Categorized | Editorial, Local, News

What is the context in which UK support is provided?

Editorial – February 13, 2015

Presented here is what we believe is an outline of how Montserrat has so far failed in delivering. If the simple suggestion stated before elections last year and since, after GoM failed to keep its commitment to the SGP and MoU, all will bear the consequences of the ignorant.

And, it is on this background that other than seeking to find out and understand why the MDC is where it is, with a view to holding those responsible and accountable, the Government of Montserrat (GoM)/Department for International Development (DFID) task force, they just set up is a ‘waste of time’. It will not achieve much, so perhaps four weeks is not enough.

GoM committed, and (DFID) UKGovernment agreed to support as they have been saying to see Montserrat on a part for economic development. Is this all it will take, we doubt. But, it is for GoM to seek that support, some of which it gets from the European Union (EU) through the European Development Fund (EDF) for budgetary support and capacity building. That funding has been ongoing but has been misappropriated (another wrongdoing word, we know, but we feel is appropriate.)

We keep referring to the SGP and MoU (and related documents, e.g. the MDC Business Case), but so does DFID!

Here goes:

DFID: The SGP and MoU commit the GoM to a private sector-driven economic strategy aimed at increasing the private sector’s contribution to GDP from 35% to 50% by 2020. This in turn is expected to reduce budget support by moving Montserrat closer to financial independence from the UK as outlined in the Overseas Territories White Paper (2012).

Achieving this requires a complex, inter-dependent package of potential projects which include the LB/CB (Little Bay/Carrs Bay) development, investment in geothermal energy, reinstallation of a fibre optic cable link, improved sea access, and improvements in the island’s access infrastructure (primarily a new breakwater and port at Carr’s Bay). All of these are to be supported by a substantial reform programme to improve the enabling environment for sustainable socio-economic development of the island through private sector growth, governance and institutional capacity.

The key sector to be targeted for private sector investment is the high-end tourism industry with the LB/CB Master Plan including hotels, luxury residences and a marina. Most of this private investment required is due to be attracted from outside Montserrat though the MDC pursues, as appropriate, local investment potential and ensure that all development is framed within an inclusive growth context as premised in the SGP MoU.

We should state here that we and more likely the people of Montserrat did not fully support the foregoing target, the reason perhaps that the communication and consultation have been poor and misdirected. We have also said before that DFID did show their apprehension, but the partnership? We are just bad partners, I mean Montserrat.

However DFID not being exactly the right partners, anyway, played their part, went along, and so they say, having set up the MDC since 2007, and which they believed was the appropriate machinery for Government to get Montserrat on to financial viability.

With the knowledge that none since ten years ago had ever been put into action or any notable achievement of note, another Sustainable Development plan 2008 to 2020 was created. Thus in 2012 after a Strategic Growth Plan was agreed and a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signedon May 1.

The document was bogus from its mere wording, in that HMG stated its doubts and GoM signed with little intention of carrying out its commitment. From then to his departure from office, the Premier did not keep his promise to discuss the MoU concerns with the media and the people.

In presenting the following we ask what really the plan was, or was there any desire to fulfil or achieve the following?

“MDC is positioned at the heart of this overall strategy as a facilitator and project manager with responsibility for supporting foreign and local private investment potential in pursuit of sustainable socio-economic development. Implementation of the Master Plan requires effective planning, architectural, site investigation, and engineering and construction skills. The attraction of foreign direct investment (FDI) requires professional research, marketing, promotional, enquiry servicing, and negotiating skills. It also requires extensive due diligence and specific expertise in areas such as public private partnerships to manage the contingent risks and liabilities. The promotion of trade and local enterprise requires business development services. Appropriate management, delivery and private sector development capacities are therefore critical for protecting UK investment in Montserrat’s infrastructure and ensuring that it generates the intended fiscal and socio-economic impacts.”

HMG was very well aware of the Montserrat situation. This next statement was most incorrect otherwise! But did GoM believe it had the capacity, turning down all the technical help offered in the face of the foregoing. Plans are just that, even idiots make them, execution and delivery is another matter.

The problems were set out but HMG had no doubt hoped that GoM would accept their partner’s offer when they stated the following:

“The Government of Montserrat does not have the resources or institutional capaity to achieve this, nor does it have the private sector development experience required to deal credibly with foreign investors and local business. A properly resourced MDC, working at arm’s length from the Government of Montserrat and with private sector experience at Board and Executive level, is better placed to facilitate and manage the programme required.”

Did they really believe that? Was it competence that caused GHK to stumble into oblivion? Or was it that DFID didn’t themselves, not really into the business of development felt it was sufficient to merely provide money to the impoverished trying to rise out of the ashes?

There is no scope for other sources of funding for MDC’s running costs. Montserrat’s status as an Overseas Territory means that other donors consider Montserrat as the sole responsibility of HMG. This has been confirmed following MDC’s recent approaches to the World Bank Group and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Some project-related funding is possible and is being pursued but there is no scope for other donor contributions to MDC’s operating costs.

Any review need take all this into consideration, but we wonds about its composition and what has been happening so far, accepting our own foregoing questions, observations and suggestions. We do not believe like Governor Davis wants to suggest that mistakes were made. Just like the suggestion, “there is no money in it…” why the Disney proposal which could only have been a plus for Montserrat was turned down, there was money in the plans above, but “for who?”

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

Editorial – February 13, 2015

Presented here is what we believe is an outline of how Montserrat has so far failed in delivering. If the simple suggestion stated before elections last year and since, after GoM failed to keep its commitment to the SGP and MoU, all will bear the consequences of the ignorant.

And, it is on this background that other than seeking to find out and understand why the MDC is where it is, with a view to holding those responsible and accountable, the Government of Montserrat (GoM)/Department for International Development (DFID) task force, they just set up is a ‘waste of time’. It will not achieve much, so perhaps four weeks is not enough.

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GoM committed, and (DFID) UKGovernment agreed to support as they have been saying to see Montserrat on a part for economic development. Is this all it will take, we doubt. But, it is for GoM to seek that support, some of which it gets from the European Union (EU) through the European Development Fund (EDF) for budgetary support and capacity building. That funding has been ongoing but has been misappropriated (another wrongdoing word, we know, but we feel is appropriate.)

We keep referring to the SGP and MoU (and related documents, e.g. the MDC Business Case), but so does DFID!

Here goes:

DFID: The SGP and MoU commit the GoM to a private sector-driven economic strategy aimed at increasing the private sector’s contribution to GDP from 35% to 50% by 2020. This in turn is expected to reduce budget support by moving Montserrat closer to financial independence from the UK as outlined in the Overseas Territories White Paper (2012).

Achieving this requires a complex, inter-dependent package of potential projects which include the LB/CB (Little Bay/Carrs Bay) development, investment in geothermal energy, reinstallation of a fibre optic cable link, improved sea access, and improvements in the island’s access infrastructure (primarily a new breakwater and port at Carr’s Bay). All of these are to be supported by a substantial reform programme to improve the enabling environment for sustainable socio-economic development of the island through private sector growth, governance and institutional capacity.

The key sector to be targeted for private sector investment is the high-end tourism industry with the LB/CB Master Plan including hotels, luxury residences and a marina. Most of this private investment required is due to be attracted from outside Montserrat though the MDC pursues, as appropriate, local investment potential and ensure that all development is framed within an inclusive growth context as premised in the SGP MoU.

We should state here that we and more likely the people of Montserrat did not fully support the foregoing target, the reason perhaps that the communication and consultation have been poor and misdirected. We have also said before that DFID did show their apprehension, but the partnership? We are just bad partners, I mean Montserrat.

However DFID not being exactly the right partners, anyway, played their part, went along, and so they say, having set up the MDC since 2007, and which they believed was the appropriate machinery for Government to get Montserrat on to financial viability.

With the knowledge that none since ten years ago had ever been put into action or any notable achievement of note, another Sustainable Development plan 2008 to 2020 was created. Thus in 2012 after a Strategic Growth Plan was agreed and a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signedon May 1.

The document was bogus from its mere wording, in that HMG stated its doubts and GoM signed with little intention of carrying out its commitment. From then to his departure from office, the Premier did not keep his promise to discuss the MoU concerns with the media and the people.

In presenting the following we ask what really the plan was, or was there any desire to fulfil or achieve the following?

“MDC is positioned at the heart of this overall strategy as a facilitator and project manager with responsibility for supporting foreign and local private investment potential in pursuit of sustainable socio-economic development. Implementation of the Master Plan requires effective planning, architectural, site investigation, and engineering and construction skills. The attraction of foreign direct investment (FDI) requires professional research, marketing, promotional, enquiry servicing, and negotiating skills. It also requires extensive due diligence and specific expertise in areas such as public private partnerships to manage the contingent risks and liabilities. The promotion of trade and local enterprise requires business development services. Appropriate management, delivery and private sector development capacities are therefore critical for protecting UK investment in Montserrat’s infrastructure and ensuring that it generates the intended fiscal and socio-economic impacts.”

HMG was very well aware of the Montserrat situation. This next statement was most incorrect otherwise! But did GoM believe it had the capacity, turning down all the technical help offered in the face of the foregoing. Plans are just that, even idiots make them, execution and delivery is another matter.

The problems were set out but HMG had no doubt hoped that GoM would accept their partner’s offer when they stated the following:

“The Government of Montserrat does not have the resources or institutional capaity to achieve this, nor does it have the private sector development experience required to deal credibly with foreign investors and local business. A properly resourced MDC, working at arm’s length from the Government of Montserrat and with private sector experience at Board and Executive level, is better placed to facilitate and manage the programme required.”

Did they really believe that? Was it competence that caused GHK to stumble into oblivion? Or was it that DFID didn’t themselves, not really into the business of development felt it was sufficient to merely provide money to the impoverished trying to rise out of the ashes?

There is no scope for other sources of funding for MDC’s running costs. Montserrat’s status as an Overseas Territory means that other donors consider Montserrat as the sole responsibility of HMG. This has been confirmed following MDC’s recent approaches to the World Bank Group and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Some project-related funding is possible and is being pursued but there is no scope for other donor contributions to MDC’s operating costs.

Any review need take all this into consideration, but we wonds about its composition and what has been happening so far, accepting our own foregoing questions, observations and suggestions. We do not believe like Governor Davis wants to suggest that mistakes were made. Just like the suggestion, “there is no money in it…” why the Disney proposal which could only have been a plus for Montserrat was turned down, there was money in the plans above, but “for who?”