Development Bank pledges more support to taxi and tour industry

Basseterre St. Kitts (December 28, 2011) — General Manager of the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis, Mr Lenworth Harris, has told taxi and tour operators that his organisation is prepared to assist them in their endeavours as they make the operation more viable, now that tourism is the country’s main industry. Mr Harris who was making remarks at a workshop held recently at the Ocean Terrace Inn in Basseterre for taxi and tour operators told them that there was need for them (operators) to share information about their business if the Development Bank was to help them. The workshop’s theme was ‘managing your business — it is your money’.

Some of the participants at the taxi/tour operators’ workshop. Mr Lenworth Harris is standing on the left.

“The industry, from the outside looking in, some people tend to think is just full of roses,” observed Mr Harris. “But we believe, like all other industries, it has its challenges and they need to be identified. One of the things I am hoping would happen tonight is that you would provide us with valuable information so that when we look at proposals from the tour and taxi business, we are in a better position to give you a fairer hearing.” The Development Bank, noted the General Manager, is willing and prepared to partner with any player in the industry whether as the entire industry or through individual taxi groups or tour groups to provide technical support.

He further observed that in most instances the Bank is prepared to bear the cost by way of facilitating workshops. “If individual operators have issues and challenges in managing their operations and they need assistance we are also very much prepared, more particular so if you are our client or a prospective client,” said Mr Harris. “We’ll do it by assigning you or providing you with technical support, which might be in the field of accounting, bookkeeping, cost analysis or whatever support is required, even to put in place some management systems.”

The workshop, organised by the Business Support Unit of the Development Bank, was the second one to have been held in as many months since the Bank received funds in September from the Centre for the Development of Enterprise (CDE), which is a European Union (EU) funded institution, to enhance the Bank’s ability to offer technical assistance to its small and medium size enterprise clients.

“About three weeks ago (in November) we had what was the beginning of our roll out of such workshops where we had a forum with members of the agriculture sector,” noted the General Manager. “That one was the application in use of cost of production investment model for crop and livestock and it was well attended. About 56 attended the workshop.” On being advised that there are 453 registered taxi/tour operators, Mr Harris said: “It shows by and large how important the tour and taxi business is to our economy and that is why the Development Bank is involved in it. What has to do with development; what has to do with the economy then that is our business and we believe we need to do whatever we can to facilitate.”

The workshop was facilitated by Mr Jonathan Bass, who told the participants that managing their money is an attitude. Also attending the workshop was Ms Diannille Taylor, assistant Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport, who observed that part of managing their money included paying Social Security contributions, advising them that they would not be given tax concessions if they have not paid to Social Security.

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