September 19, 2020

St. Kitts and Nevis has much to celebrate as Nation marks 31 years of Independence


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pm addreses thousandsFrom SKN Vibes

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, SEPTEMBER 20TH 2014 (CUOPM) – The people of St. Kitts and Nevis have good reason to celebrate the 31st Anniversary of Independence as the twin-island nation has grown from strength to strength with outstanding achievements despite monumental challenges.

“We also have good reason to be optimistic because the hard work of our people and the visionary leadership of the Government continue to propel us forward and upward to an even better quality of life for all of our citizens and residents. We are truly a nation on the move. We are truly justified in celebrating our progress as a people,” told a massive crowd of nationals during the at the Warner Park Cricket Stadium.

It was the first time since independence that the Ceremonial Parade was held at night and the first time in years that the Prime Minister’s Independence message was delivered during the parade.

“We celebrate because we have emerged as one of the best performing economies in the region and as a model of economic and social management, notwithstanding that we were the last of the to attain Independence and we are among the smallest nations of the world, both in terms of size and population. Specifically, our debt management strategy, which has drawn commendation from countries and institutions around the world, has brought down our debt from nearly 200% of to some 95% of over a period when countries all over the face of the globe were in the grip of what is now referred to as the Great Recession,” said Prime Minister Douglas.

He told the audience which included visiting dignitaries representing several nations around the world, the over the same period, that the bank overdraft was wiped out and the fiscal balance has been transformed from a deficit position to a very healthy surplus.

“Indeed our overall fiscal position is one of the strongest in the entire Caribbean. We celebrate because the rate of economic growth in our Federation is higher than in all other OECS countries and among the highest in the entire Caribbean. The literacy of our people is among the highest in the world. The level of access of our people to secondary school education is the envy of countries throughout the region, and our comprehensive education system is cited by a number of international agencies, including the World Bank, as a model to be emulated. The provision of free laptop computers to our school children is unprecedented in the Caribbean and perhaps, throughout the world. The percentage of our people who use the internet is the highest in the Caribbean, and the ownership of cell phones per capita is higher in our Federation than in any another country in the region,” Prime Minister Douglas said.

He said there is indeed need to celebrate because the nation’s infrastructure is constantly being upgraded, and even now, there are public works in progress on a scale that is unparalleled in any other Caribbean country.

“Our housing stock has been dramatically expanded through the construction of nearly 4,000 homes since my Government assumed office in 1995 and, even now, the Habitat Independence 30 project, which will deliver homes to 1,000 families in our Federation, is in progress and gathering momentum every day. No other Caribbean country can boast of providing the number of houses per capita that we have achieved throughout our period in office and continue to provide as we execute our mandate in service to our people. We truly must give thanks to the Almighty for the wondrous blessings that he has poured upon on us,” said Prime Minister Douglas, adding: “When we deny the achievements of our people and the progress of our nation to obtain political advantage or for any other reason, we, in fact, deny the magnanimity of the Almighty God.”

He said the successful land distribution programme, land ownership is now widespread throughout the Federation and the percentage of the people in the Federation who own land is among the highest in the Caribbean.

“In other words, my Government has, almost overnight, removed the stigma and label of landlessness that was associated with our people for so many years. This was one of the major objectives that our departed National Hero, the Rt. Excellent Sir Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw sought to achieve when he appropriated the sugar cane lands for the people of this country. He understood that landlessness had deprived our people of the right to vote through much of our colonial history and although he fought valiantly and successfully to achieve universal suffrage in 1952, he knew that the process of empowerment would only be completed after the people of this country were able to get a fair share of the sugar cane lands and to use our land resources as the means of attaining our development objectives,”said the St. Kitts and Nevis leader.

Dr. Douglas said Premier Bradshaw understood that if the land remained in a state of idleness or was not put to productive use, it would not reap the benefits that it is now reaping for the people of St. Kitts and Nevis in housing, agriculture, tourism and hotel development, offshore and onshore education services, sports and recreation, village expansion and in the wide range of productive uses to which the lands are being deployed.

IMAGE: PM Douglas highlights achievements at massive night-time ceremonial parade

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