Charlestown, Nevis (Tuesday, November 5, 2013)– Former Premier of Nevis and leader of the Nevis Reformation Party (NRP), the Hon. Joseph Parry says he finds it ironic and hypocritical that the architects of the Motion of No Confidence against Prime Minister of St. Kitts- Nevis, the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas and his government listed the “land for debt swap” as a reason for bringing the motion – yet, one of the architects, Premier of Nevis, and leader of the Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM) Hon. Vance Amory has just recently signed off on the same land for debt document for Nevis.
On the Monday (Nov. 4th) edition of Good morning St. Kitts- Nevis, a program aired daily on Freedom 106.5FM and hosted by Colin Sampson, the Hon. Joseph Parry discussed, among other things, the hypocrisy of the CCM-led Administration, and in particular the Premier of Nevis, the Hon. Vance Amory. He said that he, the Hon. Joseph Parry had given support to the land for debt initiative before leaving government in January 2013. The Hon. Joseph Parry said that he and his then Permanent Secretary in Finance, Mr. Laurie Laurence, the Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas and his then Financial Secretary Ms. Janet Harris worked along with a financial advisory group out of Great Britain named White Oak which assisted with a debt reduction strategy.
According to Parry, the St. Kitts team and the Nevis team renegotiated the external debt and was able to get financial agencies to take a “haircut” to reduce the amount of debt, and to reduce debt payments on the balance by spreading it over a longer period with a reduced interest rate.
“Bank of Nevis accepted a low- interest rate over a longer period and rejected a haircut. National Bank accepted a haircut and agreed to the swapping of land for debt,” noted the Hon. Parry.
While in opposition Vance Amory vehemently opposed the land for debt swap, and even supported the Motion of no Confidence in the Federal government with the land for debt swap being a central premise for the move.
On the advice of White Oak, a number of estates on Nevis which have been used as collateral were bunched together to be swapped, and held in a financial arrangement for sale. When the loan is liquidated the balance of the funds, or the lands would revert to government, Parry said.
“This was all negotiated before the government changed and explained to the people of Nevis during the process. Based on all the work done by the NRP-led Administration, it is now very funny to see Premier Amory, his Cabinet and the Nevis Housing and Land Development Corporation (NHLDC) have now signed this document,” said the Former Premier.
During the interview conducted by Host Colin Sampson, the Hon. Joseph Parry said that the residents of St. Kitts – Nevis should be very pleased that the international debt advisors came to the Federation to advise on having the debt reduced, and have some debt forgiveness in some areas.
The IMF was not allowed to put on their structure totally on the Federation, as myself and Prime Minister Douglas were able to have a new system in place whereby the IMF would not slash many of the social programs on the island, as has been done to other countries who have let the IMF direct the entire debt solution.
Under the debt restructuring- Nevis and St. Kitts continued the health programs, the youth programs and educational programs, and we did not put oppressive methods to kill social programs.
“We were able to fight crime, have parenting programs and send our students abroad to study, even with debt restructuring taking place on the island,” commented Parry.
He also noted that the CCM gave the erroneous impression that the NRP left much debt on Nevis.
“This is simply not true. The CCM left about 280 million of debt during their reign of government and along with what we incurred after refurbishing and fixing roads, updating and supplying the island with water, electricity and affordable homes all while dealing with the closure of Four Seasons Resort and an extremely bad global economy, was just a little over 400 million,” said the Opposition leader.
He said the Motion of No Confidence was tabled when members of Unity made up of CCM, Peoples Labour Party (PLP) and Peoples Action Movement (PAM) condemned Prime Minister Douglas for using some of St. Kitts’ land to reduce some of the islands’ debt.
The Hon. Joseph Parry concluded, “The reason for the formation of the Unity grouping in the first place, was to attack Prime Minister Douglas for exchanging land for debt. This matter no longer exists as the common binder for the group, as Premier Amory is following the lead of Prime Minister Douglas on the debt issue. ”