BRADES – The Government of Montserrat has decided to close the Montserrat Development Corporation (MDC) but with an eye to reopening with a new structure that supports better governance.
According to press statement released late Thursday, the decision was taken following a meeting of the Cabinet to discuss the findings of a Task Force established to review the organisation and propose a way forward.
The release said “like many, the Government has been raising concerns about MDC’s operations since before the election. In light of these concerns, we took decisive action in October 2014 to replace the Board, and also ordered the establishment of a Task Force to review MDC’s operations and governance arrangements.
“The Task Force recently completed its work and reported to the Government and we have concluded discussions and accepted their report in Cabinet today. The Task Force reported wide-ranging concerns with corporate governance and management arrangements at MDC. It makes clear that Montserrat is not being well served by MDC,” the report read.
The government is of the opinion that “MDC never provided value for money” and has decided to close the corporation which was established in 2007 to driver economic development on island.
The statement said the government is “committed to taking care of the staff, as far as possible. Over the next six to eight weeks, the operations of the MDC will be wound up. This means that all staff will have to be retrenched but will be paid gratuity in accordance with the terms of their contracts. In the interim, essential ongoing programmes will be maintained within the Government of Montserrat.”
Discover Montserrat has learned that the Office of the Premier, Public Works Department and the Ministry of Agriculture, Labour, Trade, Housing and the Environment are the three main entities which will take over management of projects.
“We believe that the future economic development of Montserrat would be better served by a new arrangement, with a clear distinction between a new entity and Government. This will ensure a separation between policy and its execution. For this we have already begun negotiations with our partners.
“The decision was made by the Government of Montserrat, the only shareholder of MDC and not by its Interim Board. We wish to assure the public that we have the full support of our aid donors for this action and for the way forward. This government is fully committed to establishing a bright future for Montserrat. We want to get the best deal possible for Montserratians. We stand against mis-management and waste. We want to get the most out of all the investments in Montserrat. We want to ensure that every dollar spent on Montserrat helps build a brighter future for all.
“We will work to ensure that Montserrat has the capacity to promote tourism, to promote investment, and to promote trade. We will do this in the interests of all Montserratians,” the statement ends.