By Jermine Abel
CHARLESTOWN, Nevis (WINN) — Leader of the opposition Nevis Reformation Party (NRP), Robelto Hector, has challenged Nevis premier, Mark Brantley, to account for budgetary allocations the federal government of St Kitts and Nevis has made to the Nevis Island Administration over the recent years.
Hector noted that the Nevis government indicated to the people that the budgetary allocation received from the federal government is Nevis’ share of the citizenship by investment (CBI) programme. He questioned if Nevis is really getting its fair share of the CBI monies when the revenue generated from the CBI programme would have fluctuated but the allotments remain fixed.
“In 2018 we have witnessed in our budget the increasing dependency on St Kitts; we have observed that over these four years the Nevis Island Administration has gotten what they call budgetary support from St Kitts. They say it is Nevis’s share of processing fees from the Citizen by Investment Unit to the tune of some $2.5 million monthly.
“We observed that for the past four years since the CCM has abandoned the Nevis Island Administration and people for their home and husbandry in St Kitts the so-called budgetary support from processing fees has never increased. We are to ask searching questions; how have the processing fees from citizenship remain constant over 48 months? Has it ever been increased or decreased? What is the formula or basis for this payment? Has Nevis been mendicant, if not are we being sold down the drain… to keep us quiet?
“We heard of the Charlestown Accord sometime in January 2015 where a lump sum payment of $300 million was signed by affidavit to be sent to Nevis, did it arrive as was said? Or are we now getting it… in dribs and drabs to a halcyon island insult and injury? If we are now receiving $2.5 million a month, it takes us ten long years and insulting years I must add, to get our lump sum payment,” he said.
Pointing to the Hurricane Relief Fund (HRF), Hector lashed out at the fact that, despite the government disclosing that over 1,200 applications were received under that programme, none of the houses damaged by the 2017 hurricanes in Nevis were fixed.
“In 2018 the government of St Kitts and Nevis sold by its own account 1,200 passports under the Hurricane Relief Fund for just about US$150,000 each, that money was received at Basseterre towards the end of September 2018. Hurricane relief was for damaged suffered real or imagined from the effects of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017.
“Our calculations say that the federal government raked in for citizenship fees alone to say nothing of our pet project, processing fees, a whopping US$180 million, translated of course to some EC$486 million. Now that money cannot be placed into the Consolidated Fund we hear it is being used in St Kitts to replace and put on roofs, we even heard of Roof Gate, one wonders if Nevis people did not have roofs that were damaged by hurricane also.
“I have not heard one Nevisian tell me that they’ve gotten a sheet of galvanize or other roofing materials in 2018. Those fees should be shared equitably as they are hurricane relief funds for which we have suffered equal damage as St Kitts. We ask a clarion island question, where is Nevis’ hurricane relief money? It may be that the Nevis Island Administration got the money,” he continued.
Hector believes that the Nevis representatives in the federal cabinet cannot draw the line in the sand between the two islands when it comes to providing for the people.
The NRP leader is hopeful of seeing a different focus on how the island is being managed by the Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM) government in 2019.
“In 2019 we hope we see a shift in our island’s management, we wish to see bluster, buffoonery, bombast be replaced by productivity, peace, and prosperity. We of the Nevis Reformation Party know how and have brought peace, progress, and prosperity to our halcyon island. If those who have hijacked our island’s home and cannot now dance we ask that they give another man a chance. We hope to see projects completed and open before we see another one start,” he said.
Republished with permission of West Indies News Network