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Presentation of Montserrat

Member state: United Kingdom
Surface area (km2): 102
Population: 5000
Density (/km2): NA
Capital: The seat of Government is at Brades

Location

Montserrat is situated at latitude 16*45”N and longitude 62*10”W, 25 miles southwest of Antigua. The Island is in the Eastern Caribbean, approximately 1 200 miles southeast of Miami.

Topography

Montserrat is a mountainous and rugged island which had been pear-shaped for centuries but its characteristics have changed several times in the last fifteen years due to continued volcanic activity. The inhabited north of the island remains lush green featuring the tropical rain forest of Centre Hills.

Climate

Tropical, with temperatures ranging between 24°C and 32°C (76°F and 88°F). The hottest months are August and September and the coolest months January and February. Rainfall is heaviest from September to January and averages annually 1,250 - 2,000mm (50-80”).

Economic activities

Economic activity declined dramatically following the ongoing eruption of Soufriere Hills Volcano which started in 1995. Currently the activity is dominated by private and government construction and government services. The anticipated resurgence of the tourism industry is yet to take place whilst mining of volcanic material is beginning to make an impact.

Political and administrative status

A Governor, appointed by Her Majesty the Queen, exercises executive authority on her behalf. Cabinet consists of the Premier and three other Ministers and two ex officio members, namely, the Attorney General and the Financial Secretary. The Legislative Assembly is made up of nine elected members and two official members - the Attorney General and the Financial Secretary.

Focus

Sustainable Development

During a recent visit to the United Kingdom, the Premier of Montserrat, the Hon. Reuben Meade outlined to the Diaspora that the key priority areas for the sustainable development of the Island are exploration of geothermal energy, the new town development, increased tourism, continuing development of arts and culture and increased use of ICT.

A new town to replace the abandoned capital Plymouth is seen by the Government as vital in attracting Montserratians to return to the island and also as a driver for economic development. The Government held a Charrette in October 2011 for town planners, property developers, architects and investors to put forward their plans for the development of both Little Bay and Carrs Bay as sites for the new town and for a new seaport. These are now being considered by the Government.

An increase in information technology has been identified by policymakers as being important for current and future residents and for businesses in Montserrat and the Ministry of Communication and Works has embarked on developing Montserrat’s first comprehensive information and communication technology (ICT) strategy. A three month consultation process is now underway to find out what is needed to develop an ICT focused culture on the Island.

The production of geothermal energy, using the heat from volcanic activity in the south of the island to produce electrical power, is seen as the catalyst to attract investment into Montserrat and to establish a green economy.