Call made for national discourse on productivity

St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas addressing invited guests at the launching of the St. Kitts and Nevis branch of the Jamaica-based Insurance company of the West Indies (ICWI) located at the Caribbean Financial Associates in the Sands Complex (photo by Erasmus Williams)

ST. KITTS, MARCH 18TH 2011 (CUOPM) – A call for a national discourse on productivity and related matters has come from St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas.

Speaking at the launching of the St. Kitts and Nevis branch of the Jamaica-based Insurance Company of the West Indies (ICWI) on Tuesday night, Prime Minister Douglas said there is a need for more investment in appropriate technologies and the relevant training that is required to energize the leap forward.

“It must take place sooner rather than later as it is an important basis upon which this nation can forge a successful route towards sustainable economic growth and development, within the context of prevailing and emerging global financial and economic circumstances,” said Dr. Douglas, who is also Minister of Finnace.

“Clearly, the world is changing, and our survival – including the entire Caribbean region – depends on our ability to find and implement new strategies that support future socio-economic gains in our countries,” said the Prime Minister.

He reiterated that the Public and Private Sectors must work together to fashion cohesive strategies that apply to every productive sector of the economy.

“As small island developing countries with open economies, we need to find ways and means of dealing with our food security issues. All of us in the region have suffered from the loss of guaranteed markets that dominated our primary agricultural products systems, sugar and bananas in particular,” said Dr. Douglas, who added that for the most part, food crop production has been under resourced, while the food import bill has steadily increased over the years.

“There are the usual responses – economies of scale, inadequate access to appropriate financing and insurance, lack of irrigation, inadequate quantities of land devoted to agriculture, and so on. Well, if there was ever a time to address such issues, it is now,” said Prime Minister Douglas.

He said that the future economies of the Federation, the OECS and CARICOM Member countries depend on their ability to effectively tackle the critical issues that make their economies vulnerable.

“All of this is important due to the relevance to matters like job creation, the ability to elevate education and health infrastructure and services, youth empowerment, and, of course, the ability to sustain a vibrant business sector,” said Prime Minister Douglas.

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