Basseterre, St. Kitts (June 1, 2016) — Prime Minister of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr the Hon Timothy Harris, planted a seed (Fresh Start Programme) on Friday September 4 last year and the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis was bestowed the noble task of nurturing it.
The hosting of business fairs one in St. Kitts and one in Nevis on Friday May 27, as part of the 35th anniversary celebrations by the Development Bank, gave Prime Minister Harris the opportunity to not only ensure that the bank was carrying out the role of nurturing the seed, but also to see for himself the fruits of the seed he sowed.
“I am happy that we found a realistic and proper mechanism,” stated the Prime Minister during the launch of the Fresh Project Programme. “This fund will not be contaminated by preferences of the government. The Development Bank has been there through different administrations, providing loan support to people and it must continue as an important instrument for the delivery of financing, to do so in an objective way.”
The Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis, having been entrusted to ensure that persons in the Federation operating or desirous to operate small to medium businesses could apply for hassle-free loans of up to US$100,000 went ahead and opened a new chapter for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operations in the Federation.
Prime Minister Dr the Hon Timothy Harris who is also the Federal Minister of Finance has responsibility over the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis.
Giving his report at the business fair in Basseterre, Prime Minister Harris said that over 200 persons benefitted from loans given out by the Development Bank under the Fresh Start Programme. He went ahead and named those who were exhibiting at the business fair. He had them come on the dais to have a picture taken with them and he later visited all their individual booths at the business fair.
“Persons, who have benefitted, I am advised, range in age from 25 to 45,” commented the Prime Minister. “The age range, of course, covers the peak childbearing age and the peak employment age, allowing families in St. Kitts and Nevis then to have a viable opportunity to achieve financial stability and social mobility and to raise children with all the advantages that can be provided.”
The Business Fair held on Friday May 27 was the third in a series which form part of the bank’s outreach effort to promote its business clients, according to the General Manager Mr Lenworth Harris.
“Our business clients will remain the foundation and the spirit of our economy and by extension, we project the spirit of our nation,” said the General Manager in his welcome remarks. “I want to especially recognise those persons who would have recently obtained assistance under the Fresh Start Programme.
“We have on display, the efforts of the Fresh Start Programme which has been our flagship productive programme over the last six to seven months and we are hoping that we will be able to rejuvenate that. I will encourage all of us to walk around – just don’t observe purchase something and I understand you might be given VAT free according to Inland Revenue who are here today. Endeavour to support our local entrepreneurs.”
According to Ms Jasmin Primus, the bank’s Business Support Officer in the Business Support Unit of the Development Bank, there were twenty exhibitors at the Independence Square Business Fair, and ten of them were beneficiaries of the Fresh Start Programme. Three of the exhibitors were non-bank clients.
Fresh Start Programme beneficiaries who took part were Ms Serene Weekes, Mrs Peggy James, Ms Tyrilda Clarke, Ms Petrina Warner, Ms Joan Hamilton, Ms Asha Julius, Mr Troy Prince, Ms Cheryl Richardson, Mr Miguel Liburd, and Ms Natasha Grey.
Also invited to take part were statutory government organisations Social Security, Customs and Excise, Inland Revenue, and Solid Waste, and two government departments, National Youth Skill Training Programme and the Department of Cooperatives. Three manufacturers, Jaro Electronics, Kajola Kristada and Electrofab took part.
On Nevis the business fair was held at the D.R. Walwyn Square in Charlestown. Premier the Hon Vance Amory congratulated the Development Bank for celebrating 35 years of service to the people of St. Kitts and Nevis and also facilitating progress for the Federation, and also congratulated the exhibitors for coming out to show support for the bank.
“I think this is very important for us as a people, that we have our own institution (Development Bank) which facilitates and finances the dreams and the vision of our people in St. Kitts and Nevis, to make them prosperous but also to help with the accumulative development and prosperity of our country,” said Premier Amory.
“Bring your ideas, bring your dreams but be prepared to be guided in the development of those dreams and those ideas and vision for your best interest and the bank is there to help you to get the best interest out of your investment.”
According to Ms Hyacinth Pemberton, Manager at the Development Bank’s branch in Nevis, the business fair at the D.R. Walwyn Square attracted eight bank clients and three service providers, namely Social Security, Customs and Excise, and Inland Revenue.
Three of the business clients in attendance, Mr Mervin Hanley of The Hanley Group (THG), Ms Oudith O’louglin of Sugaz Fun World, and Mr Wayne Hyligar of OMG Just Desserts are beneficiaries of the Fresh Start Programme.
Attending the business fair in Nevis included the Chairman the Board of Directors of the Development Bank, Mr Warren Thompson, and Nevis-based Director of the Development Bank Board, Mr Stephen Jones. Also attending the fair in the afternoon was General Manager Mr Lenworth Harris.