Montserrat Today

For Friday/Saturday May 22/23, 1998
Presented by the Information Unit of the
Government of Montserrat's Emergency Department


The level of activity at the Soufriere Hills Volcano remains low. During the course of this week there has been some clear views of the dome and observations show that there has been little or no growth since early March. This corresponds with the timing of the reduction in earthquake activity.

What little earthquake activity there is at present comes in the form of short bursts of volcano-tectonic signals from about 3 kms below the dome. The occassional rockfall and/or small pyroclastic flow is caused by crumbling of the dome which is still an unstable mass.

Dust levels at all monitoring stations are low at the present time.


There are currently three overseas based police officers assisting the Royal Montserrat Police Force in their enquiry into the EC$900,000+ robbery from Barclays Bank/ECCB.

A member of the BVI's White Collar Crime Unit is assisting in the tracing of monies thought to have come from the robbery and placed in overseas bank accounts and two officers from the Caymen Islands are currently in Montserrat investigating rumours that one or more officers from the local force were involved in the crime.

So far, nine Montserratians have been arrested concerning the robbery and of these eight have been charged and have appeared before the Magistrate. The majority have been remanded in custody.


Government House in Montserrat has released the following:

The Home Office in London yesterday (May 21st) announced that Montserratians who had relocated to the UK should be allowed to remain indefinitely if they wish. This offer will also apply to Montserratians still on island and those who have moved elsewhere in the Caribbean because of volcanic activity, should they wish to go to the UK. The announcement was made in response to a written Parliamentary Question from Oona King, MP.

Announcing the decision, Immigration Minister, Mike O'Brien said:

"The island of Montserrat, and its people, have suffered from the effects of significant volcanic activity for nearly three years. Much of the south of the island is uninhabitable, and conditions in the north are difficult for those remaining.

Approximately 3500 Montserratians have come to the UK since the crisis began. Initially they were admitted temporarily, since it was not known how long the volcanic activity would last, nor how severe its effects would be.

However, it is now clear that the effects of the volcano will be felt for some time. For this reason we have decided to allow those who wish to stay to do so indefinitely. This offer also applies to any future evacuees.

Many Montserratians have chosen to stay on the island or locally in the Caribbean, and the Government is supporting them in a number of ways.

I know that many Montserratians are eager to return to their home as soon as possible. I hope that offering the security of settlement in the UK will help them in the meantime". (END)


The Montserrat Project which is funded by the Community Relations Unit of the Home Office yesterday welcomed the announcement detailed above by Immigration Minister, Mike O'Brien.

The Project Co-ordinator, Lazelle Howes said in London yesterday;

"The Montserrat project is delighted that after months of advocating, and with the help of our allies in parliament and in the Montserrat community organisations, we today witness this landmark decision.

Montserratians are generally a proud and industrious people not inclined to hand-outs or laziness. Leave to remain in this country without the constraints of a fixed term will allow them to pursue longer term goals with respect to employment, training and education. It will also allow Montserrratians to make financial decisions, invest, secure loans, and make hire purchase arrangements so that their lives can be enhanced and so that they can make a positive contribution to the host society".


The Montserrat Red Cross has a new Director. She is former MSS Principal Mrs Camilla Watts who takes over her new position today from Mrs Lystra Osborne who has resigned the post after 10 years in office.

At last night's AGM, the Montserrat Red Cross approved a new board of directors. They are; President Mrs Lystra Osborne, Deputy President (Finance) Mr John Skerritt, Deputy President (Projects) Mr Richard Aspin, Secretary Mrs Julie Eakins, Health Advisor Dr Ronnie Cooper, and First Aid leader Miss Beverly west. The new board will serve for the remainder of 1998.


The prefabricated units from Cuba for the CARICOM Village will be shipped to Montserrat on May 27th and are expected here during the first week of June.

In related news, a contingent from the Jamaica Defence Force who will be in charge of constructing the village will arrive on island on June 2nd. They will be the guests of the Royal Montserrat Defence Force.

More news next week..........................................

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.