Honourable Premier of Montserrat and Minister of Finance and Economic Management Donaldson Romeo budget speech

Honourable Premier Donaldson RomeoThe Honourable Premier of Montserrat and Minister of Finance and Economic Management Donaldson Romeo delivered a EC $170.8 million dollar budget on Tuesday March 24th, 2015 at the Sir George Martin Auditorium at the Montserrat Cultural Centre in Little Bay.
The recurrent Budget is EC $127, 368,300 which is for salaries and operating costs.
The Capital budget, which covers development projects and specified buildings maintenance is EC$ 43,421,800.
For the full details of the budget speech. Click below…
Budget Speech 2015-2016

ZJB Evening News for Friday March 27, 2015

Delmaude RyanDebate on the 2015/2016 budget got underway in the Legislative Assembly Friday with a number of areas key to ensuring sustained economic development for Montserrat taking centre stage.
Honourable Premier and Minister of Finance and Economic Management presented a 170.8 million dollar fiscal package in the House on Tuesday this week.
In Today’s debate, the main focus was on the hospital healthcare and improvement project as well as Access and Tourism, social services and sports
Honourable Deputy Premier Minister of Education, Health and Social Services, Delmaude Ryan spoke about parallel priorities as she expounded on a number of areas which needed urgent attention.
She explained that her priority however after coming into office was to seek to achieve realistic recurrent budgets to support the operations of the ministries for which she was responsible.

Premier-Reuben-T.-Meade-2012-300x198The Honourable Leader of the Opposition Rueben T. Meade has not given his support to the 170.8 million dollar fiscal package for 2015/2016.
During his address in the Legislative Assembly Friday, Mr. Meade said he would have difficulty supporting what he referred to as an “end” budget.
Mr. Meade throughout his address raised a number of questions on certain promises made but have not been included in the budget estimates.
The leader of the opposition also took issue with the lack of new capital projects in the budget.

The Montserratian-American female who was remanded in Antigua in December 2013 on drug possession charges has been sentenced and fined in the High Court in Antigua.
Ashley Warner appeared before Justice Keith Thom on Friday and was sentenced to two years imprisonment.
She was also fined 100 thousand dollars to be paid in nine months or in default one year in prison.
Miss Warner pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine, not guilty to possession of cocaine with intent to transfer and not guilty to possession with intent to supply.
The Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) accepted the guilty plea and withdrew the other 2 charges.
Ms. Warner was represented by Attorney at law Lawrence Daniels.

In other top stories:
Honourable Minister of Communications, Works and Labour has highlighted the need for a safe harbor, port expansion and an improved airport…
Efforts are being made to revive the Optimist International Montserrat Chapter…
The 2015 Montserrat Idol will be chosen on Saturday night…
News from the Magistrate Court…
These and more in today’s national news presented by Shirlian Queeley.
Click on the mediaplayer below to listen…

ZJB News for Thursday March 26, 2015

Hon. PremierDonaldson RomeoHonourable Premier Donaldson Romeo says his government’s primary objective is to revive the island’s economy and put Montserrat back on a path for sustainable re-development and future growth.
He made the announcement during the 2015/2016 budget presentation on Tuesday.
Mr. Romeo, who is also the Minister of Finance and Economic Management, says this will be achieved through a new approach to Economic Management and Development.

Two representatives from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) feel the time is right for Montserrat to develop what they describe as “a thriving Maritime Division on island.
And this, since the majority of goods that are used here are imported.
MCA Assistant Director of Business Improvement and Assurance and Mercantile Marine Superintendent Richard Pellew and External and Assurance Policy Analyst Sarah Stride spent the last few days on island engaged in meeting with the relevant authorities.

The Acting Director General of the Montserrat Customs and Revenue Services (MCRS) has applauded the work of his officers in informing the outcome of two successful Criminal Prosecutions in the just-concluded High Court Assizes
Peter White says these successful prosecutions came about as a result of the diligence and tact of the officers as both cases involved the discovery of drugs in passengers’ belongings.
One person was fined $40,000 to be paid in 18 months, while the other was found guilty and is currently remanded at her Majesty’s prison pending sentencing in July 2015.
The Acting Director General of the MCRS says he believes these cases have served to demonstrate to the public that they are serious about their work.

These and more in today’s national news presented by Viona Alexander Smith.
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ZJB News for Wednesday March 25, 2015

Court GavelThe March Criminal Assizes of the High Court in Brades, closed on Wednesday with His Lordhsip Justice Albert Redhead imposing a prison sentence and a hefty fine.




Hylroy Bramble

Labour consultant Hylroy Bramble is questioning the timing of Government’s decision to reinstate increments to public servants.
On Tuesday, Honourable Premier and Minister of Finance and Economic Management, Donaldson Romeo, announced in his a 170.8 million dollar fiscal package for 2015/2016 the reinstatement of increments totaling 488,400.
Mr. Bramble says although he welcomes the reintroduction of increments, he is of the view that this move is not the best one given Montserrat’s current economic climate.
He also believes there should be something comparable for statutory bodies and private sector workers who have not received an increase salaries and wages in over ten years.


Nyota MulcareVice President of the Montserrat Civil Service Association Nyota Mulcare has commended the PDM Government for reinstating the increments.
She refuted Mr. Bramble’s statement that the reintroduction of increment is an increase in salary for public servants.
Mrs Mulcare says each employer has his/her own arrangements with their workers upon employment.
Mrs Mulcare also spoke of the benefits lost to public workers as a result of the previous MCAP administration cessation of payment of increments.

In other top stories:

Montserrat’s Minister of Finance and Economic Management says his government is at this time reviewing all projects for the island…

The Governor’s Office has issued a press statement on the visit to Montserrat by a ferry from Guadeloupe last Saturday…
These and more in today’s national news presented by James White Jr.
Click on the mediaplayer below to listen…

Premier Romeo presents an EC$170.8 million budget for 2015/2016

Hon. PremierDonaldson RomeoThe Honourable Premier of Montserrat and Minister of Finance and Economic Management, Donaldson Romeo presented an EC$170.8 million budget for 2015/2016 in the Montserrat Legislative Assembly on Tuesday.
The recurrent budget is EC$ 127,368,300 which is for salaries and other operating costs.
The Capital budget, which covers development projects and specified buildings maintenance, is EC$ 43,421,800.
The EC$ 170,790,100 budget excludes new Department for International Development (DFID) capital projects which are still to be agreed upon.
Some of the major new spend items incorporated into this budget include:-
Reinstatement of Increments EC$488,400
Maintenance of GOM Housing Stock EC$120,000
Agriculture Food Strategy and other Activities EC$60,000
Marketing and Education for Agriculture EC$20,000
Repairs to Vulnerable EC$100,000
Social Protection (Work Incentives, Foster Care, etc.) EC$421,800
Labour Market Survey EC$185,000
Maintenance of Schools EC$340,500
Additional Scholarships EC$ 200,000
Key projects included in the overall allocation are:-
o Port Development EC$1.5m
o Housing Programme EC$5m
o MUL Genset- EC$10m
o Geothermal Exploration- EC$4.1m
o Energy EC$3m
o Government Accommodation EC $2.2m
This was Premier Romeo’s first budget statement to the nation following his People’s Democratic Movement (PDM’s) victory at the polls last September.
The budget debate will be held on Friday March 27, 2015 at the Montserrat Cultural Centre (MCC)

ZJB News for Monday March 23, 2015

Hon. PremierDonaldson RomeoTuesday March 24th is budget day on Montserrat.
And, the Honourable Premier and Minister of Finance and economic Management, Donaldson Romeo will be tabling the estimates of Revenue and expenditure for the fiscal year 2015/2016.
He will also be presenting indicative estimates for 2016/17 and 2017/18.
It will be Premier Romeo’s first budget statement to the nation following his People’s Democratic Movement (PDM’s) victory at the polls last September.
The Minister of Finance will, among other things, present the economic context within which the government operates and provide a brief update on public sector performance for the current year.
Premier Romeo is also expected to outline his government’s policy priorities for the medium term.

St PatricksThe number of visitors who graced Montserrat with their presence during the 2015 St. Patrick’s Festival period surpassed that of 2014.
Figures from the Access Coordinator show that there were 256 more persons on island during the March 10-17 period compared to the same time last year.
A total 804 persons were on island during the just ended celebrations. The figure for last year stood at 548.
However, this does not mean all 804 persons travelled to the island specifically for the St. Patrick’s Festival.

Small and Medium Business owners and operators have an opportunity to benefit from a Direct Assistance Grant Scheme under the Caribbean OCT’s Small and Medium Enterprise (COSME) programme.
The programme which is funded by the European Union under the 10 EDF will be discussed with business owners and operators during a presentation at the Montserrat Development Corporation (MDC) starting at 6:30.
The Direct Assistance Grant of half a million euros for the Overseas Countries and Territories is scheduled to be launched in April.

In other top stories:
Montserrat to host the 13th Annual OECS Credit Union Summit in August…
Businesses selected by the Statistics Department for the Survey of Economic Activity should complete and submit the form by the end of this month…
Aqua Montserrat provides multilingual guided tours for Guadeloupian tourists last Saturday…
These and more in today’s national news presented by James White Jr.
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ZJB News for Friday March 20, 2015

Hon. PremierDonaldson RomeoThe Supplementary Appropriation Bill 2014/2015 passed with slight amendments in the Legislative Assembly this morning.
The bill re-allocates funds for spending which were not previously budgeted for.
In presenting the bill to the house, Honourable Premier and minister of finance and economic management, Donaldson Romeo, emphasizes that it provides for the re-allocation of recurrent votes for various purposes but with no additional funding required.
In explaining the urgent need for such funds, the finance minister also gave a breakdown by sector.

Claude_Hogan_2014_02Montserrat is fast becoming an adventure Tourism destination.
So says the Honourable Minister of Agriculture, Trade, Lands, Housing and the Environment Claude Hogan.
He was speaking against the backdrop, of a planned day excursion to Montserrat on Saturday of more than 400 passengers from Guadeloupe.
Speaking on the adjournment of Friday’s Legislative Assembly, Mr. Hogan says tomorrow’s day trip will open up trade opportunities among Montserrat and the French Territories
He’s therefore encouraging all arts and craft vendors to make use of this opportunity to sell their products.

Delmaude RyanThe people of Montserrat will get a new hospital.
That’s according to the Honourable Minister of Health, Delmaude Ryan.
She says a new project business case for the new Glendon Hospital building is expected to be completed by June this year
However, Mrs Ryan says an interim work plan has been put in place to continue the soft components of the hospital project in addition to the purchasing of equipment.

In other top stories:
More than $600,000 EC in expenses has been incurred by the 2014 Montserrat Annual Festival…
The former Chairman of the Montserrat Development Corporation (MDC) is “hopping mad” over not been given a chance to be heard during a recent task force review of the operation of the government-owned entity…
The countdown to semi-final night of the Montserrat Idol Contest is well and truly on…
These and more in today’s national news presented by Shirlian Queeley
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ZJB News for Thursday March 19, 2015

Delmaude RyanThe Honourable Minister of Health Delmaude Ryan has dismissed claims that she has turned down an opportunity for a brand new hospital for Montserrat.
She was responding to reports that the 32 bed hospital project, negotiated by the Movement for Change and Prosperity (MCAP) administration has been cancelled.
This followed meetings, Mrs Ryan held in the United late last year with the DFID team leader for Montserrat Moira Marshal.

Anita KnightingaleAn excursion to Montserrat from Guadeloupe this weekend will give a major boost to the Tourism Sector here.
Over 450 passengers will arrive on a ferry from the neighbouring French island this Saturday morning.
In an interview with ZJB News, Director of Tourism, Anita Knightingale, says some of the visitors will be engaged in a number of activities including a University of the West Indies, UWI Open Campus cultural exchange, bird watching, hiking and tours.

Delmaude RyanThe relationship between a vibrant tourism industry and the transportation factor formed part of recent discussions between the government of Montserrat and the Indian high commissioner to the Caribbean Gauri Shankar Gupta.
Honourable Deputy Premier Delmaude Ryan says discussion with High Commissioner Gupta, who has responsibility for Montserrat, was along the lines of a public/private partnership and how the interest could be generated as it relates to transportation and general access.

In other top stories:
Visitors and Montserratians in the Diaspora who are interested in volunteer work on Montserrat will get the ideal opportunity to do so…
Motorists who are yet to license their vehicles are being urged to do so as soon as possible…
Children on island will get an opportunity to learn to play musical instruments in less than two weeks…
These and more in today’s national news presented by Viona Alexander Smith
Click on the mediaplayer below to listen…

ZJB News for Wednesday March 18, 2015

The government of Montserrat has repealed the Landholding Control Act.
The amendment was passed in today’s sitting of the Legislative Assembly following a brief debate by its members.

Jurors in the Criminal Assizes of the High Court started Wednesday to hear evidence in a drug related case.
Fitzroy Farrell represented by Attorney at Law Ralph Francis of Antigua is being tried on three charges—drug trafficking, possession of a controlled drug and possession of a controlled drug with intent to supply.
The nine member jury of 7 women and 2 men is hearing evidence by the Prosecution team led by Acting Director of Public Prosecution Oris Sullivan and Crown Counsel Kristen Taylor who are trying to prove that Mr. Farrell is guilty of the three charges.
The charges stem from an incident which occurred on the 18th of September 2014 at Port Little Bay in which 3.7 kilograms of cannabis sativa (marijuana) was brought into the island.

In an effort to regularize the top brass of the Royal Montserrat Police Service (RMPS), the position of superintendent of police has now been filled.
Bennet Kirwan, who acted in the position for just over a year, has been confirmed in the post.
His appointment took effect March 1st, 2015
Kirwan, a 26-year veteran in the service, was a former police inspector.
In his new position as Superintendent, Kirwan will primarily be responsible for operations within the RMPS.

In Other top stories:
Chairman of the St. Patrick’s Festival Committee has described the just ended St. Patrick’s Festival as a success despite the challenges.
The government is taking steps to ensure public safety regarding the sale of food, this as a draft public health food safety act has been circulated…
The highly anticipated music video for the song used as the theme song for festival 2014 has been released…
Authorities and consumers of Kraft food products on island are monitoring with a great deal of concern recent developments in the food industry giant…
These and more in today’s national news presented by James White Jr.
Click on the mediaplayer below to listen…

ZJB Evening News Thursday March 12, 2015

Paul PayneMontserrat will be the hub for the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Network of Excellence for Tourism and Hospitality Training and Education.
This was disclosed by Montserrat’s representative on the OECS Task Force for the Project Paul Payne.
The project concept has been approved by European Union with a timeframe of 2 years for implementation.
The project will consist of linking ‘centres of excellence’ in each OECS territories with each specializing in an area of tourism and hospitality.
Speaking with ZJB News, Mr. Payne says consultants, who are working on the OECS European Union Project to establish the Network, visited the island in the past and spoke with key tourism stake holders.
The consultants produced a report based on the feedback they received in the nine OECS member territories.

Hon. PremierDonaldson RomeoThe official opening of the new Montserrat ferry terminal facility in Antigua is scheduled to take place on Friday.
The facility is housed in the former Coast nightclub located on the waterfront at the entrance to the existing ferry terminal.
Speaking at the opening of the annual St Patrick’s Festival at the Heritage Village in Salem, the Honourable Premier, Donaldson Romeo, said the opening of the new ferry terminal facility symbolized a turn of events for Montserrat.
He also described the facility as a beautiful piece of structure equipped with all necessary amenities.

David Trixie DuberryThe 2015 St Patrick’s Festival moves into high gear tonight with two contrasting festivities.
They are the annual St Patrick’s Lecture which begins at 7:30 at the Montserrat Cultural Centre in Little Bay.
The other is Rhythm Night starting at 7:30 in Salem.
Chairman of the St Patrick’s Festival David Duberry says Rhythm Night is expected to continue until late into the night, affording persons who attend the lecture tonight an opportunity to partake of the activity.

In other top stories:
Telecommunications provider, DIGICEL, presented a cheque of $25, 000 to the St. Patrick’s Festival Committee on Thursday …
Rose Willock says she’s feels proud and humbled to be honoured at home…
These and more in today’s national news presented by Viona Alexander Smith…
Click on the mediaplayer below to listen…