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  • UK INSTITUTE TO PARTNER WITH THE GOVERNMENT OF MONTSERRAT ON INNOVATIVE RENEWABLE ENERGY ANALYTICS PLATFORM

    19th November 2018

    PRESS RELEASE FROM THE INSTITUTE FOR ENVIRONMENTAL ANALYTICS

     

    The IEA team meets Government officials including IEA CEO Colin McKinnon, left, IEA RE-SAT Programme Manager Dr Maria Noguer, second left, and MCWEL Minister Paul Lewis.

     
    UK-based Institute for Environmental Analytics is to partner with the Government of Montserrat to implement an innovative renewable energy analytics platform – RE-SAT – to support the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

     
    The partnership has been made possible by investment from the UK Space Agency International Partnership Programme (IPP) and reflects Montserrat’s position at the forefront of promoting clean growth. RE-SAT fuses satellite and in-situ weather data with advanced analytics to provide highly detailed renewable energy information to help users: ? Explore and define the best renewable energy mix. ? Plan where to locate different renewable energy infrastructure. ? Assess the potential financial viability of renewable energy investments. ? Estimate power production and variability, taking into account seasonal weather patterns.

     
    A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is being signed to mark the partnership between the Ministry of Communications, Works, Energy and Labour (MCWEL) and the IEA. They will work together and with other key stakeholders to tailor RE-SAT to their needs and build capacity to support its implementation, combining the IEA’s expertise with in-country knowledge and skills. Minister of Communications, Works, Energy and Labour, Paul Lewis welcomed the collaboration, saying: “The Government of Montserrat’s vision to transform to 100% renewable energy on the grid and its green connected and thriving ICT theme clearly merges ICT, telecommunications and energy agenda to create an environment for economic growth. The MoU between MCWEL and the UK-based Institute for Environmental Analytics to implement an innovative, renewable energy analytics planning platform to support the transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy is welcomed.
     

    “This tool will inform decisions pertaining to best possible energy sources and combinations, ideal energy infrastructure locations, estimated power production and variability based on seasonal weather patterns. We embrace the development and use of this tool to inform the Government and private sector renewable energy investments.

     
    “I express our gratitude to IEA and the UK Space Agency for including Montserrat as one of the six small island developing states in their International Partnership Programme. We look forward to working together in the development of our island.”

     
    Permanent Secretary Beverley Mendes added: “The Ministry of Communication, Works, Energy and Labour is pleased to have been afforded the opportunity to be at the forefront of this collaboration.

     
    The Institute for Environmental Analytics, Philip Lyle Building, University of Reading, Whiteknights Campus, Reading, Berkshire, UK RG6 6BX +44 (0) 118 378 6820 www.the-iea.org between the Government of Montserrat and UK-based, Institute for Environmental Analytics. The development and application of a renewable energy analytical planning platform will allow for more informed decisions to be made as it pertains to the investigation, implementation and improvement of renewable energy sources on Montserrat. A number of Government entities have been enlisted in the development process to ensure the platform is equipped with the necessary data. We are looking forward to working with the IEA on such an important initiative.”

     
    Colin McKinnon, CEO of the IEA, said: “By working closely with Montserrat we will provide the quality of data they need to develop a sound business case to switch to renewable sources to a far greater extent. Understanding minute-by-minute variability is a key question as it affects the requirement for reserve energy generation. However, long periods of historic observations are often not available from existing data sources. With our world-leading skills in data analytics we will use Earth observation data to construct a synthetic weather model for Montserrat to improve both the planning of renewable investment and also the management of reserve capacity. “As RE-SAT is funded by the UK Space Agency International Partnership Programme, the project runs as a true partnership, using the knowledge and expertise of our Montserrat partners. It is not a one-off consultancy exercise by a third party.” Graham Turnock, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, said: “We’re proud to support Montserrat in their transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy, which will deliver greater self-sufficiency while reducing global carbon emissions to combat climate change.” Montserrat is one of six small island developing states (SIDS) to benefit from £2.9m investment from the UK Space Agency IPP in RE-SAT. The others are: St Lucia, Mauritius, Palau, Tonga and Vanuatu.
     

  • MATLHE COLLABORATES WITH EXETER UNIVERSITY ON MICRO-PLASTIC RESEARCH PROJECT

    19th November 2018

    H.E. Governor Pearce & the Honourable David Osborne collecting samples at Carr’s Bay


     

    The Ministry of Agriculture, Trade, Lands, Housing and the Environment (MATLHE), through the Fisheries Unit, is collaborating with Exeter University in the United Kingdom on a global research project on the presence of micro-plastics at sea turtle nesting sites.
     

    The project is considered to be the world’s most extensive beach survey and includes several countries worldwide, such as Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Bahamas, Barbados, United States of America, Mexico, Australia, Costa Rica, Spain, Turkey, Italy, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, Chagos archipelago, Cape Verde, French Guinea, Ghana, Mozambique, Assateague Island, Oman and Israel.
     

    The project is in line with Montserrat’s ongoing commitments for an environmentally friendly island. The beaches selected for the pilot micro-plastic project are Woodlands Beach, Carr’s Bay and Little Bay.
     

    The aim of the project is to:
     
    1. Assemble a worldwide data set of micro plastics (1-5mm) on turtle nesting beaches that would take a global look at this issue between now and early 2020;
     
    2. To publish methods and novel results which is anticipated to advise change in policy and legislation surrounding micro plastics as well as informing further research; and
     
    3. Highlighting the high quality work done by the University of Exeter and the Rozalia Project. http://www.rozaliaproject.org/

     

    On Friday, November 17, His Excellency, Governor Andrew Pearce; Minister of Environment, the Honourable David Osborne; Head of the Governor’s Office, David Arkley; Chief Fisheries and Ocean Governance Officer, Alwyn Ponteen and 4th form Geography students of the Montserrat Secondary School (MSS) met at Carr’s Bay for the collection of samples under the project.
     

    The project, involves collecting samples from the ‘strand line’—the highest line of debris left from the retreating tide, and the ‘turtle nesting line’—a point on the path through the typical turtle nesting area. After the samples are collected, they will be sent back to Exeter University, where they will be analysed for the presence of micro plastics.
     

    The data set will be co-published with all the contributing scientists as authors and will form a baseline for the sea turtle community and oceanographers on plastic distribution globally. The dataset is expected to be shared by 2020.
     

    Micro plastics are small plastic pieces less than five millimetres long which can be harmful to our ocean and aquatic life. Micro plastic contamination of the oceans is one of the world’s most pressing environmental concerns.
     

  • TOURISM DIVISION LAUNCHES CHRISTMAS LIGHTING COMPETITION

    16th November 2018

    The Tourism Division, under the portfolio of the Office of the Premier is hosting a ‘Christmas Lighting Competition’, in an effort to boost the Christmas spirit and to give residents the chance to showcase their creativity.

     
    The ‘Christmas Lighting Competition’ is an added element of the recently introduced ‘Christmas Decoration Exemption’ programme. The programme waives the customs’ duties and consumption tax on the importation of 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, 2018.

     
    The ‘Christmas Decoration Exemption’ programme encourages energy efficient Christmas decorations which will help to keep electricity prices down for persons wishing to beautify their homes and businesses during the festive season, while at the same time allowing them to be as creative as possible.

     
    The Tourism Division is therefore encouraging householders and businesses to participate in the ‘Christmas Lighting Competition’ as this will help to beautify the island for the season, while giving participants the opportunity to win exciting prizes.

     
    More information on the competition including the Rules, Judging Criteria, Prizes and Themes will be publicized at a later date.
     

  • 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.

     

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