National Debt incurred to bring comfort to local residents and rebuild infrastructure after several hurricanes, floods
BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, AUGUST 1ST 2013 (CUOPM) – St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas says the Federation’s National Debt was as a result of rebuilding the nation to maintain the comfort of residents and to ensure its continued competitiveness after hurricanes and floods.
” I want you to understand that the National Debt of St. Kitts and Nevis was incurred as a result of building on the development of our country, that’s the first thing. The debt was also incurred because after a series of hurricanes and floods, it became necessary to rebuild our infrastructure, rather than allow our country to remain in ruins, I have no apology whatsoever in doing that,” said Prime Minister Douglas during a recent “Ask the Prime Minister” in response to a caller.
Dr. Douglas said it was better to have people with decent homes to live in, especially in Lodge and several parts of the country where persons had been given substandard, low income or affordable homes by the Simmonds Government and which were completely destroyed by hurricanes.
“It was really taking a decision not to leave them in a dilapidated state, with people having nowhere to live or to rebuild them. We chose to rebuild them and we have no apologies for that,” said Prime Minister Douglas, who pointed out that “it meant rebuilding our hospitals, schools, the rebuilding of the railway bridges for the SSMC to continue to operate the sugar industry.”
“It also meant rebuilding roads, correcting the discrimination that was meted out for certain people based on their political affiliation and where they lived here in St. Kitts and Nevis. The National Debt had to be incurred and it had to be settled when it became clear that it was going to create a problem for the Government and the People of St. Kitts and Nevis to continue to live with certain standards,” said Dr. Douglas.
Port Zante was also damaged twice by hurricanes and had to be reconstructed.
He again pointed out that there was EC$400 million worth of debt from the sugar industry alone with the St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla National Bank.
“In 1998 when Dr. Timothy Harris was Minister of Agriculture, the land papers, all of the SSMC assets which were necessary to secure the debts that mounted year after year, with loans to run the Sugar Industry were mortgaged to the National Bank,” said Prime Minister Douglas.
“It was important to settle that outstanding debt, especially that which was based on the sugar industry which was continuing to lose money year after year. We went into Parliament after appropriate consultation within the Cabinet. It is the duty of the Cabinet and especially the Parliamentary representatives, to ensure that people understood,” said Prime Minister Douglas.