BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, FEBRUARY 23RD, 2017 (PRESS SEC) — It is said that a chain is as strong as its weakest link, Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris reminded the large crowd amassed at the OOJJ’s Conference Centre for the Good Governance and Accountability for Prosperity town hall meeting on Tuesday, February 21st, 2017.
“Therefore, I want the [Team Unity] candidates to be out there, listening to you, responding to you, coming to see you, going to church with you, visiting you in the hospital, and…strengthening themselves so that the next time around they will be stronger than ever,” Dr. Harris, the popular, six-time elected Member of Parliament who conducts regular house-to-house visits, one-on-one consultations and social events in his district of Constituency #7 (Belle Vue to Ottley’s), said.
As the audience at Tuesday’s town hall applauded, the Honourable Prime Minister continued: “That is what we want. That is what you have given us five years to do – to prove ourselves worthy of more terms – and we are saying, at the end, whenever we call the bell…you must be ready [to re-elect Team Unity] because you would have felt the vibes of your Team Unity Government.”
Dr. Harris inspired even more boisterous cheers when he referred to the Unity Housing Solutions Program, which will see 300 families throughout St. Kitts achieve affordable home ownership and the economy benefit from an even more vibrant construction industry, resulting in job creation and greater opportunities for upward mobility.
“When we start to build $50 million dollars’ worth of housing this year, thousands of people must feel the vibes of Team Unity at work,” Prime Minister Harris said, also noting that, “When it comes to the ordinary people…through the length and breadth of St. Kitts and Nevis, all these ordinary folks want is a little help, a little help to start.”
As of the start of this month, 427 successful applicants to the Fresh Start financing program for micro, small and medium-sized businesses were already “feeling the vibes” of the Team Unity Government at work in both St. Kitts and Nevis.
Launched in September 2015 by the Team Unity administration, thanks to the assistance of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, the Fresh Start program administered through the Development Bank provides concessionary loans and technical assistance to entrepreneurs who want to either start or expand their businesses.
As of the start of February 2017, the Fresh Start had disbursed $28.5 million to those 427 applicants; of them, 100 are in Nevis. For 2017, the Team Unity Government has budgeted for $35.4 million to be made available to micro, small and medium-sized businesses through the program.
As of the start of this month, too, 2,003 former sugar workers (or their beneficiaries) were also “feeling the vibes” of the Team Unity Government. They were paid outstanding gratuities amounting to $13.05 million, which were facilitated through a $16 million grant that the Team Unity Government attained from the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
Moreover, with the removal of 17 percent VAT on food, medicines, educational supplies and funeral expenses since April 7th, 2015, every day the people of St. Kitts and Nevis “feel the vibes” from the increased purchasing power.
This is evident by the solid rebound in consumer spending, as seen in the strong performance of the wholesale and retail sector, which grew by 9.13 percent in 2015 compared to a meager 0.35 percent in 2014. In 2012, the wholesale and retail sector had shrunk by a whopping 10.85 percent.
“We are committed to remain focused and we are committed to stick with you the people,” Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris said on Tuesday night to resounding applause.