Dr. Hon Timothy Harris, Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis addressed nationals at a pack town-hall eeting at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church at 777 East and 222 Street, Bronx, NY on the evening of Sunday 3rd October 2015 . The PM was joined by Hon. Mark Brantley, Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Federal Government. A large crowd of over 300 nationals residing in the diaspora attended. Among them was the designer of the National flag Ms. Edrice Lewis.
The Hon. Prime Minister, in addressing the large gathering, thanked nationals in the diaspora who supported the change to bring about the Team Unity Government. He said that the Team Unity government looks forward to the continued support of the nationals in all parts of the United States. The PM stated that it was prayer that brought about the change. He said that never in his political career was he met and told by so many persons, young and old, that they are praying for him and the efforts of Team Unity. On 16th February the praying people went to the polls and voted for a change.
In outlining some of the achievements of the seven month old Team Unity Administration Prime Minister Harris said that his administration has already provided budgetary support for the Nevis Island Administration in the tune of EC$10 m, brought an end to the shift system at the Basseterre High School The former administration ignored the situation at the Basseterre High School to the detriment of the teachers and students who suffer for over three years.
The Prime Minister informed the gathering that crime is down. Regardless of what the opposition says on social media that is a fact. The government has invested in creating a wholesome society and is seeing positive results. The government has also implemented a six point plan of action to address violent crimes in the country. He made a passionate appeal for families back home to become involved in the moral grounding of the young people, particularly males, as this can positively impact the creation of a wholesome society with its members at peace with each other.
“There has been no victimization” the Hon. Prime Minister told the hundreds of nationals in attendance. The Prime Minister made reference to the fact that practically all the permanent secretaries appointed under the former Labour Administration are still working. “Nobody is victimizing them” he emphasized.
In commenting on the removal of the Value Added Tax, the PM said that this has had a positive impact on the lives of hundreds of persons who can now afford to buy and eat more health foods. He said that intime of bereavement the people of St. Kitts and Nevis were called upon by the former Labour Administration to incur cost by imposing VAT on funeral expenses. “My government has removed that” emphasized the PM.
In delivering brief remarks Hon. Mark Brantley, Minister of Foreign Affairs thanked nationals in the diaspora for their support and said that they should see themselves as part of the development of the Federation. The Minister stated that he looks forward to reaching out to nationals in the diaspora for the assurance of their continued support. He encouraged national to make sure that they are included in the database of the St. Kitts-Nevis UN Mission so that when the need arises the Federal Government can seek the support of qualified nationals in the diaspora. The Minister of Foreign Affairs said that the Federal Government is doing the best with the situation that it inherited and that national will appreciate that new initiatives will take time. The Minister praised the Government and the Prime Minister for the work done in the short period after taking office. He commented on the Sugar Workers Restoration Fund Payout and the fact that is such a short period of time the government was able to attract President Maduro of Venezuela to be a part of the payout process.
During the question and answer session, questions were raised on the following:
- What are the government’s efforts to attract nationals to return home?
- When is term limits for the Prime Minister going to be legislated?
- When is government going to address the situation with debtor’s court?
- What is the situation with the Sugar Workers Restoration Fund Payout?
- What are government plans to improve the delivery of health care in St. Kitts and Nevis?
- What is been done to improve the very poor attitude of service providers both in the private and public sectors?