St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Nevis Premier The Honourable Mark Brantley announced this evening that the Team Unity administration is under threat of dissolution.
In a nationally televised address, Premier Brantley confirmed that as the leader of the Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM) and The Honourable Shawn Richards, People’s Action Movement (PAM) Leader, have issued written correspondence outlining the issues and deadline for a resolution to Prime Minister Dr. The Honourable Timothy Harris.
“The Honourable Shawn Richards and I have delivered a written communication to the Honourable Prime Minister, setting out our position for a path forward. We have taken the unprecedented step of putting a deadline of Wednesday, April 20, 2022, for a response from the Prime Minister, barring which we can only conclude that he and his team have no interest or desire to save this Team Unity government. We shall therefore know by Wednesday whether we can achieve resolution or face dissolution,” Harris said.
Brantley believes that enough time has elapsed for the Team Unity leadership to address ongoing issues of transparency, governance, and the pro-rata distribution of Citizenship by Investment (CBI) revenue.
“ We have lost our way,” Brantley said. “After years of efforts internally to resolve some issues, the lack of commitment to find a resolution has now created a public spectacle of which none of us can be proud.”
Brantley said that after two meetings, very little progress to address concerns has been made by the Prime Minister.
“Concerns about keeping our promises to each other and to our people, concerns about undermining colleagues, concerns about allowing PLP operatives to openly and brazenly attack sitting members of the cabinet, concerns about the absence of transparency within the cabinet, concerns about the concentration of all of the levers of power exclusively in the hands of the Prime Minister, all were raised and yet no effort was made to resolve.”
Brantley said the writing has been on the wall with the issues for several years and mentioned the PAM and PLP conventions brought the challenges to the public fore.
“Since the conventions of those two political parties of 2021, there were signs of acute difficulties within the Team Unity construct. The Prime Minister made no attempt to get the PLP, PAM, and CCM together to resolve issues,” Brantley said.
The Team Unity administration convened in a meeting last Wednesday at Cabinet Headquarters. Brantley echoed Honourable Shawn Richards’ conclusion that little progress was achieved.
“Instead, the Prime Minister failed and or refused to address decisively any of the issues raised. Choosing instead to suggest that we develop a framework for further discussions, a code of conduct for the cabinet, and inviting the World Bank to study the issues of pro-rata share of CBI proceeds for Nevis. Given the obvious preparations on the ground by the PLP for a possible election, I have come to the inescapable conclusion that the Honourable Prime Minister is not concerned with saving Team Unity, but is merely playing for time, hoping to maintain the status quo for as long as possible, while serious concerns about the current path for Team Unity are ignored.”
Brantley focused on the government’s decision to engage the World Bank to review and provide recommendations for the pro-rata distribution of revenues generated by the Citizenship by Investment Programme.
“It boggles the mind, why the Honourable Prime Minister, a trained accountant and high astute financial manager would continue peddling a notion, that we need the World Bank to come in to do a study and to tell us how to calculate the monies received from CBI, subtract the expenses of the programme and divide the balance on a pro-rata population basis between Basseterre and Charlestown, as was agreed as a central plank of the Team Unity construct.”
He added, “any student at the Nevis Sixth Form College or CFBC could undertake that exercise and bring immediate resolution to a matter that has festered for seven long years.
Premier Brantley expressed his party’s commitment to Team Unity but only under the principles of engagement which allowed the alliance to be possible.
“One hand cannot clap and PAM and CCM cannot by themselves save Team Unity as currently configured if the PLP and its leadership have no interest in resolving the issues that confront us.
We cannot and must not, use the ladder of Team Unity to get to the top, and then kick it down as being a mere construct for personal advancement and self-aggrandizement. I and my beloved CCM remain fully committed to Team Unity and the ideas we exposed and captured the imagination of our people. We believe that Unity must not only be a word oft-repeated in speeches but an ideal that should be demonstrated in action.”
In closing Premier Brantley offered this caution.” Let there be no doubt that if others within the Team Unity construct are unwilling or unable to compromise in the interest of our nation’s stability then the CCM and the people of Nevis shall not waiver, we shall not bow, we shall never ever surrender. We live by our motto that people matter most and we shall never resile from standing up for the people who have interested to us their trust and confidence to represent them.”