(Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister)
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – The Team Unity-led Government, headed by Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, is positioning St. Kitts and Nevis to be the best managed small-island state in the next 10 years, and strong economic signs are already indicating that the twin-island Federation is heading in the right direction.
For three years, St. Kitts and Nevis has recorded positive economic growth, and as a result of the Government’s prudent fiscal management, the country now boasts the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio among the independent states in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU). Additionally, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) projected that St. Kitts and Nevis’ debt-to-GDP ratio would fall below the ECCU’s debt to GDP target of 60 percent in 2018, well ahead of other member states.
“The records will show that we have put more people to work, we are the metropole for those wanting to invest and work,” Prime Minister Harris said during his July 17 press conference. “That is why we are getting the Six Senses Hotel [and] that is why we are getting Ritz Carlton and more. Our people have earned more under Team Unity,”
According to the Prime Minister, the Social Security Board has recorded its best employment data, the most business licenses issued in a year, the highest annual Wage Bill, the highest number of contributors to the Social Security Scheme and the highest wages in the history of St. Kitts and Nevis, all under the Team Unity Government.
The number of contributors which stood at 26,958 in 2014 has risen by 10 percent to 29,765 in 2017, an increase of 2807. Earnings, which in 2014 stood at $790.95 million, stood at $996 million in 2017 for an impressive increase of $205.02 million or 26 percent increase in three years.
The vast increase in employment figures was largely driven by the introduction of the Government’s Fresh Start Programme, which was responsible for the establishment and expansion of more than 400 new businesses in the last three years through the provision of concessionary funding.
Furthermore, Prime Minister Harris said his administration’s good governance agenda continues to be vigorously pursued and the gains made so far are being recognized by independent observers, including the architects of the World Justice Project (WJP) Rule of Law Index for 2017-2018 which evaluated St. Kitts and Nevis as being the least corrupt jurisdiction in the Caribbean region.
“We have advanced our good governance agenda to the extent that in the short span of three years, the World Justice Report puts us at the top of all CARICOM Member States on the Rule of Law Index,” the prime minister emphasized, noting that St. Kitts and Nevis ranks 28th out of 113 countries in the world “way ahead of Barbados, and St. Lucia at 33, Antigua and Barbuda at 34, Bahamas (40) and Trinidad and Tobago at 48.”
The WJP Rule of Law Index measures countries’ rule of law performance across eight factors namely: constraints on government powers, absence of corruption, open government, fundamental rights, order and security, regulatory enforcement, civil justice and criminal justice.