Government of Montserrat

OPENING OF PARLIAMENTARY YEAR SET FOR OCTOBER 23 – NICOLE DUBERRY NAMED AS PARLIAMENTARY ADDRESS HONOUREE

PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OFFICE OF THE SPEAKER OF THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY
 

The Speaker of the Montserrat Legislative Assembly (MLA) is pleased to inform the people of Montserrat that the Parliamentary Year 2018-2019 will be formally opened on Tuesday, October 23rd in the Sir George Martin Auditorium at the Montserrat Cultural Centre.
 

A formal Opening Ceremony was instituted at the start of the 2016-2017 Parliamentary Year by Speaker Shirley Osborne and has since been improved upon with the input and suggestions of Montserratians from all walks of life. This year, therefore, as with the tradition that has been developing over the last three years, the Opening Ceremony will commence at 9:00 a.m. with the Montserrat Anthem and one Montserratian citizen will have the honour of addressing the members of the Legislative Assembly, from within the House.
 

This particular aspect of the Opening Ceremony is a particularly significant segment of the Opening Ceremony and one dear to my heart, said Speaker Osborne. Montserratians have made it clear that they wish to create their own traditions that come out of their own experiences, so whereas other jurisdictions present a Throne Speech at their Opening Ceremony, we in Montserrat have chosen to annually honour one member of the Montserratian public with the opportunity to address our Parliamentarians directly, formally and from within.
 

Speaker Osborne said, “I am delighted to announce that the Parliamentary Address Honouree this year will be Ms. Nicole Duberry, Public Servant, entrepreneur, returning Montserratian, young Montserratian and Montserratian woman. Madam Clerk Baker and I are proud that Nicole has accepted the honour. She was selected because she is a wonderful example of the industry, creativity and commitment to personal and national advancement that makes us all proud to be Montserratian.
 

“Madam Clerk and I believe that the country is better served, stronger and infinitely more successful at every level to the extent that citizens are included, engaged and made part of the processed of governance and democracy. We believe that nourishing our pride in being Montserratian, reinforcing our confidence in our highest institutions and strengthening our common commitment to the advancement of our people is a core function of government and of our foundational institution, which is our Parliament. We at the Office of the Legislature are honoured to serve, committed to inclusion and proud to add to the uplift of our island, and initiatives such as these make us very happy indeed,” stated Speaker Osborne.
 

Speaker Osborne is looking forward to hosting a full house at the Opening Ceremony of the Parliamentary year 2018-2019.

 
Speaker Osborne further invites residents and citizens of all ages and persuasions to feel free to contact her Office with any related concerns, ideas or suggestions and reminds everyone that the increased engagement and participation of the citizens is critical to the processes of governing of Montserrat, to democracy and transparency, and for the right development of our island and peoples.

 

REGIONAL STATISTICS MEETINGS TO CONVENE ON MONTSERRAT TOMORROW

The Statistics Department of Montserrat (SDM) is finalising its preparations to host four regional statistics meetings, slated to begin this week.
 

Statisticians from several Caribbean islands to include Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and Grenadines, Grenada, The ABC islands-Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao, along with representatives from donor partners to include, the European Union, the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), Statistics Canada, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) will start arriving on island on Wednesday, October 17 for a series of meetings.

 
The ‘Twenty-Third Meeting of the CARICOM Advisory Group on Statistics’; the ‘Forty-Third Meeting of the Standing Committee of Caribbean Statisticians (SCCS); The Twenty-Ninth Meeting of the Regional Census Coordinating Committee (RCCC) and the Eleventh Regional Statistical Research Seminar’, will be held at the Montserrat Cultural Centre in Little Bay. The meetings will be held successively from Thursday, October 18 to Friday, October 26.

 
The ‘Twenty-Third Meeting of the CARICOM Advisory Group on Statistics’, which is a closed group meeting will convene from October 18 to 20, and the recommendations from this meeting will be presented to the ‘Forty-Third Meeting of the Standing Committee of Caribbean Statisticians (SCCS)’, which will begin on October 22 to 24 and followed by the Twenty-Ninth Meeting of the Regional Census Coordinating Committee (RCCC) and the Eleventh Regional Statistical Research Seminar’.

 
An official Opening Ceremony will be held on Monday, October 22 starting at 9:00a.m. The ceremony will feature remarks and addresses by Government Officials, Head of Statistics of the SDM, Mr. Sylvan Roberts and the Project Director, Regional Statistics, Dr. Philomen Harrison.

 
Head of Statistics of the SDM, Mr. Sylvan Roberts said Montserrat’s ability to host these regional meetings this year is significant, not only for the benefit of the Statisticians on island who would be able to network and share ideas with regional counterparts, but also for the wider economy, as more than 30 persons are expected on island.

 
Mr. Roberts further noted that the last regional statistics meeting to be held in Montserrat was the Eleventh Meeting of the Standing Committee of Caribbean Statisticians (SCCS) in 1986 (32 years ago). “The fact that Montserrat can now host the SCCS and the other meetings is a positive indication of the advances made to redevelop the island following the volcanic crisis which began in the 90’s,” expressed Mr. Roberts.

 
The standing committee was established in 1973 initially to monitor and measure intraregional trade within CARICOM and trade between CARICOM countries and the rest of the world through the generation of timely and reliable Trade Statistics. The SCCS meets annually to assess the status of Member States (MS) in capacity development in these efforts; exchange methods and ideas used by the various MS and to approach development agencies as a united group to leverage funding support for Statistics development.

 
The meetings are being organised in association with CARICOM.
 

GOVERNMENT OF MONTSERRAT CONGRATULATES MONTSERRAT’S FOOTBALL TEAM ON SUNDAY’S WIN

On behalf of the Government and People of Montserrat, Premier, the honourable Donaldson Romeo congratulates the Montserrat Football Team-‘Emerald Boys’ for their victory on Sunday.
 

Premier-Honourable Donaldson Romeo

Premier’s message is as follows:
 

“It is with excitement and a sense of pride that I, on behalf of the Government and People of Montserrat, extend congratulations to the ‘Emerald Boys’ footballers for their dedication and drive, which led them to a 1-0 victory against Belize on Sunday, October 14, at the Blakes Football Field, in match 2 of the CONCACAF Nations League.
 

I watched with great delight at the demonstration of team work throughout the match, which culminated with Spencer Weir scoring after 73 minutes. My appreciation is also extended to the Team Officials, who would have no doubt provided the necessary support to our players.
 

The Montserrat Football Association Inc. must also be commended for their hard work in ensuring that this and other football matches are played on such immaculate grounds. Clearly, a lot of work took place in the background to finalise the logistical and other arrangements, which were necessary for Montserrat to host the CONCACAF Nations League.
 

I also want to specifically say thanks and congratulations to the President of the Montserrat Football Association, Mr. Vincent Cassell; he has done a great job and we are proud of them all.
 

Montserrat’s momentum and commitment to sports over the past few months has been a high point for us all, and one which we hope will continue throughout the remainder of this year and in years to come.”
 

WORLD STANDARDS DAY STATEMENT BY MINISTER OF TRADE-HONOURABLE DAVID OSBORNE

Honourable David Osborne

 
Today, we join with the rest of the world in the annual celebration of World Standards Day – October 14, 2018. On this day, we seek to raise awareness among consumers, regulators and industry as to the importance of standardization to the global economy.
 

Each year, the members of the International Electro-Technical Commission (IEC), International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) celebrate World Standards Day, which is a means of paying tribute to the collaborative efforts of thousands of experts worldwide, who develop the voluntary technical agreements that are published as international standards. The Ministry of Agriculture, Trade, Lands, Housing and the Environment (MATLHE) through its Trade Division joins in this drive to raise awareness.
 

This year, the day is celebrated under the theme: “International Standards and the Fourth Industrial Revolution”. The Fourth Industrial Revolution refers to the evolving technologies, which are concealing the traditional boundaries between the physical, digital and biological worlds. This increased connectivity of people and things will impact the way we produce, trade and communicate.
 

To commemorate the day, the Trade and Quality Infrastructure Division within MATLHE have generated some promotional tips featuring regional approved standards within the agro-processing industry, small business and tourism sectors. These tips have been designed to educate both the suppliers of goods and services, as well as, consumers, and will be featured throughout the day on local radio station, ZJB. Our efforts to promote these standards are dedicated to advancing our ability to penetrate niche export markets with products that are made in Montserrat. To do this, we must be competitive! Our image and brand must have global appeal!
 

Standards are imperative as they provide us all with a certain level of quality expectation when we purchase an item, and indeed as the British Standards Institute puts it, standards are “put in place to provide a reliable basis for people to share the same expectations about a product and a service”. When applied, standards are powerful tools that can help drive innovation and increase productivity. They also improve organizational effectiveness and make people’s everyday lives easier, safer and healthier.
 

Our commitment to promoting these standards is premised on the recognition that we will be better placed to take advantage of the opportunities for local, regional and international trade, when we meet technical product specifications and international/national quality and food security/safety requirements. So, we encourage you to seize the opportunity to become aware of local, regional and internationally recognized standards and strive for conformity.
 

Happy World Standards Day!
 

ROAD IMPROVEMENT WORK IN VIRGIN ISLAND AND OTHER COMMUNITIES NEARING COMPLETION

The Ministry of Communications, Works, Energy and Labour has reported steady progress on the road improvement works in Virgin Island, and other communities, as part of the Ministry’s mandate to provide safe access for residents.
 

In an interview with the Government Information Unit (GIU) at the newly constructed road in Virgin Islands, Minister of Works, the Honourable Paul Lewis and the Ministry’s Civil Engineer, Rawlson Patterson provided an update on the road improvement works there and in other areas.

 

Section of road in Virgin Island with retaining wall area on the left side

 
The newly surfaced road is located in the lower area of Virgin Island and is in keeping with the Government of Montserrat’s priority agenda to provide safe access to residents. Minister Lewis said as part of the maintenance and rehabilitation of the road network, the Ministry visits all communities to identify some of the most critical areas and to inform their decision making process. He explained that there was a lack of proper road access in lower Virgin Island before, which made it very difficult for residents to get to their homes.

 
The Virgin Island road project started earlier this year and is over 100 meters of road and drainage works. The Ministry’s Chief Engineer, Rawlson Patterson said 5 contractors and an estimated twenty-five persons were employed under the project.

 
He said the outstanding work, which will include the construction of a retaining wall is expected to be completed by the end of this year and any other residual work will be completed in early 2019. Mr. Patterson noted that the Ministry is in the process of completing procurement documents to begin the tendering process for the retaining wall construction.

 
In addition, the Ministry also provided an update on the road improvement works taking place in other communities.

 
The Ministry said it has started work to improve the original portion of road in Friths, which involves the completion of approximately 60 meters of concrete road. So far, the Ministry has started drainage work in that community and has also expanded the road there.

 
Work in the Judy Piece community is also ongoing and nearing completion. The Ministry has reported that their team is currently working on the final portion of road surfacing in Judy Piece; following which, the final aspect of this project will be the construction of retaining walls.

 
The wing walls for the Barzey’s bridge is currently being worked on, and once completed the final piece of road and drainage work in that area will be undertaken. The completion of this work in the Barzey’s area will allow the Ministry to conduct work on the Carr’s Bay bridge. Utility companies were this week making temporary preparatory provisions for work on the Carr’s Bay Bridge.

 
The Ministry anticipates that work in Virgin Island, Friths, Judy Piece and Barzey’s will be completed by the end of this year.
 

ENERGY MINISTRY AWARDS EC1.89 MILLION DOLLAR CONTRACT FOR THE INSTALLATION OF 250 KW SOLAR POWER SYSTEM

On Monday October 1, the Government of Montserrat, through the Ministry of Communications, Works, Labour and Energy awarded Florida-based Company ‘Salt Energy’ an EC $1.89 million dollar contract for the installation of a 250 kilowatt (KW) Solar power system on the island.

 
The installation of this solar power system is the first phase of the 1 Mega Watt solar photovoltaic and battery storage project, which was identified in the Ministry’s 2016 Energy Policy. The project has an overall budget of EC$3,000,000 under the European Development Fund (EDF) 10 programme and includes the following components:

 
· Client Engineer Consulting;
· Solar Engineering Purchasing & Construction Contractor;
· Electric Vehicle & Charging Station; and
· Institutional Support & Project Management activities.

 
To date, the Ministry said the ‘Design Consultancy by the client engineer’ and ‘Institutional Support’ elements are complete and the Ministry has been ready for the implementation of the main component of this project, which is the installation of the solar energy system under the solar engineering procurement and construction contractor.

 
The installation of the solar energy system is a turnkey design, engineering, procurement and construction product, which includes the installation of PV modules, provision of wiring and electrical components through to a PV inverter, interconnections with existing electrical panels, provision of material and spare parts and the training of locals in the operation and maintenance of the system.

 
It is estimated that this phase of the Solar PV project would be completed by the end of quarter 1 of 2019 (approximately the end of June 2019).

 
The Ministry explained that the completion of this project is pivotal, as it will contribute 11% of Montserrat’s daily Electricity Peak Demand, but more importantly, it will open up access to further funding for the second phase of the project—the 750KW Solar PV and Battery Storage project under the EDF11 Programme, with an expected multi-million dollar injection. “All of this will begin to fulfill the ministry’s goal of switching energy generation from fossil fuels to renewable energy, improve Montserrat’s energy efficiency and attain a more reliable energy supply,” stated the Ministry.

 
The Ministry described the approval of funding for the first phase–the 250 (KW) Solar PV Project, as a milestone, given the economic environment of having available very limited funding for capital projects.

 
The Ministry along with the Montserrat Utilities Limited supported by the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), GIZ and the CARICOM Energy Unit, has worked together to advance this project.

 

FINANCIAL TECHNOLOGY COMPANY (BITT) TEAM TO VISIT MONTSERRAT THIS MONTH

A three-member team from a Barbados based financial technology company, Bitt Inc., is scheduled to visit Montserrat later this month as part of the implementation process of a recently signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Government of Montserrat.
 

The MOU was signed in Februray 2018 and is aimed at creating a digital payments ecosystem in Montserrat. The agreement also provides a framework for Bitt Inc. to collaborate with the Government of Montserrat and all other local stakeholders including commercial banks and merchants, to implement the digital financial ecosystem, using a digital version of the EC Dollar, in a phased approach.
 

The Bitt team members will visit the island on October 30 and 31 to meet with various stakeholders to discuss the financial technologies that will be introduced on Montserrat in accordance with the MOU. The team will also be conducting a demonstration of their mobile money (mMoney) application for consumers and merchants.
 

On Tuesday October 30, the team will meet with members of the public during a public meeting at the Montserrat Cultural Centre starting 9:00a.m. until 12noon, followed by a meeting with private sector representatives in the afternoon.

 
The team will also meet with the Premier, the Honourable Donaldson Romeo; the Financial Secretary, the honourable Colin Owen; Members of Cabinet; Members of the Opposition and representatives of financial institutions on Wednesday, October 31.

 
The visit by Bitt Inc., is being organised by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management.

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

MONTSERRAT TO HOST REGIONAL STATISTICS MEETINGS THIS MONTH

Montserrat will be the venue for four regional statistics meetings in October, which will bring approximately 40 persons to the island over eight days.

 

The meetings which are being organised by the Statistics Department of Montserrat and CARICOM are scheduled to begin on Thursday, October 18 until Friday, October 26, and will be held at the Montserrat Cultural Centre in Little Bay.

 
From October 18 to 20, the ‘Twenty-Third Meeting of the CARICOM Advisory Group on Statistics’ will convene and the recommendations from this meeting will be presented to the ‘Forty-Third Meeting of the Standing Committee of Caribbean Statisticians (SCCS)’, which will also be held here from October 22 to 24.

 
The Forty-Third SCCS Meeting will focus on the overarching theme of the CARICOM Regional Strategy for the Development of Statistics (RSDS), ‘Building the Resilience of the Community’. The emphasis will be on the strategic framework of the CARICOM RSDS which was endorsed at the Thirty-Ninth Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the CARICOM. The RSDS is a masterplan for regional statistical development, geared to respond to the statistical needs of regional policy objectives of the integration agenda and national development plans and priorities.

 
Then on October 25, the Twenty-Ninth Meeting of the Regional Census Coordinating Committee (RCCC) will convene a one day meeting focusing on advancing preparations for the 2020 Round of Population and Housing Censuses in Member States as they relate to the regional strategy of support and initiatives, and of national and international initiatives that may have already commenced. The CARICOM Regionally-Coordinated Census Strategy for the 2020 Round will also be the focus of this meeting.

 
The final meeting, scheduled for October 26, is the ‘Eleventh Regional Statistical Research Seminar’ which will consider papers on a range of topics and will develop key recommendations on the way forward pertinent to statistics. The aim is to develop a statistical development agenda that would allow for better understanding of the data; enable methodological research in specific areas of statistics; and facilitate the process of data dissemination to users.

 
The Eleventh Meeting of the Standing Committee of Caribbean Statisticians (SCCS) was held in Montserrat in 1986 (32 years ago).

 
These meetings will bring together Statisticians from several Caribbean islands to include Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and Grenadines, Grenada, The ABC islands-Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao, along with representatives from donor partners to include, the European Union, the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), Statistics Canada, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).
 

MATLHE IMPORTS GOATS TO IMPROVE LOCAL GOAT STOCK QUALITY

The Ministry of Agriculture, Trade, Lands, Housing and the Environment (MATLHE), through the Veterinary Division, has imported five boer goats to the island, in an effort to improve the quality and quantity of goat meat here.

 

Boer does

 
The goats arrived on Friday, September 21, and were weighed and tagged this morning, Monday, September 24. The five goats include four half-bred boer does (female) from Antigua and one pure-bred buck (male) from Florida.

 
Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr. Selvyn Maloney explained that the introduction of this particular breed of goats to the island will speed up the waiting time for market ready goat meat. He said, “Most farmers with goats on Montserrat will take more than a year and a half, and up to two years to get their goats up to market weight. But with the boer goat, which is a meat breed, it means that at seven or eight months, farmers should be able to take them to the abattoir or to the market.”

 

Boer Buck

 
The newly imported buck is already 100 lbs, at seven months old—weighing the same or more than some adult goats, currently on island.

 
In an effort to integrate the new breed into the market, Dr. Maloney said they plan to offer a stud service from the Ministry’s farm. He said farmers or individuals interested will have to pay a fee and bring their does (female goats) to the Ministry’s farm for the stud service; after this service is completed, the doe will be returned to its owner.

 
The Chief Veterinary Officer also noted that once the female goats on the farm begin to reproduce, the Ministry will keep a parent stock of about 20 to 30, following which the other offsprings will be sold, along with all males; leaving only one male, the imported boer buck on the farm.

 
The Boer goat is a breed goat that was developed in South Africa in the early 1900s for meat production. Adult Boer bucks on average weigh from 250 to 300 lbs and adult does generally weigh between 200 to 240 lbs.
 

STATISTICS DEPARTMENT TO CONDUCT CENSUS COUNT & LABOUR FORCE SURVEY THIS MONTH

The Statistics Department of Montserrat (SDM) under the portfolio of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management, will be conducting a Census Count and a Labour Force Survey of the population of Montserrat, starting Sunday, September 23, until Wednesday, October 24 2018.

 
The main objective of this data collection exercise is to obtain relevant information on the Population and Labour Force characteristics of the people of Montserrat. This information will assist planners in the various sectors of society to more ably plan for development in Education, Health, the Environment and other socio-economic areas.

 
The SDM noted that the exercise is expected to produce vital information on the make up of the Montserrat population. “Some of the key statistics and indicators that will be generated from this exercise will include: A total population count, employment, unemployment and labour force participation rates of Montserrat. This information will be disaggregated by gender, age, geographic location, educational level attained and other variables, that are all extremely important in supporting evidence-based decision making,” explained the SDM.

 
To faciliate the data collection process, highly trained Enumerators will be visiting every building, dwelling unit and household in Montserrat, starting on Sunday, September 23, and will administer a questionnaire to all households using a tablet device. Every person who is a ‘usual resident’ (living on Montserrat for 6 months or more) of Montserrat will be enumerated and labour force information about everyone who is fifteen (15) years or over will be collected.

 
The SDM is therefore appealing to all usual residents on Montserrat to provide their full cooperation to the Enumerators in answering truthfully and completely all questions asked. The SDM is assuring the public that all of the field staff have taken an oath of secrecy to keep all information shared with them, in the strictest of confidence. Failure to do so is a violation of the laws of Montserrat, as the SDM is collecting this information under the Statistics Act of 1973 of the Laws of Montserrat.

 
The SDM is encouraging the entire population of Montserrat to ‘Stand up and be counted’ as part of the population of the country.

 
Individuals with questions or concerns, or if you believe you may not have been inculded in the count or in the survey are asked to inform the SDM immediately by calling 491-3797 or 491-3794 or via email at statistics@gov.ms . The SDM promises to address your query immediately.