Premier Romeo Urges Support for Region at High Level Pledging Summit

The Honourable Premier, Donaldson Romeo, has appealed for international support for 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 Level Pledging Conference: Building A More Climate-Resilient Community. The conference was held 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 financial 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 resilience 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 the Caribbean islands requests for assistance to rebuild their homes, economies and societies to be more resilient, following the devastating impacts of Hurricanes Irma and Maria to several islands.
The Premier also requested support for Montserrat to ensure the island is more resilient considering the impacts natural disasters such as Hurricane Hugo and the Soufriere Hills Volcano, have had on the island. He said, “The people of Montserrat also need and seek your 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 overseas and want to return.”

In delivering Montserrat’s case for support, the Premier cited the impact of Hurricane Hugo in 1989 and the volcanic crisis which began in 1995. He said, “Hurricane Hugo’s impact, left over 90 percent of houses and buildings on Montserrat severely damaged and destroyed.”
Montserrat’s development post Hugo, he explained, were again devastated during the volcanic crisis, which resulted in the loss of key infrastructure and manpower, as three quarters of the population migrated to other islands and countries.
Mr. Romeo further noted that the recent catastrophic hurricanes in the region, Irma and Maria, were serious threats to Montserrat. Although Hurricane Maria did not have a direct hit on the island, the Premier said, “Our over ground telecommunications system was in shambles and some parts of the island were without electricity for two weeks.” He added that, “Montserrat suffered damages to homes, government buildings, key communication infrastructure as well as the agriculture and tourism sector costing approximately 11 million dollars.”
In light of these impacts and projections for more intense and frequent storms and hurricanes due to climate change, the Premier stated that Montserrat, like the other Territories, require assistance to become more resilient to these events.
CARICOM Heads of Government, Secretaries General of CARICOM and the United Nations, the President of the UN General Assembly and participated in the Conference. They were joined by International Development Partners, Partner Countries, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), prominent international personalities, private sector entities and Foundations.