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  • PREMIER ROMEO’S STATEMENT REGARDING SHELLY HARRIS’ SUBMISSION TO THE FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE

    15th November 2018

    Over the last week, I was away on Government Business in Puerto Rico attending a tourism conference, alongside Antigua’s Minister of Tourism in our first official effort towards twinning our destinations.

     
    While there I was kept abreast of the happenings on Island and in the UK. A major issue that arose was the statements made in the submission to UK Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) by one Mrs. Shelly Harris.

     
    While, like most, I was appalled at the tone of her unfounded accusations and ill advised colonialistic suggestions, I must admit that I am not at all surprised. Her statements clearly show the sort of attitudes and influences behind the scenes that have harmed and hampered Montserrat’s progress for many years.

     
    One has only to note, how the former DfID Secretary of State and Member of the UK Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) particularly used Mrs. Shelly Harris’ statement during last week’s Foreign Affairs Committee hearings to question how aid to Montserrat is spent. This should be an eye opener to many, of how statements by a well-connected few behind closed doors can displace and discredit solid facts and evidence in support of the Government and People of Montserrat.

     
    So far, I have listened to the statements of protest and correction by many on and off Island in reaction to Mrs. Shelly Harris’ words, as submitted to the FAC. Please take note that Mrs. Shelly Harris’statement is not an isolated one, for we are well aware of ill-informed articles in the UK media which have erroneously painted Montserrat in a negative light, undermined the fiber optic project, gave incorrect news on the risk of volcanic eruptions and very recently (just a few weeks ago) gave the impression that Montserrat was on a financial services black list. This sort of misinformation has been going on for 20 plus years.
     

    Mrs. Harris has every right to use her freedom of speech, but at the same time, she like all of us must be responsible in communicating our opinion, whether as an individual or on behalf of others. Clearly, she has done a grave disservice to herself and to the people of Montserrat. It is not too late for she still has an opportunity, with careful reflection, to publicly correct and put right errors in her submission and the disrespect shown to the People of Montserrat; including degrading remarks about the public service and Non-Nationals. She owes the People of Montserrat an apology.

     
    Like many others I, too, exercised my right as Premier and as an individual to make a personal submission to the FAC. I made sure to provide evidence to support my statements which clearly show that since taking office, against great odds, this Government has taken an aggressive stance on improving legislation, policies, mechanisms and our capacity to deliver a more effective and efficient public service, which in turn would create a suitable environment for the private sector to grow us out of dependence on British aid.

     
    As Premier, I particularly insisted on the improvement in the areas of financial management, procurement and project management not only so that there would be greater accountability and efficiency in the use of all aid but so that the Government and people of Montserrat can proudly create a culture of managing our funds from here forward to when and after we stand on our own two feet.

     
    So clearly, this government continues to function after previous governments did their part as far back as the 1960’s when the Rt. Hon. William Bramble became our first Chief Minister.

     
    We have come a long way, especially over the past 23 years of volcanic activity. The Government and People of Montserrat, though we face various challenges, have many opportunities for progress. Rest assured that with God’s help, no weapon formed against the people of Montserrat will prosper and all things will work together for our good.

     
    We must not become distracted by irresponsible individuals and their statements. Let us all make good use of an opportunity to put things right and allow healing to take place.

     
    With that said, fellow citizens, residents and friends of Montserrat, I thank you.

     

  • CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS EXEMPTED FROM CUSTOMS DUTIES & TAX

    12th November 2018

    The Government of Montserrat, through a Cabinet decision, has waived the customs duties and consumption tax for Christmas decorations imported from November 1 to December 24, 2018.

     
    This directive means that items such as LED electrical Christmas light; low energy laser decorative spot light; solar powered Christmas light; Christmas tree and Christmas decorations, which arrive on the island between November 1 to December 24, will not be charged customs duties and consumption tax.

     
    However, the public is asked to note that the ‘Christmas Decorations Exemption’ programme is specifically promoting the use of energy efficient decorations, and as such the Customs Division of the Montserrat Customs and Revenue Service (MCRS) has noted that the regular incandescent light bulbs and spot lights (coloured or not) are not covered under this programme.

     
    The MCRS has indicated that importers are not required to complete a form to benefit from this exemption. Once the items arrive during the stipulated time frame and meet the energy efficiency requirements, the exemption will be automatic; the individual would only be required to sign a document which will indicate that they have benefited from the exemption.

     
    This initiative from the Government of Montserrat is intended to boost the Christmas spirit amongst residents and visitors, while at the same time, promoting energy efficiency.

     

  • CHRISTMAS BARRELS CONCESSIONS TO TAKE EFFECT NEXT WEEK

    9th November 2018

    The Government of Montserrat has approved a charge of EC$50.00 for the customs duties and consumption tax on barrels arriving on the island from November 15, 2018 to January 31, 2019.

     
    The decision, which was made by Cabinet, applies to a barrel imported during the specified time. The maximum number of barrels which can benefit from this progarmme is, two barrels for each household.

     
    However, barrels that contain a commercial item, an item for resale, a car part, an electrical item, an electronic or more than 40 ounces of alcohol will not qualify for this rate of customs duties and consumption tax.

     
    To benefit from this alteration of customs duties and consumption tax on barrels, interested persons must apply by completing the ‘APPLICATION FOR ALTERED RATE OF CUSTOMS DUTIES AND CONSUMPTION TAX ON BARREL(S) IMPORTED BETWEEN 15th November, 2018 and 31st January, 2019’ form, with the Customs and Excise Division, Montserrat Customs & Revenue Services.
     

  • MONTSERRAT TO PARTICIPATE IN FLORIDA CARIBBEAN CRUISE CONFERENCE NEXT WEEK AFTER 10-YEAR ABSENCE

    2nd November 2018

    Montserrat will participate in the upcoming ‘Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) Conference and Tradeshow’, scheduled to take place November 5th to 9th, 2018 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

     
    Montserrat’s participation this year comes after a 10-year absence and is a collaborative effort as part of the twinning initiative between the Government of Montserrat and the Government of Antigua and Barbuda.

     
    The FCCA Conference brings together over 100 cruise executives and 1,000 industry stakeholders. It is aimed at fostering a better understanding of the inner workings of the cruise industry, while at the same time, providing an opportunity for attendees to improve their cruise tourism business.

     
    The Montserrat delegation will be headed by Premier, the Honourable, Donaldson Romeo along with the Tourism Division’s Product Development Officer, Rosetta West-Gerald and Marketing Officer, Cherise Aymer, as well as a representative from Travel World International.
     

    The purpose of Montserrat’s attendance is to encourage cruise lines to make Montserrat a port of call in their 2021 cruise schedule. The Tourism Division anticipates that this will spin off towards increased ferry day-trip numbers, as some of the large cruise lines that dock in Antigua, depart as late as 8:00 p.m. which is ideal for Montserrat to target.
     

    Premier Romeo will also engage in one-to-one meetings with key cruise line officials, during which the proposed Port Development will be a major focus, as well as promoting Montserrat’s unique shore excursions.
     

    While at the FCCA conference, the Tourism Division staff will be distributing marketing collateral including brochures, answering queries and informing the attendees about packages to include visit to the Cultural Centre, the National Trust, the Montserrat Volcano Observatory, hiking tours, snorkeling and diving tours, Jack Boy Hill, Garibaldi Hill and the star attraction, the modern-day Pompeii, Plymouth.

     
    The Tourism Division will be sharing a booth with the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority at the FCCA conference. The contingent will have the opportunity to interface with many cruise executives, suppliers and tour operators.
     

  • SINGLE-USE PLASTICS IN GOVERNMENT MINISTRIES & DEPARTMENTS BANNED

    31st October 2018

    The Government of Montserrat, through Cabinet, has decided to ban the use of plastic products, such as plastic cups, plates and Styrofoam dishes in all Government Ministries and Departments by December 31, 2018.
     

    The ban is part of a Cabinet approved ‘Go Green’ initiative and is a precursor to a wider policy, aimed at ensuring that suitable steps are taken to secure an environmentally sustainable future for Montserrat. Instead of using plastic items, the ‘Go Green” initiative encourages the use of biodegradable products which are environmentally friendly and therefore reduces adverse effects to the environment.

     
    Government Ministries and Departments are now expected to investigate and identify local and other suppliers of biodegradable products to ensure compliance with the Cabinet directive.

     
    Similar initiatives have been implemented regionally and internationally to reduce the detrimental impacts on the environment, caused by the rising use of single-use or disposable plastic products.

     

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