My fellow citizens and residents, I am privileged to address you for the second
time this month on matters of public importance.
In this regard, I wish to give an update on our recovery efforts, post Hurricanes
Irma and Maria. Specifically:
a) Housing sector – The Ministry of Finance has begun processing applications
respecting requests for duty-free concessions, to assist homeowners in the
purchase of materials to repair and renovate their homes which were
damaged by the Hurricanes. I am pleased to report that, of the subset of
claims processed so far, a majority has been approved. In order to further
expedite processing, the Ministry of Finance has engaged a number of
private contractors to supplement the efforts of our building inspectors.
b) Agriculture and Fisheries Sector – The sum of $300,000 has been earmarked
to expedite the restoration of the agriculture and fisheries sector.
With respect to crop farmers, relief has already started by issuing input
supplies such as fertilizer, planting material and chemicals.
The small ruminant (sheep and goat) farmers have been issued galvanize and
lumber (2×4 and 4×4) to replace or buttress their farm structures that may
have been totally or partly damaged during the storms.
The large ruminant farmers have been given bayticol, dewormers and
several bags of feed have been set aside for farmers with livestock and
Additionally, a portion of these funds has been set aside for private
contractors to clear roads of fallen trees and debris as well as to repair the
badly washed and eroded roads.
o To this end, work has already started in the Tabernacle to Harris area
while work should commence very shortly in the area stretching from
Old Road to Belmont.
o Meanwhile the Land Management Unit of the Ministry of Agriculture
is continuing to work on roads in the St. Peters and Cayon areas.
We have prioritized the Old Road Fisheries breakwater for rebuilding. In
this regard, ADeB Consultants Ltd has been engaged to provide an engineering design
for this structure. Duty-Free Concessions are also available to our
fisherfolks who have suffered damages.
c) Education sector – Our Public Works Department responded quite timely to
repair the damage to the roof of the Washington Archibald High School. I
am pleased to report that repairs have been completed on 2 of 4 blocks.
Work is ongoing primarily on the weekend to complete the remaining two.
We committed as part of our excellent support to our neighbours to
accommodate students whose education had become disrupted as a
consequence of the ravages by the two Hurricanes. I am advised that, so far,
some 72 students of preschool, primary and secondary school age are being
accommodated in our schools from 7 countries namely: Anguilla (15), BVI
(24), Dominica (15), the mainland USA (6), St Thomas (3), and St Maarten
(9). Of the 72 students being accommodated here, 35 are in our secondary
schools, 34 are in our primary schools and 3 are in our preschools.
Additionally, 52 of these students have applied for and received assistance
from our Social Services Department.
d) Health Sector – Our health sector has not been spared the ravages of
Hurricanes Irma and Maria, in particular, our institution-based health
services. The most serious damage has occurred to the roof of the Joseph N
France General Hospital. While it is true that the facility has had a history of
roof construction flaws which repeated repairs have failed to correct, these
problems were exacerbated by the passage of the two recent hurricanes
which saw new leaks appearing in all except four of the premium rooms on
Private Ward. These repairs are now being addressed by Evelyn's Roofing
and Building Services. The end goal is to better serve the patients in our
care. When completed, the cost of these repairs would total approximately
e) Overtime/Honorarium – In my opening statement of my last Press
Conference on October 03 rd , I indicated that my government had graciously
considered the paying of some incentives to workers who went beyond the
call of duty in the lead up to, during and post-Hurricanes Irma and Maria. I
stated then that those payments would be made during the months of
October through November.
The Ministry of Finance has indicated that it shall be able to process those
submissions received to date from line Ministries within the next 14 days.
We urge delinquent Ministries to submit their information at the soonest to
the Ministry of Finance. It is our intention to pay all entitlements before
November 30 th when the Hurricane season would have officially ended.
The fury and brute behaviour of Hurricanes brought out the best in our people. We
witnessed the best of our values and expectations reflected in the delightful
National Service of Praise and Thanksgiving to God following the Hurricanes, the
deep patriotism on display on October 7 th when we commemorated our
Independence with a parade, the toast to the Nation and Independence Cocktail
All three events were beautifully orchestrated and brought much delight to those
who love our Country. Unfortunately, the Opposition chose not to celebrate with
the rest of the Country.
Update on Investigation on the Status of Dr Denzil Douglas
In my last Press Conference, I referred to certain information drawn to my
attention surrounding the Leader of the Opposition. I indicated the intention of the
Government to move, in the public interest, a full investigation having regard to
the constitutional, civic, political and Parliamentary importance of the matter at
hand. Indeed, since that time, the matter of eligibility of persons to participate in
General and/or By-Elections and serve as Members of Parliament has raised its
head in other jurisdictions such as Jamaica and Australia. Everywhere, this matter
of the disqualification to serve in the Parliament is treated with seriousness. In St
Kitts and Nevis, this continues to be a hot topic that will not disappear by the vain
efforts of the election losers to create and manufacture fake news of their own
The investigation has revealed that Dr Denzil Douglas Leader of the Opposition,
has a diplomatic passport (DP0000462) issued by the government of Dominica on
30 th July, 2015 and bearing the expiry date 29 th July, 2020. The said passport has
listed his nationality as Dominican.
Dr Denzil Douglas was not a passive holder of this diplomatic passport. He has
used it on several of his foreign trips in the Caribbean and beyond.
The people of this Country call upon Dr Denzil Douglas to tell the full and
unvarnished truth of his standing with the government of Dominica. Is he a paid
diplomat and, if yes, how much is he being paid? On how many visits, if any, has
he accompanied officials of Dominica on or represented the Government of
Dominica on? Will Douglas put personal avarice and self interests above his duty
as a Member of Parliament and Leader of the Opposition of St Kitts and Nevis?
Has he been promoting, marketing, and soliciting development projects on behalf
of Dominica and any other Country for that matter at the expense of St Kitts and
Nevis the Country he is pining to lead again?
Has he offered the database of our Citizenship by Investment Programme to
Does he have an ordinary or official diplomatic passport of any other country?
The Dilemma of Divided Loyalties
In keeping with its pledge to the people of the Federation, the Government
continues to investigate the circumstances surrounding the issuance of a diplomatic
Dominican passport to the Leader of the Opposition, and the potential
consequences for both the federal interests of St Kitts and Nevis, and the best
interests of the people of this beloved Federation.
The qualifications required of those elected to sit in the National Assembly are
constitutionally entrenched and intended to prevent any actual or perceived
conflicts of interest arising from divided loyalties. This provision is intended to
protect the people as electors and the Country from a person who may be in service
to two masters.
The Bible itself warns against this in Matthew Chapter 6 vs 24a:
“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love
the other, or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other”.
I have deduced that there is a prevailing view that Dr Denzil Douglas is a
conflicted being. His hysterical vituperations against our Country, its CBI
programme and service offerings are not coming from a heart of love or patriotism.
Many persons have pointed to the bitterness and vendetta in several
pronouncements by Dr Denzil Douglas. The biblical verse in the book of Matthew
resonates with me when I think of the fiasco in which Dr Denzil Douglas has found
Having regard to the foregoing evidential matrix and more, and in pursuit of the
public interest and its duty, the Government has sought a legal opinion on the
results of the investigation so far.
Section 28 of the Constitution, the supreme law of this Federation, provides that a
person shall not be qualified to be elected as a Representative of the National
Assembly if he or she is, by virtue of his or her own act, under any
acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power or
This constitutionally-entrenched qualification has been further codified by the
National Assembly Elections Act, the act of Parliament passed pursuant to the
constitutional grant of power to Parliament. In 2009, Dr Denzil Douglas had twice
amended the National Assembly Elections Act to prevent the nomination and
election to Parliament of persons in allegiance, obedience and adherence to another
state. So serious did Dr Douglas pursue the matter that he passed the National
Assembly Elections (Amendment) Act 2009. To ensure he achieved his aim, he
further clarified and refined it by Act No. 17 of 2009 entitled National Assembly
Elections (Amendment) (No 2) Act 2009.
The mouthpiece of the Douglas Party, the Labour Spokesman, challenged the
eligibility of Hon Shawn Richards and Lindsay Grant to become members of
Parliament. The Hon Eugene Hamilton was taken to Court by the Douglas regime
over holding not an American passport but a green card. Hundreds of thousands of
dollars were spent to satisfy his Machiavellian passion.
It is tragic that the said ‘ten man in one’, Dr Denzil Douglas, who led the fight
against others could now have entangled himself in issues of eligibility to serve in
the People’s Parliament.
The qualification of Representatives in the National Assembly is not to be taken
lightly, since the National Assembly is a place where elected members represent
constituents’ views, discuss national issues and call on the Government to explain
The question to be asked is: Has the National Assembly of St Kitts and Nevis not
been tainted by the Leader of the Opposition, who as a holder of a Dominican
Diplomatic passport prima facie (i) pledges allegiance to Dominica, a foreign
power or state, (ii) advances Dominica’s federal interests, (iii) clearly has divided
loyalties between this Federation and Dominica, and as a result, (iv) undermines
the interests of St Kitts and Nevis – his native land?
Simply put, there is a serious legal question as to whether or not the Leader of the
Opposition is qualified to be a Representative in the National Assembly.
Our People Deserve Better
The people of St Kitts and Nevis deserve better from their elected leaders. They
deserve to have their views represented and they deserve a Parliament that works
indisputably and resolutely to advance the interests of the Federation and the
In order to protect the interests of this great Federation and its loyal people, the
Government is in the process of finalizing an application to the High Court seeking
declarations that the Leader of the Opposition is no longer eligible to continue
sitting as a Representative in the National Assembly, and that he should be
required to vacate his seat.
Given the importance of this for our democracy, Country, people and Parliament, I
commend the Leader of Government Business for bringing this to the attention of
the Hon Speaker of the National Assembly.
Loyalty is critical to those who serve our Nation. Disloyalty to our Country by any
public official is a matter that must be condemned.
For my part, I reaffirm that I hold no other passports than those properly issued to
me by the Federation of St Kitts and Nevis, and I never have and never will hold
allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign state or power. I am too much in
love with my people and Country to have it otherwise.
Notwithstanding the fallout from two Category 5 hurricanes, my Government
remains committed to balance not only the books but the lives of our people.
In this regard, to facilitate our people in the usual Christmas celebrations we have
decided to offer the following list of concessions for 2017.
In keeping with our tradition of goodwill and glad tidings, I can report that
effective December 01-31, 2017, the allowance to non-commercial importers and
travellers will be as follows:
i) Gift packages of foodstuff are allowed for the first 400lbs (about 4 barrels)
free of duties and taxes
ii) Non-Commercial Travellers and importers will receive a duty-free
allowance of EC $540 (US $200) off the CIF value.
After consultations with the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, I am in a
position to report that the discounted VAT Rate Day for 2017 is slated for Friday,
December 15, 2017.
Vehicles purchased up to a value of EC $50,000 are exempted from VAT. Above
$50,000, 17 percent VAT obtains.
Our last Discounted VAT Rate Day yielded sales of $40.73m, the largest sales
recorded in the history of a Discounted VAT Rate Day.
We hope that the early announcement of these concessions will help our businesses
and consumers manage their affairs better.