By L.K. Hewlett
St. Kitts Reporter
The recent sale of 36 million dollars worth of shares in Cable and Wireless (SKN) Ltd. and the announcement that other federal assets will be sold have not gone down well with the residents of St. Kitts and Nevis.
Prime Minister of the federation Hon. Denzil Douglas has layed out plans to liquidate several federal stock holdings including shares or complete equity in various companies.
PM Douglas has also announced plans to liquidate government assets including equity interest in The Cable, the Quarry operations, CEMACO, Development Bank and the electricity service.
During a press briefing on Tuesday, the federation‚s leader outlined the rationale behind the previous stock sale and the future liquidation plans. As explained by the Prime Minister, the new privatisation policy was a means of paying a skyrocketing National Debt.
“This policy is part of our own [strategy] for debt reduction. One of the instruments that we will use is the liquidation of government assets whether in private companies or creation of private companies out of existing departments that are providing services for our people. What you saw in regards to Cable and Wireless was the very first major implementation of this policy,” he said.
He further stated that government would look at the privatisation of their 67% shares in The Cable, the nation’s sole provider of Cable TV.
“We hope that based on the value of that particular enterprise we will be able to get sixty-seven percent of it if we were to liquidate it. With regard to other enterprises like CEMACO, Cabinet is presently looking actively at finalising the agreement for the sale of that particular enterprise and that we hope, will take place very shortly.”
PM Douglas said there was no rush to privatise the electricity services, which is a government department. He explained that there are a number of steps that had to be taken to make the department a private corporate entity.
“The government is the only shareholder. We are not looking down the road in terms of selling it, but we are trying to privatise it in the sense that we will try to create out of a government department, a private company. It will have its own board, its own CEO, its own management officers and they will be making business decisions on behalf of that company.
“This does not mean that we have reached to the point of d