Nevisian Premier, Joseph Parry, is confident that his Nevis Reformation Party (NRP) will form the next government in the much anticipated general elections.
The Nevis Island Assembly was dissolved a month ago, paving the way for new elections after the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States Court of Appeal upheld an earlier High Court decision declaring the results of last year’s elections in St. John’s null and void.
Former deputy premier and social affairs minister, Hensley Daniel, successfully defended the St. John’s seat which he first won in the 2006 elections. In the July 2011 elections, Daniel beat challenger Mark Brantley of the opposition Concerned Citizens’ Movement (CCM) by just 14 votes.
Prior to the elections, the CCM alleged that nearly 200 names were illegally removed from the voters list, resulting in the disenfranchisement of its supports. Brantley filed an election petition.
Parry, whose government ended the 14-year CCM rule in 2006, said it was important that Nevisians return to the polls in general elections instead of a by-election to fill a political office that is vacated between regularly scheduled elections. The NRP won three of the five seats in the last elections.
“It’s a small government and that one seat determines who forms the government,” said Parry while on a brief visit to Toronto last weekend. “We are at a very critical point in our economic development and I believe that every Nevisian should have a chance to decide which party forms the government. The issue of who runs the country should not be decided by a by-election.”
While in the Greater Toronto Area, Parry met with representatives of Canadian Global Investments who, with its investors and other partners, have proposed to set up a Can$400 million fuel storage facility in Nevis. If given the go-ahead after the environmental impact assessment, the company has promised to employ about 200 Nevisians in the construction phase and another 150 at various levels to work at the facility.
“The benefits that will be derived from this project are enormous,” said Parry. “The plant will store up to about 12 million gallons of fuel that will allow us to service the region. That will bring royalties to Nevis which the government badly needs.
“In addition, jobs will be created that will lead to growth, nationals will benefit from training programs that will help them in the long run and Nevis will have cheaper fuel. Before we get to that stage, we however want to make sure they satisfy all of the environmental requirements.”
Parry’s visiting delegation included Daniel, Attorney General Patrice Nisbett and advisor to the Premier, Llewellyn Parris.
In his meeting with nationals last Saturday night, Parry addressed many issues of concern to Nevisians in the Diaspora, including the increase in violent crime on the Caribbean island.
Last February, United States Supreme Court judge Stephen Breyer, his wife and guests were confronted at their Nevisian home and robbed of about $1,000 by a machete-wielding bandit. No one was hurt.
Parry said he was unaware prior to the incident that Breyer was residing part-time on the island for about 18 years.
“I met with him the day after the incident and I indicated that he should alert us when he’s on the island even though he may want to maintain his privacy and keep a low profile when here,” said Parry. “I was not aware he was here and the Chief of Police was not either.”
Breyer’s home in Georgetown, Washington, D.C. was burglarized a few months later in May.
Parry said his government is committed to providing opportunities for youth development.