Economy of Montserrat

The economy of Montserrat was severely disrupted by volcanic activity which began in July 1995. Prior to this date, the small island country of 12,000 had an export economy based on agriculture, clothing, electronic parts and plants, with a per capita gross national product of USD 3,000 to 8,000.[1] It had an international reputation as a tourist getaway, and the record producer George Martin established an important recording studio there, Associated Independent Recording. Destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989, the studio was never reestablished; however, Martin subsequently helped found the Montserrat Cultural Centre, which was opened in 2007.[2] Some of the funds were raised in a London concert called "Music for Montserrat" (September 15, 1997).

Plymouth Montserrat Heli
Plymouth, the capital, was abandoned in 1997 following the eruption


A catastrophic eruption of Soufrière Hills in June 1997 closed the W. H. Bramble Airport and seaport at Plymouth, causing further economic and social dislocation. Two-thirds of the inhabitants fled the island. Some began to return in 1998, but lack of housing limited the number.

The agriculture sector continued to be affected by the lack of suitable land for farming and the destruction of crops. Prospects for the economy depend largely on developments in relation to the volcano and on public sector construction activity. The UK launched a three-year $122.8 million aid program to help reconstruct the economy. Half of the island was expected to remain uninhabitable for another decade.[3]

Soufriere Hills
Soufrière Hills continues to play a detrimental role in both agricultural and economic activity on Montserrat.

Today, Montserrat’s main economic activity is in construction and government services which together accounted for about 50 percent of GDP in 2000 when it was EC$76 million. In contrast, banking and insurance together accounted for less than 10 percent of GDP. The unemployment rate in 1998 was estimated at 6 percent. Montserrat’s domestic financial sector is very small and has seen a reduction in offshore finance in recent years with only 11 offshore banks remaining. Real GDP declined from EC$122 million in 1995 to about EC$60 million in 1999, with the rate of decline peaking at -21.5 percent for 1996. The decline in economic activity reflected in large part the completion of major projects in both the private and public sectors. However, the rate of decline slowed markedly since 2000 and 2001, when GDP contracted by less than 3 percent. In 2002, the GDP growth rate reverted to a positive 4.6 percent reversing the declining trend over the past six years and maybe more.

Year Real GDP (factor cost)[3] % Change
1996 95.9 -21.5
1997 76.7 -20.0
1998 68.9 -8.6
1999 60.3 -12.5
2000 58.6 -2.8
2001 56.9 -2.9
2002 59.5 -4.6
2002 79.9 (2000 constant prices)[4] +3.3
2003 78.9 -0.9
2004 82.4 +4.5
2005 83.7 +1.5

New Town

The Montserrat Development Corporation was an entity founded by the Government of Montserrat and the Department for International Development in 2008. The company's primary mandate was to help foster private sector investment and development on the island. The company had announced plans to develop the new town of Little Bay on the northwest coast of Montserrat between Brades and Davy Hill, however an internal audit of the company in 2015 led to the company's dissolution. [5] The audit revealed that the company was not being prudent with the government's funds.

Slated for completion by 2020, the new town will be the new focus of tourism, trade and housing and will also house the seat of government.[6]


  1. ^ Sue Grabham, editor, Circling the Globe: A young people's guide to countries and cultures of the world, New York: Larousse Kingfisher Chambers, 1995, p. 591. ISBN 978-1856975612
  2. ^ "Professional Audio - Yamaha Corporation". Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Montserrat – Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom: Assessment of the Supervision and Regulation of the Financial Sector" International Monetary Fund, November 2003
  4. ^ "CARICOM Stats". Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  5. ^ Roach, Bennette. "MDC 'shut down' Set Montserrat Back five years". Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  6. ^ Montserrat Development Corporation, New Town Development
Eastern Caribbean Central Bank

The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) is the central bank for the Eastern Caribbean dollar and is the monetary authority for the members of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), with the exception of the British Virgin Islands and Martinique. Two of its core mandates are to maintain price and financial sector stability, by acting as a stabilizer and safe-guard of the banking system in the Eastern Caribbean Economic and Currency Union (OECS/ECCU.) It was founded in October 1983 with the goal of maintaining the stability and integrity of the subregion's currency and banking system in order to facilitate the balanced growth and development of its member states.

The bank is headquartered in Basseterre, St. Kitts, and is currently overseen by Mr. Timothy Antoine, the Bank Governor. Prior to assuming his post in February 2016, the bank was overseen by the late Sir K. Dwight Venner. In early 2015, the bank announced plans to phase out the production of the 1 and 2 cent pieces. The date was finalised as July 1, 2015. When a motive was sought, it was stated that it takes about six cents to make one cent pieces and about eight cents to make a 2 cent piece.

Index of Montserrat-related articles

The following is an alphabetical list of topics related to the British Overseas Territory of Montserrat.


Montserrat () is a British Overseas Territory (BOT) in the Caribbean. The island is in the Leeward Islands, which is part of the chain known as the Lesser Antilles, in the West Indies. Montserrat measures approximately 16 km (10 mi) in length and 11 km (7 mi) in width, with approximately 40 km (25 mi) of coastline. Montserrat is nicknamed "The Emerald Isle of the Caribbean" both for its resemblance to coastal Ireland and for the Irish ancestry of many of its inhabitants.On 18 July 1995, the previously dormant Soufrière Hills volcano, in the southern part of the island, became active. Eruptions destroyed Montserrat's Georgian era capital city of Plymouth. Between 1995 and 2000, two-thirds of the island's population was forced to flee, primarily to the United Kingdom, leaving fewer than 1,200 people on the island as of 1997 (rising to nearly 5,000 by 2016). The volcanic activity continues, mostly affecting the vicinity of Plymouth, including its docking facilities, and the eastern side of the island around the former W. H. Bramble Airport, the remnants of which were buried by flows from volcanic activity on 11 February 2010.

An exclusion zone, encompassing the southern half of the island to as far north as parts of the Belham Valley, was imposed because of the size of the existing volcanic dome and the resulting potential for pyroclastic activity. Visitors are generally not permitted entry into the exclusion zone, but a view of the destruction of Plymouth can be seen from the top of Garibaldi Hill in Isles Bay. Relatively quiet since early 2010, the volcano continues to be closely monitored by the Montserrat Volcano Observatory.A new town and port are being developed at Little Bay, which is on the northwest coast of the island. While this construction proceeds, the centre of government and businesses is at Brades.

Outline of Montserrat

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Montserrat:

Montserrat – British overseas territory located in the Leeward Islands of the Lesser Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean Sea. The Island of Montserrat is approximately 16 km (9.9 mi) long and 11 km (6.8 mi) wide with 40 kilometres (25 mi) of coastline. The island was given its name by Christopher Columbus on his second voyage to the New World in 1493, after its namesake located in Catalonia. Montserrat is often referred to as the Emerald Isle of the Caribbean, due both to its resemblance to coastal Ireland and to the Irish descent of most of its early European settlers.

Its Georgian era capital city of Plymouth was destroyed and two-thirds of the island's population forced to flee abroad by an eruption of the previously dormant Soufriere Hills volcano that began on July 18, 1995. The eruption continues today on a much reduced scale, the damage being confined to the areas around Plymouth including its docking facilities and the former W.H. Bramble Airport. An exclusion zone extending from the south coast of the island north to parts of the Belham Valley has been closed because of an increase in the size of the existing volcanic dome. This zone includes St. George's Hill which provided visitors with a view of the volcano and the destruction it has wrought upon the capital. A new airport at Gerald's in the northern part of the island opened in 2005. The village of Brades currently serves as the de facto centre of government.

Reuben Meade

Reuben Theodore Meade (born 7 March 1954) is a retired politician from Montserrat who served as the island's first Premier between 2010 and 2014. He previously served as Chief Minister between 1996 and 1999 and 2009 to 2010. A member of the Movement for Change and Prosperity (MCAP), he previously led the now-defunct National Progressive Party.

Revenue stamps of Montserrat

Revenue stamps of Montserrat were first issued in 1866, ten years before the island issued its first postage stamps. The island only issued two different designs of revenue stamps, but postage stamps were widely used for fiscal purposes and are still used as such today.Montserrat's first revenue stamp was issued sometime around 1866. This was a 1d red stamp featuring a slightly crude design depicting Queen Victoria. It was printed by Harrison and Sons using lithography, in sheets of 12. The design was based on contemporary Inland Revenue stamps of Britain, and it was the first stamp to be printed by Harrison and Sons. A number of variants of the stamp are known, since different watermarks (indicating the name of the paper maker), types of paper (vertically or horizontally laid) and perforation (gauge 12½ or 12) were used. It also exists in a number of shades, ranging from carmine-lake to rose-carmine.The only other revenue stamp of Montserrat was a 1d lilac issued in 1887. This was a key type stamp depicting Queen Victoria, and it was printed by De La Rue. It was printed in such a way that half the sheet was inverted in respect to the other, and this has resulted in inverted watermarks being just as common as upright ones. Tête-bêche pairs also exist but these are hard to find.Revenue stamps of the Leeward Islands were valid for use in Montserrat. Postage stamps, both of the Leeward Islands or Montserrat itself, were also used for fiscal purposes. They are still valid for such use, and some of the high values are mainly intended for fiscal use. Stamps issued as recently as 2014 are still inscribed Postage and Revenue.Colourless or purple impressed duty stamps were used in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This practice was discontinued long before the 1970s, and very few issued examples of these stamps seem to exist.

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