Photo: 2016 Budget Estimates Meeting in session on November 5, 2015
Basseterre, St. Kitts, November 05, 2015 (SKNIS): Premier of Nevis and Senior Minister in the Federal Cabinet, the Honourable Vance Amory, is confident that Nevis will receive a fair share of allocated funds in the 2016 Budget.
Speaking to Director General of SKNIS, Mr. Lesroy Williams, on November 05, the Minister of Nevis Affairs, said that while he has served as a member of the Federal Parliament since 1989, he has only sat on Government benches since February of 2015 after the Government of National Unity took office.
Premier Amory said he had “never really been involved before but this is all a part of the changing times. I think it’s good that we are a part of this exercise and I am thoroughly enjoying the process.”
Premier Amory said that before the February 16 General Elections he had long advocated for a fair share for Nevis. Referring to EC$15 million of budgetary support provided to Nevis by the Government of National Unity, Premier Amory said that he feels that the relationship that now exists between the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) and the Federation Government will rectify the shortfalls in the past.
“If we look at the fact that both countries depend on import duties and customs service charges and those sort of things but there is no border between St. Kitts and Nevis—Nevis itself depends on a lot of items coming through St. Kitts, therefore a lot of duties which are important for revenue generation are collected here in St. Kitts. So that’s one area that we may call a leakage,” Premier Amory said.
“In 1993, I asked that a share of the resources from the Citizens by Investment Programme (CBI) be assigned to Nevis based on the arrangement that it was a national resource which was being utilized in the process. That was denied. I again asked in 1996 and again that was denied flatly. I think now we have come to a point where it is recognized that it is really just fair and reasonable,” the senior minister said.
The Premier also pointed to some areas of priority in the 2016 Budget. He expressed the view that an upgraded education and health sector must be priority in the Budget.
“Those are clearly areas of deep concern. If we assess the social environment of St. Kitts and Nevis, those are critical,” he said.
He also expressed the need for the Budget to address “efforts to increase foreign investment and domestic investment to create employment” but categorically stated that foreign direct investors must add value to St. Kitts and Nevis.
Both Honourable Vance Amory and Honourable Mark Brantley are members of the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) and the Government of National Unity. In the Cabinet of the Government of National Unity Premier Amory is Senior Minister, Minister of Nevis Affairs, Labour, Social Security and Ecclesiastical Affairs while Mr. Brantley is Minister of Foreign Affairs and Civil Aviation