Richards, who serves as the Parliamentary Representative for Constituency #5, (Sandy Point/Fig Tree), said because it (Christmas) comes at the end of the calendar year, and very close to our annual budgetary exercise, it is also necessarily a time to reflect as well.
He said the budget gave us the opportunity to examine our performance over the past year, and make projections for the New Year. “This year has continued to be extremely challenging, the impact of the financial climate on the local economy had led to very straitened circumstances for many of St. Kitts – Nevis businesses and families.”
Richards, who along with his colleagues on the Opposition Benches boycotted this year’s Budget Session, stated that “The introduction of the VAT and the increases to the cost of living have affected us all. We are a small nation, and as such our survival will always be precarious, therefore we must develop innovative policies and programmes to survive during this period and position ourselves that we would be able to take advantage of any opportunities that may come when the global economy gets stronger.”
The PAM Deputy leader continued, “As we attempt to modernize St. Kitts – Nevis, we have seen the erosion of our traditional values and support systems, without getting much of the benefits of developed economies. We have witnessed the breakdown of the extended family as people move away from home and now need to pay for care of the elderly and children.”
He said there are no bailouts when local businesses fail, and no social safety nets in the case of job losses. “These pressures are continually in my thoughts as I remember those who are in need among us and pray for them at this time.”