BASSETERRE, ST KITTS, JUNE 24, 2021 – Leader of the Opposition, The Right Hon Dr Denzil L Douglas told a team of officials from the International Fund (IMF) that the country lacks credible information on the state of the St Kitts and Nevis economy.
Dr Douglas was at the time leading a delegation of the St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) in virtual discussions with an IMF Team, led by Chief of the Caribbean II Division of the Western Hemisphere Department, Mr Bas Bakker.
Mr Bakker recognized Dr Douglas’ sterling 20-year service to St Kitts and Nevis in his capacity as Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and as Leader of the Opposition and then asked him if he was the sitting Prime Minister, how would he deal with the current challenges St Kitts and Nevis is facing.
Dr Douglas in response stated that he would have been guided firstly by the IMF Reports on the economy of St Kitts and Nevis. The government of Prime Minister Harris has refused permission for the IMF to publish its 2018 Mission Report.
“We have no credible IMF information since your last Mission in 2018. We do not trust the word of the government of St Kitts and Nevis, especially the Prime Minister/Finance Minister” said Dr Douglas. He also pointed out that although it would be difficult to do so in the absence of factual information, nonetheless he provided an assessment of the local economic situation.
Dr Douglas highlighted the fact that the economy was robust with over 6.5% GDP growth in 2013 and 2014 with the same expectation for 2015 when he demitted office. He pointed to the start of slide in the GDP by the end of 2015 under the Timothy Harris administration.
Dr Douglas highlighted that the major part of his St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party’ (SKNLP) preparation for the 2020 elections involved the consultative preparation of the National Economic Recovery (NER) Plan by the NER Advisory Council which outlined “The Covid-19 Imperative” ie our Federation’s Blueprint to Overcome our challenges, Explore and Achieve the Opportunities of the New Normal.
The Leader of the Opposition also spoke of the bungling and mismanagement of the coronavirus Covid-19 spread in SKN, the alarmingly deteriorating economy of high unemployment, illegally withholding of severance payments of severed workers, a tourism sector that is fast collapsing with grave uncertainties in the cruise industry and no marketing for stay over visitors, draining the resources in the Social Security Fund and a waste of financial resources on non-revenue generating projects including installation of traffic lights, and construction of sidewalks and roundabouts in which party and family-aligned members are the main economic-financial beneficiaries.
Dr Douglas called for an assurance that the Parliamentary Opposition and the people of St Kitts and Nevis will get credible information on the true state of the economy after these 2021 consultations with economic and social partners. During the meeting, Dr Douglas was supported by SKNLP Parliamentarians, Hon Dr Geoffrey Hanley and Hon Dr Joyelle Clarke; SKNLP Chairman Dr Terrance Drew, Party Secretary Diana Williams, Treasurer Mr Crios Freeman and CEO Dr Asim Martin.
Featured Image – (L-R) Hon Dr Geoffrey Hanley, Rt Hon Dr Denzil L Douglas and Senator Hon Dr Joyelle Clarke