BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS (CUOPM) – The passage of the 2013 Budget in the St. Kitts and Nevis National Assembly last Tuesday was not only an historic session but gives a road map to this Nation’s future in a responsible and sustainable manner.
In a front page story in its weekend edition, the Labour Spokesman, noted that the Report of the Director of Audit the Federal Government for the year ended 31st December 2011, the Federal Government recorded surpluses on both the current and capital accounts for three of the last four years between 2008 and 2011: 2008 – $131.51 million surplus; 2009 – $146.9 million surplus; 2010 – $10.45 million deficit and 2011 – $129.42 million surplus.
"The consistent and sustaining policies of the Government have borne sweet fruit for the people of this country. The country was struck by a series of hurricanes starting from 1995 to 1999 where we had four (4) hurricanes in (5) years. One of them, Hurricane Georges was an immense storm in 1998 which caused unprecedented damage. Grenada has been struck by only one major storm and to this day it is still reeling with the devastating effect of one (1) major hurricane," said the paper pointing out that St. Kitts and Nevis was struck with four major hurricanes and yet people feel that there was little effect on the country’s infrastructure and economy.
"That there has been today little visible effect was because of the dynamics of the Prime Minister (The Right Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas), who took the bold decision to repair the damages by borrowing money to repair houses and infrastructure and put the country back to work. Of course there was a price to be paid for these borrowings, but overall the country has benefitted tremendously. From a decade of overall deficits, we are now seeing the light at the end of the tunnel after the painstaking efforts of the indomitable Dr. Douglas to claw our way back up to a period of sustainable growth in the Government’s finances," the paper said.
The article noted that the economy of St. Kitts and Nevis is expected to record growth in 2013 of 1.9%, after the most challenging period in the history of the modern world since the Great Depression of the 1930’s.
It further noted that since 2008, the world has been crippled with the great economic and financial crisis which has devastated economies more powerful than ours.
"It is a tribute to the sterling leadership of the Prime Minister that the ship of state has emerged unbowed from the horrific economic storm which has battered and crippled economies such as Spain, Portugal, Greece, Ireland, Cyprus, and rocked even the great United States of America," the Spokesman said.
In 2013, Total Revenue is expected to exceed $550 million, a decrease of $50 million in the actual revenue of $608 million in 2011 and this is largely as a result in the exclusion of the revenue from the Electricity Department which is now a separate entity known as the St. Kitts Electricity Company Limited (SKELEC).
In 2011, revenue from the Citizenship by Investment Programme totalled $88 million in fees which is significant being close to 15 percent of total revenue.
"No wonder the hysterical bad – mouthing of this programme by Dwyer Astaphan and his bunch of misfits. They don’t want any good things to happen to St. Kitts and Nevis and the highly successful Citizenship by Investment Programme is their worst nightmare," the paper pointed out.
Total Expenditure is expected to be $480 million giving an overall surplus of $70 million. In terms of Recurrent Revenue this is expected to be $464 million with Recurrent Expenditure on $409 million giving a Recurrent Recount surplus of $55 million.
"Captain the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas has safely steered the ship of state through four years of rough seas. It took creative wisdom, understanding and iron will to safely escape the stormy period of the global recession and to make safe harbour. We see progress in 2013. God bless you, Dr. Douglas. God bless the Labour Government!," said the Labour Spokesman.
Photo 1 – St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas presenting the 2013 Budget Address in the St. Kitts and Nevis National Assembly (photos & Story by Erasmus Williams)