Good day citizens and residents. This is the post-Cabinet briefing for Wednesday July 18 and Monday July 23, 2012. The meetings were held at the Cabinet Meeting Room, Government Headquarters, Church Street, Basseterre.
Decisions of Wednesday, July 18
In response to the need to provide ongoing support for activities that will assist the growth prospects of the local economy, and in reflecting upon the growth challenges which have flowed out of the global economic recession, Cabinet approved three significant investment projects which are intended to boost the construction and tourism sectors. Spread over a period of five to seven years, the construction projects are expected to inject in excess of EC$115 million into the local economy and provide hundreds of jobs for builders, tradesmen and services providers. In addition to the jobs created in the development phases of the projects, long-term job prospects for our citizens will be enhanced.
One such approved project is a student complex with forty-six apartments, student centre and overnight guest facilities and which is seeking to respond to the expected increase in demand for student accommodation on St. Kitts. The second project is a 62-lot residential development phasing the construction of 20 cottages, 120 condominium units of different sizes, and common amenities over 5 to 7 years. The third project approved was that for the creation of a bowling alley with a number of service centres such as restaurants, arcades and shops.
Proposed Sale of CLICO International Life (CIL) Traditional Insurance Business
Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas, provided an update to the Cabinet of Ministers on the ongoing efforts to secure an investor for CLICO International Life (or CIL) which would serve to restore the investments of hundreds of nationals who had invested in the insurance company. Since the collapse of the CL Financial Group in 2009, the government of St. Kitts and Nevis along with other governments of the region has been working assiduously to recoup our citizens' investments.
The Prime Minister reported that the appointed judicial manager for CIL in Barbados, Mr. Oliver Jordan of Deloitte Consulting Ltd, after conducting an extensive search process regionally and internationally, had received non-binding offers from two regionally-based insurance companies for the purchase of CLICO's traditional business. The traditional business consists of Individual and Group Life insurance, pensions and annuities. The condition of the sale is that sufficient assets of an acceptable nature must be transferred from CIL to the purchaser and that there would be no cash sale of the assets but rather a discounting of the portfolio liability. The Minister of Finance was careful to highlight that no investor had expressed an interest in the purchase of CIL's Executive Flexible Premium Annuities (EFPA) product as presently structured but that some were interested in considering its purchase under some restructured arrangement.
A recent valuation indicated that the asset position of CIL is in the vicinity of BD$440 million region-wide whereas the policy holder liability position is approximately BD$850 million. For St. Kitts and Nevis, the policy holder liability of CIL is about BD$9 million or EC$12 million with BD$5.46 million or EC$7.37 million of that amount allocated to the EFPA portfolio and the balance of BD$3.54 million or EC$4.63 million assigned to the traditional insurance business portfolio.
Given the nature of the non-binding offer agreements which have been made, the assets of CIL will have to be converted into an acceptable format to facilitate the sale of CIL's insurance business to the new investors. A model for achieving this conversion was discussed and may require some limited level of guarantee by regional governments. Specifically, the cabinet was asked to consider whether it would support the release of CIL's assets in St. Kitts and Nevis to facilitate the proposals The impact of the model is that all traditional policyholders (that is, individual and group life, pension and annuity policyholders) would become new policyholders of a new insurance company. For the EFPA policyholders, based on the level of success of the asset conversion, there is likely to be a payout of a fixed sum on their outstanding principal, with the balance on the principal discounted and converted into annuities
Decisions of Monday July 23, 2012
UPDATE ON INDEPENDENCE CELEBRATION ACTIVITIES
The Cabinet Secretary, Mr. Joseph Edmeade, was asked to provide a progress report on the planning of the 2012 Independence Celebration Activities. The Cabinet Secretary assured the Cabinet of Ministers that the planning process was in full gear and being directed by a committee chaired by Ms Sharon Rattan, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Culture, Social Development and Gender Affairs.
Particularly as it relates to National Heroes Day, September 16, which falls on a Sunday this year 2012, Cabinet approved the hosting of the National Independence Church Service on Sunday September 16 and the declaration of Monday September 17 as a public holiday and as the day designated for the traditional Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Sir Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw Memorial Park at St. Pauls.
The Independence Theme selected for the 29th Anniversary of our National Independence is “Cherishing Children, Strengthening Families.” The theme recognises the well-being of our nation's children and the stability of families as central to our overall social and economic prosperity.
With a focus on returning St. Kitts and Nevis to a position of strong economic growth and job creation for our nationals, Cabinet approved three investment projects. The first of these, a villa development project on Nevis, will see the construction of 114 condominium units in 8 phases over 5 years. This project will also provide a conference centre and other common amenities. The other two projects supported were a spare parts retail outlet and a web application development business. The web application business will require local software developers, designers and architects, graphic designers, sales and marketing personnel and managers.
Cabinet is strongly of the view that every opportunity must be taken to empower local entrepreneurs, create employment and drive economic growth, and sees the approval of these projects as contributing to the attainment of these critical national objectives.
PUBLIC SERVICE REGULATIONS AND STANDING ORDERS
After widespread consultation conducted by the government on Public Service Reform, Parliament passed the Public Service Act in 2011. The Act makes further provisions relating to the structure, organisation and management of the Public Service including matters to do with the Public Service Commission, and the appointment, discipline and removal of public officers. To fully operationalise the Act, it is required that supporting regulations and standing orders be promulgated to achieve the intended increased transparency, accountability, productivity and efficiency of the Public Service.
The Attorney General and Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, the Honourable Patrice Nisbett, being very cognisant of these requirements, presented to the Cabinet of Ministers for its advice and approval, drafts of the following documents:
the Public Service Recruitment and Employment Code
the Public Service Code of Conduct and Ethics
the Public Service Standing Orders, and
the Public Service Code of Discipline
The Public Service Recruitment and Employment Code seeks to put in place methods to be used in the recruitment and promotion of Public Service officers to ensure fairness and the absence of irrelevant, discriminatory and arbitrary considerations in employment and promotion.
The Public Service Code of Conduct and Ethics specifies the values that public officers are expected to uphold in the provision and administration of the public services for which the government is responsible, and in assisting in the formulation of public policy. Such values include integrity, honesty, impartiality, professionalism, objectivity and regard for accuracy and timeliness.
The Public Service Standing Orders make provisions relating to the following matters;
salaries and allowances, including acting allowances, of officers
leaves of absence including sick leave, maternity and other forms of leave
advances, subsistence, travelling and other related allowances
the duty of Heads of Department and all public officers in relation to the Standing Orders
The public Service Code of Discipline will make provisions to ensure that standards of conduct laid down in the Public Service Act and associated regulations are observed and will put in place measures to ensure the existence of fairness, including reposing powers in an investigative officer to enforce the provisions of the Code.
The four previously-mentioned regulations and standing orders were thoroughly discussed and approved for promulgation, which should be done very shortly.
This brings to an end the Post-Cabinet briefing for Cabinet meeting held Wednesday July 18 and Monday July 23, 2012.