Hamilton’s position was issued in a press statement, released by his party on Friday, (5th November).
He said, “While the minister is citing hundreds of thousands of cruise ship passenger arrivals, the IMF is stating that receipts from tourism have been on a continuous decline since 2006”.
What this suggests, said Hamilton, is that the Minister, whether knowingly or unknowingly, has been misleading the country as to the true state of the tourist industry.
“We hear taxi drivers and tourism vendors complaining that things are not as rosy as the Minister has been indicating through his pronouncements and this report confirms that their cries and concerns were legitimate and not just a figment of their imagination, as the Minister may want us to believe,” Hamilton continued.
The St.Kitts-Nevis economy is described by the directors as heavily dependent on Tourism and this tourism decline over the last 5 years has influenced the IMF’s very bleak economic outlook for the federation.
“In 2009 the Economic activity is estimated to have contracted by 5.5 percent in 2009, reflecting sharp declines in tourism and tourism-related construction activities.
”This was the statement made by IMF Board of Directors in their St.Kitts-Nevis Consultation, Public Information Notice, or report, released on November 3rd 2010.
“According to the IMF report tourism receipts, as a percentage of GDP, declined from 27.6% in 2006, to 13.4% in 2009. This is at variance with pronouncements made by Tourism Minister, Richard Skerritt who has stated that the tourist industry has shown significant improvements, citing the increases in cruise ship arrivals. However the report indicated that arrivals are expected to remain subdued”, said Hamilton.