BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS — Like all other countries around the world, the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis has faced challenges brought about by the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic, but Prime Minister Dr the Hon Timothy Harris is assuring the country that his Team Unity Government is all out to make 2022 a better year for everyone than was their 2021.
“Our tomorrow – our new year – must be better than our 2021, as we serve a God that is abundantly able to make it better,” said Prime Minister Harris on Sunday January 16. “So, those of you because of the shutdowns and the lockdowns were not able to enjoy a full year’s work, 2022 – with God’s grace – can be better for you and for your family.”
Dr Harris made the remarks at the House of Deliverance New Testament Church of God on Main Street, Tabernacle Village, where he had joined the leadership and membership of his hometown church for Sunday morning worship. The sermon was delivered by Senior Pastor Octavia Charles-Warner.
“For those who are hoping for homes, 2022 can be a better year for you,” announced the Prime Minister. “We have put, for example in our budget, $10 million-plus to assist National Housing Corporation (NHC) to build out some homes for our people so that 2022 will be better than 2021.”
He also revealed that by month end the government will make available 15 houses in Mansion to those most in need. The houses were built through the assistance of the Government of Venezuela and according to the Honourable Prime Minister interviews will be completed this week so that by the 28th, or thereabouts, a handover ceremony will be held. He noted: “Those who will benefit, your 2022 will be better than your 2021.”
Government also took note that it is quite expensive seeking haemodialysis treatment and cancer care locally. As a result, in the last budget, the Government was compassionate enough to say that for this year it will reduce the cost of seeking dialysis and cancer care by 50% so that the patients’ 2022 will be better than 2021.
“Still expensive and that is why we are encouraging people to practise what we have learnt – prevention is better than cure,” advised Dr Harris, who also has lead responsibility for Human Resource Development, Health and HIV/AIDS issues in the CARICOM’s quasi-cabinet. “If we could avoid getting ill, better for us. If we could reduce our sugar intake, and reduce our salt intake, and don’t consume too much alcohol, the better it will be for our health and so we need to bring that particular discipline.”
The Government, he noted, hopes that a new year 2022 will bring a fresh start to better health to so many of the people, notwithstanding the country is in the pandemic, and notwithstanding that everyone has to exercise care in terms of the Covid-19.
“I am very pleased that whenever we come, the church is well prepared, giving us reminders that the virus is still with us and we must continue to observe the protocols,” said Dr Harris. “I think that one of your banners had a message about it, and when I saw that I said, this is what we really need to do – remind people so that our children can go to school without interruption again. But that will only happen if our teachers are vaccinated, if they are wearing their masks, if they are sanitising so that the environment could be a good one.”
Further stressing Team Unity Government’s wish that people’s tomorrow – the new year 2022 – will be better, Dr Harris said that he was aware that some of the people are out of jobs as had been alluded to by visiting Kittitian Pastor Eldred Henry, who is based in the British Virgin Islands.
“We have provided in the budget that this year, for those who continue to be unemployed for a very long period we will extend a $1,000 monthly payment, and in another three weeks, I will be able to indicate when that will happen. And so, as we think about the future, I want us to be positive and to do much positive things.”
Accompanying the Prime Minister were members of Constituency Number Seven Group led by Peoples Labour Party (PLP) National Women’s Representative Mrs Sonia Henry. Also present was one of the two PLP National Trustees, Mr Heston Hamm, and members and supporters from the various Peoples Labour Party’s constituency executive branches on St. Kitts.