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Thursday, November 27, 1997 Published at 16:15 GMT



UK

Britain criticised over Montserrat muddle
image: [ The report says islanders had to endure
The report says islanders had to endure "appalling conditions"

A British parliamentary committee has described the British Government's policy towards its remaining dependent territories as totally inadequate.

The criticism came in a report into how the volcanic eruption on the Caribbean island of Montserrat was handled.

The report said mismanagement and confusion on both sides made the crisis worse.

It said the British Government did not adequately helped the thousands of Montserratians who have already left.

But it added that the island's authorities failed to prepare for the eruptions, which had been predicted.

MPs on the committee say the lack of preparation for the renewed onset of volcanic activity amounted to a "failure in communication, political leadership and responsibility."

But the International Development Minister, George Foulkes, insisted that much was being done to help the islanders.

The International Development Committee, which visited the island to compile the report, said residents of Montserrat had to endure appalling conditions after the volcanic eruptions damaged much of the island.

The committee called for improved evacuation plans, warning that the volcano on Montserrat could erupt again.

It also called for a fundamental rethink about the island's constitution, concluding that the existing delicate balance between the roles of the local government, the British governor and London has meant ineffective rule.








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