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Premier Mark Brantley outlines CCM’s efforts to uplift Nevisians

Premier of Nevis and Leader of Concerned Citizens Movement Mark Brantley again lambasted Dr Timothy Harris as well as NRP upon the distribution of a fair share of the funds driven from the Citizenship by Investment Programme.

Nevis: Premier of Nevis and Leader of Concerned Citizens Movement Mark Brantley again lambasted Dr Timothy Harris as well as NRP upon the distribution of a fair share of the funds driven from the Citizenship by Investment Programme. He also shared highlights of the work done by the Nevis Island Administration led by the Concerned Citizens Movement for the upliftment of the people. 

Through his social media post, he lashed at them and stated that the citizens of Nevis understand maths and know how to count. He added that during the Labour/NRP era, the Federation earned billions of dollars from the sale of an asset owned jointly by Kittitians and Nevisians, the passport.

Read Here: Full Statement of Premier Mark Brantley: 

By law, St Kitts manages the CBI programme on behalf of the entire Federation so that even those applications that come from Nevis are processed by the CBI Unit in St Kitts. ALL fees are paid in St Kitts.

During the Labour/NRP era, the people of Nevis were denied any of the CBI monies, and when any did come, it came as loans. The CCM campaigned vociferously that this was wrong, and Team Unity promised to the right this wrong. 

That is why the Charlestown Accord signed by Timothy Harris, Vance Amory and Shawn Richards on 14 December 2014 on the Charlestown steps of the High Court before God and man addressed the CBI monies specifically and said that CBI funds would under a Unity government be shared on a pro-rata population basis which means based on the available census St Kitts would get 75% and Nevis would get 25%.

We now know that since 2008 the CBI has brought roughly 5.3 BILLION dollars to Basseterre, and from that, the island of Nevis has received just under $400 million. Had the people of Nevis received the fair share, they would have received some 1.35 BILLION dollars. In other words, Nevis is owed nearly 1 BILLION dollars.

I became Premier of Nevis in December 2017, and ever since then, I have been agitating for Nevis to receive what he was committed to. Timothy Harris became PM on the back of the same Charlestown Accord that he refused to honour, notwithstanding that he signed it, signalling his commitment to Nevisians getting what is rightfully theirs.

It has been a matter of some amusement to me that throughout this public debate about Fair Share, Dr Harris has repeatedly said how much money Nevis has received from CBI. He has NEVER once said how much money St Kitts kept for itself. And so the rhetoric uttered over and over by him and now taken up by his recently purchased cheerleaders in the NRP in Nevis is that Nevis received $400 million. To add insult to injury, they have now asked what Nevis did with the $400 million.

Now no one has ever asked Dr Harris how much has he kept for St Kitts. If they did he would have to admit that St Kitts kept just under $5 BILLION for itself representing some 93% of the CBI monies.

More importantly, no one has asked what he has done with that amount of cash. $5 BILLION is a whole ton of money. There is no new hospital or development in healthcare of note, Cayon people still can’t get water consistently, no new investment in electricity or renewables, no new hotel projects save those that Douglas left to be finished, and no new schools, including no new Basseterre High School as promised. So with 93% of the CBI money, Dr Harris has never once been called upon to account.

However, little Nevis, with a paltry 7% of the money, is constantly being asked to account for its share by those who refuse to join the fight for what belongs to Nevis.

I am sure the people of Nevis have seen the expansion of our road network, Hanley’s Road, Braziers, Brown Hill Road, Butler’s, Shaws Road, Farms, and Island Main Road, to name a few. I am sure you have seen the Mondo track, which has helped our athletes develop into champions in the Federation. I am sure you have seen the new landmark Treasury Building in Charlestown. I am sure you have used the water taxi pier at Oualie, which has revolutionized travel between St Kitts and Nevis.

 I am sure you have seen the ongoing expansion at the Alexandra Hospital, an expansion 2.5 times the size of the existing hospital. I am sure you have seen the roll out of CCTV islandwide and the construction of a state of the art CCTV Command Center. I am sure you have seen the brand new police and fire station at Newcastle. I know you enjoyed Culturama at the Arthur Freeman Center of Excellence at Market Shop. I am sure that we all now enjoy better electricity as we bought not one but two new Waartsiller generating sets.

Most importantly, from March 2020 and for two years thereafter, our island, like countries across the globe, was locked down due to COVID. The pandemic brought to a complete halt our primary revenue earner, tourism.

And yet my Government didn’t waiver nor buckle. We continued to pay our public servants and pensioners in full and on time every single payday. Of note, the payroll of the NIA is approximately $8.5 million per month or just over $100 million per year. We offered relief on water and electricity. 

We offered stimulus to our businesses and farmers. We increased our social safety nets to ensure that those who couldn’t afford it could eat. We upgraded and outfitted our schools to make them Covid proof. We serviced our debt. We provided support to our statutory corporations. We did all this with our tourism plant shuttered and with our borders closed. 

But we didn’t stop there. We also partnered with MSR Media to create a movie industry in Nevis. We provided $5 million to micro businesses for women and youth. We expanded our affordable housing programme, and for the first time in history, we have housing projects at Maddens, Hamilton, Craddock Road, Garners, Prospect and Rices happening at the same time.

 We offered concessions on construction, leading to a boom in the local home and commercial construction sector. We saw the opening of Belmont Gardens, the Malcolm Guishard Recreational Park, new restaurants, duty-free shops and various businesses.

When we reflect that the much talked about $400 million came over the course of the past seven years, we quickly realize that the annual amount of roughly $57 million could not even cover salaries and wages in Nevis. This was especially obvious during the pandemic when all other revenue sources were cut off.

So yes, this election for Nevis is about fairness and allowing ALL in our country, Kittitians AND Nevisians, to benefit from the full fruits of their citizenship. We must get our Fair Share, and that is non-negotiable.  

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Anglina Byron

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