Montserrat is a lush green mountainous island in the northeastern Caribbean, also known as Alliougana or the Emerald Isle of the Caribbean. It is situated twenty seven (27) miles south west of Antigua, thirty (30) miles south east of Nevis and thirty eight miles (38) south east of St. Kitts.
This small volcanic island caught the attention of the world when the Soufriere Hills volcano erupted in July 1995, severely affecting the island and on occasion sprinkling the neighboring islands with ash. It disrupted life on island, destroyed the capital Plymouth causing the shift of the seat of government to Brades in the north. It caused the relocation of the populated south of the island, decimated the population and virtually destroyed the economy, resulting in heavy dependence on DFID assistance. A volcanic exclusion zone covers the southern half of the island, and extends two kilometers off-shore.
It is one of the last remaining British Overseas Territories in the region and a member of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). Presently the population of approximately 4500 persons, which comprises of persons of many nationalities, occupies about 15 sq miles of the 39.6 sq miles island.
Redevelopment is focused on the northern third of the island, which is at negligible risk from the volcano. The Little Bay Town development is forging ahead. Work is ongoing on the infrastructure. The Cultural Center and the public market are evidence of this. Parliament Square, Heritage Park, Cultural Quarter, Business Courtyard, Center Green, a yacht marina and boulevards are some of the many structures which will grace the new capital.
Montserrat continues to be a nature lover’s paradise. It also provides rich data for practicing and budding volcanologists. It is also the site of the proposed OECS Climate Change Center
Access to the island is presently via WINAIR; however plans are afoot to supplement that by re-introducing the ferry service.