THE VOLCANIC EXPLANATION:
The activity at the Soufriere Hills Volcano is made up of of small swarms of volcano-tectonic earthquakes with the occasional hybrid event recorded. In addition there have been some rockfalls recorded. Yesterday (Sunday) there was a regional earthquake recorded, located some 30 kms west of Antigua.
The dome is covered by cloud this morning and dust levels at all monitoring stations are low.
NEW CHIEF SCIENTIST AT MVO:
There is a new Chief Scientist at the MVO, he is Professor Steve Sparks of Bristol University who takes over from Dr Willie Aspinall.
ARRESTS FOR BANK THEFTS:
The Royal Montserrat Police Force have now arrested 9 persons in all for the theft of EC$ 900,000 + from Barclays Bank in Plymouth between 21.5.97 and 11.5.98. The money, all in uncirculated notes was being held by Barclays for the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank. So far five persons have appeared in Court, three have been remanded in custody and two others have been remanded on bail in their own recognizance and have surrendered their passports.
A series of search warrants have been executed and so far about one third of the money has been traced with some certainty and enquiries are continuing with the help of a Detective Inspector from the British Virgin Islands Police Fraud Squad's Investigation Dept.
Some of the notes are in circulation and have been turning up in Montserrrat & Antigua and ECCB officials have urged anyone holding the notes to turn them in to Police Stations. A list of the serial numbers of the notes has been circulated to all member territories of ECCB.
EMERGENCY DEPT RELEASES GUIDES:
The Emergency Dept this morning released two guides for the general public.
The first is the "Residents guide to the evacuation of the Central Zone" and 4000 copies are being made available to anyone who lives, works or visits the Central Zone. They are available at banks, shops, supermarkets, the post office, police stations, clinics and the public library.
The second release is the "Guide for hurricane precautions and safety tips for offices and business places". This is designed for office and business place managers and is available through the Dept of Administration (for Government Offices) and the Chamber of Commerce and the NDF for the private sector.
SECRETARY OF STATE APPEARS BEFORE SELECT COMMITTEE:
The British Secretary of State for International Development, Rt Hon Clare Short MP, appeared before the House of Commons Select Committee on International Development on May 8th to answer questions about the British aid programme to Montserrat.
The background brief prepared for the occasion by the Dept for International Development (DFID) has been made available publicly on Montserrat. Copies of the document are available for viewing at the Public Library or at the Aid Management Office.
It is hoped that later this month, a more detailed breakdown of DFID expenditure on Montserrat since the volcanic crisis began will be made available.
NEW HELICOPTER CONTRACT AWARDED:
The Department for International Development (DFID) have announced that a new contract has been awarded to provide a commercial helicopter service to Montserrat through to year end.
The contract valued at £700,000 was awarded to Bajan Helicopters of Barbados who will also provise a second helicopter for use by the MVO.
Several regional companies were involved in the tender process, but Bajan was chosen on the basis of its technical strength and price.
The new contract offers savings of 30% over the current arrangements.
More information later in the week...........................