Premier Easton Taylor-Farrell says his government will focus on bringing the two blocks of classrooms which were taken out of commission at the Montserrat Secondary School (MSS) in 2018 back into operation.
The premier used his New Year’s Day message to share the plans for the island’s lone secondary school as well as provide updates on other projects.
“The built out environment at the Montserrat Secondary School is far from acceptable,” the leader said. “My government is not in the business of constructing temporary classrooms at MSS in this phase of our development. To this end, we will seek to use funds earmarked for the construction of temporary classrooms and use it to undertake remedial works on Blocks L and M; putting them back into use as soon as possible. We must and we will enhance the learning environment for our children.”
A small portion of the CIPREG funds from the Department for International Development (DfID) was designated for use at the school. However, the allocation was to only build more temporary classrooms. Last October, the Project Management Office (PMO) announced it had signed an agreement for the construction of new T-111 classrooms. However, upon taking office and after touring the condemned buildings, the government wanted to relook the decision.
The two blocks were closed after an assessment of government infrastructures found they were unsafe and posed a threat to life. This took six classes and two laboratories out of use.
The premier said he saw 2020 as a “turning point in Montserrat’s development as we proceed with the strategic implementation of major projects designed to restore this island to its former glory, and place us on a steady pathway to self-sustainability, and to once again restore hope to us as a people.”
He was also cautious in his message about the roll out of projects his government met upon taking office last November, and the need to revisit some of the decisions. “I cannot say that all projects will be rolled out instantly or simultaneously. But, what I can say and promise is that as your leader, I pledge my unwavering commitment and support to the development of this land and our people.”
The “Port Project is one of the projects which my government inherited, and while it is our intention to complete every project there is, this project is one for which some discussion and negotiations must begin immediately on charting the way forward,” Premier Taylor-Farrell shared.
“I have been advised by the experts that in trying to design a port within the limited finances available, serious adjustments will have to be made to the length of the breakwater and berthing, to the point where a continuous breakwater as envisaged at the outset cannot be realized, and the length of the jetty will be greatly reduced.
“It is clear that unless additional finances can be found we will be provided with a facility which is less than acceptable to meet our access needs at port Little Bay. My government will however enter into negotiations with a number of stakeholders to see how best the project as envisaged can realize its original goal.
“The runway resurfacing is another project which must be dealt with urgently. The continued closure of the Airport when it rains is not an acceptable option. My government will do everything within its powers to have this project completed expeditiously.
He said while the projects are being rolled out, his government will be exploring “new possibilities and opportunities.” These include encouraging members of the diaspora to investing on Montserrat, enhancing and expanding the tourism products and increasing the housing stock.