By Erasmus Williams
BASSETERRE, St Kitts – Alongside the upcoming general elections, the non-publication of the 2018 International Monetary Fund (IMF) report were among political, economic and governance issues discussed during a meeting with leader of the opposition, Dr Denzil L Douglas and the second secretary at the Barbados British High Commission, Ed Munn.
Dr Douglas used the opportunity to raise the eleventh and a half-hour establishment of the constituency boundaries commission less than a month before the fifth anniversary of February 16, 2015, general elections.
The senior British official agreed with Dr Douglas that the issue of the boundaries was not given the highest priority by the Timothy Harris-led Team Unity government.
Dr Douglas also brought to the attention of the British government representative the non-publication of the IMF Article IV Consultation on the economy of St Kitts and Nevis for 2018, the refusal to allow an IMF Mission to visit St Kitts and Nevis in 2019, the watering down of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), the still not fully functioning Integrity in Public Life Commission and the Freedom of Information Commission legislation were among issues of accountability, transparency, and good governance.
Dr Douglas expressed his concerns about the state of the economy and the troubling trends that point to large-scale corruption and mismanagement in the use of public funds.
He enlisted the UK government’s support in a new St Kitts-Nevis labour administration with providing the necessary technical assistance that would allow for a detailed forensic analysis of the local economy.
“These are some of the alarming signals that there is something that is not right with what we are being told about the economy and we would appreciate any assistance the UK can provide with helping us to repair our relationship with the IMF and the international community,” stated Dr Douglas.
Dr Douglas highlighted several plans in relation to the NextGen SKN Vision 2020 and presented Munn a copy of the NextGen SKN Policy Map which provides insights into the labour Party’s 2020 Manifesto.
He expressed his desire to forge the necessary partnerships with UK companies, developers and contractors in the various capital projects that he intends to pursue under a NextGen SKN labour administration.
Some of the projects referred to were the highway that would connect Basseterre to the Whitegate area in Dieppe Bay as well as his plans for turning the South-east Peninsula into an exclusive Tourism Zone that would include a bridge to Nevis as well as the creation of new islands, beaches, and marinas that would build out touristic development in that area.
Brexit, the upcoming UK-Caribbean Forum; Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM 2020) and the Climate Talks COP 2020 that will take place over the coming months were raised by the British government representative in Barbados during the meeting.