PM HARRIS WELCOMES EFFORTS TO STRENGTHEN CARICOM DEVELOPMENT FUND, WHICH PROVIDES FINANCING TO AID SMALL BUSINESS AND OTHER SECTORS

February 20th, 2020
Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris of St. Kitts and Nevis says he welcomes efforts advanced at the recent 31st Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Caribbean Community’s Heads of Government to strengthen the CARICOM Development Fund (CDF) headquartered in St. Michael, Barbados.

The CARICOM Development Fund is mandated to provide financial and/or technical assistance to disadvantaged countries, regions and sectors in the Caribbean Community.

The CDF is therefore widely viewed as being central to mitigating disparities among the Member States, which may result from the implementation of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).

“The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis has received support for projects both on Nevis and on St. Kitts,” Prime Minister Harris said yesterday, Wednesday, February 19th, 2020, upon returning to the country from Barbados, where the 31st Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) was held on February 18th and 19th.

As a recent example of such support, the Prime Minister pointed to the ongoing development of the Frigate Bay Strip, which has received funding assistance – in furtherance of the South Frigate Bay Enhancement Project – through the CARICOM Development Fund’s Country Assistance Programme (CAP) for St. Kitts and Nevis.

The South Frigate Bay Enhancement Project was commissioned in November 2016 and has resulted in the completion of roads, sidewalks and wheelchair access and ramps, among other improvements.

Last February, Prime Minister Harris and the CEO of the CARICOM Development Fund, Mr. Rodinald Soomer signed a loan agreement to provide US$3 million in concessional resources to the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis for on-lending to Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs).

That signing ceremony was held at the conclusion of the 30th Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of CARICOM Heads of Government, which took place in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort from February 26th to 27th, 2019.

The business support to SMEs under this agreement includes improved access to direct financial and technical assistance, which is expected to facilitate further growth and job creation in St. Kitts and Nevis.

On a somewhat related note, the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis will be observing its first annual Small Business Tuesday on February 25th, 2020. The public is encouraged to shop small and make a big impact.

On Small Business Tuesday, there will be a Pop-Up & Farmers’ Market in Independence Square from 9:30am to 5:00pm.  Attendees will get a chance to win product samples.

St. Kitts and Nevis’ first annual Small Business Tuesday is powered by the Small Business Development Centre (SBDC St. Kitts) in the Ministry of International Trade, Industry, Commerce & Consumer Affairs.