27th January 2015
The Hon. Premier and Min. of Finance and Economic Development and Tourism, Donaldson Romeo has been detailing his government’s budgetary and developmental priorities.
The Government of Montserrat is meeting this week with a delegation from the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID) on the British territory’s 2015-2016 budget and other funding issues.
Listen to Premier Romeo, speaking in the Montserrat Legislative Council on Friday January 23rd, ahead of the DfID talks, outlining the challenges being faced and strategies being adopted by his new administration.
Premier Romeo’s People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) government won the September 2014 general election by a 7-2 margin over the then-incumbent Movement for Change and Prosperity led by former Premier Reuben Meade. Mr Meade is now the Leader of the Opposition.
27th January 2015
26th January 2015
Talks begin here today (26.1.15) between the Government of Montserrat (GoM) and a team from the UK Department for International Development, DFID on the planning of the 2015/2016 budget for the island.
The purpose of the five-day meeting (January 26th to 30th) is to review DFID’s budget aid support and assess the performance of the existing project portfolio.
The 2015-2016 budget is due to be presented in March.
The Honourable Premier Donaldson Romeo who is leading the talks for Montserrat says although he doesn’t expect much change in the budgetary support for the island, he will still be asking for an increase in funding to meet some of the challenges the Government faces.
Premier Romeo has been referring to UK official reports and documents which have stated Montserrat’s ‘first call’ on UK aid to underline his argument for more British support to kickstart the island’s economy.
He has pointed to key projects necessary to stimulate growth such as a new port, improving access to the island, housing and better social welfare.
DFID’s budget support to the island is ‘to meet the reasonable assistance needs of Montserrat and provide support aimed at assisting the island to achieve self-sufficiency’.
In the wake of the economic dislocation caused by the eruption of the Soufriere Hills volcano, Montserrat has been following a Sustainable Development Plan (SDP) 2008-2020, developed with DFID input, aimed at restoring economic growth and a fair and stable society.
The DFID team will comprise (for all or part of the mission) Moira Marshall (Montserrat Team Leader), Rocío Moreno Robles (Deputy Programme Manager), Douglas Winslow (Senior Economic Advisor), Siddhartha Haria (Economist), John Bowker (Infrastructure Adviser,), Martin Dawson (Resident Representative) and Richard Jones (Governance Adviser).
23rd January 2015
Miss Shirley Osborne was elected new Speaker of the Montserrat Legislative Assembly on Friday January 23rd 2015.
Click the media player to listen to the inaugural speech by Hon. Speaker Shirley Osborne.
Pictorial report of election of the new Speaker.
Dr Ingrid Buffonge, Deputy Speaker and Member of the Montserrat Legislative Assembly, presided over the opening session of the meeting.
Sir Howard Fergus, the first Speaker of the then Legislative Council, had been carrying out the functions of Speaker following the September 2014 General Election.
The Mace signifies the authority of the Speaker.
Currently, sittings of the Montserrat Legislative Assembly are held in temporary facilities at the Montserrat Cultural Centre.
22nd January 2015
Address by the Hon. Minister Responsible for the Environment, Claude Hogan, to open the Workshop on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) on 21st January 2015
The workshop was organised by The Montserrat National Trust, Department of Environment in partnership with Mike Pienkowski from the UK Overseas Territories Conservation Forum.
Honourable Ministerial Colleagues, MNT Representatives, Environmentalists,
Permanent Secretaries, DFID Representatives, Members of the Planning and Development Authority, Directors and Department Heads, Private Sector Stakeholders, Our Children, Ladies and Gentlemen
The Government of Montserrat is committed to pursuing the best environmental standards for the Island. We are aware that the island is ecologically rich, possessing species found nowhere else in the world. We are also cognizant that we as a government and people of Montserrat must be responsible stewards and strike an amenable balance between our use of available resources for ourselves and to ensure a sustainable environment and economy for the island for future generations. Our Children and their children must be certain of a share of Montserrat and that is why Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) are so important.
Infact, there are two reasons why we are frightened of what has happened with Piper’s Pond and Gun Hill. (1) We might have lost the investment potential for an inland Mariner at Piper’s Pond; and (2) the exposure to nature, say a hurricane could prove hazardous to the entire coastal area, including our infamous Marine Village. If we don’t get some coastal defences in place for that area we are looking at a greater loss by the people of Montserrat.
We need to really get the point that our prosperity is measured by every ‘nook and cranny’ of this island. We want the people living here to know that and we want our Foreign Investors to work with us to protect our prosperity for posterity.
Environmental Screening Notes, Environmental Appraisals and Environmental Impact Assessments, are the all-important decision making tools that can achieve this goal. These processes examine the likely consequences of development, and identify ways of modifying our approach to minimize negative impacts and maximise positive ones. This will ensure if not insure the future welfare and well-being of our community and guarantee the preservation of the environment and its services for generations to come. If done well, the planning tools give the public an opportunity to be a part of the process of examining the options and their consequences. Our people will also be enabled to express their opinions in an informed way. We will learn that the relocation of trees to a safe place is just not enough in relation to saving Montserrat’s biodiversity and our natural habitats. Do we know what natural means? It means God made. It means perfect. It means invaluable, because man cannot make over Montserrat’s biodiversity.
For this workshop, we are privileged to benefit from the services of an international expert in the field of Environmental Impact Assessments, Dr Jo Treweek – and we appreciate her help greatly.
The Government of Montserrat, UK Overseas Territories and the UK Government in the Joint Ministerial Council have re-affirmed their commitment to the Environment Charters and similar international commitments. It is hoped that our Government will receive the level of assistance from the UK Government to strengthen our local capacity to do what needs to be done to protect, conserve and use our natural resources wisely. I am happy that Mr Gerard Gray, our continuing Director of the Environment remains with us and I hope that he is properly under-studied as a world-class professional in this area. Mr Gray was preaching conservation and protection when the world standards and practices were being crafted, so I salute him as a Montserratian who is finally seeing the work of his year’s being finally given prominence in human development.
The Government of Montserrat and the Montserrat National Trust welcomes the continued support from NGO’s such as the UK Overseas Territories Conservation Forum who have been supporting us for the past 20 years. We look forward to this continued cooperation – and indeed for it to be strengthened even further. The MNT itself has been working in collaboration with our Ministry of Agriculture and the Environment for the past 43 long years and we thank the expatriate community for standing as stalwarts with that erstwhile body now under the esteemed Directorship of Mrs Sarita Francis. After 43 years they truly need a real Museum looking building at Little Bay, so we are supporting that quest.
The UK Conservation Forum is represented here today by its Honorary Executive Director, Dr Mike Pienkowski, and its Co-ordinator, Mrs Catherine Wensink. The Forum has organised this workshop, in association with the Montserrat National Trust and the Ministry of the Environment/Government of Montserrat. We are grateful to Mike and Catherine, whom have donated a great deal of their own time to this effort, and to the Forum we say thanks for picking up the additional costs of this workshop.
The Government of Montserrat wants to set an example in this area of sustainable development planning through the use of EIAs. We value the expert help being provided through this workshop. It will ensure that our natural heritage is considered through the planning and implementation processes, whether for housing, alternative energy, roads, communications or our proposed new hospital. I therefore urge everyone to participate purposefully to make the most of this opportunity over the next two days.
I thus have great pleasure in declaring this workshop open.
Hon Claude E S Hogan
Minister responsible for the Environment
21 January 2015