NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (April 28, 2020) — The Nevis Island Administration (NIA) Cabinet has taken some decisions to assist Nevisians as the COVID-19 pandemic affects the operations of the NIA and the livelihood of the people of Nevis.
Hon. Mark Brantley, Premier of Nevis, spoke of the decisions made after a Cabinet meeting, while delivering remarks at the 7th Nevis COVID-19 Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) Briefing on Thursday, April 23, 2020.
“We are in no rush to open the Nevis Island Administration fully as yet. That would be done on a phased basis. I would have met with the permanent secretaries to discuss that further, as to how we will open, to ensure that we maintain social distancing and we do not rush to re-open and get what is this dreaded second wave of contagion that many countries are saying that they are experiencing,” he said.
Mr. Brantley used the opportunity to urge the public to be patient with the Administration because it does not wish to undo the gains that have been made in the fight against the coronavirus.
The premier also noted that members of the Cabinet had decided to show solidarity with the people of Nevis during this difficult time, with a pay cut for a limited period.
“The Ministers are taking a 10 per cent pay cut for three months and that, again, is to show some solidarity. I would want to thank the Cabinet of Ministers. It is, of course, a personal choice that they would have made because, let us remember, that they are entitled to their salary and they have decided to forego 10 per cent for the next three months, as a show of solidarity.
“In my case, I’ve decided to forego 100 per cent and that would have commenced on the last pay cheque. The idea is that we will do that for as long as we can, to sustain that for as long as we can, again symbolic but intended to show solidarity with our people. We understand and, as the Premier of Nevis, I understand the difficulty that our people have endured, continue to endure and I am, of course, saying to you that I understand and that we, as the government, we also experience the pain. We understand and we are trying our very best to empathise and to show you that we are in this together,” he said.
Mr. Brantley noted that a joint decision was also taken in which they would make available $13,500 each month from their personal resources to provide food to those who are most vulnerable, and described the move as a significant gesture.
“This, to me, is significant because it is important for us that no family in Nevis goes hungry and we will seek to ensure that those funds are deployed for groceries for those who are most vulnerable in the community. Again, these are personal resources that are being deployed,” he said.