Premier Romeo Urges Support for Region at High Level Pledging Summit
The Honourable Premier, Donaldson Romeo, has appealed for international support forÂ Montserrat and the rest of the Caribbean, to enable the region to become more climate resilient.
Premier Romeo made the call during his presentation at the CARICOM-UN High LevelÂ Pledging Conference: Building A More Climate-Resilient Community. The conference was heldÂ from 20th to 21st November at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York, according to a release from the Office of the Premier.
CARICOM, with the help of the UN, held the conference with the aim of mobilising financialÂ support to rebuild devastated Member States as the first climate resilient countries in the world.
The conference also focused on helping the wider CARICOM Region improve its resilienceÂ given its inherent vulnerability as a community of Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
In his presentation at the Conference, Premier Romeo expressed his full support for theÂ Caribbean islands requests for assistance to rebuild their homes, economies and societies to beÂ more resilient, following the devastating impacts of Hurricanes Irma and Maria to severalÂ islands.
The Premier also requested support for Montserrat to ensure the island is more resilientÂ considering the impacts natural disasters such as Hurricane Hugo and the Soufriere HillsÂ Volcano, have had on the island. He said, â€œThe people of Montserrat also need and seek yourÂ support to put in place resilient and vital infrastructure necessary to create a viable modern
economy that will attract the vast majority of our own people who are in voluntary exile overseasÂ and want to return.â€
In delivering Montserratâ€™s case for support, the Premier cited theÂ impact of Hurricane Hugo in 1989 and the volcanic crisis whichÂ began in 1995. He said, â€œHurricane Hugoâ€™s impact, left over 90Â percent ofÂ houses and buildings on Montserrat severely damaged and destroyed.â€
Montserratâ€™s development post Hugo, he explained, were again devastated during the volcanicÂ crisis, which resulted in the loss of key infrastructure and manpower, as three quarters of theÂ population migrated to other islands and countries.
Mr. Romeo further noted that the recent catastrophic hurricanes in the region, Irma and Maria,Â were serious threats to Montserrat. Although Hurricane Maria did not have a direct hit on theÂ island, the Premier said, â€œOur over ground telecommunications system was in shambles andÂ some parts of the island were without electricity for two weeks.â€ He added that, â€œMontserratÂ suffered damages to homes, government buildings, key communication infrastructure as well asÂ the agriculture and tourism sector costing approximately 11 million dollars.â€
In light of these impacts and projections for more intense and frequent storms and hurricanes dueÂ to climate change, the Premier stated that Montserrat, like the other Territories, require assistanceÂ to become more resilient to these events.
CARICOM Heads of Government, Secretaries General of CARICOM and the United Nations,Â the President of the UN General Assembly and participated in the Conference. They were joinedÂ by International Development Partners, Partner Countries, Non-Governmental OrganisationsÂ (NGOs), prominent international personalities, private sector entities and Foundations.