Education and health; critical areas for funding top Nevis Finance official tells SIDF
NIA Charlestown Nevis — Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance on Nevis Colin Dore, expressed hope that the St. Kitts and Nevis Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF) would look favourably at additional requests from Nevis, for more assistance with the water project and also projects in education and health.
Dore made the comment, when he delivered remarks at a handing-over ceremony in which SIDF’s Chief Executive Officer Terrence Crossman, delivered the first payment of an EC$2.5million grant for the jointly funded EC$26.9million Nevis Island Administration (NIA) and Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) Nevis Water Supply Enhancement Project.
“I want to say thank you for the first drawdown on the funds for the water project and it is our hope that we can have a long and fruitful relationship, in terms of funding for projects which touch the very ordinary person on the street, as we go through our daily lives. I want you to look at it as an investment in the future of Nevis because the persons we are touching are the persons who will become the leaders of tomorrow.
“If we improve the health facility, improve their education, improve their water supply, we are actually moving them to the next level in our society…We want to express our thanks to the Chairman and Board of the SIDF and let them know that we are fully committed to working with them, as they are, in working with us on these projects,” he said.
The Finance Permanent Secretary told the SIDF official that apart from water, health and education were key areas of investment for the future of Nevis, hence the improvement in the diagnostic facilities at the Alexandra Hospital and the refurbishment of the Distance Education Centre at Marion Heights were important projects for the NIA.
Regarding the laboratory and diagnostic facility, he noted that that project was in the process of being drawn up and an application for funding would be sent to the SIDF shortly.
However, Dore gave some detail regarding the planned education-related project.
“In the area of Education, our Distance Education Centre at Marion Heights needs some refurbishing and we will be putting forward that as well to the SIDF because we feel Education, Heath, these are critical areas. If we get it correct now, we will have a society that can sustain us for years to come. If we don’t do the necessary things now and don’t make the necessary investment now as we are doing now in water, we are going to suffer down the road.
So these areas are critical. They are not areas that we just looked at and said we are going to go to the SIDF but these are areas strategically chosen because of the impact they can have on the future of Nevis as an island and the future of our people. We have to invest in health we have to invest in education,” he said.
According to Dore, over the last 10 years a number of persons had graduated from the University of the West Indies through its Distance Education Centre and that number continued to expand.
“Just being at home, the fact that you don’t have to go to the University, disrupt your family and all that you can stay home, work, go to classes. We have seen an increase and there are a number of persons I am sure, in excess of 50 who would have gotten a first degree having not left the island of Nevis because of the UWI Distance Education Centre.
“So we want the SIDF to look at that one in a favourable light and to give it the same kind of attention you have given the water project because at the end of the day, an investment in our people is an investment in our future,” he said.
According to its website, since its inception, the SIDF which has its roots in the Citizen by Investment programme, has been broadened to include the provision of support to the Federal Government in its efforts to diversify the national economy, maintain economic stability and to support, finance or undertake the development of new and existing industries, projects or enterprises.
“The Foundation may also provide grants, loans, budget support, debt forgiveness or assistance of any kind to the Government or to persons or institutions that qualify for such assistance under its policies,” it said.