PM Douglas says 80th anniversary presents opportunity for renewal

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, JANUARY 12TH 2012 (CUOPM) – 2012 marks the 80th anniversary of the governing St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP).

Prime Minister and National Political Leader of the SKNLP, the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas at Monday’s Cabinet Meeting, the first for the year, noted that the anniversary presents an opportunity for renewal and for a reaffirmation of the principles upon which the Labour Party has been built.

The FOUR-TERM CABINET (left to right) : Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas; Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Sam Condor; Senior Minister and Minister of Agriculture, Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris; Minister of Energy and Public Works, Hon. Dr. Earl Asim Martin; Attorney General Hon. Patrice Nisbett; Minister of Health and Social Development and Gender Affairs, Hon. Marcella Liburd; Minister of Youth and Information Technology, Hon. Glenn Phillip; Minister of Education and Information, Sen. the Hon. Nigel Carty and Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Sen. the Hon. Richard Skerritt. (Photo by Erasmus Williams)

Giving a comprehensive overview of the challenges facing St. Kitts and Nevis, the history of the Labour Party including its many accomplishments to date and a preview of the agenda that the government ought to pursue throughout the current year, Prime Minister Douglas, who is also the Chairman of the Cabinet, expressed very firmly that despite the manifold challenges that are besetting the nation, as indeed the entire world, the Labour Party is the Party of greatest relevance to the lives of people of all socioeconomic backgrounds, signified in part by recent political developments within the Caribbean region.

“The Prime Minister remained hopeful of the prospect of improved fiscal stability, economic growth and social improvement. In identifying key areas of focus for the year 2012, the Prime Minister highlighted the continuing role that the Ministry of Social Development and Gender Affairs must play in providing safety-nets for the socially vulnerable groups of people in our country,” said Minister of Information, Sen. the Hon. Nigel Carty in the Post Cabinet Briefing.

He said Tourism and Agriculture in particular were projected as key productive sectors that must meet their respective targets in 2012 and beyond, to generate employment, income and food security.

Another area of key significance for the government of St. Kitts and Nevis as intimated by Prime Minister Douglas is renewable energy development.

“The high cost of electricity generated from fossil fuel was noted as posing an impediment to growth and development, and a catalyst for the escalation of the cost of living. The Prime Minister was determined to do all within the government’s power to assist the successful implementation of wind and geothermal energy projects in St. Kitts and in Nevis respectively to secure reduced electricity costs for domestic and business consumers, and promote economic development,” said Mr. Carty.

He disclosed that the fight against crime and improving security of residents and visitors were placed very high on the agenda for 2012 and the government commits itself to providing the requisite financial support and legislative instruments to facilitate law enforcement in the Federation.

“The Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Sustainable Development, the Citizenship by Investment Programme, the Ministry of Education and Information, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, among others, have been identified as key players in the socioeconomic agenda for the current year,” said Minister Carty, who added that the need for continuing the work of electoral reform guided by the recommendations of the Commonwealth Report was asserted.

“One of the outstanding features among the recommendations is the important activity of constituency boundaries review,” reported Mr. Carty.

He said Prime Minister Douglas concluded his presentation noting his satisfaction with maximum freedom of expression in the Federation.

Mr. Carty said the Cabinet discussed the salient points of the Prime Minister’s presentation and in addition reviewed some of the closing events for 2011.

“High praise was evident for the Ministry of Culture and the Security Forces for the hosting of a slate of very successful and incident-free carnival events. The inaugural flight of Air Canada on December 23, 2011 was recalled with a great sense of prospect as the flight will continue into the Federation weekly contributing to the growth of the Tourism industry and providing greater travel access to our nationals at home and abroad,” said Minister Carty.

He said discussions ensued in relation to the duty-free imports scheme operating in the month of December, and VAT reduction Day, December 22, when the Value Added Tax was reduced to 7%.Reports indicate that businesses and consumers were very satisfied with these government initiatives.

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