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Governor General’s Deputy Throne Speech

Published 25 October 2022


Buckie Got It St. Kitts and Nevis News Source

Governor General’s Deputy Throne Speech

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Her Excellency the Deputy Governor General’s Throne Speech October 25 2022


Delivered by


Ceremonial Opening of Parliament
St. Kitts Marriott Resort,
Frigate Bay, St. Kitts

Tuesday, 25th October 2022


Honourable Members of Parliament, Members of the Diplomatic and Business
Community, citizens and residents, a pleasant good morning to you.

Permit me at the start to extend sincere condolences to the family and former co-
workers of the late Calvin Edwards who worked as our budget director for the

better part of 35 years in the Ministry of Finance. May his soul rest in eternal

  1. Introduction
    Today registers an epic moment in the history of our nation and I am particularly
    honoured to be part of this occasion that ushers in an era of new beginnings. The
    opening of this parliament is convened at a time when the global leadership has
    been challenged to take a long and hard look at changing course to embrace and
    pursue that vision for action that brings hope for the worlds people. This is a
    significant milestone that we celebrate today since the people of St. Kitts and
    Nevis determined with no uncertainty that there is a better way forward with the
    newly elected St. Kitts Nevis Labour Administration at the helm of Government.

I am pleased to present to the nation an overview of the socio economic agenda of
our Government which I am confident will substantially transform the Federation
of St. Kitts and Nevis over the next five (5) years. Indeed, a new day has dawned
here in the Federation with our Government’s dynamic vision for developing this

country into a model sustainable island state. This vision is rooted in the long-
standing, inspirational, tried, tested and true motto of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour

Party, “For the good that we can do”. Successive Labour Administrations have
done well for this country and your new Labour Government pledges to deliver on
its mandate to build a better St. Kitts and Nevis working in the best interest and for
the benefit of every citizen and resident.


Our Government is cognizant that our country is faced with a number of challenges
at this time. Our team of energetic Ministers and technicians is already hard at
work to ensure that our country not only confronts these challenges but also finds
solutions and responds to them in a way that the interests of our people remain the
central focus. Our Government firmly believes that there are opportunities for our
country to continue to develop. Despite the adversities and hardships of the past
two years, our Government believes that our country has the capacity to recover
from the challenges brought on by the pandemic and more recently the Russia –
Ukraine conflict. Since their resounding mandate at the polls, our Government has
been engaging citizens and residents of all walks of life, the business community
and civil society and there is a consensus that there is a better pathway for building
a resilient St. Kitts and Nevis. Our Government is therefore prepared to seize the
opportunities that are emerging to push forward in creating a thriving, resilient and
sustainable economy, thus moving St. Kitts and Nevis back to the position of
number one in the Caribbean. All of the Government Ministers, elected and
appointed, fully understand and subscribe to a strong code of ethics and integrity.
Our Government is also determined to restore the principles of a strong democracy
by upholding the rule of law as we chart a better way forward for our nation.

Our Government is equally cognisant of the seamlessness between safety and
security and the implementation of all aspects of development. Safety and security
must be given priority as a fundamental constitutional provision in protecting the
rights of our citizens. It must equally serve as a prerequisite for creating the
enabling environment for delivering on the successful outcome of the diverse
initiatives that have been identified to advance the nation’s development agenda. In
light of this, our Government will rethink the stereotypical conception of security
in implementing effective ways in crime prevention and detection, using modern
technology to strengthen the security apparatus in crime fighting and crime
detection. We will undertake an audit of the capabilities of our present security


forces and commit to exploring all available options of forging meaningful
partnerships with regional and international agencies to improve the nation’s
security mechanism. Our Government will build on the initial outreach with the
security forces and will continue its engagement to address the issues that have
undermined the morale, working conditions and professionalism of the men and
women whose service is vital to creating the enabling environment for effective
delivery of our strategies to build back better in the post pandemic era.

Your Government’s human rights agenda is aligned with the United Nations
Sustainable Development goals that seek to reduce widening inequalities and
promote economic growth and poverty eradication with a view towards attaining
productive employment opportunities and decent work for our men and women
The new Labour Government therefore invites all citizens and residents to look at
our country’s development prospects through the lens of a model sustainable island
state. We would quickly realise that there is indeed a better way to achieve social
cohesion and protection, economic transformation, and good governance. For the
next five (5) years, our Government will focus on transforming our economy into
one that is diversified and resilient. Our Government will explore and seize the
opportunities that are available from the development of the digital, green, blue
and orange economies. Emphasis will be placed on building a society with more
equity, fostering love and harmony amongst all our people and maintaining peace,
justice and liberty for all. For far too long, issues of inequality and inequity have
been allowed to persist without adequately tackling the root causes of the
imbalances in our society. A core element of the vision of this Labour
Government is to create a society with more equity and balance. We intend to
make serious inroads into the reduction of poverty across the Federation.
Education will be used to lift families from the clutches of poverty and jobs will be
created to provide meaningful employment for all persons desiring to work,


particularly the youth who at this time find it the most challenging to find decent
work. The policies of our Government will reflect the needs of the various groups
that make up our society. No one will be left behind. Policies will be developed
using different modalities to encourage strong citizen engagement and to build a
culture of consultation with the people on all important issues of social and
economic development here in St. Kitts and Nevis.
We know that our people are not interested in handouts or charity. They want jobs
and entrepreneurial opportunities that would allow them to live with dignity and
pride. That is why we are strongly committed to the implementation of
programmes that will stimulate economic activity, facilitate the establishment and
growth of business enterprises and create jobs in abundance for our workers. Not
just any job, but jobs with remuneration well above the new increased minimum
wage that we intend to put in place after due consultation with our workers and
employers. We will also intervene through appropriate policies and regulations to
keep the cost of living within the reach of our people.
An integral part of our vision of a model sustainable island state is diversity and
equality especially at the leadership level. Our Government has already signalled,
by its appointments made since taking office, its intension to position more young
people and women at the leadership table. Our Government is the youngest
government in the history of our nation and has already created history of its own
with three (3) female ministers in the cabinet for the first time. And now today
with both the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker being women we are, for the first
time in our history witnessing the most women ever in our parliament. We say
congratulations to our young people and our women and add “to whom much is
given much is expected”.

Life will be better!
Moving Beyond COVID-19 to Develop a Sustainable Island State


This new Labour Government is committed to improving the lives and livelihoods
of the citizenry by proactively putting in place mitigating measures that will assist
in minimizing the hardships and obvious setbacks experienced by our people over
the past seven (7) years. We are all saddened by the deaths that occurred here in
the Federation during the pandemic. We believe that one life lost is one too many
as every life is precious. We offer sincere condolences to the many family
members and friends who must now continue life without the companionship and
support of their loved ones.

We know that the pandemic affected many persons across the Federation in a
negative way, severely impacting health, lifestyles and livelihoods. That is why,
immediately upon taking office, our Government set the wheels in motion to ease
the heavy burden of some of our most vulnerable citizens and residents. Our
Government moved swiftly to make good on its promise to those workers who lost
their jobs because they chose not to take the COVID-19 vaccine. A gratuitous
payment has since been made to all such workers who registered their termination
notice with the Labour Department. Further, a few days ago, our Government
delivered again on a promise to pay an honorarium as a show appreciation and an
acknowledgement of the sacrifices made by over 2000 hard working public
servants who contributed to the national response to the dangerous threat of the
COVID-19 pandemic even at the risk of losing their own lives. We fully recognize
that no amount of money can fully compensate our hardworking and dedicated
public officers, but this will go a long way in helping to repair the damage caused
by the implementation of a poorly conceived policy which showed tangible
appreciation for the work of a select few. We believe that our transparent approach
to this issue is a concrete example of a better way for determining Government
policy going forward.


You will recall that in the recently held general elections the St. Kitts-Nevis
Labour Party ran on a platform of seven pillars to stabilize the economy and
improve the quality of life for our people. My Government will therefore craft its
strategic plans to incorporate the elements of the seven pillars and prioritize the
design and implementation of policies and programmes targeted at creating jobs,
reducing the high cost of living, enhancing economic growth, promoting social
protection including better healthcare and education, improving access to water,
protecting our environment, boosting food security, and promoting good

A Better Way for Economic Management and Development
Our Government’s vision for developing a model sustainable island state is
premised on a partnership between the Government and the people. It is therefore
absolutely necessary for the Public Sector, private enterprise, big and small, and
Civil Society to work together to achieve success. When this country exited the
Sugar Industry in 2005, the Labour Government at that time gave a firm
commitment that it would pursue a path of economic diversification. We were
well on the way towards making significant progress to broadening the economic
base of our country right up to 2015 as history had taught us that it was not a good
thing for the economic fortunes of our country to be overly dependent on one
industry. After a seven year disruption our Government is again committed to
providing the necessary leadership to drive economic growth and development and
deepen the diversification of the economic base of our country.

Our Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme has served us well over the years
and we will do everything that is necessary to protect it so that it can continue to
yield positive results for our country. There are, however, certain reforms that we
must implement in order for it to be strengthened and placed in a position to


remain a significant industry in our economy. Since taking office, our Labour
Government has prioritised reform of the CBI Programme and important
administrative changes will be implemented in the coming weeks. While we are
committed to working to strengthen the CBI Programme, we are steadfast in the
belief that we must also advance an agenda for economic diversification. Our
vision of a diversified economy incorporates the CBI Programme as one of the
main pillars of development. This vision also incorporates the development of
existing and emerging sectors that are showing potential for steady growth over the
medium to long term.

Notwithstanding the existing and emerging economic challenges of the day, our
Government is committed to the principles of prudent fiscal and debt management.
We will collaborate with our international and regional partners including the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank to
develop and legislate fiscal rules to guide the implementation of Government’s
fiscal policy over the next five (5) years and beyond. We will employ strategies
for strengthening public finances by improving tax administration and
strengthening revenue collection. This would help to provide the fiscal space
necessary to meet the demand for spending as we recover and simultaneously
transform the economy in a sustainable way. Given the current realities on the
ground where our economy is struggling to rebound and many of our people still
unemployed, the Government is cognisant of the role it must play to stimulate
economic activity. Our Government will take concrete actions to make timely
injections into the economy to boost growth. Our Government will make the
necessary investments to support the creation of jobs, sustain growth and transform
our economy over the short, medium and long term. This means that the
Government’s spending will be strategic, calculated and intentional.


From the onset, we will pursue programmes that link our short-term recovery
spending to the longer term economic and social transformation. More
specifically, we will focus on:

  1. Providing support for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises
    (MSMEs) which were affected by the pandemic, including those in
    the Manufacturing and Tourism Sectors, to help them increase
    productivity and their capacity to create permanent jobs;
  2. Public Sector investments in critical areas needed to upgrade basic
    public infrastructure and the delivery of better services. Special
    attention will be paid to those activities that can create employment
    and at the same time move our country closer to achieving our goal of
    building a sustainable island state. The areas selected for targeted
    investment include accelerating the pace of utilizing renewable
    energy; advancing the use of digital technologies; the Agriculture
    Sector; the Tourism Sector; the Health Sector; Education Sector;
    Housing; and the blue, green and orange economies.
  3. Improving our social protection system so that we can address
    inequality and inequity and move us towards a more cohesive and
    inclusive society where every citizen and resident can truly experience
    the enjoyment of human rights as our forefathers intended.

Our Government will work to safeguard fiscal sustainability by establishing a
Growth and Resilience Fund which will help in the prudent management of the
Government’s fiscal buffers. Our vision for a model sustainable island state
dictates that the Government maintains good and responsible fiscal discipline to
enable it to adequately respond to external shocks and sustain critical investments
necessary for the transformation of our country.

A More Vibrant and Resilient Tourism Industry

Our new Labour Government is proposing a better way for the expansion of our
Tourism Sector which continues to be one of the critical pillars of development
here in the Federation. Over the recent past, our tourism industry has shown a
lackluster performance with no major gains in brand recognition or development of
the tourism product. At this time, we want to reassure our citizens that our
Government is working acidulously to turn things around. We are determined to
put our Tourism Sector back on track to contribute more to our national

development. Over the next five (5) years, we will attract at least two (2) new five-
star hotels building on the foundation that has already been established with the

Four Seasons Resort in Nevis and the Park Hyatt Resort in St. Kitts. Our
Government has put in place a team that will work hard to ensure that an
increasing number of visitors will choose St. Kitts and Nevis as a preferred
destination. Our Government therefore intends to work with the Nevis Island
Administration (NIA) to improve the marketing our twin island Federation as the
premier destination in the Caribbean.

Our Government’s proposal for the expansion of the tourism plant holds great
potential to assist in multiple ways to diversify the economy and achieve its
development objectives. The addition of Medical Tourism, Sport Tourism, and
entertainment related Tourism will flow from robust and ongoing efforts to
establish the federation as a global center for movie and music production and the
creative arts in general. The construction of new hotels and other tourism related
infrastructure will provide employment opportunities and facilitate skills transfer in
new construction techniques to our local tradesmen and tradeswomen. During the
operating phase opportunities will be created for permanent jobs requiring varying
skill levels. As we saw in the past, with the build-out of the Four Seasons Resort
in Nevis and the Marriott and Park Hyatt resorts in St. Kitts, some of our citizens


have been given opportunities to master their craft internationally. We will
therefore pursue policies that encourage the promotion of our people working in
the tourism industry. We want to see many more of our citizens being offered the
opportunity to work regionally and internationally as top executives in their field
of choice. Emphasis will also be placed on training our people to take up the
opportunities for work in the industry as employees of the new enterprises that
would come on stream or as entrepreneurs managing and growing their own
Our Government will integrate the training offered at the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant
College (CFBC) and the Advanced Vocational Education Centre (AVEC) with the
needs of employers and the opportunities created in the Tourism Sector. This will
ensure that graduating students of the CFBC and AVEC hospitality programmes
are fit and ready for immediate job postings. The CFBC and AVEC will be
mandated to ensure that they prepare our students at a sufficiently high standard
that will allow them to be functional immediately upon entering their chosen field
of work in the tourism industry or any other areas in the world of work.

Not surprisingly, our Government, recognizing the importance of fully reopening
the economy announced to the world that we are open to do business with our
international and regional visitors. It is obvious that the travel related COVID-19
protocols were inadvisably kept in place even when the science and professionals
in the field indicated that such drastic measures were no longer warranted. In the
first few days in office our Government saw to the removal of these barriers that
seriously hindered the recovery of the Tourism Sector and caused many of our
establishments to suffer loss of business and many of our people to suffer the
indignities of unemployment longer than was necessary. Hardly anything had been
done to advance airlift in the last seven (7) years. In that regard we are unrelenting
in our efforts to expand airlift to the Federation by identifying additional carriers
with which to form new partnerships to increase access to our beautiful Federation.


This is another critical aspect of generating growth in the Sector. We will also
explore avenues for expanding our source markets and increasing our Brand
recognition in existing and new markets. Already our Government has launched a
brand new campaign targeted at increasing visitors to our shores. Further, we will
work to expand Cruise Tourism and strengthen the linkages between the Tourism
Sector and other Sectors such as the Agriculture Sector and the orange economy.

A Better Way for Agriculture

The ongoing supply chain challenges and disruptions caused by the COVID-19
pandemic and current global conflicts, coupled with changing rainfall and drought
patterns due to climate change have the potential to adversely impact our very
existence as a small island state. The reality is that currently we are a net importer
of food and this results in a very high level of food insecurity. We cannot bury our
heads in the sand and accept the level of food insecurity that exists in our country
today. Growing more food locally will reduce our high food import bill and
generate more wealth among our farmers and fishers. The experiences of the past
two (2) years have underscored the urgent need for us to focus on building
resilience, scaling up innovation and increasing incorporation of technology in our
efforts to produce more food. Food security is an important component of our
vision to create a sustainable island state. Our Government is therefore fully
committed to putting our fertile land to good use in the production of food for our
people. We will make significant investments in the Agriculture Sector including
expanding crop production, agro-processing and exploiting the potential for the
development of our blue economy. We will provide better access to essential
inputs and expand the range of support given to farmers and fishers. This will help
to ensure that we boost production and employment especially of our young
people. Our support to the Agriculture Sector will see the expansion of the feeder
roads network, improved access to water for irrigation and the establishment of an


appropriate mechanism to assist farmers in the marketing, distribution and sale of

We can do more to take advantage of the vast potential of our blue economy. You
can count on your Labour Government to do this. We will explore opportunities to
expand our fisheries sub-sector in order to take it to the next level of performance
where we can make fish more affordable for our families while at the same time
creating more opportunities for producing fish products for export. This will make
a tremendous difference in improving the nutritional content of our diet at the
national level and move us closer to food security. In fact, work has already been
initiated in this area within less than two months of taking office. Our Government
is actively engaged in negotiations with a potential investor for the establishment
of a major fisheries plant in St. Kitts and is looking at some possible sites around
the island to locate this plant. We expect that the new fisheries plant will provide a
number of direct jobs with the potential for spin offs to support hundreds of
indirect jobs. In tandem with this development, a fishing complex will be
established in Dieppe Bay to serve the fisher folks of Dieppe Bay and the
surrounding communities.

Our Government will always put the interest of our people first and ensure that our
people are the beneficiaries of the policies and programmes initiated by the State…
Recognizing the opportunities squandered in the recent past, we will move with
urgency to development a vibrant Cannabis Industry, an industry that holds so
much potential for diversification within the Agriculture and Manufacturing
Sectors. Our Government is therefore signalling to the Nation and the world that
we will move forward expeditiously to strengthen the legal framework and
institutional arrangements necessary to facilitate the growth of the Cannabis
Industry for medicinal, therapeutic and scientific purposes. We are equally
committed to establishing the enabling environment to support a thriving Cannabis


Industry with active participation of ordinary Kittitians and Nevisians in all areas
of the industry. In order to grow the industry and establish international linkages,
it may be necessary to attract external expertise and foreign direct investment. It
will, however, be mandated that all foreign investment in the industry must have
substantial local participation and partnership. Equally important, we will also
move to expunge the records of persons with a criminal record due to minor
cannabis offences. This will empower some of our people who have local
knowledge and expertise in the cultivation of the varieties of Cannabis that are
already grown here thus adding to the overall vibrancy of the industry.

Reimagining the Manufacturing and other Sectors
Over the last few years, we have seen a decline in activity within the
Manufacturing Sector and a significant reduction in the number of persons
employed by manufacturing enterprises. Since March 2019 we have witnessed the
closure of three factories with a fourth to close this coming November. At least
four hundred persons mainly women would have lost their jobs in the process. The
Sector is therefore in desperate need of an updated strategy to chart the way
forward for attracting new investments. Our Government, through the St. Kitts
Investment Promotion Agency, will be aggressively pursuing opportunities to
attract investments in modern technologies such as renewable energy. We will seek
to establish at least one factory in the Federation to build solar panels and related
accessories that will provide low-cost energy-saving options for homeowners and
businesses. This activity is also linked with the potential for export to regional and
international markets thereby preserving the Sector’s ability to earn foreign
exchange which is necessary for maintaining monetary stability within our Eastern
Caribbean Currency Union.


Our Government will pay special attention to boosting the Construction Sector
which, over the years, has played a stabilizing and expansionary role in the
economy. This Sector has the ability to create jobs while at the same time
stimulate a far-reaching multiplier effect in other sectors of the economy. Our
Government is committed to investing in the Construction Sector. We encourage
the Commercial Banking Sector and other financial institutions to join us in this
effort at stimulating growth and empowering our citizens. We know that many
citizens have homes that need upgrading or dream of owning their own homes but
to date are unable to afford it. Shortly, we will be rolling out our REBUILD and
REFRESH home refurbishing and construction initiative where all citizens can
benefit from duty concessions on building materials for their homes. This means
that people who would like to build or renovate could benefit in terms of support
for housing construction projects valuing up to $500,000.

Our Government intends to develop several thriving housing communities
throughout St. Kitts and Nevis to help upcoming middle-income earners who
would not qualify for a low-income home, but who cannot yet afford to buy or
build a home in the private real estate market. The main target groups of this
programme would be recent University graduates and young business owners who
are ready to build a home. The land designated for these special projects will be
sold at a discounted rate off the existing market price and options will be given for
individuals to choose from a select set of building plans. This will contribute to
the development of a thriving community of young professionals who would be
encouraged to live and work in the Federation. It is important that the incessant
brain drain that we often experience is minimized and that the talent and skills of
our young people are retained in the Federation to help build and secure the future
of our country.


These initiatives, coupled with the roll out of the National Housing Corporation’s
housing programme and the Government’s planned investment in basic
infrastructure will no doubt ensure that the Construction Sector will again flourish
and create numerous jobs in the economy to the direct benefit of skilled and
unskilled workers. Just imagine what a relief this can bring to so many persons
who are currently unsure where the next paycheck would come from!! For far too
long they have been living in despair but our new Labour Government brings a
message of hope over the next five years. Our Government cares and will find the
right mix of policies and programmes to empower our people so that they can have
a better way to provide for themselves and their families and truly determine their
own destiny.

Our Government is truly excited by the great prospects for us to work with our
many creatives to build up a vibrant orange economy in St. Kitts and Nevis. We
are committed to providing better options to build up this emerging sector where
our people can establish small and medium sized businesses to create employment
for themselves and others. We know that our people are talented and creative and
we are prepared to put these strengths to work for the collective good of our
country. We will work assiduously to ensure that the sector is recognised as an
important avenue for developing alternative careers and building up wealth.
Fundamental to our thrust to develop the creative industries will be the
construction of a National Performing Arts Centre and Academy. This will
constitute a multi-purpose facility that will provide a dedicated space for honing
the talents of our young people, hosting of events and staging of shows which will
give young people a platform to showcase their talent, provide valuable exposure
and most importantly, a means to make a decent living. Further, our Government
will establish clear policies to support creatives in the development of their
businesses. This will include the implementation of start-up accelerator
programmes that will focus on stimulating the creative industries and providing


young people with seed investment, connections, mentorship and educational
components necessary for success.

Sports will also be an important focus in the build out of our orange economy. Our
Government recognizes the importance of sports and exercise to a fit and healthy
nation and realizes the enormous socioeconomic benefits to be derived from a
healthy population. We must therefore encourage and where necessary implement
policies to promote greater participation in sports in our schools. We must also
assist sports associations in strengthening their administrative and governance
framework and address the renovation and maintenance of sporting facilities. Our
Government believes that there is a better way for assisting our young people to
develop their athletic skills and help them to develop to the point where more of
them can successfully compete on the world stage. In this regard, we will create a
sports academy with an elite athletic training programme which will recruit,
develop and train the top athletes in the Federation to perform at a high standard to
be able to participate in professional sports at an international level. Our
Government will develop partnerships with recruiters from top sport universities
and scouting programmes to bolster our position in the sports world. There are
great opportunities to create lucrative careers for exceptional athletes across the
various sporting disciplines including tennis, netball, volleyball, football,
basketball, cricket and athletics. Moreover, our Government understands the dire
need for the sports men and women who represent St. Kitts and Nevis at a national
level to be provided with adequate health insurance coverage. In our pursuit of a
better way, we commit to exploring possible insurance options to facilitate the
provision of adequate medical insurance packages for national sports
representatives. This will help to ensure that they have adequate healthcare in the
event of unpredictable illness or injury that may befall them as a direct result of
playing sports.


A Better Way for Building Social Cohesion and Protection

It is important for our people to understand that this new Government firmly
believes that there is a better way for us to build social cohesion and ensure the
protection of the most vulnerable members of our society. This is a crucial aspect
of our thrust to achieve success in building a sustainable island state as our vision
speaks to no woman, man or child being left behind. Our energies would be spent
on ensuring that all groups within our society are empowered to achieve their
individual goals in life. Our social and economic policies will touch the lives of
our youth, our elderly, our differently abled citizens and those who are at risk of
engaging in anti-social behaviours.

Our new Government was meticulous in the development of the new Ministerial
portfolios in which the subject of youth, elderly and disability were explicitly
included. Investments in these areas will be focused on activities that will be
beneficial to our people and provide the necessary protection for those who are not
in a position to fend for themselves. We will pay close attention to rationalizing
our social protection programmes and reprioritizing them to support our people
who need these interventions the most. Our Government will enhance the Poverty
Alleviation Programme (PAP) to serve as a social safety net to truly empower the
most vulnerable and improve their standard of living, thereby eradicating indigence
and significantly reducing poverty across the Federation. We have shared our view
that there is a better way for the efficient and effective operation of the PAP. We
have successfully transferred the Programme to the Ministry of Social
Development, the most suitable Government institution to oversee the social safety
net system. We are also well advanced with the roll out of the re-registration
process. This has become necessary as there is ample evidence that no credible
standards were used during the initial registration process to determine eligibility


of beneficiaries for the programme. Citizens and residents enrolled in the PAP will
therefore be re-assessed based on need. We also strongly believe that there should
be a process to wean persons off the programme. In this regard our Government
will introduce special programmes to assist recipients to improve their lot so that
they can graduate out of the programme and create space for others needing the
support. This approach will ensure the success, sustainability and longevity of the
PAP and other important social safety net programmes.

When we look at the Alternative Lifestyle Pathway Programme, better known as
the “PEACE Programme” and the way it has operated since its introduction, our
Government believes that most citizens would agree that there is a better way for
empowering our at-risk young men and women. Our Government will improve the
PEACE Programme by making skills training an integral component for the
participation of each beneficiary. Young men and women enrolled in the PEACE
initiative would be given the opportunity to learn a marketable skill and will be
provided with support to either acquire gainful employment or opportunities to
start their own businesses. Participants in this Programme will also have a pathway
for development and graduation. It is envisaged that the Programme’s graduates
would become more positive and productive citizens and contribute to the overall
development of the Federation.

The S.T.E.P programme has been in existence for about twelve (12) years. The last
gasp effort to regularize these workers was just a political ploy as they still have no
job security. Our Government intends to address this issue along with the other
issues faced by S.T.E.P workers with a view towards improving their working
conditions and making the programme more efficient.

Our Government is sensitive to the issues affecting the often-overlooked
vulnerable groups in society in particular women and children. We understand that


gaps exist in the provision of services for the protection of women and children.
We have therefore initiated action to make amendments to the relevant pieces of
legislation that are intended to help to limit domestic abuse. Additionally, training
will be provided for police officers and other persons who interact with families
that are experiencing relational problems. The services at the Special Victims Unit
will also be upgraded to provide better detection of and response to domestic
violence. Our Government is committed to ensuring that special victims can see
the dawn of a new day and experience a better way of life. We intend to create a
Special Victims Centre which will serve as a safe space for transitioning victims of
domestic and sexual abuse and troubled youth who are not criminal offenders.

A Better Way for Healthcare
Health lies at the very foundation of the development agenda of our Government
for we care for you. Without a doubt, we are aware of the many challenges that our
citizens and residents continue to experience with the quality of healthcare that is
presently provided throughout our health system. The public outcry on the
unacceptable state of affairs in healthcare, in general, and particularly at the main
hospital, will no longer fall on deaf ears. Our Labour Government is listening and
has an excellent plan for providing good, affordable and accessible healthcare
services for our people. We are committed to ensuring that the JNF General
Hospital is transformed into a state-of-the-art health facility. Our people will
benefit from top level care including greater access to modern services right here in
the Federation. We will seek to improve and expand services in specialized areas
such as oncology and dialysis treatment.
We will scale up the number of skilled professionals working in our healthcare
system and invest in the training and recruitment of more specialist doctors and
nurses. We will provide support to our citizens who show interest in studying to
qualify as registered nurses and nurse practitioners. Our Government will ensure


that the number of doctors specializing in critical areas is increased. We will
provide incentives for persons training in medicine to specialize in areas that are
presently lacking in the Federation including nurse practitioners. The capacity of
the healthcare system needs to be improved and we are confident that our approach
would yield much better results and a modern and more efficient health system.

Our Government believes that after contributing a lifetime of service to the
development of our nation, our elderly citizens must be allowed to age with
dignity, in an environment free from abuse whether in the home or our institutions.
Our Labour Government is committed to improving the care that is provided to our
elderly citizens. This will be pursued through the development of a framework and
standards for the delivery of geriatric services including the requirement that care
workers in this sector possess an elderly care certificate from Clarence Fitzroy
Bryant College (CFBC) or similar qualification. We will improve conditions at the
Cardin Home and support the establishment of additional facilities for elderly care.
Particular emphasis will be placed on the establishment of day care facilities where
our elderly persons who have contributed so much to our society can go and have
meaningful, stimulating engagement that would assist them as they transition into
retirement. There is also a better way for providing care for our mentally
challenged citizens. We consider the facilities for our mentally challenged and
other differently abled persons to be lacking. We are therefore committed to
ensuring that persons who are mentally challenged are treated with dignity and
respect and that the level of care provided allows opportunity for reintegration
back into society. Further, efforts will be made to create opportunities for the full
integration of our differently abled citizens in the work place and other aspects of
life in our society. We will also address the issue of our care givers, those who
have sacrificed their jobs and their wellbeing to take care of family members,
members of their communities and friends. Your contribution is invaluable.


A Better Way for Education
A new day has dawned for our education system. Fundamentally, our Government
views education as a human right and a vital imperative for achieving our goal of
developing a sustainable island state. It took a Labour Government to provide
universal access to primary and secondary education and after more than fifty
years since the introduction of the comprehensive system it is time to revolutionise
the sector. Over the next five year we are determined to reform and modernize our
education system to make it more relevant to current realities in the job market,
more practical and efficient. Our Government will increase the use of technology
in schools including the relaunching of the one-to-one laptop program. Our new
diversified economy has be intelligence driven hence our reformed and remodelled
education system would prepare our people for the new opportunities in the new
economy in technology-related areas such as coding, design, digital marketing and
Our team of Ministers have already demonstrated their determination to empower
the young people of this country and improve the Education Sector with the
reintroduction of free tertiary education for our youths attending the CFBC. Our
plans for the Sector include easing access to higher education via scholarships and
other financial support from institutions like the Development Bank. Greater
emphasis will be placed on science, technology, engineering, the arts, mathematics,
and technical and vocational education. The performance of our young people in
the recently held international robotic event is highly commendable and clearly
indicates that every dollar spent on education is a dollar well spent.

Our Government understands that education is a prerequisite for building our
human capital and by extension a sustainable island state. What we do not
understand is the travesty that occurred with respect to the Basseterre High School
at the expense of thousands of our young people who have been deprived of a


wholesome school environment over the last seven (7) years. Our Labour
Government will not play games with the future of our children. In short order, we
will start to build a brand new Basseterre High School on its original historical site.
We will also embark on a comprehensive plan for the upgrade of the physical
infrastructure of all public schools and introduce proper plans for the maintenance
of schools across the Federation.

Our Government constantly hears the cries of the young men and women who take
the bold steps to embark on tertiary level education to better themselves and to
make their contribution to the building of their Nation, but who are often stuck
with a burdensome student loans. There is a better way to assist our young people
to pursue higher education. Our Government has already moved forward to
provide free tuition for all students attending CFBC. This new policy offers great
financial relief to many families throughout the Federation and enables our
students to concentrate on their studies rather than worrying about the ability of
their families to pay the required tuition fees. We will also be exploring the
possibilities of the CFBC becoming a full University. In that way more of our
citizens and residents can obtain first degrees right here in our Federation without
the huge costs involved. Our Government understands the importance and the
value of education therefore we will incentivize responsible student borrowers who
have demonstrated at least two years of commitment repaying their student loans.
The development of young people is critical to nation building, ensuring the
prosperity of our Federation and fostering the conditions that will allow us to
achieve our goal of becoming a model sustainable island state. Our national agenda
will ensure that young people pursuing studies in areas of national priority will be
given assistance towards tuition and fees.


Our Government intends to facilitate the education and training of specialist
teachers who will provide specialized learning for children in common learning
differences such as dyslexia, speech-language pathology and occupational therapy.
This will be done in tandem with our goal to identify a suitable location for a
standalone Centre for Special Education and Autism Spectrum Services. Our
children with special needs will finally get the dedicated resources, care and
attention that they truly deserve.

A Better Response to Climate Change
One of the biggest challenges we face as a Nation is climate change. Our Labour
Government is determined to demonstrate strong leadership in this area as our
survival on these two islands is under threat. This is our home and we must do all
that we can to protect it for our sustenance today and for future generations of
Kittitians and Nevisians. We commit to enhancing the policy framework for our
country’s adaptation to climate change. We will work with our people, other small
island states in the region and beyond, and bilateral, regional and international
partners to strengthen our resilience to environmental and climate change by
tailoring more robust risk mitigating responses and improving access to climate
financing. We now have a better institutional arrangement for advancing our
climate change agenda with the establishment of a new portfolio for Environment
and Climate Action. We will ensure that environmental and climate change
considerations are mainstreamed in development planning.

Beyond what has already been established, our Labour Government will focus on
preserving our environment because it is central to our objective of creating a
sustainable island state. Success on this front means that we will also find success
in building a green economy with new green jobs, better access to clean potable


water, clean and renewable energy, and a better standard of living for all of our

We invite the Private Sector to partner with the Government to move forward with
our vision for the development of a green economy. There are opportunities for
the development of recycling plants, the manufacturing of solar panels, investment
in alternative energy sources and arresting the growing problem of water shortages.
Our Government is committed to fixing the water problems with the expansion of
water wells through a dedicated drilling programme. To reduce our reliance on
fossil fuels, we will work with the Nevis Island Administration in collaboration
with the Caribbean Development Bank and other partners to capitalize on the
opportunity to develop geothermal energy for the benefit of the people of St. Kitts
and Nevis. This is an important project which can be a catalyst in our endeavor to
create a sustainable, reliable energy sector bringing us closer to being a net-zero
emission country. Further, we will introduce policies to further incentivise the use
of alternative energy including the installation of solar panels in homes and
businesses, and pave the way for the introduction of electronic vehicles as a viable
means of transport within the Federation.

A Better Approach to Good Governance
Finally. Our Government fully recognizes that transparency, accountability and
good governance are critical to maintaining public trust and confidence. We will
actively seek opportunities to strengthen and build bonds of trusts with the
Citizenry and to be responsive to the needs and aspirations of the people. We
expect you to hold us accountable and we will hold others to account. Our people
can be assured that this Labour Government is committed to eliminating corruption


within the Public Sector. Our Government is therefore prepared to take decisive
action to tackle the outstanding issues related to integrity in public life, enhancing
the State apparatus for anti-corruption, strengthening the Public Accounts
Committee, enhancing the public procurement regime and addressing the issues
related to the freedom of information. To this end, our Government has initiated
the necessary steps for the full activation of the Integrity in Public Life Act and the
work of the Integrity Commission.
In addition, your Government will complete the comprehensive revision of the
Procurement and Contract (Administration) Act, Cap. 23.36 and develop the
required Procurement Regulations to complement the Act. The modernization and
strengthening of the procurement regime is intended to promote greater levels of
transparency and accountability in the procurement process and to ensure that the
Government and Government Owned Entities receive value for money.

To build the better country that we envision, it is of utmost importance that we
have the right framework to ensure that our democracy is strengthened to uphold
the principles of equality, transparency, accountability, political tolerance, control
of the abuse of power, human rights and the rule of law. We intend to activate the
Electoral Boundaries Commission to review and revise our present electoral
boundaries which can help to pave the way for the much-needed electoral reform.
We wish for voters to have the utmost confidence in our electoral system. Our
Government will embark on a consultative process to achieve the long-awaited
constitutional, electoral and legislative reforms.

Our Government is a Government for all the citizens and residents of the
Federation whether they reside on the island of St. Kitts, the island of Nevis or in
the Diaspora. We believe that there is a better way for our people to live in
harmony and for our people to reap the benefits of the policies and programmes
initiated by the State. In collaboration with the NIA and other relevant partners,


our Government intends to dedicate the necessary resources to ensure that the long
outstanding issues that threaten the sustainability of our small island state are
resolved. A new day has truly dawned in our Federation as we are set to initiate a
better way to address many of the issues that have been left unresolved for a very
long time and have stymied the prospects for building a prosperous and
progressive sustainable island state. Our country has made significant strides over
the last 39 years of our independence as reflected by the strong bonds of friendship
and the high level of development we have achieved as a small independent nation.
As we stand on the threshold of our 40th year of independence we must
acknowledge the collective contributions of those who laid the foundation on
which we continue to build and make our own commitment to play our part in
ensuring that generations to come will also benefit from our vision and

God Bless our beloved St. Kitts and Nevis, a country where peace abounds!

Thank you.

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