By Erasmus Williams
Basseterre, St. Kitts, February 28, 2018 – As the Team Unity Government celebrates its third year in office, former Prime Minister the Right Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas said the age of progress appears to have come to an unfortunate, unnecessary, and abrupt end in St. Kitts and Nevis.
Speaking at the monthly press conference of his St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party Wednesday, Dr. Douglas said as the government of Dr. Timothy Harris bombards the people with reports of the things it claims to be doing, “simultaneously the people are daily bombarded by increasing struggles and hardships in all sectors and sections of our society, the results of the abysmal failures of Dr. Harris and his coalition administration.”
“Gone are the days where our Federation could boast of having one of the strongest and fastest growing economies in the Western world. The days of a 7% economic growth, even the days of 5% economic growth are now evidently a thing of the past. The days where small businesses operated at a profit, supported by a robust and continually diversifying economy are apparently over,” said Dr. Douglas, who pointed out that in 2018, a quick drive through Basseterre will reveal the many businesses that closed, and even opened and closed their doors during the last three years.
“To add insult to injury, the cost of living has risen ever higher over the past three years. Our youth are completing their education studies at home and being shuffled out of that system into a society that is no longer able to offer a thriving job market. Opportunities, however limited, are being reserved for a select few, leaving the vast majority of our youth to languish or knock from pillar to post, as we say locally,” Dr. Douglas said.
A physician by profession, the former prime minister said doctors are returning home to work after long years of study and equally long years of training and honing their life-saving skills, only to be pushed aside and ignored for illegitimate reasons or no reason at all. “Our Joseph N. France General Hospital is left to deteriorate into a mere shadow of its former self, both in service and infrastructure.”
He told reporters instead of the Harris Government genuinely investing in the health and well-being of the people, “we have a government that seeks to enabling family members and friends to profiteer and living lavishly off of the backs of the ill and ailing in our country.”
“As if this were not bad enough, Dr. Harris has allowed for a number of his family members to purchase state-owned lands at ridiculously low prices with the intention of selling them off at high costs and raking in enormous profits. The callousness, corruption, and nepotism of Dr. Harris’ administration clearly know no bounds,” he said.
The former prime minister also pointed out that the government’s callousness and disregard for the wellbeing of people was again recently seen in the manner in which the Labour Department’s mold contamination was handled.
“Despite numerous workers’ complaints of respiratory issues as well as test results from medical doctors clearly depicting elevated levels of bodily mold contamination, the Minister of Labour and his Permanent Secretary chose to continually refute the workers’ complaints. The Minister himself went so far as to stand in the Parliament and accuse the Department’s workers with the health complaints of having malicious intentions! Shortly thereafter, he was forced to acknowledge the truth and have the Department moved to yet another location,” said Dr. Douglas.
“This is not the work of a government that is for the people. Our country is being dragged in reverse now that all forms of growth have ground to a screeching halt. The people’s progress has been forcibly stagnated by a coalition government that has been starved of innovation and national vision from day one,” Douglas said.