Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
December 21, 2007
As a result of an agreement successfully negotiated by the Government, 150 young people are active and working at a Call Centre operating out of the structure once designated as Caribbean Star’s headquarters.
This was stressed by Prime Minister the Honourable Dr. Denzil Douglas during his December 11 Budget Address where he added that another 100 persons would be employed in the near future.
“I am really happy to see how many young people have found employment at the International Market Access-operated Call Centre. We have really benefited from the training,” exclaimed Regicia Thomas, one of the current employees.
Minister of State for Information the Honourable Nigel Carty was also pleased to report that the Government had reclaimed six of the 17 acres of land that were sold in 2003.
The 11 acres of land was bought at a price of $1.1 million. This, coupled with the $1.4 million spent to rebuild the Conaree Sporting Complex as part of the Caribbean Star agreement – as compensation for the relocation of the facility – placed the effective price of the land deal at more than $2.5 million which equates to a price of $5.23 per square foot.
As part of the investment, the Conaree Playing Field was moved to a new location adjacent to the Call Centre. The multipurpose sporting facility, which include a basketball and netball court, football field and a cricket field, was built to international standards and used during the ICC 2007 Cricket World Cup.
This Government owned facility represents a vast improvement over the old basketball court and football field that once represented the athletic facility there.
As part of the agreement, the Government also negotiated the establishment of a US $10 million Development Fund at the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis. The funds were used to provide soft loans for locals, including former sugar workers starting small businesses.
Minister Carty added that people empowerment is Government’s bedrock principle. He referred to the Fiscal Budget for 2008 that bears the theme: “Strengthening human and social capital; Key elements in our economic transformation,” to reinforce this point.
“We have seen employment generation, received a modern multipurpose facility to continue training athletes and saw locals take advantage of the opportunity to start new businesses. It remains a win, win investment in the development of citizens.”