and fibre optic cable.”

All of this in addition to the support on meeting the commitments for the development of Little Bay/Carrs Bay. And tourism which can be linked to ‘access’ .

Whenever there was a question asked of DFID regarding the progress or lack thereof regarding the LB/Carrs Bay development, we were constantly reminded of the geothermal, fibre optics and tourism initiatives. All this time of course Montserrat is suffering through the new power plant project to provide stable electricity, (though not cheaper, waiting meantime for geothermal!).

All of these were part of the MDC mandate which also included the raising of the private sector and enterprises on the island. There was work to be done and a plan for the development of Montserrat. But there were also kinks in the works and the plans that must be addressed.

What was the agenda, the motive of our governments to refuse all the technical assistance (specific) being offered to meet the objectives and goals?

Read along with these all the Aide Memoirs from 2012.

Coming out of a Caribbean Growth Forum this past week, World Bank and CDB promoted: “While Caribbean economies recently adopted a record number of reforms improving the local business regulatory climate, exporting firms remain affected by the limited access to electricity, telecommunication and transport services, and the need for policies to further promote technology capability and innovation. More efforts are needed to improve skills and access to infrastructure and finance,” the World Bank said.

Can we see that Montserrat was ahead of the game? Can anyone faced with the support promised to take these forward, complain when these were not achieved, understanding (keyword) the problems?

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

Editorial – June 19, 2015 :

It is tiring and often disheartening to hear the ‘ignorance’ (pardon the seeming overuse of the word) that prevail from all quarters of the community, and not surprisingly, the Diaspora as well. Ignorance because it is difficult to believe that they comments are mistaken ones, when it is possible that there are genuine reasons for the distrust, be it in UK Government or even Government of Montserrat (GoM). The issue therefore is the context in which some of the comments are made.

Why should it continually be said, general comments such as DFID or UKG has no interest in Montserrat’s development, or they are moving the goal posts, or softer but equally weighted, they continue to stall… There are those serious people who provide reasons. And while you don’t have to agree, on discussion it is found that some where GoM can hardly press home the point.

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Let’s get to the recent past, two to three years back. Now if the persons making the comments do not know some of the things, the conditions, the circumstances, the facts, it is not at all fair to talk on serious issues as the development and welfare of Montserrat in those terms.

Since the signing of the 2012 MOU – DFID Ministers have said that they will consider major strategic investments in Montserrat where these are financially and economically justified, and where these investments can put Montserrat on a faster path to financial self-sufficiency.

A look or a study at repeated discussions, the many letters on the Sustainable Development Plan and the subsequent Strategic Growth Plan (SGP), beginning from the signing of the May 2012 MOU, six months later:

“DFID Ministers have said that they will consider major strategic investments in Montserrat where these are financially and economically justified, and where these investments can put Montserrat on a faster path to financial self-sufficiency.“

Note the new MDC support: Strengthen the Montserrat Development Corporation to attract public and private sector investment in Little Bay / Carr’s Bay (Initial phase: 2012-13)

What support will the UK provide?

The UK will provide up to the lower of EC$ 5.838m and £1.39m to (i) strengthen the Montserrat Development Corporation (MDC) over the design and marketing phase – July 2012 to June 2013 – of the Little Bay / Carr’s Bay development and (ii) strengthen the Private Sector Development (PSD) capacity within the MDC and the Government of Montserrat (GoM). If the Little Bay town / Carr’s Bay port development proceeds, the MDC may require further support until the MDC becomes self-financing.

If so, this will be considered within a business case to be prepared and submitted in early 2013.

This they did – “The UK will provide up to the lower of £4.68m and ECD19.2m over the period August 2013 to June 2016 to support the Montserrat Development Corporation (MDC) in stimulating local and international private investment in the economic development of Montserrat.” And so it was the current worsening of our economic disaster was born…setting the rock back…

A further six months later: “The visit was significant because it clarified the way forward on SGP in a number of areas…work required to implement the other components of the SGP – geothermal, access, and fibre optic cable.”

All of this in addition to the support on meeting the commitments for the development of Little Bay/Carrs Bay. And tourism which can be linked to ‘access’ .

Whenever there was a question asked of DFID regarding the progress or lack thereof regarding the LB/Carrs Bay development, we were constantly reminded of the geothermal, fibre optics and tourism initiatives. All this time of course Montserrat is suffering through the new power plant project to provide stable electricity, (though not cheaper, waiting meantime for geothermal!).

All of these were part of the MDC mandate which also included the raising of the private sector and enterprises on the island. There was work to be done and a plan for the development of Montserrat. But there were also kinks in the works and the plans that must be addressed.

What was the agenda, the motive of our governments to refuse all the technical assistance (specific) being offered to meet the objectives and goals?

Read along with these all the Aide Memoirs from 2012.

Coming out of a Caribbean Growth Forum this past week, World Bank and CDB promoted: “While Caribbean economies recently adopted a record number of reforms improving the local business regulatory climate, exporting firms remain affected by the limited access to electricity, telecommunication and transport services, and the need for policies to further promote technology capability and innovation. More efforts are needed to improve skills and access to infrastructure and finance,” the World Bank said.

Can we see that Montserrat was ahead of the game? Can anyone faced with the support promised to take these forward, complain when these were not achieved, understanding (keyword) the problems?