BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, SEPTEMBER 19TH 2006
As the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis celebrates its 23rd Anniversary of Independence, Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas says the occasion provides another opportunity for each citizen and resident to reflect on the achievements, and significantly, to think about the future and what needs to be done to ensure continued socio-economic growth and development.“Without doubt, special attention will have to be placed upon the young people of our country, especially with regard to training and education aimed at meeting the evolving global economic environment. Our young people not only must be globally competitive educationally, but it is important that they are engaged in the task of nation building,” Dr. Douglas told the Federation in an address on local radio and television stations Tuesday morning.
He noted that in a post-sugar economic environment, the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis has continued to strengthen its economic diversification processes, being cognisant of the impact of geo-political conflicts and interests, as well as the difficulties created by natural hazards.
Dr. Douglas made it clear that health, poverty alleviation, gender equity, youth development, education and human resource development are to occupy positions of priority in like manner to economic concerns,”.
“A holistic approach must give greater certainty of success and of enabling our people to develop a strong diversified and highly sustainable economy that would address our nation’s needs in the medium and long terms,” he said.
Prime Minister Douglas stated that the empowerment of people to take advantage of emerging opportunities would be of essential focus and many of these issues are addressed in the European Commission-adopted Post-Sugar “Adaptation Strategy” that outlines major socio-economic goals and challenges faced by the country. This Strategy, he said seeks to cushion the effects of the closure of the sugar industry by supporting diversification, economic competitiveness and the principles of empowerment.
Dr. Douglas said the Federation’s 23rd Anniversary of Independence is being celebrated in the context of the deepening Caribbean integration movement and the full commitment and adoption of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy.
He said the recent celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the OECS held historic significance in the raising of the OECS flag for the first time, and significantly, the agreement by heads of government to pursue the proposed OECS Economic Union by next year.
“This OECS advancement is of special significance to St. Kitts and Nevis having been the venue for the signing of the Treaty of Basseterre that brought into being the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States. It is fitting that our nation is again at center-stage of such historic developments for the OECS member countries. Certainly, these developments will have positive impact on the lives of Kittitians and Nevisians, and would enable the OECS to deal more effectively with global challenges,” said Prime Minister.
He stressed that the 23rd Anniversary of Independence must point the people of St. Kitts and Nevis to the need for positive thinking; looking towards the future with a mindset of collaboration, dedication, prudent action, and of building intra and extra-regional partnerships for the benefit of the people.
“In the emerging highly competitive global economic environment, it is critical that we understand that persons of productive capacity must be cognizant of their contribution towards the further development of our nation. We must re-examine our individual values and determine what and how individual change can be more effectively applied to nation building. Obviously, it is our collective endeavours that will make a success of our quest to achieve our national aspirations,” said Dr. Douglas, who has been Prime Minister since July 1995.