St. Kitts and Nevis to benefit from European Union multi-million dollar funding

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, FEBRUARY 7TH 2011 (CUOPM) – St. Kitts and Nevis is to benefit from a record high EURO 130.2 million (US$162.7 million) in grant funding to nine Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries allocated last year.

A statement from the Barbados-based European Union Delegation to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean said the EU provided EURO 5.7 million (US$7.12 million) to St. Kitts and Nevis last year which went towards a Safety and Security Programme, the aim of which is to construct a new prison for those on remand, psychiatric prisoners and repeat offenders; renovation of a number of police stations and coast guard facilities and upgrade the fleet of the Ministry of National Security.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Mrs. Hilary Hazel told the Communications Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister (CUOPM) on Monday that the EU support referenced in the article represents money allocated to SKN under the 10th European Development Fund (ECF) Programme.

“We have to sign a Financing Agreement which we are still awaiting the EU notification. Therefore we have not received the funds to date,” said Mrs. Hazel.

The EURO 130.2 million (US$162.7 million) “clearly demonstrates the continued commitment by the European Union to supporting the Caribbean States, especially in these difficult times of a sustained financial and economic crisis and natural disasters like Hurricane Tomas,” said Ambassador Valeriano Diaz, Head of the European Union Delegation, to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean.

The EU said that the funds contributed to the social development of the small island states and their economic stability.

It said that budgetary support “as a delivery instrument that provided up to EURO 59 million (US$72 million) or 45 percent of the overall development assistance.”

“This was especially crucial at times when the countries in the region battled with lack of fiscal space and a rising debt problem. In order to benefit from budgetary support, recipient countries have to demonstrate macroeconomic stability, improvements in public finance management and progress in the implementation of the supported strategies
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“The European Union is therefore keen in intensifying its dialogue with the countries concerned on these important matters,” the statement said.

It said that the overall disbursement total also includes banana payments totalling EURO 19 million (US$23.7 million) which was distributed in St. Lucia, Dominica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines to assist them in diversification of the agricultural sector and to create safety nets for banana farmers.

In the case of Antigua and Barbuda, the European Union disbursed nine million EUROS (US$11.2 million) under its special vulnerability assistance scheme which was set up to help eligible African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries deal with the affects of the global financial crisis.

“This contribution allowed the Government of Antigua to fill a financing gap and maintain critical social expenditure as it supported government’s macro-economic and fiscal reform programme in conjunction with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the EU said.

In the case of Barbados, the European Union disbursed EURO 12.1 million (US$15.12 million) in grants in 2010.

The main highlight of the support was EURO 4.94 million (US$6.17million) in support of the country’s Information and Communication Technology strategy, along with another major payment of EURO 4.7 million (US$5.86 million) budget support disbursement towards the International Business and Financial Services sector.

Other aspects of the overall intervention include the signing of the first phase of a sector budget support programme towards the implementation of a Human Resource Development Programme, assessment of the country’s Public Finance Management systems, institutional strengthening of the International Business Division of the Corporate Affairs and Intellectual.

Disbursements in Dominica totalled EURO 16.3 million (US$20.38 million) which included vulnerability assistance of EURO 8.15 million (US$10.1 million) in the form of budgetary support which went towards funding some of government’s priority programmes in education, health, water management and housing. Some of this assistance was also channelled towards a Private Sector Growth and Development programme.

Banana related payments in Dominica amounted to EURO 842,000 (US$1.05 million).

In the case of Grenada, that island benefitted from payments totalling EURO 11 million (US$13.7 million) which included two vulnerability assistance payments of EURO 7.3 million (US$9.12 million).

“This major contribution allowed the Government of Grenada to fund social projects such as the book rental programme, the school feeding programme, transportation assistance to school children, road improvement and maintenance programme, the public assistance programme and the de-bushing or roadside clearing programme.”

The EU said that it also provided banana related payments totalling EURO 352,000 (US$400,000).

The EU provided EURO 5.7 million (US$7.12 million) to St. Kitts and Nevis last year which went towards a Safety and Security Programme the aim of which is to construct a new prison for those on remand, psychiatric prisoners and repeat offenders; renovation of a number of police stations and coast guard facilities and upgrade the fleet of the Ministry of National Security.

Last year payments totalling EURO 28 million (US$35 million) were made to St. Lucia which went mainly towards the construction of the New National Hospital. The EU also provided assistance following the passage of Hurricane Tomas in November. The country also received banana related payments of EURO 11.4 million (US$14.2 million).

In the case of St. Vincent and the Grenadines disbursements totalling EURO 14 million (US$17.7 million).

“This funding went towards an ongoing programme to transform rural agriculture. Banana related payments amounted to EURO 6.4 million (US$8 million) .The country also received assistance following damage caused by Hurricane Tomas.

Funds were also made available to the British Overseas territories of Anguilla and Montserrat to the tune of EURO 12.7 million (US$17.2 million).

The European Union also said that payments to a number of projects established and administered in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean and funded from the EU’s allocation to CARICOM totalled EURO 20.2 million (US$25.2 million). These included the rum project, the Caribbean Export Development Agency and the Caribbean Knowledge and Learning Network.

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