Photo: Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris inspecting local produce at a past event hosted by the Department of Agriculture.
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, July 15, 2020 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis has identified, and is making the necessary investments into three specific industries – agriculture, entertainment and the arts, and the cannabis industry – in which the people of St. Kitts and Nevis can be engaged in to earn a living during this time of uncertainty brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Two of the Federation’s main economic drivers, the tourism and the manufacturing sectors, were significantly disrupted when the deadly virus reached St. Kitts and Nevis, forcing lockdowns and the implementation of other precautionary measures by the Government. Majority of persons have since returned to work under strict compliance with COVID-19 regulations.
Appearing on the most recent edition of Leadership Matters on Tuesday, July 14, Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris emphasized that there are opportunities for young persons and those interested in agriculture to become engaged.
Dr. Harris noted that agriculture was one of the sectors which his Government strategically targeted for assistance through its $120-million stimulus package.
“Crop farming, livestock farming, and fisheries were the critical areas in which we engaged. We provided support and we continue to do so in terms of compensation to livestock farmers who would have lost their animals as a result of COVID-19. We continue to provide support in the provision of fencing wires, free harrowing services, free inputs such as seeds and seedlings to assist farmers in getting started so that they can make a more meaningful contribution to food security, and the Department of Marine Resources has been providing a number of items of support to our fisherfolk. So, no one is being left behind,” the prime minister said.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Harris said his Team Unity Government remains committed to establishing a cannabis industry and has since agreed on the creation of a Medicinal Cannabis Authority (MCA) that will manage and regulate the industry in St. Kitts and Nevis.
“Indeed, the next step was for us to advertise and recruit someone, a marijuana tsar if you will, who would have become the project champion in terms of the buildout of this particular activity and we are still committed to doing that,” Dr. Harris said, while acknowledging that there is still much to be done in this regard.
The honourable prime minister highlighted that the entertainment industry worldwide remains a multi-billion dollar sector, and one which St. Kitts and Nevis must seriously look to tap into going forward.
He added, “This is an area which we are so serious about that we have set up a ministry, a Ministry of Entertainment, Talent Development and Entrepreneurship to assist in a focused response to the development of the talents of our people and they being able to benefit in a profitable way from engagement in entertainment with all the necessary support including intellectual property protection.”
At present, the St. Kitts and Nevis Government is taking steps to restore the hotel and hospitality sector back to a state of near normalcy during the last quarter of 2020.