St. Kitts – Nevis Works On Diversifying Economy

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Twin Island’s Move Away From “King Sugar”

Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
July 07, 2009 (CUOPM)

St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas says transformation of the 350-year-old sugar economy into one based on tourism and financial services smoothly and without turmoil, is one of the major accomplishments of his 14-year-old Labour Party Administration.

Saying that he sometimes take certain accomplishments for granted, the St. Kitts and Nevis leader said it was absolutely astounding, the way in which this small nation, was able to – smoothly, and without either social or economic disruptions ““ transform, almost overnight, a 350-year sugar economy into a diversified economy built on non-sugar agriculture, info-tech, tourism, hospitality and financial services.

“Rising food prices alone often result in such complete chaos in those countries where there is not an experienced and effective economic team in place. Yet, the team that I am honoured to lead, completely transformed an entire economy – smoothly”¦.without turmoil. That was, by any standard, I must say, in all humility, extraordinary,” said Dr. Douglas on his weekly radio programme “Ask the Prime Minister.”

“This is the expertise that my government has built up over the years. And that is just one of the many ways in which our combined expertise continues to protect the interests and people of this country. We are, as they say, capable hands in serious times,” said Prime Minister Douglas, who expressed gratitude for the opportunity to serve the people and for the many benefits and advances that the hard work have produced for the people of the twin-island Federation.

“My Labour Government has always been focused on the future.  We’ve always been the party with a vision.  And this is why we have been so successful at changing St. Kitts and Nevis over the years ““ for the better. Not just changing St. Kitts and Nevis, mind you, but changing it for the better.  Hurricanes bring change.  Wars bring change.  Sickness brings change.  So the issue here isn’t just change, but change ““ for the better.  That is what my government has represented,” said Prime Minister Douglas.

“The world never stands still and neither has my government.  We have ensured that our ideas and policies constantly improve. Housing, education, health, tourism, sport and food security.  They’re working! Yet we constantly look for ways to improve, so that the lives of the people of this country can constantly improve as well,” said Dr. Douglas.

“As I reflect on our work, uppermost in my mind is the fact that despite the delicate global economic conditions ““ in fact because of the global economic conditions ““ this really is a time for clear thinking, calm heads, and clear vision,” said the Prime Minister, pointing out the need for St. Kitts and Nevis to remain on the right path.

“When you are in a small boat on a clear and beautiful day, you can take all kinds of chances.  When you are in small boat in the middle of a raging storm, though, you really do have to keep your head on because under those circumstances, when you slip, you really will slide.  There is one big economic storm raging all around us, and it is wreaking havoc in nations great and small.  We in St. Kitts and Nevis, then, really do have to keep our hand on the tiller.  We have to keep this boat steady.  Or we will not get safely home,” advised Prime Minister Douglas.

He regarded the youth as the energy, the positive ideas and the commitment that he sees in them every day.

“This energy is a valuable resource. As important as minerals or timber.  And this is why through innovative educational institutions like the new Saddlers School, the YES Programme, the new residential facility for youth at Harris’, or investing millions upon millions of dollars in student loans for our young people, my government continues to recognize and develop their potential.  In the process we change them – for the better.  We change the nation ““ for the better.  But we are doing all of this on a solid and proven foundation of having delivered.  Not just wonderful words,” said Prime Minister Douglas.

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