Charlestown-Nevis-Mr. Dennis Michael Morton JP, received a standing ovation on the completion of his keynote address at the 10th annual consultation on the economy, hosted by the Nevis Island Administration.
At the auspicious occasion, held at the NEPAC building on Thursday 22nd September, the former executive chairman of the St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla TDC Ltd Company, caused all of his hearers to ‘face themselves and think.’ He made it a point of duty to very early indicate that his mother was born in Cox Village in Gingerland.
Some of his thoughts were provocative in nature but his suggestions as to the way forward for the economic development of Nevis, were basically sound and practical.
The consultation was held under the theme: ‘A revitalization of skills development and entrepreneurship.’
Mr. Morton dissected the theme in making his pointed comments.
He bluntly indicated that the major problem affecting us as a people, is the fact that our political culture has become toxic and we are driven by the desire to destroy, rather than to build up.
He noted that crime has become a potent force and paused to extend condolences to family of Ozanny Maynard, the latest murder victim in the federation.
He publicly applauded the government of St. Kitts and Nevis for employing the RSS to assist in maintaining peace and security within the two islands.
He stated that St. Kitts and Nevis was recently ranked 124 out of 164 nations, worldwide and stated that that was not good.
He proposed less bureaucracy in the conducting of business. ‘The people who regulate must also facilitate, he said’
He suggested that the establishment of one central clearing house, will effectively serve to increase international ranking
He made reference to Sir Kennedy Simmonds and Sir Simeon Daniel as two former leaders who were not afraid to ‘think big’ and opined that his hearers and especially those in leadership positions, should follow suit.
He proposed a drastic reduction of corporation taxes; incentive packages for locally owned businesses; lowering of high rental fees and easier accessibility to acquiring loans.
He further offered the following recommendations to the NIA in mapping the financial route forward;
- The NIA should establish a local coordinating council with the private sector
- The process of acquiring geothermal energy should be speedily completed as this will reduce the high energy bills
- Nevis should focus more on cruise tourism but not the same brand as St. Kitts. The focus should be more on high end tourists.
- Nevis should strive to acquire at least one more university. This will have huge economical spill off effects
- The construction of a physical bridge between the two islands, would have positive results such as: Closer family ties between the two islands; an increase in trade and commerce; a spike in attendance at entertainment events; improvement in aspects of tourism; more investment across the channel and the users will pay a regulated toll for operational cost of the bridge.
Quoting Confucius, he stated: ‘If you love what you do, you would never work again in your life.’
Mr. Morton, who is also the Ag. Governor General when the current Governor General, Sir Tapley Seaton is off island, concluded his address to loud applause and a standing ovation.
Also making significant presentations during the opening session were Chairperson, Miss Zahnela Claxton; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Mr. Colin Dore; Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon. Vance Amory , Ms. Angela Rouse, representing the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank and Mrs. Euphemia Brice –Roberts, consultant.
There immediately followed a vigorous question and answer period and quite a number of suggestions were made by representatives of the public and private sectors.
Later in the afternoon, there was a panel discussion which featured bankers and private sector partners:
Mr. Faron Lawrence-Moderator; Mr. Denrick Liburd-Bank of Nevis; Ms. Hyacinth Pemberton-Development Bank St. Kitts and Nevis (Nevis Branch); Mr. Mc Levon Tross –A1 Technology Ltd; Mr. Leon Lescott-Finished Touch company Ltd and Mr. Mervin Hanley –THG Network .
After more intense discussions, the closing remarks were delivered by Ms. Catherine Forbes of the Small Enterprise Development Unit.