Categorized | Editorial, News

We must trade with the UK, from whence financial aid comes

Editorial – April 25, 2014 :

Our lead story today is about the Premier and how he hastens off once more to seek investors to satisfy the Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) in his signed undertaking with the British to find investors.

We have already alluded and spoken to the problems created by highlighting that from the beginning when he ‘smartly’ or otherwise, he agreed to a virtually impossible task of finding private sector investment to meet what the DFID (Department for International Development) and the UKG (UK Government) had already called “an ambitious undertaking”, time and time again.

Finally in February even while they are still discussing the details of the already agreed budgetary support, the UK Minister of State (DFID) all but halted the key component of the Strategic Growth Plan (SGP), Little Bay, Carrs Bay and the new town centre that would contain the major items of a resort hotel at Little Bay, villas and residences on Potato Hill, marina and port. (We have sought and obtained a copy of the Master Plan of 2013 shown with the lead story – they have so far refused to share or publicise through The Montserrat Reporter). That last fact if nothing else, highlights an ignorance that causes great harm to their very efforts of informing anyone at home and around the globe as TMR boasts more coverage than all the websites they use to promote Montserrat. It somehow suggests along with other factors, that their interests are not that of the progress and success of Montserrat.

The UK Minister might dispute the statement that he “all but halted” anything, but anyone listening to the Premier announcing his determination to have a port at Carrs Bay, and his not so straightforward explanations of the letter that his Ministers may not have seen, and how he will borrow and get the moneys to go forward, could be an indication of his own understanding.

The Minister, after reminding Premier Meade of the promises and failures, discussions of options, told him “…considerations in assessing the options were the overall costs, benefits to the people of Montserrat, (a people phrase rarely if ever used by him) risks in realising the full development plans and liabilities to GoM and UKG…assessment of the viability of investments in the Carr’s Bay port and of feasible alternative options wrote: “…without firm private sector commitment to invest in the landside components of the Little Bay master plan, it remains unclear that this project would be financially viable.”

The good thing is that the Minister said, “I remain strongly committed to Montserrat’s economic development,” then pointing out the ongoing activity in other SGP projects, such as geothermal, access and fibre optics. And, he offered that they will build some port facility in Little Bay, which minimally should ease some experienced setbacks. He said, “This breakwater will reduce the periods of downtime when the ferry is unable to berth, delivering a marked improvement in access for Montserratians and tourists alike, whilst also increasing the reliability of cargo shipments.”

No one speaks to the fact that have already been plans for a port in Little Bay which informed the Plan A master plan which was shelved in place of the accepted Plan B, which was called ambitious from the beginning.

We have already mentioned our concern that Montserrat has the promise of support from the British, but we note the Minister’s side remark about the UK, “- particularly in times of financial hardships in the UK,”  which for what we see as a decoy and an excuse for a lack of sincere and people progress leadership, the Premier mentions that frequently. Will the GoM say, “ they do not give us what we ask for.” Already they are saying UKG is going back on their word. We say that is very far from the truth.

If we know, “Powers are devolved to elected Territory Governments to the maximum extent possible,” why don’t we act in a straightforward and honest way instead of seeking to outsmart and abuse the privilege. How much do the people know that, particularly budgetary aided territories must bear what may not allow ‘enough’ autonomy? “The UK Government has a fundamental objective and responsibility for the security and good governance of the Territories flowing from international law,” is something that should be or is an asset to Montserrat. It is what should have investors rushing to our shores. It has before!

The problem is the due diligence that is required to ensure that the investors we find, can provide a clean bill. The recent letter in this issue by Prime Minister Cameron is instructive, as we were reminded in the May 2013 DFID review of the SGP. “…undertake due diligence of any commercial expression of interest in the landside development (Hotel, Villas, Marina, Commercial town etc).”

If GoM understand the foregoing and more, e.g. British Overseas Territories Law, and The UK’s main levers and powers in Territories, how much simpler can it be if the major funder is asked for the expertise to settle these issues as the search for investors, continue to fail?

 

 

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

Editorial – April 25, 2014 :

Our lead story today is about the Premier and how he hastens off once more to seek investors to satisfy the Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) in his signed undertaking with the British to find investors.

We have already alluded and spoken to the problems created by highlighting that from the beginning when he ‘smartly’ or otherwise, he agreed to a virtually impossible task of finding private sector investment to meet what the DFID (Department for International Development) and the UKG (UK Government) had already called “an ambitious undertaking”, time and time again.

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Finally in February even while they are still discussing the details of the already agreed budgetary support, the UK Minister of State (DFID) all but halted the key component of the Strategic Growth Plan (SGP), Little Bay, Carrs Bay and the new town centre that would contain the major items of a resort hotel at Little Bay, villas and residences on Potato Hill, marina and port. (We have sought and obtained a copy of the Master Plan of 2013 shown with the lead story – they have so far refused to share or publicise through The Montserrat Reporter). That last fact if nothing else, highlights an ignorance that causes great harm to their very efforts of informing anyone at home and around the globe as TMR boasts more coverage than all the websites they use to promote Montserrat. It somehow suggests along with other factors, that their interests are not that of the progress and success of Montserrat.

The UK Minister might dispute the statement that he “all but halted” anything, but anyone listening to the Premier announcing his determination to have a port at Carrs Bay, and his not so straightforward explanations of the letter that his Ministers may not have seen, and how he will borrow and get the moneys to go forward, could be an indication of his own understanding.

The Minister, after reminding Premier Meade of the promises and failures, discussions of options, told him “…considerations in assessing the options were the overall costs, benefits to the people of Montserrat, (a people phrase rarely if ever used by him) risks in realising the full development plans and liabilities to GoM and UKG…assessment of the viability of investments in the Carr’s Bay port and of feasible alternative options wrote: “…without firm private sector commitment to invest in the landside components of the Little Bay master plan, it remains unclear that this project would be financially viable.”

The good thing is that the Minister said, “I remain strongly committed to Montserrat’s economic development,” then pointing out the ongoing activity in other SGP projects, such as geothermal, access and fibre optics. And, he offered that they will build some port facility in Little Bay, which minimally should ease some experienced setbacks. He said, “This breakwater will reduce the periods of downtime when the ferry is unable to berth, delivering a marked improvement in access for Montserratians and tourists alike, whilst also increasing the reliability of cargo shipments.”

No one speaks to the fact that have already been plans for a port in Little Bay which informed the Plan A master plan which was shelved in place of the accepted Plan B, which was called ambitious from the beginning.

We have already mentioned our concern that Montserrat has the promise of support from the British, but we note the Minister’s side remark about the UK, “- particularly in times of financial hardships in the UK,”  which for what we see as a decoy and an excuse for a lack of sincere and people progress leadership, the Premier mentions that frequently. Will the GoM say, “ they do not give us what we ask for.” Already they are saying UKG is going back on their word. We say that is very far from the truth.

If we know, “Powers are devolved to elected Territory Governments to the maximum extent possible,” why don’t we act in a straightforward and honest way instead of seeking to outsmart and abuse the privilege. How much do the people know that, particularly budgetary aided territories must bear what may not allow ‘enough’ autonomy? “The UK Government has a fundamental objective and responsibility for the security and good governance of the Territories flowing from international law,” is something that should be or is an asset to Montserrat. It is what should have investors rushing to our shores. It has before!

The problem is the due diligence that is required to ensure that the investors we find, can provide a clean bill. The recent letter in this issue by Prime Minister Cameron is instructive, as we were reminded in the May 2013 DFID review of the SGP. “…undertake due diligence of any commercial expression of interest in the landside development (Hotel, Villas, Marina, Commercial town etc).”

If GoM understand the foregoing and more, e.g. British Overseas Territories Law, and The UK’s main levers and powers in Territories, how much simpler can it be if the major funder is asked for the expertise to settle these issues as the search for investors, continue to fail?