On Friday, March 18th, 2022, the 6th meeting of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Assembly took place in St John's, Antigua, under the theme "The Shift: Embracing New Platforms and Innovative Models for Leadership in Sustainability."
A delegation from Montserrat participated in the meeting, comprising Premier of Montserrat Hon. Joseph Easton Taylor Farrell, Leader of the Opposition on Montserrat, Hon Paul Lewis, and Parliamentary Secretary, Hon Veronica Hector. They attended the meeting virtually from Montserrat.
Leader of the Opposition, Hon Lewis, took the opportunity to express his views on the issue currently facing access to funding by British Overseas Territories (OTs), particularly as it regards the Climate Change Agenda.
Hon Lewis stated to The OECS Assembly delegates that OTs currently do not qualify for certain Climate Change funding opportunities, based on the UK itself being a contributor to these funding resources, and this in turn disqualifies OTs from qualifying for funding. Honourable Lewis further went on to speak of OTs such as Montserrat having access to European Development Funding (EDF), which has helped to develop renewable energy programmes such as the island's 1MW solar power plant. However, as Hon Lewis explained, due to BREXIT, OTs like Montserrat would no longer be able to benefit from further tranches of the EDF programme.
Hon Lewis also spoke to The OECS Assembly about funding issues pertaining to Montserrat's geothermal resource being stuck presently, with the production wells not developed further towards generating a much needed additional energy resource for the island.
In order to assist small island developing states to mitigate against the risks they face due to Climate Change, Hon Lewis implored upon the Assembly that developed nations, in particular, would have to do more than just commit funding. He stated that it is urgent that funds be released, so that developing nations can show progress in developing their very own renewable energy initiatives.
Hon Lewis was speaking in response to a presentation given by one of the Guest Speakers at the Meeting, who spoke on the Climate Change Agenda - Rt. Hon. Lord Goldsmith – The UK Minister for Pacific and the Environment.
Listen to Hon Lewis' presentation below: