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NIA Commended For “supporting” Land For Debt Initiative

Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas (left) and Premier Vance Amory

St. Kitts & Kitts (WINN):  The Nevis Island Administration’s (NIA) stated distaste for the land for debt swap isn’t deflecting criticisms that the Vance Amory-led NIA has allegedly embraced the arrangement.

Prime Minister Denzil Douglas told Parliament on Tuesday that the NIA was actively pursuing the programme despite its public posturing to the contrary.

Dr. Douglas’s comments on the matter follow similar claims made by former Nevis premier Joseph Parry of the Nevis Reformation Party (NRP).

“And I want to start by commending Premier of Nevis (Amory) for supporting wholeheartedly, 150 per cent, the debt for land initiative that was initiated by the (Federal) Government in order to ensure that we reduce our national debt from unsustainable levels to more sustainable levels, from nearly 200 per cent of GDP to now just about 100 per cent of GDP,” the Prime Minister told Parliament.

According to Dr. Douglas, one of the important steps that was, until recently still pending, was the final allocation of land by the NIA to complete the debt for land swap initiative.

He said the current Island Administration of Premier Amory this past September “began the process of regularizing its own land sales company to meet the terms of the Nevis shareholders agreement.”

“The government of the NRP had done nothing.  It is the government of the CCM (Concerned Citizens Movement) that has done something.  And that is, they have begun to meet the requirements according to the Nevis shareholders agreement that was signed,” the Prime Minister said, adding that that process was continuing.

Premier Vance Amory said recently that his administration remains unhappy with the land for debt initiative, and is actively seeking alternatives.

According to the Premier, his Administration inherited the land for debt arrangement from the Parry administration.

The CCM says the rhetoric suggesting that it fully embraces the land for debt policy is mischief making aimed at scoring political points.

The three-party alliance known as Team Unity which opposes the Land for Debt initiative includes the CCM and its two federal MPs, Premier Amory and his deputy, Mark Brantley.

Both sit on the opposition benches in Basseterre, where Brantley is the country’s Opposition Leader.

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