Formal meetings of the Federal Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, were convened on Monday, Aug. 12, Friday, Aug. 16 and Monday, Aug. 19.
Here is a summary of the matters that were addressed in those three meetings:
- The Cabinet received a detailed report from the High Command of the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force regarding the results of a number of crime fighting initiatives are designed to maintain law and order in the Federation. Among the matters reported on by Acting Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hilroy Brandy, and Assistant Commissioner of Police, Mr. McArthur Browne were the following: (a) the work of the volunteer Initial Engagement Committee on St. Kitts which had been meeting with gangs; (b) the establishment of a similar Committee on Nevis; (c) the results of a gun surrender programme to reduce the amounts of illegal firearms on the streets; (d) other initiatives being undertaken by the Police in an effort to maintain peace and stability in the Federation; and (e) comparative crime statistics for 2018 and 2019. The reports were well-received and later became the subjects of a Police press briefing that was scheduled for Tuesday, Aug.13.
- The Cabinet considered and approved a funding request for ongoing marine works on the Breakwater for the Old Road Fisheries Complex. This infrastructure was damaged during the passage of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September, 2017. The project is being managed by the Public Works Department and led by an overseas consulting firm, ADeB Consultants. An interim sum of just over EC$600,000 was approved for payments of works that were completed to date.
- The Cabinet recorded sincere condolences to retired Matron of the JNF General Hospital, Sylvia Garnette and her family on the passing of her daughter, Nurse Esther Garnette in Chicago. Originally from Tabernacle, Ms. Garnette was laid to rest on Saturday, Aug. 24 in the United States. May her soul rest in peace. The Hon. Prime Minister will represent the Cabinet at her funeral.
- The Cabinet approved a number of Alien Landholding Licences for (a) persons desirous of obtaining directorships in locally registered companies, and (b) for the renewal of commercial land leases for non-nationals.
- The Cabinet approved the sale of several commercial lots at the C A Paul Southwell Industrial Estate, to the long-term tenants who had occupied those lands.
- The Cabinet considered and approved a proposal for the dismantling of sections of the Old Sugar Factory Buildings following consultations with the National Trust, custodian of the site. Dismantling of dilapidated areas is being done in the interest of public safety, hurricane preparedness and also historical preservation and conservation. The dismantling exercise will be managed by the Ministry of Agriculture.
- It was decided by The Cabinet, on the advice of the Comptroller of Inland Revenue, that there should be an extension of period for the payment of property taxes which are due annually. The normal deadline is June 30 of each year. However, the extension of the payment period has been approved from July 1 to Dec. 31 without the payment of interest and penalties and a ten percent reduction in taxes. Members of the general public who are delinquent with the payment of property taxes are urged to make use of this extended window of time during which they can bring their property taxes up to date without attracting the normal interest and penalty fees.
- The Cabinet considered and approved a proposal to reduce the minimum payment due for the development of lands allocated by government through the Ministry of Sustainable Development. The minimum down-payment has been reduced from 25 percent to 10 percent. Through this change, The Cabinet is facilitating more persons to become land-owners and contribute to the socio-economic development of the Country.
- The Cabinet reviewed a number of active capital projects under construction in St. Kitts and Nevis. Decisions were made regarding (a) continuation of funding for those projects that would extend further into 2019, based on construction phases; and (b) those projects already completed. This review exercise included a total of 20 projects. The Cabinet took note that it was implementing the largest set of capital projects in history.
- TheCabinet received reports on the financial and operational status of Kittitian Hill/Belmont Resort, Ltd., and was also updated on plans to construct a new home for Basseterre High School.
- The Cabinet considered the parliamentary agenda.
- The next meeting of the Cabinet was scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 21.