Post Cabinet Briefing for Monday, February 27, 2017

Basseterre, St. Kitts, March 01, 2017 (SKNIS)—On Monday, February 27, the formal meeting of the Cabinet took place. The meeting was chaired by Prime Minister, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris.
Cabinet congratulated the Nevis Sixth Form College’s Literary and Debating Society on its win in the 45th Leeward Islands Debating Competition (LIDC), which took place at the Nevis Performing Arts Center (NEPAC) from Thursday, February 23 to Sunday, 26, 2017. Cabinet expressed the hope that other young people may emulate the debaters’ hard-work, discipline, and academic perseverance and excellence. The Nevisian team led by Gabriella Brantley and Rol-J Williams came up against the Antigua and Barbuda team with the moot “The atrocity of our age is the billions of dollars spent on sports.” The Nevisian team triumphed with 578 points to the Antigua and Barbuda’s 489. Brantley was adjudged the best speaker in the final debate, while K-Jel Smithen was declared best overall speaker in the competition. It was Nevis’ 8th win in the debating competition. The Nevisian team comprised of Gabriella Brantley, Rol-J Williams, Jaheel Linton, McKebou Tross, Rickela Hanley and Teacher Ms. M. Jahnel Nisbett.

Cabinet discussed the agenda for the next Good Governance and Accountability for Prosperity town hall meeting to be held at the Saddlers Primary School on February 28. Cabinet identified the speakers to be Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, the Honourable Ian Patches Liburd, The Honourable Eugene Hamilton, and Attorney General, Senator the Honourable Vincent Byron. Cabinet made a decision to bring the first series of town hall meetings to an end in respect of the 40 day Lenten Season, which begins with Ash Wednesday on March 01 and ends on Easter Sunday on April 16. Lent is a period of prayer, fasting and alms-giving, traditionally observed by Catholics and some Protestant denominations. The length of the Lenten fast was established in the 4th century as 46 days (40 days, not counting Sundays). During Lent, Christians eat sparingly or give up a particular food or habit.

Cabinet considered a need for a revision of the immigration policy, having regard to a number of developments including existing immigration laws, CARICOM and OECS treaty obligations, and the need to protect the federation’s borders to ensure that Kittitians and Nevisians are not disadvantaged in the field of work. Cabinet also urged greater vigilance and compliance with the laws of the land by employers, which include but is not limited to the prompt payment of social security and other deductions on behalf of employees. Public education and sensitization will start soon on the issue so that both immigrants and employers will be made aware of their rights and responsibilities.

Cabinet agreed to designate the Christophe Harbour Marina as an official port of entry within the federation. The Marina offers secure alongside mooring 24/7 dockage access, a deep water harbour with wide turning basin, in-slip fuelling and ample power for superyachts up to 250 feet. The Marina provides onsite customs clearance and immigration services.

Cabinet took note of three important high level meetings to be held in St. Kitts from March 1-3, 2017. These meetings are the Growth Forum hosted by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) on Wednesday, March 01; the ECCB Monetary Council Meeting on March 02; and the 64th Meeting of the OECS (Organization of Eastern Caribbean States) Authority on March 03. Cabinet expressed its welcome to all participating delegations and hopes that the meetings will be productive and redound to the benefit of the citizens and residents of the sub-region.

Cabinet examined the fact that the policy decision of the former Dr. Douglas-led Labour Administration to remove the country of origin field from the St. Christopher (St. Kitts) and Nevis passport continues to be a matter of grave concern. In this regard in keeping with its policy to be a responsible member of the international community, the Government of National Unity has determined that it was in the public’s interest that any such passports improperly issued by the former administration would be deactivated. Holders of passports without the country of origin field are therefore urged and advised to apply for new passports which should have the appropriate field. Applicants will incur the normal passport fees.

Cabinet reflected on some issues that emerged from the town hall meetings. The matter of the abandoned vacant lots in Basseterre, environmental issues and the beautification of Basseterre issue related to stemming congestion as a result of indiscriminate vending, assumed Cabinet’s attention. Cabinet recommended that a further batch of litter wardens should be appropriately enrolled to assist in the health and sanitation of Basseterre. Further initiatives were also discussed.

Cabinet approved a month long celebration for International Women’s Day extending beyond the observance of the day, which is March 08. The United Nations (UN) theme for this year’s observance is “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030”. International Women’s Day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women. Here in St. Kitts and Nevis women are honoured in several areas including education, health, politics and entrepreneurship.

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