Basseterre, St. Kitts, September 28, 2016 (SKNIS): St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, encouraged residents to request local merchandise whenever possible, as well as nurture cultural products, which he said can support artists and contribute to the economy of the Federation.

The Prime Minister made a link between the tourism and cultural industries, at the 2016 National Consultation on the Economy, noting that when at any of the hotels or resorts in the Federation, there should be a “conscious effort to bring the synergies.” This, he said, would involve asking for local products so that the management of these hospitality outlets would see the need to support farmers, manufacturers and entertainers.

He made reference to an experience of Attorney General, Honourable Vincent Byron Jr.

“I am amazed sometimes to hear the Attorney General say that in his younger days when he was still somewhat of a quasi-musician, how much money he would have made from playing in his band,” Prime Minister Harris said. “He said that there was always the temptation that he could play sweet music and give up his job as a teacher.”

The Prime Minister noted that in most recent times he sees the potential of young people to make a profit from their talent.

“We need to find diversified areas again for our young people, and our young people are so talented,” he said, noting that even youth who may not have performed well scholastically are sometimes successful in art. “Even those we said have become the subjects of attrition to our schools, you hear them dub, you hear them give their lyrics and you are moved by it. Look at a country like Jamaica to see how its artists have now become internationally renowned, that that industry for Jamaica is now a billion dollar industry. And you wonder aloud, what if even $20 million, we could have had from that, from nurturing our culture and doing more in that regard. So these are areas which are rife for conversations, and we certainly would need to have those discussions and we will do so expeditiously in the first quarter.”