By Devonne Cornelius
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): An equitable share of resources for the island of Nevis from the Citizenship By Investment (CBI) Programme remains a topic of debate in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.
Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris maintains that his Team Unity Administration continues to disburse large sums of money into the coffers of the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) but Premier of Nevis Hon. Mark Brantley says Nevis deserves more from the CBI Program due to the reported significant profit the program has been making.
During a June 01, 2022, Press Conference, Prime Minister Harris outlined the areas the Federal Government supports on Nevis. Dr. Harris said former Premier the late Vance Amory and current Premier Brantley wrote indicating to him what they deemed as an equitable share of resources.
“Vance Amory wrote and requested $30 million as a fair and equitable distribution to the people of Nevis. I accepted and every month we paid $2.5 million to accumulate to a total of $30 million,” Dr. Harris said.
He added: “When Mark Brantley became the Premier of Nevis, he too wrote requesting what he determined was a fair share for the people of Nevis, a 50 percent increase he requested and I discussed with him…we agreed. It is not I who pulled the figures. In every letter that is there, the record would reflect that these are their requests that they determined.”
Prime Minister Harris said the Federal Government had approved the $45 million support to the island of Nevis in the December 2021 Federal Budget but Premier Brantley subsequently wrote requesting the amount to be increased to $66 million which was approved. Dr. Harris further indicated that in addition to the $66 million, the Federal Government covers a number of expenses incurred by the NIA which include pharmaceuticals and medicine for the Alexandra Hospital and health centers on the island; economic costs for Nevisian students studying abroad; and employees on the STEP Program, among other areas.
Premier Brantley continues to call for an equitable share of revenue received by the CBI to be shared with Nevis. During a March 2022 Press Conference, Premier Brantley revealed the figures for the CBI Program which amounts to more than $5 billion covering the period 2007 to 2021.
The total figure, according to Brantley, is $5, 145, 702, 943. St. Kitts received $4, 773, 713, 126. Nevis received $371, 989, 817. Premier Brantley said that the people of Nevis deserve to reap greater benefits from the CBI Program. With the National Assembly Elections expected to be called in the coming weeks, Brantley and his CCM Party are running a campaign on securing a fair share of the CBI Program for the island of Nevis.