St. Kitts and Nevis sees Civil Society as Critical to Development

The Hon Dr Timothy Harris

(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana) – “Civil Society is fundamentally the most significant stakeholder in national and regional development, which obviously and pointedly includes the CARICOM Single Market and Economy”.

This position of his government was stated by Dr the Hon. Timothy Harris – Senior Minister and Minister of international Trade, Industry, Commerce, Consumer Affairs, Agriculture, Marine Resources, Cooperatives and Constituency Empowerment, to participants in two days of Consultations, 12-13 July at the St. Kitts Cooperative Credit Union in Basseterre, St. Kitts.

The interactive sessions between the CARICOM Secretariat and Civil Society organizations, part of the CARICOM Civil Society Project 2010, is facilitated by the Caribbean Policy Development Centre. The project is intended to heighten awareness within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) of the potential of Civil Society to contribute to the development agendas of Member States and the wider Caribbean Community.

Dr. Harris, who delivered the opening address and participated in the consultations, said ” It is interesting that this consultation is about connecting with civil society, which means, bringing that broad and significant mass of population that is excluded from the state executive and profit making entities.” The Minister described the consultation as ” timely, because at all times, we must ensure on matters crucial for our survival, our development and our growth, our Government and people are at one accord, not necessarily on every detail, but on the broad principles and objectives of the integration project and journey”.

In direct reference to the policy of the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis on Civil Society, Dr. Harris said “Here in our Federation, we firmly acknowledge that civil society is not hindrance, but rather a most critical element in realizing good governance. Let me then reaffirm our faith in civil society”.

The “CARICOM Civil Society Project 2010” is holding consultations with civil society in Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Now that Consultations have been held in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, and St. Kitts and Nevis, next in the sequence are Trinidad and Tobago, 19-21 July, Barbados, 26-27 July, and Guyana, 30 July 2010.

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