Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. Timothy Harris, speaking at a town hall meeting here on Tuesday night, said that the money had been paid off to “bring an end to the national disgrace” that had been brought upon the twin island Federation by the former Denzil Douglas administration.
“Imagine that I paid off Douglas’ debt, 117 million dollars, and I still come to the country to say, year after year, month after month, under my watch that the country is in surplus,” he told the meeting.
Harris, flanked by members of his Team Unity administration, said that when it came to office in 2015, it was faced with an estimated total public debt US$1.05 billion, which he said was about 200 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP).
He told supporters that the debt-to-GDP ratio now currently stands close to 60 per cent in keeping with international standards.
“This Team Unity administration has held true to its mandate to work for the people,” Prime Minister Harris said at the meeting dubbed “Good Governance and Accountability for Prosperity”.
“What we say is what the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank has said, that we are the best-performing country in the Caribbean. What we say is what the Caribbean Development Bank has said time and time again. What we say is what the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean has said – St. Kitts and Nevis is performing better than all the rest.
“What we say, because our word is our bond, what the International Monetary Fund said in its Article IV Consultation dated July 26th, 2016. We are top of the class,” Harris said, adding “we have been able to have that performance because the country is in competent hands.”
Prime Minister Harris defended the decision to pay a double salary pay out to public servants in December, saying that it positively impacted approximately 10,000 people.
“We paid a 13-month salary equivalent to an 8.3 per cent increase…because the country is being competently managed. That will be part of our legacy. That is part of good governance,” Harris said.
- Countries: St_Kitts_Nevis