October – 2007
Deputy Premier of Nevis and Minister of Social Transformation, the Hon. Hensley Daniel, endorsed the National Consultation on the Economy and described it as a process aimed at strengthening the democratic experience of the people of St. Kitts and Nevis and that public participation was key in the consultative process.
He said the most effective means to ensure that policies reflected the principle established for development, was to consciously strive to widen and deepen the public’s knowledge on policy issues, together with genuine participation in the implementation of the programmes.
The Minister made the statement at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort on Thursday October 11, 2007, while he addressed the annual National Consultation on the Economy, guided by the theme Strengthening Human and Social Capital ““ Key elements in our Economic Transformation.” “An informed and involved population with real rather than illusory interest in the development process, is the surest way to bring about policy formulation and implementation.
“I like the theme ““ strengthening human and social capital. It underpins the economic strategy to create wealth by investment in people. We in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) share the view that social development sustains economic development. In this regard we have led a paradigm shift to a people centered approach to development. We are persuaded that we can achieve a competitive advantage through people,” the Social Transformation Minister said.
Mr. Daniel noted that given the absence of protected markets, limited access to financial resources and the challenges of globalisation, the NIA had decided to strengthen its human and social capital in order to achieve economic transformation.
He said it was against that backdrop that the NIA focused on social transformation since it fed and drove economic transformation. The Minister noted that the Administration had identified education, health, community development, sports and culture as vehicles for social transformation.
Mr. Daniel, who stood in for Premier Parry, used the occasion to highlight the programmes and projects that had been initiated by the Nevis Reformation Party led-Administration since it assumed office in July 2006, in its quest to transform the island’s economy.
He opined that it was necessary to design fiscal measures to ensure that economic benefits would accrue to the wider society.
“Community development is hinged on the Social Action Programme which includes Homework Assistance Program, Computer Education, Health Education, the establishment of community libraries, self-help projects and outreach programmes. The target groups are youth, women, children and the aged… in our efforts to promote and sustain economic growth tourism, financial services and agriculture will lead the way,” he said.
He further disclosed that an Investment Promotion Authority will be established shortly to facilitate the speedy approval of projects in an effort to reduce bureaucratic delays which cause investors to lose money.
Mr. Daniel noted that the OECS Human Development Report 2002 stated that there was need for greater linkages between social programmes and economic development and greater integration between the social initiatives.
Over 300 participants drawn from financial institutions, professional organisations, parliamentary opposition members, the Diplomatic Corps, sports and community organisations, schools and colleges attended the one-day consultation.
The exercise was in keeping with the policy of the Federal government which allowed for members of the public and private sectors and civil society to discuss and chart the way forward for the national economy and to help shape the budget for the government for 2008.