Charlestown, Nevis (May 24, 2016) — He is a small business operator who fully understands how an economy grows and has pledged to do his part. Mr Kenneth Tyson who has recently formed a partnership with the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis is doing his best to ensure economic growth in his homeland, the island of Nevis.
After a number of years in employment, first as a sailor plying local and regional waters sailing to as far as Puerto Rico among other places, then working for the defunct SKANTEL and finally with the Nevis Island Administration, he ventured out to be his own boss by getting into passenger bus business. He has been doing this for the last 12 years.
“The first bus that I owned had electrical problems, so I put that down then I purchased a bus from TDC,” said Mr Tyson. “Unfortunately for me, that one crashed after three years.”
While he was paid some form of compensation, it was not enough to meet his financial obligations and to make ends meet he resulted in driving a passenger bus owned by a second party. He worked hard, but there is always a ceiling as to how much one can earn as an employee and that ceiling is sometimes quite low.
“One day in October last year somebody told me that Development Bank had some funds for small businesses called Fresh Start loans, so why not go and check them out?”, explained Mr Tyson. “So, I did and after a week the loan was granted. Presently now I am driving a bus that is funded fully by Development Bank.
“When I went to the bank I explained my situation, I had to. The loan from Development Bank was enough for me to buy a new bus – brand new, still in the manufacturers plastic.”
The father of three is a regular feature at the bus stop by the D.R. Walwyn Square, outside the Cotton Ginnery building which houses Nevis’ Sports Museum. But unlike his fellow bus drivers, he has a special route that takes him from Charlestown via Jessup, Barnes Ghaut, Cotton Ground, Westbury, Fountain, Mount Lilly, and down to New Castle and back to town.
Those are some of the outlying areas in the St. Thomas and St. James Parishes that are avoided by other bus drivers. Because of that, Mr Tyson’s bus is one that is much sought after by people living in those areas. When they come to the bus stop and do not find him, they will give other buses a wide berth until he shows up and they scramble onto his bus.
“Going to the destinations that are off the main road is my contribution to economy,” said Mr Tyson. “I am aware that I am making the economy grow. That is why I am in the business, not only for me, my own personal gain, but to help those who cannot afford to buy a vehicle for themselves. So that is my job to take them where they want to go from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’ as they contribute to the growth of the economy and our combined efforts add up significantly.”
He is thankful to the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis and its friendly staff at the Nevis branch for the good reception he received when he went to apply for the loan.
“I always tell my colleagues in small businesses, and anybody who approaches me, to come to Development Bank,” commented Mr Tyson. “Do not hesitate, because members of staff there are easy to talk to, they are very considerate and there is no problem.”
Manager at the Nevis branch of the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis, Ms Hyacinth Pemberton, said that when Mr Tyson came to the bank he mentioned about his second bus which got into an accident and was a write-off and the funds he received as compensation were not enough for him to purchase another bus.
“Living up to our motto ‘the Bank that lends a helping hand’, we strongly felt that the Fresh Start loan was ideal for Mr Tyson who previously owned a passenger but lost it through an accident,” said Ms Pemberton. “All efforts were therefore made for him to get a fresh start in life.
“Part of the bank’s mandate is to grow the medium, small and micro enterprise sectors of our economy, and the Fresh Start Project indeed was target-specific. We were encouraged by the fact that Mr Tyson was serving Fountain and Mount Lilly areas that are avoided by other bus operators. The loan to be given to him would have a bigger impact on the economy of Nevis.”
She further explained that the terms and conditions for Fresh Start Project loans were easier with a lower interest and Mr Kenneth Tyson and all the others who applied did not have to make a deposit.
Other Nevis businesses that got loans through the Fresh Start Project from the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis were in the areas video games, fishing, boat charters to take passengers from Oualie Beach in Nevis to Turtle Beach in St. Kitts, restaurants, heavy equipment operators, shops, massage therapy, beauty salons, and veterinary services.