Happiness and prosperity for all Nevisians is the ultimate goal of this Nevis Island Administration, which I have the honour to lead at this dynamic period in our history. Added to these are peace and stability; hallmark features of our twin island federation.
Fellow Nevisians, we stand on the cusps of a new year. A new chapter is about to be written about the evolution of these islands. The exciting feature of this development is that each of you, above the age of 18, has an opportunity, indeed, a responsibility, to influence the crafting of history’s page.
At this, the start of the year 2013, we hold the future of our beloved island truly in our hands. There’s much going on around us, as an island, a federation and a region, that we have little or no ability to determine. But there is the aspect of political, social and economic stability on Nevis, that we can very much influence, and here is where imminent general elections for a new Nevis Island Administration come into sharp focus.
Fellow Nevisians, you would recall that Parliament was dissolved in the month of November. The circumstances that led to this are widely known and I do not propose to rehash them all on this occasion. Suffice to say, your Nevis Reformation Party administration deemed it necessary to renew its mandate, so that no one would be in doubt as to its status as the legitimate government and first party of choice on the island of Nevis.
We were in the process of implementing our promised regime of social and economic reforms and improvements. This has not been an easy time to govern, but that is the tale of all governments in the civilised world today. Yet, in spite of the challenges and in spite of the obstacles, we have managed to stay the course.
We succeeded, where few other administrations have, in maintaining high levels of employment in the public and private sectors. This is not to say we are unmindful of those in need of work; indeed we are determined to create the environment for the creation of new jobs in Nevis. I want to see full employment on Nevis and I will not rest until that is achieved. But, in the interim, I take great comfort in the fact that our unemployment numbers on Nevis are arguably among the lowest in the entire Caribbean region.
Equally important is the fact that we have not cut social services to the elderly or disadvantaged. Indeed, we have not cut social services at all.
Far from reducing, Hensley Daniel, as Minister responsible for Health and Social Services, presided over a period of phenomenal growth in the number and range of social services meted out to residents of our island. This is one of the reasons why I very much would like to see Hensley Daniel re-elected to the Nevis Assembly and re-instated as a minister, to resume the excellent work he was doing.
Worthy of note also is the fact that we have maintained a very healthy investment climate in Nevis and an open door posture for investors, local and foreign, wanting to do business on Nevis, but who may be adversely impacted by existing rules and regulations.
Under your Nevis Reformation Party administration the message has gone forth that Nevis is very much open for business, and that is why, in spite of the current global economic recession, we have continued to attract and welcome new investments to our shores.
In recent years as well, we have confronted the threat of the scourge of crime and antisocial behavior. Indeed we have tackled it head on. We have fought to maintain Nevis as an oasis of peace; where residents and visitors go about their business in a relaxed mode; free of fear.
So, Ladies and Gentlemen, at this the start of a new calendar year and at the end of a shortened second term in office for your Nevis Reformation Party administration, I am proud of the performance record we have compiled.
I am grateful to public officers for their cooperation and support during these challenging times. I applaud those who adhered to the call to cut and contrive; to reduce waste and shun all forms of corruption and illicit activity.
Fellow Nevisians, it is because we have laboured as a team that we have reaped the many successes this beautiful island of ours can point to over the past six years. In essence, we put Nevis first! We did what was best for Nevis. We did our best in the areas of water, roads, electricity, education, development, outstanding housing performance, health, the reduction of crime and jobs and more jobs and Nevis is the better for it.
Now on this matter of putting Nevis first, one of the most significant developments since the dissolution of the Parliament here in Nevis has been the announcement by some in our midst, of their intention to spearhead the formation of a coalition effort to govern the country.
St. Kitts and Nevis are one Federation, but we have separate governing administrative systems. My dear people, we are living in very difficult and challenging times, and I determined many years ago, at the dawn of this economic crisis, that leadership of Nevis meant giving this beautiful island of ours 100% of my focus and attention.
I recognise the need to cooperate and to assist wherever with the federal effort, but for years now I have assumed the posture, as leader of the Nevis Reformation Party, of becoming 100% Nevisian in my focus as your leader. I believe that Nevis deserves nothing less from its leader at this particular juncture in our history.
It must therefore be of worry and concern to many that at a time when elections are imminent on Nevis and at a time when Nevis needs all the focus and attention of its leader and leaders, others would find time and opportunity to be actively pursuing the goal of entering into a federal coalition; not in a supporting role as is the Honourable Patrice Nisbett’s, in his role as Attorney General, but, we are told, as leaders and driving forces behind the effort of the coalition.
I said in my address to my party’s convention that election to the Nevis Island Assembly should not and must not be seen or used as a stepping stone to what some may perceive as “bigger things”.
I am the Premier of Nevis. I want to be the Premier of Nevis and the Premier of Nevis only. I want to do what’s best for the island of Nevis! That is why, as Leader of the Nevis Reformation Party, I am running for governmental office in Nevis and in Nevis only! These are not the 80’s or the 90’s we are living in, Ladies and Gentlemen, this is 2013 and each leader must have as his focus the best interest of his island.
Others have their sights set firmly on bigger things. Nevis, it would appear, is but a sideshow for them. I insist that we on this beautiful island of Nevis and the thousands of Nevisians resident abroad deserve better!
We need, in these very difficult times, full-time leadership of Nevis. We need full-time attention to Nevis by the leader of Nevis. That is why General Elections are being called at this time…for you, the people of Nevis, to have your say and for you to make your decision.
There is nothing wrong in Nevis Parliamentarians serving also at the Federal level, but I have a fundamental difficulty with persons seeking to lead Nevis and lead the Federation as well, at this particular juncture in our history. Something tells me Nevis would suffer and suffer badly in that arrangement.
However, this is a matter that only you, the voters of Nevis, can determine.
We do not need a long and drawn out period of campaigning….there is plenty work to be done and we have, as an administration, to hit the road running, very early in this New Year.
Accordingly, I have today asked that the writ for the holding of fresh elections in Nevis be filed. And let me take this opportunity to once again congratulate His Excellency, Sir Edmund Lawrence on his assuming the office of Governor-General of the Federation.
I am satisfied, Fellow Nevisians; those of you resident at home and others living and working abroad, that we need strong leadership and a stable government in Nevis at this time.
We need leaders on Nevis who are 100% committed to the cause of Nevis. That is what these elections will be about. They will be about determining and doing what’s best for Nevis.
That having been stated, I now wish to announce that Nomination Day on Nevis shall be Monday the 14th day of January, 2013, and that Nevisians shall go to the polls to elect a new Nevis Island Administration government on Tuesday the 22nd of January, 2013.
Fellow Nevisians, I pray for a clean and peaceful campaign.
I wish each and every one of you, God’s speed and guidance in 2013 and I look forward to another year of progress and prosperity on this island of ours.
May God continue to bless you and I thank you all.