BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, May 25, 2020 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris has hailed the excellent performance of his Team Unity-led administration that has delivered safer streets, an improved health care sector, larger and more affordable homes, employment opportunities, improved public infrastructure and positive economic growth year after year.
This significant transformation was achieved despite the fact that shortly after taking office, the Dr. Timothy Harris-led Government paid off the $117 million debt the country owed to the International Monetary Fund (IMF)—a debt which it inherited from its predecessor.
To give citizens and residents a clearer picture of what Team Unity has accomplished, Prime Minister Harris, while making his presentation at the Sunday, May 24 Team Unity Virtual Meeting, compared the economic record of St. Kitts and Nevis under the bygone Denzil Douglas administration to that of his Team Unity Government.
“Under those who we voted out in February 2015, our country was being scorned. The most indebted country in the Caribbean, a country that had been bankrupt, a country that had to go to the IMF and borrow a quarter of a billion dollars to pay wages and salaries, to buy toilet paper for the JNF Hospital and to be able to operate. We had a debt to GDP ratio of nearly 200 percent – 199. Look where we are now. The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank said that by 2030, its wish is that member states would achieve a debt-to-GDP ratio of 60 percent. St. Kitts and Nevis, 12 years ahead of that [2030 target date], reached a debt-to-GDP ratio of 59 percent and now today we are at 55 percent because we have managed the resources of our country well,” Dr. Harris explained.
Because of the astute financial management of the fiscal resources, St. Kitts and Nevis attained the target benchmark of 60 percent debt-to-GDP ratio in March 2016.
Most notably is that the Government of the day has achieved this feat without the need to burden its people with new or increased taxes.
“We have not over the last five years introduced one single tax yet our finances are the best of any government around the world,” the prime minister lamented.
Rather than increasing taxes, the Team Unity administration did the opposite.
“We did away with VAT (Value Added Tax) on food – 17 percent gone off. We have saved you 17 percent VAT tax from educational supplies…and on funeral expenses we saved you 17 percent,” Dr. Harris added.
The Honourable prime minister also pointed to the wonderful job his administration has done to rehabilitate a number of key public infrastructure including police stations, the Coast Guard base and several schools around the island.