BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – Agriculture, entertainment and the arts, and the cannabis industry are being emphasized as alternative employment sectors by the government of St. Kitts and Nevis during the COVID-19 pandemic.
These three business sectors are areas in which the people can earn a living during this time of uncertainty and will receive financial support, according to Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris.
Two of the Federation’s main economic drivers, tourism and the manufacturing sectors, were significantly disrupted when the deadly virus reached St. Kitts and Nevis, forcing lockdowns and the implementation of other precautionary measures by the Government. A majority of persons have since returned to work under strict compliance with COVID-19 regulations.
Prime Minister Harris emphasized that there are opportunities for young persons and those interested in agriculture. Agriculture is a sector which the government strategically targeted for assistance through its $120-million stimulus package.
“Crop farming, livestock farming and fisheries were critical areas in which we engaged,” said the Prime Minister. “We provided support and we continue to do so in terms of compensation to livestock farmers who would have lost their animals as a result of COVID-19.
“We continue to provide support in the provision of fencing wire, free harrowing services, free inputs, such as seed and seedlings to assist farmers,” he said. “This gets them started to make a more meaningful contribution to food security. The Department of Marine Resources has provided support to our fisherfolk. So, no one is being left behind.”
Prime Minister Harris said the Team Unity Government remains committed to establishing a cannabis industry and has agreed on the creation of a Medicinal Cannabis Authority (MCA) that will manage and regulate the industry in St. Kitts and Nevis.
“The next step is for us to advertise and recruit a marijuana tsar who will become the project champion to buildout activity and we are still committed to doing that,” Dr. Harris said, while acknowledging that there is still much to be done in this regard.
The honourable prime minister highlighted that the entertainment industry worldwide remains a multi-billion dollar sector, and one which St. Kitts and Nevis must seriously look to tap into going forward.
“This is an area about which we are so serious that we have set up a Ministry of Entertainment, Talent Development and Entrepreneurship. Our goal is to assist in a focused response to the development of the talents of our people. They will benefit in a profitable way from engagement in entertainment with all the necessary support including intellectual property protection.”
The St. Kitts and Nevis Government is taking steps to restore the hotel and hospitality sector back to a state of near normalcy during the last quarter of 2020.
Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris inspecting local produce at a past event hosted by the Department of Agriculture.