Government to promote local control of ownership and entrepreneurship, says PM Harris

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, September 19, 2021 (MMS-SKN) — As more persons seek property ownership, the Team Unity Administration will endeavour to support young contractors to take local control and ownership of entrepreneurship in the country which will be a good thing for the development of St. Kitts and Nevis.

“We have determined that in the grand march to property ownership in the country, the government itself should never attempt to do all of it,” said Prime Minister Dr the Hon Timothy Harris. “There is scope for private parties to come on board and to deliver housing solutions to a broad cross-section of the people in St. Kitts and Nevis.”

The Honourable Prime Minister made the remarks on Friday September 17, at a ceremony held to hand over 24 apartments on Wellington Road in East Basseterre that were built by the National Housing Corporation with funding from the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

The ceremony, which was presided by the National Housing Corporation (NHC) was attended by Deputy Prime Minister the Hon Shawn Richards, Minister of Human Settlement with responsibility for NHC the Hon Eugene Hamilton, Minister of Education et al the Hon Jonel Powell, Attorney General the Hon Vincent Byron Jr., and Charge d’Affaires Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Mr Marco Antonio Guzman Adrian.

Also present were members of the National Housing Corporation Board, led by Chairperson Mrs Malvie James, and the immediate past Chairman Mr Valentine Lindsay. Former East Basseterre Area Parliamentary Representative, Ambassador His Excellence Ian ‘Patches’ Liburd, was hailed by both Prime Minister Harris and Minister of Human Settlement the Hon Eugene Hamilton for his engagement with the Government of Venezuela.

According to Prime Minister Harris, the government would have had successful strategic partnerships with organisations like TDC who are now offering housing projects in Dewar’s in West Basseterre. He added that it is open to other ideas from other developers, pointing out that in the next couple of months there will be a ground breaking ceremony to signify the launch of a middle income housing project in the Cayon community.

“And from there we have identified, with the perspective developers, some four other locations around the country,” he said. “Now we are interested, not just with working with big people in the private sector as we would say, such as the TDC, which is one of the largest public/private sector entities that is in the country.”

The Team Unity Administration, the Prime Minister said, is hoping that some of the country’s contractors who would normally go to the National Housing Corporation looking for jobs to build, that they themselves having saved can approach the government for one acre of land, two acres of land, or even three acres of land, and become developers of housing projects in St. Kitts and Nevis, which will be taking it to the higher level as that is what the government is about.

He explained that is why the charter of people’s empowerment must be improved as to how it takes a person from stage one to a higher level of engagement, and also how it ensures that the future will be stronger and safer for all the people.

“What then we will be having would be local control and ownership of entrepreneurship in our country, and that will be a good thing for the development of St. Kitts and Nevis,” observed Dr Harris. “So we will actively promote that, and we will pursue arrangements with the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis and with other financial institutions that will make it easier for the ordinary people to go higher, to entrench themselves as significant investors in their own country.”

The Team Unity Administration, the Honourable Prime Minister pointed out, does not want everyone to be looking to the National Housing Corporation when it comes to the noble task of providing housing solutions in the country.

“Indeed even now in the mix, what we have done we have put about $30-plus million over time into the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis, and we created a special niche for government employees to have been able to go to the bank and secure loans at just about five percent,” he said. “Development Bank has become the most significant supplier of mortgage financing in this country, accounting for more than a third of all mortgages in St. Kitts and Nevis.”

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