St. Kitts – Nevis Has Been Servicing Its National Debt

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“We have delivered,” says PM Douglas

Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
January 20, 2010 (CUOPM)

Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas said Tuesday that the issue is one that the opposition seems to think it can gain political mileage.

 “It is important for me to state that St. Kitts and Nevis has never missed any payments on the national debt under Labour.  This is very important.  Many countries owe less, but are repeatedly unable to service their debt,” said Dr. Douglas, who added that the debt to GDP ratio is steadily moving down, and that, too, is the result of sound economic management.

“Most importantly, however, it is important for us to remember that the national debt is not some inexplicable liability that has no commensurate assets associated with it,” said the Prime Minister.

He said that St. Kitts and Nevis has one of the most advanced profiles in the area of infrastructure development in the region ““ the health centers and hospitals; the educational facilities; the road and highways and bridges; the infrastructural expansions that we need both to attract dramatically expanded airlift, as well as to accommodate a rapidly expanding tourism sector.  It is also important to remember that one needs a modern and advanced infrastructural network in order to attract investment of any kind ““ tourism or non-tourism ““ investments that create jobs and expanded opportunities for local entrepreneurs.

“It is precisely because of this infrastructural development, therefore, in other words, that we have been able so successful at attracting capital,” said the Prime Minister.

He said it is because of this infrastructural development that the private sector in St. Kitts and Nevis has been able to repeatedly outperform regional neighbours on such metrics as exports to the US and cruise expenditures.

“Neither hospitals, roads, nor any other infrastructural advances can be acquired simply by wishing for them.  They must be planned for.  They must be carefully negotiated.  And then, they must be paid for,” said the St. Kitts and Nevis leader.

Dr. Douglas stated that all other things being equal, the family that owns a house is carrying a far greater debt load than the family that does not.

“It also true, however, that that family also has collateral with which to acquire more capital.  It has an appreciating asset that makes intergenerational economic security possible.  It has, in a nutshell, more options, more opportunities, more security.  Similarly, the debt that this nation has acquired has expanded our options, as well.  It has provided more opportunities for our people ““ and will continue to do so for generations to come.  And it has resulted in the type of national assets that undergird our nation’s long-term security,” said Prime Minister Douglas.

“I was born into a poor family, Webber.  Through hard work, I was able to secure a solid education, and that in turn enabled me to chart a secure future.  This is what my cabinet and I want for every young person in this country.  And this is not mere platitudes.  Every politician in every corner of the globe says this.  But the facts speak for themselves where this Labour Government is concerned.  My Government has produced more scholarships, and more loans, for more students – rich and poor, rural and urban, Labour, PAM, and everyone else –  than any other government in the history of this nation.  We have sought foreign investors to establish the type of large scale projects that cannot be capitalized locally, so that bright and energetic entrepreneurs and professionals would be able to partake in these massive projects, therefore propelling themselves, their families, and our nation forward.  We have opened up and expanded the media so that all can debate, and discuss, and project, and protest ““ and praise, as well ““ to their hearts content,” said the Labour Party leader.

He said his St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party is committed to “constructive change, positive change, meaningful change. And the facts will show that we have delivered.”

Dr. Douglas said the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party is honoured to have been elected by the people of St. Kitts and Nevis to chart this nation’s way forward. 

“We have come a great distance, but we are not yet done.  I therefore ask that the voters grant us the honor of continuing the outstanding work that is currently underway.  And I ask, in a spirit of humility and gratitude, that they do this by voting Labour on January 25, 2010,” he concluded in his opening statement.

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