BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, JULY 17TH, 2017 (PRESS SEC) – Next month will mark the halfway point of the Team Unity Government’s five-year contract with the people of St. Kitts and Nevis, and the administration led by Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris already has accomplished quite a lot in advancing its good governance and prosperity agenda.
For instance, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) noted in its recently concluded 2017 Article IV Consultation that, “St. Kitts and Nevis attained the strongest growth and fiscal performance in the ECCU [Eastern Caribbean Currency Union] region in recent years.”
St. Kitts and Nevis’ economy achieved 3.2% growth in 2016. However, the difficult international environment has seen many nations struggle with constrained growth rates, including our major source markets for goods and services such as Canada (1.3% in 2016), Japan (1.0% in 2016), the United Kingdom (1.8% in 2016) and the United States (1.6% in 2016).
The IMF and the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) both say that St. Kitts and Nevis’ public debt is set to meet the ECCU’s 60% of GDP target in 2018. The Federation’s debt-to-GDP ratio, which stands at 63.2%, is the lowest among the independent states in the currency union.
In sharp contrast, under the Denzil Douglas regime, St. Kitts and Nevis amassed enormous debt, with the public debt-to-GDP ratio having ballooned to about 200% at one point. (Source: IMF Country Report No. 11/270).
Remarkably, within less than two years, the Team Unity Government paid off the EC$117.1 million debt to the IMF.
Prime Minister Harris said on Tuesday, January 31st during the Good Governance and Accountability for Prosperity town hall meeting at the Cayon Community Centre that, “We paid it off to bring an end to the national disgrace.”
The Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis continued: “Imagine that I paid off Douglas’ debt. One hundred and seventeen million dollars, and I still come to the country to say, year after year, month after month, under my watch that the country is in surplus.”
Both the Caribbean Development Bank and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean have also commended St. Kitts and Nevis’ stellar economic performance.
“We are top of the class, thanks to a Team Unity Government! We have been able to have that performance because the country is in competent hands,” Prime Minister Harris, who is the Minister of Finance, has said.
Dr. Harris, who holds a Ph.D. in Accounting from Concordia University in Canada, has also said that, “We paid a 13-month salary equivalent to an 8.3% increase…because the country is being competently managed. That will be part of our legacy. That is part of good governance.”