Canada remains a significant market for Nevis which is increasing its airlift to attract more visitors to the island, Tourism Minister Mark Brantley told Share while in Toronto for the Nevisians in Canada (NEVCAN) association’s 35th annual celebration last Saturday night.
Beginning on November 1, daily seats to the island will increase from 14 to 30 with another boost to 100 expected on January 15.
Brantley said his government is pursuing an aggressive campaign to promote the 36-square mile island which is set to host an international triathlon on November 16.
“We are back in the market in a very big way promoting Nevis and spreading the word about what we have to offer,” he said. “We don’t pretend to be all things to all people. Nevis is a high-end exclusive-type of jurisdiction that attracts small cruise lines transporting about 350 passengers. We are not into mass tourism and we have sought to maintain our charm. Visitors will experience our natural beauty and get an authentic and original feel.”
Nevis’ flagship property is the Four Seasons which is a Canadian-based international luxury and five-star hotel management company.
“Because of this connection, Canada is a market we are always anxious to develop and promote as a destination of choice for both Canadians and many of our nationals who reside here and are seeking a destination of choice to relax and have an enjoyable vacation,” Brantley said.
The deputy leader of the ruling Concerned Citizens Movement, Brantley – who is Nevis’ Deputy Premier – and Premier Vance Amory have joined forces with the other four elected representatives of the federal government to form a unity partnership.
“Last December, we filed a motion of no-confidence against Prime Minister Denzil Douglas and since that time, he has refused to allow that motion to come through,” said Brantley. “With elected members on our side numbering six and five on his side, that motion will succeed. As a consequence, we have taken a very strong position that we will not return to parliament to debate any matter until that motion of no-confidence is brought to the floor. It’s obvious to us, as it is to many observers, that the PM has no intention of allowing that motion to proceed.
“The thrust behind the amalgamation and what has now become the unity team is really an effort to usher in a new paradigm of governance for St. Kitts & Nevis which is one of consultation, one which puts at the table people with different ideas and one which requires us to sit and work through our problems. It also offers an opportunity for St. Kitts & Nevis to really work together with one accord for the overall development of our islands and our people.”
In the past, Douglas has accused Brantley of being power hungry and on a mission to destabilize Nevis.
Brantley, who also holds the health, social development, youth & sports, culture and gender portfolios, deftly refutes those accusations.
“I don’t see how someone can be power hungry if he or she has never been in power like the Prime Minister has for nearly 20 years,” he said. “The reality is we feel that the PM is out of ideas and he doesn’t’ have a clue how to move our islands forward. He’s looking for a convenient scapegoat.”
Douglas has been under fire following the dismissal last January of senior minister Dr. Timothy Harris and the resignation two days later of Deputy Prime Minister Sam Condor.
Harris, the party chair, was fired for opposing a government-sponsored senate bill to increase the number of non-elected members from three to six and a controversial land for debt legislation while Condor – a parliamentarian for the past 24 years – cited issues with “good governance and constitutional integrity” as his reasons for stepping down.
A lawyer by profession, Brantley took a leave of absence from his practice to pursue a political career.
He weighed in on the recent Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) landmark ruling in favour of Jamaican Shanique Myrie who, the Caribbean community judicial institution found, was wrongfully denied entry into Barbados, subjected to a humiliating cavity search and unlawfully detained overnight in a cell and expelled from the country.
“I think it’s a good decision,” Brantley, the 2010 St. Kitts & Nevis Observer newspaper’s Man of the Year, said. “I believe that the Caribbean for far too long has paid lip service to integration. It’s no secret that Guyanese in particular and Jamaicans to some extent have had a difficult time in going in and out of other Caribbean countries. They have been targeted in many instances, harassed by immigration and customs officials and they are the first set of people to be picked up and deported.
“I believe that decision sends a very clear signal that Caribbean governments can no longer interfere in the freedom of movement or restrict the rights of our Caribbean citizens. I believe the Caribbean is a single space and that’s why a decision like this is so important. We must accept that, as a Caribbean people, we must be treated with dignity and respect. I believe that Ms. Myrie was not afforded the courtesies that one would expect of a modern government.”
A University of the West Indies law degree graduate, Brantley holds a legal education certificate from the Norman Manley Law School and a Bachelor of Civil Law from the University of Oxford. He’s a member of the St. Kitts & Nevis, Anguilla, Grenada and Antigua & Barbuda Bars.