Top Nevis Financial Official Speaks Out

Premier Parry and Laurie Lawrence

Premier Parry and Laurie Lawrence (r)

Charlestown, Nevis
September 08, 2009

A top official in the Ministry of Finance on Nevis, said governments should not be expected to solve all a country’s problems without the assistance of other sectors.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance on Nevis Mr. Laurie Lawrence made the comment at the Nevis Island Administration’s 3rd Annual Consultation on the Economy at the Occasions conference centre on Tuesday, under the theme “Engendering a prosperous future by creating stability and growth through improved governance”.

“If politicians continue to offer the world and pretend that they are super human beings, our success will be short lived and we will forever be burdened with debt and despair.

“Government is only one actor in the governance process. We urgently need other actors such as the cooperatives, NGO’s, religious leaders, financial institutions, private sector, international donors, political parties and others to play a constructive role in propelling Nevis forward,” he said.

Notwithstanding, Mr. Lawrence noted that in his role as Permanent Secretary, Finance for the past 17 years, 2009 was the most challenging.

He explained that Nevis had been severely impacted by the global recession which had plunged many in the world below the poverty line.

The situation in Nevis he noted had been compounded by the closure of the Four Seasons Resort resulted in the lay off of 400 workers.

Mr. Lawrence said though recession had led many governments throughout the world to introduce stimulus packages to arrest the decline in output and to protect the most valuable groups within their societies, the NIA had done otherwise.

“In Nevis the government decided not to retrench workers and to find ways to stimulate the economy.

“As a result we have had to increase the debt in the short term to deal with the immediate challenges but with the realisation that we will have to exercise greater fiscal restraint when the world economy begins to show signs of recovery,” he said.

The Permanent Secretary said despite global economic situation, the Ministry of Finance would not be overwhelmed by the magnitude of the challenges ahead.

He said they would be positive in their approach and seek to build a broad consensus on the way forward to catalyse the growth and development of Nevis for the benefit of present and future generations.

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