Charlestown, Nevis (Sunday, November 17, 2013)- Former premier and opposition leader in the Nevis Island Assembly, the Hon. Joseph Parry, told listeners to the popular radio talk show –Tell Me – aired Thursday evening (Nov. 14) on Choice Community Radio 105.3 FM that a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is not legally binding, unless certain clauses are so worked to establish an arrangement of permanency. He said he had been so advised by a senior lawyer in the Federation.
“The MOU that was signed last year, pertaining to the proposed land for debt swap, by the National Bank’s representative and the representatives of the two ministries of finance in the country was a document of intent and not one written in stone. In fact, it set up terms and conditions that would have had to be confirmed in a formal document and signed by all parties concerned at a later date,” he said.
Hon. Parry disclosed that the St. Kitts-Nevis National Bank actually already had in its possession the title for Stock Pen Estate. This title, Parry said, had been given to them (National Bank) by the CCM administration prior to 2006, as security for the government’s overdraft, so it is not surprising that the estate became part of the MOU.
“Indeed if the government had failed to honour its debt, the Bank would have held that security, and used the proceeds of the sale of that estate to pay off that debt.”
The former premier said, “the issue really is not that the Nevis Island Administration is swapping land for debt. The Nevis Reformation Party (NRP) supports it, and had talks with the Bank of Nevis and National Bank on swapping. The point to be examined, however, is this. The Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM) opposed the debt swapping arrangement, and they suggested that Social Security should purchase the land, and they actually joined political parties in St. Kitts (PAM & PLP) to remove the Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas from office, on the ground that he committed a major policy faux paus that would negatively impact the country now, and in the future.
He said that position is fundamental, to the very existence of the Unity Construct, and certainly the CCM must present alternatives to the people of Nevis and St. Kitts, and if they have none they need to go in a public forum and explain their actions to the people of this country.
“They can’t now be blaming the NRP, because it is the CCM who are in government, and they are obligated to make decisions that will lead to good governance,” Parry said.
“If they have to break a MOU in the interest of the people of Nevis, they must do so. They broke the MOU that the oil storage company had established with the government of Nevis; they have refused to move forward with the fisheries project in Charlestown, thereby depriving the country of an investment of $30 million in spite of the fact that the Japanese government has pleaded with them to go ahead with the project. CCM has also stopped Surrey Paving from refurbishing the Hamilton Road, which was a project already in process and which financial advances were already made,”Parry added.
In the Friday, November 9th, 2012 edition of the St. Kitts-Nevis Observer Newspaper, then former premier, Hon. Vance Amory stated, “Losing crown land in the government’s, land for debt swap is a lose/lose situation for Nevisians.”
The article further stated that leader of the Concerned Citizens Movement on Monday (Nov 5, 2012) at the Red Cross Center held a press conference where Mr. Amory voiced his party’s stance on the land for debt swap deal, saying the CCM was not in favor of the government mechanism.
At the time, Amory opined that the land for debt swap would negatively affect the Nevis economy.
“Mr. Amory should come clean with the people of Nevis and his political partners in St. Kitts. Obviously, the Unity Construct can’t stand, so it is time for Mr. Amory to walk away,” concluded former premier Parry.