St. Kitts – Nevis To Benefit From BNTF Programme

Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
February 26, 2008 (CUOPM)

Communities in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis are expected to see more benefits from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB)-financed Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF).

The Federal Cabinet, meeting on Monday under the chairmanship of Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas, reviewed the management framework of the BNTF, whose objective is to meet basic community needs such as road improvement and educational infrastructure development among other areas.

Cabinet, after careful analysis of the efficiency of the programme made the changes which are geared towards improving the success as well as timeliness in the implementation of BNTF projects.

The project steering committee for the BNTF has been revised to ensure that there is equal representation of the government and non-government sectors on the committee. A number of key government ministries, private sector organizations such as the Chamber of Industry and Commerce (CIC) and civil society organizations such as the St. Christopher Heritage Society, are to be represented.

The ultimate goal of the new framework is to ensure that the BNTF delivers successful, gender-sensitive projects to communities and groups based upon objective criteria and genuine need.

The BNTF programme is intended to provide resources to poor communities to improve access to basic public services enhance employability and reduce socio-economic vulnerability.

Its rationale is to increase the extent to which basic human needs are met in participating BMCs thereby alleviating existing poverty levels. It is envisaged that this desired enhancement of human and social development will be achieved by increasing access to social services for vulnerable groups through sustainable increases and improvements to social infrastructure; skills development and training; and capacity building of community-based groups.

Previous programmes have achieved significant success in addressing the problems of under-employment and unemployment and have provided the means for improved access to social infrastructure and essential services. However, the occurrence of frequent natural and other disasters, the need for major adjustments to deal with the socio-economic impacts of globalization, and loss of preferential access to traditional markets, require that the most vulnerable BMCs continue to receive CDB support for programmes that will promote broad-based growth.

The objective of the Programme is the reduction in vulnerability, in a sustainable and gender-sensitive manner, of poor people living in deprived communities, through: the expansion and conservation of the stock of social and economic infrastructure, using labour intensive measures and community mobilisation to enable access to a wide range of basic public services; the improvement of the human resource base through skills development and social re-adjustment; and the promotion and strengthening of the capacity of community organizations to initiate and manage change.

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