Local news, News, Politics

MP Liburd labels interest rate for Fresh Start programme “criminal’; urges Tim Harris to “ease the squeeze”

  • 1/1

Published 27 July 2017

Buckie Got It, St. Kitts and Nevis News

MP Liburd labels interest rate for Fresh Start programme “criminal’; urges Tim Harris to “ease the squeeze”

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, JULY 27TH 2017 – The St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) chairperson, has labelled as “criminal” an 11 percent interest rate and an additional 1 percent interest on loans given to small business under the Fresh Start programme at the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis.

During Wednesday’s edition of Issues” on Freedom 106.5 FM. Mrs. Liburd, the Parliamentary Representation for St. Christopher 2 (Central Basseterre) spoke of the hardship of people unable to provide adequate shelter and food for their families and appealed to Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr.  the Hon. Timothy Harris to “ease the squeeze.”

“Many of the small business people are women and are behind in their rent for their businesses. They are unable to travel because they are making less money as a result of the downturn in the economy, they are behind in electricity bills and are unable to provide for their families,” said Liburd, who added that one small businesswoman who could not pay the $200 for her  business licence when it was due, by the time she was able to do so, was slapped with a EC$800 penalty.

The penalty for late payment was one of the first pieces of legislation enacted by the PLP/CCM/PAM legislation in 2016.

Ms. Liburd detailed some of the economic and financial hardship including high food prices, rising unemployment especially among the hundreds of persons leaving college and high school this year and those unemployed as a result of the ending of the People Empowerment Programme (PEP).

She noted that under the Labour Administration’s Fresh Start Programme with the Development Bank, persons who qualified paid “zero interest or 1 percent interest.”

“Under the PLP/CCM/PAM first Fresh Start Programme the interest rate was 5 percent. The second Fresh Start Programme has an interest of 11 percent. The loans also attract an additional 1 percent each year on the reducing balance. Persons have been duped because they were under the impression that the additional one percent was a one-off fee,” said Liburd, a former minister of social and community development.

“This is criminal. The majority of the people in this country are in a choke hold. Please ease the squeeze as there is too much pressure on poor people; our families are desperately struggling to survive. Our people are finding it much harder and more difficult to provide,” said Liburd.

You Might Also Like