Tonight, I have the distinct honour and privilege to introduce Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, who has served as my Parliamentary Representative for 26 years – pretty much my whole life.
At the age of 25, I was crowned Miss National Carnival Queen 2016-2017, and I can wholeheartedly say that Dr. Harris’ involvement and investment in my childhood education laid the foundation for my victory.
That’s because I am one of the beneficiaries of the Help-a-Child Primary School Scholarship Programme, which he founded 16 years ago to assist children in Constituency #7 who demonstrate academic potential and financial need. To date, some 728 recipients have benefited from his scholarship programme.
Years ago, when I received my $500 award, I asked my mother “Why?” At that time, my weekly allowance consisted of one dollar, which my grandfather gave to me every Sunday. So I was puzzled. Why would someone want to give me $500?
I will always remember the words of my mother who said, ‘Timothy Harris gave it to you so you can take your education seriously!’”
From that day on, I have made every effort to approach my work with passion and poise, confident in the knowledge that greatness is within reach.
It was this passion and sense of purpose that catapulted me to win the Chairperson’s Award and Interview segment in the Miss National Carnival Queen Pageant, and it was this confidence and poise that helped me win the title of Miss Photogenic, as well as the Evening Gown and Swimsuit segments.
I am currently enrolled in the University of the West Indies (UWI) Open Campus, studying Banking and Finance with a minor in Compliance and Corporate Governance. My future goal is to go on to complete a master’s degree and a Ph.D., as Prime Minister Harris did. I can only hope to emulate his shining academic achievements.
In 1988, Timothy Harris graduated from the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) with a First Class Honours Degree in Accounting and won the coveted Victor Cooke Prize for Best Accounting Student. In 1992, he graduated from the St. Augustine Campus of UWI with a distinction in the Master’s Degree Management Studies Programme.
The University of the West Indies in collaboration with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) then sponsored his participation in the Ph.D. Programme involving four universities in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, namely Concordia University, McGill University, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) and HEC Montréal. Dr. Harris attained a Ph.D. in Accounting in 2002.
Prime Minister Harris has said that, “When I look back at my own life – where I was and what I have become – all throughout my educational journey someone stood by me, someone supported me…”
Tonight, I take this opportunity to publicly thank the Prime Minister for supporting me through his Help-a-Child Scholarship Programme when I was in primary school and for always providing me with an encouraging word and his excellent example.
I also use this forum to thank him and his administration on behalf of the nation’s young people who are being supported and empowered at unprecedented levels under Team Unity. Prime Minister Harris’ economic policies are working for young people by facilitating upward mobility and reducing social inequality as evidenced through:
- Expanded scholarship opportunities created by new strategic partnerships and diplomatic relations;
- Increased Business ownership driven by concessionary loan programmes such as Fresh Start, technical assistance in creating business plans, and seed funding for viable new companies established by at-risk young men who want to pursue legitimate entrepreneurial activities;
- Increased Home ownership spurred by duty-free concessions for persons who are building their first home, as well as affordable mortgage financing and income-based home mortgage repayment plans, and
- Cost of living support implemented, for instance, via a $500-monthly stipend for low-income households.
Great things are happening, and we the young people of St. Kitts and Nevis have a bright future ahead of us under the able leadership of Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris.
It now gives me great pleasure to call to the podium our outstanding Prime Minister and my beloved Parliamentary Representative, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris.