Text source: Wallace Revels
Introduction / History
Montserrat is an island in the Caribbean Sea to the southeast of Puerto Rico that is part of the Leeward Islands in the region called the Lesser Antilles. Much of this island was devastated and two-thirds of the population fled because of the eruption of the Soufriere Hills Volcano that began in July of 1995. Montserrat has endured volcanic activity since that time with the last eruption occurring in July of 2003. Despite the dangers and uncertainty of the island's volcanoes, many of its people have returned to their home.
Montserrat's capitol, Plymouth, was abandoned due to damage from the volcanic eruptions. A new government seat has been established in the Carr's Bay/Little Bay area at the northwest end of the island.
English and Irish colonists from St. Kitts first settled on Montserrat in 1632. The first African slaves arrived three decades later. The British and French fought for control of the island for most of the 18th century with the UK taking possession in 1783. The island's sugar plantation economy was converted to small farm landholdings in the mid 19th century.
The island is an overseas territory of the UK and functions under English common law. A recently enacted constitution gives the island a local governor who is appointed by the queen and a unicameral legislative council made up of elected officials. There is also a judicial branch where the island has representation in a body made up of officials from several Caribbean islands.
Where are they located?
Montserrat is an island in the Caribbean Sea to the southeast of Puerto Rico that is part of the Leeward Islands in the region called the Lesser Antilles. The geographic coordinates are 16 42 N and 62 13 W. Montserrat functions under UTC 4 time zone which places them one hour ahead of the US eastern time zone during Standard Time.
What are their lives like?
Montserrat is located in the beautiful Caribbean Sea surrounded by its emerald waters. It is a volcanic island with on-going volcanic activity. The population is currently listed at approximately 5000 but as many as 8000 people fled the island due to the eruption of the Soufriere Hills Volcano. Some of the people have returned making it difficult to gather an exact number of residents and information on their racial diversity. The national language of the island is English.
The climate of the island is tropical with very little variation in temperature throughout the year. It also runs a substantial risk of hurricane impact during the hurricane season of June thru November. The land area of Montserrat totals 63.5 sq miles and it has 25 linear miles of beaches. Twenty percent of its land was once suitable for planting crops but current arable land is difficult to estimate due to the volcanic activity.
Severe volcanic activity, which began in July of 1995, has been devastating to this small island's open economy. A catastrophic eruption in June 1997 closed the airports and seaports causing further economic and social dislocation. Two-thirds of the 12,000 inhabitants fled the island. Some residents began to return in 1998 but lack of housing limited their number. The agricultural sector continued to be affected by the lack of suitable land for farming and the destruction of crops. Prospects for the economy depend largely upon developments in relation to the volcanic activity and on public sector construction activity. The UK has launched a three-year $122.8 million aid program to help reconstruct the economy. Half of the island is expected to remain uninhabitable for another decade.
Traditionally, the island depended upon tourism, the growth of vegetables, the raising of livestock and the industrial production of rum, textiles and electrical appliances for its economy.
Telephone, fax, mobile telephone, computer and internet service are available on the island. These services are only used by a small percentage of its people but the services are functionally adequate by western civilization standards. One radio station broadcasts from the island and several others can be received which originate on nearby islands. Cable and satellite television are also available on the island. The long distance and country code for calling Montserrat from the US is 1-664.
The island has two airports and two seaports. Much of their roadway system was destroyed by the volcanic eruptions. Recent restoration projects have successfully restored roadways on the north end of the island.
Montserrat has a police force but no military. Their national defense is the responsibility of the UK. They currently have no national or international disputes.
What are their beliefs?
Roman Catholicism, Protestant Christianity and several other religions are represented on the island.
Despite many representations of faith, this nation, like the rest of the world, is susceptible to being led astray by false teaching. Television, radio, internet and church programs cannot be assumed Biblical and much of what is being done in the name of Evangelical Christianity today is questionable when compared to scripture. The ready access to the internet and cable/satellite TV makes it easy for both solid and heretical teaching to enter the island.
What are their needs?
Every nation regardless of wealth and prominence needs kind oversight and instruction from Godly people. Montserrat is open to Christian outreach as evidenced by the large numbers of religious organizations represented on the island. The opportunity to minister to these churches and to rural peoples of the island should not be overlooked.
* Pray for God to call this people group to Himself
* Pray for God to invigorate His people on the island to accomplish His work
* Pray for the opportunity to reach out to other islands in the region
* Pray for access for God's people to evangelize the lost
* Pray for safety and provision for all who labor for God's kingdom
* Pray for completion of Bible translation in this people group's primary language.
* Pray for the availability of the Jesus Film in the primary language of this people.
ReferencesView Montserratans in all countries.