“As we stand at 35, we are forced to conclude, as eminent attorney Anthony Gonsalves QC has, that we have achieved quite a lot of accomplishments that far outweigh our petite size and limited resources,” said Prime Minister Harris, while noting that the prudent fiscal management of the country has been above average leading to economic growth with surpluses that have been shown year after year.
He also lauded the recent marquee status that the Federation gained as a cruise destination, and the development of more top brand hotels, making the country a destination of choice. He further said that the Federation was the first English-speaking Caribbean island to be certified by PAHO/WHO for having successfully eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS.
“Our Parliament, the fulcrum of our representative democracy, is meeting regularly to conduct the people’s business,” he stated, and noted that the housing stock in the Federation is far better than it was 35 years ago.
“In the short time of 3-plus years, a record of 2,500 persons have directly benefited from housing solutions of this administration,” Prime Minister Harris said.
He highlighted that although there is much to be proud of there are still room for improvement and topics of concerns to be addressed.
“We are concerned with violence and other criminal activities in our Country and we shall provide a holistic and comprehensive response to this phenomenon in our state,” he said.
He also mentioned that reform and social intervention programmes such as the Explorers Clubs and the TAPS programmes in schools will be beneficial to national building and shifting the dynamics of the youth away from a life of crime at an early age.
“Our pride in our nation is rightly based on our achievements at home and how well we are regarded by the international community,” he said, while sharing the good news that qualified holders of St. Kitts and Nevis passports wanting to renew their U.S. visas are no longer required to meet the cost of travel to and accommodation in Barbados.
The Prime Minister added that “our future must build upon what is now a strong and firm foundation for nationhood. Both at home and abroad, we must continue to strengthen our resolve and commitment towards building an even stronger country.”