Prime Minister Dr Timothy Harris has until Wednesday to resolve the issues facing the Team Unity coalition government, or dissolve parliament and pave the way for a new general election. The ultimatum was issued by Nevis Premier and leader of the Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM), Mark Brantley, amid a growing rift within the administration.
Brantley made the call on a Saturday night TV show, saying Harris had done nothing to address issues in the public domain regarding the government.
The coalition government includes Harris’ People’s Labor Party (PLP), People’s Action Movement (PAM) and Brantley’s CCM.
On his show, Brantley said he and WFP chief and Deputy Prime Minister Shawn Richards sent a joint letter to Harris giving him the Wednesday deadline and insisting the coalition would not be used. for an individual’s personal ambition.
“To this end and in accordance with our own continuing efforts to save our Team Unity government, the Honorable Shawn Richards and I have delivered a written communication to the Honorable Prime Minister setting out our position for the way forward,” Brantley said in the TV show.
“We have taken the unprecedented decision to set Wednesday 20 April 2022 as the deadline for a response from the Prime Minister, failing which we can only conclude that he and his team have no interest or desire to save this government. TeamUnity.
“So we’ll know by Wednesday if we can come to a resolution or if we’re facing a breakup,” Brantley told The Nation.
Following their latest round of coalition-saving talks last Thursday, Prime Minister Harris said on a TV show that he remained “fully committed” to ending the split in his coalition administration, insisting that the country “must have a cabinet that is fully committed to addressing the pressing issues facing our people”.
Harris said problems the government was facing with governance and transparency, a reassignment of ministerial functions, the external involvement of global financial institutions and an increase in Nevis’s operating budget were among the issues on the agenda. of the day.
“The meeting was cordial like the one held last week,” he said, noting that at Thursday’s meeting he offered a framework “to address the issues raised.”
“This framework included the introduction of a code of conduct for the better functioning of the firm. I have further proposed that all be held to greater accountability to the cabinet through regular reporting so that members can be better informed of the workings of the whole government,” Harris said, briefly addressing the discussions. on a cabinet reshuffle and issues related to the powers exercised by the government. Prime Minister’s Office as part of Team Unity.
“I am committed to undertaking a review of the composition of the cabinet in due course, with a view to improving the efficiency and effectiveness of government as a whole. I made it clear that I could not allow the constitutional prerogative of the Prime Minister’s office to be diminished.
But Brantley added that “the principles of Team Unity, which allowed him the privilege of being our prime minister, must not be diminished either.”
“We cannot and should not use the Team Unity ladder to reach the top and overthrow it as being a mere construct for personal advancement.
In his televised address, Harris told the nation that the government had sought external input from the World Bank regarding the issue of fair distribution of income from citizenship by investment (CBI).
Under the CBI program, foreign investors are granted citizenship in exchange for a significant contribution to the socio-economic development of the Twin Islands Federation.
“Progress has been made with the agreement of the World Bank to undertake a study to advise on equitable revenue sharing arrangements between the Federal Government and the Island of Nevis Administration,” Harris said, also announcing approval of an increase in the national operating budget for Nevis.
A student could have handled this better
But Brantley, on his show, ridiculed the prime minister’s efforts to get the Washington-based financial institution to get involved in the problem, saying any high school student could have fixed the problem.
“This [boggles] mind why the Honorable Prime Minister, an accountant by training and a very astute financial manager, would continue to peddle the idea that we need the World Bank to come and do a study and tell us how to calculate the sums received from the CBI…”
“I am certain when I say that any student at Nevis Sixth Form College…could undertake this mathematical exercise and bring an immediate resolution to a case that has been brewing for seven long years,” Brantley said.
“I and my beloved CCM remain fully committed to Team Unity and the ideals we have espoused and captured the immigration of our people. We believe that unity should not just be a word we repeat often in speeches, but an idea that must be demonstrated by action.”
He continued: “We are committed to living in peace and promoting socio-political harmony between our two islands and between our peoples. Well, let there be no doubt that if others within the Team Unity construct are unwilling or unable to compromise in the interest of our nation’s stability, then the CCM and the people of Nevis will not give up, we will not bow, we will never surrender.
“We live by our motto that people matter the most and we will never hold it against ourselves for standing up for the people who have trusted us to represent them,” Brantley said, adding that Easter celebrations are not just a suffering “but also of rebirth and renewal.”
“Easter is a story of sadness, but also a story of triumph. Above all, Easter is a story of Almighty God keeping His promise to all of us. May we seek to be like Christ and keep our promise to one another. towards others and towards our people,” he added.