BASSETERRE, Saint Kitts, OCTOBER 13TH 2006 (CUOPM)
Saint Kitts and Nevis‘ Prime Minister the Hon. Dr. Denzil . Douglas and the Premier of Nevis, the Hon. Joseph Parry and their respective Cabinets have agreed to meet quarterly to discuss critical issues affecting both islands.
In extending welcome to the Premier Parry and his Cabinet Ministers and Advisors, at the first meeting of the Cabinets of the Federal Government and the Nevis Island Administration, Prime Minister Douglas said it was important as representatives of the people to deliberate and dialogue. “I hope that we would definitely find this meeting fruitful and satisfying,” said the Prime Minister in an opening statement prior to the closed door meeting at the Saint Kitts Marriott Resort.
Dr. Douglas noted that there has been a number of joint Federal-NIA meeting in the past and had committed to do so on a regular basis.
“I believe that with the new spirit of cooperation that we are seeing, we hope that we would have many more meetings of this kind with this Administration on the island of Nevis and with the Federal Administration here on the island of Saint Kitts. We should use this opportunity and this forum to institutionalise the meetings of both Cabinets and I would suggest that we should do so on a quarterly basis,” said Prime Minister, who was of the view that “this would improve the working relationships as we seek to advance the well-being of our citizens residing in both Nevis and Saint Kitts.”
Dr. Douglas said both Cabinets should understand the agenda of each other. “The Federal Cabinet continues to reach out to the Nevis Island Administration. The Federal Cabinet has no hidden agenda and we would want our relationship to be a most amicable one,” said the Prime Minister, who expressed his Saint Kitts-Nevis Labour Party Government’s agenda “to constitutional reform and the process must continue.”
He referred to the on-going project being funded by the United Nations Development (UNDP) which is seeking to build confidence among the people on both sides of the channel as this has been identified as critical in building good working relationship.
“Let us see how far we can go to build the confidence between the people of the islands of Saint Kitts and Nevis, but also to start with building the confidence in both Administrations,” said Federal Prime Minister Douglas, who is also the Political Leader of the Saint Kitts-Nevis Labour Party.
Premier of Nevis, Hon. Joseph Parry in response gave Prime Minister Douglas the assurance that the “members of my Cabinet are very pleased for the invitation and look forward to this meeting because we do believe there is much we can do together.”
“As far as we are concerned, we are not looking back. What has happened in the past is in the past and we intend to look forward and move forward. We welcome your offer of meetings on a regular basis and I am quite sure that we can easily agree here this morning that meeting on a quarterly basis is satisfactory to us,” said Premier Parry.
He indicated also his agreement that both Cabinets should know the agenda of each other and “openness and understanding will take us a long way as long as we communicate frequently and seriously. I do expect that will be dome and I encourage that we do that and if there are disagreements, we can afford to disagree and still part with a good relationship.”
“I am very good at being frank and I am also very good at being frank to move on and I am sure that all of us can practice this type of approach,” said Mr. Parry.
The Nevis Premier said his NRP-led Nevis Island Administration is “committed to Constitutional Reform in the interest of the people of Nevis and Saint Kitts and it is very difficult to talk about the people of Saint Kitts and Nevis in this sense as there are so many Nevisians in Saint Kitts and there are so many Kittitians now in Nevis.”
“I must say that I am very happy to hear your pronouncement on Constitutional Reform and we are available and ready to continue to work on it and of course it has to do with two-way communication and understanding,” said Premier Parry, who added: “I certainly believe that if people at all levels and all walks of life get involved, the people of the country, of the two islands get involved, we can achieve much.”
“It is when people do not understand and politicians keep everything to themselves or (fail) to give information which they wish to filter to people, that we have problems,” said the Nevisian Premier.
Mr. Parry said that working together can achieve much and gave Prime Minister Douglas the assurance that “we come in a genuine way to work for a better and closer relationship.”
He said he has met already with Prime Minister Douglas and Minister of State in the Ministry of Tourism, Sen. the Hon. Richard Skerritt and his Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Robelto Hector and the NIA’S Legal Adviser, Hon. Patrice Nisbett and Deputy Premier Hon. Hensley Daniel have met with their counterparts in the Federal Government.
“So the work has already started even before this meeting,” said Premier Parry, who wished Friday’s meeting a successful one.