Making comparisons with European nations that took the path of austerity measures, Premier Parry who was speaking on his weekly ‘In Touch With the Premier’ program aired live on Choice 105.3FM, made mention of the French and Greek governments that have fallen, and the British economy that has gone back into double-dip recession.
He pointed out that many in Europe are complimenting President Barack Obama on a number of things, and acknowledging that the policies that he undertook nearly three years ago were the right policies, and even though the United States still has its challenges, its economy is not in the state that Europe is in.
“When you speak of economic growth, you are talking about employment, income growing and money in the government treasury to pay the government bills, economic stability, a strong economy, and promotion of growth,” said Hon. Parry. “We are not talking about taxes here, we are talking about promotion of growth.”
He reminded his listeners that the Four Seasons Resort on Nevis closed at the height of the recession, and his NRP-led administration was able to use the Nevis Housing and Land Development Corporation (NHLDC) to stimulate jobs, and put money in the economy.
At the height of the recession government unveiled a stimulus package of $10 million that gave employment to people and circulated money in the economy, the result of which Nevis now has a number of buildings that include community centres, the new market in Charlestown, a new police station in Cotton Ground, the expansion of the schools and a school kitchen in Charlestown.
“If you promote jobs and provide jobs, when people work they will also need food and clothes and you create demand,” said Parry. “People need to understand that it is not by accident that people are still working on Nevis. It is not by accident that the economy is holding together, it is because of the government of Nevis.
“You have to give credit to the Nevis Island Administration for understanding not only the basics of economics, which we have understood, but the capability of applying those basics to situations like a recession to try to stabilize the economy. Of course we were not 100 percent successful, but we did enough so that people can keep their heads above the water.”
The Premier also announced that in an attempt to advance economic growth for Nevis, he was leaving for Washington DC on Wednesday (May 9) where will meet with officials from the Export Import (EX-IM) Bank to continue to work towards geothermal energy until it finally materialises on the island of Nevis.
“I am pleased Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Dr Denzil Douglas, has openly supported geothermal energy, and has told Kittitians that it will be for the benefit of all the persons on St. Kitts and Nevis,” said the Premier.
That support is vital, he said.
Parry, also hit out at the Opposition in Nevis which had made disparaging remarks about his government’s efforts to bring geothermal energy to Nevis, claiming “they didn’t want to see it happen”.
Turning to the financial services sector, Premier Parry said that while his government has been working on attracting more business, he was amazed at the opposition’s folly, when Mark Brantley traveled to the BVI, which is in serious competition with Nevis, to announce that crime is on the rise in Nevis. He pointed out that while crime was higher in the BVI, they do not talk about it.
“But our policies will not fail, because we are determined and we are resolute, and we are focused and will do what we have to do, and so we continue to promote financial services and seeking to maintain our reputation right here on the island of Nevis,” said the Premier.
Hon. Parry, who is also the Minister of Tourism in the Nevis Island Administration, said that his government was working to diversity the tourism product, and announced that there will be a ground-breaking ceremony in early June in the New River area for the cosmetology centre, which forms part of government’s effort in promoting health tourism, and which on completion will employ 150 persons.
He also noted that there a committee in place in Charlestown that is seeking to improve the drainage system, the garbage system, to try to make sure they work, and also to ensure that bridge traffic is properly regulated and controlled, and to have the pier area under control because the island also needs to do some work in cruise tourism.
Other areas earmarked for tourism development will include the historic Bath area, which includes the Bath Hotel, the Bath Stream, Bath Village, and the old baths. He said Saddle Hill is another area the government is working on, to add to the already established Heritage Village at Fothergills and the Botanical Gardens as tourist attractions.
While it is official that American Eagle is closing its hub in Puerto Rico, and will cease flying into the Caribbean from early next year, Parry said that his government has ensured airlift into and out of Nevis by retaining the services of LIAT, WINAIR, Cape Air, Air Sunshine and the latest addition, Air Montserrat.
“In spite of all the economic challenges, we keep working and the good thing is people can see that even when other people are criticizing, and saying things, sometimes they expose themselves and they demonstrate they do not know what they are talking about, and sometimes they open the door for us to perform, and people begin to understand our performance,” concluded the Premier.