BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, JUNE 12TH 2013 (CUOPM) – Nationals of St. Kitts and Nevis living in the Tri-State of New York, have been brought up to date on issues in the twin-island federation.
Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas told over 300 nationals of the spending to improve the infrastructure of the country and the living standards of the ordinary man and woman and their families and the efforts been made to reduce the national debt.
“We also had a number of private sector financial institutions that had loaned money to the government. And so we were advised to issue two types of bonds after negotiating with our creditors. There was the Discount bond and there was what we called a Par-bond.
The discount bond would involve a reduction, a discount in the principle payment of the outstanding debts whereas the Par-bond means that the principle that is outstanding would not be discounted, but that they would make it easier for payment by lowering the interests rates and increasing the number of years; just as the United States Government had done,” explained Prime Minister Douglas.
“When we were finished doing that, we issued new bonds and those who were our creditors, were invited to select which of those two they wanted. We had close to 100 % public participation for bringing the debt down. Some people chose the discount bond, some people chose the Par-bond, but we have 99% public participation but by the clause that was written into the documents,” he said.
“Then of course we had the debt with the National Bank alone between St. Kitts and Nevis; that was about $900 million dollars including the $400 million for the Sugar Industry alone. Out of that $900 million dollars, all to the National Bank alone, $200 million belong to the Nevis Island Administration and $700 million dollars borrowed buy the Federal government of St. Kitts and Nevis,” said Dr. Douglas.
He then justified the spending to improve the infrastructure of the country and the living standards of the ordinary man and woman and their families.
“Look at the number of homes we had built for our people, just look at it. When we got into power, the (Dr. Kennedy) Simmonds government had built after 15 years, 250 homes and only one set of people were getting those houses. After 15 years in Government, Labour has provided no less than 3,000 homes for our people,” said Dr. Douglas, who added:
“Look at where your children were in1995 when we took office? How many of them were going off to Universities and colleges?
Today, every young man and woman who leaves school, he no longer has to say I am going to work here and there, he can say which University he is going to with the support of the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis. That’s where the money went.”
Describing what he termed the modernization of the country, Prime Minister Douglas said:
“Every single health centre has been improved. We just opened a brand new Health Centre in Old Road only a few months ago.
The one in Tabernacle is in a deplorable state and condition. It will be rebuilt. A brand new hospital has been built in Pogson, Sandy Point. A brand new Hospital has been rebuilt at J. N. France Hospital after it was destroyed by Hurricane.
The Port Zante cruise pier was built with borrowed money. In 1998, it was destroyed by Hurricane and rebuilt, then it was destroyed again in 1999, but again it had to be rebuilt, 3 times, so where else the money is going to come from? Where is it going to come from? We must borrow it. We are not manufacturing money in St. Kitts.”
“That is why I say my dear people, we are not afraid or ashamed of the National Debt because we know where it has gone. We are aware of where it has gone, we know what use it has been put to, because you can see the country today; look at it today from where it was 18 years ago,” Prime Minister Douglas told the mostly cheering audience.