BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, June 29, 2022 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris has put to rest any speculation that the new correctional facility being constructed in the Estridge area will cost the Government and people of St. Kitts and Nevis over two billion EC dollars.
The Prime Minister explained that the project is being financed by developers through the latest innovation of the country’s Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programme called the Alternative Investment Option, which allows for government-approved public infrastructure projects to be constructed by private sector developers at their expense in exchange for a portion of CBI investment.
“The idea behind this was to let people come in with the money, build things that the country needs and in return we will give them the opportunity to participate in our CBI programme,” Prime Minister Harris said while noting that other developments such as the Ramada Hotel was brought to St. Kitts through a similar arrangement under the real estate option.
“I want to make it clear that contrary to what [some former ministers] are saying that this [facility] will cost us $2.25 billion, tell them not one cent of government money is going to that. Not one cent!” Dr. Harris exclaimed.
Prime Minister Harris said it is public knowledge that the current prison facility in Basseterre has long outlived its usefulness. He said the new modern and humane correctional facility being built will be better suited to rehabilitation and meeting international standards.
“Our citizens and residents there, they are people too. They have their sons and their daughters, mothers and fathers, who want to know that in our prisons they are safe. The human rights body…has written to us time and time again and said the prison was overcrowded and that we needed a new one and everybody agrees. The problem was that we couldn’t find the money to build, at that time, a modern prison. And so, recognizing that by ignoring the problem it will not go away, we had to find creative ways to do the right thing for our citizens,” Dr. Harris said.
Prime Minister Harris further noted that the decision to move forward with the construction of the new prison facility was unanimously supported in Cabinet in 2021.