CHAPTER 2:12 – “An Open Letter to Honourable Troy Liburd”

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Pastor Ron Daniel

By Pastor Ron Daniel

I first was able to get close to Troy through cricket about twenty years ago on the cricket field.  At the time, we played against each other when GSS came down to the park to play against CSS  and I had the joy of facing his gentle leg spin.  We ended up as team mates on the Nevis U-15 Cricket team which journeyed to St Kitts in the nineties to play against other teams in the Leeward Islands and by that time, I was on the field cheering on the very same gentle leg spin.  Fast forward to today and we still maintain a good relationship and his daughter attends my church from time to time with her grandmother. My sons always look forward to playing with her and enjoy her remarkable charm and grace.  As such, I believe I have enough locus standi to write this letter to him to suggest a few areas I believe that Nevis can improve in based on his portfolio as Minister of State with responsibility for Post, Public Utilities, Environment, inter alia.

Implement Preventative Measures for Speeding.

Our country has seen some horrific deaths from speeding as well as a number of injuries and it is time we take a proactive approach to minimize same.  I journeyed to St Kitts in the area where I believe Ross University is located and saw some real time speedometers permanently erected.  This is used as a deterrent to stop speeding as well as to advise drivers exactly how fast they are going.  I suspect further that they were donated by some private citizens.  I suggest that the same be done in Nevis with one erected in each Parish.  I suggest one for the Samuel Hunkins Drive in Charlestown, the Bypass Road in St Thomas, Cottle Long Path in St James, The Uhral Swanston Highway in St Georges and Long Point in St Johns.  I believe further that government can get all of these for free from lawyers, offshore companies and doctors.  These are three professions that hardly pay VAT, make a good bit of money from accidents and to my mind, do not contribute enough to social causes.  I do not know how many times I have even attended a sports day and heard that they have even sponsored a race, yet they are able to escape paying VAT because their clients are overseas or in the case of doctors they are not required to.  I believe that this is a cause that they easily donate to and I am sure it is very easy for you as a Minister to determine just how many lawyers, doctors and offshore companies we have registered in Nevis.  Truth be told, there are some very friendly offshore companies that would be willing to donate same privately and I may be able to point you to at least one.

Renaming of the Streets and house numbers throughout Nevis

I had occasion to be driving some folks around Nevis just recently who were interested in renting some property long term.  They kept asking me where this area was called and why there were no street signs or house numberings in Nevis and wondered how they would be able to direct people to where they lived.  Truth be told, outside of Cherry Garden who have house numbers, Brown Hill who recently implemented the numbering of each home and put in a few road signs and Cox who recently renamed their roads, I do not know of anywhere that has road signs.  Up to this week I had a conversation with Lisa Brown of Brown Hill on Facebook, where when speaking about the lack of signs even in Brown Hill she commented, “So in the meantime, we continue with our “Up de Hill” or “Pembroke” or “Budgeon Range” or “Wilkinson Path” just to name a few.”  In other areas we have to say “go up by the shop in Barnes Ghuat where Carla Daniel them live then take a left and drive until you reach a big breadfruit tree then turn up the road until you see a purple house and then two houses after that you will find me.  Blow when you reach and I gonna come outside”.

Apart from the fact that we are supposed to be a high end tourist destination, this simply is not good enough for us who live here.  I was speaking to my colleague Pastor and brother Pastor Wayne Maynard and he too is very passionate about seeing something done.  Nevis has to get with the times.  I suggest that you work in conjunction with the Ministry of Social Development through its Department of Community Affairs and maybe have this as part of a plan for the Christmas Season where communities in Nevis name streets.  I further suggest that you work in conjunction with hotels in each parish to help with funding for same.  I am convinced that there are at least three businessmen in Nevis who once given the job to create these signs will be willing to donate quite a few as part of their social consciousness.  If needed,  myself and Pastor Wayne would also be willing to help in any way we can to see, at the very least the street signs if not the house numbering become a reality.

Creating a Facebook Page for the various departments that fall under your ministry

Minister Liburd, I am able to follow you on Facebook and you do a decent job of updating us on roads in progress but no one should have to depend on your personal page.  You have been given the most visible and maybe even vicious ministry where everyone loves to complain.  There have recently been a number of outages with both water and electricity for example.  Nevlec has no Facebook Page whereas SKELEC is very active on Facebook and even has road shows et al using their sponsored ads to invite people to attend.  The Nevis Water Department also has no Facebook Page so when people over the last month were on Facebook ranting and raving about their loss of water, there was no Official Page there to defend.  What it means was that people who worked at the various companies were tagged and targeted for answers to the country’s water problems.

Furthermore I gather that every area in Nevis will now have its postal code.  I walked through town on Friday to hear someone from the Post Office making use of a PA System to call out the new postal codes. If the Postal Services had their own page, they could have made use of sponsored ads on Facebook and advise people of their new postal codes.  The same can be done for roads and road upgrades in your ministry.  It is a truism that throughout SKN we have a crave for smart phones and the world is moving to a place where you can get all the information you need from a mobile device.  It is feckless for your ministry not to be able to capitalise on same.  While it is expected that you as Minister responsible would have to make a public statement from time to time on any shortages or issues with these visible ministries, all the work should not be on you.  I guarantee you that in each department of your ministry, there are at least 2 persons who can adequately run a Facebook Page who would be more than willing to do the job and I am sure that the good folks of the Customer Service Department at Nevlec have at least two people there as well.  We can no longer just depend on a PA System or some radio or TV announcement or a newspaper announcement as the world has gone mobile and you as the youngest minister of the bunch should embrace the same in your ministry as well. If the Ministry of Tourism in Nevis could have an active Facebook page, then certainly the Ministry of Public Utilities and Post et al can follow same.

Thank you for your time and I hope the suggestions find favour with you and your team at the Ministry.