Basseterre, St. Kitts, April 01, 2016 (SKNIS): The formal meetings of the Cabinet took place on Monday March 21, Thursday March 24 and Tuesday March 29, 2016. The meetings were chaired by the Prime Minister, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris.
In order to incentive Small and Medium Size Enterprises (SMEs), Cabinet approved a number of concessions to SMEs.
In an effort to promote safety and security, Cabinet has removed all duties and customs service charges on all surveillance equipment to be used by households and businesses effective April 1 until December 31, 2016. Cabinet hopes that businesses and home owners will take advantage of this limited period to add to their safety and security.
Cabinet considered the request of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce (CIC) for an increase in the salary cap for purposes of tax reporting and in that regard increased the threshold to $90,000 to take effect from June 1, 2016.
Cabinet took note of the fact that hundreds of persons were adversely affected by the BAICO (British-American Insurance) fallout who are still to have their due entitlements. In this regard, Cabinet took note of proposals submitted by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) Monetary Council to bring a resolution with respect to depositors and annuity holders of BAICO.
Cabinet has determined to have further discussions in the BAICO matter with the Governor of the ECCB Timothy Antoine including the proposed plan of arrangement of BAICO. Cabinet is committed to ensuring that the best possible arrangements are being made to settle outstanding claims against BAICO.
Cabinet considered the findings of a committee set up by the Ministry of Education to examine a range of support systems in place to the Education Sector. Cabinet noted in particular the committee’s findings that there were fundamental weaknesses in the way the REACH (Recognizing Everyone’s Ability to Climb Higher) programme was introduced and formulated in the run up to the 2015 General Elections. Cabinet has requested that the committee further examine and advise it on the nature and extent of support to be provided to secondary and tertiary educational institutions in St. Kitts and Nevis.
Cabinet has determined that the Year Two students under the REACH Programme shall receive the continued assistance while the programme is being reviewed. The budget for this is expected to be over two (2) million Eastern Caribbean (EC) dollars.
Cabinet took further actions to enhance the services available on the E-Government Portal and in this regard, five (5) new apps have been added to the offering: Consumer Affairs Services App; SKNIS (St. Kitts and Nevis Information Service) App; National Events Calendar App; Government Directory App; and Crime Stoppers App. The Consumer Affairs Services App will be especially impactful for consumers as this app will provide regular comparative data on consumer items across supermarkets.
The Minister of Labour, The Honourable Vance Amory, brought Cabinet up to date on a number of labour issues including matters related to the mismanagement of the Severance Fund by the former administration. Cabinet considers the matter a serious one and has requested policy prescriptions for dealing with such abuses while strengthening the rights of workers. Cabinet has determined at all costs that the worker must not suffer as a result of the mismanagement by the former administration.