Basseterre, Saint Kitts – Nevis
April 09, 2008 (CUOPM)
St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas says the former sugar lands are being used for the social development and empowerment of nationals.
Speaking at a ceremony to allocate 80 acres of land to 44 farmers, Dr. Douglas said land has been allocated for agriculture, construction of houses for local homeowners, churches, schools, community centres and new businesses thus providing for entrepreneurship and job opportunities in the development of the national economy.
“Social development means that we are providing the land for housing. You now have the opportunity to own your homes on your plot of land and not paying rent as you did to the planter of the old days. The house lots are now yours, distributed through the National Housing Corporation (NHC) or through the Special Land Initiative of the Ministry of Sustainable Development,” said Dr. Douglas.
He said the land is also being used in the social development and empowerment of the people by providing land for the building of churches.
“We have a lot of churches in St. Kitts and Nevis and some of them still do not have land,” said Prime Minister Douglas, who pointed out that his St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Government since taking office has been distributing land to several church denominations “so that our people can as a congregation continue to worship God and to give their praises to God.”
He said land is also being used to build sporting complexes and community centres and quickly pointed out that the land on which the St. Paul’s Community Centre is located was once a canefield. Canefields have also been used to build community centers in Sandy Point, Saddlers, Tabernacle, Newton Ground and Cayon and sporting facilities in St. Paul’s, Saddlers, Newton Ground, Mansion and Conaree.
“Land where cane was grown, now have community centers where our people can develop a community spirit and that is why we are building community centers around St. Kitts and in Nevis, with financing from our friendly ally, the Republic of China on Taiwan,” said Prime Minister Douglas.
He pointed to the recently constructed Jubilee Athletic Stadium at Bird Rock where land is being used to provide professional recreational facilities for the people of St. Kitts and Nevis.
“Athletes came from all around the Caribbean and they as well, as our own people were able to develop our athletic skills by ensuring that our people have the opportunity to develop their skills as part of our social develop programme and tourism development plans in St. Kitts and Nevis,” said Prime Minister Douglas.
“We are also using the former sugar lands to provide educational institutions and opportunities for our young people,” said Dr. Douglas, who pointed to the ongoing construction of the Comprehensive School in Saddlers.
The area’s Parliamentary Representative also pointed to the use of former sugar lands in the economic development of St. Kitts and Nevis, specifically in tourism.
“That is why some of the lands in this area are being used under the Whitegate Development. We have above here, the Kittitian Hill Project and at Cranston, the La Valle Development Project, which are all part of the economic development of this country,” said Prime Minister Douglas.
Other economic tourism-related projects in the immediate area include the Beaumont Park Development in Dieppe Bay, where horseracing and greyhound racing will be operated.
“We are also using some of the lands for the expansion of the Golden Lemon Hotel, the expansion of the Rawlins Plantation to boost economic activity and job, career and entrepreneurial opportunities for the people in this area as a result of the development of these lands,” said Dr. Douglas, who noted that the tourism development is now taking shape and food for the visitors will be needed.
He referred to the recent signing of an agreement between the St. Kitts Marriott Resort and farmers for the purchase of locally-grown fruits and vegetables.
“That is gong to be important for you. What is produced on your land can be utilised by your family as it is going to be nutritious and valuable to your bodies in maintaining good health,” said Prime Minister Douglas, adding: “The more we can produce and buy from ourselves maintains food security as it is less we will have to import from overseas.”
Dr. Douglas said the small farmers are important and have a role to play in the development of the agricultural sector in food security in St. Kitts and Nevis.