St. Kitts – Nevis Premier – Denzil Douglas
Photo By Erasmus Williams
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
January 19, 2012 (CUOPM)
Formulation of a debt management strategy for member nations of the eastern Caribbean currency Union (ECCU) was among challenging and pressing issues discussed at a one-day meeting of the Eastern Caribbean Monetary Council in Antigua on Saturday 14th January.
St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas, who attended the meeting, said council members welcomed St. Lucia’s Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Kenny Anthony.
“It was important to bring him up to date and for us to discuss at the start of a new year pressing financial and economic matters including the ongoing fiscal and debt and growth issues that are confronting the people of the Eastern Caribbean at this particular time,” Prime Minister Douglas disclosed on his weekly radio programme “Ask the Prime Minister” on Tuesday.
Dr. Douglas said Council members ““ Ministers of Finance ““ from the eight countries, looked at the overall fiscal situation in the Eastern Caribbean.
“We recognise that our growth prospects for this year are not necessarily very encouraging. We might be seeing negative, or maybe just about 1.2 percent positive growth and so there is a concern that we need to put right our own fiscal and monetary policies and to look at how we can really grow the economies of the Easter Caribbean out of the serious challenging situation that we are facing today,” said Dr. Douglas.
He noted that St. Kitts and Nevis, like Grenada and Antigua and Barbuda, have financial assistance programmes with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
“We looked at these programmes. We looked at the challenge of the debt situation and how we need to formulate a regional debt management strategy in order to tackle one of the greatest challenges that our people are facing at this particular time. So it is a very important meeting, educational and strategic and basically planning strategies in moving forward in tackling a number of these issues,” said Prime Minister Douglas, who when pointed out that he had travelled to Antigua on Saturday 14th, his birthday, responded:
“It was my birthday which was on a weekend when I should not be at work. But, the work of the people of St. Kitts and Nevis whenever it is required of me, to respond, I have to respond as the Prime Minister and especially as the Minister of Finance. My colleagues appreciated the fact that I did make the effort to be present and participate actively in the meeting on a day when I was really celebrating the tenth anniversary of my 49th birthday and they of course raise a toast they had a good time celebrating on that day in Antigua even though really it would have been good to be home. In the evening my staff and friends and some family members gave me a good time when I returned.”