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Britain Hastens for Montserrat’s Financial Independence

By Merrick Andrews

HMGs OTD Head, Clive Warren

Head of the Overseas Territories Department (OTD) Clive Warren said the British Government is working with the local Government to hasten the day when Montserrat can again become financially independent of the British.

“I don’t regard Montserrat as over dependent but we (the British Government) would all like to see them as less dependent,” Mr. Warren told The Montserrat Reporter Thursday. “They are self-reliant… and it is against that background why we are working with the Montserrat Government as much as we can to hasten the day when Montserrat once again can be fully independent.”

The OTD chief said he observes Montserratians to be financially independent, but the volcanic crisis has robbed them of maintaining that temperament.

He added: “Montserrat clearly has required British Government support but I am conscious from talking to people on this island that Montserratians don’t want that anymore or didn’t want to have to do that anymore than the British government necessarily wants to.”

Mr. Warren and OTD Economic Advisor Mr. Ajay Sharma were on island discussing financial matters with local Government officials.

During the meetings, he said, both parties looked at how the budget is performing, how expenditure is measuring up against the money that’s available and make adjustments if necessary, among other issues. These consultations are expected to continue over another week, Mr. Warren said.

While no firm agreements have so far been made from these meetings, Mr. Warren said they have consulted on how generally they can “maybe do more to help cut down suit according to cloth.”

He said: “We have a good measure of agreement with Government on what the developmental priorities are and the areas in which we need to be concentrating our efforts and our resources. And we have a good measurement of agreement with Government on what constitutes central expenditure within the recurrent budget and where revenue measures are appropriate.”

Mr. Warren said he is pleased with the level of effort the Montserrat Government has put in place and are planning to execute to source new ways of making revenue in light of the drastic reduction in British subsidy.

“It is our hope and our expectations, which is shared by Montserrat, is that by the years go by Montserrat will increasingly be able to develop its own sources of revenue and so we can reduce our sums of money,” he said. “There are some signs that this is proving possible….”

He partly blames the still-active volcano for the hitches in the Montserrat economy.
“It’s true to say that Montserrat’s economy continues to have problems. It is certainly the case that the volcanic crisis is not what it was a few years ago, but we do recognise that the volcano continues to cause serious problems for Montserrat’s economy in the sense it remains classified persistently active; and therefore that has negative impacts on economic regeneration on the island upon the prospects of external investor confidence and indeed the stimulation of tourism, which potential is the most important revenue earner for the island.”

The OTD chief has also come out in support of the recent move by the Montserrat Government to increase civil servant salaries. But he said a hard decision was taken and a balancing act is required to maintain revenue for this purpose. “There is a difficult balance which has to be struck clearly in ensuring that you spend enough in order to save enough in the long-term,” he advises. “Now this is a judgment which the government of Montserrat is taking because quite frankly if you don’t pay people enough money they are going to go away … that’s the last thing the government wants in this is island is actually to be losing its best qualified staff and there have been really a number of people who left the island over the years.”


Montserrat’s September 17 Anniversary of Disasters

Typical damage after hurricane Hugo

On Wednesday, September 11, millions of people worldwide acknowledged the first anniversary of the terror attacks on the Unites States, which left more than 2,000 people dead.
However, September 17 on Montserrat, is the anniversary of three major disasters: the 1965 Pan-American Airways crash in Chance’s Mountain, which claimed the life of all aboard – 21 passengers and nine crew members; the 1989 devastating effects of Hurricane Hugo on the entire island and the first terrifying explosion of the Soufriere Hills volcano in 1996.
But September is definitely not Montserrat’s favourite month as it was also in September (1981) Montserrat experienced its “worst flood in living memory”. The September 7, 1981 issue of The Montserrat Times reported: “In only a few hours last Thursday night, 12 inches of rainfall poured down on Montserrat, causing the worst flood in living memory. Two people have been reported missing and presumed dead, houses were washed away, scores of animals were carried to the sea, hundreds of thousands of tons of rock, mud and sand were thrown onto the streets, walls gave into the inundation, roads and bridges were badly damaged and utilities were disrupted….”
Montserratians will always remember the “feared” month of September.

However, the Emerald Isle is still standing strong and valiant in spite of the many adversities it has faced.
The following are excerpts from newspaper reports:
 

Pan Am Aircraft Crashes Into Mountainside
No survivors

(The Montserrat Mirror – Saturday, September 18, 1965)
Yesterday morning a Pan-American Airways Boeing 707 Jet crashed in the Chance’s Mountain area in the low-flying fog.
The plane’s final destination was New York via Collridge Airport, Antigua; and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The aircraft, it is claimed, struck the southwest side of Chance’s Mountain head-on. Her last port of call was Fort-de-France, Martinique.
Civil Aviation Board officials state that there were twenty-one passengers aboard with nine crew members. All of whom are presumed to have perished in the catastrophe.
 

Putting it back together
(The Montserrat Reporter – Friday, October 13, 1989)
Montserrat continues to pull itself up from the devastating effects of Hurricane Hugo on September 17.
Most reports say Montserrat was hardest hit and estimated that as many as 98% of all homes were damaged. Many were totally destroyed….
Montserratians have been busy rebuilding their homes and helping friends and neighbours put a shelter over their heads. But thousands still remain homeless.
Some forty tons of galvanize are expected to arrive anytime now as a gift from the United States.
Government sources also say some 400 houses are being built to replace hose public-assistance houses destroyed by Hugo.
Various agencies have been set up to secure and channel funds and to assist with the smooth and speedy rebuilding of the country.
Spirits continue to remain high. And active assistance continues to come from Caribbean countries people, Britain, the United States and Canada.

The roofless Cotton Ginnery in Plymouth after Hurricane Hugo
 

Volcano Fury…

(The Montserrat Reporter – Friday, 20th September 1996)
Soufriere Hills volcano burst forth into what all residents and friends of Montserrat hope will be its last serious burst of activity since its eruptive phase began of July 18 last year. The worst that could be said is that, “if worse is yet to come, then that’s nothing to look forward to”…
On Tuesday afternoon, even with the scientists trying to calm fears, saying that the activities at Soufriere Hills had not heightened but rather is in keeping with what they had been saying is likely to happen, residents here were weary of their pronouncements but trusting nevertheless…
There is no guess that what had been occurring must have awakened sleeping residents over the entire island. The sound was such that there was not mistaking over the eventual rumblings of thunder and flashing lightning, that the volcano which by now was belching rocks, gritty sand, gravel and wet ash, was growling and wining deep down.
The results show that the mixture that had fallen was mixed with sand, ash and tiny rocks, making it compact almost like concrete. The roads were not as slippery as usual but many vehicles had lost their windscreens from falling pebbles.
Some 8 houses including the Pentecostal Church house were burnt in Long Ground all from extremely hot rocks falling on them, as well as the Tar River Estate house, which was threatened earlier from pyroclastic flows, finally succumbing as the flows moved further northward and in towards Long Ground…..
 

Cleaning up after hurricane Hugo


Homage to Jim Allen Led by a Montserratian

Montserratian Colin Riley (pictured left), the guest speaker at Wednesday’s annual Jim Lecture Series at the Brades Pentecostal Church, has committed to two activities in honor of Jim Allen.
Mr. Riley, the first Montserratian to be guest speaker for the Series since its inception in 1999, said the first activity is to continue the “Jim Allen image-making exercise,” the outcome of which will be a written document and digital files that will provide a permanent record of the former cricketer’s career.
The second, he said, is a Cricket Trust Fund to be administered by a 10-person Board of Directors. He added that the fund is in the final stage of planning and he will lead the campaign to establish its Board and to prepare the preliminary documents for the management of funds.
“I aim to grow the fund to $100,000 in five years and to begin distributing scholarships to young people to pursue cricket and academic studies in honor of cricket heroes like Jim Allen in 2004,” said Mr. Riley, who now lives in Boston. There he’s the executive director of the Upham’s Corner Main Street, a private non-profit organisation responsible for the rebuilding of the Upham’s Corner Business District.
The speaker captured the attention of the small audience during his half-hour speech on the topic: “Images of Jim Allen: The Ongoing Search for Brilliance Among Montserratians”.
Mr. Riley, who received several rounds of thunderous applause, a bag full of praise and a standing ovation, also proposed that the Jim Allen image-making process expand and take on more formal expressions with the compilation of photographs, video footage, newspaper articles, recordings of radio commentary, and comments “from credible people who witnessed Mr. Allen at his peak for our people to access, not just once a year, but every single day.”
He added: “This can be stored in digital format to be played on a computer so that all Montserratians who want to refresh their minds or learn for the first time about Jim Allen can do so with relative ease in this our information age.”
Mr. Riley, a former sports journalist for The Montserrat Reporter, first vice president of the Montserrat Cricket Association and Montserrat’s representative to the Leeward Islands Cricket Association, stressed the need for Montserrat to develop and promote the image of their outstanding performers, especially in the area of sports.
“In the ongoing search for brilliance among Montserratians, I want to remind you that all image-making must be rigorous and truth seeking,” said Mr. Riley, who also served as manager of the Montserrat under-19 cricket team that won the Leewards tournament in St. Croix in 1999. “We must exercise the highest standards of intellectual rigor when we engage in this process. In the elevation of an individual to national figure status to be remembered forever, the process must lead to conclusions on whom to include. The process must be discriminating and only those who have truly excelled in a national sense should be elevated to such heights.”


Themes
Mr. Riley’s speech was divided into four themes.
Theme 1: A documentation of Jim Allen’s brilliance, the stories told through radio commentary from Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and beyond that spoke of Montserratian excitement expressed eloquently through calypso and cricket, the highest form of calypso cricket. In this presentation, there were also the early beginnings of an effort to more formally document Jim’s great innings through the newspaper articles written at the time they were played.
Theme 2: About Jim Allen’s community, his village of Harris’, his school, Hyde Park, the place he was introduced to cricket from his earliest days.
Theme 3: Mr. Allen’s generation – a group of Montserratians and people who lived in Montserrat at the time he emerged.
Theme 4: About Montserrat today – the new definitions of brilliance among Montserratians and strategies “we might want to implement to promote all our people, those living here and those abroad, to attain the highest levels of competence in their chosen field and to function efficiently and with distinction on the world stage”.
Mr. Riley, who was a former teacher at the Montserrat Secondary School and president of the Montserrat Union of Teachers, said he will continue his career in city planning and commercial real estate development and plans to return to Montserrat to set up a land management company that owns and operates high-value properties for tourism and international business.
“For me, growing up in Montserrat in the 1970s, Jim represented something uniquely special to Montserrat’s development, partly an expression of the capacity of our people of brilliance.


EDITORIAL

"Montserrat Doesn't Just Need People, It Needs Many More Montserratians"

When all is said and done, one fact remains: Montserrat is a very small island now, diminished (for the time being) to just about one-third its livable space and population. While it is still a beautiful island, questions may be asked as to whether the people are still the most friendly people in the world.

However, if the question about friendliness ever brings a negative answer, a little thought would produce explanation and agreement with one American family still suffering from the trauma of the tragedy from the 9/11 events, who said those events might not compare with what is still being undergone by the people in Montserrat.

So the question remains, why is it that it seems so difficult to put things right so the present residents could breathe easily from the burdens of living?

 Montserrat once enjoyed nearly all the frolic and frills, perhaps more than some of its bigger neighbours in the region, and in many areas was second to none in its ability to support itself. Challenge this all you might but serious study will show that in spite of the slippery and sometimes false economy strength, the base was always there to be made into a fortress. Of course, no fortress could withstand the natural disaster that results from volcanic activity like that experienced since 1995.

That said, there are some simple things that need serious attention if we are to improve on the present ratio of nationals and non-nationals currently living on the island, which stands at 50-50. This is so especially when the discussion rages on about a "viable population," and we hear figures being used like 20,000 – 35,000 to make that a reality. Is any thought being given to what the ratio should be like then, or at any point in our stride towards that goal? Were these matters taken into consideration when we were discussing a new constitution? We'd better be careful what we ask for, and undoubtedly our government knows this only too well, never mind they haven’t told us about that.

True, it is suggested that this may not come within the next century, but then the idea becomes moot. That is already so when we talk about the reduction of the population, if we take the ratio of nationals and non-nationals prior to the volcano, we will find that there is a dangerously terrible imbalance.

The concentration should, therefore, be a serious effort to woo back home Montserratians and to stop the drain of young people who leave the island week after week. Complex? Is the problem a complex one? Not so complex if the problems are recognized.

Serious attention must be paid to how and for what the children are trained in school. It must not be that all we do is try to make academic scholars out of them and not take David Brandt’s recommendation, when he was still Chief Minister, which is to train our people, in addition to their academic requirements, for the requirements of the island. Until we do that, the drain is sure to continue.

Exactly 37 years ago a young man by the name of Tom Willis, who was attached to the then Ministry of Social Services, lamented: “…it cannot be said that the present state of youth organizations is altogether happy.

That surely applies more so today. He continued, “Anyone with eyes to see knows that many young people have very little to do in the evenings, while club leaders themselves speak of finding new leaders, planning programmes and keeping members in the club.”

He made reference to youth organizations such as Anglican Young Peoples Association (AYPA,) Young Christian Workers (YCW) (Catholic), Methodist youth clubs, Pentecostal youth clubs, Boy Scouts, Girl Guides, Boy’s Brigade, among others, which also included village and district clubs, school clubs and sports clubs, all of which would have an umbrella organization called a “Youth Council.”

This is just one of many issues, but the youths on this island are crying out for guidance and assistance. If it is not forthcoming, it will be quite some time before we see any progress toward a viable population, the kind that will not bring problems galore. 


SCRIPTURE VERSE THIS WEEK

Those Who Abuse

Read Luke 6:27-36

Paul wrote, "I urge that…Prayers …be made for everyone…so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity."

1 Timothy 2:1-2

One year ago, the world was shaken and horrified by the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. These acts of hate were planned and executed by a small group of religious fundamentalists, in the name of religion. According to their ideology, their acts were passages to open the gates to eternal life for them.

At the time, our natural reactions to these horrible acts were fear, sorrow, depression, desire for revenge, and the impulse to hate the perpetrators of these crimes. Legitimate thought these reactions are, as Christians we are called to be more than our instincts tell us. When such acts take human lives, we have every right to feel angry, to be depressed, to morn our loved ones, and to ask for justice to be done. beyond that , however, we are also commanded by our Lord to pray for those who mistreat us.

Following the scripture's advice to pray for everyone, even our enemies, can be a challenge even now. But only God can change hearts full of hate and open minds that are filled with prejudice, misconceptions, and destructive ideologies. These changes can lead to a world in which we all can come to lead quiet and peaceable lives.

Prayer: God of forgiveness, bestow on us the power of the Holy Spirit so that we may pray for those who abuse us. Enable us to forgive others and to live in your peace. Amen.

Thought for the Day

God calls us to move beyond revenge to prayer.

Albert Isteero (Cairo, Egypt)

Prayer Focus: RELIGIOUS FANATICS


LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Little Bay's New Town Needs to be a Beauty

Dear Editor,

I have read that Little Bay will develop into a new town. If so I sure hope that it will be the prettiest town in all the Caribbean. To build a town from scratch is no easy task since everyone has their idea.   I sure would be proud if the town would have a truly Caribbean look without UGLY concrete no appearance buildings.  Building facades should be of absolute beauty. There were several buildings in Plymouth which could be reproduced and many others in Charlestown, Nevis, and St. Martin which have a Caribbean flair.   Please give it style and people will come to see. To build something pretty or to make it ugly both cost a lot of money, so why not make it right from the start? 

What is the town going to be called?  
Why not Port Diana?

Luke Rozon

"luc rozon"
villacanada@yahoo.ca
 


Montserrat Needs More People, So We Begin Now

Dear Mr. Editor,

Please allow me some space to clarify statements I made regarding the level of population we should be aiming to achieve to make Montserrat viable

In life one needs to set goals.  One needs to identify and focus on some aims and objectives, which can be pursued vigorously or not and brought to reality overtime.  Most of our goals cannot be achieved overnight.  Indeed many of our goals may take years, even decades to be realized.  None the less we ought to set goals and work towards achieving them in the shortest possible time frame.

There are those of us who are concerned about self-determination, even independence.  Should we set a time frame for this?  Perhaps!  Will we meet our self-imposed deadline?  Maybe not!  But should we nevertheless work vigorously towards realizing our objectives?  Sure we should!

So too with population growth.  Can our land space accommodate 10,000, 15,000, 20,000, even 30,0000 people?  Yes!  Can that happen tomorrow?  Of course not.  Can it happen in our lifetime?  Maybe not!  Should we nevertheless work towards it?  Certainly!

We do, of course, know that at our present population level we are not viable.  But we must understand what that statement means.  In fact it means many things.  It means that Government cannot collect enough revenue to balance the budget.   It means that Government may need to raise taxes in a number of areas.  It means that Monlec cannot reduce the cost of electricity and that the Water Authority will have to be granted permission to increase water rates.  It means that living in Montserrat is becoming more and more expensive and probably unaffordable to many.  The list goes on.

A population of 15,000, 20,000 or even 25,000 people would make a difference -- a big difference.  Government overheads would probably remain constant while Government revenues could triple or even do better.  Yes, this could mean more business for merchants but also more revenue for Government.  It could mean cheaper goods, thanks to better prices for large import quantities.  It would mean lower taxes because the increased revenues would make tax increases unnecessary.  It would mean more jobs to service the larger population.  It would mean more construction and house building to cater for the increased population.  So simply put that is the kind of scenario we are looking at.

In anything we do we must have a plan and a programme if we are to achieve our goals. The number of people we can absorb will depend on the number of jobs created and the extent of housing available.  We’ll also have to look at the social services to ensure that it can cater for the increased numbers.  We can’t afford to just dream and hope our dreams will come through.  That’s not how life is, unfortunately.

We have to date looked at a number of ways we can increase population and do that immediately, without any adverse social consequences.  Residential Tourism, Medical Schools will all bring jobs, house building, increased Government revenues, increased consumption, etc.

We also have been looking at the conditions which will enable Montserratians to come home.  These are being outlined by Rachael Collis and by the end of her series would have articulated a comprehensive framework of measures and incentives for those who are willing and able to return.

There is no argument or dispute as to whether we need a larger population.  We all agree we do.  Both Government and the Private Sector are committed to working together to achieve a viable population.  In time, I suspect, we will achieve the objective and we’ll all be better off for it.  There is no need to play with numbers.  So it is immaterial as to whether the initial goal be 10,000 or 20,000.  What is important is that a much larger population than we now have is a prerequisite for redevelopment and for economic expansion.  Shall we go for 30,000 like Gibraltar, which is only 2½ square miles?  Whatever we go for is not just a matter of wishful thinking.   We must set our goals and put realistic plans and programmes in place to achieve them

Yours Sincerely

Kenny Cassell
President
MCCI

Saba, St. Barth's Airports Work, Why Not Geralds?

Dear Editor,

I would just like to point out something: the length of the airport on the island of Saba, Netherlands Antilles, is approximately 350 metres. Twin Otters land and take off without much difficulty. I do not understand why it is stated that the proposed runway at Geralds needs to be a minimum of 750 metres.

Above: Saba Airstrip - Below: St Barts Airstrip

Another airport that uses Twin Otters, and has a very difficult location, is St. Barth's. These airports should be carefully compared to the proposed airport at Geralds. If it can be done on these islands, it should work on Montserrat.

Montserratian Living Abroad


News, Sights of Island Prompt Hopes for Visit

Dear Editor,

My nephew Leroy has just introduced me to the Montserrat Reporter, and it's really great logging on and being able to read the news and see the beautiful sights that still remain in Montserrat. Most of them I cannot remember, but I'm hoping to visit sometime next year. I have also shared the spot with my children, who seem to be enjoying it as much as I do.

Please continue your good work and I'll be checking in weekly for the updates.

Best wishes.

<mary.williams219@virizon.ne> 


LOCAL and REGIONAL NEWS

Dome Growth Switch Seen As Threat to Belham Valley

The Soufriere Hills volcano dome has grown to its largest and if growth should switch back to the north or northwest, areas along the margins of the Belham Valley could quickly become at high risk, the Volcano Executive Group (VEG) said Wednesday. A VEG press release said, “The (risk assessment) scientists explained that this activity could lead to pyroclastic flows, possibly even reaching as far as the sea and accompanied by surge clouds, which could affect areas along the margins of the Belham Valley.”
However, the VEG emphasised that it was not warning of the need for immediate evacuation.

Recent photo of the Soufriere Hills Volcano

The VEG, which is co-chaired by the Governor and Chief Minister, discussed issues about the volcano with experts of the Risk Assessment Panel from September 3-4.
The VEG said that if there were to be a switch of growth to the north or northwest and material started to spill into the upper reaches of the Belham Valley, measures to evacuate the areas around the Valley would need to be put in place at short notice.
The VEG noted the Panel’s estimate “that while the dome was growing in a northeasterly direction, as it was at present, any collapse would most likely occur in the Tar River area, as it did last year, or down Tuitt’s and White’s Ghauts towards the old airport”.
The VEG identified the areas that could be affected as those being south of a line extending from the mouth of the ghaut at Lime Kiln Bay southeastwards along the ghaut to the roundabout in Old Towne; and from there eastwards along Logwood Drive to Olveston House; then continuing eastwards to the Happy Hill/Friths main road junction; and from there south-eastwards to the Waterworks Estate.
The Day Time Entry Zone (DTEZ) remains open for the time being.
The press release states that any enquiries about evacuation planning should be directed either to the police or Emergency Department.


OECS Education Strategy Make Strides in Montserrat

Director of Education Oeslyn Jemmotte said Montserrat will soon begin processing final amendments to the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Education Bill as part of the OECS Education Reform Strategy.
Ms. Jemmotte said consultation on the Bill was done in the early 1990’s, after which amendments were made and sent to the attorney general’s office.
The Bill was reviewed after its return from the attorney general’s office in 1998 and more amendments were needed, said the education director.
The OECS model Education Bill deals with various aspects of education from early childhood to tertiary education.
Special provisions are made for students’ rights and responsibilities, and there are also provisions for parents’ rights and responsibilities and the duties of teachers and principals.

In addition, the model Bill provides for the permission and regulation of Home Education for children, requiring parents to prepare and submit an educational plan to the chief education officer.
In Antigua, the Ministry of Education will soon commence national consultations on the OECS Education Bill as part of the OECS Education Reform Project.
According to Education Minister Dr. Rodney Williams, the Ministry will embark on a number of media briefings and educational programmes, as well as consult with stakeholders in the field of education, including secondary and post secondary students.

The Ministry of Education has already established an OECS Education Bill Committee under the chairmanship of Austin Josiah. The Committee has presented its review of the Bill to the Ministry of Education for ratification.
In
St. Kitts-Nevis, the government is seeking business partners to help implement the OECS education project.
Glen Edwards, who is the Project Procurement Officer of the OECS Education Development Project in St. Kitts, said the Government has successfully negotiated a loan with the World Bank towards the cost of the OECS Education Development Project and intends to apply a portion of this loan for the construction of a high school in the Saddlers part of the island.


St. Vincent and Grenadines Plan Independence Month

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent -- Students in St. Vincent and the Grenadines are being invited to come-up with a theme for Independence Month.

Minister of Tourism Rene Baptiste told a media briefing this week that plans for activities to celebrate this country’s 23rd anniversary of Independence are progressing.

She said the committee appointed by Cabinet met and declared the entire month of October Independence month.

The competition for the theme is open until September 25th.

Meanwhile, a survey is underway by members of the Ministry of Education and a member of the Teachers Union to ensure that all schools are in possession of a national flag.

Independence Day is celebrated on October 27


First Traffic Lights Due At Tortola Intersection

ROAD TOWN, Tortola – The Territory’s first set of traffic lights is now being installed at the Blackburn Highway and Station Avenue intersection in Road Town as part of a major attempt to ease traffic congestion and reduce accidents at that junction.

Government contracted A&B Electrical Systems of the Bahamas to supervise the installation and to train personnel in the transportation section of the Vehicle Licensing Department, the Ambulance service, the Police and the Town and Country Planning Department to ensure proper maintenance of the system.

According to the Budget Estimates 2002, the projected cost for traffic lights at the Blackburn Highway and Station Avenue intersection, and another location to be determined, is $342,258.

Statistics from the Police Traffic Department show that there were 48 reported road accidents at the intersection last yea,r and 14 between January and June this year. Along the dual carriageway between Port Purcell and Wickhams Cay II, there were 129 accidents in 2001 and 70 in the first six months this year.

As the work progresses, road users to exercise are urged to use caution when approaching the intersection. The project is expected to be completed early in October.


St. Maarten Tests New Emergency Alert System

GREAT BAY, St. Maarten (GIS) – The Emergency Alert System (EAS) of the Island Government Disaster Emergency Management Services Department was tested on Tuesday morning.

The EAS is a new and improved Emergency Broadcast System.  The aforementioned has been developed as a means to communicate with the island community in the event of a national emergency, Winston Salomon, Fire Commander and Coordinator of the Office of Disaster Management, told the Government Information Service (GIS).

The system is designed primarily as a public information and warning system in the event of a Hurricane strike, but can be used for other disaster types as well.

Currently the EAS is only applicable to radio stations, however, there are plans to work on integrating the technology into Cable TV broadcasts. 


OECS Begins Education On Free Movement Start

The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States secretariat in St. Lucia has launched a campaign to make OECS nationals aware of issues related to the free movement of people throughout the region.

According to Communications Officer Kendol Morgan, the campaign includes the distribution of brochures and posters, the airing of jingles on all radio stations in the OECS, and Public Service Announcements on television.  Information will also be published in the monthly newspaper, the OECS Advocate.

Meanwhile, two other officials from the OECS Secretariat met this week with Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves to discuss several issues related to free movement within the region.

Project Co-ordinator for Public Information Jimmy Emmanuel and Legal Counsel Phillip La Corbiniere held discussions with the Prime Minister on several matters including the target date for the introduction of the OECS passport, January 1, 2003.

Dr. Gonsalves pointed out, however, that the target date may not be met due to the need to reach agreement on standardisation and security features for the passport, and to assure the control and monitoring of the movement of criminals within the region.

The OECS free movement initiative allows OECS citizens to travel to participating member states without a passport and to remain there for a period of up to six months. 

Driver’s Licenses, Voter’s Registration Cards, Social Security Cards, and National Identification Cards may be used. 


Lester Bird to Sign IAPA Press Freedom Declaration

ST. JOHN'S, Antigua -- Prime Minister Lester Bird will sign the Inter American Press Association Declaration (IAPA) on press freedom in his office today, in the presence of a delegation from the IAPA.

On May 28, Prime Minister Bird sent a letter to the IAPA’s headquarters in the United States, inviting a delegation to visit Antigua to facilitate the signing of the Declaration of Chapultepec, which sets out 10 principles governing a free press.

Prime Minister Bird said that the government of Antigua and Barbuda already upholds the principles set forth in the Declaration and noted that the press in Antigua and Barbuda is not subject to prior censorship or restrictions on the circulation of the media or dissemination of their reports.

He said that his government applies no tariff and exchange policies or licences for the importation of newsprint, pointing out that the press in Antigua and Barbuda is "as free as any in the hemisphere and freer than most.”

Mr. Bird also said that Freedom of expression and freedom of the press are principles for which the Antigua Labour Party has fought from its inception.

“We continue to uphold these freedoms despite their abuse by certain sections of the media in the certain knowledge that the people are well aware when these abuses occur,” the Prime Minister declared.


Frustrated Saba to Weigh Constitutional Changes

THE BOTTOM, Saba (SGIS) – Leader of Government Commissioner Will Johnson says that the present constitutional system is the root of many problems within the constellation of the Netherlands Antilles today.

Mr. Johnson told the Saba Government Information Service (SGIS) that at times he may be critical of certain Federal Government Departments, but that they are part of the system and that they have to abide by the established procedures.

“I have been critical of the development aid process that exists between the Antilles and Holland.  The mechanisms and procedures that are put in place frustrate the good work that Ralph James and Ivan Freites and others have been doing at the Department of Development Cooperation (DEPOS).

 “The system is too cumbersome and we need to move to have it change.  Only by changing the constitutional system will we be able to bring about change.  I recognize the good work that DEPOS has been doing, but unfortunately, the employees’ hands are tied due to all the red tape that one has to go through to get funding for projects.

“Next Monday an Information Session will be organized by the Island Government to address our constitutional research findings.  I extend an invitation to the public to come out and listen to the presentation.  There will be a question and answer session where persons can participate in the discussion,” Mr. Johnson said on Wednesday. 


SPORTS

Fire, St. John’s, Lookout Record Victories in Softball Cricket

Fire, St. John’s and Lookout recorded victories in last weekend’s Softball Cricket tournament.
Fire defeated Police at Salem Park by 32 runs; St. John’s Renegades toppled Cudjoe Head by 20 runs and Lookout swamped minnows Female Cricketers by 6 wickets.
Match Results


Saturday, September 7 – Fire vs. Police
Fire batted first and made 146 for 6 off 28 overs with Nestar Piper (55) and W. Fenton (38) finishing as the top batsmen.
Fire had to withstanding top bowling from A (Lab) Ryan, who snared 3 wickets for 16 off 6 overs.
Police in reply was bowled out for 114 runs with Courtney Rodney (28) and C. Pierre (20) ending as the top run-getters.
Bowling for Fire, J. Lee took 3 for 5 off 2 overs.

Sunday, Sept. 8 – Cudjoe Head vs. St. John’s Renegades at Salem.
St. John’s made first strike and was bowled out for 93 fro 25 overs; Jeff Lane made 23 runs; I. Richmond bowled 3 for 23 runs off 5.
In reply, Cudjoe Head were bowled out for 73 in the 27th over with Paul Lewis (28) being the top batsmen.
Lookout vs. Female Cricketers at Little Bay
Female Cricketers batted first and was bowled out for 87 runs from 24 overs. Jane White was their top batter with 15 runs.
Kenneth Lee (4 for 10 off 6 overs) and Curtis Harris (4 for 9 off 6) damaged the Female batting line-up.
Lookout replied and scored an easy 90 for 4 wickets from 13.3 overs.
Darren Sweeney was their star man with 43 not out.
Female’s Marjorie Lindsey bowled3 for 32 off 6.

This weekend matches
Saturday, Sept. 14: Police vs. Lookout at Salem; St. John’s vs. Fire at Little Bay
Sunday, Sept. 15: Salem vs. Cudjoe Head at Salem.


Members of Montserrat’s football team pose for a group photo shortly after defeating the HMS Grafton team 4-0 at the new Blakes sports facility last Saturday.
Visit www.montserratreporter.org to see full photo coverage of the football match.

 


FEATURES

September 17

By Sir Howard Fergus

I dread September 17 more than the hugest
hurricane or a rich crop of teenage pregnancies by girls whose mothers and grandmothers kept a force-ripe date in steamy circumstance;
more than the cloven tongues of Soufriere licking
their chops at 19 bodies on a spit.
What if bloodless houses get beheaded here
and there, it’s the calendar witchcraft that I fear.

I respect September 17 more than mental
patients who tramp unshod our one-way roads
back and forth south and north in this almost
British isle without a west or sunny east or cities
built for refuge. Not means-tested for an outside chance
of an inside ‘john’, they release an instant gush
with fig leaf sense of privacy; no zip humbug,
no liquid soap, designer drawers or Avon haze,
big people stare and children bellyful their gaze.

What if cocoa brown floodwaters flush
polluted ghauts and deluge leaking Noah’s arks
to give contrary politics a honourable house of talk.
It’s uncanny number that I balk.
For those unhappy chances never might have been
but for that ‘knock-wood’ number, seventeen.


TOWARDS A VIABLE POPULATION

Personal Effects Concessions

The concessions which returning Montserratians could receive will have strong bearing on their decision whether to return home or not. Major concessions sought are usually for importing personal effects and vehicles. This week we will look at personal effects. 

In Grenada returning nationals are entitled under the law to EC$25,000 worth of personal household goods. Grenadians think this figure is inadequate since it does not take inflation into account. They would like to see Government allow the full 100 percent duty-free concessions on personal household effects. 

On a comparative basis, the Government of Montserrat should be mindful that Montserratians who have lived abroad for a number of years and now desire to return home, are full of potential for making significant contributions to the economy, and so should assist in whatever way possible by granting concessions to assist in the transition. 

The spill-offs can be substantial. Most of the returnees have relatives and friends, and children at tertiary education institutions, who would come to the island for Christmas, Festival and at other times of the year, thus providing much needed tourism dollars, and making other financial, social and cultural contributions. 

A returning Montserratian who has lived abroad continuously for at least 5 years, could be permitted to import, free of customs duty, household effects whether new or used, adequate to furnish his/her family residence. Full concession could be granted on all personal effects which are for personal use and not for sale or exchange, whether or not they have been in their possession for the number of years specified. Personal and household effects should include domestic and electrical appliances, with consideration for such items as foodstuff, construction materials and fixtures. 

The items should be accompanied by the person importing them, or be imported within three (3) months before or after the person’s arrival in Montserrat. The Comptroller of Customs can otherwise specify a period considered reasonable, if the articles would have been exempt from duty had they been accompanied by the person importing them. 

A schedule of household personal effects that could be imported by returning Montserratians that would be free from duty and taxes could be prepared and include the following: 

Beds & Bed Linen Glass Ware Washing Machines Stereo Sets
Chairs Chinaware Refrigerators Television
Tables Table Linen Stoves Computers
Dressing Tables Kitchen Linen Kitchen Utensils Radios
Clothing Cutlery Books Video Cassette Recorders
 
Rachel Collis
Director
Montserrat Chamber of Commerce
And Industry (MCCI)
C/O Vue Pointe Hotel
Montserrat
E-mail: chamber@candw.ag
Tel: 491-3640
Fax: 491-3639

Tourism Highlights

Guardian Travel Editor To Write of Montserrat

Simon Burnton, travel editor of the Guardian newspaper in the United Kingdom, visited Montserrat for four days this week to see first-hand the ongoing development efforts that are taking place following the onset of volcanic activity, after which he will write a piece on Montserrat. 

The approach that Mr. Burnton will undertake will be the relatively unknown side of the Caribbean and how the island is recovering from the volcanic situation.

The article will appear in late September in the travel section as a Caribbean special of this national newspaper, which has a circulation figure of half a million.

 

Marketing Development Director Named by Trust

Mr. Carnie Meade has joined the Montserrat Tourist Board as the Marketing Development Officer, effective September 2. 

In January of 1998, Mr. Meade, like many other Montserratians, left the island due to heightened volcanic activity.  He journeyed first to the United States and then to England.  In January of 2000 he matriculated at the University of Westminster, where he pursued a Postgraduate Certificate in Marketing.  After gaining a Merit in this Certificate, he later successfully completed a Master of Arts Degree in Marketing at the same university.

Mr. Meade graduated with a first degree in French from the University of the West Indies in 1994, and later taught French and Spanish at the Montserrat Secondary School for more than three years.  He brings to the Montserrat Tourist Board work experience in Telesales and Marketing Promotion gained abroad. 

The Montserrat Tourist Board
P.O. Box 7
Salem
Montserrat
Tel: 664 491 2230/8730
Fax: 664 491 7430
Email: mrattouristboard@candw.ag
Website: www.visitmontserrat.com

Montserratians Reminisce about September 11 Reactions

 


VOLCANO LIMERICKS

Castles in the Air

We all would improve Montserrat

And make it provide what it's not,

But should thousands arrive,

Say the posed twenty-five,

We'll rename the isle Polyglot

 

'High Risk' Alert

VEG says that Belham environs

May be subject to new alarm sirens;

In advance they should know

Some in Old Towne won't go,

Unless they are shackled in irons. 


JUS WONDERIN

Jus wonderin what action Britain will take against our youth who are committing crimes in the UK.

Jus wonderin since some of them see a new light if they become stupid or what.

Jus how they mixing up their rights so that parents can’t control them now landing them right in jail.

Jus wonderin if they don’t see even the least among us or the worst treated know what they talking about the airport is not safe in Gerald's.

Jus wonderin if Mr. Hogan ever told us that the airport would begin construction in August and now he say when it begin in December it would ONLY be one month late.

Jus wonderin if he is spinning things right-upside-down.

Jus wonderin all who think that is new.

Jus wonderin if they will have remembrance services for our hero that die rescuing others in the TWIN TOWERS.

Jus wonderin how quickly we forget those of ours of June 25, 1997.

Jus wonderin if those relatives and off-springs left behind from June 25 should not get some similar treatment like those 9/11.

Jus wonderin if we are in the last days why these things are happening.

Jus wonderin if it is a one time thing.

 Jus wonderin if foreigner don’t have right like Montserratian.

Jus wonderin if they don’t know what’s not good for the gooses not good for the gander.

Jus wonderin if they don’t realize that they are in some one else country and they are not treated like animals.

Jus wonderin if Montserratians don’t see that we the foreigner help increase the population.

Jus wonderin if the airport matter is a sign of God and who taking notice of this.

Jus wonderin if de airport have to be built in order to see what disaster waiting to be experienced. 

Jus wonderin if the two locations where de only two for the airport. 

Jus wonderin where the town is really located Brades, North or Little bay.

Jus wonderin if we are remembering with the Americans the 9\11 terrorist attack and how real we see this.

Jus wonderin why some people work for so little money when the cost of living is becoming so high.

Jus wonderin what is the real risk with the volcano and if anything is being held back from the public politically or otherwise.


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