Charlestown, Nevis (Thursday, January 16, 2014)- Nevis Reformation Party (NRP) –Opposition senator in the Nevis Island Assembly, the Hon. Carlisle Powell said on Wednesday’s edition of Good Morning St. Kitts- Nevis on Freedom FM 106.5, that the wanton victimization by the Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM)-led Nevis Island Administration continues unabated on government workers and employees of statutory corporations, and touches even the private sector on the island.
Powell, who was the special guest of Host EK (Maurice Flanders), told listeners how Nevisian businessman and NRP supporter, Mr. Kevin Huggins was recently victimized by the CCM-led administration. Huggins was told by government workers who entered his Potworks property that construction must cease with immediate effect. When that order was defied, the government turned off Huggins’ water supply to an adjacent building, which houses 16 medical students who attend the Medical University of the Americas (MUA) situated in the St. James’ Parish. Powell characterized this callous behavior as an assault on education tourism in Nevis.
According to Hon. Powell, the government officials went to the property where an additional apartment building was being constructed and instructed the workers to stop the work, and even brought the police to ensure that the project was brought to a halt. One of the policemen in his wisdom told the government officials that he could not do anything as it is the private property of Mr. Huggins, and no law had been broken.
Once informed about the matter, Mr. Huggins, went to the site and told the construction men to resume work, and asked the government officials to get off his property. As a reaction to Mr. Huggins’ refusal to stop the work, the CCM-led administration workers cut off the water supply to an adjacent building he owns, where students at the time were cooking, doing laundry or taking showers.
During the program Mr. Powell stated, “It is a most unfortunate incident as Kevin Huggins, a young Nevisian developer, has taken the initiative to build apartments in the area to house medical students of the University and employ local workers. It is a shame that the government would victimize this developer who has created employment for 25 workers on Nevis as the island has seen no development or investment coming from the CCM since coming into government almost a year ago (since Jan 23, 2013).”
Mr. Powell told listeners that the procedure laid down by law is clear. “The procedure is that diverting from the approval plan an Enforce Notice is issued by planning. This allows the builder time to make the necessary corrections. Then if this is not done, a Stop Order is issued and a case file is sent to the Legal Department because they would have to represent the government. If the builder ignores the documents, the legal department applies to the court for an injunction to compel the builder to cease work immediately.”
Powell said that Huggins was not in arrears to the Water Department for the building in which the water was turned off. “The government can’t just go to a work site and tell workers to put down their tools and they did not have the authority to cut off the apartment’s water supply because Huggins did not owe,” Powell asserted.
When asked about a possible reason for the uncouth behavior of the government in victimizing the young man, Mr. Powell explained that Huggins was made an offer from the Nevis Housing & Land Development Corporation (NHLDC) for the purchase of land. He was given a time to pay his money which was in excess of $100,000. He raised the money and then paid for the land. Sometime later, someone called Mr. Huggins to stop the transaction, but Mr. Huggins who had his receipt in his possession, continued his quest for the project development by getting his drawings and permission from Physical Planning, and the building started. Then the assault by the government began.
Powell noted other areas of wanton, widespread victimization on Nevis which has seen close to 200 supporters of the NRP put on the breadline. He said that during the recent Christmas season when Premier Amory was preaching a message of goodwill, six (6) additional persons were summarily dismissed without cause. One from the Solid Waste department in General Manager, Ms. Carlyn Lawrence and five from the Nevis Housing and Land Development Corporation: Ishma Dore, Christopher Persaud, Millicent Cornelius, Glenrock Hobson and Paulette Archibald. Ms. Archibald has served the department for 24 years, is not of retirement age and was given her “walking papers” on her birthday, Dec. 27. It is important to note that some of these workers were replaced within days.
Co–host of the program, Mr. Austin Edinborough remarked, “It is despicable that a government would commit these acts to their own people. Now that is a clear indication of dictatorship!”