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OECS Travelers Soon To Find Travel Easier

Soon member countries of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) will be able to travel on acceptable travel documents such as valid drivers licenses, Social Security cards and Voters Registration cards with photographs, which must be valid at the time of entry.

Attorney General Esco Henry-Greer told The Montserrat Reporter that Montserrat has already amended the Immigration Act, and freedom of movement on valid drivers licenses has started between Antigua and Montserrat.

She also noted that the formats of the licenses are not changed yet. Meanwhile, Miss Sarita Francis, Permanent Secretary in the office of the Chief Minister, said in an Interview with The Montserrat Reporter last Friday, “Those eligible to benefit are OECS nationals, some of whom include journalists, sport personnel, artists…” These documents, along with a simplified immigration form, will be adopted to facilitate travel under the initiative.

According to Miss Francis, seven of the nine member states of OECS, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines are participating in the economic union initiative. Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands are the two remaining member states that have requested time for further consideration.

The establishment of an economic union came against the background of the development challenges, the micro-states (OECS) countries encounter as a result of globalization and trade liberalization.

This, according to Miss Francis, can only be revived through the creation of a single economic market which will facilitate the free movement of people, goods, services and capital as a result of economic diversification and growth, which could boost greater export competiveness and employment and human resource management.

She noted that there would be a tripartite meeting with the British Government by the end of September and hopes that the issues at hand concerning integration will be addressed. “I am hoping that these things will be clarified because it is all coming under the CSME (Caribbean Single Market Economy), which we have to be signed on to decide.”


Methodists Say Goodbye to Ministers

The Methodist Church community held an appreciation service Thursday night for the two ministers who are leaving the Montserrat circuit.

The service at the Cavalla Hill Methodist Church was for Superintendent Minister Rev. Oral Thomas and local Presbyter Rev. Florence Daley.

Rev Daley, who worked as civil servant for over thirty years, is taking up a new appointment in Dutch St Maarten as head of the Methodist Resource Center.

Rev. Thomas, although appointed Superintendent of the Montserrat circuit, lived in Antigua but made regular trips to the island. A new Methodist minister has already been appointed.  He is Telford Mathew of Dominica. Rev. Mathew will take up his new appointment here on September 1, 2003.

Several church leaders from the Montserrat Christian Council attended the service. A cross-section of the community was present at the Cavalla Hill Methodist church for the appreciation service. The two and a half hour ceremony also featured tributes by representatives from the Christian Council, the Ministry of Education and the Golden Years Foundation.

The programme also included musical renditions by a joint choir, McCloyde White and the Sunshine Group. Representatives from the Methodist congregations at Salem, Bethany and Bethesda made presentations to the outgoing religious leaders. Both Rev. Thomas and Rev. Daley expressed their gratitude to the people for their support during their pastoral service on the island.


Mike Findlay Lionizes Montserrat’s Jim Allen

Mike Findlay, former West Indies Wicketkeeper and ex-chairman of the West Indies selection panel, paid glowing tribute to Caribbean icon Jim Allen Wednesday night at the annual Jim Allen lecture series held at the police headquarter in Brades.

Mr. Findlay was the quest speaker at the lecture, which was jointly organised by the office of Chief Minister John Osborne and the University of the West Indies school of Continuing Studies.

Jim Allen, Montserrat’s best known and one of the Caribbean’s finest batsmen, was in the audience to hear Findlay’s presentation.

“Apart from his impatience, Jim has always been a disciplined cricketer. He was full of confidence,” Mr. Findlay told the packed gathering at the police conference. “He never allowed the reputation of the opponent to intimidate him. He believed that a cricket bat was meant to strike a cricket ball with the power a batsman possessed and that is how approached his batting,”

He noted that Jim Allen’s main weakness was always the lack of patience in his batting. “That had been his biggest problem throughout his career,” he said.

Mr. Allen received thunderous applause from members of the audience and towards the end of the event was honoured with a poetic tribute by local poet Ann Marie Dewar.

Mr. Findlay recalled his first meeting with Jim Allen in Dominica in January 1972, during the Leeward vs. Windward trial match to select the combined islands team for the regional first class season, known then as the Shell Shield Tournament.

“Jim Allen never made the West Indies test team, but he played international cricket with distinction for Kerry Packer’s West Indies,” said Mr. Findlay. Mr. Allen was the only member of the Kerry Packer team who did not play test cricket and “this in itself is testament to the tremendous cricket talent that Jim possessed.”

“He was an extraordinary batsman,” the speaker said. “His unorthodox, open –chest, wide-legs stance baffled many a pursuit. Some suggested that he would not be able to get into position early and would have difficulty playing the out swinger. Others concluded that he would be easy prey for the leg spinner. The region’s leading commentators described his stance as downright ugly. Jim Allen, by his prolific scoring in regional cricket, made a mockery of the textbook instructions of how to stand at the wicket while waiting for the bowler to deliver. He embarrassed the pundits, and pulverized the best bowlers that the region offered.”

During his lecture, Mr. Findlay, who knows the West Indies Cricket Board’s Development Committee, outlined why he thinks there has been a decline in the standard of cricket in the islands. “The answer is in complacency, lack of funding and the absence of s proper cricket development programme, the same reasons that West Indies is no longer a great power in international cricket,” he said.                 


EDITORIAL

"OUR SITUATION IS NOT PERMANENT"

This is a guest editorial by Montserratian at Heart

I want you to believe this. Our situation is not permanent. No matter what those in the leadership matrix say to you. There is light at the end of the tunnel. There is gold in them there hills. Well what is left of Soufriere Hills anyway.

There are real solutions to our problems. There are folk with the solutions out there who live in Montserrat. There are real serious folk right here in Montserrat who have the capacity to solve our problems and who are not caught up in the machinations of the “silly season”.

All we need do now is call upon them to begin the season of change. And we do not have far to go.

We all know who these sensitive and insightful problem solvers of the country are. We see them at work every day. We hear their recommendations. We read their positions in the newspaper. We hear their propositions on the radio. We hear of the lives they have impacted. We know how intensely they have impacted our own lives.

These people are understated and humble. They are kind and generous. They have no baggage. So they are not focused on greed, bribery or theft. They have no bags, you see.

They are squarely focused on the regeneration of Montserrat. These people can prevent the nay-sayers and the selfish from taking away our future and our country.

The Man from Baker Hill is one of our Giants. He has answers. He has recommendations.

I have heard tell of the Financier who at every turn talks of the inability of folk to live with four mortgages. I have heard this Giant speak of the forgiveness of debt and the recapitalization of institutions.

I have heard of another Giant striving to rationalize the mess of the State’s Real Estate. She continues to fight Whitehall.

And we know of the Giants in Salem who caused the Government to get up off its duff and address the exclusion zone issue. And there are many more.

Very few of these Giants feel the need to get caught up in the disgusting dance of electioneering. But they are here and they are willing to give of themselves to the rehabilitation of our country.

They do “show and tell” every day as to why our situation is not permanent.

And so today I want to ask of every Montserratian, whether leaders or followers, youth or adult, man or woman, that you not accept that our situation is permanent.

Look to the Hills, my people, for joy will come in the morning. And so it matters not if the earth shakes and the mountains crumble into the sea. You see, God is in the midst of it.

And one of our Giants spoke to us at the darkest hour when our leadership matrix was woefully absent. She told us to hold on. She told us tomorrow will come. And you know what? It did.

And so I want to ask of every Montserratian and non-Montserratian that you make a major change in the way you see your future. Convince yourself that there is a future in Montserrat.

You know that you would have already gone to the UK had you not been convinced that there was a good life awaiting you right here on Montserrat. So be positive and contribute to the rehabilitation of your country.

The recipe for success is easy. You begin by being an honest worker. Give a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay. Then be honest in your dealings with each and every soul with whom you interact.

Chase away fomenters of doom and gloom. Ignore and scold those maniacal and megalomaniacal has-beens striving to stir up dissent with stories of lawn mowers.

Put down those non-contributory and unschooled tourism experts who will not join a committee or give of themselves to the tourism effort. Yet they easily take to task every person or institution committed to the rebuilding of the sector.

Go to community meetings and learn all you can about the workings of your country and the MVO. Ask questions.

Be not afraid.

The answers you hear will inform you of the sincerity of your leaders. Listen to your radio and read your newspaper with an open mind. Never accept everything you hear.

Vow not to be sheep when it is clear you can no longer trust the Shepherd. And never believe that just because someone calls another a Moses that any of them know the way to the Red Sea — much less through it.

But most of all, be positive. Be discerning. Be watchful. Many will come to you bearing gifts, rum and money and claiming to be givers of love. Remember that a man bearing alms is not always a good man.

Experience has already taught you this.


SCRIPTURE VERSE THIS WEEK

“Nobody look at me”

For Reading & Meditation – Psalm 119:25-32

“I hold fast to your statutes, O Lord; do not let me be put to shame.” (V.31)

On at least ten separate occasions in the Book of Psalms the psalmist cries out, as he does in the text before us: “Do not let me be put to shame.” Perhaps nothing attacks our core identity to such an extent as does shame. There are degrees of shame – the experience of being stripped of all sense of dignity and hope. The writer John Bradshaw says: “To have shame as an identity is to believe that one’s being is flawed, that one is defective as a human being.”

Consider with me now another element of shame: The desire to hide from the gaze of others. Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden we read caused them to cover themselves and hide their nakedness from each other (Gen. 3:7). When they realized God was approaching the garden for His daily appointment with them they fled to the safety of the bushes. They were covered with leaves, but also with shame.

There is something about looking into the eyes of others when you feel shame that increases the sense of embarrassment and humiliation. Not long ago I sat down to a meal with a lovely family. While we were eating, one of the children – a boy aged about seven – behaved rather badly, and this brought a stern rebuke from his father. As the little by sat there, obviously feeling thoroughly ashamed, he put his hands over his eyes and said: “Nobody look at me.” Shame causes us to flee to a world where it is bad enough to look at ourselves, but even worse to face the gaze of others.


LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Belham Valley Challenge Is Not a Bridge Too Far

Dear Editor,
Further to Anthony Simpson’s letter regarding the Belham Bridge, two things come to mind:
1. Belham Bridge is still there, so it must be possible to reinstate it.
2. Assuming that the powers that be are not prepared to sort out the bridge, then a simple solution would be to ask the Ministry of Defence to ship out via the next supply ship, an outdated or life-expired Bailey Bridge.
These are, as everyone knows, emergency bridges used in times of strife or wartime.

I know of one such bridge put up by the Territorial Army, which has served the community for nearly 40 years.  The bridge is situated at Walton-on-Trent just south of Burton. It replaced a bridge washed away in floods in the ‘50s, and is the second one of its kind; the original Bailey Bridge across the Trent was itself destroyed in further floods in the ‘60s. 

The Army replaced it with a second one, which is still in place and functioning perfectly.
Putting such a unit across the Belham would be child’s play for the T.A.

I wonder if Geof Hoon has been asked to provide an outdated model and the weekend soldiers to build it. Perhaps he is too busy defending his empire against attacks from the media, to be concerned with the wellbeing of one of Her Majesty's Dependent Territories.
Sam Rhys-Williams

PS. It might be even cheaper to buy one from the Government Surplus Auctions, which, as it happens, are held in the Burton-on-Trent area!!!


“Hurrah Princess Grace Hospital”

Dear Sir,

It is my delight to publicly recognize the professionalism, efficiency and skill of the team of Urologist and Surgeon Specialists Chris Ogden, Ken Anson and Mark Emberton of the Princess Grace Hospital at 42-52 Nottingham Place WIM, 3FD London England.

Their surgical skill, friendliness and caring have contributed successfully to my life and living today. My sincere thanks and appreciation to these doctors. To the nursing staff similarly, who have been wonderfully helped, capable and caring. To the catering staff for their wonderful co-operation, sound advice and instruction. Worth mentioning too, is the Physical Education Team whose encouragement and existence inspired and motivated me to rely on my own self will and strength, the need and importance for exercise and mobility to maintain health.

The delivery service at the hospital is of a very high standard. I encourage you to aim even for higher levels of service.

I recommend to you the reading public, this beautiful hospital and the service it offers to the sick. May god bless you Princess Grace.

Joseph H. Meade

Hon. Speaker Montserrat Legislative Council

And patient at the Princess Grace Hospital 


LOCAL NEWS

PWD’s Roy Greaves Off To 2 Years’ Study in UK

Roy Greaves, senior building foreman of the Public Works Department (PWD), left Montserrat on Wednesday, for England to pursue a two-year programme in Construction Management at the University of Derby.

Mr Greaves' overseas study programme was coordinated by the Ministry of Communications and the Department of Administration. It is funded and approved by the Department for International Development DFID through the government of Montserrat.

Mr. Greaves, a former schoolteacher for 21 years and radio cricket commentator, expressed his appreciation to the Ministry and the Department of Administration for making the necessary arrangements for his studies. He also worked in Tortola where he piloted the education programme in Her Majesty's Prison in the British Virgin Islands.

Mr. Greaves, a former president of the Brades Parent Teachers Association and vice president of the Montserrat Cricket Association, was instrumental in helping the inmates at the prison in Tortola to produce a book of poems entitled "Heart Vibrations."


Tourist Board Briefed On New Business Plan

Officials in tourism development and management consultancy met with the directors of the Montserrat Tourist Board (MTB) at the Development Unit office on Monday.

The meeting concentrated on issues such as how to attract funding from the Department of International Development (DFID) in a bid to improve the tourism plant on Montserrat.

Paul Ridoutt, one of the three officials who attended the meeting, operates a tourism development and management consulting entity from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He also worked with the MTB in the development of the business plan.

Mr. Ridoutt, whose previous job was as a consultant with the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) for four years, during which time he carried out assignments in many Caribbean islands, including Jamaica and Barbados.

The MTB Directors, headed by Chairman John Ryan, were briefed about the business plan and the way forward. Since then the Irish government provided financial assistance for a consultancy on the entire tourism plant on Montserrat to develop a national tourism strategy and plan.


Government Plans Meetings To Keep People Informed

Government Ministers plan to hold a series of meetings with residents in the various communities on the island.

The meetings are intended to provide an opportunity for the people to talk directly to their political representatives and provide feedback to the Ministers on developments.

The first of these public meetings, according to the Government Information Unit (GIU), will be held on Wednesday, September 3, at the old St Peter's school at 7 p.m.

Public meetings are also planned for Salem, Cudjoe Head and Lookout.

The meetings will also provide the Ministers with an opportunity to outline the government's policies and future development projects for the island, including the new airport at Geralds due for completion by September 2004. 


Montserrat Awaits Benefits Of New Medical School

Montserratians are poised to benefit from St. John Medical School, a new offshore medical school which aims at promoting better health and welfare through advanced educational opportunities for medical professionals.

On Monday, three senior officials from the Atlanta Central University and The Seoul Central College of Medicine arrived in Montserrat ahead of the opening of the new school September 1. They are President and Pastor John C. Kim, the chairman of the Board of Trustees, Kim Lee Kun, and Chris Hong.

The course lineup for university eyes premedical, medical, and other courses to graduate students and degree professionals.

According to Hon. Idabelle Meade, Minister of Education, Health and Community Services, “Classes will be held at the McChestney Estate property in Olveston while students will be housed in the dormitories at tropical Mansions Suites and the Faculty Staff will be housed in privates homes.”


Steel Pan Instructor Ends 6-week Assignment Here

Trinidad and Tobago pannist, composer and lecturer Duvone Stewart left the Island on Monday after completing a six–week assignment. 

During his stay in Montserrat, Mr. Stewart worked with the youths and adults at the Brades Primary School.

Mr. Stewart’s task was aimed at preparing a group of young steel pan players to participate at the Caribbean Junior Pan Festival, which was scheduled for Antigua last weekend. However the event was rescheduled until December 5-6.

According to the Antiguan Organisers of the junior steel pan festival, it clashed with the staging of the Caribbean Festival of Arts (CARIFESTA) in Suriname.

Mr. Stewart told, The Montserrat Reporter, “I generally enjoyed my stay in Montserrat and I am looking forward for a return in order to continue my work.” Mr. Stewart added that after leaving Montserrat he would be traveling to Germany, Jamaica, Miami, Japan and India towards the end of this year. 

He is therefore appealing to residents to show greater support for the community services and culture departments on the island.


Volcano Shake-off 2003 Entertains Crowd at Brades

Children and parents gathered at the Brades Primary School Hall on Tuesday to enjoy a day of entertainment with artists from around the Caribbean.

“Volcano Shake-off 2003” was the theme given to this event which was organized by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in collaboration with Community Services Department, on Tuesday.

It featured songs by Antigua’s former Junior Calypso Monarch Kimberley “Little Kimmy” King, Keithroy “De Bear” Morson, and  Jordon “De Cub” Morson, and Master Ezekiel Yorke. A dance by Montserrat’s Young Masqueraders and a Latin dance by Pineland Creative Workshop were among the highlights of the concert.

There was also a storytelling presentation Paula Taylor and amusements for the children by magician Egbert Sayers.


Separate Vehicle Crashes Leave Two Slightly Hurt

Last Friday, Aug. 22, about 10:00 a.m. a Corolla Ceres (M 1205) collided with a pickup truck (G 2354) at the corner of Olveston Road and Runaway Ghaut.

Police gave this account:

Philip Chambers was the driver of the Corolla while Rudolph Lee, aka Gap, an employee at the Montserrat Culture Department and a basketballer with the Montserrat Pit Bulls, was behind the wheel of the pickup.

Mr. Lee was coming out of Runaway Ghaut while Mr. Chambers was attempting to enter Runaway Ghaut when the two vehicles collided.

Mr. Chambers told police he was traveling up Olveston Road and noticed the pickup coming out of Runaway Ghaut. “So I pressed my brakes but unfortunately collided with the pickup.”

Mr. Lee said, “I was traveling in a north-south direction on Runaway Ghaut towards Olveston Road. In making the turn onto Olveston Road, I noticed the car coming up the road, but I was already in the centre of the road, so I attempted to stop but collided with the car.”

Both vehicles were damaged at the front but M1205 received the brunt. Both drivers appeared not to be injured.

Meanwhile at about 4:30 on Monday afternoon a white jeep (M1608) collided with a white minivan (M2213) on the Brades Main Road opposite Farara Plaza.

Both vehicles were traveling in opposite directions, and both drivers were treated at hospital for minor injuries and released the same day.

Up to press time police were still investigating the cause of the accident.


Secondary Examination Results Improve Sharply 0ver Last Year

This year’s Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate (CSEC) results have shown an increase in passes for the Montserrat Secondary School (MSS). There was a 90-percent pass rate compared to last year’s 77.3 percent.

Perfect passes were obtained in 17 out of 25 subject Proficiencies and out of 44 students, 28 obtained passes in all of the subjects taken, and 25 students, with a total of 30 entries at Cambridge O-level, obtained acceptable grades in 19 of them, and this rated a 63-percent pass rate.

Students who were exceptional in the CXC CSEC and Cambridge ‘O’ Level examinations are: Kimmora Ward, Antoinette Silcott, Kenya Lee, Kathrina Piper, Melvin Lindsey.

The Ministry of Education in collaboration with the CXC National Committee announced the recipients of the CXC CSEC National Awards 2003. Calvin Lewis got an award for his outstanding performance in technical and vocational subjects and Antoinette Silcott received an award for most outstanding performance in Business Education.

Nine students gained passes in nine subjects, two students obtained seven subjects, eight students gained six subjects and three students obtained five subjects.

Eleven students gained grade one passes in English A, nine in Principles of Accounts and six in Principles of Business, there was also a marked improvement in Mathematics at both General and Basic Proficiencies.

Congratulations were extended to all students, teachers, including part-time teachers and parents, also to the local Registrar, the local examiners, supervisors and invigilators and business places.

Special congratulations were also extended to the Principal of MSS, Miss Kathleen Greenaway.


Groundbreaking Launches Phase II of Lookout Project

Hon. Margaret Dyer-Howe, Minister of Agriculture, Lands, Housing and the Environment, turned the sod with a youngster from the Lookout Community on Monday, August 25 to signal the start of infrastructure works on phase II of the project.
Mrs. Dyer-Howe said, "It was agreed that this was an appropriate time to develop longer-term housing, and for the past two years the Government of Montserrat, with the assistance of the (UK) Department for International Development (DFID), has been seeking to develop what we term Lookout Phase II Infrastructure Development. This is why we are here today to signal the official start of this important project."
She said the main project output is to construct quality infrastructure facilities for approximately 122 residential and commercial lots.
The development will include roads, drains, utilities and landscaping.
Minister Dyer-Howe said “The goal is to assist displaced residents of Montserrat in the rebuilding of the community, by providing long term accommodation and sustainable livelihoods within a time-frame of 15 months."
She said the project will be divided into phases. This phase will take in the development of Site 2A, releasing approximately 80 lots, a road leading to Brimms Ghaut and the construction of the sewage collection system and waste stabilization ponds.
She said the sizes of the lots have been based on "our strong cultural preference for backyard production."
It is envisaged that the Lookout II project will facilitate the provision of permanent housing solution to approximately 25 percent of the remaining housing need indicated by the Comprehensive Housing Needs Assessment.
"Plots will be released to facilitate the delivery of different range of housing opportunities including the construction of houses by the European Union, materials grant recipients and for housing of the mentally ill," she said.

The Minister added that the proposed overall makeup of the Lookout development will ensure that a balance between low income/vulnerable and other income groups is promoted, while recognizing that as GOM's only significant housing development, priority will be given to those least able to help themselves.
Ian Young, DFID representative, said the project is a signal, not only to Montserrat but to the rest of the communities in the Caribbean who are watching, that regardless of the ash that fell on us four weeks ago, "here we are with other projects starting again.
"This is once again a sign that Montserrat can recover from whatever is given to them, get back online and start work very, very quickly."
Also present at the ground-breaking ceremony were Acting Governor Sir Howard Fergus, senior government officials, Charlesworth Phillip, manager of the Land Development Authority, staff of the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Housing and the Environment, Pastor Abraham Riley and representatives of the Lookout Community. 


Two Men Charged  In Salem  Slashing

Last Sunday, a slashing incident involving two Jamaican nationals and a Guyanese national was reported in the Salem Hope area.

Police reports state that two of the men were identified as Bevano and Leonard Pinnock, residents of Hope, while the other is a resident of Sweeney.

It is alleged that the incident took place as a result of gambling.

Eyewitness said the two Jamaican brothers slashed the Guyanese man under the neck, and this led to their arrest.

The victim was taken to hospital for treatment.

The brothers were charged for wounding with intent, with bail set in the sum of EC$15,000 each. Payment was met on Tuesday, and they were released.

The men appeared in court before senior magistrate Clifton Warner on Monday and are expected to reappear on September 18.


New Medical School’s First Students Arrive

Students have begun arriving here to begin classes on September 1 at the Montserrat-based Atlanta Central University Seoul Central College of Medicine, according to the owners of the school.

Medical school President Rev. John C. Kim and Dr. Hyunki Chris Hong, co-founder and chairperson of the University Planning Committee, said seven students arrived on the island on Monday to begin classes.

Dr. Hong said another 17 students will arrive in Montserrat on September 15.

"We are truly a full-fledged medical school . . . all classes will be taught physically on Montserrat," said Dr. Hong.

The medical school official said another batch of about 25 students are to arrive on the island in January 2004, with follow up batches in September 2004 and January 2005.

Also on island is one member of the teaching staff Professor Kim.

President Kim, a Seventh-day Adventist minister, said students from China, Japan and Korea are scheduled to arrive in Montserrat in January 2004.

He said several students from the United States will also join the medical facility.

Dr. Hong said one container with equipment and supplies has arrived at Port Little Bay and at least two more are expected shortly.

Both medical school officials said they intend to hire qualified Montserratians to be part of the teaching staff.

"Every teaching opportunity will be open to nationals (Montserratians) . . . we want this school to be run by Montserratians," said Dr. Hong.

Earlier this year, Hon. Idabelle Meade, Minister of Education, Health, Community Services and Labor, travelled to Atlanta to sign the agreement on the behalf of the Government of Montserrat for the medical school to begin its operations here.

Classes will be held in the conference room of the Tropical Mansion Suites in Sweeney's and also the McChesney Estate in Olveston.


Dr, Peter Baxter Studies New Ash for Risk Levels

Dr. Peter Baxter, the British government’s chief scientist, continued his investigations last Sunday into the ash content in order to ascertain if the content is still the same as when it was reviewed in 1996.

Dr. Baxter noted that the quantity of ash this year is more than that of 1996, which gives a better opportunity to analyze the ash that currently exists.

He urged residents, “Wear protection whenever you are going to do anything that is involved in cleaning ash because this is the time when fine particles will cause irritation to the respiratory track. So we are appealing that you use the mask.”

The effort of ash cleaning he said, is still continuing, in order to reduce it to a level that is manageable.


Cable & Wireless Simplifies Pay as You Go Billing Access

Cable & Wireless has introduced a new feature to the slate of services offered to Pay as You Go mobile customers effective Monday, August 25.

According to Joel Payne, Senior Customer Services Representative, Pay as You Go customers have had to dial ‘*3733 send,’ a toll-free number and then press ‘1’ after the prompt in order to get their current account balance.

However, effective last Monday, Pay as You Go customers became able to get their current account balance immediately after completing a call by simply remaining on the line.


 

Gospel Showcase Animates Audience in Packed School

From the moment the Local Montserrat Group and Beverly Danvers appeared on stage they were a hit among the patrons who packed the Brades Primary School room in Montserrat last Sunday night for the gospel showcase, under the theme, “We will exalt the Lord Ministry.”

The Local Montserrat children’s group that was directed by Mrs. Eurlin Jeffers tantalized the audience with sign language to the tune “Shout To The Lord.” Mrs. Jeffers told The Montserrat Reporter, “I felt it was good, it was a blessing to give and receive from God, the performance was excellent.” 

This selection went down well with the patrons who were captivated by the heart-rending song. The patrons showed their appreciation with loud laughs and applause during the group’s performances.

When Mrs. Beverly Danvers, an Antiguan who can be described as energetic and creative, took center stage at about 7:25 p.m. she captivated the entire audience with her spiritual mission. She got baptized at age 12 and has since being singing for over 20 years.

Songs such as “Jesus You Been So Good To Me” had the audience in the jam-packed room rocking and waving their hands to the tune of the wonderful band. “Sin Will Never Last Forever” set the seemingly high-spirited audience in the groove during her song. There was one electrifying moment as she urged the ladies in the concert to “Guard what you have.”

Other selection included  “I Owed It All To Him,” “There No One Great Among Us,”” I Know He Watches,”” Amazing Grace,” “Jesus Is The One”, “Jesus Will Never Say No,” “Come To The Water and Stand By My Side,” and “Unfinished Task.”

The Montserrat Reporter was unable to view the second –half of the concert, which featured “Gospel in motion,” also from Antigua. The organizer was Fiona Meade.


REGIONAL NEWS

3-member Grenada Committee To Weigh Child Abuse Claims

GRENADA (CMC) -- Government has announced the establishment of a three-member committee to investigate opposition allegations of child abuse at the Sapodilla Home.
The Committee, which was set up at the request of Cuthbert McQueen, Minister of Housing, Social Services and Cooperatives, comprises a representative from the Board of Directors of the Child Welfare Authority, a Social Services Officer in the Ministry, as well as a member of the Board of Directors of the Home.
In a letter to Authority Director Clement Francis, dated August 22, 2003, Minister McQueen referred to allegations by Leader of the Opposition Michael Baptiste that a parliamentarian and member of the ruling New National Party administration had abused children at the Home.
Minister McQueen has requested that the Committee comprise representatives from the Ministry, the Authority and the Sapodilla Home and that a report on the allegations be made to him by Friday, August 29, according to a statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office on Monday.


Barbados Opposition to Fight C&W Metered Rates Proposal

BARBADOS (CMC) -- Opposition leader Clyde Mascoll is promising to take the fight to monopoly provider Cable & Wireless if the company proceeds with plans to introduce metered rates for fixed line telephone services in Barbados.
"I will give of my time and talents to assist in the fight on this issue," he told the Democratic Labour Party's (DLP) 48th annual conference, held at its headquarters just outside Bridgetown on Sunday.
He said the DLP was strongly opposed to the metered rates proposal and that a study already undertaken of the proposed rate structure was compatible with the party's position.
Further promising that the opposition would reject the proposed changes all the way, Mr. Mascoll added that the plan runs counter to Barbadian culture and could destroy community life.
Locals and businesses alike have become accustomed to a monthly flat rate system for making phone calls. With the proposed metered system, they would be charged for actual time spent on the phone.
Cable & Wireless has applied to the Fair Trading Commission (FTC) to increase its flat rates for business and residential customers and to introduce usage based or metered rates for domestic calls from fixed lines.
Mr. Mascoll, an economist, warned that in addition to telephone rates, Barbadians could fond other rate increases in the offing, following recent general elections.
"The water rates are also going up and bus fares will rise in the next year or two.
"All of this now the elections are over," he said.
Mr. Mascoll also touched on the current round of pay talks between Government and public sector trade unions, stating that the "cost of living has outstripped wage increases and in real terms workers have been pushed back by more than a decade".


Trinidad Police Investigating TT$1.5-million Cocaine Find

TRINIDAD (CMC) -- Trinidad and Tobago police were continuing their search for more cocaine along a beach east of here, after five bags containing 49 kilogrammes of the illegal drugs washed ashore on Sunday.
Police estimate the drugs found to have a street value of TT$1.5 million (US$250,000) but said no one had been arrested as a result of the find along the Manzanilla and Mayaro beachfront, east of Port of Spain.
Oswyn Allard, Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of Crime, said there would be a massive aerial and land sweep of the two districts by joint army and police patrols in search of more drugs, adding that the police-army dragnet "will go on for as long as required."
A jogger found the first bag on the beach early on Sunday morning and Mr. Allard said various calls were made to the Crime Stoppers Programme as persons came across other bags.
The drugs came bobbing onto the coast hours after police conducted massive roadblocks to prevent incidents at a festival on Saturday night.
Officials from the Organised Crime and Narcotics Unit said the drugs might have been part of a consignment from Venezuela's notorious Los Mellizos (The Twins) narcotic drug ring, one newspaper reported on Monday.
It said that the security officials here were working with the Guardia Nacional and officers from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency in this investigation.
Police believe that the cocaine was supposed to be picked up by "middlemen drug traffickers" but the pick up was apparently abandoned because of the roadblocks.
The drugs, police said, were carefully wrapped with thick, clear plastic.


More Drugs, Another Dead Body Wash Ashore on Trinidad Beach

TRINIDAD (CMC) -- Trinidad and Tobago police on Wednesday were seeking to retrieve an estimated TT$10 million (US$1.6 million) in cocaine that washed ashore on a beach on the eastern coast and was reportedly taken away by villagers.

Police were also trying to identify a second body that washed ashore at the Mayaro and Manzanilla beach late on Tuesday, as they move to secure the area where over TT$100 million of illegal drugs have washed ashore since Sunday.

Senior Superintendent Desmond Lambert warned villagers that they risk facing the full brunt of the law if they refuse to turn over the drugs that have been coming ashore in bags.

Police said that another decomposing body was also found on Tuesday and they have linked it as well to the ongoing cocaine find. On Monday, the body of an unidentified person was found floating on the beach and police had initially believed it to be that of a Venezuelan or a Colombian. But one newspaper on Wednesday said that further tests showed the body to be that of a man of African descent and that the salt water had apparently changed his pigmentation to that of a “white man”.


Former Montserratian Wins $342,987 Lottery in USVI

ST. THOMAS - A Montserratian woman living in St. Thomas is $342,987 richer after winning the Aug. 16 Caribbean Lotto jackpot drawing.

Consuela Brin, who declined to give her age but said she is a grandmother, discovered she was a winner Aug. 18, after reading about the then-unclaimed jackpot and checking her numbers.

"I didn't believe it. . . . We looked at the numbers. And we still didn't believe what we saw," Ms. Brin said.

She already has plans for the money.

"We are going to invest, to invest some, and we're going to do some traveling - some serious traveling." She said she and her fiancé Ray Andrews have been playing the lottery for a while, and sometimes spend as much as $50 on a drawing. She said they enjoy coming up with different combinations of numbers.

The winning ticket, it turns out, was a combination of the birthdays of Mr. Andrews and his sister, son, mother, ex-wife, the age of his son and the age Mr. Andrews was when he divorced, he said.

"This time, we were really lucky with the set we came up with," Ms. Brin said.

Although originally from Montserrat she has lived on St. Thomas for more than 40 years. She said that despite the winnings, she plans to continue working.


Kittitian Kim Collins Triumphs As 100 meters World Champion

ST. KITTS -- St. Kitts and Nevis was in a Carnival-like mood Monday afternoon as residents celebrated the magnificent win of Kittitian Kim Collins in the 100 meters in the Men’s Final of the IAAF World Championships in Athletics 2003 in France.

“A proud moment for St. Kitts and Nevis. He has made the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis proud,” said Sam Condor, St. Kitts and Nevis Deputy Prime Minister, as scores of nationals mounted a motorcade through the streets of Basseterre.

“In 1996, we participated in our first Olympic and this is a happy event coming on the eve of the 20th Anniversary of Independence,” said Mr. Condor, the Acting Minister of Sports.

Mr. Condor pointed out that it was a great feat for Kim Collins, from a country of 45,000 people, to beat top athletes from the United States and Great Britain.

Mr. Condor, a former Minister of Sports, former national footballer and former national football coach, congratulated Kim Collins, his mother and other members of the family.

ZIZ Radio opened the lines immediately after the win with callers phoning in their congratulations from all over the world, including France, New York, Canada, Antigua and the United Kingdom.


Former Trinidad President Hospitalized after Collapsing

TRINIDAD (CMC) -- Former Trinidad and Tobago President Arthur N.R. Robinson was rushed to hospital for treatment after he collapsed at a hotel in Tobago on Sunday.

Consultant urologist Dr. Lall Sawh said the former head of state had been suffering from intermittent bleeding related to radiation treatment he received some years ago for a bladder problem.

The bleeding could happen anytime unannounced, but once his bladder starts bleeding, it has to be stopped right away, or it could become a life-threatening issue, he added.

Mr. Robinson told reporters that he was feeling fine now and that the doctors had found a slight trace of blood in his urine.

“I have to get two tests, then I would be ready to leave,” he said. Mr. Robinson is being treated at a private clinic in the south of the island.

Prime Minister Patrick Manning, who paid a visit to the former head of state, said that Mr. Robinson was in very good spirits, and television and newspaper pictures showed him speaking to his daughter and grandchild at his bedside.

Mr. Robinson’s illness comes at a time of growing controversy here, after one newspaper last weekend said he had benefited from a Government decision to grant him a waiver on duties totalling over TT$600,000 (US$100,000) on two luxury vehicles.

But speaking to reporters from his bedside, Mr. Robinson said he was aware of the newspaper article and has referred it to his lawyers to examine the allegation in the story as well as the imputation in the headline.

The Trinidad Guardian newspaper ran the story on Sunday under a front-page banner headline. Mr. Robinson told reporters, “My service to the country has been long and meritorious and what I am receiving is in keeping with the law.”


FEATURES

Worship of a difference—Rastafarian Izis

By Claude Gerald

It was worship of a sharp difference that spell bounded the ‘ball headed’ spectator. 

‘Ras Mas is a high Mas—its real Mas we playing with JaH, JaH. No vanity, neither no whisky, just live free, everybody irie—‘. Inspired by Lord Explainer’s bouncy calypso beat, symbolizing the Rastafarian praise to Jah and a promotional snippet with Rose Willock on ZJB, I planned not to miss the opportunity to experience this devotional thriller. Chedmond Brown is to lecture at the event. That churned the inquisitive juices. The experience was stimulating, fascinating, provocative and memorable.

Festival city, Little Bay on Saturday 16 august hosted an influx of some 25 regional Rastafarians for the day, to connect with the faithful, confer, program and view the new Montserrat, drawing spiritual energies and wisdom from the volcano. The mix was colourful and interesting with each sex well represented. Many were nakedly locked beyond the shoulder. With an air of spiritual acceptance and confidence others, neatly turbaned strutted along the ash-strewn beach. Queens and Empresses decked with appropriate headgear, one with young ones at her feet greeted and frolicked with passersby. Two distinctly Caucasian and looked the part reminiscent of images of Jesus’ disciples moved nonchalantly with simple graces and enamoured themselves. The sect is not exclusively Afro-centric and this may ethnically confuse the repatriation endeavours of the back to Africa promoters.

The Rastafarians gathered under the auspices of Caribbean Rastafarian Organization (CRO) a spiritual body that promotes the sect in its two main objectives, reparation and repatriation: there is a preoccupation with a desire to ensure that the European monsters who uprooted the mass of African slaves, depositing them to many destinations across the Atlantic, whilst ill-treating captives mercilessly in the process of exploiting their labours in Empire building, should promptly make monetary settlements once and for all. Some historians claim this is the most graphic example of man’s inhumanity to man. The nature of the exodus is yet to be convincingly explained however.

Also there is the belief, the conviction even that the descendants of enforced migrants to the Caribbean and beyond are homeless. The argument is that to be forcibly disconnected from ones ancestral home carries with it a psychological wound that keeps festering thus further destabilizing the spirit, the essence of man and many a generation across many cultures. The Caribbean man is devoid of his real roots and repatriation to his homeland is considered inevitable, as the conference theme emphasized. So vigorous advocating, centering and planning is setting the stage for the realization of these two goals and the members, empowered with much gray matter as garnered from the groundings with many, are well aware that despite their tenacious link with the past, that the realities of the present technological trappings call for networking to advance ambitions of any sort.

This was a celebratory week for the CRO. And part of it was to visit Montserrat to spread the wings of the movement as a community nation, recruiting as a major goal as world events signal and hasten the apocalypse. World events, 9/11 no less instruct watchfulness, meditation and action says King Franki, a seasoned Rastafarian Leader equally known as an ace international sports commentator. Recruitment transcends the English speaking islands, expanding trans-culturally deepening efforts into the colonial Diaspora. On the 116th birthday of Marcus Garvey last Sunday, a seminar discussion in his honour took place at Multipurpose Complex in Antigua. Also a conference highlighting women of the Rastafari nation occurred on the 20th August and November 1-7, the 9th gathering and reasoning of CRO takes place in Tortola, celebrating the further breakdown, destruction of the last bastions of British colonialism and the true identity of Caribbean people.

Oblivious to the midday heat, the occasional mountain of ashen dust that traverse the make shift pavilion at Festival City, the devotees of His Imperial Majesty, chanted and raised their hands for some 3 hours in praise. The worshippers too were not aware that praises of a different kind were just a stone’s throw away where the Seven Day Adventist’s were engaging in water baptism at the shores of Little Bay. Acting as loyal consorts to King Franki, the brethren partook in unison. The praises were embroidered with rhythmic drumbeats, flags waving in typical colours and the transcendental smell of burning vegetation that engulfed the gathering. Magnetized by the happenings I reached out to grab an attractive ‘shack-shack’ in the hands of a gold toothed princess, desiring to ‘go on bad’ in the unfolding drama.  I was promptly rebuffed as if she carried a consecrated instrument way out of my league. I deferred and retreated feeling desecrated and resorted to soak in the reverberation much more----.

Blissful peace accompanied the actions of the day. And though the Rastafarians have suffered long and hard for mainstream recognition, the feeling is irrepressible that they have grown by leaps and this vigorous attempt to evangelize their message of peace and truth is not frivolously founded and deserves at least to be respected by all. Theirs is one of belief in what they believe and a belief that embraces worship in and with peace is as noble as one can get.  Their time is now. Long live Jah Rastafari. Haile Selassie I!

Claude Gerald is an agriculturist and commentator. Ceegee15@hotmail.com


TOURISM HIGHLIGHTS

PLANS AFOOT FOR FESTIVAL 2003  

The Retreat held on Saturday August 16 at the Lookout Community Centre by the Montserrat Festival Committee, looked at a number of issues, which they deemed necessary to help make this year’s festival as successful as last year’s.  The 8-hour Retreat touched on issues relating to the various shows to be held during the Festival Season in addition to other behind the scenes logistics.  A draft festival calendar is already being looked at and a slogan  - “An Explosion of Talent & Creativity, Festival 2003” - is already being launched.

Festival 2002 saw scores of people especially from the UK coming to Montserrat.  Many persons who returned to the UK and to other destinations earlier this year remarked on the excellent time they had during festival last year, and some people are already planning on returning.  Others who were unable to make the trip last year are also planning on coming down this year.  Flights are already showing full from some major cities during some days in December.

It is envisioned that with the opening up of Isle Bay Hill, Happy Hill and Old Towne areas including the Vue Pointe Hotel, that more people especially those with homes in these areas who did not visit last year, will consider traveling to Montserrat this year.    Meanwhile, some accommodation entities are showing bookings for December.

The Montserrat Tourist Board is encouraging everyone to help make this year’s festival a success in addition to making it crime free.


VOLCANO LIMERICKS

DFID Duenna

Montserrat has successfully shown

Cleanup money was down to the bone;

An impressive new sum

Has been promised to come,

Along with its own chaperon.

 

Disconnection

Dead phone, yet you failed to see

In your mail C&W’s fee?

When you go in to scold

You may even be told

A mailed bill’s just ‘a courtesy.’


JUS WONDERIN

Jus wonderin  who the man and wife light and dark coconuts are who are selling out Montserrat to Brits and Americans.

Jus wonderin if Montserratians will soon be tenants in dey own country.

Jus wonderin if we gwon come like another Cayman Islands.

Jus wonderin where the bulk of the cleanup money went to and if we will ever see an accounting.

Jus wonderin if this could prove an undoing for who and who and who else?

Jus wonderin if is true that each personal stooge gets at least $20,000.00.

Jus wonderin if is true that a big chief get close to six digit figures for his property alone.

Jus wonderin how much the other small chiefs get.

Jus wonderin if the noose now tighten on the issuing of passports and Peter and Paul going pay for all.

Jus wonderin who fu truth is a Montserratian.

Jus wonderin what can cause it and if we going to or want to have early elections.

Jus wonderin if we will ever stop wonderin’.

Jus wonderin how long the downed wires at the Roundabout in Old Towne will remain a part of the landscape.

Jus wonderin in the ash above the school in Woodlands will be removed before school opens September 8.

Jus wonderin how come the "No Entry Zone" sign that was so fast going up at the roundabout in Old Towne is so slow in coming down

Jus wonderin when Lookout Phase 2 is completed who will be the lucky ones to inherit it.

Jus wonderin how much of the housing problem this lil Phase 2 gon solve.

Jus wonderin how come dem CXC children did so good this year.

Jus wonderin if percentages mean that much or is more misleadin than really good.

Jus wonderin if next year gon top this year.

Jus wonderin how de ministry sending children from Davy Hill to Lookout Nursery and some children who living in St. John to Brades Nursery.

Jus wonderin if you have to know people these days for your child to go to their district school.

Jus wonderin how de head for some de big school dem does behave so hawkish at times.

Jus wonderin if you have to have people in high position to get treat good.

Jus wonderin why some foreigners behaving so badly and giving others a bad rep.

Jus wonderin how long de secondary school gon keep depriving dem 5P children from writing CXC.

Jus wonderin if they don’t know that each human being was born with different gifts and skills — y’know, different strokes for different folks.

Jus wonderin when we have all these people finishing school with their ‘O’levels will the Govt have jobs for them.

Jus wonderin how much of them will go away to England.

Jus wonderin how come it taking so much money to do so little work.

 Jus wonderin if when he drop sleep dung dey, there was some one waitin and watchin in the wings so she could jus roll over and call.

Jus wonderin if we should hear about the British meeting dem again this time and how much more money we get to do what we like with.

Jus wonderin how we can get the youth more involved in the progress and formation of their own future in this ya place.

Jus wonderin if all above them really have that interest or theirs only.


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