St. Kitts – Nevis PM – Dr. Denzil Douglas
Photo By Erasmus Williams
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
April 04, 2012 (CUOPM)
St. Kitts and Nevis continues efforts to position the twin-island Federation amongst the front tier of nations.
“Not in terms of land mass, population, or any such indicators, because those metrics are beyond our control and in the final analysis, somewhat irrelevant, but in the areas of human resource development, infrastructural development, and upward social mobility,” said St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister the Right Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas.
“Let there be no doubt, however: the real and over-riding goal of all that we do, in the final analysis, is upward social mobility ““ for all. Even our infrastructural development thrust is not a goal in and of itself. It is, instead, a means to an end, it is a means of facilitating and ensuring upward social mobility for Kittitians and Nevisians, at all levels, for generations. Because the employment generated by infrastructural development, the economic security provided by infrastructural expansion, the work-related skills and insights created by our infrastructural focus, all interact and interplay to the social and economic benefit of the men, the women, and the children of this Federation which we are so fortunate to be able to call ours,” Dr. Douglas told listeners to his weekly radio call-in programme “Ask the Prime Minister” on Tuesday.
He stressed that a crucial aspect of his Government’s programmatic thrust has to do with the development of the Federation’s human capital.
“It is our belief that every child who walks into one of our schools must walk out with a clear path to social and economic security. My Government, therefore, is determined to revolutionize our people’s thinking regarding the existing spectrum of career choices: St. Kitts and Nevis is no longer a nineteenth century plantation society that exists solely for the advancement of the sugar estates. And even back then, the range of skills needed for the production and export of sugar ““ including the operation and maintenance of a sugar factory ““ could be quite demanding and varied,” said Dr. Douglas, adding:
“Imagine today, then, with our modern, technologically developed, economy that calls on our people ““ especially our young people – begin to see, with new eyes, the vast and varied potential for serious entrepreneurial activity, in a range of areas which, I do think, have been for too long been overlooked by too many.”
He said his governing St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party administration want the young people of St. Kitts and Nevis to realize that if they look around both islands, they will see that some of the most economically secure and socially stable families are those that are directly or indirectly involved in entrepreneurship and in business.
“And if our young people were to talk to some of the older people about the evolution of these now-secure families, they would find that the vast majority of them were literally limping economically, when they first started out doing what little they could, where they could, when they could, for starters, but through perseverance, making it from one day to the next, one month to the next, one year to the next, with each step becoming stronger, until today, when they have achieved a level of success and security that is light years away from their very shaky and uncertain beginnings,” he said.
“Our young people must understand this and be inspired by this. And they must begin to look at St. Kitts and Nevis with new eyes. No longer must they see the cars zipping by; the air conditioning units in business places and homes; the restaurants and cafes that have sprung up throughout the Federation; the mushrooming of computers everywhere; the many homes of all sizes that now dot our landscape; in a vacuum. They must begin to see the enormous economic opportunities ““ for them ““ that each and every one of these realities represents,” said the St. Kitts and Nevis leader.
Prime Minister Douglas said it must be recognized that those cars must have maintenance and repair ““ and 98 per cent of the people who drive those cars have no idea how to handle even the most rudimentary of maintenance of repair functions.
He also said that more and more offices and homes have air conditioning units and asked how many owners have even a clue of how to handle the most basic of repairs?
“Almost none. Every country in the world is talking about food security. And key to that, of course, is some mastery of agricultural studies. Every single house and structure that has been built in this country will, at one time or another, need the services of an electrician, a plumber. How can any restaurant or cafÃ© anywhere survive without a chef and the other properly trained staff?,” her asked and called on parents and teachers to help the young men and women, first of all, to recognize the entrepreneurial opportunities that all of these changes around represent for them.
He also urged the older and wiser members of the society to impress upon the younger generation the importance of seizing the technical, vocational education and training opportunities that his Government is pushing as an absolute priority – in our secondary schools, at AVEC, and particularly at the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College.
“These opportunities will be seized by somebody. My Government, however, wants to make certain that it is our young [and even not-so-young] people who have the pluck, the vision, the know-how, and the training to jump into the game and make a way for themselves, their families, for generations to come. Because we know that once a family breaks into a new socio-economic bracket, that family, barring some awful misfortune or mismanagement, tends to move from strength to strength, one generation after the other, right on into the future,” said Prime Minister Douglas.