PM Douglas says YES Programme helped to stimulate the economy

Prime Minister Hon Denzil Douglas poses with a group of YES Programme trainees at the St. Paul’s Community Centre last year

Charlestown Nevis (October 12, 2010) — With the world experiencing severe recession brought about by global financial crisis, the government of St. Kitts and Nevis instituted a number of measures that would reduce uncertainty and help to increase confidence.

Addressing Nevis’ 4th Annual Consultation on the Economy held on Wednesday October 6, at the Occasions Event Centre in Pinneys, Prime Minister the Hon Dr Denzil Douglas said that the Youth Empowerment through Skills (YES) Programme was one such fiscal stimulus that has helped address the country’s unemployment among the youth.

In an address read of his behalf by the Federation’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs Hon Patrice Nisbett, Dr Douglas said: “The YES Programme continues to provide employment and training opportunities for unemployed youth in the Federation. Through the YES Programme, Government has formed an alliance with the private sector, to provide employment while Government pays the wages.”

Due inclement weather as a result of the passage of a tropical wave, which was later named Tropical Storm Otto, Prime Minister Douglas as well as the Deputy Prime Minister Hon Sam Condor, Minister of Tourism Hon Richard Skerritt and a number of invited presenters from St. Kitts were unable to travel to Nevis for the consultation.

According to Prime Minister Douglas, the lack of confidence which resulted from the global financial crisis triggered the decline in world output by 1.3% in 2009 with predictions for a gradual recovery in 2010 of 1.9%, and told the consultation that in order for the turnaround to take place certain actions had to be taken by economies to support demand.

“The economy of St. Kitts and Nevis was no exception, and we also experienced significant contraction in growth in 2010,” said the Prime Minister. “Real GDP growth was estimated at negative 9.6% in 2009 against projections of negative 1.2%. This was attributed to the decline in construction and tourism, manufacturing and agriculture.”

Prime Minister Douglas noted that in the face of such threats to livelihood and standard of living, many governments introduced policy measures, adding that those strong public policies coupled with action at the international level, according to the IMF in the World Economic Outlook of October 2009 have laid concerns about global depression. “These measures reduce uncertainty and help to increase confidence,” he said.

According to Mr Vaughn Edmeade, acting manager at the YES Programme Secretariat, following the introduction of the Youth Empowerment through Skills (YES) Programme in February of last year, over 1000 persons have trained with the programme, and recently over 700 graduated and were issued with skills certificates that would allow them to work anywhere in the world.

“While the training programme is supposed to last six months, because of the state of the economy which could not absorb all the trainees, a number of the persons were on the programme for twelve months and a few for 18 months,” said Edmeade.

“After the training we concentrated on job attachments and many business places took them in and eventually several have been given fulltime employment a thing we greatly appreciate taking into consideration the stressed economy due to global financial crisis as alluded to by the Hon Prime Minister.”

Currently the YES Programme has 200 students mostly on job attachment and one class of persons doing computer skills training. In addition, “we are in the process of interviewing another 215 who will soon enroll for new classes for most of the disciplines that we have on offer,” noted Edmeade. “Young person are encouraged to call on us at the YES Programme Secretariat, which is housed at the Development Bank building in Basseterre.”

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