Planning Vital For Economic Growth In St. Kitts – Nevis

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Skilled Leadership and Careful Planning A Must

Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
January 01, 2009 (CUOPM)

St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas said Thursday that careful planning and experienced leadership are vital to continued economic progress if St. Kitts and Nevis is to overcome the difficult global challenges that are ahead.

Pointing to the fact that the St. Kitts and Nevis economy has expanded in real terms by about 50 percent notwithstanding the closure of the sugar industry, Prime Minister Douglas said the vision of change is realisable with seasoned leadership and the continued resolve and commitment of its people.

“It is a vision that calls upon us to move to the next stage of development and to free ourselves of political animosity so that we accelerate our progress to a better society and an improved quality of life for every Kittitian and Nevisian. It is a vision that calls for national unity and invites us to be tolerant of differences of opinion as we embrace each other as brothers and sisters of this our fair beautiful and free land,” said Dr. Douglas in his radio and television broadcast Thursday morning.

Prime Minister Douglas is of the view that his governing St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party Administration is well placed to provide the leadership required to change the political culture, foster national unity and build a society of which every Kittitian and Nevisian would be proud.

“We are a Government of and for the people that has brought dramatic change to the economic and social landscape of St. Kitts and Nevis. We are well placed to build on that change and enhance the sustainability of that change by creating a more peaceful, and harmonious society in which each citizen; each resident and each visitor would feel happy and even more secure,” said Prime Minister Douglas, who noted that even before the drums of present carnival celebrations fade away and before the fun and frolic subside, nationals of the twin-island Federation must focus their attention on the year ahead with a view towards making New Year resolutions and crafting appropriate strategies to secure the continued advancement of each individual citizen, and of the nation as a whole.

“Indeed, more than ever, our nation requires clear thinking, careful planning, and experienced leadership to overcome the difficult global challenges that are ahead,” said Prime Minister Douglas, who identified them as the attributes that have brought St. Kitts and Nevis along the road of social and economic progress.

“It is these attributes that have seen us through many difficult moments including natural disasters, the closure of our sugar industry under the pressure of globalisation and trade liberalisation, and the September 11 crisis that almost closed down our entire hotel plant for an extended period,” pointing out firmly that on every occasion, “we overcame our difficulties and protected the standard of living of the affected persons including the poor in particular, through the hard work and resolve of our people combined with clear thinking, careful planning and the effective experienced leadership that my Government has provided.”

Prime Minister Douglas is firmly of the view that those same attributes that will help St. Kitts and Nevis through the many challenges as a result of the very turbulent and stormy global economic environment the world will face during 2009.

He said that all over the globe, people are approaching the New Year with great uncertainty and trepidation, pointing out that during 2008, homeowners in a number of developed countries were forced out of their homes because of their inability to meet mortgage obligations and workers were forced out their jobs as the demand of goods and services faltered.

“Investors and high net worth individuals have been in a state of panic as asset values have fallen dramatically and continue to fluctuate in capital markets, and as the uncovering of fraudulent schemes revealed that many of their investments may be in jeopardy; and giant global corporations have had to kneel before their Governments and beg for financial assistance to keep them afloat,” said Prime Minister Douglas.

He said there are no definitive signs that these adverse circumstances have abated; and the threat of global recession in 2009 looms larger every day.

Dr. Douglas said it was against this backdrop that St. Kitts and Nevis must make plans in respect of the New Year.

“We have to be ever conscious that although our country has not felt the brunt of the global crisis, our economy is small, open and well integrated into the global economy so that economic activity in our Federation is bound to be significantly affected by any protraction or deepening of the global crisis,” he said.

Prime Minister Douglas said he is of the view that the St. Kitts and Nevis economy today is much better prepared to face global economic challenges than it was in 1995 when his Labour Government assumed office.

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