By Nerissa Golden
BRADES, Montserrat (GIU) -- As Montserrat continues to position itself to be more attractive to investors and stimulate its private sector, two new members of staff have been added to the local development corporation.
The Montserrat Development Corporation has established a One Stop Shop to enable potential investors to get the help they need in one place. David Crichton is the interim director of trade and investment promotion. With over thirty years of international experience in economic development, he has been with the MDC since November 2012. He is responsible for setting up the MDC’s role in attracting investment to Montserrat, bringing the One Stop Shop for handling investor enquiries into operation and building MDC’s role in local private sector development.
The One Stop Shop, Crichton explained, will allow for prospective investors to get the help they need to establish a business or invest in local ventures here. “Our role is to find out as much as we can about the client’s project. The type of business they want to establish, what their needs are in terms of permits, land, number of employees, etc. We will gather all of the relevant information that they need to make decisions and relay it back to the client.”
“We will make introductions if necessary and seek to ensure that the investor receives the information they need in the shortest possible time,” he added. “We will advise on incentives and also do our research and conduct an appraisal of whether the potential business is a good fit for Montserrat.”
Before taking up his present role with the MDC, Crichton had already visited Montserrat on a number of occasions to advise the Department for International Development (DfID) and the Government on economic development. Other countries he has worked in recently include Afghanistan, Tanzania and Serbia. He has visited Afghanistan frequently since 2009, working with NATO, the Afghan Government, DFID, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Canadian International Aid Agency (CIDA). His work there has included advising the NATO leadership on economic development, designing agricultural improvement programmes and evaluating the impact of infrastructure, business development and training investments. He is still a board member of an Afghan NGO supporting improvements in the business environment.
Working alongside Crichton is a Rochelle Lee, a second-generation Montserratian. As the manager of the One Stop Shop, one of her first tasks is to make the connections with all government departments and private sector agencies in order to build relationships, which will facilitate ease of access to information for clients.
“My role as the One Stop Shop manager is to assist private investors in setting up their business on the island from initial enquiries to long-term after care. The overall aim is to increase investment in the island from Montserratians and international investors, and to ease the process involved in this by making the One Stop Shop a single point of contact,” explained Lee.
“I made my first visit to Montserrat in 2008. Although, I was never fortunate to see the island prior to the volcano I fell in love with it regardless. I am keen to aid Montserrat’s development and help to promote the unique and enriching qualities of the place where my grandparents grew up so they can be recognised and enjoyed by others,” she added.
The establishment of the One Stop Shop was one of the key features of the strategic growth programme which the government of Montserrat initiated in May 2012 as part of efforts to create a more enabling environment for private sector development.