PM: St. Kitts-Nevis continues with policies of putting people ‘first’ on path to sustainable development
By Valencia Grant, press secretary to the prime minister of St. Kitts and Nevis
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Prime Minister the Honourable Dr. Timothy Harris today introduced and moved the first and second readings of the Appropriation (2018) Bill 2017 that will be the subject of debate in the National Assembly of St. Kitts and Nevis.
The bill provides for the services of St. Christopher (St. Kitts) and Nevis for the 2018 financial year, which runs from January 1-December 31, 2018. The sum of $706,129,036 represents the Team Unity government’s draft total estimates of expenditure for the year 2018.
Speaking today – his 53rd birthday – in the National Assembly, Prime Minister Harris said the more than EC$700 million would go to “support the implementation of the various plans and programs intended to improve delivery of public service, contribute to increasing growth in the economy and, of course, improve the quality of life of all our citizens and residents.”
Government officials and other public sector employees, as well as civil society stakeholders, including those from the church, and representatives from the private sector, including those from the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, packed into the gallery of the National Assembly to witness Harris deliver his highly anticipated address on the budget, which is being unveiled under the theme “Putting People First in the Pursuit of Sustainable Development.”
“As we considered the theme for the 2018 budget, we were not only concerned with environmental sustainability of our federation and our ability to mitigate and adapt to climate change, but most importantly how these and other related issues are impacting the lives and the livelihood of our beloved people,” Harris said. “One of the fundamental issues that we were and are determined to address in 2018 is the modernization of our education and training system to prepare our people for a modern work environment. We are committed to assist our micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises even further and, in the interest of our people, we will advance improvements in social development, health services, access to good, quality affordable housing, and the formulation and update of supporting policies and legislation to facilitate reform actions in a number of areas.”
Prime Minister Harris disclosed that next year his government would move to develop the following: a Climate Change Policy accompanied by a Climate Change Adaptation Strategy; a new National Housing Policy; an updated Land Use Policy; a National Qualification Register; a Special Needs Policy, and a Plan of Action for Non-Communicable Diseases. Harris further disclosed that his administration would also complete the National Strategic Plan for Health and earnestly commence the implementation of the recently launched Education Sector Plan.
Harris noted that his Team Unity government is on a mission to craft the right mix of policies to ensure that the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis continues to see the economic growth experienced in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
“We believe that a good mix of domestic policies and our active regional and international cooperation efforts would help to improve our nation’s chances of achieving success in our pursuit of sustainable development,” Prime Minister Harris said.