Basseterre, St. Kitts – Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis and Minister of Finance, the Honourable Dr. Terrance Drew, emphasized the critical importance of public participation in shaping the national budget while delivering closing remarks at the Budget 2024 Community Consultations held at the Lodge/Ottleys Community Centre on Tuesday, October 31, 2023.
The consultations, held under the theme Marching Forward on the Journey to a Sustainable Island State, aim to bring the budget-making process closer to the citizens and facilitate their active participation. The first consultation, specifically targeting the youth population, was conducted at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort on October 11.
“This is an important activity that no government can function without, as it is a legal document that has to be passed in parliament. If it is not passed, any spending becomes illegal outside of the budget framework,” stressed Prime Minister Dr. Drew, while further underscoring the necessity for citizen involvement in such a crucial activity, emphasizing that their input is vital for the development of a budget that truly serves the nation.
To ensure inclusive participation, Dr. Drew mentioned the decision to “take the budget on the road”.
“It is important that our citizens and residents become educated and be given the opportunity to make meaningful input into what should be in the Budget.” He reassured the audience that their contributions are valuable and have been noted for consideration,” the Finance Minister explained.
Dr. Drew expressed hope for the expansion of these consultations.
“This year we are doing three, and this is the first time we are doing it. In the future, we can take it around the Federation. It should go to Nevis also so that we could have the input of all of our people.”
The final consultation is scheduled at the Old Road Community Centre on November 02, 2023, providing another opportunity for the citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis to be a part of this democratic process.
By encouraging more citizens and residents to participate in such activities, the government of St. Kitts and Nevis is optimistic that it would lead to better outcomes and a stronger, sustainable island state.