Content released of Feb. 5 Cabinet briefing
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – The formal meeting of the Cabinet took place Feb. 5. The meeting was chaired by Prime Minister the Dr. Honourable Timothy Harris. The salient matters discussed at that meeting are as follows:
The South Friars Bay Matter from Feb. 4 meeting
Cabinet was updated on the outcome of a meeting by a subset of the Cabinet with the representatives of the seller and buyer of the South Friars lands involving local bar operators. Cabinet was advised that the meeting was a constructive one and all parties agreed to work collectively to a resolution.
Cabinet noted that the government had no lands at the peninsula. The lands belonged to private parties. The operators had signed up to lease contracts that obliged them to give up possession of the demised properties with one month prior notice. It was that provision [that] the legal representatives of the seller, Gonsalves Parry, had used to serve notice on the bar operators. Cabinet recalls that operators know of their lease commitments and are disposed to honour them except that they wished for additional time to vacate the leases. The chair reported that Attorney Gonsalves QC presented some encouraging views on how the seller may be willing to assist; however, the buyer wanted the deal closed with vacant possession within the stipulated time.
Cabinet regretted that in 2006 the Douglas administration acquired private lands on the peninsula [and] it then vested the said private lands into foreign private interests to the disadvantaged locals, including Dr. Wycliffe Baird. Cabinet noted that the Frigate Bay Development Corporation was advised to identify any vacant lots under its control and ownership that can be used to assist any of the operators who will need to be relocated.
The Cabinet delegation was led by Prime Minister Harris, Minister of Tourism the Hon. Lindsay Grant, Minister of Public Infrastructure the Hon. Ian Liburd, Attorney General the Hon. Vincent Byron Jr. and Cabinet secretary Josephine Huggins.
The seller’s delegation comprised Anthony Gonsalves Q.C. and Jack Connor.
The buyer’s delegation comprised Charles Wilkin Q.C. and William Anderson.
Access to Sandy Bank Bay
Cabinet learnt that the prime minister engaged Buddy Darby at Christophe Harbour Development regarding the public concerns over the impediment to access to the Sandy Bank Beach. Such impediments continued throughout the life of the Douglas administration.
Cabinet was pleased to learn that Buddy Darby agreed to remove on Monday the bollards that impeded access. Cabinet expressed that such a move was consistent with the wish of the public that customary access to the beach ought not be appropriated or hindered by private individuals.
Cabinet looks forward to private developers being respectful of and compliant with the laws of the country as they relate to public access to beaches.
Cabinet will continue to monitor this matter.