Montserrat Today

For Thursday November 13, 1997
Presented by the Information and Education Unit
of Montserrat's Emergency Department


Over the last 24 hours the seismic activity at the Soufriere Hills Volcano has increased a little with over 200 small hybrid earthquakes being recorded. Occasionally there have been some larger events and in addition a number of rockfalls thought to have come off the new dome in the Galways area.

Visibility has been poor but some fumeroles on the eastern flank of the dome above Tar River have been spotted. They are releasing steam as they have been doing for several weeks.

The older pre-explosion period dome is unstable and rockfalls are also coming from this. These rockfalls could lead to pyroclastic flows down all flanks of the volcano and this makes all areas in the exclusion zone extremely dangerous and should not be visited.


The large helicopter is back in service. The service was suspended earlier in the week when the aircraft had to undergo important maintenance and repairs. The helicopter has resumed its normal two return flights between Antigua and Montserrat each day. All bookings for the helicopter are made through M.A.S. in Montserrat at 664 491 2533.


Montserrat's Governor, H.E. Mr Anthony John Abbott addressed the nation this morning on ZJB Radio. The following is the text of the address:-

"I think it is appropriate at this time to make a statement on the question of law and order in Montserrat.

A measure of any society is the extent to which it abides by the rule of Law. Montserrat has long been respected as a law abiding nation and it is important for the island's future that nothing is done in the heat of the moment to tarnish this image. The absence of law and order leads to social dislocation and instability. Such instability automatically causes the private sector to loose confidence in a country. When law and order breaks down the everyday lives of people are dramatically affected. Every citizen has a right to the protection of the law and no-one, irrespective of status or position, is above the law. Indeed, those in positions of influence have a responsibility to uphold the law and set an example to others.

Many problems have beset the people of Montserrat but you have faced all these difficulties with a strength, fortitude and good humour which has gained the respect and admiration of people around the world. I have no doubt that the earnest wish of all Montserratians is to continue to live in a civilised and orderly community; especially during such a troubled period when we have been deprived of so much, materially and spiritually, that was once taken for granted.

Let me ask you just one question. Who amongst you wants to live on an island devoid of an orderly society? It is the right of every individual to be allowed to live in a peaceful and harmonius community. Even more so when that community is forced to confront one of nature's greatest challenges. Montserratians have been forced to relocate because of the impact the volcano has had on housing, education, and health. But my fear is that if there is a breakdown of law and order that will be the last straw. It would force many of those that remain to follow their compatriots. This is NOT what we want to happen.

Whenever it is established that the law has been broken, appropriate action must be taken and justice must be seen to be done. This is not a responsibility that the police and the government share alone. There is a part to be played by every member of the community.

For those people who have a specific grievance or dispute there is a proper procedure whereby it can be examined in a methodical and peaceful fashion. If the grievance involves a government policy or the public service, I can assure you that all Government ministries have a system for dealing with complaints. Ministers stand ready to assist. So does the Chief Minister who can be approached if appropriate. If all else fails there is always the right of appeal to the Governor. If the dispute relates to a legal matter, due process of law is available through the Courts. There is no reason for any person to fall outside this system.

I therefore seek the co-operation and support of all law abiding citizens - not to take the law into their own hands - but urge them to follow the correct procedures. I call on each of you to play your part in ensuring that law and order is maintained so that the future of Montserrat can be assured". (END)


The Montserrat Water Authority (MWA) as part of its upgrading of the water supply to the north of the island is currently laying a 6 inch water mains pipe in the Judy Piece area.

The installation of the pipe will necessitate the closure of the Judy Piece Road from time to time over the course of the next few weeks, the road closing schedule will be announced on ZJB Radio.


Inmates of Her Majesty's Prison serving long term sentences have been transferred out of Montserrat. The majority have been transferred to Her Majesty's Prison in the British Dependent Territory of the Turks and Caicos Islands in the northern Caribbean.

Several prisoners have been paroled for good behavior and the remaining few short term prisoners are housed in temporary premises in the north.

Both the permanent prison and the original temporary prison are in the exclusion zone and this has led to the new arrangements.


Some 15 calypsonians are now practicing for year end activities at Christmas. The Montserrat Tourist Board is spearheading the planning process for the festival. In the meantime, half a dozen local calypsonians are planning to tour the U.S.A. at year end to raise funds for calypsonians in Montserrat who have suffered losses due to the volcanic crisis.

More information tomorrow...................................

Presented by the Information & Education Unit, Emergency Dept
St Johns Village, Montserrat, Leeward Islands, West Indies.
Tel 664 491 7166, Fax 664 491 2474, E Mail:
Richard Aspin, Unit Co-ordinator.