Prime Minister Dr. The Hon. Timothy Harris

Prime Minister congratulates citizens, delivers US president’s well wishes

By Dave Kaiser

Messages congratulating St. Kitts and Nevis on the 33rd anniversary of its independence on Sept. 19, 1983, were presented on Monday by Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris M.P, J.P., and in a message from U.S. President Barack Obama. Prime Minister Harris highlighted the achievements of Jermaine Gaskin, of New Pond Site, Basseterre, for entering the winning theme for the event; young people like Rol-j Williams, who passed his 17 CXC with distinction; sporting heroes and special Olympians who made us proud during the Olympics; and footballers on their recent FIFA standings.

“Promoting Prosperity through Sustainability and

National Unity.”

“Promoting Prosperity through Sustainability and

National Unity.”

Promoting Prosperity through Sustainability and

National Unity.”

“Promoting Prosperity through Sustainability and National Unity,” was the theme suggested by Jermaine Gaskin. There were 29 entrants in the contest, with his theme chosen as the most appropriate for Independence celebrations. Gaskin was recognized by being invited to all major Independence events sponsored by the Government. The winning theme was incorporated in all official communications and events surrounding Independence celebrations.

During his address to the Nation to observe its 33rd Independence Day, Prime Minister Dr. Harris, congratulated citizens and residents on this auspicious occasion, while outlining that Gaskin’s “theme was chosen specifically to encapsulate how only a stable nation in unity can thrive and prosper, for the betterment of all of its citizens and residents.”

The Prime Minister congratulated Gaskin, saying the theme was chosen specifically to encapsulate how only a stable nation in unity can thrive and prosper, for the betterment of all of its citizens and residents.

“Our land has seen struggles, hardships and battles for power going over many centuries,” Dr. Harris said. “Colonial powers fought for this land because it was a prize jewel. As free men and women of St Kitts and Nevis, this is a country bequeathed to us by our forefathers and we must make it our place of choice – our prize jewel.

“As an independent nation, we have done reasonably well over the last 33 years of our independence journey,” he said. “Our economy today is stable. We are among the best performing economies in Latin America and the Caribbean. Our fiscal house is in a very good shape – better than most.

“While others suffer from negligible economic growth rates, ours is projected to be above average for the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU), the borrowing member states of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).”

The Prime Minister pointed out, “the Federation’s inflation rate is at an all-time low, thanks in part to my government’s decision to remove Value Added Tax (VAT) from food, medicine and funeral expenses. In addition, we now have a record low for the price for oil and gasoline products.  Our foreign reserves are high. There are many on-going projects where those in need of jobs can find work.”

“Over 200 plus [recipients] have benefited from our affordable, Fresh Start Loan Programme as we attempt to provide that well needed financing for small and medium sized enterprises,” Dr. Harris said. “We will invest another $30 million over the next two years into the Fresh Start Programme.

The Prime Minister said the housing programme will get started in earnest before year-end, bringing well needed housing solutions to our people most in need of them. The future prospects are bright and encouraging. Several hotels are to come on stream shortly, adding well-paying jobs to the economy.

“Over the last 33 years, through hard work, creativity and patriotism we have proved ourselves worthy of the high expectations and ideals of an independent nation,” Dr. Harris said. “Over the next 33 years, we must pursue the prosperity of our nation, enhance its sustainability index, and improve on the resilience of our people.”

Prime Minister read US President’s message

The Prime Minister read a congratulatory message on behalf of U.S. President Barak Obama, who congratulated the people of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis during their 33rd Independence Anniversary.

In his statement, President Obama pointed out the United States, “enjoys a close friendship rooted in our deep respect for democratic principles and individual freedoms.”

“The United States shares your commitment to inclusive and sustainable growth, and is proud to partner with you to empower youth, eradicate devastating diseases, and promote clean energy,” President Obama’s statement said. “We value your leadership in the fight against narcotics trafficking, and look forward to building on the progress that we have made through the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative.”

“As you gather with family and friends from Basseterre to Charlestown, the United States sends its best wishes for a joyous Independence Day and a happy, safe, and prosperous year to come.”

Youth surpassing expectations

“Our young people are excelling, they are surpassing traditional best standards in their performances at secondary school and at sixth form,” the Prime Minister said. “We hail the new high, set by Rol-j Williams with his 17 CXC passes with distinction; sporting heroes and special Olympians, who made us proud during the Olympics; and footballers on their recent FIFA standings.

More of our people are pursuing tertiary level education in the Caribbean, the Americas, Asia, the Pacific and elsewhere in the world. Given the critical role that tertiary level education can play in the development of a country, we are happy to witness such expansion in the number of participants at this level of education and training. Our aim is to ensure that by 2030 every family household will boast a graduate.”

Sporting heroes recognized

The Prime Minister recognized sporting heroes who “made us proud at the Olympics. We are especially proud of the performance of our special Olympians in recent competitions and other Olympians that keep the flag of one of the smallest countries in the world, flying high. We commend our footballers on their recent standing in the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). They are number two in the Caribbean and 77th worldwide. I am advised their best ever ranking.”

Prime Minister Harris used the occasion to highlight the achievements of sporting icons in the Federation. He encouraged athletes to remember that without God nothing is possible, and so, thanks must be given to Him.  He reminded athletes to continue to be disciplined and conduct themselves in a manner that will allow them to strive for continued growth and development, be it for country or self.

“I want to remind us that we are a nation under God,” he said. “Let us invite Him into our hearts and our minds. I pray that my Cabinet may be a worthy instrument to advance the nation.”

“So let us move forward together “Promoting Prosperity through Sustainability and National Unity,” the Prime Minister concluded. “Happy Independence to my beloved people of St Kitts and Nevis. May we continue to experience the love, the mercy and abundant provision of our Almighty God, to God be the Glory.”