St. Kitts – Nevis – Government Headquarters
Photo By Erasmus Williams
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
October 14, 2008 (CUOPM)
St. Kitts and Nevis, like every other country in the world, is not immune from the economic challenges spurred on primarily by high oil prices and increases in the cost of food, aggravated further by the crisis of confidence in the financial sector of the United States of America, along with all the other ramifications of that situation.
So says Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas, when he spoke to hundreds of nationals, diplomats and Caribbean persons attending the 25th Anniversary Dinner and Ball in the 4th Floor dining Room at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on Friday night.
“The first 25 years of nationhood is perhaps the most critical part of a nation’s development, because it is a period of development when there is much expectation and high aspirations of the people. It is a period when the developmental processes must have been geared towards substantial human and infrastructural development, because both are important to our future potential for growth and prosperity. That is why the theme, Pride, Development, Progress ““ 25 Years of Success was selected in an open competition among all our primary and secondary school students in St. Kitts and Nevis and which encapsulates the forward momentum that has been achieved,” Prime Minister Douglas said.
With the international financial markets in crisis, Prime Minister Douglas said the people of the twin-island Federation celebrated in the knowledge that “we, as a people, are resilient, and if we are determined to work together towards the common good, then we will adapt and overcome.
“Certainly, this has been a key legacy of our national Heroes, who laid the foundation for our nationhood, and who inspired us through three hundred and fifty years of colonialism and Associated Statehood. In recognizing the struggles toward Independence, therefore, it is imperative that we remember the works of the late Rt. Excellent Sir Robert Bradshaw, the late Rt. Excellent Sir C. A. Paul Southwell, the late Rt. Excellent Sir Joseph France and our nation’s first Prime Minister, the Rt. Honorable Sir Kennedy Simmonds and successive administrations,” said Dr. Douglas, who called on citizens to continue to contribute to the nation’s development.
“It is the responsibility of all of us, friends and citizens at home and in the Diaspora, to work diligently to sustain socio-economic gains and ensure that our nation remains peaceful, stable and inviting for all business activities and for people, progress and self development,” said Dr. Douglas.
He said his St. Kitts – Nevis Labour Party Government was transforming the national economy by transitioning out of sugar agriculture.
“It is against this backdrop that we build a diversified service-oriented economy led by tourism and hospitality, but supported by International Financial Services, Information Communication, Technology and Diversified Agriculture,” said Prime Minister Douglas, who is also Minister of Tourism.
He said St. Kitts and Nevis, like the rest of the Caribbean region have experienced the fallout from the high cost of fuel.
“Airlift and travel demand have been adversely affected, and this environment is likely to continue in the light of the current economic crisis in the United States,” said the Prime Minister, who stressed that the twin-island destination remains exceptionally attractive as the ideal destination for high-level executives in these high stress times.
He reiterated comments made at the recent Caribbean Hotels and Tourism Association Retreat at the St. Kitts Marriott Hotel, that the prevailing global economic environment means that “we cannot continue to do business as usual in Tourism.”
“There must be a renewed sense of vision and urgency in adopting new strategies within the context of national and regional needs, and to recognise the necessity for inter-sectoral and intra-sectoral collaboration in tourism planning, product development and marketing. Over the coming years, it will be essential that we build a highly productive Service Economy, and in doing so create a strong entrepreneurial environment, empowering our men and women to become more creative in income generating projects, and at the same time, we must raise our standards to international levels,” said Prime Minister Douglas.
He is of the view that the next 25 years is about maximising the nation’s potential in a global context. “Our survival as a nation, therefore, will depend on our people,” said Prime Minister Douglas, who advocated engagement with the youth and collaboration among appropriate organisations, individuals, the nation’s young people, Government and the Private Sector to accomplish this goal.
Dr. Douglas expressed the appreciation of the Government and people at home to Nationals in New York and the wider US who have given of their time, expertise and other resources towards the development of St. Kitts and Nevis.