Mr Speaker, I rise to say a heartfelt thank you to the people of St Kitts and Nevis for their confidence in and support the Team Unity Government. I say thank you to my Cabinet Colleagues for the sterling accomplishments in the short twelve months in office with God’s Grace and the votes of the people.
The macroeconomic picture is beautiful. The growth rate of 6.6 percent accomplished in 2015 and growth rate projected for the next twelve months at 4.6 percent on top of the 6.6 percent, makes us one of the best performers in the world.
Average monthly wages and salaries according to Social Security grew by 8 percent in 2015 from $67.5 million per month in 2014 to $72.63 million per month in 2015. More persons earn higher incomes. Less persons are on minimum wages. Indeed there was a positive 5 percent shift in the percentage of persons earning minimum wage. In 2014, 31 percent of jobs were paying minimum wage. In 2015, 26 percent of jobs were paying minimum wage. 5 percent went to medium earning categories.
Inflation is at an all time low. The CBI came through a difficult year with an unexpected vibrancy. Tourism is on the growth path. Our health sector is set to provide enhanced treatment for those with cancer via our Oncology Centre. The Mary Charles Hospital is being refurbished, and the Mental Health Centre will be offering services for those with mental problems, thereby assisting with their care. Families will experience some reprieve and less stress.
Our parents and guardians, students and teachers are impressed by the swift action of my Government, leading to an end to the three year old problem at the Basseterre High School. We ended the problematic shift system. We invested $5 million in very salubrious accommodations for the students of the Basseterre High School.
Major crimes save for homicides, are down by double digits. Indeed all major crimes are down by 16.7 percent when comparing 2015 to 2014.
Foreign relations are better than ever before.
The Labour market can be assured that there must be strict compliance with our Labour Laws.
The Fresh Start Programme has given a jump start to several businesses. EC $16 million have been expended in support of over two hundred businesses.
Our legislative agenda has been full and hectic. We have set high standards for good governance in the region with our:
Tenure for the Office of the Prime Minister
Our “Working for You Programme”
E-Government Portal launched only yesterday is the envy of the region
Our week of activities has been a resounding success starting with Team Unity Women’s special gathering last Saturday (February 13) to our Town Hall Meeting in Nevis last night.
For all these and more I say to God be the Glory.