by Kevon Browne
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN) – For the first time in history, members of the Federal Cabinet headed to the Office of the Integrity Commission in the Delisle Walwyn & Co. Ltd Building on Liverpool Row, Basseterre, St. Kitts on July 31, 2023, to submit their declaration to the Commission as outlined in the new Integrity in Public Life Act.
As mandated in the recently amended Integrity in Public Life Act, all senior public officials in St Kitts & Nevis will file their respective Declarations of Income, Assets and Liabilities.
Public officials include those in Parliamentary Roles, Constitutional Roles, Executive Officers, Statutory Corporations, Government Interest Corporations and Statutory Bodies.
Additionally, the guidelines state that any individual appointed as a public official before April 22, 2023, must file an initial declaration with the Integrity Commission on or before July 31, 2023. However, if appointed on or after April 22, 2023, that public official is expected to file an initial declaration within 100 days of their appointment. Except for death, the declaration continues for two succeeding calendar years after a person ceases their appointment as a public official.
Income earned within the period before becoming a public official does not require a declaration. Local and foreign-based accounts should be included for public officials. Cash or any other property over EC$25,000 must be declared. Investments or business ventures that yield financial returns should be stated, and valuables held in safety deposit boxes or personal safes by declarant, spouse, and children should also be stated.
Proponent of the good governance agenda, Attorney General Hon. Garth Wilkin, in a Facebook post on August 1 to mark the occasion, described the filings as “monumental because it shows your Government’s commitment to eradicate corruption from our society”.
In explaining why the Cabinet did this ‘so quickly and thoroughly,” the Attorney General emphasised that corruption cripples societies citing the International Monetary Fund (IMF) conclusion that depending on the severity, “corruption can have a profoundly detrimental effect on public finances as governments collect less in tax revenue and overpay for goods and services or investment projects… distortions in spending priorities undermine the ability of the state to promote sustainable and inclusive growth. They drain public resources away from education, health care, and effective infrastructure—the kinds of investments that can improve economic performance and raise living standards for all.”
The Premier of Nevis and Federal Leader of the Opposition also commented on the historic filing in Basseterre as the members of the Concerned Citizens Movement in the National Parliament filed their declarations of assets and liabilities with the Integrity Commission in Basseterre, St Kitts.
The Premier said they were happy to see the legislation operationalised and happy to comply with the new era of greater transparency and openness in government in St. Kitts and Nevis.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs et al., Rt. Hon. Dr Denzil Douglas and Ambassador Leon Natta-Nelson, are off the island and are expected to make their declarations upon their return to the Federation.
Please see the guidelines for Filing Integrity In Public Life Declarations for Specified Public Officials: