He said with continued oversight, productivity and management, the possibilities for a “state of the art” development, yielding tremendous returns, is still anticipated.
“Whilst it is the individual and collective membership of the Social Security Board that is the legal trustee of the Fund, Government has responsibility for political, legislative and administrative oversight,” said Deputy Prime Minister Condor.
He told the nation, in a radio and television broadcast that his own appreciation of and commitment to responsibility and duty, “finds me frequenting Board meetings, interacting regularly on matters that are not the everyday run of the mill; and being consulted on issues requiring Ministerial input and/or intervention.”
Directing attention to the Beacon Heights Project that “has unfortunately been the subject of much Public debate, scrutiny and controversy, over the past several weeks,” it was as a result of the magnitude of the proposed investment in this project, “the Social Security Board appointed additional persons to assist the Investment Committee with oversight and management.”
He said the Committee is comprised of an engineer/technical advisor, the Director, and Deputy Director of Social Security, Assistant Director/ Branch Office Nevis, Legal Officer, and a Secretary.
“I am satisfied that the structures put in place to manage the project conforms to the highest standards of accountability and good Governance,” said Deputy Prime Minister Condor, who noted that the controversy was triggered by a Memorandum written some four months ago by the Director of the Scheme to the Chairman of the Board, which has found its way into the public domain.
He said that the memo was for all intent and purpose “promptly and strategically acted upon by the Board, when a decision was taken to control the direct financing and speedy completion of the first 10 houses.”
“This decision was in fact communicated to me; and I agreed that the alternative would have meant a halt to the project; which would have no doubt seen the Board and the Contractor mired down in talks of possible litigation. Thankfully, today the Project is back on track,” said Deputy Prime Minister Condor.
He noted that over the past few weeks, many issues have been raised publicly regarding the execution of this project; and its potential impact on the sustainability of the Social Security Fund, which obviously constitutes grave concern for every citizen of St. Kitts and Nevis.
“It is fair to say that the Board has remained mindful of its obligation and commitment to inform and dialogue with stakeholders through its Public Relations Programmes and otherwise,” said Mr. Condor, who commended “all those officers who remain actively committed to these programmes, as they provide the opportunity for stakeholders to contribute meaningfully to the discussions/ debates for the overall development of the Fund; and to assist in the implementation of workable solutions, in addressing the many challenges that are inherent in reform.”
He said he needed not to rehash the details surrounding the Beacon Heights Project, in regard to the award of the Contract, the size of the project, the number of houses to be built, the state of the art infrastructure and the challenges with natural disaster and cash flows as “these are all in the public domain, as a result of the in -depth public reports issued by both the Social Security Board and CONTEC.”