Revised GDP numbers indicate St. Kitts and Nevis attained the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union’s (ECCU’s) target benchmark of 60 percent debt-to-GDP ratio in March 2016 — earlier than the Dec. 2018 date previously reported — Acting Prime Minister, the Honourable Shawn Richards announced while delivering remarks at the St. Kitts-Nevis Chamber of Industry & Commerce’s Annual Private Sector Banquet at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort Saturday.

This would mean that St. Kitts and Nevis, the first independent state in the ECCU to reach this important benchmark, achieved the milestone 14 years ahead of the eight-member ECCU target date of 2030, according to Minister Richards, who noted that as of June 2019, St. Kitts and Nevis’ debt-to-GDP ratio stood at 55.5 percent, according to data from the Ministry of Finance, “a 35 percent improvement over June 2014, when our debt-to-GDP ratio was 85 percent.”

He added shortly after taking office, the administration “promptly paid off the $117 million debt that was owed to the IMF [International Monetary Fund],” saying the total public debt had ballooned to an estimated US$1.05 billion or about 200 percent of GDP.

“Indeed, we paid down our debt so that our people wouldn’t have to suffer anymore and that they would have a chance to progress rather than being relegated to a backward state. As a result, fewer people are feeling squeezed, and our $500 a month Poverty Alleviation programme also provides a buffer,” the Acting Prime Minister said.