PM Douglas tells nationals to look to the future with hope and optimism in creation of a new society

St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas in his New Year’s address (photo by Erasmus Williams)

ST. KITTS, JANUARY 1, 2011 (CUOPM) – Nationals and residents of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis have been told to look to the future with hope and optimism, to set ambitious goals and to take advantage of every opportunity provided in the economy to realize these goals.

St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Hon, Dr. Denzil L. Douglas in his New Year’s message called on nationals to embrace and adopt the national vision as their very own.

Expressing confidence that through a united and steadfast effort, a new society can be created in St. Kitts and Nevis, Prime Minister Douglas said that a critical weapon in the fight against poverty is economic growth.

“That is why my Government is determined to; at least, double our per capita income over the next decade and to ensure that all segments of our society share in that growth. It is easy to consider this goal overly ambitious in the context of the global recession that is affecting our Federation. But we do not expect that the global recession will continue throughout the decade,” said Prime Minister Douglas, who noted there are already signs that the global recession is easing-up and that economic recovery is in its early stages in St. Kitts and Nevis.

“Moreover, we have already put in motion a number of the initiatives and projects that will be required to take us to the new society that we are striving to create by the end of this decade,” said Dr. Douglas.

He said that in the new society, Government want to ensure that there is balanced integrated development throughout St. Kitts and Nevis so that more people would be able to work near to where they live, and that the trend towards urbanization would be reversed.

“We are pleased therefore that the Nevis Island Administration has unveiled a range of projects that will significantly enhance employment and entrepreneurial opportunities throughout the island of Nevis,” said Dr. Douglas, who also pointed to similar plans for St. Kitts.

“In St. Kitts, on the north-western tip of the island, the Kittitian Hill Resort is under construction, and the Beaumont Park facilities are continuing into new phases that will include additional entertainment facilities and luxurious villas. Moreover, in the southeast of the island, the expansive 2500-acre Christophe Harbour golf resort and marina is under construction, and the infrastructure in respect of the 340-acre Coast to Coast Development that will include luxurious resort, residential and commercial properties, is under construction,” the Prime Minister told the Nation.

Dr. Douglas said work is continuing in respect of Ocean’s Edge Resort, Silver Reef Condominiums, Sunrise Villas and the Marriott Vacation Club in Frigate Bay and in the suburbs of Basseterre, the completion of the F. T. Williams Highway will now lead to aggressive development of Beacon Heights and other projects in the Olivees, Dewars, Buckley’s and Shadwell footholds.

Prime Minister Douglas said his Government’s aim is that over the next decade, the focus of economic development would move inwards from the northwest and from the southeast and eventually secure the balanced integrated development of the entire island of St. Kitts.

“We also expect that the offshore universities and medical schools would give rise to clusters of activities around them to the benefit of the nearby communities. We see these educational institutions as playing very critical roles in our development. Indeed, it is now estimated that their contribution to GDP could be as much as 10%. We therefore intend to support this sector through effective marketing and public relations, a streamlined and transparent investment process, and an internationally accepted accreditation and regulatory mechanism. We will exert every effort to achieve a competitive advantage in this important sector that has the potential to rival tourism in terms of foreign exchange earnings and economic activity,” said Prime Minister Douglas.

Giving every indication that tourism will to continue to be the leading sector over the next decade, Dr. Douglas said more resources will be committed to tourism safety and security, product development and tourism marketing with a view to reaching into more segments of the tourism markets including sports tourism, wedding and honeymoons, ecotourism, medical and wellness tourism.

He said Government was already working with consultants to develop a brand for the tourism product that will distinguish it from other destinations.

“As you would have observed from our initiatives in all sectors of the economy, it is not our intention to create a tourism monoculture in our Federation but we are cognizant of the fact that tourism brings benefits that accrue to most of the other sectors of the economy including handicraft, entertainment, financial services, and agriculture. We expect that the integrated Tourism-Agriculture Farm at La Vallee will fully demonstrate this synergy,” said Prime Minister Douglas, who added that as the tourism sector grows, it will generate infrastructural expansion and services, and further sustain our national development.

He spoke of the urgency being given to the construction of the Fixed Based Operation (FBO) at the Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw International Airport is being pursued.

Prime Minister Douglas also said that the Basseterre Waterfront Redevelopment Project must now move rapidly in this decade from the conceptual and planning stages to the actual design, financing and implementation stages, with the reality of a second cruise pier more urgent than before.

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