BASSETERRE, St. Kitts -– Residents and citizens of the Federation have a lot to be proud of with many accomplishments during the past 35 years Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris said while delivering his address to the nation in commemoration of 35 years of Independence.
“As we stand at 35, we are forced to conclude, as eminent attorney Anthony Gonsalves QC has, that we have achieved a lot of accomplishments that far outweigh our petite size and limited resources,” Prime Minister Harris said. He noted the prudent fiscal management of the country has been above average, leading to economic growth with surpluses that have been shown year-after-year.
He lauded the recent marquee status the Federation gained as a cruise destination, and the development of more top brand hotels, making the country a destination of choice.
“The Federation was the first English-speaking Caribbean island to be certified by PAHO/WHO for having successfully eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS,” Dr. Harris said.
“Our Parliament, the fulcrum of our representative democracy, is meeting regularly to conduct the people’s business,” he said, “and the housing stock in the Federation is far better than it was 35 years ago.
“In the short time of three-plus years, a record of 2,500 persons have directly benefited from housing solutions of this administration,” Prime Minister Harris said.
He highlighted that although there is much to be proud of there is still room for improvement and topics of concerns to be addressed.
“We are concerned with violence and other criminal activities in our Country and we shall provide a holistic and comprehensive response to this phenomenon in our state,” he said.
He also mentioned that reform and social intervention programmes such as the Explorers Clubs and the TAPS programmes in schools will be beneficial to national building and shifting the dynamics of the youth away from a life of crime at an early age.
“Our pride in our nation is rightly based on our achievements at home and how well we are regarded by the international community,” Dr. Harris explained, while sharing the good news that qualified holders of St. Kitts and Nevis passports wanting to renew their U.S. visas are no longer required to meet the cost of travel to and accommodation in Barbados.
The Prime Minister added that “our future must build upon what is now a strong and firm foundation for nationhood. Both at home and abroad, we must continue to strengthen our resolve and commitment towards building an even stronger country.”