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Where is the sense of it all?

Editorial – May 15, 2015

After fully rewarding a ‘bombastic’, illegally hired and non-tax payer, Chief Executive Officer at the Montserrat Development Corporation (MDC), who boasted in the end at his golden fortune, the Government of Montserrat (GoM) terminated all the other staff, some who could and may yet claim to being unfairly dismissed.

It has been difficult to understand that although we can claim that GoM played a game carrying out DFID’s seeming instructions it was certainly up to them the methods used in ‘winding up’ the MDC. We have repeatedly said that, even taking into consideration the ‘farcical’ task force report, they did not convince anyone except GoM that it was the right thing to do, i.e. scrap the MDC. If they were serious about how they were to go forward, except that they were merely going through the motions there was little sense in their actions.

We did not find any terms whereby DFID would suspend support of aid, but one would believe that it was always available to them somewhere in Agreements with GoM. We noted however in the MOU of 20 September 2013 the following –

  1. If DFID considers that (a) There has been a failure to fulfil the commitments of this MOU

OR (b) To fulfil the commitments made under this Arrangement by the Government of Montserrat

OR (c) If any changes occur which in the opinion of DFID impair significantly the development value of the project/programme, then DFID may take any of the following actions:

signal a possible future response; change the way DFID delivers aid; delay all or part of a specific aid disbursement to the Partner Government; reduce, suspend or stop aid under this Arrangement or terminate this Arrangement under paragraph 18 of this MOU.

But there is the following: 14. Only in exceptional circumstances will DFID interrupt planned disbursements of aid within the Government of Montserrat’s financial year.

Then 18. This Arrangement including this MOU can be terminated by three months’ written notice by either Government. It is accepted nonetheless that any decision of either Government regarding termination of this Arrangement will first be subject to discussion, but any other step under paragraph 13 of this MOU may be taken meantime by DFID.

Which of these was invoked last October that brought about the Governments request to look into what went on at MDC; and who really required this, and seriously towards what end?

Then who and how did they come up with a mix of task force members who really did not do justice to Montserrat as they sought to pander in the report to cover , protect and organise advisor positions for themselves going forward.

Tourism and Trade and Investment Promotion (Agency) (TIP(A) were to be continued, but GoM terminated the two Directors, in a manner as well leaving them open to legal action for unfair dismissals.

Montserrat had been without a tourism director for nearly five years. A tourism development strategy was developed in 2012/13, one of the task force members was one of the architects.

And see this powerful item in the May 2012 MOU, and note the item on sea and air access.

Developing Montserrat as a tourist destination will be achieved through developing a clear tourism plan that drives economic growth and provides platform for sustained development. The 3rd Tourism Development Plan will be finalised by September (2012) and implementation started by February 2013. GoM will also take actions to improve sea and air access so it delivers secure access to the island and value for money to tax-payers. Activities include exploring private sector interest in running improved ferry and air services by September.

The tourism director without support from the CEO, was hired in June 2014 and immediately presented a plan to him. From all reports he never presented it to the Board until the new board was installed. In the meantime and by February 2015 tourism was in the air although she was forbidden to speak to the public (2014) except through the CEO. How idiotic. Let’s mention here the same was true for the Infrastructure director, who as far as we know ended up claiming constructive dismissal.

In the Business Case that matched the MOU for: Non Budget Support Financial Aid to support the Strengthening the Montserrat Development Corporation to Attract Private Sector Investment 2013/14 – 2016/17. We find:

Over the next three years the MDC will be expected to achieve the following results.

Create an effective, well governed, commercially credible Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (TIPA) with a strong local and international reputation.

A director was hired and things began to happen, that even when she became ill, pregnant and had to stay home from work, functioned from wherever she was, in whatever form she was allowed.

Why when these two departments are the main ones that will continue to function, according to the Premier, these two active and productive persons terminated in the acrimonious fashion they were.

None of this makes sense, like other things surrounding the MDC disaster. Some truthful answers should be forthcoming. But for the sickening culture that has been allowed to become the norm, whereby anything or anyone professional is treated in the opposite manner, it is time for action.

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Editorial – May 15, 2015

After fully rewarding a ‘bombastic’, illegally hired and non-tax payer, Chief Executive Officer at the Montserrat Development Corporation (MDC), who boasted in the end at his golden fortune, the Government of Montserrat (GoM) terminated all the other staff, some who could and may yet claim to being unfairly dismissed.

It has been difficult to understand that although we can claim that GoM played a game carrying out DFID’s seeming instructions it was certainly up to them the methods used in ‘winding up’ the MDC. We have repeatedly said that, even taking into consideration the ‘farcical’ task force report, they did not convince anyone except GoM that it was the right thing to do, i.e. scrap the MDC. If they were serious about how they were to go forward, except that they were merely going through the motions there was little sense in their actions.

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We did not find any terms whereby DFID would suspend support of aid, but one would believe that it was always available to them somewhere in Agreements with GoM. We noted however in the MOU of 20 September 2013 the following –

  1. If DFID considers that (a) There has been a failure to fulfil the commitments of this MOU

OR (b) To fulfil the commitments made under this Arrangement by the Government of Montserrat

OR (c) If any changes occur which in the opinion of DFID impair significantly the development value of the project/programme, then DFID may take any of the following actions:

signal a possible future response; change the way DFID delivers aid; delay all or part of a specific aid disbursement to the Partner Government; reduce, suspend or stop aid under this Arrangement or terminate this Arrangement under paragraph 18 of this MOU.

But there is the following: 14. Only in exceptional circumstances will DFID interrupt planned disbursements of aid within the Government of Montserrat’s financial year.

Then 18. This Arrangement including this MOU can be terminated by three months’ written notice by either Government. It is accepted nonetheless that any decision of either Government regarding termination of this Arrangement will first be subject to discussion, but any other step under paragraph 13 of this MOU may be taken meantime by DFID.

Which of these was invoked last October that brought about the Governments request to look into what went on at MDC; and who really required this, and seriously towards what end?

Then who and how did they come up with a mix of task force members who really did not do justice to Montserrat as they sought to pander in the report to cover , protect and organise advisor positions for themselves going forward.

Tourism and Trade and Investment Promotion (Agency) (TIP(A) were to be continued, but GoM terminated the two Directors, in a manner as well leaving them open to legal action for unfair dismissals.

Montserrat had been without a tourism director for nearly five years. A tourism development strategy was developed in 2012/13, one of the task force members was one of the architects.

And see this powerful item in the May 2012 MOU, and note the item on sea and air access.

Developing Montserrat as a tourist destination will be achieved through developing a clear tourism plan that drives economic growth and provides platform for sustained development. The 3rd Tourism Development Plan will be finalised by September (2012) and implementation started by February 2013. GoM will also take actions to improve sea and air access so it delivers secure access to the island and value for money to tax-payers. Activities include exploring private sector interest in running improved ferry and air services by September.

The tourism director without support from the CEO, was hired in June 2014 and immediately presented a plan to him. From all reports he never presented it to the Board until the new board was installed. In the meantime and by February 2015 tourism was in the air although she was forbidden to speak to the public (2014) except through the CEO. How idiotic. Let’s mention here the same was true for the Infrastructure director, who as far as we know ended up claiming constructive dismissal.

In the Business Case that matched the MOU for: Non Budget Support Financial Aid to support the Strengthening the Montserrat Development Corporation to Attract Private Sector Investment 2013/14 – 2016/17. We find:

Over the next three years the MDC will be expected to achieve the following results.

Create an effective, well governed, commercially credible Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (TIPA) with a strong local and international reputation.

A director was hired and things began to happen, that even when she became ill, pregnant and had to stay home from work, functioned from wherever she was, in whatever form she was allowed.

Why when these two departments are the main ones that will continue to function, according to the Premier, these two active and productive persons terminated in the acrimonious fashion they were.

None of this makes sense, like other things surrounding the MDC disaster. Some truthful answers should be forthcoming. But for the sickening culture that has been allowed to become the norm, whereby anything or anyone professional is treated in the opposite manner, it is time for action.