St. Kitts and Nevis PM Harris Slammed for Misleading Nation

Dr. Douglas slams St. Kitts and Nevis PM Harris for misleading nation on the state of the economy; cites high youth unemployment

Basseterre, St. Kitts – Leader of the Opposition, the Right Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas has accused St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris of misleading the country on the state of the economy and its performance.

Dr. Harris at his press conferences has been speaking of “a booming economy,” yet, the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) statistics shown the twin-island Federation has slipped from number one under the Labour Party administration to fourth under the Timothy Harris-led Team Unity Government.

St. Kitts and Nevis PM Harris Slammed for Misleading Nation

Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris

“The projected GDP growth for 2018 has been revised by the ECCB and the IMF from a growth projection 3.7% to 2.6%. St. Kitts and Nevis has slipped from first in the OECS in terms of GDP economic growth, to fourth place, after Antigua and Barbuda (6.06%), Grenada (3.96%) and St. Vincent and the Grenadines (2.7%). St. Kitts and Nevis has seen a 32% reduction in exports of goods and services to the United States and has slipped from first place in the OECS and Barbados on this important measure,” Dr. Douglas told listeners to his weekly radio programme “Ask the Leader,” on Tuesday night.

He asked: “How can this stagnating economy be considered buoyant by any measure when Dr. Harris and his Team Unity administration have attracted not one new major foreign direct investment to the Federation since coming to office in 2015? “

“In fact many of the projects that had been in the pipeline for investments in renewable energy projects in wind, solar and geothermal have been withdrawn,” he said, accusing Prime Minister Harris of going to London “and instead of forcefully pursuing a renewable energy project for St. Kitts and Nevis, allegedly asked for a watch, a pair of shoes and US$2 million.”

St. Kitts & Nevis Opposition leader Dr. Denzil Douglas

Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas

Dr. Douglas said his successor is not serious about doing anything to make an impact on the economy.

“Dr. Harris and his Cabinet Ministers have made enriching themselves and their families their main priority. If Dr. Harris was so confident as he says that the performance of the economy will ‘give us much hope that our tomorrow would be better than today,’ then why doesn’t he release the IMF Article IV Staff Report? Why doesn’t he make public the audited financial statements for the St. Christopher and Nevis Social Security and the Development Bank? Where are these reports? Instead, he keeps citing from a so-called ECCB report from June 2018 which cannot be found anywhere in the public domain,” said the former Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.

Accusing Dr. Harris of trying to get away with his creative accounting that tries to paint a rosy picture about the performance of the economy of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. Douglas noted:

“The majority of Kittitians and Nevisians, businesses big and small are struggling to remain open or have closed because of the steep drop in profits; youth unemployment is high and many people, especially our single mothers have to be doubling up on jobs,” said Dr. Douglas, who pointed out that many new graduates, fresh out of high school and college cannot find means of gainful employment in their careers of choice.

“The Harris administration will never be able to measure up to the solid and strong economic performance of my former Labour administration. For the better part of the 20 years of the Labour administration, St. Kitts and Nevis had had solid growth under Labour, regularly experiencing highs of 10, 8, 6 and 5%,” said Dr. Douglas.

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