Post Cabinet Briefing for May 29, 2017

Basseterre, St. Kitts, June 02, 2017 (SKNIS) — The formal meeting of the Cabinet took place on May 29, 2017. The meeting was chaired by Prime Minister, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, who commends all Cabinet members for their faithfulness and commitment in regularly attending meetings of the Executive to fulfill their mandate to the people.

The prime minister reported on the conversation with colleague prime ministers on the Venezuelan issue. It was noted that Venezuela is a friend and that St. Kitts and Nevis abides by the principles of non-interference but also the rule of law and the upholding of democratic principles. Cabinet believes in maintaining peace and stability in a country and peaceful resolution to all forms of conflicts. However, St. Kitts and Nevis will take the position that the other members of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) take and hopes that they would have common ground in the statement that they would put forward. The foreign minister had kept the Cabinet abreast of the situation and so far everything is according to the rules of decency, integrity, sovereignty and upholding the principles of democracy.

Cabinet received a presentation from officials of the Maritime Division who had some concerns over the ships registry for fishing vessels and the lack of information that is provided to the federation. Steps will be taken to mitigate any consequences of the dearth of information. In the meantime, in order to be compliant and to avoid any sanctions from the European Union (EU), St. Kitts and Nevis has signed on to several agreements. In 2015, St. Kitts and Nevis signed a national plan of action for installing the monitoring system on fishing vessels and so far have abided by all the rules and regulations of the international agency, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the European Union (EU) in terms of registration of fishing vessels.

Concessions were approved for Range Developments Park Hyatt, which is due to be opened in the summer of this year. It was given the usual concessions that are given to hotels so that it would enable them to have a seamless opening.

The Councillors of the Sugar Investment Diversification Foundation (SIDF) came to Cabinet to advise it on the progress with the divesting of the shares in various hotel developments, which the foundation had been involved. It is felt that it is time for the SIDF to be out of the hotel business and steps are being undertaken to facilitate the transition.

The Frigate Bay Development Corporation chair and the financial secretary came to the Cabinet to advise on the negotiations with the Marriott Group and the joint venture corporation, which jointly owns the golf course. It was proposed that the golf course should be closed for renovations, however, the government would not want to see employees displaced so negotiations are continuing to keep the golf course open.
Cabinet approved lands for various social, economic and religious purposes.

Cabinet approved the nominations for a national security adviser. The successful applicant will be informed and will be named at a future date.

On May 22, officials from the Ministry of Tourism and the St. Kitts Tourism Authority came to the Cabinet and gave a presentation on the state of the tourism industry in the federation from 2009-2015. The report reflected a steady increase in stay over arrivals for the period with a peak of 114, 260 visitors. The report also revealed that there was a steady increase of cruise tourism over the period with cruise expenditure reaching 229 million dollars. The report also pointed out infrastructure within the sector that needs improvement especially in the face of a growing tourism industry. Threats to tourism were also highlighted and plans for the continued enhancement of the industry were shared with the Cabinet.

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