Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 25, 2018 (SKNIS): Prime Minister of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, has highlighted the many gifts and achievements showered on the people of St. Kitts and Nevis to advance their economic, human and sustainable development in his 2018 Christmas Day message.
“Inspired by such generosity of spirit, my administration and I are working to advance the lives of all the people and protect the less fortunate, fervently striving to live up to the ideals of the righteous man in Ezekiel who gives bread to the hungry and covers the naked with clothing,” Prime Minister Harris said.
“Accordingly, the Team Unity Government has once again embraced the spirit of giving this Christmas season by providing duty concessions on foodstuff, gift packages and passenger allowances during the period December 1st to December 31st, 2018.
“Yesterday, my administration also paid out the very first EC$500 stipend that households with a total gross monthly income below EC$3,000 will receive every month going forward. About 4000 persons in St Kitts and Nevis benefited.
“We designed this Poverty Alleviation Programme in direct response to the felt needs of the poor and needy, who made up 21.8 percent of our population 10 years ago when the CDB-funded Country Poverty Assessment was conducted in 2008,” he said.
Prime Minister Harris said that in December “around 1,250 Government Auxiliary Employees (GAEs) were treated to a holiday pay for the first time in 10 years.”
Additionally, Prime Minister Harris spoke to advancements in the housing sector, infrastructure, security, technology, health, agriculture and education.
He said that more than 3000 families have benefited from the Government’s Housing Solutions programme, more than 2000 homes have been repaired under the Hurricane Relief/Rehabilitation Programme, and that there have been infrastructural improvements with the resurfacing of the island’s main road, the building of a brand-new ferry terminal, the completion of an east line bus terminal, the building of a second cruise pier to meet the demands of a thriving cruise sector, where the FCCA (Florida Caribbean Cruise Association) has designated St. Kitts and Nevis as a marquee tourist destination.
Also, he said that the security forces have received expertise help in crime-fighting and additional resources to assist them in their work including the commissioning of a brand new state-of-the-art forensic lab.
Prime Minister Harris said that St. Kitts and Nevis is making tremendous progress in technology with the re-opening of a maximized ICT centre and that “on the worldwide ICT Development Index, St. Kitts and Nevis ranks first in the Eastern Caribbean, coming in at #37 out of 176 countries.”
The health sector has received its fair share with a brand-new oncology wing at the JNF General Hospital, a mental health day treatment facility, a refurbished Mary Charles Hospital that now boasts an ambulance service and the roll out of Universal Health Care.
Agriculture, an important sector of the economy, has been assisted with a 2-million-dollar Agriculture Support Fund at the Development Bank.
In Education, the prime minister said that a brand-new state of the art Basseterre High School will be built in the New Year.
“Indeed, there’s been a lot of progress in our country, and my administration remains committed to ensuring that all of us who live here achieve our fullest potential. As we celebrate Christ’s birth, my Cabinet and I wish all of you joy, peace and prosperity – and, above all, love.
“Merry Christmas! – and may you be at one with your neighbours and extend a little kindness, compassion and charity this Christmas season and into the New Year,” Prime Minister Harris said.