Leading the opposition’s debate on the Budget on the House sitting on Wednesday 10th December, Dr. Harris said that the financial plan put forward by the “Douglas Administration is filled with words and numbers”.
The PLP leader described the budget as a document, which represents a government that has run out of gas and out of ideas, citing that after 19 years the government has developed a special talent which is to plagiarize from the agenda of the joint opposition group which calls itself, the Team Unity.
“This is a document that attempts to pacify a people instead of building prosperity for a people. This is a document that maintains the status quo. It is a document with no vision, put together by people that have given up on their own brothers and sisters. This administration has turned its back on the people of St. Kitts and Nevis! This Imitation Budget was not about the future of St. Kitts and Nevis. This document is filled with words and numbers that just fulfill the duty of the government to submit a Budget. It does not reflect the hopes and dreams of a people who want prosperity for themselves and their families,” Harris said.
Further trouncing the Government on the Budget, the former Government Minister of Minister explained that the document does not speak to the Citizenship by Investment Programme nor does it signal to the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that the Federation is ready to “enter the sunshine of transparency and accountability.
“This Imitation Budget does not say to the local small businesses like Glimbaro, Annie Bakery, Fraites Bakery, Tota’s Restaurant and Williams Auto that we will help you grow and employ more Kittitians and Nevisians. It does not say to the single mother we will help you get on the pathway to prosperity so that you can provide for your families. This Imitation Budget does not speak to the recent college graduate who wants to come home and start a business. “
Harris added that, “It does not speak to the family who is barely getting by with minimum income. The Imitation Budget does not speak to the people. This Imitation Budget is presented by an administration which is trying to hold on to power by any means necessary. It was the last desperate act of an illegitimate government.”
Harris, indicated that the presentation made in the House on Tuesday (9th Dec.) represents a “sham”, with an illegitimate Imitation Budget presentation by a government that has no legitimacy and bereft of constitutionality.
Touching on the economy, Harris said that the Federation deserves an economy which is growing and booming, “so that thousands of our young people do not end on a short term pre-election programme going by acronyms like YES and PEP”.
That programme (YES) lasted until the elections of 2010 and PEP is framed by the same mind as YES, Harris posited.
“We offer our PEP workers stable jobs, higher incomes and real opportunities for self- employment as farmers, fishers, landscapers, owners of hair dressing salons, etc. Ours will be an agenda of inclusive growth which is job rich.”
Speaking on the health sector he noted that, a better hospital is needed on which he said is better than the one which does not have citizens and residents in hospital beds waiting for a friend or family to buy medication to bring back to our hospitals which have run out of them.
However, he noted that when it comes to crime, police officers don’t need business as usual, but rather what’s needed are better training, technology and resources so they can be equipped to undertake their jobs.
“We deserve better than our country being ranked among the top 10 most homicidal countries in the world…we deserve better than our young people being shot dead in the privacy of their homes, in the hospital, on our playfields, on the streets corners. We deserve a country at peace with itself and united in the fight against crime.”
“We don’t have a safe nation. And when we have one of the highest murder rates in the world, a sensible response must be had and it cannot be condensed to business as usual. Same old refrain; same old blame game, same old recycled statements,” Harris explained.
Harris made the official response to the Budget in place of the Leader of the Opposition, Mark Brantley.