October 16 2006 – Sun St.Kitts/Nevis
A committee has been set up to look at areas in which Nevis can be granted greater autonomy over the running of its affairs. This was agreed to as part of a renewed thrust toward constitutional reform in the St. Kitts/Nevis Federation, it emerged over the weekend. News of the proposals came out of a joint meeting of the Cabinets of the Federal and Nevis Island Administration which took place here on Friday.
A government statement Saturday said the committee has been set up to look at the areas for granting Nevis greater autonomy but did not go into details on the matter.
The committee will comprise members of both cabinets and they will make their recommendations within the context of broader proposals for constitutional reform.
Over the years Nevis has pushed to secede from the Federation but the attempts have been unsuccessful. In a 1998 referendum some 63 per cent of the population voted to leave the Federation but this fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to effect the move.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas and Premier Joseph Parry pledged to work closely to improve communication and collaboration on all matters of state “that would promote the well-being of the citizens of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.”
During last Friday’s talks, it was agreed to institutionalise meetings of the two cabinets on a quarterly basis with the agenda items to be agreed upon by the prime minister and the premier.
The fiscal situation of the twin-island Federation was looked at in great detail, and it was agreed that all attempts should be made to grow the economy at an acceptable rate.
Ministries of finance were mandated to coordinate their activities particularly with regard to the scheduling of projects.
The meeting also covered a wide range of other issues including tourism, foreign aid and national associations.
Friday’s meeting looked at ways to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the police on both islands. The minister of national security, the attorney general and the premier are to meet shortly to look at specific matters that would enhance policing in the Federation.
The next joint meeting of the Cabinets is scheduled for February 2007 in Nevis.