Statement By Hon. Spencer Brand
Fellow Citizens, Residents, and Friends, Good day,
I have chosen to use this medium, to address certain statements made by the outgoing Prime Minister of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. Timothy Harris at his minority government press conference on Wednesday, June 29th, 2022.
Dr. Harris claims, that I, Spencer Brand, as a Sitting Member of the Nevis Island Government am involved in the Citizenship by Investment program. Just to be clear, I became a Member of the Nevis Island Administration as an Elected Member of the Nevis Island Assembly on 17th December 2017.
However, in 2008, my wife and I purchased some 5 acres of land from Dr. Eustace Huggins, at Coxheath Estate, St. John’s Parish Nevis, through a loan facility from the Bank of Nevis Ltd. In subsequent years, I in my capacity as an Architect sought to develop those lands.
On the 12th of November 2014, in a letter under the hand of the Cabinet Secretary, Mr. Stedmond Tross, from the Nevis Island Government headed at the time, by the late Vance W Amory, responded to my application to develop those lands, and I quote:
“Dear Mr. & Mrs. Brand, we are pleased to inform you that we have made recommendation to the Federal Government that your project at Coxheath Estate is approved under the Economic Citizenship Program.
Please note, however, that you will have to make a formal application to the St. Kitts Investment Promotion Agency (SKIPA) for approval.”
I subsequently made an application to the St. Kitts Investment Promotion Agency (SKIPA) as mandated by law.
In a letter dated 27th of November 2015, from Mr. Stanley Jacobs, Director, Investment Promotion at the St. Kitts Investment Promotion Agency, and I quote:
“Dear Mr. Brand, we refer to your application seeking “Approved Project” status under the Citizenship by Investment Programme and other incentives for your project “Atlantic View Condos”. Please be advised that your request was submitted to Cabinet and it has APPROVED THE FOLLOWING IN PRINCIPLE pending the approved drawings and confirmation of approved financing from the bank:
a. Designation of the development as an “Approved Project” under the Citizenship by Investment Programme.
b. Permission to sell off-plan, provided that an Escrow Account is established and evidence of same is submitted to SKIPA and the Citizenship by Investment Unit.
Please note that your request for use of the timeshare mechanism for 1224 shares was not approved.
We await the submission of the above for final approval of your application.
Sincerely, Stanley Jacobs, Director, Investment Promotions.”
Over the subsequent years, there was correspondence between myself and SKIPA regarding the scope of the Development and the number of shares in particular.
Excerpts from a letter dated March 5th, 2021, from Mrs. Dorietta Fraites, Investment Facilitation Director at the St. Kitts Investment Promotion Agency, and I quote,
“Dear Mr. Brand, our agency refers to your application on behalf of Sun Valley Investment Ltd. seeking an increase in the number of shares for its project, Atlantic View Hotel, located at Coxheath Estate, Nevis. Please be advised that your request was submitted to Cabinet and it has granted approval for a total of 220 shares, as per the following structure”, end of quote, and the share structure was outlined;
The Prime Minister has given the impression and sought to mislead the Nation, that this is a project that has only been submitted and approved since I became a Sitting Minister of the NIA, and since Mark Brantley became the Premier of Nevis. That is the furthest thing from the truth.
This was a Development that had the approval of the NIA on the 12th of November 2014, and the Federal Government in principle since the 27th of November 2015, Approval for this project was granted from the NIA some three years before I became a Sitting Minister in the NIA and from the Federal Government in Principle some two years before I became an elected member of the NIA.
This is a 70-room hotel project, with a Conference Room, a Gym, a Spa, a Restaurant, a Club, a Deli, a Mini-Mart with a Swimming pool, and Parking. This is a development, expected to provide employment for over 70 Plus Persons upon completion, however, my wife and I have been unable to attract any investors to the project, because we need to sell the shares at the full statutory authorized price in order to raise the capital necessary to construct the hotel.
This is so because various schemes that appear to have the full support of the Harris Government and the CBI Team have resulted in the sale of shares at a price well below the statutorily authorized price of US$200,000, (or /us 175,000 for the Alternative Investment Option.
The question must therefore be asked Ladies and Gentlemen, what is the true status of the CBI Programme in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, under the current Harris regime?
The question must be asked Ladies and Gentlemen: Why is it, that on Nevis there are over 35 Approved CBI projects, and hardly anything has been built?
It is now well known that while the law stipulates US$200 000 per share for developers, shares are being sold for as low as US$15,000.00. Timothy Harris is aware of these schemes. Has he insisted that the sale price must be that which is provided under the law so that developers can have the necessary resources to develop their projects, and to provide jobs across the landscape of Nevis? Is that the reason why many approved projects on Nevis are not able to raise the necessary financing to build out their facility? As Prime Minister what has Timothy Harris done to safeguard the CBI Programme so it can have longevity and benefit all people?
To be clear Ladies and Gentlemen, I am not one of the persons benefitting from the scandalous schemes that undervalue our passports. In fact, quite the opposite! I am a victim of the schemes because they have prevented me from being able to attract investors to my project.
While the Prime Minister was seeking to score cheap political points, my focus and the focus of all Nevisians must remain on the Fair Share for the island of Nevis. Nevisians must realize that this Prime Minister has no good intentions for the island and the people of Nevis. Let us, when the time comes, ensure that we put Country Above Self, and rid ourselves of Dr. Timothy Harris and seek once again to move our country forward.
Thank you and God Bless.