He said, this, in large measure, has been accomplished through: – Our health sector, which, with an immunization rate of near 100% has been adjudged among the best programs, in the Region and farther afield; Our Education System with its many best practices, inclusive of the Early Childhood Development Program; Our Land and Housing Development Agenda, which is one of the revolutionary flagship programs in the entire Caribbean Region.
Mr. Condor note that in recent times St. Kitts and Nevis’ Ratings in the United Nations Human Development Index has been #1 in the OECS and 2nd in the Region. This year also, St. Kitts & Nevis was ranked #1 in a list of the 16 Best Caribbean Vacations, by US News & World Report.
“It is important to note that these are not chance achievements; rather, the results of forward looking and comprehensive planning –strategies, implemented with the cooperation and assistance of friendly Nations. Indeed, critical in all of this, was the support through financial remittances, advise and research from our Nationals abroad,” said the Deputy Prime Minister.
He said that the decade of the 1960’s, post the failed West Indies Federation of 1958-62, saw our Country, under the Leadership of the indomitable and indefatigable First National Hero, His Excellency Sir Robert L. Bradshaw, engrossed in an aggressive approach to “Self Determination.”
“During this decade, we witnessed efforts at moving the Islands into an Economic and Political Union of the so called Little Eight; but with the pulling out of Barbados, the OECS was eventually established by the Treaty of Basseterre. This Union has been a model of functional cooperation and a stabilizing factor, delivering substantial benefits to our peoples and Nations, said Condor.
This was a period also, in which there was a move towards an Associated State of St. Kitts, Nevis and Anguilla, on the road to full Independence. The story surrounding this failed attempt is well documented,” said Mr. Condor, who pointed out that the groundwork for an Independence status was being meticulously laid, with the implantation of proper infrastructure to facilitate this forward thrust.
“These included, the establishment of the National Provident Fund, later to become the Social Security Fund; the establishment of the (now C. A. Paul Southwell Industrial Park); attracting light industries for diversification of employment opportunities; and the creation of an alternate export market; improvement in health infrastructure, with the building of the J. N. France General Hospital and Health Centers island-wide, with particular emphasis on effective Primary Healthcare; introduction of the Comprehensive Education System, which ensured that Secondary Education, was available and mandatory; the establishment of the Teacher Training College and Nursing School and the building and improvement of the physical infrastructure; in terms of more and better roads, expansion of electricity and water supply,’ Mr. Condor told nationals.
The 1970’s saw the consolidation of these initiatives and the unfolding of many other far-reaching developmental strategies, among them the establishment of the National Bank of St. Kitts-Nevis-and Anguilla, and its group of Companies; National Trust and National Insurance.
He also referred to the successful negotiation for the take-over of the Sugar Factory, effecting a re-ordering of the economy; so that for the first time, the Government and people were in full control of the commanding-heights of the economy.
“The implementation of the Agricultural Diversification Program, through SIRO and then NACO; a new focus on our Tourism Plant with the development of Frigate Bay; the building of the Deep Water Port and the modernization of the Airport,” were highlights of the 1970’s.
The decade of the eighties was an era which saw the fulfillment of “our hard fought – for Political Independence from Great Britain, said Condor.
This was achieved under the leadership of the country’s First Prime Minister, Dr. Sir Kennedy Simmonds, the leader who successfully delivered the promise of independence in 1983, as head of the coalition government of the People’s Action Movement, PAM and the Nevis Reformation Party, NRP.
It signified the culmination of a journey, which was started some two decades earlier, the Rt. Excellency Sir Robert L. Bradshaw. Independence provided the opportunity to become a member of the Family of Nations. This allowed for the establishment of relationships with friendly Nations; and afforded the platform for negotiations with Friendly Nations, in the pursuit of National Development,” said Condor.
He said the construction of Port Zante to provide Cruise Ship Facilities and the building of the South East Peninsula Road were critical developments in this decade. Both projects were said to be key economic projects that the PAM/NRP government initiated as part of the strategies for tourism development.
“There was also a relentless attack on the Workers Organization, the St. Kitts – Nevis Trades and Labour Union, destabilizing well established industrial relations, customs and practices. It is believed by many, that these activities during this period are in part responsible for the deterioration of values, attitudes and community- life, as we knew it,” argued Condor.
“What is in fact quite clear is that our way of life has been severely tested; and today, we are still grappling with the consequences,” said Mr. Condor
Condor was at the time delivering an address in Canada.