Citizens and residents of St. Kitts and Nevis, good day. This week, the formal meeting of the Cabinet took place on Monday June 30th, 2014. The meeting was chaired by the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas
THE SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAMME TO BE REVISED
In 2012, a National Social Protection Strategy and Plan of Action was developed by the government to guide the establishment of a sustainable, comprehensive and integrated social protection system to safeguard our citizens against risks, shocks and vulnerabilities that can negatively impact their standard of living. It has been noted additionally that the present legislation on social assistance is inadequate in stipulating adherence to international human rights treaties that have been ratified by the Federation over the years. Government is of the view that all laws of the Federation should be compliant with international human rights treaties.
Further, there are three (3) existing social protection services that are being consolidated into a unified grant system to promote greater effectiveness and efficiency. These programmes are (i) the food voucher programme (ii) the compassionate grant and (iii) the poor relief and disability grants.
Given government’s commitment to interventions that focus on the reduction and alleviation of poverty and social exclusion, Cabinet approved the revision of the Social Development Assistance Act (1999) that will provide the framework for a most modern social assistance programme that focuses on the specific needs of the poor and the disabled. The approval of the revised social protection bill (2014) will also trigger the release of one million euros under the accompanying measures for Sugar Protocoal (AMSP) countries instrument, as part of the European Union’s budgetary support to the Federation.
DEDICATED LAND REGISTRY TO BE ESTABLISHED
Presently, the High Court serves as the Registry of Lands, and the Registrar of the High Court is the Registrar of Lands. The same registry also houses registries relating to probates, deeds, NGOs, Friendly Societies, news papers and Trade Unions. Furthermore, certificates of title for land are not efficiently stored and managed, leading to the possibility of loss or damage of documents and inefficient customer service at the registry. This situation has impacted negatively on the ease of conducting business.
Given the above-mentioned challenges, Cabinet approved a new Land Registry Bill (2014) that will:
· Establish a dedicated and separate land registry with branch offices in both Nevis and St. Kitts
· Appoint qualified persons in the relevant fields to operate the Land Registry
· Secure the preservation, storage and back-up of records
· Establish a central electronic repository for records
The establishment of the new Land Registry will result in significant benefits deriving from a more informed base for the identification of properties and the creation of a platform for improving the conduct of business in St. Kitts and Nevis.
WATER SERVICES TO SEE FURTHER IMPROVEMENTS
Deputy Prime Minister, Dr. Hon. Earl Asim Martin, updated the Cabinet of Ministers on his ministry’s efforts to further improve the water services in St. Kitts. The Deputy Prime Minister explained that as a result of the rapid growth in the domestic, commercial and agricultural sectors, demand for water is beginning to outstrip supply, and that proactive intervention is required to ensure the continuous supply of adequate amounts of potable water.
The Water Services Department has recommended a deep well drilling project to increase the water supply by two million gallons per day. To accommodate the distribution of this additional supply of water, the project will also secure the expansion of the main pipelines around the island of St. Kitts with the installation of 6 to 8 inch wide water lines. The water supply improvement project has been estimated to cost EC$14 Million and the SIDF will be requested to provide the first EC$10 Million of this amount.
The Deputy Prime Minister was pleased to receive Cabinet approval for the project and reiterated that access to adequate supplies of clean water is critical to the health and quality of life of our people and to the overall economic development of our country. He added that the resources of the SIDF have been used to empower all of our people and to build the national infrastructure for the benefit of all, and that this water supply improvement project is an important investment in all of our people.
HELDENS ESTATE CONDO RESORT & RESIDENCES
Consistent with the government’s vision for the development in the White Gate area, cabinet considered and approved an application for the development of a condo resort and residence project at Helden’s Estate located in St. Pauls parish. Heldens Estate Condo Resort & Residences will feature:
· 200 condos and apartments
· 20 villas
· Restaurants and bars
· Tennis courts, swimming pools
· And other amenities
This new development will add to the Kittitian Hill development, which will have a soft opening on July 10, and other developments planned for the White Gate area. The project will provide hundreds of employment opportunities for tradesmen and other local people in the design and construction phase, and will provide many long-term employment opportunities in its operational phase. Prime Minister Douglas said that he was pleased to see St. Kitts and Nevis attract more and more high-end development projects leading to sustainable employment and business opportunities for many local people and businesses. He said that he envisaged many persons who have been trained under the PEP programme finding long-term employment at Kittitian Hill and at Heldens Estate Condo Resort & Residences in the not-too-distant future.
SOCIAL SECURITY TO PURCHASE 230 ACRES OF GOVERNMENT LAND
Minister with responsibility for lands, the Hon. Prime Minister Denzil Douglas, brought to the Cabinet a proposal for the Social Security Board to purchase 238 acres of government land at Dale Mountain. Cabinet approved the sale given government’s commitment to continue to work with the Social Security Board to diversify its investment portfolio and to further strengthen the Social Security Scheme so that all citizens can continue to benefit from the pension fund and other social programmes offered by the Scheme.
ROAD IMPROVEMENT PROGARMME
Minister with responsibility for Public Works, Dr. Earl Asim Martin, brought an update to the Cabinet meeting on the housing projects road improvement programme. The Hon. Minister reported that roads were being constructed or had been constructed in a number of housing developments around the island of St. Kitts including Estridge Housing Development, Belle Vue Extension, Race Course Housing Development in Newton Ground, High Point Housing Development at Fig Tree in Sandy Point, Douglas Estate Housing Development in St. Peters and Pine Garden Housing Development.
Minister Martin reported that although much work has been done to construct roads and install water and electricity services in a number of new housing development, there was still a lot of work to be done to construct roads in other residential developments. He outlined a number of other projects that have been earmarked for road construction in the near future including Dewars Estate Residences, East West Farm, Stapleton Village Extension, Pine Gardens, Stapleton Gardens, Taylors, Buckleys Park and White House Garden, among others.
Cabinet discussed funding for the new road construction projects that are to commence shortly.