Montserrat on path to self sustainability, says premier

BRADES, Montserrat (GIU) — Premier Reuben Meade says his administration continues to deliver the goods to put Montserrat on the path to self sustainability.

In a statement released on Wednesday, Meade said the government of Montserrat has satisfied all the conditions established for the approval of the single programming document with the European Union, which he signed on Tuesday along with Ambassador Valeriano Diaz, head of delegation of the European Union to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean.

The EU will give Montserrat EC$55.9 million under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) programme towards its capital development programme.

“It is the culmination of discussions and negotiations with the EU, which was finally agreed in February 2012 during our most recent visit to Brussels. The funds have been allocated to the Port Development Project and Little Bay Development. The total allocation is 15.6 million Euros to be disbursed in three tranches. In order to facilitate the draw down one of the targets to be met is the signing of a construction contract for the port project by mid June of 2013.

“The financial review by the IMF in 2011, the peer reviews conducted by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force, the commitments to financial reforms to include prudent fiscal management and public sector reform are key components of the conditions.

“This [Movement for Change and Prosperity] MCAP led government will continue to show commitment in delivering the goods for the people of Montserrat who continue to exercise restraint as the international community continues to show confidence in our management of the economy,” the statement read.

The premier extended his appreciation on behalf of the Legislative Assembly and the people of Montserrat “to the team of dedicated and hard working public servants, the entire EU delegation in Barbados, the Commissioners in Brussels, our Montserrat UK Office, Department for International Development (DfID), the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the Overseas Countries and Territories Association (OCTA) for working with us in reaching this stage in agreeing to this single programme document which provides approval of this budget support programme.”

On May 1, 2012 the premier signed a memorandum of understanding with the DfID which sets out an agreement between his administration and DfID which has, among other things, “immediately triggered funding support for the first phase of the geothermal project which has been at the fore of national discussions for the past several years."

“To this end we are in the process of establishing a geothermal unit, preparing the terms of reference for expert staff, and the tender document for the drilling operation. It must be remembered that this is phase one, the drilling of production wells and the testing. The second phase which is the establishment of the power plant will be discussed once we have proven the resource. Again, this MCAP administration is delivering the projects which will lead to sustainable development of Montserrat thus creating employment and income opportunities for many in the not too distant future,” his statement read.

The premier also released for public viewing the full MOU signed with DfID, which lays out a series of reforms that the government of Montserrat must adhere to within set targets to be in compliance and receive additional capital development funds. 

Nerissa Golden caribbeannewsnow.com

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