'Pops' Morris Reigns As 40th Calypso Monarch

With his emotionally moving tune "Thank You" Joseph Anthony Morris, aka "Pops" Morris, reigned supreme Tuesday morning as he was crowned Calypso King 2002 at the Festival Village at around 2.30 a.m. He bested a field of 11 contenders.

Facing some stiff competition from the other 10 finalists, Pops Morris, clad in a green cape trimmed in heavy gold embroidery, belted out his heart-rending calypso "Thank You," which undeniably stole the crowd's heart and got the judges nod, making him Calypso Monarch. The calypso won him prizes and while there were expressed public disagreements over the placing of some of the runner-ups and other placed contestants, Pops was indisputably and unanimously accepted as the King. His winning also put to rest the uneasy and much discussed dispute among a few that the crown should not be won by one of the Montserratian returnees from England.

Lyrics, rendition of music, melody, creativity and clarity were among the criteria used to judge the calypsonians.

Masters of Ceremonies for the show, local radio personality Basil Chambers and Barbadian comedian Trevor Eastman, kept the crowd alive with their hilarity and hard-hitting satire.

Other supporting acts included songs performed by veteran Bear, who resides and successfully competes in Antigua calypso competitions, as well as the popular Rick Tyson, whose ballads were still favorites with the crowd. Other calypsonians who were eliminated in the semi and quarter-finals of the competition also took part.

Back up music was provided by local band, Black Rhythms.

A one-minute silence was observed in honor of four deceased Calypsonians; "Black Prince," "Red/Pole," "Wrangler" and "I-Rod," all of whom contributed to the Festival celebrations during the last 40 years.

Herman "Cupid" Francis, won the prize of a $1,000 for the Most Creative Calypso with his tune "Sniper in Town," and Calypso Monarch Morris’ also won $1,000 for "Thank You," judged as Best Social Commentary.

The Bank of Montserrat donated both prizes.

"Pops" Morris amassed a total of 1,125 points for his songs "Let’s Team Up" and "Thank You" to win the grand prize of EC$7,000.

The remaining calypso contestants received monetary prizes ranging from last place who received $700, to the second runner-up Cupid, with 1,108 points, $3,300 – one point behind 1st runner-up Tabu who received $4,800.

Tabu, 1st Runner-up and Cupid, 2nd Runner-up

"Kandie," the lone female finalist, placed sixth with 1,043.5 points

The judges for the show were Fitzroy Buffonge, Terry Bunkin, Al Gerald, Gerald Gray, Trevor Howe, Basil Morgan, Charlesworth Phillip and Peter White.

Observers believe there were at least 2,000 up to 3,000 people in attendance at the five-hour show. 

Accountant General Arrest Timing Stirs Public Skepticism

Nine months after being sent home by Governor Anthony Longrigg on indefinite leave to give way for an independent inquiry, Accountant General Mrs. Geraldine Cabey was arrested two days before Christmas and charged here with theft of just over EC$19,500.

The three-man inquiry, which followed her suspension on March 28, 2002, dealt with the management of the fuel between Delta Petroleum and the Government of Montserrat. Their report was delivered between June 4 and 7.

Public sentiments view Mrs. Cabey’s arrest on December 23, 2002, with suspicion since it came so long after the three-man inquiry ended. One top civil servant official observed that Mrs. Cabey was sent home on leave during Holy Week and was arrested during Christmas week. “It seems that there is a real effort to humiliate and embarrass the lady and her family,” said the officer, who does not wish to be identified.

Official reports from the Governor’s office early in June stated that a four-person Commission of Inquiry had been set up by the Governor to investigate what some term as irregularities in the collecting system of the island’s Treasury Department. The reports had stated that Mrs. Cabey “is not under any direct scrutiny,” and according to an insider, “was one of the persons who demanded the payment system be regularized or upgraded.”

It was stated that the inquiry stemmed from questions raised by the Auditor General regarding fuel monies, and rumours emanating from high places had said that there were millions involved.

Some six months later she made enquiries of Governor Longrigg as to her status of being at home and receiving full pay but received no response. This was followed up early December by representation from legal counsel, which also met no response.

However, police appeared with a search warrant for documents and equipment on the information of forgery at Mrs. Cabey’s home in Olveston, where personal files, documents, records and computer were removed. Following a week of questioning Mrs. Cabey was arrested and charged Monday, December 23, for misappropriation of a quantity of money amounting to $19,540. That came only days after she had, according to authoritative sources, turned away as outside her authority a request for information regarding an Internal Audit report she had delivered to the Montserrat National Trust.

Mrs. Cabey, who not even in her capacity as Accountant General had ever seen the June inquiry report, made an appearance at court on December 24 and was subsequently released on bail.

Meanwhile, a woman arrived from Britain and is reported to have replaced Mr. Alfred Ryan, who had been acting in the post since March , when it was discovered that  she could not be readily given the accountant general post. Sources reveal that the post had been advertised in England for some time.

Official sources have confirmed that neither the Public Accounts Committee nor the Public Service Commission have been acquainted with the nine-month-old matter which has resulted in Mrs. Cabey’s arrest. 

American Couple Arrested At House in Exclusion Zone

Mr. and Mrs. Brian Cavanagh, an American couple, were arrested by officers of the Royal Montserrat Police Force (RMPF) on the day before Christmas Eve.

Following a bail hearing the same day they appeared in Magistrate's Court on Friday and found the little court room quite packed, probably as expected, with even government ministers showing an interest in the case. It is reported that the Chief Minister remarked, “This matter should never have come to this.”

Mr. Brian Cavanagh and his lawyer David Brandt

After a hearing in which defence attorney David Brandt argued on three points, the magistrate reserved his decision until Monday of next week.

Lawyer Brandt argued that the Declaration Order by the Governor was bad having not specified a time for evacuation and procedure; that the map attached to the order did not specify Old Towne; and that unlike other roads marked off with signs saying “No entry," the road to the Cavanagh’s property had no such sign.

Spectators and supporters at the the Cavanaugh hearing

According to a press release from the RMDF on Christmas Eve, the couple, United States citizens, were arrested in Old Towne early that morning. They were charged with "unauthorized presence in the Exclusion Zone" and were arrested in the company of two children.

Commissioner of Police, Mr. John Douglas said that Mr. Cavanagh told him they were visiting their home for a two-week holiday, “had returned to the island on the 20th December last year and had requested permission to live in the house.”

Mr. Douglas said that he had advised Mr. Cavanagh that since the house was in the Exclusion Zone, permission for entry within the prescribed times could be granted, but he was not allowed to reside there.

The boulders marked the first position of the gate at the round-about in Old Towne; - today at least one of the houses beyond the one marked in the photo above is also not in the exclusion zone but the others visible further down are ruled to be.

while the sign above remains at the round-about, the boulders have been removed and the barrier has been placed further down the road as shown below.

The release further stated that the Cavanaghs were arrested in the presence of the official American Warden in Montserrat, Mrs. Carol Osborne, who was in attendance at the request of the RMDF.

However staff from The Montserrat Reporter arrived on the scene at around 10:00 a.m. to witness the arrest, but they threatened with arrest by the police and told they had no right in the exclusion zone The staff of The Montserrat Reporter were ordered to leave the scene immediately, as they were reportedly also in the Exclusion Zone without the necessary permission.

The staff noted however that there was no visible demarcation sign leading to the street on which the Cavanagh’s house is located, which indicates the boundaries at which the Exclusion Zone begins and ends.

Entry to the Exclusion Zone is from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. daily except Wednesday, and on those days when the scientists advise that activity at the volcano has escalated, visitors to their property arrive to find they are denied entry.

In countries where democracy prevails, it is quite common for the Police and Press to work in tandem.


"Calls for Strong Leadership Deserve Ears to Listen, not Calls to Apologize"

Not very long ago, someone wrote: “We are a Christian people . . . a God-fearing people. We are a weary people . . . a disgruntled people . . . disenchanted people. But we are a law-abiding people. We do not hold riots.”

Following a festival for which our brothers and sisters came back and then returned to their newfound homes of up to five years feeling they “did have a wonderful time,” we are left poorer than before the "festival" began and no hope for improvement in sight.

It was indeed good to see and enjoy the revelry, fun and sorrel drink, even if the sorrel had to be brought in from outside. But how long will the happy faces remain after our brothers and sisters have gone? Was it just all "the shows"? Will we still have to find an answer to the few calls from opposition voice and others in our Legislative Council for a change of directorship, leadership and direction?

The same people who are being kissed and lauded by our leaders, were exposed by their own for their government's handling of international development in respect of Montserrat as a "shambles."

Liberal Democrat Jenny Tonge in the British Parliament had said “the delay in getting aid to the people of Montserrat was quite scandalous," calling on them “to tackle the confusion between the Foreign Office and the Department for International Development.”

Not everybody disagreed with the spiritless, fruitless or hopeless kissing strategy, but if the intention was to encourage that same government to change their ways in their dealing with Montserrat, we have failed miserably and now the “shambles” has reached home.

Who heard the solitary "unsupported" voice speak a New Year message this week, which really was just one more attempt to save the day for our failed government?

We share the hope and pray for the volcano to relent and “go back to sleep.” We believe in the reality that contingency plans should be in place to deal with the worst possible scenarios; but we do not believe in the reality that these realities should be used by anyone to carry out their vendetta, agenda or strategies that cause and bring further hardship upon those living here and overseas.

Listen keenly to the Minister’s message, we will note that there has been nothing other than the main roads, especially those that our British workers use, the prison, police station and institutions that do nothing to enhance our social and economic development, but provide more grip and control of Montserrat.

Not a whisper from anyone else, too busy perhaps seeking an apology or planning another expulsion from a party that only meets to boost egos and seek solidarity for failures. Apology? For statements with which almost everybody else will agree?

On December 23, at the last sitting of the Legislative Council for 2002, the honourable John Wilson, elected to the house on the NPLM ticket, said: “To my mind, Mr. Speaker, it requires a determined effort and we as political leaders are called upon to provide that effort to provide the leadership for the recreation of Montserrat.  I am disappointed in the fact that over the year, I have not had much of that strong political leadership, which I think that this country needs.  We have not had sufficient co-operation among us to provide that strong leadership that Montserrat requires.  Strong political leadership, that will to take Montserrat where it ought to go.”

Honourable John Wilson and Honourable Chedmonde Browne began their career in the legislature as NPLM backbenchers - They crave strong leadership and direction

There were others on that day in the Legislative Council who openly or secretly expressed similar views. In fact the honourable Chedmond Browne led the call for better leadership and responsible government following a barrage of questions mostly to the Chief Minister. It appeared in many ways that ‘Cheddy’ was successful in the  exercise, once again showing up the antiquity in our parliamentary system, and forcing questionable responses.

The New Year message you heard, when analysed, expressed similar sentiments, only differently. Who, then, can seek an apology for those statements? Ask the next 10 people you meet if there is anything different they would have said. And let’s not forget, the honourable member is one of the NPLM and he should know. He can speak to some issues we cannot.

We do not know what the Minister means by an “effective Government of National Unity.” After all, they started with seven out of nine elected members. So what is it we need now, a new election for a different mix, or a different mix right now?

It is so evidently bad that we need not rehash the disaster we already face, and we are told there is worse to come. We even have to ask again, “Who is in charge?” We couldn’t agree more; we need "effective government" and "strong political leadership willing to take Montserrat where it ought to go.”

Let us see how the honourable member and the Minister’s message will be received. Will one or both of them be forced to apologise or get fired, or will there be a new resolve to pay attention? It needs to be known that a poll will show that a huge majority, both the elected and the electors, will agree with the message.

Except for the editorial, opinion articles expressed in these pages are not necessarily those of the Montserrat Reporter editors, employees or advisers.  Readers are encouraged to submit commentary articles.  All viewpoints, unless libelous, in poor taste, or anonymous, are welcome.  Send your contributions to The Editor, P.O. Box 306, Olveston, Montserrat, W. I., e-mail: editor@montserratreporter.org or monrep@candw.ag.  Manuscripts will not be returned unless accompanied by a return stamped envelope.  The Montserrat Reporter is a privately owned independent newspaper.

Jus Wonderin items may be called in at telephone 491-4715 or Fax 491-2430 or e-mail.


Starting the New Year with Praise 

Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done wondrous deeds -- Psalm 98:1

The baby sits in the middle of his Super-Dooper Play Saucer, propped upright by a towel around his middle, his legs just long enough for his feet to brush the floor.

His eyes are wide open, and his head just can’t stop moving as his gaze darts from toy to toy attached to the tray around him. Within seconds, he starts wailing. It’s just too much. The wealth of amusing and colorful

development -- enhancing toys are apparently overwhelming him with choices.

As a new year begins and we contemplate what resolutions we should make, our reaction may echo the baby’s. Evidence of our faults surrounds and ultimately overwhelms us, and opportunities for growth prompt nothing but despair.

The Psalmist gives us a different idea. Instead of beginning with self-scrutiny, why not start this year with a new song: that of praise? Praise to God for who he is, for his love and for his mercy. Praise to God for leading us to this particular point in our lives. Perhaps our resolution could be cultivating the good that’s there into something even better.

Amy Wellborn


A Property Owner's Letter To Governor Longrigg

Your Excellency,

After meeting with Dr. P.N. Dunkly and listening to Prof. R.S.J. Spark's presentation, visiting the MVO, self-monitoring the Volcano daily for several weeks from the new MVO facility and listening to independent engineers' analysis I find the evacuation orders of October 9, 2002, premature.

Furthermore, I am of the opinion that owners of property should have the absolute freedom to enter their properties at their own risk at any time. I ask that you implement agreement procedures to allow such access. 

I am saddened to see that many of my neighbors and friends have called this the final blow. They have started to look at other islands for new homes.

When I bought property in Montserrat the last thing I would have thought of is Governmental seizure.

Please advise if I may assist you in any manner.

Yours very truly

Stefan Grewe
Cliffside Villa & Saddleback Villa
Old Towne


New Ticketing Rules Issued For Prompt Ferry Departures

The Montserrat Aviation Service in an early press release has notified passengers planning to travel by the Ferry of new changes in the check-in and close-out times.

All passengers are encouraged to purchase their tickets in advance and check in on time to ensure that the vessel leaves on time, so that passengers will be able to make early connections in Antigua.

MAS upholds the changes in the timely departures by urging the following:

For the morning service, departure time is 8:30 a.m. and the close-out time is 7:45 a.m.

For the afternoon service, which departs at 5:30 p.m., the check-in time is 4:00 p.m., the close-out time is 5:15 p.m.

The close-out time means that the checking in of passengers will end at this time.

The check in time of 1½ hours before each service means that the passengers must be at the port for this time.

Passengers traveling should now purchase their Ferry tickets at the MAS Office in Nixon's, during the hours of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday, since only a limited amount of tickets will be available for sale for each service.   

Despite Late Start, Week Of Jump Ups Is Crowded

Throngs of people assembled at the Montserrat Secondary School Tuesday morning to "jump up" for jouvert morning in what was expected to be a slamming street jam.

The "glow party" or jouvert jump up signals the beginning of the street jams and is the climax of the Festival Celebrations.

Scheduled to start at 4 a.m. Tuesday, from the Montserrat Secondary School and end at the Salem Park, the jump up didn’t begin until about 6 a.m., leaving many revelers disappointed. The "jam" was not what they expected, since many felt that the music being played was not in keeping with the Festival Celebrations.

Instead of the usual revelry that accompanies the bands or stereo sets, many people opted to walk the designated route.

The second jump up, from Festival Village to Carrs Bay, held later in the evening contrasted with the earlier one.

Apart from the semi-painted bodies, hundreds of people were seen jamming through the street, shoulder-to shoulder, bumper-to-bumper, some adorned with neon rings, chains and bracelets.

Local band "Black Rhythm" kept the revelers alive with their local tunes, including the popular "Leke e ting" and "Jack it Up."

The jump up continued on New Year’s night, with revelers jumping through the streets from the Festival Village, to Carrs Bay then on to Little Bay and back to the Village.

The final ‘jump up’ will be held tomorrow, officially ending the Festival Celebrations.

Young revelers relaxing

13th ''Funkyman' Awards Honor People of Service

One of the highlights of the festival program this year was the 13th Funkyman Awards Ceremony, which was held at the Good Life Night Club Friday, December 27, with a small but appreciative crowd.

In his welcome Master of Ceremonies Salas Hamilton in his brief opening remarks and welcome, congratulated Carlton "Funkyman" Allen, the founder of the Award Show, upon its resumption since the volcanic eruptions in 1995.

The Funkyman Award Ceremony started 20 years ago at Emerald Isle Hotel, with Carlton "Funkyman" Allen, who collaborated with Randy Greenaway and the band "Mantis" for about three years.

Mr. Hamilton who also read the citations for each awardee, noted that the idea of this show, “was to produce a quality show and award deserving Montserratians by Montserratians.”

“That of course is the greatest reward that anyone can receive,” he concluded.

The awardees, each given a Funkyman Award for areas of various disciplines, were:

Rev. Marina Rosalind Morgan, a University Graduate of the Institute of Education, London, an educator, who served as a head teacher for over 21 years. She was ordained to the Sacred Ministry of World and Sacrament and is the first local Presbyter in the entire Connexion of the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and Americas to be ordained.

Ms. Ann Marie Dewar accepted a Posthumous Award on behalf of her deceased sister, Beverley Joy Dewar, a former member of the Montserrat Dance Theatre, who was also a founding member of the Choral Group Voices, which she served as both Soprano Soloist and Public Relations Officer.

Mr. Richard Aspin, who served as President of the National Sport Council for seven years ,for his work in local sport.

He has also supported local Cricket since 1974; has produced Queen and Calypso Shows; served as a member of Jaycees and the Radio Antilles Board of Directors; plays an active role in the Montserrat Red Cross, and is presently a member of the Parish Council and Coordinator of the Catholic Youth Organisation.

Ms. Elaine Hazell, a charter member of the Shamrock Lions Tamer and  presently President of the Bethesda Methodist Women's, was the recipient of an award, in part for her service and love to the elderly of the island, particularly at the Margetson Memorial home and from long ago when there was a geriatric unit in Trials.

Mr. Bennette Roach; part of the citation showed he has served the island in various management roles as a sportsman and represented the island in nearly every major sport, serving the region as a cricket umpire and soccer referee. He was one of the first qualified West Indian Cricket Umpires; served as Secretary of the Montserrat Cricket Association for over 10 years from 1964; was the former president of the Young Christian Workers in the Catholic Church and choir master for many years; served on several government boards, including Radio Antilles, presently the president of the local Rotary club and is presently the owner and Editor of The Montserrat Reporter.

ZJB – Radio Montserrat, currently celebrating 50 years of existence and service received an award for a second time.

Four children also received awards: 9-year-old Shamaine King, a grade four student of the Lookout Primary School; 10-year-old Jemel Fenton, pupil of Grade Five of the St. Augustine Primary School; 10-year-old Julius Fergus, a Grade Five student of the Brades Primary School; and Miss Odizer Harris, each received a Scholastic Achievement Award for their outstanding performances academically and recreationally.  

There was a donation made to the local Red Cross branch by ‘Funkyman’ of US$1,000, received and acknowledged with thanks by the branch Director Mrs. Camilla Watts.

Not to be outdone the there was also a donation made to the elderly of Montserrat, accepted on their behalf by Miss Hazel.

The evening’s award ceremony was punctuated with some elegant  entertainment from Small Beginnings, a group of students forming a brass band under the direction of Cultural Officer Herman (Cupid) Francis, Rick Tyson, and calypsonians Bear and Kenzie. The entertainment was varied with some poetry reading by Miss Ann-Marie Dewar.

Rain 'Major,' not Only, Dome Collapse Factor

Once again our volcano "official watchers" told us that “heavy rainfall has been a major factor in inducing collapses” of the dome at Soufriere Hills volcano.

But head scientist and director of the Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO) Dr. Peter Dunkley told The Montserrat Reporter yesterday that what happens with heavy rainfall is that it creates a chain reaction, especially when there is a lot of loose material as is the case with the dome as large as it is at present. The scientist said that heavy rainfall is not the only factor that induces collapse, although this was seen to be the main cause of most of the big collapses that have taken place since July 1998.

In 1999 scientist Dr. Simon Young told us, "That essentially means that when we get heavy rain, that tops up the ground water system so that it coincides with the areas that are still hot in the lava dome and that causes steam to be produced and causes a pressure build-up, which causes these explosions."

Back then Dr.Young also said he believed “that the rain-induced explosions and dome collapses would assist in the speedier degradation of the dome and so decrease the frequency and magnitude of dome collapses and ash falls.”

Dr. Dunkley shares the view awaiting the collapse of the dome, about which he said, “as long as we have a large dome in its present configuration the risks increase as long as it continues to grow.” But he added that every minor collapse will help the situation.

The MVO director said the threat to the Belham Valley areas depend where on the dome the collapse takes place, pointing out that any collapse on the Northwest of the dome will go towards Tyre’s Ghaut and Belham.

The MVO weekly report ending mid-day Friday reads: "Most of the pyroclastic flows occurred in White's Ghaut and the Tar River Valley, and to a lesser extent Tuitt's Ghaut. Small flows and rock falls also spilled off the northern and northwestern flanks of the dome onto Farrell's Plain and into Tyre's Ghaut. Activity decreased on 2 January, but still remained at a high level.”

These pyroclastic flows were the result of  the seismograph network recording "863 rock fall signals, 41 long-period rockfalls, 86 long-period earthquakes, three hybrid earthquakes and one volcano-tectonic earthquake.”

But proving that in spite of the large size and the continued growth of the dome, its configuration changing ever so frequently, the report also stated: “The large spine that grew on the summit at the end of last week was observed on several days at the beginning of the current reporting period, but was not present when the summit was next seen on 2 January.”

Most of the major collapses that have taken place in recent years being induced by heavy rainfall, it does appear that as we move into the dry period usually during the earlier half of the year, the current extended exclusion zone could continue for some time until something else causes significant change in the continuously growing dome at Soufriere Hills.

Two Montserratians Get MBEs in Queen's Honors

Government House announced on New Year’s morning that two Montserratians were named in Her Majesty The Queen's New Year's Honorees list 2003 at Buckingham Palace.

Valerie Lewis, recently retired Principal Nursing Officer, and Charles A.R. Meade, the Senior Group Foreman at the Department of Public Works, will both receive the MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire).

Miss Lewis receives the award for her 30 years' service and contribution to her Nursing Career, from 1972 to 2002, and her service to the local NGO community, where she proved to be an asset to the Montserrat Branch of the British Red Cross amongst others.

On learning that she received the award, an elated Miss Lewis said that she was on leave when she got the call from His Excellency Governor Anthony Longrigg, and was very surprised, “I was pleasantly surprised and I deem it as an honor, not for myself, but for the entire nursing fraternity.”

Miss Lewis, a Nevisan by birth, but of Montserratian parentage, has been a part of the nursing fraternity for 30 years.

She stressed that without the support of  family, friends, well-wishers and the nurses “I couldn’t have done it alone, they have supported me through the difficult times.”

Miss Lewis said she is grateful for the opportunity that the Government of Montserrat has given her “to serve in the Ministry of Health.”

A retiree, Miss Lewis has served in a number of capacities in the Health sector; as a staff nurse, clinical instructor, sister tutor and for the last five years, the Principal Nursing Officer at the Hospital.

Miss Lewis is also involved with a number of community groups and Non- Governmental Organizations.

Mr. Meade receives the award for his many years of service to the Public Works Department from 1972 to the present. He is honored for his enthusiasm and tireless effort in the Island's road reconstruction programme, which added significant improvement to the Island's infrastructure.

Government House congratulated both for their awards.

Maudella Daley Sweeps To Festival Queen Crown

Last year’s Queen, Miss Lyandra Hobson and this year’s Queen, Miss Maudella Daley

Nineteen-year-old Maudella Daley walked away with the coveted Miss Festival Queen Extravaganza 2002 Crown early Monday morning before a huge audience at the Festival Village.

She won Best Evening Gown, Swimwear and Best Talent competitions.

Miss Theone Malone who once won Salem Teen Beauty Contest was judged as first runner-up.

 Miss Trecia Brown was named second runner-up, and Miss Tessa Francis won the Miss Congeniality prize.

Sylecia Allen was the other contestant.

The reigning queen Maudella received EC$3,000, an airline ticket, a blow dryer, a computer, gift bag, luggage set, television, necklace, wrist watch and one full year membership at the Body Fitness Center.

A dance and introductory speech, swimwear, talent, evening wear and interview segments made up the contest. The competition comprised four segments, the maximum points being 140.

Judges were Kenneth Scotland, Claude Hogan, Bruce Farara, Rose Willock, Ann-Marie Dewar and Chervyn Williams-Jarvis.



Queen and runner-ups, from left to right- 2nd runner up Trecia Brown, Queen Maudella Daley and 1st runner up, Theone Malone

Contestants in Swimwear

Civil Servant Rhoda Burns Lauded at Funeral Service

Miss Rhoda Susana Burns, 55, described by many as one of the most dedicated civil servants in Montserrat, was laid to rest at Judy Piece cemetery on Thursday.

The church service held at the Bethesda Methodist Church, Cavalla Hill, saw many Government officials, both past and present in attendance.

Officiating Ministers at the Ceremony were the Revs. M. Rosalind Morgan, Florence E. Daley and Bishop Melroy Meade.

Born in Montserrat on June 20th, 1947, Miss Burns was the fourth of five children and the daughter of the late James and Esther Harris.

Named after her deceased grandmother, she spent her early years growing up away from her siblings while living with her maternal great grandmother.

Her formal education ended at age 15 by which time she had obtained two Seventh Standard Certificates, after which she continued to study.

A career civil servant, Miss Burns worked previously at the Bata Shoe Store and the Chase Manhattan Bank.

Miss Burns worked with all six of Montserrat's Chief Ministers.

Former Chief Minister David Brandt noted in his tribute that though he knew Miss Burns in a way that all Montserratians know each other, it wasn’t until he became Chief Minister and worked with her that he truly got to know her.

He praised her for her attitude towards her work, especially since she was a civil servant. “Those of us with whom she did work will tell you she ought to be the model for civil servants, particularly top-level civil servants.”

As a former Chief Minister, Mr. Brandt noted how lucky and grateful he was to have her as his Senior Assistant Secretary.

He spoke of her good work ethics and dedication. “Without her good judgment and sound work ethics my successes would have been fewer and my mistakes far more numerous,” Mr. Brandt said.

On a personal level, Mr. Brandt said “she was a true humanitarian, kind and considerate…she knew who was sick, who was dying and who had just died.” he said.

Salas Hamilton, who worked with Miss Burns early in his stint as Chief of Staff in the Chief Minister’s office, said: “My late friend Rhoda Burns guided me and other staff through the process of doing project works within the public service. Since there was no coordinator of culture at the time, she handled most of the ‘book’ works…Thanks to Rhoda for steadying me after the wrath of a Governor came down after I wrote that…”

Among those paying tributes were her daughter, sister and friends.

Miss Burns is survived by her daughter, Sheron Burns, grandson, five sisters, two brothers, three brothers-in-law, three aunts, two uncles, three nieces, four nephews, six grand nieces and three grand nephews.

New York Montserratians Return with Gifts for Elderly

"Emerald Isle Creative Vibes," a group of Montserratian residents in the United States, presented a number of gifts including three wheelchairs, nine walkers, 10 canes and gift baskets to the senior citizens of the St. John's Hospital on December 26.

The group of 20, chaired by Al Gerald, a former teacher, said, “Upon learning in 2001 that the senior citizens homes were in need of wheel chairs, I, along with a few Montserratians living in New York, decided to do something tangible in support of our island, and to assist in the rebuilding effort.”

The group's release stated that it held a series of fund-raising events in New York last year to support the senior citizens homes administered by the St. John’s Hospital.

"Emerald Isle Creative Vibes" is a collection of friends who meet socially on occasion in the Bronx, New York, and decided as an informal entity to contribute in a significant way to the redevelopment efforts of Montserrat.

The group is committed to raising funds to help worthy causes in Montserrat, to make as many persons as possible aware of the devastation of the island by the volcano, and to promote Montserrat as a viable tourist destination that its members and all Montserratians consider “ Still home, still nice.”

The group also donated the Soca Monarch and Calypso Crown Monarch Crowns as well as prizes for all of the Festival Queen Show.

(Editor's Note: The Montserrat Reporter is committed to keeping its readers both at home and abroad informed of events taking place on the Island. We are asking recipients and organisers of similar and other events to please keep us informed so we can adequately report them. Sadly the Montserrat Reporter was not informed of this gift-sharing exercise.)

Returnee Blames Post Office For Loss of $2,400 in Items

Mrs. Vashti Reid, a Montserratian home on holiday from the United States, claims that the local Post Office is responsible for the disappearance of personal material posted in five boxes which she sent to Montserrat via the U.S. postal system.

Mrs. Reid said that she likes to travel light, and “Since I am here on holiday for three months, I decided to post five boxes of personal goods before hand.”

She said she shipped two boxes in October and three boxes at the beginning of November, all through the New York Postal Office.

All the boxes were addressed to her cousin, Mrs. Anesta Moore.

Upon receiving a letter from the local post office that the boxes had arrived, Mrs. Reid said Mrs. Moore went to clear the boxes and “Upon receiving them, she noticed that they were opened.”

Post Mistress for the local post office, Mrs. Elsa Morgan said that, “There was a notification letter indicating that one of the bags arrived damaged.”

However, Mrs. Reid is claiming otherwise.

“Those boxes were wrapped in United Parcel Services (UPS) wrappings and the Company has showed me the wrapping techniques they use and how difficult it is for the boxes to be torn,” Mrs. Reid said.

“The openings on the boxes were sharply cut, from top to bottom, suggesting that a knife was used and that they weren’t torn,” she said.

Mrs. Reid said she called her cousin from the United States during the last week of October to see whether her boxes had arrived, two of which did arrive, “I called my cousin to request that she take out a particular article for me, but she refused, stating that she was not going to take anything out, because of the state in which it was received from the Post Office,” she said.

Upon arriving in Montserrat on Friday, December 20, Mrs. Reid said that she decided to unpack her bags the Monday (December 23) and it was then “I discovered most of my articles gone.”

Mrs. Reid said, among the items listed as missing are seven cases of Duracell batteries, seven perfume sets, two hats, four pairs of shoes and two odd side pairs, three dresses, household items and toiletries. She placed the value of the missing articles at US$2,400.

“When I went to the local Post Office to collect the remaining three boxes, I saw the requisition form attached to one of the boxes, and when I got home, I noticed the form was torn off,” she said.

She stated, “Mr. Pete Daley, an employee of the Post Office, had the parcels with the form on it, and when I asked him to have it, he referred me to Mrs. Elsa Morgan, who then told me that she could not give me the form.”

Mrs. Reid stated that she received no explanation nor any compensation for her missing goods and said in no uncertain terms, “I will have them removed.”


Caribbean Star Denies  It's T&T Fare Aggressor

Antigua, CMC - The Antigua-based Caribbean Star airline on Friday denied it was the "aggressor" in the ongoing price war on the domestic route in Trinidad to Tobago, insisting that it was merely "matching existing fares."
"I have to maintain market share. I have no choice but to match the fares," the airline's Chief Executive Officer Paul Moreira told CMC.
The Trinidad and Tobago government late last year announced it would provide a subsidy of TT$100 (US$16) to the two domestic carriers -- BWIA and Tobago Express -- to facilitate the new TT$200 (US$32) fare between the two islands.
Mr. Moreira said that like the United States Government after the September 11 terrorist attack in 2001, the Government in Port of Spain should make the subsidy available across the board and not only to domestic carriers serving the Tobago route.
"The subsidy should be equitable for all carriers," he said, noting that route rights were "the assets of the people of that state".
"The people of Trinidad and Tobago own that, we don't have the sovereign right. The people decided to give Caribbean Star provisional licence to operate," he said, insisting that only BWIA and the other regional airline LIAT had permanent licences to operate the route.

Antigua Plans Pension For Sir George Walter

ST. JOHN'S, Antigua, CMC - The Antigua and Barbuda government goes to Parliament on Monday seeking to legislate pension and other benefits for the island's Second Premier Sir George Walter, who was recently knighted for his contributions to the nation.
Under the Sir George Walter (Pension and Other Benefits) Act, 2002, which is to be tabled by Labour Minister Steadroy Benjamin, the former head of government is due to receive a pension of EC$10,000 (US$3,703) per month, along with transportation and security personnel if he so requires.
A Resolution will also be moved, under Section 26 of the Finance and Audit Act Cap. 168, to approve a decision taken by the Antigua and Barbuda Cabinet to guarantee the repayment of a loan of EC$18,066,344.97 (US$ 6,691,238) to the Antigua and Barbuda Development Bank, which was recently reconstructed into a modern state of the art facility.  
During the first session of the Lower House for 2003, the most controversial bill passed was the one changing the Representation of the People Amendment Act which government said was designed to clarify the position of the Office of Supervisor of Elections but the opposition expressed concern that the move would undermine the independence of the country's Electoral Commission, by taking away its power to select the Supervisor of Elections.
Parliament also voted to extend the time for the preparation of a revised register of electors for upcoming general elections from 31st December 2002 to 31st March 2003. 

New CARICOM Deadline Set for Free Movement Rules

Barbados, CMC - The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is now working towards a March 2003 deadline for the free movement of skilled nationals fully operational.

The majority of CARICOM member states failed to meet the December 31, 2002, target date, it was reported Friday by Steven Mac Andrew, specialist in
Labour/Movement of Skills at the CARICOM Single Market Unit in Bridgetown.
Mr. Mac Andrew said Antigua and Barbuda has completed all necessary arrangements.
This means that Caribbean artists, musicians, media workers and sports persons can now apply to work in Antigua and Barbuda without a work permit.
The CARICOM spokesman also said that confirmation was expected from Jamaica that the necessary arrangements were in place, while other countries, including Barbados, still need to enact legislation for the free movement of skilled nationals.
The free movement of skilled nationals is seen as critical to CARICOM's goal of establishing a single market and economy by 2005.
Mac Andrew said further discussions are scheduled on the free movement other categories of workers  -- including nurses, teachers, technicians - ahead of the next CARICOM Heads of Government Summit in July.

Antigua AG Studying Passport Fraud Report

Antigua, CMC - The final report of a government-appointed task force set up to investigate an alleged passport racket here, involving a United States sniper suspect and several others, is now in the hands of Attorney General Gertel Thom.
The Attorney General, who received the report from Task Force Chairman John Fuller on Tuesday, said she was currently reviewing the document before releasing it to the public.
She said the review was necessary so as not to prejudice anyone in the event that legal proceedings are to be instituted as a result of the investigation.
The probe was ordered last October by the Attorney General after it was discovered that Washington sniper suspect John Allen Mohammad was the holder of a valid Antigua Barbuda passport and possibly assisted others in fraudulently receiving passports.

Trinidad Police Recover Some Security Van Cash

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC - Trinidad and Tobago police on Friday confirmed newspaper reports here that at least half a million dollars (US$85,000) had been recovered from the multi-million dollar robbery last month for which two men have already been charged with theft.
Police said charges are also to be laid against a 40-year-old man, whom they did not name, while the search continues for a fourth man, after the money was found in a bucket buried in bushes behind the home of a security guard on Thursday afternoon.
Last month, a Securicor armoured van containing 14 bags of money was reportedly held up after the security guards claimed they had stopped the vehicle to investigate what they thought was a blown tyre.
Two of the security guards employed by the company - Ray Patterson, 33, and Leon Hunt, 22 - have been charged with stealing the money and with larceny of two guns and 12 rounds of ammunition belonging to their company. They have been released on bail to the tune of TT$300,000 (US$50,000) each.

Former President Hoyte Laid to Rest in Guyana

Guyana, CMC - Former Guyanese President Hugh Desmond Hoyte, 73, was laid to rest Monday in a state funeral service, in which he was praised for his selflessness, nimble wit, political courage, the far-reaching impact of his economic reforms and his stabilising presence in the National Assembly.
Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary-General Dr. Edwin Carrington, who was among 12 speakers at the funeral service, also praised Mr. Hoyte for his push for economic integration in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
He said the proposed CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), which is expected to come into being by 2005, emerged out of a stirring presentation Mr. Hoyte made in 1986.
During his tenure as president, Mr. Hoyte was credited with instituting an Economic Recovery Programme (ERP) said to be most successful economic programme Guyana ever had in its post-Independence history.
The United Force (TUF) parliamentary representative, Manzoor Nadir, in his tribute, called Mr. Hoyte the "President of Change who has set Guyana on an irreversible path," while the Speaker of the National Assembly Hari Narayen Ramkarran said the National Assembly had lost "an articulate and eloquent voice".
Monday's state funeral was tarnished by a partisan, vocal and unruly crowd, which heckled every reference made to the ruling coalition government by Clarissa Riehl who chaired the funeral ceremony.
The palm-tree waving group thronged the main entrance to the Public Buildings (Parliament) and blocked the path of the cortege, delaying the start of the programme. But they reserved the most noise for the almost ten-minute presentation of President Bharrat Jagdeo in which he paid tribute to Mr. Hoyte, saying he would be missed for his "stabilising presence" in the country.
Mr. Hoyte was laid to rest in the Seven Ponds Place of Heroes in the picturesque Botanical Gardens, where his mentor and predecessor, Forbes Burnham was interred 17 years ago.

Trinidad and Tobago Due New President by March

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC - Attorney General Glenda Morean says a new President will be elected by March and that legislation to facilitate the election will be ready by next week.
Ms. Morean told reporters that a note would be taken to cabinet soon to authorise the Government to set a date for the election of a new Head of State to replace President Arthur N.R. Robinson, who had agreed to extend his five-year term by one year as a result of the political impasse last year.
However, with the stalemate now settled by the October 7 general elections that were held here, Ms. Morean said that legislation to facilitate the election would be placed on the Order Paper for the next Parliamentary session in early January.
"It will simply fix the time for calling the election," she said, but gave no indication as to who would be the Government's choice for the post.
A simple majority by the Electoral College comprising members of both Houses of Parliament elects the President.
Three names - including media magnate Ken Gordon and recently retired Chief Justice Michael De La Bastide - have been bandied about here in recent weeks. Another possible nominee is retired Appeals Court Judge Jean Permanand.

Two Jamaicans Charged In Mona Computer Thefts

Jamaica, CMC - Two brothers, who were being sought in connection with the theft of millions of dollars worth of computer equipment from the Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies, have surrendered to police.
Kirk Miller, 20, and Machell Miller, 19, appeared court last Friday to answer the charge and were each granted bail of half a million Jamaica dollars (US$9,940). They had been sought for a month since they were linked to the theft of more than 13 computers from the Mona Campus.
Kirk Miller, a second year student at the University, and his younger brother allegedly stole the computers, which were reportedly donated as gifts to the University by the World Bank and other international agencies, and sold them to University students at drastically reduced prices.
Since investigations began several weeks ago, the police have so far recovered seven computers and other computer equipment.
The parents of the two, 42-year-`old Audrey Miller, an employee at the University, and her husband Delroy were also charged three weeks ago after stolen computer equipment was seized at their house in Dublin Castle in the parish of St. Andrew.
The Miller brothers are scheduled to return to court on January 20.

2 Guards Free on Bail In Big Trinidad Robbery

Trinidad, CMC - A city magistrate last Friday granted bail of TT$300,000 (US$50,000) each to two men accused in what is called the biggest robbery in Trinidad and Tobago's history.
Security guards Ray Patterson, 33, and Leon Hunte, 21, are accused of stealing over TT$5 million (US$833,0000) and two firearms from an armoured vehicle belonging to Securicor.
The men, along with a third man who has not been charged, told police last week that they stopped the vehicle because they believed it had blown a tyre. But they said on leaving the vehicle they were pounced upon by two armed men who relieved them of their firearms, beat them and took the money.
Despite the arrest of the two men, police said they had not recovered any of the 100-dollar bills (US16 dollars) that were in the 14 bags taken from the vehicle.
The men are to re-appear in court on January 7.

OECS countries to benefit from French financial aid

ST. Lucia, CMC - France is providing 100,000 Euros (US$104, 554) to the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) to further develop its Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programme.
The grant is to facilitate training opportunities for OECS TVET teachers and members of the OECS workforce in specific categories that have the scope for the involvement of French institutions in Guadeloupe and Martinique.
An official statement said that the teachers selected would be those requiring enhancement of their technical skills in relation to the vocational area of greatest importance to national economic development.
"The OECS TVET teachers will be those training for the OECS workforce that will include youths entering the workforce and experienced workers requiring skill upgrading and/or retraining in the field of Refrigeration and Air-conditioning in the first instance," the statement said.
The main elements of the technical assistance programme are training of workers, training of trainers/instructors and French language training course. "It is anticipated that over a two-year period, at least 18 workers and 18 teachers from OECS Member States will be trained through this initiative," the statement said.
Support for the OECS TVET Programme from the Technical Assistance Agency of the Federal Republic of Germany (GTZ) came to an end last year after a 10-year period.
Last year, the OECS Ministers of Education, at their 14th annual meeting, endorsed the revised priority areas of focus for the sub regional TVET programme for the next five years.
These include strategies that contribute towards the enhancement of TVET Staff and the Development of a productive and competitively skilled work force.

The British Dependent Overseas Territories; Montserrat, The British Virgin Islands and Anguilla, though member states of the OECS cannot benefit from this aid just yet as the agreement signed between the two agencies are very specific.

Mr. Paul Payne, Coordinator of Technical and Vocational Training (TVET) for Organization of the Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) said that this agreement “Has been signed between the OECS and the French Embassy for assistance, and it specifically targets the independent territories of the OECS.”

He explained that at one time, the French Embassy in St. Lucia administered the granting of funding, but since there has been a Policy change, from the French Embassy to the French Departments in the Caribbean (Guadeloupe and Martinique), these Departments are now responsible for the handling of funds.

Mr. Payne stressed that is “The Policy of the French Departments to give aid to the independent territories, but we are looking at alternative methods whereby the Overseas Territories can benefit, the idea is for all member states to benefit from this program”, he said.

He added that, “The collaboration with the French will take on an additional mobility”, Mr. Payne said.




Good Calypsoes Make Good Festival

By Claude Gerald

The proposed notion, advanced by a few, of discouraging the inclusion of overseas-based Montserratians from partaking in the Calypso Competition, suffered a deserved stillbirth.

No useful purpose can be served by such suggestions and at best they are divisive, insular and destructive to the building of a national spirit, sense of purpose and cohesiveness. Happily the purveyors, brave as they are to entertain and articulate the idea, lack the influence to disturb that sense of togetherness so much a prerequisite for success in any venture, especially in the entertainment services that the calypso art form provides.

Montserratians abroad make big sacrifices to be here at this or anytime and none of us who remains is qualified to espouse any judgment on who should return and ply their skills in the trade they know best. A native is a native no matter if he trenches himself abroad. Our job is to host by welcoming and encouraging a return to Paradise by those who left, a theme that gained significant currency on the calypso stage, as homage was paid to the motherland which through thick and thin times succoured all in diverse ways. A mother remains a mother with all her attendant responsibilities. Good mothers are rare and one like lovely, endearing and charming Montserrat will eventually attract even the prodigals and their offspring. Montserrrat is that special.

But it is the richness and diversity of their inputs that make the overseas-based musicians and calypsonians attractive. Their formative experiences were honed here and they gratefully returned to replenish the soil, however weathered and bruised it may be, that provides nurture and sustenance. Everybody benefits and there is no doubt that their inclusion in this year’s calypso contest improved the interest and the general arithmetic on all and sundry balance sheet. The standard set and led by the UK-based calypsonians, not forgetting the "out of Boston Dr. Lumba" with his brain buster and teaser, "Like e ting,"’ point guarded the competition, provided body and helped to skyrocket the event to heavenly heights, deserving of a 40th anniversary celebration. Take them away and witness the nothingness, the compromised totality that would be our plight this season.

Admittedly, that may be an exaggeration, since there have been impressive locals who provided valuable entertainment. As much as I secretly harboured the feeling and predicted that the crown is London-bound as the competition evolved, the perfect timing and peaking of Pops Morris's performance put paid to that feeling. His was an extra planetary experience that required seeing to guarantee believing. He literally took the breath away and kept his audience spellbound with carefully choreographed acts and actions married beautifully with near perfect diction and clarity. The doubting Thomases that were inclined to rank him as an outlier, with fill-in value only, owe the performer apologies aplenty. It is a once in a lifetime treat that Pops Morris is unlikely to duplicate and if he does, then his legacy will be an eternal charm and embedded in the legend of the calypso stone.

Think of the faithful tributes to Montserrat by the posse from the UK. Witness the veterans Kenzie and Tabu, whose difference made them similar, and the newcomer Prynze, with musical genes wrenching his small frame. They made it pellucid where their hearts were in terms of affection for their homeland and despite the wind of change that uprooted them, they compose tantalizing ballads eulogizing home. "From experience I hope you realize that Monsterrat is a Paradise" or "Montserrat (Emerald Isle) I will never forget you" or "I miss those days, those glorious old days -- do you remember when the masquerades and calypsonians use to keep us on our feet" are lyrical quotes from these patriots. Who would wish to cast aside these important inputs, drilled from much hard work and purposed by a contributory sense of adoration for people wearing similar cultural and historical garments?

Good calypsoes make for a good festival. And our calypsoes are the envy of the region. The bottom placers in Lord Clorox and Iceman would be high placers in neighbouring islands. Iceman has a golden voice that powerfully projects with maximum coverage and loves his work; Andy too is growing and leaping in the field and is Monarch material; Hustler is a performer of class but seemed not quite himself, though filled with good music; Kandi is a people’s favourite but her performance fluctuated throughout the season and may have peaked at the wrong time; Prynze is not the best one sees on stage but he is uniquely musical and a hard tryer; Kenzie’s ever present regal attire and total stage movement captivates like a Drago; Cupid, the profound lyrical god whose creative juices burn year in year out; Tabu with "energy to party," ‘nough  variety and always in ecstasy; Newcomer Nyce with plenty vocal clarity is already on the improve; and Pops Morris is challenged to repeat that stellar height he attained first time around. He may be reminded that lightning does not strike twice in the same place and I eagerly await his defense of his kingdom.

The art of judging and decision-making could only be improved through further exposure, workshops and conferences. This is so important if a professional approach is to be realized in short order and the inevitable queries by the public on the quality of judging is to be curtailed. More significantly the criteria need re-working and improving. At present they are too broad and allows for a great deal of subjectivity because categories need to reflect the finer attributes and characteristics of the performers. This requires broad-based discussions with those who know and this must be done long in advance of next year’s grand show down.

Let us continue to find and rebuild our cultural foundations. Let us embrace the policy of inclusion that umbrellas the Montserrat Diaspora wherever, since it is certain that our borders are now spread beyond the geographical confines of this island and that there are many whose hearts beat here whilst their bodies function elsewhere.

Those who stay must play host to the conditioning of that heartbeat!  

Claude Gerald is an agricultural economist with an interest in the socio/economic and political development of Montserrat. Ceegee15@hotmail.com 


New Year Message from Dr Lowell Lewis

Minister of Communication and Works

I wish a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year for all residents of Montserrat.  It has been a wonderful experience welcoming home so many compatriots from overseas, especially the younger who seem to be enjoying themselves.  We are encouraged to continue with the rebuilding of our homeland.

My most earnest prayer for the New Year is that the volcano will go back to sleep.  That the dome will stop growing and the seismic activity cease, so that we can once again occupy our island at least to Richmond Hill and Weekes.  However, we have to be realistic, and make contingency plans for the activities predicted by the Montserrat Volcano Observatory scientists, and take action to prevent harm to anyone.  I am hoping that the volcanic activity will subside and the direction of growth move to the East and Northeast, so that the Day Time Entry Zone can be opened once again.

At the Ministry of Communication and Works, we are very aware and committed to completing as quickly as possible the roads, drains, water and electricity distribution network, and government institutional buildings.

Although little or no funds have been provided for services to private developments, we believe that all residential areas should be served by good quality roads and drains, and will make every effort to achieve this.

Getting the main roads in shape to take the rising number of motor vehicles and tour buses is a priority.  So too is the provision of roads to agricultural, tourism related and other locations of activity which creates jobs and earns income for Montserrat.

I believe that our efforts in the areas of aggregate export, agro-products export, Day tours and Sports tourism will bear fruit next year.  The activities of Festival 40 have also shown that opportunities exist for all-year-round activities to strengthen further our cultural heritage, creativity and performing arts skills.

The year 2003 will see the start of the Airport Project and completion of the designs for Little Bay infrastructure and the jetty extension and breakwater protection.

Our economy, like those of the other Caribbean countries, is at a critical point, unable to take additional tax and increased rates.  Increased dependency on DFID handouts during 2003 will force us to have a change of attitude in how we do things, and how we spend the money given to us.  Those who have secure weekly and monthly wages and salaries must look out for those who do not, and push as much money as possible into the private sector.

Also, while we must maintain standards, we have to go back to the affordable methods used by our predecessors, rather than continue with the inertia and impasse which saw seven years pass without progress with the Airport, Seaport, Little Bay and public housing.

It is my wish that 2003 will see unity and cooperation of the whole country, and an effective Government of National Unity in which all political representatives are able to contribute to the rescue of our country. We must continue to work hard and pray together. Pray that your leaders will have the guidance and wisdom needed to make 2003 a happy and prosperous year.

Finally, I bid farewell to overseas Montserratians.  We hope to see you all again soon.   If you can’t come at Christmas, come at Easter or in the Summer.  Remember that wherever you live and work,  Montserrat is your home.

Once again  I wish everyone a happy and blessed New Year.

Lowell Lewis

New Year's Resolution No-nos How to avoid unrealistic goals

by Anastasia Poland

(Adapted from MSN)

Did you see New Year's Eve as a great time to make resolutions you will inevitably break? You're not alone. However, a University of Washington study by Elizabeth Miller and Alan Marlatt found that a full 63 percent of people do stick to their primary resolutions for at least two months. It can be done. Here are the top five reasons why we don't keep our resolutions past February:

Reality Check 101: Unrealistic goals are a real killer for achieving change. Instead of cutting "all sugars and carbs" from your diet or deciding to "exercise every single day," consider moderation. Unless you have health constraints, an occasional carb can be a reward, especially after you've created an attainable exercise plan for your busy schedule. Also make sure the resolutions on your list are purely for you — not your partner, your family, or your friends. If you're not doing them for yourself, you won't end up doing them at all.

No plan of attack: Being impulsive might spice up a romance, but where resolutions are concerned, less is more. Several excellent ways for "setting yourself up for resolution failure," says Mr. Marlatt, are not planning out your resolutions until the last minute or making them based on your mindset on New Year's Eve. Planning, then assessing what obstacles may inhibit your goals (e.g., you want to cut junk food from your diet, but live in a household of junk-food junkies) will help you evaluate what changes you need to make.

K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Stupid): What's with the 10 resolutions on that list? Take off your overachiever cape and toss it aside. Too many folks overwhelm themselves by attempting several big life changes simultaneously. Choose one or two achievable goals that introduce positive changes into your life instead of forcing yourself to quit all of your bad habits at once. The confidence you gain by following one new healthy life pattern can later be parlayed into ditching another unhealthy one. Ms. Miller found that confidence was the key underlying factor in people creating true change.

More or less: These words are the enemies of goal attainment. More healthy, less weight? What does this mean in real terms? Those who fall off the resolution wagon often neglect to quantify goals or set deadlines. If you want to feel healthier, write a list of what that means to you (for example, attend yoga class twice weekly, add two veggies to daily diet, lose 10 pounds by March, get monthly massages) and work from there.

If at first you don't succeed: This old axiom is so true, yet we do ourselves a great disservice by not making sure to "try, try again." If you sneak a snack, leave work early or indulge that TV craving, it doesn't mean you have to abandon your commitment. Persistence is key. Ms. Miller discovered that only 40 percent of people polled achieved their goals the first time around. Seventeen percent succeeded after more than six tries. Mr. Marlatt adds, "It's a mistake to blame yourself if you fail. Instead, look at the barriers that were in your way. See how you can do better the next time and figure out a better plan to succeed. You do get to try again "

Prime yourself for successful resolutions by being realistic, taking small steps, recognizing success and being flexible when you backslide. By keeping at it and not throwing in the towel the first time you skip a workout or give in to a craving, you will be able to make positive changes that will last all year and beyond.

When you make exercise fit your personality and your lifestyle, you are already on the road to success. 

Tourism Highlight

Christmas Lighting

The Montserrat Tourist Board held a Christmas Lighting Competition as part of the Tourist Board’s efforts to enhance the island during the 40th Anniversary for Festival.

Prizes were awarded to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners in the following categories:

Judging for the competition took place between December 22 – 29, 2002.  Twenty-five  (25) persons entered the competition and the following winners emerged.



MOST UNUSUAL DESIGN (house/business)

Each participant will receive EC$50.00, sponsored by the Office of the Chief Minister.  Additionally, they will each receive 2 energy saving bulbs compliments Montserrat Electricity Services. 

The Montserrat Tourist Board would like to thank individuals/businesses who donated prizes for the Competition and also the participants for taking up the challenge.


By Jove, He's Done It

H.E. scales a new promontory,

Affirming his pathway to glory;

He must be elated

To know he's created

The first Overseas Terror-tory.


Festival 2002

You came back and saw we survive,

This isle's more than barely alive;

Although festival's done

Hurry back for more fun,

Don't wait till we mark forty-five.


Jus' wonderin according to MVO reports each night activity is most to the East and Northeast the gate then close on weekends and open on Monday with the same conditions.

Jus wonderin' if Commissioner Douglas shouldn’t tell us that is because of shortage of manpower why the gate has to be closed.

Jus wonderin if there is too much collusion.

Jus wonderin if we can invite the US in Puerto Rico to target practice on our volcano.

Jus wonderin if we can put Montserrat up for auction on eBay.

Jus wonderin all who were just peeping Toms at the shows.

Jus wonderin when the other hand would clap with the other partner own.

Jus wonderin if the Christmas money was spent eating and drinking.

Jus wonderin how come so many television sets were giving away for free and what it does to the year-end tax deductions.

Jus wonderin if the prize moneys will be spent here.

Jus wonderin if the local Queen will go on to represent her country at the Caribbean Queen pageant.

Jus wonderin why the Festival organizers didn’t think it was important enough to have a Junior Calypso Show.

Jus wonderin if our visiting comedian from Barbados really hit the nail on the head when he made reference to our CM in the chopper flying overland.

Jus wonderin if he knows how many toes he crushed with his ‘brain joke’.

Jus wonderin what the New Year will bring for the businessmen.

Jus wonderin if we can expect some much needed foreign investment for 2003.

Jus wonderin how come the high class night spot seem to have only one apparent entrance and exit.

Jus wonderin if the such buildings, especially discos, are not supposed to have more than one entrance and exit, with a well lit sign above it.

Jus wonderin how much money the Festival Committee made from the recent shows.

Jus wonderin which sector of society will benefit from the money made from the shows.

Jus wonderin why the wife goes and overcharge customers while the husband storeowner sells the same goods cheaper than the others.

Jus wonderin who should really apologise, six months turning into two years or callers for what every country we deserve.

Jus wonderin when we will learn that honesty, kindness and dignity attracts respect and honour.


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