BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, MAY 28th, 2016 (PRESS SEC) – Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris yesterday, Friday, declared the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis’ third-ever Business Fair officially open at the Independence Square and highlighted the successes of the Fresh Start program in his brief remarks.

This year’s fair, which formed part of the activities to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the Development Bank, featured the products of 30 of the bank’s business clients.  Eight businesses out of the 30 are beneficiaries of the US$5 million Fresh Start program, which the Dr. Harris-led Team Unity administration launched in September 2015.

The entrepreneurs at yesterday’s fair who have received concessionary loans and technical assistance from the Development Bank under Fresh Start are: Tyrilda Clarke, who owns Tyrilda’s Hair Salon located in the Amory Mall; Joan Hamilton of Tabernacle, who manufactures shoes and sandals; Peggy James, who owns Kidz Closet located upstairs Ashburry’s Duty Free; Asha Julius of LaGuerite, Basseterre, who owns a kids’ party entertainment business; Troy Prince of Upper Cayon, a carpenter who makes bedroom furniture; Cheryl Richardson of Pond’s Extension, who provides printing, laminating and binding services; Petrina Warner of Five Ways, McKnight, who provides tailoring services, and Serena Weekes of Pond’s Extension, who provides cosmetology services.

“We are pleased that the Development Bank is the entity through which we were able to introduce our Fresh Start program.  Over 200 applicants were successful under the program,” Prime Minister Harris said.  The Prime Minister gave a profile of Fresh Start, saying that “The range of beneficiaries under this program is quite interesting, and involves trucking, taxi and omnibus operation, cosmetology, broiler chicken farming and layer bird production, pig farming, catering, e-commerce, light manufacturing, agriculture, agro-processing, arts and crafts, music, and videography, and the list, of course, goes on and on.”

Prime Minister Harris added that, “Persons, who have benefited, I am advised, range in age from 25 to 45.  The age range, of course, covers the peak childbearing age and the peak employment age, allowing families in St. Kitts and Nevis then to have a viable opportunity to achieve financial stability and social mobility and to raise children with all the advantages that can be provided.”

The Prime Minister said the Fresh Start program builds upon the meaningful work of “the people’s bank,” which opened its doors to the public on May 22nd, 1981 after being incorporated under the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis Act of that year.

“In the 35 years since then, the Development Bank has grown into a highly esteemed and culturally significant organization that has already left an indelible and positive impact on the local community,” Prime Minister Harris said.  “That’s because hundreds of our people have received financial and technical assistance from the Development Bank, to develop medium, small and micro-enterprises in high-value areas, such as agriculture and farming, manufacturing, and housing.  Hundreds more, who could not qualify for loans from commercial banks, have received housing loan assistance from the Development Bank, enabling them to raise a family in a comfortable and dignified environment.  Furthermore, many of the loan recipients’ children, who benefited from the stable lifestyle engendered by an enhanced housing stock, have gone on to receive educational loans from the Development Bank.  That, of course, will allow them to achieve even greater mobility.  The statistics, of course, would reveal that the Development Bank is the most significant entity in terms of the provision of educational loans, and so hundreds of our citizens at home and abroad owe a debt of gratitude to the Development Bank for its contribution to their education and training.”

The Prime Minister commended the Board of Directors, the Management and Staff of the Development Bank for “their hard work and steadfastness in serving the critical elements of the economy – the small and medium enterprises of our country and indeed the micro-enterprise sector.”  Dr. Harris commended Mr. Auckland Hector, who has had the longest tenure as General Manager (1982 to 2006).  Prime Minister Harris acknowledged Mr. Ivan DeGrasse, who served as interim General Manager in the early life of the institution.  The Prime Minister also commended Mr. Lenworth Harris, the General Manager since October 2006.

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