My Fellow Nevisians, residents and friends of Nevis, I am the Honourable Hazel Brandy-Williams, senator and cabinet minister in the Nevis Island Administration from 2013 – 2022. The recent announcement of the Nevis Island Assembly Elections signalled the beginning of our island’s constitutional shift from one political era to the next. For me this election signals the end of one season of my service to our Nevisian community and my transition to service in new dimensions. I entered public life as a nominated parliamentarian and cabinet minister some ten years ago in 2013, under the leadership of the late Premier, the Honourable Vance W. Amory. I am thankful to God and Premier Amory for seeing in me the capabilities for caring and the passion for good governance. Permit me to share with you, a snippet of some of my achievements while in service for you the people of Nevis. During my first term in office, I was appointed Junior Minister with responsibility for Social Development, Community Development, Youth & Sports, Sustainable Human Development and the Basic Need Trust Fund. In the area of Youth and Sports, I ensured that sporting facilities at Zion, Hard Times, St. Georges Recreation field, the Pavilion at Brown Hill play field, the Villa Grounds, VOJN play field, and the St. James’ Raceway were renovated. Full scholarships were secured for persons to pursue studies in the various sporting disciplines. We commenced the Youth Award Program and initiated FAME (Fashion, Arts, Music and Entertainment), a programme introduced for young designers and musicians to develop the visual and performing arts. Young men were provided with assistance and opportunities to start or develop businesses. The ‘On De Block’ Initiative for at risk youth, which gave our youngsters a second chance through training, employment or business creation. My work in Community Development saw the establishment of: • a Community youth steel band in Jessups’ • Christmas Fusion in the Square; • Community Development Month and • University level training for Community Development officers. Our Social Development programs also experienced a much needed and revitalizing boost as I ensured that: • greater assistance was provided to and for the aged, disabled and poorest among us • introduced the subsidized utilities program • launched a housing program for single mothers and • implemented scholarships for teenage mothers • and several other life changing initiatives. These accomplishments were a direct result of my desire, genuine love and passion to put people first and because of the foresight of the late Premier Amory who understood and appreciated my call to selfless service. He understood the value of team and team work as well as the fact that each individual’s success meant the success of the team and ultimately our beloved country Nevis. My profound and immeasurable thanks which cannot adequately be expressed by mere words is extended to my team members including my Permanent Secretary, Assistant PS, Heads of Department and the entire staff across the Ministry; as without their invaluable support, dedication and commitment, I and by extension, the Ministry may not have realized the successes we enjoyed in that first term. My second term of office began in January 2018 under a new Premiership and with a completely different Ministerial portfolio: Health and Gender Affairs. I was somewhat disheartened with this change, as I was excited and wanted to capitalise on the achievements of the first term and continue, strengthen and see to completion my initiatives. Instead, I found that with my transfer from the Ministry of Community & Social Development, many of the critically important programs and initiatives to include: the scholarships for teenage mothers and sports students, the youth fashion and music expo (FAME), programs for the elimination of out-houses and the construction of homes for single mothers were regrettably discontinued. Be that as it may, fuelled by my desire to serve with excellence in whatever capacity or wherever I am placed. I embraced the challenges that confronted me in the Ministry of Health. Health care by its nature presents a continuous stream of challenges; however, I can proudly state that during my tenure in the Ministry (2018 to present), I was able to initiate and oversee: o the regularization of nurses’ salaries o the hosting of employee recognition awards o upgrades at all health centers and their outfitting with backup generators o the relocation of the Mental Health Unit to larger and more appropriate facilities o a new fleet of trucks and other heavy equipment for the Solid Waste Authority, o Two new ambulances and o the installation of a brand-new CT-Scan at Alexandra Hospital – 1 of only 3 of its kind in the region. These achievements were fraught with challenges but as you can see they were not insurmountable for me. In my second term of office I witnessed the steady hand of late Premier Amory and his respect for others being replaced by brash disregard for people; his modus operandi of team work and the consideration of differing opinions being replaced by self-aggrandizement. While Premier Amory‘s emphasis was on the empowerment and elevation of others this has been replaced with the belittling, demeaning and threats of being made irrelevant meted out to anyone who dares to disagree with those at the top. I have found that this manner of leadership has stymied the spirit of innovation and critical thinking that once existed and which served to propel our island forward. This manner of leadership quickly proved divisive and so ushered in the retardation of our island’s progress. With my basic tenets being integrity, transparency and accountability coupled with my firm ideals for inclusion and respect for others; I found difficulty in accepting, condoning or conforming to this adverse manner of leadership. As a result, I found myself ostracized by my own Political Party [ Concerned Citizens Movement, CCM] Not for lack of qualification Certainly Not for lack of performance Definitely Not for Misappropriation of funds Absolutely Not for pilfering of resources Instead I was ostracized for taking a stand for the right treatment of Nevisians, respect for all and for “doing too much” for the people of NEVIS. My tenure in public service has been characterised by pushing individual cases with the primary aim to provide a resolution for the betterment of the citizen. My time was also spent seeking ways and initiatives to empower people, especially our Women and Youth. The last decade in public office has been spent in FULL service for the people of NEVIS. To the Civil Servants whose view and ideas are discounted or not listened to; who feel or are in fact disrespected; who were not paid full salary increases. I STAND IN SOLIDARITY WITH YOU! To our Youths who may feel that all hope is lost and that the future may be dismal. To those who lost the benefits to be derived from the FAME programme. I STAND IN SOLIDARITY WITH YOU! To our sports enthusiasts and other students who have been denied the opportunity to study at the GC Foster college since the initial 4 sent under my watch. I STAND IN SOLIDARITY WITH YOU! To our young men deprived of the opportunity for second chances at continued education, obtaining work and/ or becoming entrepreneurs through the discontinuation of the ON DE BLOCK programme. I STAND IN SOLIDARITY WITH YOU! To the Single Mothers whose housing program and other assistance has been discontinued because they were not considered to be “priority” initiatives. I STAND IN SOLIDARITY WITH YOU and your families! To our people who needed to rely on the Social Safety Nets of Government but find that the programs, created to close the socioeconomic gap between the “haves and have-nots” have been discontinued. I STAND IN SOLIDARITY WITH YOU! Over the past decade I have had the distinct and esteemed privilege to represent the Federation, regionally and internationally on numerous occasions and have left an indelible mark as • the Woman of passion • the mover and shaker of ALL things Gender • the implementer • the trendsetter • the innovator • the Woman who makes things happen! As such, there a wider professional community that I represent and for which I must continue to be a positive example. Therefore, I respectfully suggest to all public figures, desist from the misrepresentations, mudslinging, character assassination and deception, and replace the politicking with good wholesome debate of the facts, issues and policies which could take Nevis forward and upward. To those of you who have come home to vote, whether you have paid your own way or someone paid it for you, WELCOME HOME. Now that you are here, I implore you to be guided by the facts; the realities of our day-to-day existence IN Nevis. Seek to find the answers for yourself and do not accept what may be thrust upon you. The decision you make when casting your vote, should be one that will make life better for your family and fiends. Remember that they remain here after you return to life abroad! Your decision should help them in making the simplest decisions on a monthly basis. • No longer should they have to be juggling between paying bills or buying groceries! But my friends, these ARE the realities of life for some on our beloved Nevis. I would have spent my time in office elevating the residents of Nevis. Just the knowledge that I was able to positively impact your situation is forever etched in my mind and I will be ever grateful for you. And your stories will only propel me to do even more for others in the future. I must convey special thanks to the countless number of individuals who have used every opportunity to offer me support throughout my years in public office. If you prayed for me or sent the daily scriptures and motivational verses; if you just popped in my office or greeted met me with a hug or kind word; If you thought about me even if you did not publicly express it. I SAY THANK YOU. Your presence, care, concern and love for me at a time when I felt isolated and was isolated have been priceless. Thanks to my permanent secretary, assistant secretary, department heads, nurses … To my now deceased mentor, Premier Amory, your vision has not been dimmed; as I will continue to be of service to our people. I would like to thank Premier Brantley and the Cabinet for giving me the opportunity to serve my country in the second term. While this election has been thrust upon us in the season of Christmas, I implore all of you to be responsible citizens and do not be distracted. As Christ came to bring hope to us by rescuing human kind from our dismal situation of sin, there IS hope for Nevis. I remind you that regardless of your political persuasion, let us remain respectful. Let us erase the divisiveness which is threatening to erode our stability. Until next time when I serve you in a different capacity. Do have a Blessed Christmas and together let us make 2023 prosperous for all.