Montserrat’s Financial Aid Mission (FAM), is the new terminology being used in January 2016 to describe budget negotiations between the Government of Montserrat and the British Government formerly known as Budgetary Aid Mission (BAM). These discussions began today January 25th and will run to January 29th, 2016.
The Financial Secretary, Acting- Mrs. Lindorna Brade, chaired the opening session for FAM, which took place in the Conference Room of the Montserrat Cultural Centre, while Program Manager and Senior Responsible Owner for Budget Aid in Montserrat, Moira Marshal, Honourable Premier and Minister of Finance, Economic Management, Investments, Tourism, and Culture, Donaldson Romeo and Her Excellency the Governor, Elizabeth Carriere, presented opening remarks, setting the stage for the week of meetings and negotiations.
It is expected that by week’s end agreements will be reached rather than relying on subsequent meetings to outline expected outcomes and to finalize agreements.
These annual financial discussions usually cover the recurrent budget, however, the Honourable Premier in his opening statement, remarked that he is hopeful in the future, both the recurrent and capital budgetary discussions can be included in the Financial Aid Mission.
He mapped out the priority sectors to be Energy, Tourism and Infrastructure and the areas identified as critical to the development of Montserrat to be Access, Health, Human and Social Development, the Environment and Governance. The Premier stated that a new MoU with DFID was drafted in the sum of EC$19 million to be spent over the next three years, focusing on infrastructural development and this MoU will be finalized during FAM 2016. Premier Romeo also emphasized the commitment of the Government of Montserrat in prioritizing Private Sector Development (PSD) in an effort to unlock local resources and to stimulate domestic economic activities and growth.
Her Excellency Elizabeth Carriere in her address, stated that it is important for all to envisage Montserrat in a few years and noted that we can use 2020 as benchmark, when a new built hospital would have been completed, fibre optic and geothermal would be well in place, a new built ferry would be operational and public service reform would have taken effect. Her Excellency also pointed out that with the increase in visitors to Montserrat, and the efforts to showcase the volcanic ruins, priority must be placed on protecting the exclusion area, so as to preserve, protect and prevent deliberate alterations to an area which most Montserratians hold very dear to their heart.
Program Manager and Senior Responsible Owner for Budget Aid in Montserrat , Moira Marshal highlighted, that the Montserrat has the opportunity to apply for additional funding under the 300 pound Caribbean Grant Fund, which the British Government has allocated to capital development within the Caribbean. The United Kingdom is currently the largest bilateral donor within the region.
The sessions will take the form of both Plenary and working group sessions. Ministers and technicians will play integral roles in discussing the matters that will contribute to the success of Montserrat’s Financial Aid Mission for 2016.
Other members of the Montserrat team include:
Minister of Education, Health, Social Services, Sports, Youth and Ecclesiastical Affairs/ Deputy Premier- Honourable Delmaude Ryan
Minister of Communications, Works, Labour and Information- Honourable Paul Lewis
Minister of Agriculture, Housing, Trade, Lands and the Environment- Honourable Claude Hogan
Deputy Governor, Mr. Alric Taylor
Permanent Secretary of Human Resource – Eulyn Silcott-Greaves
Senior Policy Analyst- Astley Henry
Public Service Reform (PSR) Program Manager- Felicia Linch
Members of the Finance Department:
Budget Director -Colin Fergus
Director of Economic Management/ Deputy Financial Secretary, Acting-Joseph Irish
Chief Economist- Owen James
Senior Economist – Kenya Lee
Other DFID and U K Representatives include:
Head of DFID, Montserrat- Martin Dawson
Infrastructural Advisor, DFID MNI- John Bowker
Deputy Program Manager- Allan Clarkin
Advisor, Human Development- Kirsty Mason
Economic Analyst- Alice Clark