Montserrat to receive 2.5 million pounds from UK for COVID 19 response
The Government of Montserrat has received written confirmation from the Department for International Development (DFID) that £2.5m will be added to Montserrat’s 2020/21 Financial Aid allocation, to fund the island’s immediate response to COVID-19 following a detailed request and submission by the Ministry of Finance to DFID.
The Government of Montserrat was notified of this on Monday April 6, 2020, in an email correspondence from Deputy Director, Overseas Territories and the Caribbean, DFID- John Gordon, to the Financial Secretary, Hon. Colin Owen.
The Deputy Director indicated that the Government of Montserrat’s proposal will be discussed further by his team over the coming days as they work to agree a specific support package as soon as possible. In the meantime however, Mr. Gordon confirmed “an initial uplift of £2.5m to Montserrat’s 2020/21 Financial Aid allocation, which will be ring-fenced for COVID-19 mitigation measures,” while discussions on the content of a UK support package continues; once agreed a further boost will be provided for Montserrat from the UK Government.
Both the UK Government and the Government of Montserrat will continue to work together to finalise the scale and scope of the UK support package.
The Deputy Director, Overseas Territories and the Caribbean, DFID also reiterated the UK Government’s commitment to do what it can to support Montserrat’s response in this extremely difficult time, as was also indicated by Baroness Sugg.
Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon. Joseph E. Farrell expressed his gratitude for this first step of financial assistance and anticipates favourable commitments in the UK support package, which is being finalised. “The Government and people of Montserrat are extremely grateful for this initial release of £2.5m, especially at a time when we are cognizant that the UK and indeed the entire world, is grappling to control and contain this pandemic. Montserrat’s economy has not fully recovered from previous crises and so our limited resources are being stretched considerably, we therefore anticipate favourable news regarding the scope of the UK support package, as we work collectively to ensure that Montserrat remains strong and resilient,” expressed Premier Farrell.
Premier Farrell noted that the team in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management, led by the Financial Secretary, Hon. Colin Owen will continue to work closely with the UK Government with the view of ensuring that the response from the UK enables the quick recovery of the economy, support local employment and consumption.