Basseterre, St. Kitts, January 16, 2017 (SKNIS)— On Monday 9th January, 2017, the formal meeting of the Cabinet took place. The meeting was chaired by the Prime Minister, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris.
1. Cabinet reviewed the Calendar Year 2016 and expressed its satisfaction with the accomplishments of the government over that period. Cabinet noted that the economy had grown significantly over the year 2015. It also took note that the growth in the economy in 2016 assisted in the accumulation of surpluses on all fiscal accounts that resulted in the government being able to pay a 13-month salary to civil and public servants in December, 2016.
2. Cabinet commended the Ministry of Culture under the responsibility of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Culture, the Honourable Shawn K. Richards, for the successful hosting of the 2016 Sugar Mas’ 45 Carnival. Cabinet also expressed satisfaction with the good behaviour of citizens, residents, and visitors that resulted in an incident- free Carnival. Cabinet praised the security forces for preserving law and order in the most festive season of the year.
3. Cabinet held an audience with a high level delegation from the security forces, along with Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Mr. Osmond Petty. The Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force was led by Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ian Queeley, accompanied by Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hilroy Brandy, with responsibility for the Service Improvement Directorate; Assistant Commissioner of Police, Mr. Terrance James, with responsibility for the Operations Directorate; Assistant Commissioner of Police, Mr. Andre Mitchell, with responsibility for the Crime Directorate; and Assistant Commissioner of Police, Ms. Merclyn Hughes, with responsibility for the Administration, Resources, Technology and Intelligence Directorate. The St. Kitts and Nevis Defence Force was led by Lieutenant Colonel Patrick Wallace. Also, Cabinet received assurances from the security forces that they can appropriately respond to any security challenge that may arise and in particular Cabinet received updates on certain special operations that are to be executed by the Police immediately. Extensive discussions took place based on presentations by Assistant Commissioners of Police, Terrance James and Andre Mitchell. The Cabinet recommitted to provide the resources which the Police required and to expedite the processes for the immediate implementation of programmes proposed by the Police. Additionally, Cabinet welcomed the news from the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Mr. Osmond Petty that the first shipment of closed circuit television (CCTV) and appliances had arrived in the Federation. Cabinet also was also informed by the High Command of the Police and Commander of the Defence Force that training will commence for new recruits in February and March respectively. Cabinet also welcomed Mr. Neals Chitan, Crime Reduction Specialist and Social Skills Consultant, who is in the Federation as part of the Ministry of National Security’s crime fighting initiatives to stem the tide of antisocial behaviour, especially among our young people.
4. Cabinet also discussed the legislative agenda, including matters of good governance. In this regard, Cabinet announced the first Sitting of Parliament to be held on January 20, 2017.
Cabinet noted recent public expressions regarding the formation of a company by Minister of Public Infrastructure, Post, Urban Development and Transport. Cabinet received legal advice on the matter and recorded its disappointment that certain elements within the society were attempting to make an issue where there was none. Cabinet reaffirmed its commitment to the highest level of ethical conduct and behaviour by members of the Cabinet and noted that not one scintilla of evidence has been provided to indicate that any member of the Cabinet had breached any ethical standard. The Cabinet was assured that the company is not licensed to conduct business, neither has the company engaged in any business, and in particular business, which benefits from any contracts with the government. The Cabinet is satisfied that Minister Liburd has done nothing illegal. Further and most importantly, Minister Liburd has no intention to activate the business in question. Cabinet cautioned that it was unhelpful for persons to engage in speculation and innuendo on a serious matter of good governance, and finally took note of the fact of its commitment to the electorate to avoid the clear conflict of interest situation that bedeviled the former Dr. Douglas-led Administration. In that regard, Cabinet considered the matter of the lease/rental of the Five Ways property by the former Prime Minister Dr. Douglas to the Taiwanese Embassy without open bidding or tender. Cabinet recalled too, its objection to the lease/rental of the house of Senator Nigel Carty to the former Commissioner of Police, C.G. Walwyn, and the introduction of a significant allowance to C.G. Walwyn to allow him to meet the rental cost to which Senator Carty was the ultimate beneficiary. Cabinet determined that these matters will be subjects of ventilation. Cabinet wishes to assure all citizens that it takes seriously the ethics and ethos of good governance.