GDP: $36.8 million, GDP per head: $ 7,696
Key industries: Reliant on UK budgetary aid, tourism
Full member of CARICOM and OECS
501. Montserrat is one of the Leeward Islands
in the Eastern Caribbean, lying 27 miles southwest of Antigua
and 40 miles northwest of Guadeloupe. The island is eleven miles
long and seven miles wide, entirely volcanic and very mountainous.
Volcanic activity has destroyed nearly two thirds of the island's
cultivable space as well as its capital.
502. Named after a monastery in Spain by Christopher
Columbus during his second great voyage in 1493, the island became
a British Colony in 1632 although the first settlers were largely
Irish. Montserrat was captured by the French twice for short periods
but was finally restored to Britain in 1783.
503. Montserrat's constitution, consolidated
into one document in 1990, provides for the execution of government
through a Governor appointed by the Crown, an Executive Council
(ExCo) which has the general control and direction of government,
and a Legislative Council (LegCo). The Governor retains responsibility
for internal security (including police), external affairs, defence,
and the public service (of which she is the head). As in Anguilla,
the Governor of Montserrat also has responsibility for offshore
finance in the territory.
504. A general election took place in Montserrat
on 31 May 2006. The government is a coalition between the Montserrat
Democratic Party (MDP), the New People's Liberation Movement (NPLM)
and an independent. The next election is due in 2011.
505. The Committee received five written submissions
506. The Committee heard oral evidence from the
Chief Minister of Montserrat in December 2007.
- We are concerned by the National
Audit Office's finding that the FCO has been complacent in managing
the risk of money laundering in Anguilla, Montserrat and the Turks
and Caicos Islands, particularly since these Territories are those
for which the UK is directly responsible for regulation and therefore
most exposed to financial liabilities. We agree with the Public
Accounts Committee's recent recommendation that Governors of these
Territories should use their reserve powers to bring in more external
investigators or prosecutors to strengthen investigative capacity.
- We recommend that the Government should focus
funding on infrastructure in Montserrat on those areas that are
most likely to assist the development of tourism on the Island.