Published 1 November 2022
Buckie Got It, St Kitts and Nevis News Source
POST-CABINET BRIEFING FOR MONDAY, OCTOBER 31, 2022
Basseterre, St. Kitts, November 01, 2022 (SKNIS): The Cabinet Ministers met under the Chairmanship of the Prime Minister, Hon. Dr. Terrance Drew, on Monday 31st October 2022 and made several noteworthy decisions to improve the well-being of our people.
- Four legislative Bills were approved by the Cabinet and will be presented during the November 4th Sitting of the National Assembly:
- The Cabinet approved the Domestic Violence (Amendment) Bill which seeks to make much needed urgent changes to protect victims of domestic violence and provide them with swift access to justice. The Bill allows victims of domestic violence, or persons on their behalf, to apply to the Magistrate’s Court or the High Court for protection orders. This will rectify issues raised with the Ministry of Gender Affairs that the cost of obtaining protection orders only in the High Court was prohibitive for many victims and their families. The Bill also expands the definition of economic abuse to cover situations where perpetrators have full access and control over victims’ financial resources and gives the Director of Gender Affairs powers under the Act, rather than the Director of Social/Family Services, as previously legislated. The approval of this Bill aligns with the Cabinet’s promise to take steps to curtail the increased scourge of domestic violence in our society. This is the first such step.
- The Cabinet approved the Small Business (Amendment) Bill which seeks to change the Minister with responsibility for administering the Small Business Act and appointing the Small Business Development Advisory Committee to the Minister with specific responsibility for Small Business. Previously, the Minister responsible was the Minister of Industry & Commerce. The Cabinet also agreed to amend the definition of small business to include businesses in which not more than 30 persons are employed. Previously, the number of employees was limited at 25. This decision aligns with the Government’s fundamental goal to provide small businesses with the necessary governmental support to grow, thrive and employ more people.
- The Cabinet approved the Companies (Amendment) Bill which resolves a constitutional issue created by the 2021 Amendment which allowed for the permanent dissolution of exempt companies to comply with Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and European Union (EU) recommendations. The Bill seeks to allow creditors, directors, shareholders and other interested persons to apply to the High Court to deal with any assets previously held by the struck exempt companies. The Bill, therefore, seeks to bring the Act into compliance with the Constitution, so that assets are not vested in the State without alternative options available to the beneficial owners of those assets.
- The Cabinet approved the Evangelistic Faith Church St Kitts (Incorporation) Bill which seeks to give the Evangelistic Faith Church situated at the Alley, Sandy Point, St Kitts, the power to own land and otherwise have legal standing. The Cabinet was satisfied that all of the legislative prerequisites for this private bill were satisfied and wishes the Church, its worshippers and leaders the very best in the new phase of its development.
- Cognizant of the need to enhance the manufacturing sector and boost economic growth and sustainability, the Cabinet approved additional research to determine the viability of a Special Economic Zone for St. Kitts and Nevis. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Special Economic Zones are defined as “geographically delimited areas within which governments facilitate industrial activity through fiscal and regulatory incentives and infrastructure support.”
- As part of the Government’s thrust to revitalize the Manufacturing Sector in the Federation, the Cabinet endorsed the revised National Manufacturing Strategy (2022-2027). The implementation of this Strategy is expected to enhance the manufacturing sector’s contribution to GDP, create new jobs, and increase the manufacturing competitiveness of the Federation.
- The Cabinet approved the establishment of a Project Scholarship Programme for post-graduate technical training under the project entitled “Improving Environmental Management through Sustainable Land Management.” The Programme will prioritize 5 thematic areas, namely:
- Geographic Information Systems
- Land Use Planning
- Sustainable Land Management
- Climate change and/or Climate Smart agriculture, and
- Environmental Management/Ecosystem Restoration