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  • COMMUNICATIONS MINISTER ATTENDS FIRST COMMONWEALTH DATA FORUM

    21st February 2018

    paul lewis gibraltarThe Honourable Minister of Communications, Paul Lewis is in Gibraltar for the first ‘Commonwealth Data Forum’, which is being held under the theme ‘The Data Revolution: Maximizing Opportunities & Managing Risks’.

     

    The forum, from February 21 to 23, is being held by the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) in partnership with the Ministry of Economic Development and Telecommunications in Gibraltar. The organisers said the forum will be a highly interactive platform with facilitated discussions on how data management can enhance economic and social change, and will examine how standards can assist change by determining regulation that will reduce breaches, whilst ensuring compliance.

     

    The key topics to be covered include: monetising data; data ownership; privacy; security (especially on social media); legal and jurisdictional issues and data centres. Session one on ‘Monetising Data’ was held earlier today. During that session, Mr. Lewis was part of a panel which presented and discussed the topic, ‘Creating National Opportunities for Economic Growth Through Big Data’. Other panelists on the topic included, the honourable Minister for Economic Development, Telecommunications and the Gibraltar Savings Bank (GSB) of Gibraltar, Sir Joseph Bossano and the Honourable Minister of Home Affairs, Transportation and Communication of the Turks and Caicos Islands, Vaden Williams.

     

    The organisers indicated that the event is being held before the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is put into effect in Europe and will assist the international audience in getting a clear understanding of the current policy, legal and regulatory issues as well as the market trends and available data solutions.

     

    The audience is comprised of international policy teams, national regulatory bodies, legal firms, managers working within big data and data analytics, service providers and additional stakeholders with an interest in data compliance.

     

  • TOURISM DIVISION EFFORT BRINGS STEVE HARVEY SHOW WINNERS TO MONTSERRAT

    19th February 2018

    The lucky winners of the holiday giveaway, ‘Montserrat Villa Vacation’ which was awarded on the Steve Harvey Show, arrived on island on Thursday February 15, for their four-night vacation package.

     

    Mr & Mrs Adkins Montserrat Villa Vacation WinnersAdriane and Erick Adkins from Chicago, Illinois won the award in March 2017 during their appearance on the US based television programme.

     

    The couple’s visit to the island is as a result of the Tourism Division’s efforts, through the US-based PR Agency, Cheryl Andrews Marketing, to source and secure a promotional trip giveaway opportunity. Product Development Officer at the Tourism Division, Rosetta West-Gerald explained, “Steve Harvey Producers were looking for a tropical giveaway for their St. Patrick’s Day episode in March 2017. They wanted an over-the-top experience for their winners and in recognizing this opportunity, The Tourism Division of the Office of the Premier, enlisted the PR Agency Cheryl Andrews Marketing to secure the promotional trip giveaway opportunity to enhance visibility and recognition of Montserrat in that Market place.”

     

    The Tourism Division also partnered with a number of stakeholders to put the holiday package together. The Montserrat Villa Vacation package included a four (4) night stay at Wing Song villa, sponsored by Tradewinds Real Estate; Jet Blue sponsored return flights for the couple from Chicago to New York/ New York to Antigua.; dinner for the couple were also sponsored by Olveston House, Summer Breeze and Good Eats Restaurant, respectively. The Tourism Division also provided overnight hotel stay in New York; return flight between Montserrat and Antigua; an island tour; a boat tour, a snorkel trip; spa treatment and dinner for two.

     

    Mr. and Mrs. Adkins said they never knew about Montserrat before the show and now that they have visited the island, they intend to return again.
    Adriane said they were happy and surprised when they won the trip to the island but also a bit worried because they had never heard of Montserrat. She admits that following her research and learning about the volcano, she was a bit hesitant, but is now happy they came because “it’s definitely been an amazing experience and something we definitely will share with others,” stated Adriane Adkins.

     

    “The experience has been great, the people have been great, the food has been very good, the view of the island is amazing, the authenticity of the island is amazing, something I never expected,” stated Erick Adkins. While expressing his love for the island and desire to stay, Mr. Adkins stated that he has things to take care of back home before they can think of moving to Montserrat.

     

    Mrs. West-Gerald said, “The show has certainly raised the visibility of the island and we know that Mr. and Mrs. Adkins will share their positive stories with others in the US. We hope that their experiences will inspire other persons to visit.”

     

    Mr. and Mrs. Adkins are expected to leave the island on February 20, 2018.

     

    The Steve Harvey Show is a one-hour daytime show hosted by T.V. personality, comedian, radio show host and best-selling author – Steve Harvey. The show averages over 2.6 million viewers daily. He also has 4.5 million Facebook fans, 2 million Instagram followers and 343 million views on YouTube.

     

  • PREMIER ROMEO SIGNS MOU TO CREATE A DIGITAL PAYMENTS ECOSYSTEM IN MONTSERRAT

    16th February 2018

    The Honourable Premier and Minister of Finance of Montserrat, Donaldson Romeo, has signed on behalf of the Government of Montserrat, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Barbados based financial technology company Bitt Inc., to create a Digital Payments Ecosystem in Montserrat.

     

    Premier Romeo stated that Bitt Inc. will work with the Government of Montserrat and other domestic stakeholders, such as the private sector, commercial banks, and the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), to create a digital payments ecosystem in Montserrat.

     

    He explained that “the people of Montserrat will benefit from increased financial inclusion, and a significant reduction in their need for cash to make payments for goods and services, or as a means of saving. Anyone with a smartphone, tablet or computer, will now be able to conduct these domestic transactions securely, efficiently, digitally.”

     

    This initiative is both historic and essential to the future socio-economic wellbeing of the people of Montserrat.

     

    “The decision to move closer to a cashless society is in keeping with our overall development strategy, and also that of the ECCB,” explained Premier Romeo. “Montserrat, and indeed the wider Caribbean, has a renewed focus on building resilience and securing sustainability. Indeed, creating a modern, digital financial ecosystem, is a key element of this drive to build back better. Though we are small, we are by no means insignificant. The people of Montserrat are proud to be raising the bar, taking the lead, and setting the example, with this groundbreaking initiative,” he added.

     

    The MOU between the Government of Montserrat and Bitt Inc. will provide a framework for Bitt Inc. to collaborate with Montserrat to develop a pilot programme, which includes a feasibility study designed to test the viability and functionality of Digital Eastern Caribbean Dollars (DXCD) in the financial ecosystem of Montserrat. The feasibility study in the pilot programme will also facilitate proof of concept experimentation and will use a phased approach within controlled environments to deploy, test and assess the effectiveness of suggested implementations.

     

    Premier Romeo, while highlighting the importance of creating a digital payments ecosystem in Montserrat, added that, “The use of cash, as we all know, has risks and costs associated with it. It costs money to print money, and saving in cash ‘under the mattress’ and walking around with cash can be risky.” He further stated that “the need for cash or for everyday transactions like purchases, or sending money locally to your loved ones, would be eliminated, as you would be able to use Bitt’s mMoney mobile wallet for free peer-to-peer transfers of money using your smartphone, tablet or computer.”

     

    The digital payments ecosystem, once implemented, will include a number of free services. Consumers who use Bitt’s mMoney mobile wallet to send money to loved ones locally or within the ECCU, and to make payments for goods and services, would be able to do so for free. Consumers would be able to download Bitt’s mMoney mobile wallet for free from the Google Playstore or Apple App Store, add funds to their mMoney wallet at any of the Digital Wallet Merchants for free, and make local payments for free.

     

    The MOU between the Government of Montserrat and Bitt Inc. will be for an initial period of three years.

     

    “Bitt congratulates the Government of Montserrat on this progressive move, and is honored to assist the island in meeting its objective of boosting financial inclusion, while reducing reliance on cash, as together we build resilience and sustainable socio-economic progress,” said Rawdon Adams, CEO of Bitt Inc.

     

    Bitt Inc. is a financial technology company that utilises distributed ledger technology to offer secure, efficient, and cost effective digital payment products and services, including digital asset issuance software. Bitt Inc.’s suite of software can efficiently and securely issue an immutable DXCD, which, with the blessing of the ECCB, equates to the XCD – the existing legal tender of the ECCU.

     

  • FIRST STAGE OF SUSTAINABLE FISH TRAP PROJECT UNDERWAY

    14th February 2018

    Stage one of a two-pilot experimental fish trap project which aims to protect the island’s fisheries resources commenced last week.

     

    Trap being madeThe project, which is a partnership between the Government of Montserrat and the WAITT Institute, got on the way with the arrival of the material, with the exception of a bio-degradable wire on Thursday, February 8, 2018. The materials needed in the construction of the traps are currently in the possession of the lead trap maker for the project, Mr. Ethan Bonteen who has already commenced work on the trap.

     

    The four apprentices conducting the project have met on several occasions with the Honourable Parliamentary Secretary and Project Coordinator, Gregory Willock. They held discussions regarding the execution of the project while ensuring the final details are put together to ensure a smooth running of the project over the next 12 months.

     

    Upon the arrival of the trap materials, Mr. Willock expressed his delight in seeing the project finally getting on its way. He said, “I think this is really an exciting moment for all of us. I am just so overwhelmed that the materials to make these fish traps are finally here.”

     

    After the completion of the traps, they will be laid and data will be collected to determine if the project is sustainable on Montserrat.
    As the weeks and months roll-on, the general public will be further informed on the happenings of the projects.

     

    The traps are expected to be laid by May of 2018.

     

  • Montserrat’s Environment Minister Discusses The Future of The Environment At OTs Meeting

    13th February 2018

    The Honourable Minister of Agriculture, Trade, Lands, Housing and the Environment, David Osborne attended a two-day environment meeting in the Isle of Man aimed at discussing the future of the environment in the Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies.

     

    EnvMinConf 6aMinister Osborne joined other Ministers and senior officials from the UK Overseas Territories (OTs) and Crown Dependencies (CDs) in Douglas for the February 6th to 7th meeting.

     

    The agenda for the meeting focused on sustainability in the terrestrial and marine environment, climate change, the impact of natural disasters on communities, environmental resilience and the Isle of Man’s designation as the first entire nation UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

     

    The discussion also focused on common opportunities and challenges as it relates to issues such as the role of the environment in growing the economy, energy efficiency, sympathetic development, enforcement and the impact of plastics.

     

    The meeting was hosted jointly by the Isle of Man’s Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture, Geoffrey Boot MHK and Gibraltar’s Minister for Education, Heritage, Environment, Energy and Climate Change Professor John Cortés. The meeting was co-ordinated by the UK Overseas Territories Conservation Forum (UKOTCF), a non-governmental organisation.

     

    This was the third Council of Environment Ministers of UK Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies. Previous meetings took place in Gibraltar in 2015 and continued in Alderney in 2017.

     

    Photo Credit: Department of the Environment and Climate Change, HM Government of Gibraltar

     

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