Basseterre, St. Kitts (October 19, 2017) — Hurricanes visiting our region are getting more frequent, and more dangerous. With three category five hurricanes visiting the sub-region in a matter of days in September and two of them causing damages upwards $150 million to our beloved Federation, the term ‘act of God’ is quickly and logically being replaced by ‘global warming’ as the cause of these monster hurricanes.
Mankind is reaping what it sowed. Collectively we have caused what we now call global warming because of our own advancement. We have polluted the earth and damaged the ozone layer, factors that are giving rise to these monster hurricanes.
While the Caribbean region contributes very little when it comes to the factors that directly cause the destruction of the ozone layer, it receives the brunt of these hurricanes. This is something to make us stop and think and ask ourselves, what next?
Puerto Ricans were lost for direction after their island was barrelled by a product of global warming that was Hurricane Maria. They are Americans yet they claim that Big Brother (USA) was not as responsive at their greatest hour of need. Now that damage has been done, probably they will qualify for either hand-outs or concessionary loans from Big Brother to help rebuild their country.
We have direction here in St. Kitts and Nevis. We have a visionary and compassionate Prime Minister in St. Kitts and Nevis.
Our pragmatic leader, Prime Minister Dr the Hon Timothy Harris, well knowing that we have no Big Brother to turn to, and that our country no longer qualifies for concessionary loans, has decided to open up a six-month window where funds could be legally raised to safeguard against such calamities brought about by the effects of global warming.
That Dr Harris saw beyond global warming, with full knowledge that his people could not wait for thirty years before the ozone layer is sealed (as some scientific data suggests). This gave rise to the creation of the Hurricane Relief Fund (HRF), which is a third option of our country’s platinum Citizen by Investment Programme.
Funds raised through the HRF will accord the country an opportunity to be prepared when and if another calamity hits. Once successful it will go further and even assist neighbouring countries that would have suffered losses following the passage of hurricanes.
As it were, the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis is the only country in the sub region that has made monetary contributions to neighbouring countries affected by the recent hurricanes. It has donated to Dominica and Antigua and Barbuda among several others.
As Prime Minister Harris was advising his people that they need to also review the building codes, opposition of the Hurricane Relief Fund was registered by those who should know better. The tag-line they used, that the Hurricane Relief Fund was undercutting countries like Dominica and Antigua and Barbuda, did not carry water – it was leaking like a sieve. Our Hurricane Relief Fund is priced higher than those of our competitors – Antigua, Dominica, St. Lucia, etc.
You do not accuse your neighbour of having taller coconut trees than you. Before you do that, please take time to find out why his coconut trees are taller than yours. The St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Programme is the oldest in the world. A third option, whose fees are higher than those of the neighbouring countries, cannot be undercutting anyone. St. Kitts and Nevis coconut trees are taller.
To prove the HRF’s critics wrong, the CEO of our Citizenship by Investment Unit Mr Les Khan has confirmed that there has been an increase in the level of interest in all three investment options under our Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programme since Prime Minister Harris announced the addition of the temporary Hurricane Relief Fund option.