Basseterre, St. Kitts, November 16, 2016 (SKNIS): The formal meeting of the Cabinet took place on Monday, November 14, 2016. The meeting was chaired by Prime Minister, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris.
1. Cabinet discussed meetings that took place between Government, Civil Society Organizations and the High Command of the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force with the aim of stemming the incidences of rising crime in the Federation. Some of the issues discussed focused on how young people leaning towards deviant and anti-social behaviour can be identified and offered professional help to arrest these behaviours before they become full-fledged and wreak havoc on communities.
2. Cabinet met and discussed preparations and plans for the 2017 Budget. The Draft Estimates of the 2017 Budget will be laid in Parliament by Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, at a date to be announced in December.
3. Cabinet agreed to a proposal from the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Mr. Osmond Petty, for a separate salary track for university graduates within the security forces. This provision will allow for police officers who are university graduates to be able to move along the graduate scale in a manner similar to other university graduates in the civil service, while recognizing at the same time that the security forces largely remain rank based organizations. Cabinet proposed that there will be a comprehensive review of the human resource needs, the reward system and pay for performance mechanisms as they relate to the security forces.
4. Cabinet discussed a special sitting of the next parliament where the newly appointed Senator Mrs. Akilah Byron-Nisbett will be sworn in as Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly. Senator Byron-Nisbett’s appointment has received significant plaudits from a wide cross-section of society including the first living national hero and former prime minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, the Right Excellent and Right Honourable Dr. Sir Kennedy Alphonse Simmonds, Business and Professional Women Group, the National Executive of the People’s Labour Party (PLP) and the St. Kitts National Youth Parliament Association (SKNYPA). Senator Nisbett holds a Master’s of Science Degree in Computer Information System from Quinnipiac University, Connecticut, and a Bachelor’s of Science in Information Systems Management from the University of South Florida. She has extensive experience in Management Information Systems (MIS), having worked at the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank and the MIS Unit, St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla National Bank Ltd, as a systems analyst. For a number of years, the newly appointed honourable senator has been involved in the organisation of the annual Haynes Smith Miss Caribbean Talented Teen Pageant. Mrs. Byron- Nisbett has the distinction of representing the Federation in 2000 at the Commonwealth Millennium Youth Parliament. Senator Byron-Nisbett is married to Alexis Nisbett. The couple has three children, two boys, Ajani and Amani, and one girl, Anaya.
5. A team from ECTEL (Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority) with its managing director, Mr. Embert Charles, met and made a presentation to Cabinet to explain the role of ECTEL, the Revised Treaty and new legislation governing the organization. The presentation was informative and touched on principles of internet neutrality, revised licenses, spectrum management and monitoring, and an analysis of the sector, including review of USF Regulations and Operations. The managing director presented statistics to show that St. Kitts and Nevis was outperforming all the other territories of ECTEL in terms of growth in the telecommunications sector. The Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL) was established on 04 May, 2000, by Treaty signed in St. George’s, Grenada, by the Governments of five Eastern Caribbean States – Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. ECTEL is the regulatory body for telecommunications in its Member States. It is made up of three components – A Council of Ministers, a regional Directorate and a National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (NTRC) in each Member State. The Council of Ministers comprises the Ministers responsible for Telecommunications in the ECTEL States. The Director General of the OECS is an ex-officio member. Responsibilities include giving directives to the Board of Directors on matters arising out of the Treaty, and ensuring that the Board is responsive to the needs of the Member States in the implementation of telecommunications policy. The Board of Directors comprises one member and an alternate from each Member State and the Managing Director of ECTEL as an ex-officio member. Responsibilities include making recommendations to the Council on any matter relating to telecommunications, and establishing rules and procedures consistent with the Treaty for the management and operation of the ECTEL Directorate. The NTRCs – National Telecommunications Regulatory Commissions – are the Telecommunications regulators at the national level in each Member State. They are responsible for the processing of applications and advising the Minister on the award of licenses.
6. The Cabinet will resume its meeting on Thursday, November 17, 2016.