Opinion by Mar Williams,
I would like to give my first hand observation of what is taking place in St Kitts. Sometimes even the media, as in the case of Ken Richards and LK Hewlett, skew the information to portray such a negative view of St. Kitts and Nevis that you’d think that it is better to live in Iraq and Syria.
We have to thank God for allowing us to have an incident free and successful carnival.
Now, as a result of the Labour Party decry, calling for a Carnival boycott and that NOTHING HAPPENING IN SKN, many persons have not been able to see and focus on the achievements of the Team Unity Government. For the second time in a row, the government has been able to achieve surpluses in its budgets. What exactly is a surplus? This simply means that the government is earning more money or revenue than it is spending even though it has given up loads of revenue by having a VAT Day. It was because of this excellent management of the country’s finances, why the government was able to pay a 13th month salary in December of 2016.
Those who are interested in Development Economics would be happy to know that according to Social Security statistics, there are some 23,000 persons employed in SKN’s Formal Economy and are paying Social Security contributions. Note, I said the Formal Economy because there is also an Informal Economy where there are persons who are self employed and are not contributing to Social Security such as those who plait and comb hair, the freco-man and even the ladies who sell on Bank Street in the night. What is important here is that people are working and are able to buy for themselves the basic needs of life, such as food, clothing and shelter.
There has also been a significant improvement in health care. For the first time MRI is available to our people and we no longer have to travel to Antigua and Anguilla for these MRI tests.
Secondly, persons diagnosed with cancer either had to find the money to go overseas for treatment or quietly sing the old hymn “Lord I Am Coming Home”. Today we have an oncology centre or in plain words, we have a cancer centre here where patients can be treated.
Thirdly, gone are the days when there was a 20’x10’ room up at JNF which we referred to as the Crazy-House. Today we have what is called the Mental Health Centre to take care of those who are mentally challenged . There is also a new Mary Charles Hospital which received some $1,000,000 to uplift the quality of health care there. Imagine the people from Phillip’s and the environs now have access to a Trauma Centre, a Maternity Ward and an area for diagnostic testing. There is also improved spacing there for doctors now and as of this year 2017, they’re going to add full EMS and Ambulance services. So if you thought 2016 was good, 2017 will be an even more fantastic year in terms of what is being delivered to the people to improve both standards of living and equality. Yet, NOTHING HAPPENING IN SKN!
On your watch list for 2017, I want you to keep an eye out for the following:
– For those who hold our premier high school close to their hearts, would see the commencement of a new BHS located north of the Seven Day Adventist Primary School. This will be built on a large expanse of land away from traffic jam and unwanted noises.
– A new cruise pier at Port Zante, but closer to New Town, to help accommodate the large number of cruise ships which Minister Lindsay Grant has contracted to Saint Kitts. Taxi Operators be prepared for the flood of taxi passengers.
– A new health centre for the people of Tabernacle and the environs.
If one is to sensibly and objectively project what is happening in the country, one has to firstly examine the projected expenses in the budget. One has to look to see where the emphasis is placed and where the money is going to be spent. In order to combat the crime scourge we are faced with today, measures have been put in place reduce and eradicate criminal activities.
Firstly, upon examination we have observed that there is a 10% increase towards National Security. This increase in expenditure not only caters for the improvement of the physical infrastructure such as police stations but is also geared in providing the necessary training and discipline for the officers. On July 27th 2016 SKNIS quoted COP Queeley as saying that the process of police transfers is the most transparent he has ever seen in his 33 years as a police officer. Yet, NOTHING HAPPENING IN SKN!
The 2017 budget has also provided special allowances for officers going beyond the call of duty. In fact, when police officers are asked to forfeit their leave and holidays etc. in an effort to provide for the Security of the State, they are now handsomely rewarded for their sacrifice. This incentive is certainly going to have a positive motivational impact on the Police Force.
I also see that there is going to be an increase in recruitment in both defence force and police officers thus ensuring that the manpower is adequate in providing our security needs. It was just a few weeks ago that the Defence Force received over 8 vehicles costing over $800,000 through the Taiwanese initiative. This move certainly puts our security forces in the strongest position ever. In other words, the government has provided the infrastructure and equipment so it is up to the High Command to deliver the proverbial goods now. What more can they ask for? Yet, NOTHING HAPPENING IN SKN!
Many citizens are concerned about the porosity of our borders and how guns are getting into the country. I am sure concerned citizens like Terry Adams would now be happy to know that the coast guard headquarters is now being renovated, sea vessels have been repaired and ALL are now fully operational. Today the Coast Guard fleet is at its strongest ever in the last 10 years. Yet, nothing happening…!
Given that witnesses are reluctant to give testimony on crimes they have witnessed because they fear for their lives, the government has now invested some 5 million dollars in the first phase of CCTV. This first phase encompasses Basseterre, Frigate Bay, St. Peters and the West Farm area. Yet, NOTHING HAPPENING IN SKN!
In 2008, Obama inherited a real mess from the Bush Administration and in an effort to revive the US economy, Obama, like President Franklyn Roosevelt during the Great Depression in the 1930s, had to develop ways to stimulate the US economy and he pumped billions of dollars into the Auto Industry and the Banking System. Similarly, the Team Unity government has decided to further stimulate our economy by investing some 50 million dollars in the construction and housing industry. In addition, we would see the opening of Park Hyatt Hotel, Koi Resort at Conaree and possibly the new Radisson Hotel, overlooking the first roundabout in Frigate Bay. Which other country can boast of three major facilities/projects in one year. 2017 is definitely going to be progressive and irie!!!
Yet, Douglas and Marcella say, nothing happening in SKN! POOF!