Stranded passengers angry at being left in Antigua

March 19, 2016

Dozens of people were left angry after their hopes of celebrating St Patrick’s Day in Montserrat came to nothing due to the Montserrat ferry being overbooked.


People hoping to cross the sea to be a part of this year’s festivities in the Emerald Isle had gathered before 6 am in hopes of travelling by 9 am. They were turned away, despite buying tickets days in advance.


Tour operator, Vennetta Johnston of Jolly Up tours in Montserrat, said that the confusion at the port was a reflection of long existing issues at the dock and the ferry’s operation. “Today has been exceptionally busy, and although we had our tickets in advance, it was so busy that we were not able to board,” she explained.


Many were also angered by the length of time it took to make it through Customs and Immigration lines.

Johnston said there are issues with the efficiency in which people are processed as they make their way on and off the vessel.


Many of those gathered at the dock said they had arrived for 4am, since they were told that there would have been a departure for that time, but they were later informed that the only departure for the morning would have been at 9am.

Caribbean urged to follow Montserrat lead

March 14, 2016

Caribbean governments have been advised to follow Montserrat’s example in developing a strategic response to long-term psychosocial needs of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged members of the population following major disasters.


The advice has come from Dominican consultant psychiatrist, Dr Griffin Benjamin, during a lecture at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies.


Speaking on the topic ‘Tropical Storm Erika: Psychosocial consequences and first respondents’, Dr Benjamin told the audience that the need for such services was highlighted following the passage of the storm, which struck in the early hours of August 27 last year.


“If it is true to say that one in four in the world’s population suffers with a mental illness in their lifetime, then I believe at least one in two Dominicans could have been diagnosed with a mental illness in the immediate aftermath of that storm.


“People were very different after the storm. People would give away everything they had. Nothing mattered anymore. People learnt a lot of lessons from that storm. It wasn’t easy at all for anybody,” he said.


Dr Benjamin, who works with the Governments of Dominica and Montserrat, told the audience that authorities may have overlooked the mental health of the population in the aftermath of Erika. He pointed to the United Kingdom and Montserrat Governments’ response following the eruptions of the Soufrière Hills Volcano in 1995 and 1997, when nearly two-thirds of the population migrated due to the damage inflicted on the island.


According to him, the British Government, through its Department for International Development, effectively managed the psychosocial problems created by the disaster by providing special support to the most vulnerable and socially destitute on the island in the wake of the disaster.

Goodbye to the 'Fifth Beatle'

March 11, 2016

Sir George Martin, frequently referred to as the 'Fifth Beatle' has died, aged 90.


Martin is also known for building Air Studios on the island of Montserrat, where pop stars that inlcude The Police, The Rolling Stones, Dire Straits, Sir Elton John and Luther Vandross to name a few, have all recorded albums.


However, to Martin, Montserrat was more than a base for Air Studios, it was somewhere he felt strongly about and contributed too. When the volcanic crisis began in 1995, Sir George’s generosity and dedication were seen when at first, he allowed the offices of the Government of Montserrat to operate from his family vacation home is Olveston and later, permitted the use of his home as a guest house and restaurant, after the Vue Pointe Hotel was forced to close due to volcanic activities.


Leader of the Opposition, Rueben Meade offered his sincere condolences to his family and loved ones saying, “We will forever be grateful for his contributions. By bringing many popular musicians during the 80s to Montserrat, the island gained invaluable promotion that no tourism marketing plan could have provided at the time,” as he called Sir George’s fundraising efforts during the volcanic crisis – “truly remarkable.”


Meade noted: “His bronzed handprints at the Cultural Centre are only a small symbol of the lasting impact of his contributions to Montserrat.

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