PRIME MINISTER HARRIS CALLS ON CITIZENS AND RESIDENTS TO PLANT GOOD SEEDS FOR A BETTER NATION IN NEW YEAR’S DAY ADDRESS

Basseterre, St. Kitts, January 02, 2017 (SKNIS): In his New Year’s Day Address for 2017, Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris called on citizens and residents to plant good seeds in order to reap a better nation for all.

“Our twin-island Federation has much good seeds to plant in the hope of a bountiful harvest. As such, we should never take for granted the abundant beauty of the land and its people,” said Prime Minister Harris. “We should together value our land highly, not at a distance as an object that does not belong to us, but as something that we all own and in which we all have a stake. Each of us, of all ages, genders, faiths and socio-economic status, has a stake in St Kitts and Nevis.”

Dr. Harris said that each citizen and resident must play an active role in nation building.

“It therefore behooves us to actively participate in making it a great country that serves all of its citizens and residents well. We must take as our example the biblical character of the Good Samaritan, who chose not to cross the road and ignore a fellow traveller’s pleas for help. Like the Good Samaritan, we too are obligated to stop, to become involved and to provide assistance to our fellow travellers on this life’s journey,” he said.

“We intend to build a more ennobling society. This task is for each and every one of us. Parents must rise to the challenge of providing for their children and by their instruction and example guide them on the path to responsible, and productive citizenship,” Dr. Harris added.

The prime minister called on several institutions to hold to high standings in planting good seeds for a better nation. Some of these institutions include the security forces, Parliament, commercial banks, businesses and the legal fraternity.

“Our security officers and Police in particular must hold true to their motto “to serve and to protect”. Our business people must be fair and honest and practice good corporate social responsibility. The Bar Association must be ready to deal with issues of unfairness, short-changing and general unethical conduct by members of the Bar, if and when such charges are brought.

“The level of debate in Parliament should be a good reflection of us. I appeal to all Members of Parliament to be on their best behaviour, to abide by the ruling of the Speaker and even when displeased by any such ruling, to let decorum prevail. The Opposition should be constructive. An Opposition that lost the trust and faith of the electorate, cannot continue along the old recalcitrant path that led to its near demise,” he said.

Banks, Dr. Harris said, must do more to provide loans to people at affordable rates.

“We understand the need for banks to maintain their balance sheets, preserve their asset base and pay attention to their non-performing loans. Similarly, as a society we have to balance the books without bringing undue hardship to people’s lives. Our people, through their hard earned deposits, have provided the wherewithal to our banks. We need our banks to offer softer terms to their customers as part of a broader and more holistic approach to their role in nation building,” said Dr. Harris, who is also Minister of Finance.

“As we stand on the threshold of 2017, let us therefore – together in unity – go forward with a common purpose, vision and mission. With God’s blessings we will today plant seeds that will blossom into a caring, peaceful, prosperous and sustainable society for all. Let our mark on 2017 indelibly define St Kitts and Nevis as a great nation teeming with potential. Let us also recognise that on this noble journey, each and every one of us will have a key role to play – a role that can neither be discounted nor ignored,” the prime minister said.

Quoting Robert Louis Stevenson, the author of “Treasure Island” in the play “Admiral Guinea”, Prime Minister Harris said “Don’t judge each day by the harvest that you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”

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