The Government of the United Kingdom has approved a significant increase in grant funding for the Little Bay Port Development Project in Montserrat totalling approximately £28.3m to provide a safe, climate-resilient harbour, improve accessibility to the island, and substantially expand economic, trade, and tourism opportunities.
This additional funding of approximately £13.9 million builds on existing UK aid of £14.4 million already allocated to the port development project under the United Kingdom Caribbean Infrastructure Fund (UKCIF).
The Minister responsible for the Overseas Territories, the Rt Hon Amanda Milling MP said: “This increased support to Montserrat is a tangible demonstration of the UK’s continued commitment to the Caribbean and to UK Overseas Territories. We see this as an investment in Montserrat’s recovery and revitalisation after suffering devastating hurricanes and volcanic eruptions in recent decades. We are pleased that the new port will include environmentally sound and sustainable climate-resilient measures and look forward to the many ways this pivotal project will improve lives of people in Montserrat.”
The Little Bay Port Development Project is delivered through the Government of Montserrat, and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) which manages all UKCIF projects, now totalling almost £350 million.
CDB President Dr Hyginus ‘Gene’ Leon said: “The Caribbean Development Bank welcomes the additional funding for the Little Bay Port Development Project which will bolster tourism and commerce for the benefit of Montserrat’s economy and people. We are grateful to the United Kingdom for their strong commitment to Montserrat and the Caribbean and we will continue to work in partnership with the UK to achieve our common objective of facilitating sustainable development throughout the region.”
Governor of Montserrat Andrew Pearce said he was “delighted that a contract for design and construction of a new jetty in Little Bay has been signed, following a further large grant of funds by the British Government. This is a crucial piece of infrastructure for Montserrat, which will bolster our resilience and our communications with the region. It has taken longer than it should and there are important lessons to be learned. But it is a testament to steadfast UK support for Montserrat, even in these stretched and turbulent times of Covid.”
The Governor warmly thanked all those involved, in the Government and wider community of Montserrat, in the FCDO, including the Caribbean Infrastructure team in Barbados, the Caribbean Development Bank and in the Governor’s Office, which has played an important role ensuring proper understanding of the issues.
The project which is expected to be completed by 2024 includes the construction of an offshore jetty, new access road, dredging works, and slope stabilisation design. The project will also provide employment of skilled and unskilled men and women and promote the participation of women, youth and persons with disabilities in the transportation, tourism, and infrastructure sectors. Safeguards are in place throughout the design and delivery of the project to ensure UKaid funds are spent as intended.
The original capital grant for this project was first approved in December 2017 for £14.4 million and has now been increased to ensure the development of a viable port that meets the need of the people of Montserrat and contributes to sustainable economic development for the UK Overseas Territory. The total project cost is now over £35 million and includes £7.1 million from the European Union through the 11th European Development Fund.