This, during the 2012 Budget Address delivered to the Nevis Island Assembly on Friday morning at Hamilton House under the theme: Supporting Sustainable Growth and Development while Improving Fiscal Balance.
“Despite the challenge of a world recession and the closure of the Four Seasons Resort in 2008, we remained composed and continued with the implementation of an ambitious agenda of people empowerment, social and economic transformation,” said the Premier, who was delivering his sixth budget since assuming office in July 2006.
The Premier said, the NRP- led government has created 1,000 new jobs, pioneered the exploration of geothermal energy, attracted the first wind energy plant in the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) to Nevis, constructed over 300 affordable homes,(including the Cherry Gardens residential community), negotiated and facilitated the reopening of the Four Seasons Resort, which currently employs about 775 persons, facilitated the opening and expansion of Brown Hill Communications, increased the water supply by 1.1 million gallons per day resulting in a 24- hour service to all communities even during periods of drought, and constructed new village roads and upgraded the island’s road network.
He also mentioned the successful negotiation with the Federal Government which empowered the Nevis Inland Revenue Department, to collect income taxes from all companies doing business in Nevis.
Social action programs were launched, the Premier said, including the Homework Assistance Program (HAP), senior citizens recreational programs, and community libraries. In addition, four community centers and one refurbished center have been put into place.
The government has empowered civil servants to buy land, build new homes and improve existing homes at reduced interest rates with the Civil Servants Mortgage Loan Scheme, the Premier said.
“We have reduced poverty from 32% in 2008, to 15% in 2009 and for this the NRP should be applauded,” a beaming Parry said as he spoke of poverty alleviation.
In the area of crime, achievements included the construction of modern police barracks at Bath Plain and Butlers, and installation of CCTV (cameras) in strategic locations to assist in the fight against crime.
Under education, the Premier said the NRP-led Administration had provided scholarships for vocational and tertiary education to more than 200 young Nevisians, and provided free laptops to fourth, fifth and sixth form students.
“The progress that Nevis has witnessed over the past five years under the NRP- led government has no parallel in its history. In five short years our record has surpassed that of the Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM) party’s fourteen years in government”, stated the visibly pleased Premier.
When the Assembly opened Friday, the elected representative of St. George’s parish, the Hon. Vance Amory of the CCM party was finally sworn in after missing four sessions of the august body since the July 11, 2011 local elections.
Immediately following the formality, the Hon. Vance Amory, led his colleague the Hon. Alexis Jeffers, elected representative for the St. James’ Parish, out of the Assembly refusing to do the people’s business.
Amory who draws salaries from both the Nevis Island Assembly and the Federal Parliament boycotted all sessions of the Federal Parliament Budget Session last week, creating dubious history.
For live viewing of the Nevis Island Assembly please visit www.livestream.com/ntv8.