Deputy prime minister rebuts Opposition’s ‘attempt to mislead public’ on country’s performance

From the press unit in the Office of the Prime Minister


Basseterre, St. Kitts – Deputy Prime Minister the Honourable Shawn Richards has strongly rejected “the futile attempts made by members of the Opposition to create mischief in the federation through the peddling of false and misleading information surrounding St. Kitts and Nevis’ economic performance.”

Addressing the National Assembly Dec. 7, the minister accused opposition members of being “quite selective” in what they reported to the Honourable House from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) report on the 2017 Article IV Consultation with St. Kitts and Nevis, which concluded June 2.

“They have referred to the IMF report, but they have been quite selective as to what they have read from the IMF report, because the very same IMF report, which has been referred to, says that for the year 2018, the growth for 2018 is projected to be 3.5 percent,” Richards said. “If you are going to have growth, then of course one would expect that you have increased revenues coming into the government.”

In the same report, the IMF commended the Team Unity-led administration of St. Kitts and Nevis for its competent and prudent management of the economy, the necessary reforms to strengthen and protect its Citizenship-by-Investment (CBI) Programme, plans to introduce universal health coverage and the commitment to establish a Growth and Resilience Fund (GRF).

“Mr. Speaker, the very same report [under the section] ‘St. Kitts and Nevis Key Issues Context’ said ‘St. Kitts and Nevis attained the strongest growth and fiscal performance in the ECCU region in recent years.’ The report also says that, but, of course, Mr. Speaker, they do not want the public to do know that,” the member for St. Christopher Five added.

The deputy prime minister also referenced the World Economic Outlook, dated October 2017, which also backed the 3.5 percent economic growth projected for St. Kitts and Nevis in 2018 by the IMF.

Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Dr. Timothy Harris said in his 2018 Budget Address Dec. 6 that this positive projection will be driven by the continued developments in the construction and tourism sectors, as well as the transportation, storage and communication, and financial services sectors.

“We anticipate that the construction sector will remain robust with an increase in residential construction as a result of private investment, initiatives undertaken by the NHC, and a new Civil Servants Home Mortgage Scheme to be unveiled next year,” Harris said. “In addition, a number of investments will take place in public infrastructure and work will continue apace on a number of private sector projects such as T-Loft/Radisson, the Koi Resort, King’s Pavilion Hotel and Royal Ltd., all of which will boost the growth in the economy.”