BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, FEBRUARY 14th, 2017 (PRESS SEC) — The Honourable Mark Brantley told the large crowd at a town hall meeting held by the Government of National Unity in Charlestown, Nevis last night (Monday, February 13th, 2017) that the Team Unity Movementushered in “a coming together like we have never seen in the affairs of St. Kitts and Nevis.”
The three-party Team Unity coalition officially launched on Thursday, September 26th, 2013 at Greenlands Park, where it was announced that the charismatic Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris – who was then a five-time elected Member of Parliament – would be the Movement’s leader.
Team Unity ended up scoring a resounding victory at the polls on Monday, February 16th, 2015. Two days later, Dr. Harris was sworn in as St. Kitts and Nevis’ third Prime Minister. Then, on Sunday, February 22nd, his administration’s Cabinet was formally presented to the people of St. Kitts and Nevis.
Speaking last night to the highly engaged audience whose heads nodded in affirmation while they applauded his words, the Honourable Mark Brantley, who is the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Aviation in the Team Unity administration, said that the idea of unity was one that the people put their faith in, as evidenced by the election results.
Of this idea, Minister Brantley said: “It was an idea that we asked the people to invest in. It was an idea that we asked you to water and to allow to germinate and grow.”
The Honourable Mark Brantley went on to encourage the people in attendance to consider more than his words in assessing the Team Unity Government’s record of keeping faith with the citizens and residents of St. Kitts and Nevis, particularly in executing its mandate of ensuring economic advancement and a fair share for all.
“Let us look at the money…because for too long the people of Nevis have said that we have been left out. We have been on the outside of our nation looking in,” Minister Brantley, who is also Deputy Premier of Nevis, said, noting that, “I will give you the evidence. I am a lawyer by training so I deal with evidence.”
The Honourable Mark Brantley stated that, “In 2013, before Unity, the SIDF [the St. Kitts-Nevis Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation] spent $95,474,153.00. Every copper was spent in St. Kitts. Not a penny of that money reached Nevis…Unity took office in 2015, and look at the difference!”
“From the same SIDF, we got $6 million for a pier in Nevis, $2.5 million for the upgrade of sporting facilities, for the geothermal project $7.7 million, for the Mondo-designed athletic track $10 million, for the airport runway $2 million, for the control tower $1.5 million, for the Alexandra Hospital $9 million, for equipment for the Long Point Port $1 million, for the purchase of a generator by NEVLEC [the Nevis Electricity Company power station] $13.5 million, for our Treasury that was burnt down and is being rebuilt $6.5 million, for our water project $2.5 million…In less than two years of Unity, that comes up to $62.2 million,” Minister Brantley said.
In addition to this $62.2 million from the SIDF, the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) received – in less than two years – regular budgetary support from the Federal Government in the amount of $51.16 million. Minister Brantley explained last night that this regular budgetary support arrangement represents a pro-rata share of passport processing fees.
“I want to publicly commend the Premier of Nevis [the Honourable Vance Amory, who is Senior Minister in the Team Unity administration] because he has sat with the Prime Minister in a steady way…and he has brought home benefits for the people of Nevis,” the Deputy Premier said.
The Honourable Mark Brantley compared this with the years 2006 to 2015 – before the Team Unity administration came into office in February 2015. “Nevis received $17.3 million in those 10 years compared with $51.16 million in less than two years under Team Unity,” Minister Brantley said, reiterating that a total of $113.36 million was made available to Nevis in less than two years.
This money, which flowed “to the citizens of the country, who live and work and who were born in and make Nevis their home is by any measure a significant achievement,” the Honourable Mark Brantley added.
Minister Brantley also said that, although some naysayers declared that the Team Unity coalition could never last, the government is successful, as seen in the tangible progress that is taking place on both islands that make up the Federation.
“When we [in the Team Unity Government] say a fair share for all, we mean each and every citizen in this country must have a fair access to the resources of the country. Each and every citizen of this country must have access to the full fruits of their citizenship, and whether by accident you were born in Cotton Ground [in Nevis] or Molineux [in St. Kitts], your rights should be no different in the state of St. Kitts and Nevis. That is our simple, simple statement. It may sound simple, but it has been very difficult to achieve over the years, and I am proud to say that with Unity we are well on the way to achieving that,” the Honourable Mark Brantley said during last night’s town hall meeting at the St. Paul’s Anglican Church Hall in Charlestown, Nevis.