Montserrat’s Premier signs off on 10th European Development Funds Agreement
Montserrat signed a new agreement this week to receive 10th European Development Funds (EDF) which have been earmarked to support the government’s development goals.
A total of 15.66 million Euros or 55.9 million Eastern Caribbean Dollars will be disbursed to the island for the period 2011-2014.
Premier Meade said a portion of the funds will be used on the development of the new port project at Little Bay. He added the agreement stipulates that the contract to begin the works must be signed off by June 2013 or Montserrat will lose the amount allotted for that project. The government leader said Halcrow has already been awarded the port design contract and it is the intention to have the next phase agreed upon to meet the June 2013 deadline.
“The port development project is a major one for Montserrat and cannot be funded by one single funding agency,” Meade told the press, “Utilising the grant support from the EU and the Department for International Development will limit the amount of funds we need to borrow to complete the project.”
The premier said the just opened ferry terminal in Antigua which was done with EU support alongside the Government of Antigua & Barbuda still needs to have the onshore facilities completed and it is hoped they will be ready for the 50th Festival celebrations this Christmas.
Ambassador Diaz said he was impressed with the rapid development after the volcanic devastation adding his pleasure that the EU is able to contribute to Montserrat’s reconstruction effort.
Over the last decade, the EU has contributed grant funding of approximately EURO 24.2 million or EC$ 84.4 million to Montserrat. These funds have been used to establish the Montserrat Community College, the construction of 60 homes under the Montserrat Resettlement Programme, and support for the island’s tourism programme, among others.
According to an official statement from the Ambassador, “the funds under the 10th EDF are 100 percent grant financing and are transferred directly to the budget of Montserrat upon demonstration of progress and results achieved in implementation of the SDP and the Sustainability Roadmap.
The specific performance benchmarks that the EU and the Government have agreed to achieve include:
- The construction of additional units of affordable housing for Montserratians
- The establishment of a labour market survey and realignment of the labour market with the education curriculum
- The definition of an energy regulation framework for proper development of the geothermal energy sector
- A reduction of Government tax arrears
- The provision of property tax services on the Government’s website
- The merging of the Port and Airport authorities for improved service delivery and efficiencies.
“Technical assistance funds to the tune of EURO 170,000 or EC$ 670,201.1 have been ring fenced to help with Montserrat’s achievement of the performance benchmarks.”
Dependent on the fulfilment of actions to be undertaken by the government in 2012, an initial sum of EURO 5.13 million or EC$ 18.3 million will be disbursed. The remaining disbursements will be subject to the eligibility criteria and scheduled to be released in equal sums of EC$ 18.3 million in the fourth quarters of 2013 and 2014.