Categorized | Editorial

Where is the excitement about the lowering of the Volcano Hazard Level

Last week we hesitated to make it the big news it was supposed to be, but promoted it nevertheless. One comment to us, even suggested that it was published like it was an afterthought. Of course not, we made it prominent online at the website www.themontserratreporter.com, and as a result on The Montserrat Reporter Facebook page; and it appeared on page five (5) in the print version of the newspaper, which is usually reserved for articles, we hope would especially grab the attention of our readers.

For us the news came not unexpectedly, but surprisingly. This is so because of a question the editor had posed to the Premier two months ago about the use of south of Belham Valley – Isle’s Bay as a future solution to the now quieted, but unsettling discussion about sandmining through the Belham Valley and building a jetty at Isle’s Bay.

The response from the Premier was rather negative as he stated that his observation, while admitting the volcano is in a quiet state, “the huge block sitting over Plymouth” on the mountain at Soufriere Hills did not leave any hope in the future for the  kind of activity to take place in the zone. “Whatever consideration that is being made, Plymouth will not be an option (re sandmining activity) until we are certain the dome is sufficiently stable,” he had said.

He had also made it clear then that sandmining took place at only two locations on the island, on the east at Trants, and on the west at Belham Valley. He confirmed that no study regarding Foxes Bay was on the cards. That was in reference to the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study that was being conducted. Surely, that must ease the idea that a jetty must be built at Isle’s Bay without any other area being considered.  Now that the area has been opened up and the Plymouth jetty has come in to big focus, we ‘jus wonder’ if the EIA has now lost its relevance! Where is the EIA report? The study was completed (or cut short) as the consultant reportedly felt he had researched enough several weeks ago. but the Premier even before that had anticipated it would be completed within ten weeks.

Much has gone so quiet there seems to be no urgency to get the sandmining away from the status quo. The road traffic legislation is supposed to be close at hand, while the road project languishes and much of the money being spent anyway.

The relaxation of the exclusivity of the zone south of Belham should have brought about a lot of discussion and activity, such as a rush for the Vue Pointe Hotel to be opened again. This would woo the area residents home along with the late holiday planners who are attracted to Montserrat to hurry in. This would bring just that breath of air to an economy which would begin to make it feel like such a thing really exists.

Unfortunately there is no excitement because that sandmining and the jetty issue still hangs in the air and nothing is being said about it. Can it be there is no plan to change the status quo or the fortunes of of the less fortunate in Montserrat, no matter what? It is not easy to accept that government had no idea that there was a plan in place to relax the exclusion zone by a certain time with no new or escalating acitivity at Soufriere Hills.

That forces the big question, will Montserrat have to wait for the big plan of Little Bay Development to begin to become reality two years or so from now if planning can ever see light?

Those who believe that merely having more residents on Montserrat will change the economic landscape should remember that while the visitor, expat community can grow and that will change some aspect of the economy, the kind of population growth they look for will require an economy that provide an income to those people they expect to appear. So where is the plan to create that environment?

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

Last week we hesitated to make it the big news it was supposed to be, but promoted it nevertheless. One comment to us, even suggested that it was published like it was an afterthought. Of course not, we made it prominent online at the website www.themontserratreporter.com, and as a result on The Montserrat Reporter Facebook page; and it appeared on page five (5) in the print version of the newspaper, which is usually reserved for articles, we hope would especially grab the attention of our readers.

For us the news came not unexpectedly, but surprisingly. This is so because of a question the editor had posed to the Premier two months ago about the use of south of Belham Valley – Isle’s Bay as a future solution to the now quieted, but unsettling discussion about sandmining through the Belham Valley and building a jetty at Isle’s Bay.

The response from the Premier was rather negative as he stated that his observation, while admitting the volcano is in a quiet state, “the huge block sitting over Plymouth” on the mountain at Soufriere Hills did not leave any hope in the future for the  kind of activity to take place in the zone. “Whatever consideration that is being made, Plymouth will not be an option (re sandmining activity) until we are certain the dome is sufficiently stable,” he had said.

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He had also made it clear then that sandmining took place at only two locations on the island, on the east at Trants, and on the west at Belham Valley. He confirmed that no study regarding Foxes Bay was on the cards. That was in reference to the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study that was being conducted. Surely, that must ease the idea that a jetty must be built at Isle’s Bay without any other area being considered.  Now that the area has been opened up and the Plymouth jetty has come in to big focus, we ‘jus wonder’ if the EIA has now lost its relevance! Where is the EIA report? The study was completed (or cut short) as the consultant reportedly felt he had researched enough several weeks ago. but the Premier even before that had anticipated it would be completed within ten weeks.

Much has gone so quiet there seems to be no urgency to get the sandmining away from the status quo. The road traffic legislation is supposed to be close at hand, while the road project languishes and much of the money being spent anyway.

The relaxation of the exclusivity of the zone south of Belham should have brought about a lot of discussion and activity, such as a rush for the Vue Pointe Hotel to be opened again. This would woo the area residents home along with the late holiday planners who are attracted to Montserrat to hurry in. This would bring just that breath of air to an economy which would begin to make it feel like such a thing really exists.

Unfortunately there is no excitement because that sandmining and the jetty issue still hangs in the air and nothing is being said about it. Can it be there is no plan to change the status quo or the fortunes of of the less fortunate in Montserrat, no matter what? It is not easy to accept that government had no idea that there was a plan in place to relax the exclusion zone by a certain time with no new or escalating acitivity at Soufriere Hills.

That forces the big question, will Montserrat have to wait for the big plan of Little Bay Development to begin to become reality two years or so from now if planning can ever see light?

Those who believe that merely having more residents on Montserrat will change the economic landscape should remember that while the visitor, expat community can grow and that will change some aspect of the economy, the kind of population growth they look for will require an economy that provide an income to those people they expect to appear. So where is the plan to create that environment?