Benefits of visiting medical students expected to trickle down to the ordinary business owner

From the press unit in the Office of the Prime Minister


BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – The local business community is realizing the economic benefits of having more than 1,000 medical students relocated to the federation, where they have resumed their studies onboard the vessel GNV Excellent, which is temporarily stationed in the waters of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.

Caribbean Cinemas St. Kitts is one that has realized an increase in patronage since the arrival of the students. Its director for business development, Shervin White, told the press unit in the Office of the Prime Minister that the business has witnessed a significant spike in the number of people visiting the megaplex movie theatre within the first week since the students and faculty members arrived here. He also noted that based on what he has seen thus far, “the arrival of these students in St. Kitts and Nevis definitely holds significant economic benefits for us here.”

On Oct. 18, more than 1,100 medical students and 150 faculty and staff of the Ross University School of Medicine in Dominica began arriving in St. Kitts and Nevis to continue classes onboard the GNV Excellent after the institution’s Dominica campus suffered severe damages from the passage of Hurricane Maria. The decision to provide the necessary accommodation to the visiting students and faculty was made by the Federal Cabinet after several rounds of discussions between health, security, education and port officials in St. Kitts and Nevis and representatives of Adtalem Global Education Inc, the parent organization of school.

Responding to a question posed at his last press conference Oct. 25, the prime minister and minister of finance, the Honourable Dr. Timothy Harris, said this move – providing the necessary accommodation to the visiting students and faculty – has received praise for the government of St. Kitts and Nevis and has many trickle-down effects that will benefit the ordinary man and woman.

“I gather there are even [people] providing meals and providing a range of other support services,” he said. “Our supermarkets now have potentially another 1,100 [people] to support. They have contracted, I am advised, [people] to deal with cleaning, with waste removal and even with security, so the impact going through the society is going to be felt the longer they are here.”

Harris further stressed that the hosting of the medical students in the federation will also redound to the benefit of the tourism industry, adding, “Imagine now you have 1,100 students who are here talking about St. Kitts in a direct way to their friends and families abroad,” he said. “These are almost then 1,100 people who could serve as ambassadors with respect to our country. One thousand, one hundred people are now able to appreciate the warmth of our people, the beauty of our country, the pleasures which are available here and the peace and tranquility. They are going to want to come back maybe for a wedding, maybe for the Music Festival, maybe for Carnival or maybe just to reconnect.”

The floating campus, GNV Excellent, will be stationed in St. Kitts and Nevis’ waters up until mid-January 2018.