Senator Ricky Skerritt
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
January 11, 2010 (CUOPM)
Fears for the future of tourism, if there is to be a change to a PAM-led Administration has come from Minister of State for Tourism, Sen. the Hon. Ricky Skerritt.
“After last week’s election announcement and extra-ordinary bell-ringing celebrations – and seeing the thousands of people there who now depend on tourism for their livelihoods “I am categorical that the future of our tourism economy is only safe with a Labour Government,” Skerritt said in a statement on the weekend.
Skerritt is a experienced former business executive, who has been at the forefront of the impressive growth of the local tourism industry over the last five years since he was appointed by Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas, to help his Labour cabinet transform the St. Kitts and Nevis economy following the closure of the centuries old sugar industry.
“This Labour Government has delivered millions of dollars to our economy in tourism expenditure and attracted valuable new investments that would be at risk with a change in national leadership,” said Skerritt, who noted that effective airlift negotiations have brought tremendous growth in airline seat capacity to the Robert L. Bradshaw Airport and there has been a phenomenal increase in cruise visitor arrivals.
“The list goes on and on. Tourism is now a reality in St. Kitts for the first time at a scale never seen before and we have gained new respect in the regional and global marketplace,” said Skerritt, pointing out that jobs and the livelihoods of hundreds of nationals are at stake.
Mr. Skerritt said this progress must be allowed to continue under Labour.
Minister Skerritt was very clear that he does not believe that either the PAM team or its shadow tourism minister, Lindsay Grant, have the necessary experience or understanding to deliver continuing growth in tourism.
“Talk is easy,” the Minister said, adding: “Remember how it used to be? Under PAM there was no tourism growth to speak of, just broken promises by a lone-ranger Minister who did more talking than real work. Port Zante was like a desert. We can’t afford PAM led tourism experiments like that again. Lindsay Grant has no experience in anything substantive, and he has no serious tourism relationships. The slippage that would occur while Grant and PAM fumble around on the learning curve would be disastrous for tourism jobs, the economy and the countryï¿½.
Senator Skerritt believes strongly that under the current Prime Minister’s leadership, St. Kitts and Nevis’ tourism economy is in safe hands.
“Dr. Douglas already understands the requirements for sustainable tourism. He shares the vision and he walks the walk. He delivers results. He delivers jobs. He has ensured that we took the right initiatives so that the benefits of tourism can be spread widely, even in the midst of the economic downturn that has crippled so much tourism within the region. Prime Minister Douglas has a record that speaks for itself. A record of delivering progress. That is why I know he is still the right Prime Minister for our tourism industry and our country. It would be irresponsible for voters to risk everything by trusting tourism to PAM.”