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Friday, March 29, 2013

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EDITORIAL Know the past, find the correct path to progress for the future It was heartening to hear the Hon Minister of Education, Health and Social Services, refer to “we are building a country”. This was amidst the thumping of breasts that seemed to have been the order of the day during the debate of the 2013/14 budget. Indeed like was said last week, it is not about rebuilding. As we look back, we have been asking our leaders to do this at various times for different reasons, to try to bring minds to the present and know where they have come from and where they are going. The talk will be less and action guaranteed. Here are some excepts from an Editorial, which in May, 2001 captioned: “The Guide to Montserrat’s Future Is Contained in Critiques of the Past”. We are convinced that most of it applies today. British Government at that time believed we should have been ready to stand on our own two feet. And they came ten years later and said the same thing. Can you understand how they think? Here we go: Sometime in May 1996, Sir Nicholas Bonsor, one of Britain’s ministers visited Montserrat. After seeing Montserratians’ determination to remain in Montserrat, in spite of the volcano, which was increasing in its ferocity, he concluded that the north of the island was safe. He promised that the British Government would provide the necessary funding to develop the safe-north of the island so that life could go on in Montserrat. Since then, Montserrat and its leaders have not come to grips with the fact, that there will always be difficulty for a country such as Britain, known throughout history for its subtlety, diplomacy and some other traits, may not appreciate that a people not endowed with riches still enjoy “a good lifestyle remote from the poorest of the poor.” Worse yet, what interest can they have in a few black people, whose requirements, in the wake of proportionately one of the worst disasters in the world, exceed what their benefactors thought they would be willing to invest for their care? The evidence is well documented in reports, none of which were put together by Montserrat, instead ordered and gathered by the British themselves, but which are ignored and conveniently forgotten. There are the various reports of their parliamentary Select Committees. The result of one report, as one writer describes it, “trenchant in its criticism of both the British and Montserrat government,” recommends a “frank and impartial report to assess what had happened and what lessons could be learned” from the crisis to date. That was late 1997 “in the wake of escalating hardships.” Then came a report dated December 1999, covering the period up to November 1998, and even touching on key events up to the time of June 1999 when the report was being finalized. After that came the Robin Cook White Paper, which clearly cites “the escalating volcanic activity in Montserrat,” as one of the reasons for Britain to examine its relationship with its territories and come up with “A New Partnership.”It was Governor Savage, speaking for the British government, who said early in the crisis that there was no bottom to the purse of his government when it came to supporting Montserrat through the crisis. In these documents lie many of the answers in the approach to Montserrat’s future, especially since it remains unresolved and people are questioning the resonance of their resilience. How to reduce dependency when the economy has collapsed? That question was always there, but now Britain is making demands after having totally taken advantage of a people unfortunate enough to have endured four years of some of the most incompetent leaders in our times. Just remember George Foulkes. We listen to our new leaders making statements that aggravate our position in time, like “we do not know what we would have done without the British,” and “independence is not something to expect in their lifetime.” Is it possible that their lifetime will continue for only another five years or less? One good statement though, which they must take seriously, is that “it cannot be business as usual.” The answers and the way forward are not all clear but could be effectively strategised if every Montserratian - and especially our private sector, civil servants and government - were to read and familiarize themselves with what is contained in all those documents and reports mentioned above.

The Montserrat Reporter Published by: Montserrat Printing & Publishing, Inc. - Editor: Bennette Roach Office: Davy Hill, Mailing Address: P.O. Box 306, Davy Hill, Montserrat, W.I. Typeset and Printed by Montserrat Printing & Publishing, Inc. - Tel. (664) 491-4715 Fax: (664) 491-2430 E-mail: or - Web Site:

Make Silver Hills a free port area cont’d. from page 2

Montserrat Hotel Industry, the modern construction industry, the real estate industry, the car rental business, tourism, the golf course, the lawn and pool maintenance businesses and hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. Yes, check the facts. The records are there for all to see. Before I write another line, I must ask this question. How did we get from the skilful arrangement of Beachettes Development to the shabbiness of Barzeys, Dick Hill, Manjack and Cudjoe Head below Norman’s? And so I beg, please teacher, please place a copy of the Beachettes plan on the walls of every classroom. Let our children review our past and learn how it came about. Secondly, let us consider our famous national resource, the volcanic sand. We have failed to capitalize on the potential gold mine of the volcanic sand. We infuse our selves with the desire to create massive individual wealth without adequate taxation, rather than sustainable national wealth out of that national resource. It is very clear that certain levels of creative development are beyond Montserratians. Still, Montserrat must act now! Let us revisit the land Acquisition Laws. We must acquire the silver hills and much more of Blake’s Estate. We must get the owners out of the way. Then we must

turn the entire area over to international investors who can visualize, conceptualize and who have the capacity to materialize a vision that will bring to the people of Montserrat revenue unforeseen before. Look! The real Silver Hills, transformed into a Freeport with its own air and sea ports. Look at the cruise liners docked on the other side of Little Bay. Come and watch the ferries from Guadeloupe, Antigua, Anguila and St. Martin, bringing shoppers and visitors to Montserrat. Watch the villas, the golf course and feel the thrills of real sporting activities. Feel the revenue pouring into and piling up in our treasury. More than 1,000 new jobs created within the first phase of construction. The population grow to 20,000 by the year 2030. Never again will Great Britain have to provide budgetary support. If you still doubt that this idea can manifest itself into reality, then take a look at Stanford Development in Antigua. What a transformation that was! If one man Stanford with clear vision could do so much around the airport in Antigua, imagine what could happen if an enterprise like Disney is given the opportunity to manifest their vision for our silver hills. Yes, DFID, acquire the hills and cliff side lands that merely sustain wild goats. These lands have been idle

since the glory days of cotton. Find an investor! Lease the lands to them. And leave the rest to them and the British Government. Clearly, it is beyond Montserratians to create and maintain the type of revenue machine out of Montserrat Silver Hills that will make Montserrat selfreliant. And by the way, we Montserrations will continue to fuss over Little Bay town and the inherited squaters. Our collective vision will create a town in perfect accordance with our limitations, as we seek to bring back the antiquated house roof buildings of old dead and gone Plymouth. Let ‘ye older’ Montserratians continue to live out our lives buying and selling Little Bay lands as if to relive the meagre economic activities of ten decades ago. Until the ‘yeoldefolks’ are gone, spare the youths, protect them from the arrogance of ignorance! Give them a new Montserrat. Take up the Silver Hills, Blake’s Estate and the Centre Hills, there is much silver and gold under the grass and the rocks waiting to shine. Give the youths a chance to really live on Montserrat. Please begin their future today, by transforming the Silver Hills into a Free Port Area. Just another idea, whose time has come; make ‘the Silver Hills’, Montserrat Free Port Area.

Our Scripture Verse Today Good Neighbors

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen.” - Matthew 28:5-6 (NIV) The one consistent element in the gospel accounts of that first Easter morning is that everyone was surprised. No one expected an empty tomb, much less the presence of the risen Christ. The women who came to the tomb had good reason to be surprised. They had watched Jesus die. They had seen his bloody, lifeless body taken off the cross. They had followed Joseph to the tomb. They had heard the heavy thud of the stone that was rolled in front of the opening. They knew Jesus was

dead. The only way to feel the surprise of resurrection is to face the reality of death. The only way to be prepared for Easter morning is to experience the emotion and events of Holy Week. As a pastor, I’ve discovered that I don’t need to encourage people to be in worship on Easter Sunday. But each year I find myself doing everything I can to encourage people to be here on Maundy Thursday when we join Jesus and his disciples for the Last Supper and Good Friday when we experience the darkness that fell over the earth when Jesus died. Once we have followed the way that leads to the cross, we can better experience the surprise of Easter morning.

The Montserrat Reporter- March 29 2013  
The Montserrat Reporter- March 29 2013  

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