BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, July 19, 2019 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – Since the successful election of the Team Unity administration in 2015, the relationship between the Federal Government and the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) is at its all-time best, evidenced by millions in budgetary support provided to the NIA on an annual basis and through grant funding by the Sugar Industry Diversification Fund (SIDF).
Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, while speaking on last night’s (Thursday, July 18) edition of Straight Talk on WINNFM 98.9, revealed that since 2015, the Federal Government has allocated over $100 million in budgetary support to the Nevis Island Administration that has led to significant improvements in the lives and livelihoods of the Nevisian people.
“Before Team Unity there was never any budget support provided by the Federal Government to the island of Nevis. Today as we speak, the Federal Government, headed by myself, has provided over $130 million in budgetary support to the NIA. From nothing [under the previous administration] to over $130 million. Clearly, Nevis has never been an afterthought for the Team Unity administration,” Prime Minister Harris told the listeners to the semi-weekly radio programme.
The prime minister further noted that his Team Unity Government has ensured that the SIDF play a significant role in the development of Nevis.
“We know, for example, that with respect to the upgrade of the Alexandra Hospital in Nevis the SIDF approved and disbursed $9 million. We should also bear attention to the fact that when the port authority in Nevis needed special support in the purchase of equipment it was the SIDF that came and provided a grant of $1 million; when there was a need to enhance the safety and the quality of the operations at the control tower in Nevis it was the SIDF that provided $1.5 million in grant funding; when it was time to upgrade the runway in Nevis it was the SIDF that provided grant support of $2 million,” Dr. Harris said.
According to the prime minister, the SIDF also provided grant funding that went towards the purchasing of a new generator, the construction of the Mondo athletic track, the renovation of the Treasury Building in Charlestown, improvements to sporting facilities, the water taxi pier on Nevis as well as grant funding for a water project and renewable energy development. The amount of direct financial support to the Nevis Island Administration from the SIDF totaled more than $61 million.
“Between the federal entities [the Federal Government and the SIDF] therefore, over the last four plus years of a Team Unity Government over $200 million have been provided to support development on the island of Nevis. We have facilitated this because as the Honourable Premier stated rightly, we understand that we have a shared citizenship, we understand that the people of Nevis must always be able to count upon the federal entity in good times and bad times, and we have been there,” said Dr. Harris.
Furthermore, Prime Minister Harris indicated that it is as a result of this improved relationship and this concept of inclusion under the Team Unity administration that for the first time a visiting president, Her Excellency Dr. Tsai Ing-wen – the first female President of the Republic of China (Taiwan) – travelled to the island of Nevis and interacted with the Nevisian people.