The Federation’s Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas told scores of nationals of St. Kitts and Nevis, through citizenship by investment and potential investors in the United Arab Emirates Wednesday night, of the opportunities for further investment in the transformation and economic development of the twin –island Federation.
“It is quite rich in history and culture but also abundant with advantages and opportunities for growth and investment. Once you visit, you will understand how the landscape has remained so remarkably unspoilt despite a fast growing tourism industry that boasts first class hotel accommodation and services. We have a 98% educated and skilled labour force, modern technology infrastructure and a government committed to public-private partnership. All this together makes St. Kitts and Nevis an ideal location for entrepreneurship and good returns on investment,” said Dr. Douglas.
This he stated has been achieved through strategic and creative initiatives by Government which is very committed, despite the accustomed disadvantages of small geographical size, to pursue policies which allow the people of St. Kitts and Nevis the tools and information to participate actively in a global arena.
Dr. Douglas said, “We continue to invest in programs to ensure that we remain competitive and that we have the necessary and relevant framework and institutions for sustainable development. Within the next five years, every individual student leaving high school will be computer literate.”
This he stated has been possible through a relevant and rigorous education program, with an emphasis on ICT literacy; the development of modern and efficient infrastructure; from a first-rate telecommunications system; investments in capacity development; creating an agile and adaptable labour force; building a strong services sector with skills to service it; good road networks; and encouraging international access by air and sea.
Prime Minister Douglas pointed out that St. Kitts and Nevis is currently accessible by direct air access flights out of North America (i.e., Miami -daily, Atlanta, Philadelphia, and New York – twice weekly); weekly from Toronto starting next month; and bi-weekly from the United Kingdom through British Airways.
“These air links facilitate trade, travel and the efficient movement of freight and other important services,” he said.
St. Kitts and Nevis has an enduring history of political stability as well as economic stability and boasts a stable currency and no Personal Income Tax.
St. Kitts and Nevis is also served by a number of international financial institutions and has a well-regulated Financial Services Sector with no restrictions on the repatriation of profits and imported capital. It provides helpful tax holidays that can incentivize qualified investment projects; and other quite generous incentive packages including on corporate tax incentives, exemption from import duties, tax relief benefits and export allowances.
The tourism sector continues to grow, albeit slower, despite pressures from the on-going global recession. Financial services, trade, electronics manufacturing, produce-packaging, agriculture and livestock remain priority investments sectors. As a member of the Caribbean Community, (CARICOM), companies doing business in St. Kitts and Nevis can take financial comfort from the fact that their products will be able to move throughout the community without attracting additional import or export duties.
Dr. Douglas said that the elements are in place to maintain the thriving construction industry and to making sure that St. Kitts and Nevis remains competitive in bringing advanced construction technologies and techniques that will provide sustainable opportunities for those who wish to own properties on both islands.
“This underscores the importance we place on our national, heritage and environmental resources and the objective of preserving that unspoilt character. As a consequence, we in Government have been pursuing a “zero tolerance approach” in its adoption and execution of policies and strategies to control any form of criminal activity to preserve the safety and security of its citizens as well as visitors to our shores whether for business or pleasure,” he told the potential investors.
He said that with the establishment of the St. Kitts and the Nevis Investment Promotion Agencies, “we have created one-stop points of contact on each island to facilitate efficient service, reliable access to information and access in country.”
“Professionalism and efficiency in service is our creed. We are keen to establish and foster good relations with countries and people for the advancement of our Federation. And I trust that you too may take the opportunity to optimize the many benefits that can and do accrue from interacting with the government and people of St. Kitts and Nevis,” said Prime Minister Douglas.