SIDF to assist low-income families with homes and small businesses

Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis (Photo by Erasmus Williams)

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, JANUARY 10TH 2012 (CUOPM) – Workers in St. Kitts and Nevis who are being laid off due to the ongoing international global economic conditions which are affecting the twin-island federation are being urged to maintain contact with the Labour Department.

Speaking on his weekly radio programme “Ask the Prime Minister” on Tuesday, Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas said his government will use resources from the Sugar Industry Development Fund (SIDF) through the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis to provide assistance to low income families for home construction and start up of small businesses to create jobs and employment opportunities.

Two local manufacturers at the C. A. Paul Southwell Industrial Complex and a large construction and engineering firm were laid off since the start of the New Year.

“It was precisely in anticipation of these types of developments that his government has put in place the stabilization and stimulus programmes which will generate job opportunities. “It concerns me deeply that these individuals had to be laid off. And I urge these individuals both to maintain contact with our Labour Department in order to be kept abreast of any openings, as well as to reach out to the private sector to pursue any possibilities there,” said Prime Minister Douglas.

He said his government’s utmost and overarching priority remains the protection of Kittitians and Nevisians.

“We have taken a two pronged approach in this regard: First, we have made maximum use of whatever assets have been at our disposal in pursuit of this goal, and second, we have moved to create new and imaginative assets where they did not originally exist. And we did this so that, with so much of the world being battered economically, we would have a fighting chance of being able to protect and advance the interests of our own,” said Prime Minister Douglas.

He told listeners that at a time when traditional international donors and lenders are at the edges of their own financial precipices, “we have created the Sugar Diversification Foundation – an extraordinarily important source of funding and stabilization in areas as far afield as tourism and education, agriculture and housing, the environment and beyond.”

“We invite you, listeners, to familiarize yourselves with the many ways in which this Foundation has time and again been an absolute lifeline for our Federation in this time of global upheaval, and we ask you to do this by perusing the audited financial statements that we have asked be prepared and made accessible to you,” said the Prime Minister, who referred to the several ongoing developmental projects that are being undertaken.

He said expanded home ownership remains a top priority of his Government and in cases where low-income, prospective home owners are encountering difficulty producing the down-payment, the Sugar Diversification Foundation will work with the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis to make this possible.

“The ordinary people of this country must, at last, be the owners of appreciating assets,” said Prime Minister Douglas.

He said St. Kitts and Nevis has a number of competent, energetic, and reliable individuals with great ideas, well-thought out business plans, but no resources with which to put those plans into action. “Small businesses are the cornerstone of any economy and the Sugar Diversification Foundation will be also be a source of funding for competent, reliable, up-and-coming entrepreneurs,” Dr. Douglas told listeners to the programme.

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