Prime Minister Douglas chides Chamber of Industry and Commerce, calls on it to share empirical data that investment climate is damaged

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, FEBRUARY 6TH 2013 (CUOPM) – The Federation’s Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas is taking issue with a press release issued by the St. Kitts and Nevis Chamber of Industry and Commerce and has called on it to share empirical data released to the public before it reached his Church Street Office.

In a letter dated February 4, 2013 to Mr. David Lake, President of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Dr. Douglas made reference to the Chamber letter dated January 31, 2013.

I note, with particular interest, the Chamber’s decision to release this letter to the media without first granting me the courtesy of receiving the letter – which was ostensibly addressed to the Office of the Prime Minister. There are many throughout the Federation who think, as I do, that this is the type of action that one would expect from a group of emotionally charged activists, and not a business-focused organization committed to the promotion of a vibrant economy, even as it exercises its right to express its views on the socio-economic and political issues of the day,” the Prime Minister’s letter said.

He added: “It is also noteworthy that far from being an isolated incident, this apparent disregard for respectable communications protocol was very much in keeping with the Chamber’s well-established penchant for rushing to share its “communications of concern” vis-à-vis my Government officially and in public, while its members were apologizing or commending me only unofficially and in private. Greater symmetry in approach, I am sure you would agree, would be a good thing.”

Dr. Douglas added: “As Prime Minister, it is my responsibility to protect and advance the social, economic, and political interests of this nation. This I have always done; and this I shall continue to do. And as Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, I am keenly aware of those investment projects, both local and international, that have been proposed to my government, those that have been approved, and those that are already underway.. I am not aware of any evidence to support your claim that the Motion of no confidence, not yet having been voted on by our National Assembly, “has already damaged the investment climate” in the Federation. I invite the Chamber to share with my Office the empirical data on which this claim has been based.”

Prime Minister Douglas told the Chamber that it must remember that St. Kitts and Nevis has become a legitimate and highly respected member of the world community of democratic nations.

This has not happened by accident. Our Government exists as a result of the will of the people. And this Government acts, at all times, with utmost regard and respect for the supreme law of the land – our Constitution. I, like the other members of my Cabinet, wish to have the Motion of no confidence, referred to in your letter, considered. And the Speaker, and the Leader of Government Business, to whom falls the responsibility for the Parliamentary schedule, are no less aware than the Chamber that this Motion must, indeed, be considered.”

It is my hope, however, that the Chamber is, similarly, no less aware than the rest of the nation that the National Assembly readied itself to consider both the Senators’ Bill as well as the 2013 Budget prior to the Opposition announcing its intention to bring a Motion of no confidence to the floor. The smooth functioning of the Government would dictate, therefore, that the Budget, so crucial to the functioning of our nation and its economy, and so long ago understood by all to be next on the Parliamentary schedule, would be considered indeed by the National Assembly,” said Prime Minister Douglas.

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