CHARLESTOWN, Nevis – In a show of solidarity with citizens affected financially by the economic shutdown associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, Hon. Mark Brantley, Premier of Nevis and Minister of Finance in the Nevis Island Administration continues to forgo his full salary and benefits.
During his monthly press conference on September 22, Hon. Brantley confirmed he has gone without pay for several months since the shutdown and intends to continue until such time as the Nevis economy improves.
In April 2020, Brantley announced that he would forgo his salary package until the COVID-19 pandemic had passed.
“Foregoing my salary has continued to date, so I’ve now gone seven months foregoing my salary obligations and commitments,” said the Premier. “I said until the end of this pandemic, but I don’t know whether this pandemic is going to end, so I have no idea when again I will be able to collect a salary.”
In May 2020, NIA Cabinet Ministers also took a three-month, 10 percent pay cut.
The Premier said the Ministers’ salaries have most likely been restored, noting the personal sacrifice the Cabinet had made in a time of crisis.
“When someone is in a leadership position they have to try to demonstrate that in difficult times we understand what people are dealing with,” said Brantley. “It was a gesture we thought would indicate and send the right message to our people, in that very small symbolic way, show that we are part of that struggle with them.
In addition to the salary cuts, Cabinet members collectively contributed $13,500 each month for three months that was used to provide $150 food vouchers for the most vulnerable across the island, to ensure families did not go hungry.
The food vouchers, which were redeemable at leading supermarkets on the island, were distributed in June, July and August. Private individuals also contributed to the Cabinet’s initiative for a total value of financial input of over $93,000.
“We hope that soon we will be able to resume some sense of normalcy,” said Brantley.