National Political Leader of the opposition St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party, the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas urged over 600 party supporters on Sunday to prepare themselves to return to government at the next general election saying that past Labour Party (SKNLP) administrations had brought significant social and economic development to the twin island Federation.
Addressing the 83rd annual national conference of the party at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort, Dr. Douglas said there were visible signs of progress all over the country including the “ultra luxury 5-star Park Hyatt Hotel, the first Park Hyatt in the Caribbean”.
Dr. Douglas told the gathering which included representatives of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps, that the twin island Federations successes were also due in part to the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP), which he said “also provided the confidence to tackle our national debt, significantly reduced from nearly 200 percent of GDP (gross domestic product) to about 80 percent , and responsible for amassing EC$700 million surplus in our Treasury and creating a Foundation (SIDF) that is the blueprint for transitioning our sugar agriculture economy to one of services”.
Dr. Douglas told supporters that his administration was able to develop and implement an economic strategy that produced, in 2014, a growth rate that was twice what the experts expected.
“We produced a growth rate that was the highest in the Caribbean with the exception of one country. We produced a growth rate, Comrades, of some seven per cent. This was recently announced by the International Monetary Fund. And for this, too, we are thankful. For this, we rejoice.”
Dr. Douglas told supporters that after near 20 years as prime minister, “there are no monuments to Denzil Douglas: There are no airports in my name. Because that, my party and I would have found distasteful. There are no highways named after me b ecause the priority of Labour has always been service. Not self-adulation.
“There are no buildings, no institutions, no schools named after me because those who have emerged from them bear testament of my dedicated and enduring commitment for knowledge and learning. The support of this Federation’s majority, as reflected in our most recent elections, is my monument.”
But the former prime minister said that the SKNLP will expose the wrongs in society that are emerging following the victory of Team Unity noting that people “have been stripped of their livelihoods in our Federation today, for no good reason.
“There are those who are suddenly being denied opportunities for training and personal advancement that were already approved. This the public must know. And this, the public in collaboration with the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party, must fight, and fix.”
Dr. Douglas said that some people are being denied access to state-funded homes that had already been designated as theirs as well as to land for which they had already begun paying.
“This, as well, Labour shall fiercely resist,” Douglas warned.