On Saturday, October 3, 2015, Prime Minister Dr. The Honorable Timothy Harris and Deputy Premier of Nevis the Honorable Mark Brantley delivered an in depth account of their stewardship to the citizens of the federation of St. Kitts and Nevis since assuming office following the general elections on February 16, 2015. The timely town hall meeting was held at the St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in the Bronx, New York.
Following the invocation of God’s presence by Episcopal Minister the Reverend P. Alister Rawlins, Economic Officer at the Permanent Mission to the United Nations Mr. Carlisle Richardson, chaired Saturday night’s meeting. He welcomed citizens to the Town Hall Meeting and invited them to listen keenly to the presentations and to pose questions at the end.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Aviation the Honorable Mark Brantley, who was busy at United Nations meetings for the entire week, gave brief remarks and expressed his pride in visiting New York to represent St. Kitts and Nevis at the highest level on the global scale.
Minister Brantley deemed it honor and pleasure for the opportunity to interact with Nevisians and Kittitians during Saturday’s forum in order to provide an ongoing awareness of what is happening on both islands.
The Foreign Minister articulated his government’s commitment to reaching out to our people. In fact he remarked, “We need our people wherever we can find them. We need our people to feel and understand they are part of what happens on the ground.” Minister Brantley believes there are many areas of opportunity for securing assistance from Kittitian and Nevisian experts residing abroad, as there are many persons willing to serve their nation from a distance. Minister Brantley suggested that “Though we are a new government there are people willing to work hard with us to deliver for the people of both islands.”
Brantley thanked everyone for coming out to hear firsthand how a Team Unity government is working for them and reassured citizens of his commitment to the cause of service to others.
Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris reaffirmed his commitment to Team Unity, an alliance created by the will of the people of St.Kitts and Nevis who’s support, hard work encouragement and commitment, continue to drive the success of the government.
The Prime Minister reminded citizens that the demands of government are great and the unprecedented show of support for Team Unity in the form of prayer, words of wisdom and even tough questions are relevant to the success of the government.
The government wants to make a difference in the lives of people. Prime Minister Harris wants all citizens to echo the sentiment, “Of every country east and west I love my native land (St. Kitts and Nevis) Best.” This requires a commitment to serve and contribute to nation building.
On the Basseterre High issue, Prime Minister Harris reminded listeners that Team Unity brought an end to the shift system at the Basseterre High School by making temporary arrangements to house over 800 students and teachers. Temporary structures ensure that the school would return to some degree of normalcy.
On the issue of victimization, Prime Minister Harris declared that despite the cries of victimization, Team Unity recognized it had a real chance to ensure it does not victimize or discriminate. Ministry after ministry, civil servants who remain competent in doing the work of the Team Unity government in the interest of the people have not been removed.
Despite the many challenges and some of the underhanded and questionable actions of some civil servants bent on undermining the Team Unity government, the new Team Unity government is working tirelessly in the interest of the people. “Team Unity is not about the leaders but it is about the people,” stated Prime Minister Harris.
Other accomplishments of he Team Unity government were highlighted including the renaming of the Jubilee Stadium after Kim Collins, the recent 16 million dollar payout to sugar workers and the removal of VAT which was a promise made and a promise kept. Sir Kennedy A. Simmonds, the nation’s first Prime Minister, recently became the fifth national hero of St. Kitts and Nevis. According to the Prine Minister, part of Team Unity’s vision is to hold up the contributions of our people wherever they are. We must also ask ourselves, “What is it about the lives of our heroes that make them models; What about their struggles can we learn from?”
Dr. Harris informed citizens that next year, the Team Unity Government intends to unveil social programs for housing, health care and our own budgetary platform that will involve the people of St. Kitts and Nevis.
In the early part of the administration, the government decided to provide budgetary support to be used for the benefit of all Nevisians. This is part of the Team Unity government’s long term commitment to building stronger ties between both islands.
On the issue of crime, the Team Unity Government is mindful of its inheritance of a horrendous crime problem that currently plagues our nation. Acting in collaboration with the nation’s security forces, government is working diligently to reverse the trend of murders that has become far too common place. Fortunately, crime is trending downward and the government has brought in FBI experts to continue to make inroads in stemming crime. The government is also in the process of developing a forensic lab In St. Kitts capable of helping to fight crime. CCTV’s are also being used as an alternative to relying on eye witness accounts of crime.
Prime Minister Harris used the opportunity to express heartfelt thanks to education pioneer Washington Archibald for his contributions in the field of education. Archibald recently received the star of merit for his contribution to education.
The Prime Minister thanked all who helped to contribute in various ways to Team Unity and advised that those prepared to put their narrow interests before the people of the federation will not prevail.
“Those who love build and those who hate destroy,” declared Prime Minister Harris. He admonished all to help build a better St. Kitts and Nevis.
A lively question and answer session ensued with a variety of interesting questions, commendations and recommendations. Some of the issues raised included the current state of the health care system, government’s approach to fighting crime, youth initiatives, geothermal in Nevis, tourism and customer service, the annual budget, public access to beaches, the sugar restoration fund, term limits and the constitution.
The packed church hall brimmed with positive energy as the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister greeted citizens in brief pockets of conversation and laughter. Light beverages and an array of dainty delicacies were served.
Both officials returned to the federation on Sunday, October 4, 2015.