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Before leaving Montserrat, Governor Phillips, Chief Minister Julie Thomas and Chief Secretary Susan O’Bey paid a farewell courtesy call with Governor Tucker, Premier Farrell, Deputy Governor Simpson, Deputy Premier Dr Joseph, Financial Secretary Lindorna Sweeney and Deputy Financial Secretary Kenya Lee. (GO Photo)

Montserrat and St. Helena Compare Budgeting and Project Strategy During 1st Official Visit

A delegation from the British Overseas Territory of St. Helena was able to experience some of the St. Patrick’s Festival during an official visit to Montserrat, which began on March 13, 2024.

This is the first time any official from St. Helena has visited Montserrat.

The delegation consisted of St. Helena’s Governor, Air Commodore Nigel Phillips CBE RAF, Chief Minister, Julie Dorne Thomas and Chief Secretary, Susan O’Bey. The visit was facilitated by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

While in Montserrat, the delegation met with government ministers and public service officials to discuss a broad range of topics including good governance; fiscal accountability and monitoring; corporate leadership and their approach to programme management. The Governor’s Office said the visit was “incredibly useful for all parties and is the start of a commitment between Montserrat and St. Helena to work together across all areas of Government, and the Public Sector.”

Officials from Governments of Montserrat and St. Helena met to discuss budgets and project financing. (GO Photo)

Governors Phillips and Tucker discussed matters of security and justice, while Chief Minister Julie Thomas joined Premier Joseph Farrell and ministers to share views and debate policy areas. Chief Secretary Susan Bray exchanged learnings about the Public Service, with Deputy Governor, Lyndell Simpson and Chief HR Officer Dr. Miguelle Christopher.

The trip included a visit to the Port Project, the new hospital site and the geothermal wells.

As guests of Governor Sarah Tucker, the delegation was able to take in several events during the recently concluded St. Patrick’s Festival. These activities included the National Museum exhibit, Montserrat National Trust Flower Show and Tea Party, the Emerald Community Singers concert, Scriber’s Annual hike, and the unveiling of Montserrat’s third National Hero, Alphonsus “Arrow” Cassell.

Dr Graham Ryan hosted the delegation at the Montserrat Volcano Observatory, where they learnt about the history of the Soufrière Hills.

St. Helena’s Chief Secretary Susan O’Bey tries out an old steel pan at the National Museum exhibition. (GO Photo)

Governor Sarah Tucker said “This is a further opportunity to work more closely with our sister Overseas Territories, to learn from each other and to share opportunities and challenges. We look forward to strengthening this relationship with St. Helena in the future.”

A tweet from the Government of St. Helena said “The Montserrat visit was invaluable for comparing approaches to financial administration, project implementation and leveraging UK budgetary assistance effectively. As OTs reliant on aid we must collaborate to adopt strategies that ensure this support translates into progress.”

Governor Phillips said it was a “productive visit to #Montserrat to share best practices with a fellow UK OT. Our delegation had insightful exchanges on financial management, programmes, and efficient use of aid funding to drive positive impacts. We have much to learn from each other’s experiences going forward.”