Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 13, 2022 (SKNIS): The Cabinet Ministers met under the Chairmanship of the Prime Minister, Hon. Dr. Terrance Drew, on Monday 12th December 2022 and made several significant decisions to improve the well-being of our people.
- The Cabinet has approved a much-needed enhancement of our St. Kitts and Nevis Passport. The upgrades include increasing the number of pages from 32 to 48, adding enhanced security features to all pages including the data-page laminate and Laser Engraved Polycarbonate Data page.
St. Kitts and Nevis will be the 2nd country in the OECS to launch the most secure and modern passport solution, providing superior durability and security, and making it tear, water, and tamper-resistant.
- Cabinet has also approved the extension of Amnesty for Non-Documented CARICOM/OECS/CARIFORUM Nationals. The initial policy was based on the contributions of the immigrant population to the development of the Federation. Considering the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cabinet has agreed to:
- Place a moratorium on all visa applications from the Dominican Republic and Haiti for a period of six months, that is, until 30th June 2023.
- Reintroduce the interview process conducted by the Immigration and Secretariat of online visa applications to ensure that information submitted is properly vetted and consistent so that any contradictions can be quickly highlighted.
- Establish mechanisms to ensure that all applications for residency and citizenship are thoroughly scrutinized against the Joint Regional Communication Center (JRCC) watchlist. Extend the amnesty period for the regularization of undocumented immigrants to 31st January 2023. And…
- Reduce the fees for visa extension, work permits, and annual residency by 50% for an additional month, ending December 31st, 2022.
- Approval was given to the accession to the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). The Covenant is a multilateral treaty that was adopted in 1966 and was put into effect in 1976.
The Covenant affords the right of individuals to enjoy civil and political freedom as well as freedom from fear and want, granting economic, social, and cultural rights, including labour rights and the right to health, education, and an adequate standard of living.
The decision to ratify this Covenant will enhance the image of the Federation in terms of its commitment to advancing Human Rights.
- Your Cabinet of Ministers has also approved the Code of Conduct on the safety and Security of Radioactive Sources and Supplementary Guidance Documents. This document is an international legally non-binding agreement comprising basic principles requesting that States among other things: “take appropriate measures to ensure that the radioactive sources within their territory are safely managed and securely protected during their lifetime.”
The St. Kitts and Nevis Bureau of Standards will serve as the focal point entity.
- The Minister of Environment, Climate Action & Constituency Empowerment et al, The Honourable Dr Joyelle Clarke, shared with Cabinet a proposal by the Department of Constituency Empowerment to provide much-needed and timely support to residents and service providers in communities across St. Kitts through a household and community clean-up effort coupled with a landscaping and beautification component as we prepare for the upcoming Christmas season.
The initiative is supported by key players such as the Skilled Training Empowerment Programme (STEP), Parks & Beaches Unit, Solid Waste Management Corporation (SWMC), and Alternative Lifestyle Pathway Programme (ALPP).
This undertaking is critical, as residents without this support would be otherwise unable to properly and adequately dispose of trash and other unwanted items that are health and environmental hazards. It is therefore to the benefit of citizens and residents, service providers and the Government that this project is initiated and sustained as it will provide overall health, environmental and economic advantages.