BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, April 29, 2020 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – The Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris-led Team Unity administration has undoubtedly demonstrated that is has a clear plan to take the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis to a better place – one that is stronger, safer and healthier – after COVID-19.
That was the view expressed by Prime Minister Harris when he addressed the nation during the Tuesday, April 28 airing of the popular Leadership Matters interacting virtual series.
“Clearly, our early proactive actions by restricting travelers entry, enforcing a mandatory quarantine and closing our borders have helped us save lives and we now have an opportunity to reorganize our lives – notwithstanding the challenges and inconveniences which we face – pick up the pieces and to start life again. I am optimistic that together St. Kitts and Nevis will emerge as a stronger, better and safer place in the future,” said Prime Minister Harris, who was accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister the Honourable Shawn Richards and Minister of Public Infrastructure et al., the Honourable Ian Patches Liburd.
The honourable prime minister stated that as we look forward to that better and brighter future for St. Kitts and Nevis, “we know that we can’t go back to the past of high VAT, the high IMF debt and tense streets. Now certainly is the time for continuing the prudent fiscal management that has allowed St. Kitts and Nevis so far to respond to this crisis and to keep us safe.”
Prime Minister Harris, who is also Minister of Finance, said that had it not been for the prudent fiscal management of the country’s resources by the Team Unity administration, the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis would not have been in the position to respond like it did with the most comprehensive stimulus package in the region for persons affected by COVID-19.
“Imagine if St. Kitts and Nevis was still burdened with a $117 million-dollar debt to the IMF [International Monetary Fund] as we face this crisis; imagine if St. Kitts and Nevis was still burdened with an over $100 million-dollar debt to the Government of Venezuela as we face this crisis. Certainly we would not have been able to respond with the generous and most comprehensive stimulus package that the region has seen that has provided support to our farmers and fisher folk all over St. Kitts and Nevis, that has provided support to the workers in our hotels, in the restaurants, the braiders, the bus men and all who have been in the hospitality and tourism sectors and who were affected adversely as a consequence of the pandemic,” the prime minister added.
The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis has provided support to employees who have either lost their jobs or who are on reduced income, self-employed persons, businesses, students, and our elderly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As at last Friday (April 24), over 2000 applications were received by the Social Security for assistance and nearly 80 percent of those applications were processed and paid out.