By Devonne Cornelius
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): An equitable share of revenue from the Citizenship By Investment (CBI) Programme continues to be the area of contention within the Team Unity Administration.
Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Shawn Richards recently joined the Premier of Nevis Hon. Mark Brantley in lobbying for an equitable share of the revenue from the CBI Programme and seemingly leveled the blame at the feet of Prime Minister the Hon. Dr. Timothy Harris for not fulfilling a promise made in a signed agreement before Team Unity’s ascension to office in 2015.
Richards, leader of the People’s Action Movement (PAM) issued a statement on Wednesday (March 23) addressing the matter.
“I have been made aware of the considerable efforts made by Premier Mark Brantley and the dialogue for over four years between the Hon. Prime Minister and the Hon. Premier on this matter. I am also aware that some spade to the NIA [Nevis Island Administration] from the CBI proceeds initially $30 million per year and now currently $45 million per year were interim sums agreed between the Prime Minister and successive Premiers of Nevis pending the fulfillment of the promise made in the Charlestown Accord.
Having been apprised of the various engagements on this matter, and the failure thus far to find resolution, I am led to the inescapable conclusion that there has been no genuine effort to resolve this over the years and that our Team Unity government has failed in its promise to the CCM and to the people of Nevis.”
Deputy Prime Minister Richards took Prime Minister Harris to task for failing to provide a financial statement of the proceeds from the CBI Programme.
“While some have been quick to add up all that our brothers and sisters in Nevis have received to date, there has thus far been no public statement by the Hon. Prime Minister as to the actual revenue from CBI over the relevant period. We all know that any conversation about an equitable share must start with a statement as to the amount of the overall revenue.
Focusing exclusively on what revenue Nevis has received without reference to what amount overall the CBI Programme has generated is a meaningless and disingenuous exercise,” he said.
Prime Minister Harris last week said that the matter of an equitable share of the CBI Programme has never been brought before Cabinet for discussion. Deputy Prime Minister Richards revealed that additional funds were offered to the NIA without consultation from Cabinet.