The Concerned Citizens Movement, CCM, headed by Vance Amory, on page 49, under the caption, “Population Growth”, has promised in its manifesto that if elected, it would “Revisit the immigration policy for the island, by seeking to encourage migration to Nevis especially of university educated and skilled persons and their families from other Caribbean islands or elsewhere”.
This policy proposal is not too dissimilar to those of many other countries, especially the more developed ones, such as the United States, which each year, recruits thousands of the best and brightest of students from the Caribbean, including Nevis, Asia and Europe, as part of their overall strategy to expand and enhance their economy.
However, the proposal by the CCM has come in for much criticism from the ruling Nevis Reformation Party, NRP, whose leader, Mr. Joseph Parry, who is also the island’s current Premier, stated on his weekly radio program, “In Touch with the Premier” that the Concerned Citizens Movement’s (CCM) Manifesto, pledges to weaken the immigration policies of Nevis and flood the island with foreigners that the island cannot comfortably accommodate.
According to a release from the Premier’s Office, he is said to have asked on his program, “How could Nevis accommodate an influx of immigrants to our shores in terms of housing, schooling and employment?”
However, the CCM has explained its proposal by indicating, that the population of Nevis has to be encouraged to grow. It said in its manifesto that, at 12,000 people, Nevis suffers from a lack of critical population mass to trigger sustainable development. To put it bluntly, said the CCM, Nevis needs people.
Similar sentiments have in the past been expressed by the Federal Government, which holds the view, like the CCM, that if the economy is to grow and develop, it would prove much easier, if the population size was larger.
A larger population, following the guidelines shared by the CCM, could in fact lead to more contributions to Social Security, government’s tax revenue, VAT payments, greater contributions for electricity, water, and other direct financial benefits to the public purse. It does however, also place greater demands on social services, such as schools, health clinics and other activities.
In the heat of the electioneering however, the ruling NRP leader, Joseph Parry, has described the CCM’s pledge as a “dangerous and sinister policy. He said that such a policy would result in an influx of foreigners (to the island), and Nevis has to consider the consequences.
“We need more jobs here for Nevisians. We already don’t have enough. If we are competing against an influx of foreigners for jobs, more Nevisians will be unemployed,” commented the Premier.
Parry said that the CCM plot would drive down wages in Nevis and more people desperately seeking work means that employers can slash wages, harming working Nevisians.
“It’s simple economics,” the Premier commented. “The more people looking for work the cheaper employers’ can hire workers for and where would that leave Nevisians?”
However, what both parties have not explained to the public though, is that matters of immigration are controlled by the Federal Government, not the local island administration, thus neither of them has any authority to implement or prevent the implementation of such a policy.