Montserrat's MCAP Government Missing In Action - Presentation by Leader of the Opposition Paul Lewis

Leader of the Opposition on Montserrat Paul Lewis

Hon Paul Lewis

Release Date

Wednesday, January 11, 2023


Greetings citizens and residents of Montserrat.

We have all suffered much hardship throughout 2022 with the year-ending access incidents creating further grief and disappointment. While there was much hype and expectations of a ferry service organized by The Salem Reunion Committee - a private entity -  our hopes were crushed twice since these private sector efforts and the Government efforts both turned out to be unsuccessful. This failure to secure a ferry reminds us of The MCAP Government's previous decision to stop the ferry service. We have witnessed how that decision continues to haunt the people of this island.

Listen to full version of Presentation here: 

The Twin Otter Charter Services, an initiative of yet another private sector entity MACG, was halted after ASSI introduced a RESA stipulation at the John Osborne Airport. I have written to ASSI as Leader of the Opposition for an explanation of their justification to enforce the RESA, which effectively shortened the already short runway that we have; especially given that the recommendations from ICAO is not mandatory. ASSI or no other authority has provided a justification to date. 

The Minister with responsibility for the Airport acknowledged in Parliament that the RESA is not a mandatory recommendation. Understanding that the RESA recommendation is not mandatory, to date, the Government of Montserrat has not taken a public official position on the matter. In the meantime, a private sector investment and an initiative made by MACG was sabotaged in the middle of the period of operation.

The efforts by MACG were negatively affected and many travelers experienced the harsh reality of the inconvenience and the chaotic state of access into Montserrat. Despite all of this, the MCAP government is silent on the issue and is missing in action. Yet not a word from this government.

Every year, many of us look forward to our end of year festival. Festivals attract visitors, which stimulate the growth of tourism and other businesses with the key economic impact being that of a direct injection of new monies into the economy. Festivals also provide free marketing of our island and of our tourism product.

It was rather odd that the Minister for Finance, Tourism and Culture was missing in action throughout the festivities. This was highlighted by a no-show at both the opening and closing ceremonies of the 60th festivities. There was also no other government minister or Parliamentary Secretary to open or close the 60th Anniversary of Festival. 

Many persons have expressed their disappointment at the obvious lack of interest by the government as it appears the government is not interested in tourism. This MCAP government is not interested in culture.  They are not interested, neither do they value the significance of new monies being injected into the economy through festivals. They generally are not interested in what’s going on in the country. It was left to the Leader of The Opposition to deliver closing remarks at the closing of the 60th Anniversary of Festival to ensure at least an elected member of Parliament addressed the audience.

Every day is another disappointment. It is as if we are living a nightmare that keeps getting from bad to worse and it seems the government is rather silent on all these issues and offer no solutions.

The latest episode of this bad dream is another attack on tourism and private sector businesses on Montserrat. The following is from a release sent to our tour operators operating into Plymouth. It states;

"With immediate effect please take note ‘Off-duty officers will no longer be allowed to assist in the execution of your tour. When planning a tour for a set time – The RMPS will not be able to guarantee that there will be an officer at the stipulated time. Tours are usually set for 45 mins – You will now run the risk of having to cut your tour shorter in the event there is a report that needs to be actioned by that on duty officer. When planning a tour – The RMPS may not be able to assign an officer to conduct same as there may not be an available vehicle for the officer to use."

Having heard the information sent to tour operators and considering that these tours cannot take place without the presence of the Police, the above information effectively has disrupted and destroyed the tours into Plymouth, as the tour operators can no longer guarantee a 45 minute tour and cannot guarantee if a tour will even take place at all, as they were informed that the police cannot provide a reliable service to facilitate them. This is a sabotage of the tours into Plymouth.

Where is the Premier and Minister of Tourism? What is the government's position on this latest sabotage?

Again the MCAP government is still missing in action while another aspect of tourism is under attack.

This MCAP government needs to give a public account of the sequence of counter productive actions and sabotage that are designed to destroy Montserrat and set this island even further backward resulting in further hardship on our people.


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