Maximising Opportunities in a Changing Caribbean and Britain

Date: Tuesday 11th October 2016

Time: 16.00 – 17.30

Venue: The House of Lords

On Tuesday 11th October 2016, The Caribbean Council was delighted to organise a roundtable meeting at the House of Lords with Mark Brantley, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Aviation for St Kitts & Nevis, during his recent visit to the UK. Mr Brantley began by providing a detailed outline of the current political and economic landscape in St Kitts & Nevis. He contextualised this discussion within the broader framework of the economic and political environment of the Caribbean region as a whole.  He also took the opportunity to consider the potential impact of Brexit upon Small Island Developing States within the Caribbean.

Attendees then had the chance to put their own questions to Mr Brantley, and to learn more about the work of the current administration and how this might affect their respective sectors. The meeting offered a fantastic opportunity for open and detailed discussion, and built upon the meeting held earlier in 2016 by the Caribbean Council at the time of Dr Timothy Harris’ visit to London

For Mr Brantley’s biography and an economic background on St Kitts and Nevis, please see the information below.

Biography

Mr Brantley has served as St Kitts’ Minister of Foreign Affairs and Aviation under the current coalition (Team Unity) since February 2015. He is also the Deputy Premier of Nevis. During his time in office, Mr Brantley has taken decisive steps to enhance and expand relations between St Kitts and the wider international business community.

In line with Prime Minister Timothy Harris’ commitment to combat tax evasion, Mr Brantley recently ratified an agreement with Germany to enhance transparency and accountability in the financial sector. He has also sought to facilitate international business travel for citizens of St Kitts and Nevis through renegotiation of visa requirements.

In his role as deputy leader of the Concerned Citizens Movement in St Kitts and Nevis he was a crucial member of the parliamentary opposition, and from 2010 to 2015 held posts that included Deputy Premier, Minister of Tourism and Minister of Health.

Prior to embarking on his political career, Mr Brantley worked as a lawyer, having studied law in both the Caribbean and Europe.

St Kitts and Nevis: Economic background

The current government continues to maintain the country’s strong economic performance: the IMF recently confirmed that St Kitts displayed GDP growth of 5% between 2013-2015, the strongest GDP growth in the region. (A recent IMF press release on St Kitts can be found here.)

The Team Unity coalition remains fully committed to increasing innovation, efficiency and productivity in St Kitts and Nevis. Measures aimed at promoting a positive business environment include:

  • Comprehensive reform of the national Citizenship-by-Investment programme, which has received praise from the IMF
  • Support for emerging business sectors, including investigation into the potential of renewable energy in St Kitts and Nevis
  • Decisive measures to combat the threat of de-risking
  • A recent government evaluation of proposals to construct a bridge linking the islands of St Kitts and Nevis to improve travel between the two islands