Luck of The Irish In Montserrat

In honor of the island’s rich culture and dynamic mix of Irish and African heritage, Montserrat commemorates St. Patrick’s Day in true Caribbean style. With the distinction of being the only country in the world outside of Ireland to recognize St. Patrick’s Day as a national holiday, the Emerald Isle of the Caribbean celebrates this annual event with week-long festivities held March 14 – 21, 2009.

This year’s menu of activities begins with a Kite Festival at Festival Village on March 14, followed by the annual St. Patrick’s Day Dinner. The celebration continues on March 15 with a church service held at St. Martin de Porres Church in Salem. After the church service, residents and visitors will have the opportunity to enjoy a concert performance by the Junior Steel Orchestra at the Cultural Centre.

On the eve of St. Patrick’s Day, cultural performances resume at the Cultural Centre with the Emerald Community Singers Irish Caberet. For some, however, the highlight of the day’s happenings will be the highly anticipated, rum shop tour or pub crawl. Signifying true Irish traditions, local bars and restaurants will be decorated in shamrocks and plenty of green. Additionally, the pub crawl will provide both residents and visitors with the opportunity to toast to good health and prosperity over a pint of Guinness.

The highlight of the week takes place on March 17 with festivities that include a Freedom Run/Walk and Heritage Day where traditional local food will be on sale, along with a revival of traditional games, story telling and performances by masked street dancers in traditional costumes. The Penny Concert for Senior Citizens and the annual St. Patrick’s Day lecture will be held on March 18 and the School Heritage Day, Karate Tournament and String Band Night on March 20. The events will culminate with a Freedom Hike and Creole Breakfast at the Montserrat National Trust on March 21.

Of all the Caribbean islands, Montserrat is the only one to boast a noticeable Irish heritage. The island was a haven for indentured Irish Catholic servants in the British West Indies and the influence of their culture is still felt today. The harp and female figure on the flag and official seal of Montserrat are derived from the Irish heraldy and in the southern region of the island, there is even a village named St. Patrick’s (located in the exclusion zone). Goat water, the national dish made of kid or mutton and spiced with cloves and rum, hails from the original Emerald Isle. The Irish legacy is present in the folklore, surnames and even the local speech, which is laced with Irish brogue. A draft list of activities for St. Patrick’s Week is included below.

St. Patrick’s Week 2009: Draft Calendar of Events





Saturday March 14th

Kite Festival

Blakes Football Field


Annual St. Patrick’s Dinner

Cultural Centre


Sunday March 15th

Church Service

St.Martin de Porres Church, Salem

9:00 am

Junior Steel Orchestra in Concert

Cultural Centre

6:00 pm

Monday March 16th

Emerald Community Singers Irish Cabaret

Cultural Centre

8:00 pm

Rum Shop Tour (Pub Crawl)



Tuesday March 17th

(St. Patrick’s Day)

Freedom Run/Walk

Cudjoe Head to Salem Park

6:00 am

Community Fun Sports and Breakfast

Salem Park

7:00 am

Heritage Day & Feast

Festival Village

2:00 pm

Wednesday March 18th

Penny Concert for Senior Citizens

Lookout Community Centre

12 noon

Annual St. Patrick’s Day Lecture

Brades Arts & Education Centre


Thursday March 19th




Friday March 20th

School Heritage Day



Karate Tournament



String Band Night

Ryan’s Plaza


Saturday March 21st

Freedom Hike


6:00 am

Creole Breakfast at

Montserrat National Trust

7:30 am


Montserrat to establish OECS Climate Change Centre

The Government of Montserrat is spearheading the establishment of an Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Climate Change Centre at the summit of the Silver Hills in the extreme north of this volcanic island, a significant distance away from the Soufrière Hills Volcano.

The Centre, when completed, will through applied research extend cutting edge information on key troubling climatic matters that impinge many important socio-economic parameters in the sub-region. The strategic goal of the Centre is to persuade the people’s of the sub-region to become more adaptive to climatic variations that interweave with many aspects of daily living.

Specifically the Centre will collect information and compile a data base of climate change factors, features and events relevant for the Eastern Caribbean Region.

Consultant manager Claude Gerald has revealed that the feasibility study is into its final stages of a six month consultancy. Road and building designs have been completed and the associated costs are in an active stage of being realized.

Business plans and funding proposals to construct and operate the Climate Change Centre will be the next order in the project process.

The OECS Climate Change Centre is expected to be an important addition to the tourism destinations in Montserrat and also to provide back up monitoring facilities for the Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO)..

Government of Montserrat Announces New Ferry Schedule

The Ministry of Communications and Works has announced that the current ferry service between Antigua (ANU) and Montserrat (MNI) will experience an interruption starting January 17, 2009. The commuter service will resume operation on February 16, with the 149-seater, double-hull, air-conditioned Provincetown III ferry.

There will be two scheduled return trips four days a week.







Depart MNI

7:00 a.m.

7:00 a.m.

7:30 a.m.

7:30 a.m.

Arrive ANU

8:00 a.m.

8:00 a.m.

8:30 a.m.

8:30 a.m.

Depart ANU

6:00 p.m.

6:00 p.m.

5:30 p.m.

5:30 p.m.

Arrive MNI

7:00 p.m.

7:00 p.m.

6:30 p.m.

6:30 p.m.


The cost of a return trip will be $135 USD ($365.00EC) roundtrip and $80 USD ($215.00EC) for one-way. Provincetown III will remain in operation until April 24, 2009.

The Government of Montserrat regrets any inconvenience which this interruption will cause to the traveling public..

Third Party Submissions of BOTC Montserrat Passport Applications Will No Longer Be Accepted

The Permanent Secretary of the Department of Administration, Ms. Daphne Cassell, has announced that no third party submissions will be accepted of applications for British Overseas Territories Citizen (BOTC) Montserrat passports.

Ms. Daphne Cassell said: “The Department of Administration will no longer accept applications for passports by mail or through a third party (such as the citizens and friends of Montserrat based in Antigua and Barbuda). If you are awaiting a response to an application submitted through a third party, please contact the Department of Administration.”

A Government of Montserrat press release highlighted that any person living on Montserrat who is applying for or renewing a BOTC Montserrat passport must apply in person at the Consular Section of the Department of Administration, located in the Government’s headquarters.

The release went on to say that individuals residing outside of Montserrat, who are applying for or renewing a BOTC Montserrat passport, must apply at the appropriate British Embassy Consulate or High Commission. Further details can be found at

Additionally, the Department of Administration says that an alternative option for individuals residing outside of Montserrat is to submit their application in person at the Consular Section of the Department during a visit to Montserrat. The process of applying for and receiving a passport takes an average of 12 to 15 working days.

Ms. Cassell reports that the Guidance Notes included with the application form provide information on authorized counter signatories, supporting documents, and fees..

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DMCA distributes multi-hazard alert system receivers

Residents of Zone B, which includes Isles Bay, Waterworks, parts of Old Town and lower Happy Hill will have the opportunity to received alerts and warning messages via an Emergency Solutions platform.

This new system is a multi-hazard alert system that informs residents about the various hazards and risks posed not only by the Soufriere Hills Volcano but any other natural or man made hazards that could potentially affect the island.

Coordinated by the Disaster Management Co-ordination Agency (DMCA), with assistance from the Royal Montserrat Defence Force and the Royal Montserrat Police Force the local disaster agency has started the distribution of ViaRadio’s HEARO Local Alert Receivers™ to residents in the most vulnerable areas. The goal of the program is to place the advanced early warning radio in every home, business, school and other critical agencies on island.

Acting Director of the DMCA James White Jr. says DMCA officials work in close collaboration with the National Disaster Preparedness and Response Advisory Committee (NDPRAC) and Montserrat Volcano Observatory when using the ENVOY software system to notify residents of volcanic activity and other natural or man made hazards.

The new system will give the Government of Montserrat the ability to contact Hundreds of people at the same time by sending one alert signal over the FM broadcast frequency. The warning is transferred by an audio tone and accompanying real time text information.

The ENVOY uses RDS (Radio Data System) technology to trigger alerts and pass critical text and voice information to targeted groups. The radios have a 60-hour battery life in case of power outages and since it uses FM radio infrastructure, HEARO works even when power, phone and Internet are out.

“This volcano can erupt at any time with little or no warning with very dangerous pyroclastic flows, so we need to be able to immediately warn residents at anytime The ENVOY solution provided by viaRadio let us alert specific areas or the entire island in just a few seconds – even if main power is lost,” Says Mr. White..

DMCA Press Release Jan 6th

The National Disaster Preparedness and Response Advisory Committee (NDPRAC) made a decision on January 6, 2009 to allow Zone B residents full time re-occupation of their homes. Prior to this decision, they were only allowed day time access from 6:30am to 5:30pm on weekdays except on Wednesdays.

His Excellency the Governor Peter Waterworth signed a Proclamation Order on Friday January 02 prohibiting nighttime access in Zone B after the MVO had observed a significant change in the pattern of activity. A regular cycle of strong volcanic pulses was evident resulting in larger and more energetic extrusion of magma.Hoppeslott

The decision to allow full access was taken following a briefing from the Acting Director of the Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVCO), Dr. Nicolas Fournier.

Dr Fournier informed the Authorities that since the explosive activities at the volcano that forced daytime access only, conditions were now favorable enough to allow for full time re-occupation of Zone B which includes Isles Bay, Waterworks, parts of Old Town and lower Happy Hill.

Dr. Fournier told the NDPRAC members that since the last explosion on Saturday morning January 2, 2009, the MVO recorded almost no activity at the volcano (very low background activity). That indicates a low lava extrusion rate and/or gentle lava extrusion rate at the dome.

The MVO Director said there was no sign of the old dome having been destabilized by the January 2nd explosions.

He said the MVO was confident that any increase of activity would be noticeable from a monitoring standpoint and as such, the MVO was able to provide sufficient early warning should the activity resume drastically.

Dr. Fournier also explained that it was still a transition period and a slow increase of activity was possible over the coming few weeks.

“Over the past few weeks, Tyre’s Ghaut has filled in considerably with volcanic material and if the activity were to resume, possibly pyroclastic flows could enter the Belham and potentially affect the populated areas along the Belham” said Dr. Fournier.inflatable pool slide

The Hazard Level remains at 4 and residents in Zone B have been urged to remain vigilant and to keep their radios tuned to Radio Montserrat ZJB for further updates..