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Last Updated:  Monday, 10 March, 2003, 06:12 GMT
'Sack Montserrat governor' plea
Helicopter in Montserrat
Montserrat's people have suffered terribly
The British government is being urged to sack the governor of Montserrat, the West Indian island where there have been seven years of volcanic eruptions.

More than 200 people have signed a letter accusing the governor, Anthony Longrigg, of adopting policies that are hurting the island's economy as it tries to repair the damage.

The governor has made himself deeply unpopular over his handling of an area designated a danger zone by scientists from the Montserrat Volcano Observatory.

More than 300 people with homes in the exclusion zone have been forced to seek shelter elsewhere over the past six months.

Many want to return because the volcano has failed to strike and the area seems safe for the moment.

Economic blow

The governor refuses to back down in the face of a vociferous campaign by foreign ex-patriats with villas in Montserrat's so-called Beverly Hills district.

They say their exile is a serious blow to Montserrat's economy.

And they maintain they have the right to choose where they live and would sign disclaimers absolving the government of any liability.

Mr Longrigg admits his stance is causing financial harm to the island as it attempts to get back on its feet after the catastrophic eruptions.

But he says he is motivated by the need to protect lives.

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