Charlestown, Nevis — On Thursday 5th December 2013, scores of ambitious and enterprising Nevisian women will once again be on the receiving end of financial grants to aid with the growth and development of their small businesses. This strategic policy initiative forms a critical part of the WISE program (Women in Small Enterprise) which is the brainchild of the Federal Government in social partnership with the SIDF.
According to Federal Parliamentarian for Nevis 11, the Hon. Patrice Nisbett, “The Federal Government of St. Kitts and Nevis is committed to creating an economic climate that is predicated on diversification and entrepreneurship. As we do so, every incentive must be provided to stimulate those small business owners who yearn for the opportunity of expansion. For it is with such opportunities for expansion that we will resultantly see further opportunities for the employment of our people. That is why we continue to honour this commitment and invest so heavily in the WISE program.”
Today, women from Butlers and Barnes Ghaut right up through Cox and Clay Ghaut will all be recipients of this substantial monetary investment of the Federal Government. Thursday’s presentation ceremony will actually mark the 3rd of its kind taking place in Charlestown – A clear indication that the SIDF is firmly rooted on the island of Nevis.
Certainly, the efforts of the Hon. Patrice Nisbett to have this program extended through every nook and cranny of the Nevisian community must be commended. The sustenance of the WISE program in Nevis says to us that our women are special and deserve to be empowered in the workforce. It says to us that there are tangible results to be derived from a policy of coherence and cooperation, as opposed to one of conflict and confrontation. It indicates to the Nevisian populace that we can be comfortable in knowing that we have a man and a Minister strategically placed in the Federal Government in St. Kitts who is constantly looking out for the interests of the people over here in Nevis.
Minister Nisbett in further speaking to the importance of the initiative noted that being a beneficiary of the WISE program may for several women mean the difference between operating a struggling business or a competitive one. The Nevisian Federal Minister stated that, “Presently, financing is quite difficult to come by. All the more so if you are a small business as opposed to a large scale company. There are many instances when financial institutions don’t wish to take what they sometimes see as a risk in investing in owners of small business. Well I don’t see it as a risk. I deem it a responsibility. A responsibility that we in Government have to assist those who cannot receive tangible assistance from others. By virtue of the grants received from the WISE, what you will find is that many women may now be able to pay off outstanding bills.
They will be able to boost their business and generate greater income to feed their children. They will be catapulted into a different stratosphere of independence because they won’t have to rely on someone else to provide for them. I vividly recall as a young lawyer in private practice having to deal with a number of cases involving women who were abused, both verbally and physically but they still persisted with the relationship because of financial dependence. It was always emotionally distressing to deal with cases of that nature and so now, I see this as an opportunity to help many of those same women become independent and have something of their own to give them that supportive push. What you really want to see is a change of the tide whereby it’s no longer women being financially dependent on the men but the men sometimes having to exhibit not necessarily reliance but respect and reverence for the women. That is why we wish to empower them in their businesses and hopefully it trickles down into the homes.”
Minister Nisbett went on to make the point that ownership of a business is a matter of pride and self-worth. According to the Minister, “We want our Nevisian women to be able to point to a business and say that they don’t just work there but they own there! That is the outlook we wish for them to have and that is why we have implemented this program with the hope that our women will truly be made more wise as a result of the WISE.”
To all those enterprising and diligent ladies who will today receive their grants, we honour the work that you have been doing to help boost private sector growth, economic development but perhaps most of all, social cohesion in this country. Many of you are single mothers and thus have to act as the sole bread winners of your families. That is never an easy responsibility but the Federal Government remains committed to helping to create the type of environment whereby you can fulfil it.
The Hon. Patrice Nisbett provided the assurance that so long as the people of Nevis 11 continue to place their trust and confidence in him by ensuring his continued presence in the Federal Government, then they can in turn have full confidence that Federal programs such as the WISE will continue to have a significant presence on Nevis.