With general elections due in the next few months, Prime Minister Douglas, who is seeking a fifth consecutive term in office, said St. Kitts and Nevis must build on the impressive achievements in the areas of education, healthcare, debt management and infrastructure.
“Already, our people have relatively free access to pre-school, primary and secondary education and they are provided the tools – including free textbooks, free meals, grants for payment of exam fees and free computers – that they require to take full advantage of the education they receive. We must now ensure that every graduate from secondary school in our Federation is provided the financial resources they require to attend University or other post-secondary institutions,” said Prime Minister Douglas in his recent New Year’s message.
He said that the Labour Government, which has already granted hundreds of scholarships during its term of office to date, will continue to more and more scholarships available and to expand the opportunity for students to pursue higher education in St. Kitts and Nevis or overseas.
“We will also develop a financing and guarantee scheme to ensure that all our students have access to the funding they require to pursue advanced studies at home or abroad or by distance education. This will result in the dramatic expansion of the level of resources currently available at the Development Bank for student loans. At the same time, we will undertake to develop a comprehensive repair and rehabilitation programme for all of our schools and institutions to ensure that they are always in good condition,” said Prime Minister Douglas.
In the area of health, Prime Minister Douglas said his governing St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party Administration will continue to focus on primary health care, health education, and disease prevention.
“But I am determined that within the next five years we will establish a completely modernized and upgraded hospital with cutting edge facilities that will be internationally accredited as a duly qualified medical learning institution that would offer services of a level that would not only be beneficial to our nationals but to patients from abroad who would be offered specialized services on a commercial basis. In fact, discussions with a Developer have already started in this regard and the Proposal for this new facility is before my government,” he told the Nation.
Commenting on the infrastructure, Prime Minister Douglas said that that the current initiatives in road development, electricity and water supply expansion, port development and telecommunications and Cable TV upgrading, will continue until it is of the highest international standard and provide modern conveniences to all of citizens even as they continue to attract foreign direct investment.
He said the aim of his government in the area of debt management is to not only bring the debt down to the 60% of GDP as recommended by the ECCB, but remains committed to pump a significant portion of the resources of the Citizenship by Investment Programme to debt reduction with a view to wiping out the public debt in St. Kitts and Nevis by 2020.
“I declare that by 2020, St. Kitts and Nevis will be debt free. This would ensure that all the resources we currently commit to debt servicing would now become available to fund critical development initiatives in both islands,” said Prime Minister Douglas.