By Caribbean News Global contributor
BRADES, Montserrat — The government of Montserrat has been notified by the UK government that its contribution to Montserrat’s 2021-2022 recurrent budget will be £23.6 million. This allocation will maintain the core support at the same level as the previous year 2020-2021; meanwhile, a review of The Office of the Premier (OP) in the government of Montserrat is now underway. The intent of the intervention is to examine the structures, functions and staffing within the portfolio to ensure that it is properly equipped to carry out the mandates of the premier and Cabinet of Montserrat.
£23.6 million 2021/2022 budget allocation
Following the confirmation of the allocation, Montserrat’s premier and minister of finance, Joseph E. Farrell along with other government of Montserrat officials will be engaged in further discussions with the UK government over the next few days as they reprioritise and finalise the budget, and also sign the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the one-year financial aid settlement.
Given the economic pressures being experienced globally due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Premier Farrell said he is pleased with this outcome.
“The government and people of Montserrat express gratitude to the UK government for committing this level of financial support during what we know is an extremely difficult economic period for the UK government. We are thankful that the UK’s support to Montserrat has not declined as a result of the financial challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Budget details will be presented by the minister of finance during the 2021-2022 budget address in the Legislative Assembly in May 2021. The exact date and time will be communicated to the public once finalised.
Review of the office of the premier
Meanwhile, a review of The Office of the Premier (OP) commenced on March 29, 2021, and is being undertaken by Woodnewton Associates Limited—an independent consultancy company based in the UK, which was selected to undertake the assignment following a competitive public procurement process.
The Woodnewton Team comprises five individuals, including one local team member. The team members all have extensive experience in supporting governments across the region with organisational transformation.
The office of the premier is at the centre of the government of Montserrat with a vision outlook to engender best practice in strategic leadership, policy coordination and the coordinated delivery of programmes for Montserrat’s sustainable development and resiliency.
This review assignment will therefore examine strategic and policy documents and engage with stakeholders with a view to make recommendations on strengthening the portfolio to be more nimble, productive and better aligned to perform its core functions.
The review of the office of the premier will be primarily undertaken remotely, with two members of the consultancy team expected on the island in June 2021. Throughout the duration of the exercise, the consultancy team will engage with key internal and external stakeholders to gather a wide range of perspectives and input.
A consultation hub is now open to allow individuals including persons in the public and private sectors to learn more about the project, the opportunities to contribute and follow its progress. The homepage of the online hub features a short survey where individuals can provide feedback that would be captured in the review.
The consultation hub can be accessed here. The review is timetabled to be completed by the end of June 2021.