Montserratian Leader and team in UK for Overseas Territories Consultative Council
Montserratian Premier the Hon. Reuben T. Meade and his team are presently in the UK attending the Pre-OTCC and OTCC sessions with the UK Government.
Premier Meade is accompanied by Financial Secretary Hon. John Skerritt, Attorney General Hon. Esco Henry, and Cabinet Secretary Mrs. Angela Greenaway. His Excellency, The Governor Adrian Davis is also participating in the two-day Overseas Territories Consultative Council which begins on Wednesday at Lancaster House.
High on the agenda Premier Meade said before leaving for the meetings was Montserrat’s participation in the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority and the Air Safety Support International which handles regulation of Montserrat’s air space as well as other OT’s.
Presently Montserrat is receiving a subvention of 140,000 £ from the UK Department of Transportation to cover the subscription costs and contributes an additional 35,000 £ to ASSI. Governor Davis said recently that in two years this contract will end and Montserrat will have to look at ways to cover the full amount. Premier Meade said this was one of the ways in which Montserrat and the UK needed to find a common ground as it was much more affordable for the island to participate fully in the ECCAA, as ASSI only covers a five-mile radius around the Montserrat.
Fees were being paid to both agencies to allow for travel in and out of the island, with ASSI being the regulator but ECCAA having to give permission to access the airspace for other neighbouring islands.
The premier also said that it continued to be a major source of frustration that UK civil servants were making decisions on Montserrat’s participation in regional groupings such as CARICOM and the OECS, in which the island is a founding member. “We have had to invoke the grandfather clause as we are founding members so that we can remain part of the process while we await approval from the UK.”
All of the British OT’s are expected to be briefed by representatives from the various UK ministries including, education, agriculture, transportation on the ways in which they can offer support to the dependent territories.
Governor Davis said each ministry has been instructed to prepare a policy paper which will become part of the new White Paper on future relationships between the UK and the Overseas Territories.
The public is still encouraged to share their views on the future relationship between the UK and Montserrat by visiting the consultation comments website. This can be accessed by visiting www.gov.ms.