BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, February 19, 2019 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – The much improved relationship that now exists between the Federal Government and the Nevis Island Administration (NIA), as well as the benefits derived from such a relationship, was the focal point of remarks delivered by Premier the Honourable Mark Brantley at the “Community Consultations” town hall meeting held at the St. Paul’s Anglican Church Hall in Nevis on Monday (February 18) evening.
“The relationship between St. Kitts and Nevis has never been better. It is the best that it has been in the history of this country…and as someone who has been in the middle of it, both from the Nevis end as Premier and sitting in the Federal Cabinet, I can tell you that there has been a genuine effort to meet the needs of all the people of the country and to provide in a way that all the people of the country can benefit,” Premier Brantley stated, while adding, “I think that that, more than anything else, is to me of tremendous significance.”
The Premier reminded the country of the hardships and difficulties suffered by the people of Nevis as a result of the poor relationship that existed between the NIA and the former Denzil Douglas administration, making specific mention of the April, 2014 situation where civil servants on Nevis went unpaid.
“That was not just a function of the NIA having financial difficulty; that was a direct consequence of a bad relationship between St. Kitts and Nevis, of decisions being made on Church Street [Basseterre] calculated to hurt the people of Nevis, and I am very proud to say that through this Team Unity arrangement that has not happened again. And I am proud to go further and to say that we have ushered into being this new paradigm of governance which has ensured that it will never happen again…and that is why I hold no water in my mouth when I say the relationship is the best that it has ever been in the history of this country,” added Premier Brantley, who is also Minister of Foreign Affairs and Aviation in the Federal Government.
Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, while delivering remarks at Monday’s town hall meeting, agreed wholeheartedly with the sentiments expressed by Premier Brantley on the strong relationship between the two governments.
Dr. Harris stated, “Going way back since 1980, you can’t contemplate a time in the politics of Nevis or in the politics of St. Kitts when you could have gone into the election in Nevis highlighting what has been done through the federal entity.”
“It took a change, a new Team Unity administration with a new philosophy, with a new vision of empowerment across the divide to bring Nevis into a genuine federal relationship,” Prime Minister Harris continued.
Since assuming office, the Team Unity administration has provided budgetary support to the Nevis Island Administration annually. In his 2019 Budget Presentation, Prime Minister Harris announced budgetary support to the NIA in the amount of $30 million.