The Government of Montserrat’s implementation of Phase 1 of the Montserrat Port Development Project is making steady progress with today’s (May 19, 2022) signing of the design build contract. 

The Government of Montserrat has signed the contract with Meridian Construction Company Limited, based in Tortola, British Virgin Islands (BVI)—the successful bidder in a competitive tendering process for the design and construction of the Port Facility in Little Bay, Montserrat. The value of the contract awarded is ninety million, one hundred and eighty-eight thousand, nine hundred and twenty Eastern Caribbean dollars (XCD $90,188,920.00).  

The contract signing took place on the morning of May 19, 2022, at the conference room of the Ministry of Communications, Works Labour and Energy in the presence of the Minister, Dr. the Hon. Samuel Joseph; the Financial Secretary, Hon. Lindorna Lambert; Permanent Secretary Colin Fergus and the Manager of the Montserrat Port Authority Joseph O’garro. Representing Meridian Construction Company was Richard Starkey.  

It is anticipated that sea bed drilling activities in Little Bay will commence within a month, while major construction work is expected to begin during the third quarter of this year; approximately before September 30, 2022.   The construction phase duration is estimated to be around 19 months. 

Montserrat’s Minister of Works, Dr. the Hon. Samuel Joseph expressed his delight at this significant milestone. He said, “This is a major step towards providing a much-needed fit for purpose port facility for the people of Montserrat “. The Minister expressed gratitude for the funding support from the United Kingdom Government under the UKCIF Programme and the European Union.

The Minister acknowledged the efforts of the Caribbean Development Bank—the implementation agency for UKCIF investment, the various Government Ministries and the Attorney General’s Chambers for their contributions towards making this achievement a reality. 

The Minster also recognised the hard work and commitment by the Ministry of Communications, Works, Labour and Energy, the Public Works Department and the Port Project Management Unit in achieving this milestone. 

The Hon. Financial Secretary said, “This is a long-awaited day for the future development of Montserrat. Improved access to our shores and markets by sea is a critical component of our economic growth, trade, access and tourism strategies. In signing this contract today, we are not only firing the starting pistol on a long-awaited capital project, but we are making a bold statement about the future of Little Bay, and the future of the Montserrat we hope to build together. I am pleased to welcome Meridian into this partnership with Government of 

Montserrat. It is true to say that the real work begins now, and the Procurement and 

Programme Management Office teams within the Ministry of Finance, will continue to provide valuable support and assurance to this major investment.” 

Richard Starkey of Meridian indicated that Meridian is delighted to have been selected and looks forward to designing and constructing the new port facility for the Government and people of Montserrat. The first steps, he said, will include the drilling and geotechnical investigation of the sea bed conditions which will start next month; with real presence on the ground ramping up in approximately 3-4 months’ time. 

A formal ground-breaking ceremony is planned June 2022.  The exact date will be confirmed and announced later. 

Meridian Construction Company Limited provides civil and marine engineering and construction services in the British Virgin Islands and in the Eastern Caribbean.   Most recently, Meridian Construction was the Caribbean marine contractor engaged by the St. John’s Development Corporation Heritage Quay, Antigua to undertake the construction of the Heritage Quay Cruise Pier to accommodate the berthing of Royal Caribbean Quantum of the Seas on the northern side of the pier.

The Montserrat Port Development Project is being funded by the UK Government through £14.4 million grant funding by the UK Caribbean Infrastructure Fund (UKCIF), which is administered by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).   The UK Government has further demonstrated its strong commitment to the Montserrat Port Development and has taken the decision to increase their support by an additional £13.9 million to a total of £28.3 million for the proposed port development at Little Bay. 

The Government of Montserrat is providing £7 million in counterpart resources with financial support from the European Union under the EDF 11. 

The implementing agencies from the Government of Montserrat are the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management and the Ministry of Communication, Works, Labour and Energy.

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