30th December 2016
The following press release was sent on 29th, December 2016 from the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) on the passing of the Honourable Sir K Dwight Venner.
Basseterre, St Kitts, 29 December 2016
Lady Lynda Venner, widow of The Honourable Sir K Dwight Venner, former Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) has advised that the funeral service for Sir Dwight will be held at 2:00 p.m. on 4 January 2017, at the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, Castries, Saint Lucia.
The Government of Saint Lucia has advised that Sir Dwight will be accorded an official funeral where the members of the ECCB Monetary Council, Board of Directors and Executive Committee will be in attendance.
As part of honouring Sir Dwight, the ECCB has undertaken the following:
28th December 2016
Christmas Message 2016
The following Christmas message was released on December 25, 2016.
By: Honourable Premier, Donaldson Romeo
Fellow citizens, residents and friends of Montserrat, greetings.
During this season of hope, I want to wish everyone a peaceful and joyous Christmas and a bright and prosperous 2017 when it comes.
This time of festivities & worship should serve as a reminder of why we celebrate the birth of Christ. Christmas has become one of the busiest times of the year but let us not forget the true meaning of the Christmas season – the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ and the blessings of God’s love for all of us. Therefore, as we celebrate Christmas with friends and families, let the message of Christmas be at the centre of it all. His message for all the world is one of love and peace and goodwill to all.
As I reflect on the past year I have been deeply impressed by many in the community including public servants, private individuals and organisations, Non-Government organisations and Ministers of the Gospel, who have embodied the Christmas message of peace and goodwill and have reached out to those who need comfort, encouragement and support; and into whose lives the investment of your time and treasure have made a difference for good.
It is also important, especially at this time of the year that we give thanks to the many hardworking Doctors, nurses and staff of health services, social care, police officers, fire fighters, security and emergency services’ staff, carers and volunteers who will be working over the festive period. Your dedication and commitment is very much appreciated.
I must also, thank Montserratians living abroad for the unfailing support you have given in one form or another to advance Montserrat throughout this past year. To the many persons who have returned home to be with their families and loved ones at this time of the year, I wish to say welcome and thank you for coming.
We must also say thank you to Her Majesty’s Government, the Department for International Development and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in particular for their continued support. For 2017 we hope to see the establishment of a joint vision and strategy that promotes high value capital investments which would ultimately lead to continued prosperity, growth and social development on island.
Thanks and best wishes to all, young and old, who assists the GoM in touching the lives of the people on Montserrat. Together you are the hands and feet of Jesus and we appreciate the selfless contribution to society. With Christ’s spirit and power, and together with one united vision and purpose for the good of all, all things are possible.
It is for this reason that I am confident that each and all of us can look forward to 2017 with much hope & optimism.
So, as we look back at the year that has passed and as the New Year comes into view, let us come together and remember that there is far more that unites us than divides us. In offering my best wishes for you and your loved ones this Christmas, amidst the merriment and gatherings with family, friends and those in need, may we all reflect on the true meaning of the hope represented by the Season and commit ourselves afresh in this mission to build Montserrat’s future, the land we love.
Let us commit to make 2017 a year that unites us around one common purpose – to help each other lead the lives we want to lead, and to continue building a better Montserrat for all. We do have much reason to be proud as Montserratians, for we have accomplished great things, against difficult odds at times.
Merry Christmas one and all! Wishing you peace, love, joy and hope this holiday season.
May God Bless each and every one of you and may God continue to bless Montserrat.
19th December 2016
The following speech was delivered by the Honourable Deputy Premier, Delmaude Ryan at the Opening of the 2016 Agri-Expo on December 15th, 2016
Today is what we are hoping would be a turning point in the Agricultural sector in Montserrat , as the Ministry of Agriculture launches its agricultural strategy & marketing plan 2016-2021 and celebrate the work of farmers.
Putting together this plan, based on the feedback from those who participated, was painstaking and rigorous. This was so because great care was taken by the Ministry to ensure that the views of many stakeholders, not least those of the farmers and producers were included.
The development of this strategy comes at a critical time for agriculture in Montserrat. Montserrat, historically, was known as the breadbasket of the Leeward Islands (much like Dominica today); supplying fresh food to neighboring islands like Antigua & Barbuda, St Kitts and Nevis and as far as Curacao, for potatoes, tomatoes and tamarind and even peppers to Trinidad.
Agriculture maintained a 3% contribution to the islands growth between 1983 and 1995. Although the industry declined over the years due to migration and a lack of interest by the younger generation, it was experiencing a rebirth in the 1990’s before the volcanic crisis began. The crisis as we know, our best farm lands in the central corridor and in the East inaccessible and reduced the acreage available to agricultural production.
Farming for those farmers, who remained was challenging, given the topography of the land, soil quality and the threats of effects of the volcanic activity such as acid rains. The fishers has also had their share of challenges, with reduction in the designated fishing boundaries; and fishing storage infrastructure being destroyed.
How do we overcome such challenges?
This agricultural and marketing strategy is a step in the right direction in establishing a point of reference to monitor Government of Montserrat’s commitment in strengthening and repositioning the agricultural sector.
Perfecting the use of new technology in farming and fishing is a must, if we are to make agriculture sustainable in the North of the island. Engaging the youth in agriculture as a viable career and business aids the sustainability of the sector, and the value added to fruits vegetables and meats improves our competitiveness in the region and beyond. It is a known fact that access to markets are critical to the survival of the industry, and this is what this strategy seeks to do.
The strategy also responds to the call to our islands vision of a wholesome and healthy Montserrat. If we eat more of what we grow, rare and catch, we are sure on our way to being healthier.
We as households must also heed the call to be active back yard gardeners. Planting crops at the back or around the house has significant benefits including increased access to fresh food, improving food security and nutrition, and being a tool for sustainable development and local food production.
I therefore join the call for our supermarkets to accept more locally grown foods and products, which to my mind are of equal or better quality than those imported.
You the farmers must also play your part by being more consistent in the supplies of vegetables, meat and fish.
Yes, we are part of the OECS and CARICOM and support the free movement of goods. However, our government’s vision is to see more of our locally grown foods on our supermarket shelves and shops, thereby decreasing the amount of food that is imported into this country.
It is my firm belief that this agricultural exposition and the strategy and marketing plan are designed to make this vision a reality, which takes you and me to bring it alive.
Let’s eat fresh and stay healthy!!
Photos by ZJB Radio Montserrat, found on the Spirit of Montserrat Facebook page.
9th December 2016
SCRAPPY RELEASES EDUCATIONAL APP FOR CHILDREN
Soca artist, Gavin ‘Scrappy’ Johnson, has teamed up with Brazilian app designer Nicole Dantas to produce an app for his charity R.E.A.D (Reward Education And Determination). The app is a brain training game to help develop children’s memory through play. It allows you to test your memory by matching cards and gives your short term memory a good developmental workout, all while having fun. The app features Oliver Oriole, R.E.A.D’s mascot; a friendly Oriole who teaches children fundamental literacy and numeracy skills.
“Right now I am really focused on establishing my charity”, expressed Mr. Johnson. “I know in this day and age, we have a lot of access to tech stuff and I think that if we can give our kids something that they can relate to and still educate themselves then we are future-proofing our generations to come. I am a firm believer in knowledge being power, so I am aiming to contribute to the educational development of our youths.”
The app, which launched on October 31st 2016, is available for free download on all android devices for a limited time.
9th December 2016
FINANCIAL AID MISSION (FAM) 2016
SPEECH BY THE HONOURABLE PREMIER, DONALDSON ROMEO
Dec 5, 2017
Opening based on JMC Update Nov 1:
Building Montserrat’s Future
Your Excellency, Fellow Ministers and Members, Hon Deputy Governor, Members of FAM Team, Permanent Secretaries, Senior Government Officials and staff, ladies and gentlemen:
With the destructive volcanic eruptions fading into the past, now is the time to move Montserrat forward. Another several decades of recurrent budget aid, directly funded by the British tax payers is not in anyone’s best interest. The choice at this economic crossroad is clear; strategic capital investments, that is transformational projects, to return Montserrat to self-sufficiency or continued annual Aid for generations to come. Redevelopment and the hoped for economic self-sufficiency will clearly not happen overnight, but we can and should speed up the rebuilding process; starting today.
Generations of dependence is obviously unacceptable so now we must forge a strategic development partnership that delivers on our policy goal “to change the development focus from post-volcano mode to developing and implementing plans focused on sustainable self-sufficiency that capture the spirit of Montserrat’s past and preserve Montserrat’s culture including enhancing relationships within the region and with key development partners.”
So, as our economy recovers, as key infrastructure are put in place, jobs will be created, new businesses will be formed, and our economy will grow so that hundreds of Montserratians who have been forced to leave Montserrat can begin to come home. For this to happen “transformational” projects will need to be moved forward on the ground.
While these larger transformational projects are being prepared we must not allow the horse to starve while the grass is growing. So we will need to start right now – financial year 2017/18 – with kick-start projects that will stimulate our economy which will create employment and lay a foundation for the transformational projects to come. Towards this end, we have learned lessons from mistakes of the past, and as proof of our commitment, over the past year and more, we have been working to put in place some key, foundational policy initiatives:
• we are strengthening and improving the budget process, including a new capital appraisal process, to better evaluate capital projects and ensure value for money;
• A Programme Management Office is being set up to host and expedite our priority development projects; on a set timeline. This will support the Capital Appraisal process and deliver value for money business cases, project and programme governance, transparency, and risk management. Such measures will help us improve our ability to effectively implement a sound Transformation Programme;
• We have put a new Energy Policy in place, as an updated framework for development of a sustainable energy economy that attracts investors for tourism, industry and agriculture.
• The long awaited Housing Bill was passed into law October 25th, 2016 and it will help us move forward to continue with emergency, social and affordable housing initiatives for our people.
• We are creating a Child Protection Unit (CPU), to address child safeguarding matters through a centre of excellence.
• A Children (Care and Adoption) Bill was just passed into law and will provide much of the required framework for the CPU.
• We have developed a Tourism policy and Action plan to take us to the next phase in building our Tourism product.
• We have fully embraced and supported the Public Sector Reform Programme, Phase 2, which has put in place foundational structures for transformation of governance under phase 3.
• Reforming public finance and good governance are at the heart of these changes.
However, we face challenges.
After 20 years we still need a new hospital and adequate healthcare provision. We still need a safe harbor, and after having made a significant investment in drilling for geo-thermal we need the generation stage to be progressed.
If we are to achieve these goals and deliver value for money we must, as I have repeatedly stated, have a strong development partnership not only with DFID but with the FCO and all our HMG partners and others such as the EU. To help us put the required partnership in place, we need to negotiate a new Development Partnership Memorandum of Understanding with HMG. The MoU should have a list of agreed transformational projects with committed funds and a timeline that will help to guide us in working together to rebuild and redevelop Montserrat.
So, this week, as we go through the details of the recurrent budget and those of the capital budget, let us bear in mind the big picture and let us work together to lay a foundation for the economic transformation to come and fulfil our national vision of a friendly, vibrant, healthy, wholesome, prosperous, entrepreneurial and peaceful, God-fearing, God-blessed community.