Author: Jeevan A. Robinson - MNI Media | Date: 09 September 2019
In politics there are myths, legends, twists and outright fallacies.
Of the aforementioned, it would seem from all accounts, that Montserrat's Movement for Change and Prosperity (MCAP) political party is once again on a mission to mislead and confuse the people of Montserrat with their most favoured term that their Leader Easton Taylor-Farrell, and the suspect Chairman Austin Howe, like to use repeatedly - political gimmicks.
I frankly dislike the term "political gimmick" as I think that internationally, and even locally - this MCAP Party prior to the 2014 elections indulged deeply in the 'political gimmickry" they love to now denounce. So my point is that it happens across the spectrum on both sides with challengers and incumbents alike.
This time however, for the 2019 elections on Montserrat, MCAP are engaged in what they seem to do best - mislead and misrepresent. They are back with this game of seeking to woo voters on a promise that Dubai investors are coming to save Montserrat and create massive jobs and employment. Really now?
This seems to be their trump card, and as Chairman Howe and Easton Taylor-farrell have noted repeatedly on the record, they will dust off the Little Bay Masterplan and go back to their fabled Dubai investors to come and develop the environmental catastrophe MCAP created at Gunn Hill and Piper's Pond. Hmmmm....
MCAP should be ashamed for destroying two natural environmentally important sites in an effort to woo Dubai investors. They should further be ashamed for having wanted to spend another $4 million to drive piles into the Piper's Pond river bed on which to build these buildings they speak of, when there were perfectly sound and stable sites down in the Little Bay area - owned by the Government of Montserrat - to have put buildings on.
(Piper's Pond being filled in and destroyed by the MCAP Regime. File photo)
MCAP moved millions of dollars worth of soil from Gunn Hill, paid to store it in Little Bay, then paid to move it again as they forged ahead and destroyed Piper's Pond. Such acts amount to criminality on the environment committed by a gung-ho party that did not care that one man had five jobs and five men could not have even found one job under their regime.
MCAP destroyed the environment for them and their favoured cliques to benefit, and they are back with the same rhetoric. MNI always suspected not much had changed with that grouping besides some new faces.
(Gunn Hill in its glory before being destroyed for Dubai investors by the MCAP regime.)
Now, who are these Dubai investors MCAP keep speaking of?
MNI looked into this back in 2014, and still retain email exchanges with former Premier Meade, where he refused to tell the people of Montserrat what exactly were the terms he was negotiating with these Dubai investors.
Now let's be clear here, MCAP were speaking to someone?
Let's go back a bit. In early 2014 an individual named Sheik Marwan Alqamzi of the United Arab Emirates visited Montserrat. MCAP Government officials, the Montserrat Development Corporation (MDC) were engaged in discussions. It was reported at the time that the meeting was set up by former Premier Reuben T. Meade, Alex Hourani of Cool and Smooth, and subsequently George Georges, the Managing Director of Technical Architects Company of Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
To further draw the matter of investment into Montserrat into the spotlight; during a media forum hosted at a Miami based media house in 2014, then CEO of the Montserrat Development Corporation (MDC), Mr Ivan Browne, shared information on Montserrat's redevelopment plans.
Browne showcased plans for the development of both Little Bay and Carr’s Bay, during which he stated; “All told, the goal is to attract about $150 million for the new port project, and between $350 million and $400 million for the rest of the project.”
Mr Ivan Browne made a further interesting statement during his talk in Miami. He said that Montserrat was in part held back by its inability to offer Economic Citizenship as other countries like, most notably St Kitts and Nevis, have been able to do, because of Montserrat’s status as a British Overseas Territory. That restriction stated Browne, has prevented Montserrat from obtaining as much as $62.5 million in investment.
Ok! So the British said No to selling passports to attract these Chinese and Dubai investors that MCAP keep speaking of, so it still remains a mystery as to what MCAP was, and is now once again, offering their hyped Dubai investors in return for their millions. Investors do not just invest for love. They require a return on their investment.
Secretive Back Room Deals?
Former MCAP Leader Reuben T Meade was asked during 2014 what was it he was offering these Dubai investors? Meade, as was customary, refused to share details.
If we recall, in July of 2014 a group of Dubai Investors (we were told they were such. They could have well been men from India posing as Dubai Investors for all we know) met with the then Premier and Chairman of the MDC. They were seen on the Piper's Pond site talking to the MDC Project Team. They were shuttled around in the State Car.
(Investors being toured around on the filled in Piper's Pond. File photo)
The then Premier Meade and Chairman of the MDC then took a trip to Antigua to strike a deal (they said at the time) with the investors for the development of the first Block in the New Town development. When Meade returned to Montserrat both ZJB Radio and other media houses to include MNI Media contacted him to ask what was the deal, and what he was offering these Investors in return for their cash? Meade refused to say and was dismissive that anyone would dare question him on this "dream deal".
The timing of the deal back in 2014 was also very convenient for Meade and the MCAP regime in that they at the time wished to be seen signing a multi-million dollar investment only weeks before the election was due. A gimmick?
If the deal was assured why was it not signed off and sealed, and Meade and MCAP not flaunt it loudly as they were doing that jobs and investment are 100% assured.
MCAP keeps seeking to use this diversion that the investor deposited millions into a local bank as a showing of good faith. So for those who do not know, and MCAP are seeking to fool once again, a deposit of monies into a bank without a signed investment agreement is not a guarantee that the investment was 100% certain to move ahead.
MCAP are back with their Dubai investors myth but will not lay out the facts as to how much power and influence that this one investor they hype will have over an entire country.
Should Montserrat be influenced by talk of any Dubai investor coming to be its saviour?
Are the people being hoodwinked once again by MCAP to feel that they must accept the first investor to come along and therefore vote MCAP to ensure Montserrat achieves it?
MCAP's Dubai investor hype is a myth. Until they can lay out the facts of what they are giving to these investors to ensure return on investment for their alleged millions in investment, it remains a fairytale being spun to fool voters into voting MCAP.
As much as I dislike the terminology.....it's a gimmick.
Note: Jeevan A. Robinson is Editor-in-Chief of Marketing, News & Information Media - MNI Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org