(CHARLESTOWN, NEVIS)- History was made this morning Wednesday, December 17, 2014 at the Red Cross Building, Chapel Street, Charlestown when the members of the People’s Action Movement (PAM), People’s Labour Party (PLP) and the Concern Citizens Movement (CCM) came together and signed an agreement termed the “Charlestown Accord”.
The ‘Charlestown Accord’ as presented by the members of the tri-party opposition alliance, Team Unity is the formalizing of a number of agreements and commitments that Team Unity promised to the people of Nevis by the Team Unity Government if the candidates of the tri-party are successful in this upcoming general election to form the next Federal Government.
Deputy Leader of Team Unity, Hon. Mark Brantley stated that he was quite elated to be a part of such a historic occasion. He also stated that the three parties that have come together did not do so merely because of self-aggrandizement or lust for power, but to put aside their differences to bring into being a new government for the betterment of the country.
Brantley indicated that Team Unity believed that the people of St. Kitts and Nevis deserved a Federal Government of national unity to end victimization against the people, one that will fight for all Kittitians and Nevisians, one that will put the people of St. Kitts and Nevis first, one that is committed to the restoration of Law and Order and the supremacy of the Rule of Law; one that will respect the Nevis Island Administration and cooperate with the Nevis Island Administration whatever its political composition, one that will respect the Nevis Island Administration and cooperate with the Nevis Island Administration whatever its political composition, one that understands the history of St. Kitts and Nevis and is committed to change the situation of acrimony and strife and generally represents all the people regardless of the island of their birth, one that recognizes when Nevis succeeds and St. Kitts succeeds the entire nation succeeds; and a Federal Government which will restore adherence to the Constitution of St. Kitts and Nevis.
In conclusion, the Deputy Leader noted that Team Unity proposed the terms to the agreement to guide the process of healing between the people of St. Kitts and Nevis. He indicated that the ‘Charlestown Accord’ will ensure that all the people of the Federation are permitted to equitably enjoy the full fruits and benefits of their citizenship; and to access any and all resources of the nation of St. Kitts and Nevis.
The agreement states that under a Team Unity Government:
1. Nevis shall receive its fair and equitable share of natural resources based on the pro rata population basis to ensure that Nevisians too will benefit fairly from the returns of national investments;
2. Revenue from passport processing, fees under the Citizenship by Investment Programme shall be shared equitably with the Nevis Island Administration base on a pro rata population basis;
3. Revenue from the Sugar Investment Diversification Fund (SIDF) or its successor agency shall be shared equitably with the Nevis Island Administration on a pro rata population basis;
4. The Nevis Island Administration will get title to nominate representatives of the SIDF Board or the Board of any successor agency so as to ensure proper representation of all Kittitians and Nevisians;
5. Projects approved by the Nevis Island Administration for the Citizenship by Investment Programme shall be sanctioned and approved by the Federal Government without delay;
6. The appointment of Ambassadors and Consuls and other Diplomats to represent the people of St. Kitts and Nevis will only be undertaken after consultation with the Premier of Nevis;
7. All grant funds, including but not limited to grants from the European Union, will be shared equitably to the Nevis Island Administration on a pro rata population basis;
8. To address the historical unfairness and the bias of the Federal Government in distributing resources of the SIDF, Team Unity will provide a lump sum payment to the Nevis Island Administration as a goodwill and acknowledgment that an injustice was done to the Nevis Island Administration. It represents an injustice to all the people of Nevis;
9. Financial support will be provided to the Nevis Island Administration for the financialization of the Geothermal Project in Nevis, clearing the way for jobs for Kittitians and Nevisians, the development of a wide range of specialised skill sets and the tradable product bringing millions of dollars in foreign exchange for the distribution of geothermal energy;
10. Nevisians will be assured equitable participation and representation in the Federation’s overseas Embassies and Missions;
11. All Boards of nationally-owned institutions will include persons designated by the Nevis Island Administration so as to ensure the Boards are fully representative of all Kittitians and Nevisians;
12. Never again will political activists on the National Bank Board or any other national Board attempt to bully or embarrass the Nevis Island Administration;
13. Never again will the cheques of the Nevis Island Government be dishonoured so long as there are available funds and liquidity in the National Treasury;
14. Full responsibility for the maintenance of the safety and security of the island of Nevis;
15. The members of the CCM, members of the PAM and members of the PLP will all be engaged in the governance process of the Federation level to ensure governance model based on consultation rather than confrontation, harmony rather than disharmony, love and respect for all rather than vilification and strife;
16. It shall as the next Federal Government pursue meaningful Constitution Reforms, including but not limited to reforms geared at improving the relationship between St. Kitts and Nevis and ensuring greater certainty about matters of the role of the Governor General, the tabling of Motions of No Confidence in the National Parliament, the role of the Speaker of the National Parliament and the need, at all times, to have a Deputy Speaker in the National Parliament; and
17. Fiscal policies between the Federal Government and the Nevis Island Administration will, wherever possible, be discussed and harmonised so as to ensure that the two islands progress jointly and in economic harmony.
The Charlestown Accord was signed by Dr. Timothy Harris, Leader of the People’s Labour Party, Premier of Nevis and Leader of the Concern Citizen Movements, the Hon. Vance Amory; and Leader of the People’s Action Movement Hon. Shawn Richards.
Supporters and candidates of each party were present at the historic ceremony.
Some took the airwaves and expressed their dissatisfaction with the way the agreements were set about. Some were highly disappointed and unsatisfied with the agreements. Others termed historic occasion as ‘weak’ and grade it a ‘D’.