Devastated island wants lasting memorial to Diana

Montserrat Asks to Re-name Capital after Diana

The authorities on the Caribbean island of Montserrat say they'd like to provide a lasting memorial to Princess Diana by naming their new capital after her.

Britain has given a commitment to re-develop the north of the island after the south -- including the current capital, Plymouth -- was devastated by volcanic eruptions.

The islanders are seeking approval from Buckingham Palace to call a new northern capital Port Diana.

As they struggle to rebuild their community after two years of volcanic activity, they believe it is inevitable that their existing capital, Plymouth, which is uninhabitable and has been abandoned - will be rebuilt.

Town planner Bru Pierce, who has presented International Development Junior Minister George Foulkes with plans for the new capital, says renaming it after Diana, Princess of Wales, would be a suitable memorial.

Plans to rebuild abandoned capital
Mr Pierce told BBC radio: "The worldwide love for Princess Diana will create on-going interest - more people will come off the ships, more people will come from Antigua. It will create a market."

He said that even in death, the Princess "can actually do something that is really good ... and help Montserrat becoming independently viable".

Mr Pierce says plans for the new town feature a port to cater for cruise liners, a yacht marina and an international cricket oval.

On Tuesday Mr Foulkes, on a visit to the island, announced details of the Government's plan to fund a five-year Sustainable Development Plan to improve transport links, health, housing and education facilities in the island's northern safe haven, where most of its remaining population of 4-5,000 are now living in cramped conditions.

The scheme to get Royal approval for the renaming of the island's capital is said to have the backing of Montserrat's chief minister, David Brandt.

The International Development Secretary, Clare Short, whose handling of the crisis on Montserrat is under investigation by the Commons, has promised to visit the island by the end of the year.