“It is rare anywhere in the world that the government and the head of government engage the media for as long as we do, and that speaks well to the level of accountability and transparency, which my administration is so proud to set an example,” Prime Minister Harris said while wrapping up his first Press Conference of 2019 on Wednesday, January 16th. That Press Conference clocked in at two hours and 24 minutes.
Indeed, Prime Minister Harris has held regular and in-depth Press Conferences since taking office in February 2015. Just to give a snapshot of the level of openness, the Prime Minister and his Cabinet colleagues have briefed the public via Press Conferences for over 18 hours since last year February.
The Prime Minister uses these Press Conferences to give citizens and residents an account of his Team Unity administration’s adept management of the economy and faithful stewardship to the people of St. Kitts and Nevis.
For instance, during his Press Conference of Thursday, October 4th, 2018, which clocked in at two hours and 12 minutes, the Prime Minister informed the public that, “The Financial Secretary [Mrs. Hilary Hazel] has reported that our debt-to-GDP ratio, which stood at 78 percent at the end of December 2014, is now in keeping with the international benchmark of 60 percent.”
The Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis added, “We have achieved this important milestone 12 years ahead of the OECS [Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States] target date of 2030 and we are the very first independent state in the ECCU [Eastern Caribbean Currency Union] to achieve this superior milestone.”
Prime Minister Harris also revealed at his October 2018 Press Conference that his Team Unity Administration’s Housing Solutions had benefited 2,615 families through various initiatives. These initiatives include the widely acclaimed Hurricane Rehabilitation Programme, the Government Employee Mortgage (GEM) Financing Programme, the First-Time Homeowners’ Programme and National Housing Corporation (NHC) programmes, such as HELP, which alone had enabled (by October 2018) 450 low-income families to successfully complete home improvement projects with the aid of grants of up to $10,000.
The Prime Minister told citizens and residents that this was “an amazing, historic feat never before accomplished in the history of St. Kitts and Nevis from the era of slum clearance to modern times.” Prime Minister Harris added, “Never have so many families benefited by government initiatives in so short a period of time.”
The Prime Minister’s Press Conference of Tuesday, April 9th, 2019 will rebroadcast on ZIZ TV (Channel 5 and https://zizonline.com/tv/