Representatives of the Government of Montserrat have been participating in several meetings in the United Kingdom over the past week, including the annual Joint Ministerial Council (JMC).
Premier Joseph Farrell led the Montserrat delegation to the JMC in London from November 14 to 15, 2023. The JMC is the principal forum for reviewing and implementing the shared strategy for promoting the security and good governance of the Territories and their sustainable economic and social development.
Premier Farrell and the other leaders of the UK Overseas Territories discussed and reviewed a Joint UK-OT Declaration on future UK strategy in its relationship with the Overseas Territories.
Accompanied by Deputy Premier Dr. Samuel Joseph and team, the premier has also participated several bilateral meetings with His Majesty’s Government (HMG) departments, including the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) where discussions centred on the need for increased collaboration to ensure the sustainability of Montserrat’s water supply. Further collaboration is planned with potential visits in the future.
The Premier and his delegation also met with Montserrat’s participants in the inaugural UK Overseas Territories Association (UKOTA) Youth Summit hosted by the Speaker of the House of Commons, Rt. Hon. Sir Lindsay Hoyle at the Speaker’s House located at the Palace of Westminster. During lunch on Thursday, November 16, the Montserrat Youth Parliament representatives Hayley-Shai Kassie, Jaena Golden and Deuvaunn Darroux shared with the officials their ideas for the future development of Montserrat.
At a meeting with the new Chair of the Montserrat All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), Member of Parliament (MP) Pauline Latham, Premier Farrell highlighted the current issues and challenges affecting the island’s economic development and specifically, the need for additional support in redeveloping the Tourism Industry and the issues surrounding access and avenues for improvement.
The Montserrat delegation was joined by
Governor Sarah Tucker at a bilateral meeting with the Overseas Territories Minister David Rutley. Discussions were held on Access, Public Sector Capacity, Tourism, Private Sector support and Renewable Energy.
The final day at JMC ended with the Premier and Deputy Premier meeting with the Head of Tourism Affairs at Visit Britain/Visit England where they explored areas where Montserrat can benefit from their support to market and boost the island’s tourism sector.
Premier Farrell and Dr. Joseph met with the Food and Agriculture Association (FAO) led by Trade Development Consultant, UN FAO Jai Rampersad, to discuss potential initiatives to boost Montserrat’s exports and reduce its balance of payments deficit. This discussion was a precursor to follow-up meetings which will be conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Housing & the Environment in the coming months to discuss the strategic actions required.
Meetings were also held with Suffolk County Council represented by Loretta Greenacre to discuss continued collaboration between Montserrat and UK’s education system and the support that can be provided to ensure Government of Montserrat provides World Class
standard of education to its students.
Over the weekend, the delegation participated in visits to Preston to speak with members of the Diaspora.