CCM ADDRESSES CRIME, TRANSPARENCY AT PRESS CONFERENCE

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By John Denny

Observer Reporter

johndenny@thestkittsnevisobserver.com

(Charlestown, Nevis) – “Do you feel that you are better off today than you were two years ago? …Because that is where the rubber meets the road,” was a question offered by the Nominated Opposition Senator Mark Brantley at a press conference July 22.

Of the number of issues Vance Amory and Mr. Brantley addressed at the meeting, crime and transparency of the sitting administration, especially in regards to geothermal power, were discussed the most.

Mr. Amory expressed regret that he was unavoidably away during the meeting of parliament when the Geothermal Resource Ordinance was passed, but it was suggested by Mr. Brantley the NIA seized on the opportunity and rushed through the first, second and third reading of the bill in one day because he was not there.

The lack of transparency in the geothermal deal’s financing and the power purchase agreement is of a great concern to the opposition

“I would not be surprised to see future amendments to this bill,” said Mr. Amory. “There has not been any discussion with the people of Nevis about the geothermal resource. Everything that has been done so far has been done behind closed doors and the people of Nevis are not happy with that.”

Speaking collectively to the press on geothermal transparency was Mr. Brantley.

“You want to see the power purchase agreement, we want to see the power purchase agreement,” he said. “Part of this is your job, to put the pressure on the government to become more transparent.”

On the issue of crime, Mr. Amory said the NIA is still in denial.

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“The first thing they need to do is accept the fact that we have a problem,” said Mr. Amory. “The CCM is formulating plans to address the issue of crime and there are many things that could be done now to reduce this. The police must be seen by the public and they need to work more closely with the young people of the community.”

Mr. Brantley also addressed the topic, “I am not inclined to politicize the issue of crime,” said Mr. Brantley. “But the government must lead and they have the assurance that the opposition is here to work with them, but so far, all efforts to have meetings, dialog or discussions with (the NIA) on the issue have failed. The NRP government in Nevis needs to understand that it cannot go it alone on the issue of crime. It has no monopoly on ideas. I don’t even know if it has ideas. The bottom line is: it must recognize that only through partnership between government and opposition, private sector, church, school and the home can we seek to fashion solutions to this problem… If there is any role or function of government it is the security of our people.”

The economy and the rising cost of living was another issue raised by the opposition. In correspondence by Mr. Brantley to the NIA and the federal government, he suggested they should be seeking the advice of regional and international economist on finding solutions to the hardships felt by Nevisians by the global rise in the cost of living.

“I sent letters out two months ago and have not had the courtesy of acknowledgement that those letters have been received,” said Mr. Brantley. “It demonstrates once again that as far as they are concerned they can do it alone and that they believe they have a monopoly on ideas and wisdom. That is clearly not the case.”

The opposition members were asked about their position on the drag strip being constructed on the east side of the island.

“We see it as a complete misplacing of priorities and an unwise use of resources,” said Mr. Amory. “I believe the government has gone too far. They made a promise to some young drivers and they have already spent, I understand some five million dollars already on this. I believe we need to face the reality that the government made a mistake, and it’s an expensive mistake.”

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