BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, OCTOBER 13TH, 2016 (PRESS SEC) – The 2017 Estimates Committee Meetings of the Federal Government are underway this week, and the formulation of the capital budget is a priority, as capital investment is of critical importance in maintaining growth and sustainability.

Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris made this statement yesterday, Wednesday, October 12th during the Opening Session of the Estimates Committee Meetings, which are taking place at the Ministry of Finance and will run through tomorrow, Friday, October 14th.

“We therefore need to ensure that the capital budget is being handled in efficient ways,” Dr. Harris, who is the Minister of Finance, said yesterday morning in addressing some of his Cabinet Ministers, as well as the Cabinet Secretary, Mrs. Josephine Huggins, and government officials and staff, including Mrs. Hilary Hazel, Financial Secretary; Mrs. Hazel’s two Deputies, Mr. Calvin Edwards and Mrs. Sylvia Gumbs; Ms. Beverly Harris, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sustainable Development, and Mrs. Versilie Francis, Acting Director of Fiscal Affairs and Policy.

The Honourable Prime Minister said yesterday that the implementation and execution of capital projects, such as the new Basseterre High School and the Team Unity Government’s Housing Programme, should result in “very expansive growth.”

In June, the Team Unity Government announced in its Post-Cabinet Briefing that it has committed $30 million for housing construction work this year.  Then in September, Minister of Social Security et al. and the Premier of Nevis, the Honourable Vance Amory announced during the Discussions for Prosperity Town Hall Meeting at the McKnight Community Centre that the St. Christopher and Nevis Social Security Board has approved a $50 million loan to the Federal Government for housing development in St. Kitts via the National Housing Corporation (NHC) and a $10 million loan to the Nevis Island Administration for housing development in Nevis via the Nevis Housing & Land Development Corporation.

Prime Minister Harris said at yesterday’s 2017 Estimates Committee Meeting that the Housing Programme “must absolutely start by January, not later than that.”

On Monday, July 25th, when Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education the Honourable Shawn Richards spoke at the Discussions for Prosperity Town Hall Meeting in Newtown, he said the Government had spent $5 million on building a temporary structure for the Basseterre High School, “to ensure that the students are comfortable.”

Minister Richards added that the Government has allocated $10 million to build a brand new Basseterre High School and that the Ministry of Sustainable Development has, at the Government’s request, recommended possible sites for the permanent campus.  Cabinet then forwarded the recommendations to a committee representing various stakeholders charged with overseeing the finalization of a site for the new school.

In the Post-Cabinet Briefing for September 30th, 2016, the Cabinet of Ministers disclosed that a site has been determined for the permanent campus of the Basseterre High School.  Necessary follow-up is now being taken.

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