NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (January 01, 2019) — The following is a New Year message from Hon. Mark Brantley, Premier of Nevis.
My fellow citizens at home and abroad, residents and visitors,
Today I greet you with all of the promise, hope and expectation that the start of this New Year affords. On this, the first day of 2019, a new chapter is being written, a new scene is unfolding and a new day is dawning. It is my hope that each of us will realize a measure of prosperity in our lives, and that all of us will endeavour to make a contribution, however small, to the development of this our nation.
During the Christmas season, I visited many areas in our Nation to get a sense of our national mood. It brought me great joy to see our people illuminating their homes and surroundings with tremendous creativity and pride. It was heartening to see so many of us shopping with great enthusiasm and sharing with families and friends in the spirit of love and good cheer. It was delightful to see our overseas relatives returning home in large numbers to spend time with their families and revel in the festivities.
The New Year provides a time of reflection. It is a time when we reflect on our experiences, lessons and challenges in the year that has passed, and look forward to the opportunities of the year ahead.
The New Year is also a time when we make resolutions and dare to dream. I encourage all of our citizens to dream big and I trust that all aspirations, dreams and resolutions will be fully realized in the year ahead.
The past year has been a year of achievement, progress and renewed hope for the people of St. Kitts and Nevis. The year 2018 was marked by political stability, social cohesion, economic growth, prosperity for all through job creation and the opportunity for us to realize our goals and full potential.
Our people continue to display great resolve as we endeavour to construct a culture of service, citizenship, patriotism and responsibility. In the New Year, may we continue on the path of success and embrace the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.
Fellow citizens, the New Year will have its challenges, it will also have opportunities. Let us recognize and take hold of the opportunities when they arise. The year 2019 will provide the opportunity for us to transform ourselves. Instead of hate, may we display love, instead of discord,-unity and, instead of intolerance, – mercy.
I propose that we see 2019 as the year of opportunity. The opportunity to correct all of the ills facing ourselves and our Nation. The opportunity to remove the fundamental hindrances that prevent us from being our better selves. The opportunity to cultivate for our Federation a never-ending legacy of peace and prosperity.
In December of 2017, you elected my government in order to promote sustainable economic growth and prosperity for all. You entrusted us with the responsibility of caring for our elderly, our vulnerable, our indigent, and those at risk. You made a covenant with us to provide quality education, protect the environment, further develop agriculture and improve our health services. You challenged us to create social cohesion, improve our sporting facilities and provide affordable housing for all – and this we did and this we continue to do.
In 2018, our island witnessed an infrastructural development programme unlike at any other time in our history. I am happy to report that the long-awaited Alexandra Hospital Rehabilitation Project is progressing smoothly. The much-talked-about construction of the enhanced Water Taxi Facility at Oualie Beach is under construction. The New Castle Police Station is progressing at a rapid pace. Expansions at the educational plants at the Ivor Walters Primary and Charlestown Primary Schools have been undertaken.
The CCTV Command Centre at the Charlestown Police Station is now completed. During the past year, we continued in our endeavour to rehabilitate, upgrade and expand our roads and bridges network. We commenced road rehabilitation in Brown Hill, in Bath Village and in Craddock Road. Upon completion, these roads and bridges will provide access and ease of movement within these communities.
In the theatre of good governance and transparency, 2018 proved to be a transformational year. During this period, your CCM Government operationalized the much-anticipated Integrity in Public Life Legislation. We enacted legislation for freedom of information and, for the first time in our political history, we provided a fully-functional office for the Honourable Leader of the Opposition, notwithstanding there is no constitutionally-appointed person currently in that office.
The credit for our accomplishments in 2018 goes to Jehovah God but also to you, our beloved citizens and visitors. You have demonstrated support, patience, courage, patriotism and maturity during the past year.
With a renewed impetus, my Government pledges to sustain and build on the gains made in the year that has passed. We will continue to invest heavily in the physical infrastructure, which is pivotal to improving livelihoods. High among our priorities will be to ensure the achievement of sustainable, affordable and reliable energy. Therefore, we will also continue to pursue and promote renewable energy in the form of geothermal, wind and solar energy.
We will continue to expand our roads and bridges network, giving greater access to our villages and communities. In 2019, we will witness Phase II of the Brown Hill, Bath Village and Craddock Road Projects. In addition to these, we will also see the continuation of Shaws Road into the village of Fountain.
Our housing revolution continues to provide our citizens with their own homes, giving them great comfort and security. Today, entire new communities have emerged, where once the land lay barren and bare. I am happy to report that during the period 2013-2018, the Nevis Housing and Land Development Corporation constructed a total of 140 homes at a cost of $30.04 million. In 2019, my government will construct an additional 72 affordable houses. The construction of these homes will be distributed as follows:
Low Ground Estate (Cherry Gardens area) 6 houses. In the Hamilton Estate 18 houses. In the Spring Hill Estate (University Heights) 16 houses. In the Madden’s Estate (Cedar View) 32 houses.
My Fellow Citizens, gone are the days when the dream of owning a home was out of the reach of the average, hard-working Nevisian. Today, hundreds of Nevisians, working-class families and young professionals, have now realized their dream of home ownership.
My administration believes that education is a sword for the powerless and a shield for the defenceless. In 2019, you will see the start of the TVET construction phase at the Gingerland and at the Charlestown Secondary Schools. This will be a bold step in ensuring that our citizens are prepared to meet the needs of a modern and progressing Nevis, and to compete successfully in the world of tomorrow.
At this juncture, allow me to congratulate all of our students who performed admirably in the recently-concluded CSEC and CAPE examinations. Worthy of particular note, however, are Rol-J Williams and Ronice Liburd, who were two of the top five performers in the entire Federation in the CAPE Examinations.
The Gingerland Secondary School continues to punch well above its weight. For the third year in a row, it emerged as a top-performing school in the Federation, with a 96 percent pass rate.
Fellow Citizens, at the heart of all these developments is our aim to improve the quality of life of all our citizens. We are creating opportunities for every person to be gainfully employed, and to acquire the skills necessary to access these opportunities. We will continue to improve the economic environment and incentivise investors to establish and expand their business. Such measures will help to grow our economy, broaden our revenue base, improve our fiscal capacity and reinforce our economic resilience.
In the year ahead, challenges will emerge – some old and others new. Chief among these will be the scourge of crime. As a people and as a Nation, we must set our face against crime and violence. My government abhors and condemns all forms of crime.
As a government, we will continue to explore more effective ways to combat crime. We will work harder and invest heavily to ensure that our communities are safe, and that our crime-fighting and prevention capabilities are strengthened and enhanced. We will tackle every situation involving crime and criminals with the level of aggression and commitment required of us to triumph.
As we increase the government’s support for our security forces, we will continue to provide them with the necessary training, equipment and vehicles that are required to address the social issues that contribute to crime. We will continue to work with our counterparts in the Federal Government to strengthen existing, and create new legislation to secure greater safety of our people. We will continue to deepen the partnership between the Police and community.
My Fellow Citizens, in the spirit of openness and transparency, I disclosed to you in my recent Budget Address, that the Four Seasons Resort will be closed for renovations from June to October of 2019.
I ask you NOW to ignore the purveyors of doom and trust your government to give you accurate and timely information. We commit to working closely with the Four Seasons and with you to ensure that we minimize any negative impact to you and your families.
As the Premier of Nevis, let me, at this juncture, in magnanimity, apologise to the Four Season’s owner and management team on behalf of the good and decent people of Nevis. The words, sentiments and opinions expressed by a discordant few are by no means those of the people of Nevis. We know that the timeline chosen by you was devoid of any politics, and that your decision was made in the best interest of all. We also believe that the Four Seasons has been a force for good on the island and will continue to do so in the future.
My Fellow Citizens, as a Nation and as a people, we have always been challenged, but have always emerged victorious in our response. I am confident that the impending closure of the Four Seasons, though it will test our national resolve, will not result in our economic or social ruin.
My confidence is grounded in the history of our country and trust in our people. Our people have always displayed incredible resolve and unimaginable strength in the face of adversity. As a proud and strong people, we have survived slavery, colonialism and neo-colonialism.
We have survived the 2008 economic meltdown, we have survived Hurricanes David in 1979, Hugo in 1989, Louis and Marilyn in 1995, and Lenny in 1999, Omar in 2008 and Earl and Otto in 2010. We have survived the closure of Four Seasons in 1999 and 2008, and this too we shall survive.
My Fellow Citizens, let us continue to confront our challenges together in fraternity and in a spirit of national accord. I am a true believer in the strength and resilience of our people. Within us exists the capacity for great accomplishment and creativity. May we never allow external forces or circumstances to determine the degree of our success. May our accomplishments, relationships and actions be an inspiration to all in the year ahead.
I take this sacred opportunity therefore, to wish you and your families a healthy and happy 2019. May God’s grace and mercy continue to be upon us and may we never grow weary of thanking Him for His Abundant blessings.
Thank you, and may Jehovah God bless our beloved island of Nevis and our Nation of St. Kitts and Nevis.