My fellow citizens, friends, and well-wishers. Today I greet you as the Leader of the Nevis Reformation Party. I greet you on this 2nd day of October 2023 on matters of national significance.
On 13th September 2023, Prime Minister Dr. Terrance Drew referenced a report emanating from an investigation that he commissioned, into the financial affairs of the Development Bank, during the 7-years governance of the Team Unity Government, a construct comprised in part of the Concerned Citizens Movement, the People’s Action Movement and the People’s Labour Party. Prime Minister Drew revealed that the findings of the report indicate that in excess of $20-Million dollars has gone missing. These are grim findings, deserving of serious attention.
In the wake of all this, the Premier of Nevis, the Honourable Mark Brantley, in a rather childish display of deception and dishonesty, took to social media on October 1st, to lay false accusations against me and the party that I lead. On one occasion he stated and I quote:
“I am cooking saltfish and thinking that NRP collect $4-6 Million from Development Bank last election and still lose. Ah wonder who get the money? Rain a come for who got cocoa ah sun!!!
He also wrote, and again I quote:
“which political party and its leader collect all those millions from Development Bank?”
His insinuations are clear, Premier Brantley is attempting to accuse myself, as the Leader of the NRP of collecting, or receiving the benefit of $4-6 Million dollars from the Development Bank in some scheme to finance the last election.
Let me be as pellucid as possible, neither the Nevis Reformation Party nor its leadership, received funding from the Development Bank to finance the last election.
It is obvious that while the Premier wrestles with the stark reality of his failed attempts of administration, and the glaring mismanagement of funds that he may soon be called upon to answer, the Premier has deployed his usual lame tactic of deception.
These allegations put forth by the Premier represent nothing more than a vicious lie, a fable, plotted and meticulously calculated to achieve a single objective, that is to cast sinister allegations against the NRP in an attempt to ruin our reputation as honest men and women. I take this as a personal attack on my character as well, for which I will not stand idly by and ignore. I will instruct my attorneys to take any and all steps to ensure that this narcissistic Premier is held accountable for his false accusations.
I say to the Premier today, enough is enough and this is where I draw the line…no Ms. Take it easy today!
While Rome burns the Premier finds time to concoct deceptive Nancy stories. As a little girl growing up in Brown Hill, I was always encouraged to tell the truth. We were told that whenever a lie is told, there is something that the liar is trying to hide… because a liar is mortified of the truth. The embattled Premier has much to answer to and so I am persuaded, that this latest act of desperation is to deflect from his incompetence.
No amount of deflection will hide the reality of his failed administration and the questionable use of state funds. I implore every Nevisian to ask yourself this simple question, are you any better off under the leadership of Premier Brantley? I am sure that the overwhelming response would be no.
I will take a brief moment to chronicle some of the failures that should be occupying the Premier’s time, rather than attempting to concoct stories on social media and elsewhere, to mislead the peopleof Nevis.
In the very first chapter, I note that since 2015, the fiscal status of Nevis has been mutilated. Our debt is now approaching a staggering 600 Million dollars. This staggering debt continues to increase, notwithstanding that the Government has collected approximately 700 Million dollars in tax revenues and nearly half a Billion dollars in CBI funds…..a treasure trove of funds to spend. Yet the treasury is bare and empty, and our narcissistic Premier has managed to run this once proud, prosperous Nevis into near bankruptcy and confined our economy to a state of dormancy.
In the next Chapter we see that Premier Brantley was the Minister of Foreign Affairs for 7 years, yet has failed to attract any foreign investments, there are minimal local investments and little trade. The Premier bragged that there were investors waiting out to sea until he took office. Well they have all come to shore but resorted to fleeing as far away as possible from this Premier. He has made announcements of hotels including the Candy Resort, the Aman Resort and the Wyndham Resort. Yet, none has been realized. He has promised to turn on the geothermal switch in 2017 but now some 6-years later with no investors, the federal government has had to step in. Sadly, our Premier has been reduced to an administrative handicap.
The next Chapter brings no comfort, my people, as it reveals sustained failure and although it pains me to discuss it, I must mention that the current state of healthcare is alarming; still the Premier considers it the best that it has ever been. Perhaps he should have finished the sentence and say that it’s the best that it has ever been under his watch. The many who have died prematurely, leaving loved ones to mourn; the lack of basic medical necessities that haunt the Community centers and the hospital; insufficient health care professionals and those brave enough to weather the stressful environment, are left to turn stone into bread. In response we cannot turn a blind eye.
We cannot forget the monstrosity of the new hospital wing that was scheduled to be completed within 24-months, but now after 8 million dollars by the Health Minister’s count, and 17 million dollars by his count, and 7 years later, the struggle continues with no end in sight. The Premier has not told the nation that it was a candidate for his party and now a Minister in his cabinet that drafted the plans for the hospital, and it was those plans that have caused all the issues. On his Press Conference of Thursday 26th September, the Premier told the nation that another party is facing legal actions for the failure to perform their obligations associated with the troubled wing; but what action has he taken against his minister, what punishment is there for him? I am told that the value of the structure there is a mere fraction of the millions spent and I remind you, according to Premier Brantley, some $17 plus million has already been spent.
My people, I turn the page to the next chapter, about the Oualie Water Taxi Facility. The Premier and his team laid out a majestic development plan for the area… inclusive of a pier, reception building, gift shops and parking area, all at a cost of $6 Million. The project was scheduled to be completed in 2018 but now, some 5 years later, this too has suffered a similar fate as the Alexandra Hospital……it remains incomplete with a pier and some abandoned Sunday school benches pitched under a tent, presumably for comfort. Shabby at best, yet the $6 Million has vanished with a need for additional funding to complete the project.
As regrettable as it is, I must turn to the next chapter, and discuss the Social Security contributions that the NIA has collected, but the NIA has not paid the funds to the Social Security Board. This behavior is egregious. I have seen a letter from the Senior Manager addressed to the Nevis Island Administration complaining of a whopping $9.1 Million of the contributions of the hard-working men and women of this country that have not been accounted for. I then looked at the date of the letter, only to be further stunned since the letter was dated May 2022. It is not clear what the Nevis Island Administration has done or is doing to remedy the dilemma, but the outstanding amount continues to increase.
When many of our citizens attain retirement age they may very well be heartbroken when reality hits and they come to realize that they have no pension. Our teachers, Doctors, Nurses, Fire personnel, cleaners, you name it, they deserve better. But while all this was transpiring, a former member of his cabinet, Alexis Jeffers, was being paid an extra $2500 per month, above and beyond his minister’s salary, for his dealings with the NHLDC’s quarry. What those dealings are, we do not know. What we do know is that the Premier sat by and permitted it.
When one considers all these anomalies and quietly conclude that this could not get any worst, it did. We would recall that at the last elections Mr. Jeffers was rejected at the polls. Yet, for reasons unknown to us, the Premier immediately brought back Mr. Jeffers, as an Advisor to the Nevis Island Administration, with a handsome compensation of almost $100,000 per year. All of this while your Social Security Contributions are unaccounted for!
My people, these are some of the issues that I believe haunt our Premier but it does not end there. The Federal government has taken the position that when funds are handed over to the NIA, thereafter they play no further part. While such approach may find general support, the issue of misuse of public funds must not be granted such safe passage. The Prime Minister has begun his investigations into some of the institutions of the state, but his efforts should not rest there. I believe that funds received by the CCM administration to undertake specific projects like the Mondo track, the hospital and the water taxi facility must be investigated and audited as well. I therefore call upon the Prime Minister to act in this regard. The Social Security contributions, the CBI deal with Minister Spencer Brand…these are no small issues, these are real issues that affect the lives and livelihoods of thousands of our citizens.
My people, there are more chapters but, for now, I will end here. I implore Premier Brantley to utilize his time wisely to advance the economic wellbeing of this country and not to further the incendiary conduct for which he has become known.
Nevis needs reformation and I remain resolute in my desire to serve, and to work with and for the citizens of this great country.
As we continue to monitor Tropical Storm Philippe, we pray for God’s mercies upon us.
May God bless you and may God bless Saint Christopher and Nevis.