BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — A statement made during the budget debate by opposition leader Dr Denzil Douglas about economic data for the federation was a “lie”, the Prime Minister’s Office said.

According to the Prime Minister’s Office, Douglas claimed during the debate that he had gone to the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) to obtain financial data on St. Kitts and Nevis but was unable to find it.

“I was very shocked myself to observe that much of the most recent economic data on St. Kitts and Nevis was also not there,” Douglas said according to the Prime Minister’s Office.

“I could not help, Mr. Speaker, but wonder if our Central Bank had discovered that the information provided to them by the Government was erroneous and possibly falsified, and as a result out of sheer embarrassment and also out of caution “as being subject of fraud and deception withdrew the information from its own website.”

However, according to the Prime Minister’s office “This lie has been debunked and the truth is now being revealed.”

“According to the ECCB’s records, the Economic and Financial Review for the period, January to June, 2018 was uploaded to the ECCB website on 8 October 2018 and was never removed. The ECCB also gave reassurance to the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, that the bank had no reason to remove data from its website and, in fact, never did.”

The Prime Minister’s office said the documents were easy to find on the ECCB’s website by scrolling through the bank’s main page under publications. The most recent quarterly Economic and Financial Review dates to June 2018 and includes information for the first half of the year.

The Observer was also able to find the data. According to the report:
“Data for the first half of 2018 indicate that the economy of St Kitts and Nevis expanded, at an accelerated rate relative to the performance of the corresponding period of 2017. The increase in economic activity was sustained by buoyancy in the hotels and restaurants; transport, storage and communications and real estate, renting and business activities sectors.”

The report did warn that there were downside risks, the major one being “the possibility of declining receipts from the Citizenship by Investment programme after the resurgence recorded in the first half of 2018.”

The report also cited trade uncertainty, fuel prices and uncertainty of foreign investments.

However, the report concluded, “the Federation is poised for expansive economic growth, based on existing projects and programmes.”