The Hon. Premier Donaldson Romeo is convinced that one of the problems that caused the failure of Montserrat’s Strategic Growth plan materializing to any degree is the failure of doing anything with the condition where Montserrat was required to obtain International and Diaspora investment into Montserrat in support of the Little Bay/Carrs Bay development.
The Premier has told TMR that this has been the driving force behind his willingness to meet as many of the Diaspora who are already showing an interest to participate in his governments thrust to begin to move Montserrat out of the doldrums of an already dead economy.
In his response and submission to the November 2012 mid-term review of the May 1, 2012 MOU, as Opposition Leader, Romeo said: “If the private sector is to become the engine of development, we have to meet with key stakeholders (small and great) and use best practices approaches to develop a private sector development programme, one that is competitive in several major areas, not just tourism.”
In that said MOU, the review reminded, “The MoU recognises that sustained economic growth focused in the north of Montserrat around Carr’s Bay and Little Bay is only likely to be achieved through significant public investment which would then act as a catalyst for private sector investment in the town and tourism facilities (MOU, paragraph 2.2 .”
However with regards to the port, it had said: “An important condition of the MoU is that any UK public funds invested in a port are matched by simultaneous contractual commitment of private sector entities. This private sector firm(s) is (are) / expected to make complementary investments in land-side developments, including a hotel, marina, residential and other facilities as a condition for UK public funding in a port.”
Meanwhile the MOU which was signed and agreed had said also, “The MOU also makes clear that final UK public funding in a port and town is conditional on full economic and financial justification of the investments.”
It is now history as to what happened. Two years later and Montserrat was unable to find the commitments mentioned or required.
This deal would involve increased capital investment and technical assistance funded by the UK, if it can be fully justified, while GoM undertakes policy reforms to create an enabling environment for private sector investment.