Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis – July 26th, 2007 (CUOPM)
For Immediate Public Release
Deputy Prime Minister the Hon. Sam Condor has told the Chamber of Industry and Commerce that the health of the St. Kitts and Nevis economy is in good shape and the Labour Party Administration has managed to maintain a stable economic, social and political environment, and to establish an economy as a very attractive investment centre.
Saying that the evidence is quite obvious, Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Sam Condor told the Chamber at its 25th Annual Private Sector Banquet that economic performance in 2006 resulted in GDP expansion by over 5 percent, led primarily, by tourism, construction and manufacturing.
“This expansion comes despite pressures exerted by high fuel prices,” said the Deputy Prime Minister who added that recent information indicated that for 2007, thus far, there has been increased economic activity in the first quarter of the year, fueled by activity in agriculture, the distributive trade, construction, and public and private sector services.
He told the local businessmen and women that significant surpluses for the quarter are recorded at EC$5.8 million on the current account.
“The overall balance and primary balance show growth rates of 100.3 percent and 101.2 percent respectively. Baring natural disasters and unforeseen circumstances, we expect the positive trends to continue throughout 2007, as this Government continues its socio-economic policies aimed at engendering sustainable growth and development within the Federation,” said Minister Condor, who was quick to point out that important in all of this has been the reduction in the Federal Government’s fiscal deficit, from EC$48.7 million to EC$26.5 million in 2006.
“I think it would be more than fair to say that over the years, both the Government and the private sector have performed well. Indeed, we have been able, through all of the trials and tribulations, to climb the ladder of human development in the United Nations’ Global Rankings and to hold down second place in all of CARICOM, behind Barbados and ahead of the Bahamas and to be among the top 25% of the World’s Nations in this regard,” said Minister Condor.
He said the achievement is also powerful evidence of the fact that the fabric of the nation’s democracy has been and is being strengthened under this Government and added:
“One has only to look at the amount of consultation that takes place, and the growing openness, between Government and stakeholders, and the general public, and at the mushrooming of independent media entities. Let me put it simply, our story-line will show that a great deal has been accomplished in all spheres of human development in this little nation over these past twelve years, in the face of tremendous adversity. And I repeat, people marvel at our success.”
He said that the economic success would have been even greater were there less of an appetite for irresponsible bashing, negativism and subterfuge.
Deputy Prime Minister Condor said the Federation’s economic success continues to impress.
“We have worked hard and long to restore our country to the prominent place it once had. There is no question that our nation is seen in positive terms by the Regional and International investment communities,” he said.
He said that with the massive inflows of capital into the St. Kitts and Nevis economy all economic and social stakeholders in the country have stood to gain and the Federation has had excellent diplomatic relations that with the Governments and people of Venezuela, the Republic of China on Taiwan and Cuba, which have embassies in St. Kitts and Nevis.
Deputy Prime Minister Condor also referred to the significant contribution to the growth and development of St. Kitts and Nevis from its relationship with other countries including the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Canada.
“We shall continue to support what is positive, right and just, and pursue those policies that are in the interest of the growth and development of humanity,” said Mr. Condor.
He also noted that with the hurricanes of the 1990’s and other challenges faced, St. Kitts and Nevis also accumulated a substantial national debt and by not having invested in repair, replacements, upgrade and general social and economic development projects, over the past twelve years, would have had disastrous consequences to St. Kitts and Nevis as a nation.
“We have introduced measures to help bring down the debt, and to improve fiscal management and performance going forward. And the record will show that we are making good progress in these areas,” said Deputy Prime Minister Condor.