RADIO AND TELEVISION NEW YEAR’S ADDRESS TO THE PEOPLE OF
ST. KITTS & NEVIS
Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas
Fellow citizens, residents, visitors and well-wishers, the year 2003
has dawned. I am pleased to report that apart from a few minor
skirmishes, our Christmas and carnival seasons has unfolded and
progressed without incident. We now look forward to two glorious days of
last lap revelry. It is a great pleasure, also, to recognize and
congratulate the winners of the various categories of carnival
activities. I commend all contestants and competitors for participating
and making this carnival enjoyable and a tremendous success that it was.
Further, the collaborative venture between the Royal St. Christopher
and Nevis Police Force and the St. Kitts-Nevis Defence Force during the
carnival period has proved very effective in curbing the incidences of
crime and violence. I wish to encourage them to continue the very good
work that is being done, and at the same time, I call on all law-abiding
citizens and residents to give full support to the efforts of the crime
reduction approaches that being currently being undertaken.
My fellow citizens and residents, it is with pride and pleasure
that, on behalf of the Government and the people of the Federation of
St. Kitts & Nevis, I salute our New Year honorees. I refer here
- Mrs. Dulcie Richardson, Officer of the Most Excellent Order
of the British Empire (O.B.E.), for her unswerving contribution in the
field of education.
- Mr. Alphonso Lewis, Member of the Most Excellent Order
of the British Empire (M.B.E.), for his contribution to the Public
- Mr. Samuel Byron, Member of the Most Excellent Order
of the British Empire (M.B.E.), for his contribution in the development
of the building trades.
The achievements of these outstanding citizens serve as a reminder of
what we can accomplish as a nation through discipline, hard work and
commitment. These are the attributes that we must embrace as individuals
and as a nation, if we are to successfully deploy our varied talents
and stay on the course that we have charted for ourselves in the stormy
global waters that we must traverse at this particular time.
My fellow citizens, residents and friends, as we look to the New
Year, our people can draw on the tremendous strides made in recent
years, not only in terms of advancing themselves spiritually and
materially, but also in having weathered social and economic turbulence,
triggered, in the main, by factors not of their own creation.
In the face of a rapidly changing world, the people of our
beloved country have once again demonstrated a commitment to hard work
and courage. It is now evident that everything that occurs beyond our
borders can have a profound impact upon how we live, the problems with
which we have to grapple and the quality of life, which our people will
Against this backdrop, the year 2003 presents the same
challenges, the same dangers and the same uncertainties as the year just
ended. Our country, however, is equipped with an intelligent
population; a population, which is flexible, and can adjust to the most
testing of changes.
Our country is blessed with a democratic political system that is
sensitive to the wishes of our people. Most of all, without boasting,
our country is blessed with a government that is committed to improving
the standards of living of our people and providing our children with
better educational opportunities.
Our government ministers have been prepared to work as many hours
in a day as is necessary to reduce suffering and hardship of our
country. We renew our pledge to continue to do the same in this year of
Residents of St. Kitts & Nevis, just two weeks ago I outlined
to this country the challenges that we face as a nation and the road
map that we will follow. I wish now to express my admiration and
appreciation for the level of understanding and maturity demonstrated by
citizens in embracing the policies that we have recently outlined.
Your strong support and your cooperation will be required
throughout the year if the budget initiatives are to yield the expected
results. In particular, we are soliciting the support of the public in
counteracting the evasion of taxes and import duties through dishonest
means. We shall strengthen the enforcement of the revenue and customs
laws with a view towards bringing wrongdoers before our Courts. This is
part of our attempt to ensure that every person, every citizen makes a
fair contribution to national development and that we continue to keep
tax rates at the minimum level deemed feasible in the context of
monumental global challenges.
My fellow citizens and friends, I think it is fair to say that,
notwithstanding the vagaries of partisan politics and the motivation by
some to criticize, there is general recognition by our population of the
global economic environment and the fact that St. Kitts & Nevis,
blessed as it is, cannot escape adapting to change if it is to compete
and guarantee citizens a peaceful and happy existence.
While the term “change management” is often used in our college
and boardrooms to discuss seemingly abstract and theoretical situations,
it best describes the outlook that should inspire our actions in the
year 2003 as we grapple with the challenges this country is sure to
confront. How we adapt to and manage change will determine, to a large
extent, how successful we are in attaining the goals that we have set
for ourselves at the personal and national level.
Change Management will be essential in all money matters. With
profits from sugar continuing to decline and with ecological, aesthetic
and employment factors in the industry all very relevant, our management
of the change process will be critical to how the ultimate decision we
take in relation to sugar impacts upon our economy and our own way of
life here in St. Kitts & Nevis.
Change Management will be necessary in tourism and
infrastructural development. St. Kitts & Nevis have never housed a
project of the size and magnificence of the St. Kitts Marriot. We have
in the year 2003 therefore to adapt to the new challenges and the
demands of having such a project on our landscape. There will be more
human traffic on our roads, more heavy vehicles transporting food and
accessories, more young Kittitians and Nevisians making their way to and
from work on a daily and nightly basis. None of this is entirely new to
us, but it will all be done on a much larger scale than before. We must
adjust rapidly and manage the process of change in an efficient manner,
so as to sustain our top rating as a tourism destination.
May I remind you that the Royal St. Kitts Marriott Beach Resort
will bring untold opportunities for the entire economy inclusive of our
entertainers in the growing entertainment industry here in St. Kitts
& Nevis. It presents opportunities for our musicians, our sound,
light and recording technicians and our live performers.
Change Management will play a critical role in the development of
this entertainment industry and my Government gives a firm commitment
in protecting the intellectual property of all our artistes and all
efforts will be made in the year 2003 and beyond to enforce our
Change Management will be crucial in our lifestyles, especially
as we pursue the goal of healthy living. With incidences of chronic
diseases such as diabetes and hypertension on the rise in the Caribbean,
St. Kitts & Nevis will not escape the impact of such on its health
services and on the lives of its people. My dear people, we need in 2003
to give greater attention to the pandemic known as HIV/AIDS. This
pandemic is not controlling itself and therefore people will have to
make a concerted effort to contain and control it. HIV/AIDS is the major
threat to realizing medium and long term planning for ourselves and for
our country as a nation.
We need to manage carefully how we conduct ourselves at the
personal and most private level. With the proliferation of public
education on this subject, sexual promiscuity ought by now to be a thing
of the past for our present population¼but sadly, it is not. My dear
people, the most I can do on this occasion is to remind you of four
other probable words for the abbreviation or acronym...A-I-D-S. In
addition to Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, AIDS also reads Advice
Ignored, Death Secured. Let this be our popular refrain in the year 2003
Managing Change and becoming disciplined and consistent about the
way we adapt to that change will be the determining factors in 2003. Of
critical importance will be how we relate to each other. I am still not
satisfied with the level of tolerance, or lack thereof, that we display
for each other’s point of view. Clearly, what is required is
respectful dialogue in the interest of growth and development of the
people in our beloved country.
I wish to affirm, at this point that the issue of Constitutional
Reform for the Federation will be given greater priority in 2003. We
believe that in the context of the global environment, this option
presents the two islands the best possible way forward.
The Parliamentary Constitutional Select Committee will be more
active in finding a solution that is mutually beneficial and that would
engender the highest level of cooperation between the two beautiful
I am now pleased with the input to be provided by the University
of the West Indies, through its School of Continuing Studies here in St.
Kitts & Nevis, to launch a series of programmes designed to educate
the population on all relevant issues surrounding constitutional
reform. I therefore urge everyone to avail themselves of the
opportunities that would be provided through the UWI programme, as
informed positions can best contribute to the crucial debate on the
future of our beloved Federation.
Fellow citizens, I called two years ago for an end to the
partisan polarization that clouds our judgment in relation to what is
good and desirable for St. Kitts & Nevis. There are still too many
who are prepared to criticize for the sake of criticizing and others who
are not giving of their best, for fear of it impacting positively on
the overall outcome and image of this beautiful country of ours.
I use today to renew that call, for in the year 2003, St. Kitts
& Nevis will need all hands on deck, working together as a unit, if
it is to have a fighting chance of succeeding and prospering in the new
global challenging environment.
We are convinced that opportunities abound for nationals of every
persuasion to contribute constructively to the nation-building process
and to improve on their earnings. In particular, we expect that the
opening of the Marriott, the continued implementation of a wide range of
social and economic projects, and the opening of the redesigned and
reinforced Port Zante will usher in a new era of unprecedented economic
growth in this our prospering Federation. We urge our citizens to take
the lead in grasping the many opportunities for wealth creation through
entrepreneurship that are becoming available with each passing moment.
As I indicated in my own budget address, your government will
continue in the year 2003 to create the enabling environment for
cohesive working relationships between the public and private sectors.
In many respects we are embarking upon an uncharted path where none has
gone before and where the shared experience of all is utmost essential.
I look forward in 2003 to making permanent structures for
meaningful dialogue and collaboration. In other countries it’s known as
the fostering of social partnerships, others have code-named it such as
National Economic Councils, but whatever nomenclature that is decided
upon, I intend very early in the New Year to formulate a year-long
program of activities, geared at strengthening the working relationship
between central government and its many ‘publics.’ Among these, of
course, are organized private sector bodies and the Labour movement. The
St. Kitts & Nevis response to global challenges must and will be a
collaborative effort, reflecting the views and aspirations of all and
as wide a cross section of society that is possible.
Equal attention will be given also to interaction with social and
community-based agencies. Again I said in my budget presentation that
we would be looking for every opportunity to secure and channel
resources in the direction of the elderly, in the direction of the
indigent and those living in poverty. I speak here not only of grants
and pensions, but also to the delivery of service. We must, as a nation,
become much more caring, particularly to those who built this country
and were not, in our opinion, adequately rewarded for so doing.
Together with economic and social development falls environmental
protection. St. Kitts & Nevis are naturally beautiful at this time
of the year. The weather is excellent and we have each made an extra
effort to beautify our surroundings. This is the St. Kitts & Nevis
that we must seek to maintain the whole year through. Your government is
committed to a programme of ongoing road and highway maintenance, but
this must be supported by individual practices of cleanliness, both at
the residential and commercial level. My call for effective change
management extends therefore to our own attitude to the environment,
including our beaches, the ghaut sides and verges. In 2003 we must
undertake to make and maintain St. Kitts & Nevis as the simply
beautiful country that it currently is.
My fellow citizens, residents and friends, progress and
prosperity in 2003 would hinge upon our pursuing and managing practical
approaches to global challenges that are impacting the Federation of St.
Kitts & Nevis.
I feel compelled on this occasion to repeat the thought I shared
in my budget presentation that “it is the success of these initiatives
that will generate the economic activity to ensure our continued
progress as a nation.”
2003 has eventually arrived. We must now give God thanks for
health and for life. We must give him thanks for shielding us from the
natural disasters this past year. We must pray unceasingly for his
continued guidance in the uncharted path that lies ahead of us.
My fellow citizens, residents and friends, I am inspired by your
courage, I am inspired by your resilience and your tenacity. I know that
as a nation we can move forward and triumph in the face of adversity.
We can overcome the hurdles.
I call upon my fellow citizens to join your government in working
towards the fulfillment of all our national goals, and with God’s help
our problems will be overcome and 2003 will be one of the best years in
this our beautiful country.
Happy New Year’s Day to all, and may God Almighty continue to guide and bless this great country of ours.
My fellow citizens, residents, friends and well wishers I thank you.