Government of Montserrat

FINAL ECONOMIC GROWTH STRATEGY AND DELIVERY PLAN AVAILABLE ONLINE

The Government of Montserrat has developed the Economic Growth Strategy (EGS) 2018-2022, which will act as the guide for public investment over the next several years; with the goal of the eventual re-balancing of the economy from public sector driven to private sector led. It seeks to accomplish this by analysing the potential of key sectors that have been identified as the most economically viable with the ultimate goal of long-term sustainability. The EGS ensures that actions are tied to these goals by clearly outlining a delivery plan which details the responsible agencies and time-frames for accomplishing tasks geared towards achieving economic milestones. The strategic focus of the EGS is expected to go beyond 2022 as it will dovetail into the development of the new Sustainable Development Plan (2021).

 
The EGS & Delivery Plan is available on this website by clicking on the ‘Ministry of Finance’ on the publications page. The direct link for accessing the document is as follows:
Economic Growth Strategy & Delivery Plan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

 

MONTSERRAT MOVES CLOSER TO IMPLEMENTING AN ELECTRONIC IMMUNIZATION REGISTRY –TRAINING CONDUCTED

Electronic Immunization Registry Training Group Photo

On Friday, October 26, Nurses and Administrators from the Ministry of Health, with support from the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), completed a two-day training on the electronic immunization registry; bringing the island closer to its implementation.

 

The electronic immunization registry, once implemented, will enable the Ministry of Health to better manage and monitor vaccination data for children on Montserrat.  11 persons, including nurses and administrators, benefited from the training programme, which required them to begin the process of entering previously collected immunization information into the system.

 

The training was facilitated by PAHO Consultant, Mr. Hayden Hopkin from the Ministry of Health in Grenada, who explained that the electronic immunization registry will bring Montserrat on par with the regional standards established by the PAHO.  He said, “PAHO is looking to standardise the information system and registry in the region, and we have five additional countries to come on this year.  I believe the goal is for all the countries in the sub-region to use the same type of system because we have similar challenges.”

 

Following the training on Montserrat, the data entered into the registry will have to be verified and the Ministry of Health will determine a ‘go live’ date for the system.  Once launched, Montserrat will become the fourth island in the region to implement the electronic immunization registry.

 
Community Nursing Manager on Montserrat, Ms. Violet Brown said she expects the system to be fully implemented or ‘go live’ in January 2019.   She noted that there are several benefits to be derived from the implementation of the system.  These include, electronic access to immunization records across the local health centres; production of vaccination reports which are required locally and regionally by PAHO; tracking defaulters and receiving updates on when children are due for vaccines; back-data entry, and the system also makes it possible for nurses to request orders for vaccines from their respective clinics.

 

The Ministry of Health received support from the Department of Information Technology and E-Government Services (DITES) with the establishment of the system.

 

The registry has been implemented in St. Kitts, the Turks and Caicos Islands and Grenada.