BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — The goal of the Team Unity is to return the Federation to the strong economic position it was in prior to the advent of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that has destabilized world economies and overwhelmed health systems globally, according to Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris.
“In the last five years, the prudent fiscal performance of the Team Unity administration saw St. Kitts and Nevis being viewed as the “best example of a well-managed small island state,” said the prime minister. “The Federation had been adjudged the best in the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) by independent and prestigious authorities on various indices, including fiscal balances, information and communication technology development and per capita income.
“Over the past five years my government worked hard to deliver the best ever performance in fiscal management,” said Hon. Harris. “We paid off the $117 million International Money Fund (IMF) debt left behind by our predecessors. We generated economic growth year on year. We had the highest per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the OECS and the third highest in the region.
“We had more persons contributing to Social Security, more businesses created than ever before. Annual wages and salaries reached the $1 billion mark for the first time in history, and tourist arrivals reached a 1 million benchmark two years in a row. We were the magnet to which everyone came.”
The prime minister observed that St. Kitts and Nevis has been fortunate to have competent, strong and prudent leadership in such a time like this.
Prime Minister Harris said it was this type of leadership that led to the introduction of the largest and most comprehensive stimulus response in the region to contain the economic fallout of the coronavirus Pandemic.
“We have put more money in the hands of our people, ensuring that they could keep their heads above water at this difficult time.” said Dr. Harris. “We gave help to our farmers, fishers, taxi men, hotel workers and businesses. Both corporate and unincorporated businesses received significant tax relief of 24 percent and 50 percent tax reduction respectively.
“At the level of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, in particular the Monetary Council, we encouraged the moratorium or suspension of interest and principal payments on mortgages. In the case of St. Kitts and Nevis, mortgages totalling $408 million were impacted and 1,919 borrowers benefited from the moratorium,” concluded Dr. Harris. “What’s impressive is that the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis accomplished all of this to date without having to borrow a single cent.