Basseterre, St. Kitts, January 30, 2018 (SKNIS): The Nevis Island Administration (NIA), through the leadership and vision of Premier, the Honourable Mark Brantley, outlined the importance of cementing deeper ties with its sister island St. Kitts, as mentioned in the throne speech delivered at the opening of the Nevis Island Assembly on Tuesday, January 30.
The speech, which was read by Her Honour Marjorie Morton CSM, Acting Deputy Governor-General for Nevis, outlined Premier Brantley’s vision for both islands.
“Mr. President, we must continue on our path of Unity with St Kitts. Our country for the first time in its history has a real chance to function as a true Nation where the talents of all are recognized and pressed into service to build a better St Kitts and Nevis,” she said, as she underscored the premier’s vision. “The little boy from Cox and the little girl from Matchmans Road must be treated no differently and must be given the same opportunity as the little boy from Cayon or the little girl from Molineux. They must not have their ambitions and aspirations stifled by virtue of the accidental place of their birth. We must continue to see this as OUR country comprising of two islands but nevertheless belonging to all of us. None of our citizenry must be denied the full fruits of their citizenship. In this regard my government commends our Prime Minister and commits to continuing the important work which we have started to build a better and more cohesive Nation for all.”
Premier Brantley’s vision was further outlined, stating that as the partnership continues with St. Kitts in order to build a better and more cohesive Nation, citizens “ought to expect” the government “to do more to solidify access to our fair share”.
“This can only be achieved through legislative changes. In pursuit of this, my government intends to impress on the Federal Government to enact legislative changes to ensure that the citizens of Nevis get their fair share of the benefits of the nation’s resources,” he further stated. “No more should the people of Nevis have to rely on good working relations or unity arrangement between political parties in St. Kitts and Nevis in order to access to what is rightfully theirs, or suffer when the relationship is adverse. These arrangements for sharing of resources must be enshrined into law and flow to the people of Nevis irrespective of the political arrangements between the Federal Government and the Nevis Island Administration.”
The premier noted that discussions have already begun between the NIA and the Federal Government on a number of legislation. One important legislation is to make amendments to the Value Added Tax Legislation passed in 2010 to remove the existing single filing arrangement and mandate all companies operating in Nevis to file and pay their monthly VAT returns to the Inland Revenue Department in Nevis.
“Likewise, recommendation will also be made for similar amendments to the Corporate Income Tax Legislation to mandate all companies operating in Nevis to file and pay their quarterly Corporate Income Tax to the Inland Revenue Department in Nevis,” Premier Brantley stated. “It is only fair that as we labour to build and expand our economy, our people must be the full beneficiaries of the expanded economic activity. This approach will also ensure that the relative position, strength and growth of our two islands are monitored and allow for an easier and more equitable distribution of national resources.”
He further added that the NIA looks forward to the “full cooperation of the Federal Government in achieving this critical legislative agenda which would usher in a new public revenue paradigm for Nevis.”