BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, March 30, 2023 (SKNIS) – The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis, since taking office in August 2022, has had to make several tough and prudent decisions to stabilize the country and protect the people of the Federation, particularly the most vulnerable in society.
Speaking at his press conference earlier today (Thursday, March 30), Prime Minister the Honourable Dr. Terrance Drew said, “We have taken the tough decisions, the prudent decisions to make sure that this country will once again become Number One. That is what we are striving for.”
With respect to electricity in the country, Prime Minister Dr. Drew said the Government will absorb a huge financial burden to ensure that citizens and residents can enjoy a reliable electricity supply.
“The generators were old and dilapidated. We had to rush to buy new generators, send parts to France that took months to repair. We have a bill in front of us of $109 million to get two updated generators, plus we might have to go into renting at the cost of $300,000 plus per month [in addition to fuel], and none of that cost we are passing on to our people because post-COVID we are saying that we cannot leave our people without electricity. I’m sure it will cost us more than $100 million this year just to keep electricity prices at a cost our people can afford. Of course, that takes away from the social programmes you want to have but water is essential, electricity is essential and so we had to make tough decisions,” Dr. Drew stated.
The Prime Minister said the Government also had to make tough decisions in relation to the social programmes in the country.
He said, “I have met with international financial organizations … that are saying to us that our social programmes are so big that they can buckle the country. But I took the decision that you can’t just pull away the social programmes; you can’t just take away PAP [Poverty Alleviation Programme] like that and we have decided that we will not take it away. This year, we are spending $30 million on PAP alone. [The international financial organizations] say well Mr. Minister of Finance how can you sustain that? But if you forego all these people at the same time, it’s going to hurt people badly. So, we had to make a decision and say we’ll take care of the most vulnerable and others.”
Dr. Drew added that “Social Security is paying more out than it is taking in. That is not sustainable. Therefore, while they are calling for stricter measures, I am saying that we have to be compassionate with our people. And so, we have taken certain decisions to protect our people even though sometimes you might say it comes with a little bit of pain or a little bit of bitterness.”
Prime Minister Dr. Drew said the people of St. Kitts and Nevis chose an administration that can make the tough decisions “to keep our country on solid footing.”