BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, December 24, 2018 (PLP PR Media Inc.) -- West Independence Square, Basseterre, was a sea of humanity Monday December 24 as the Dr Timothy Harris-led Team Unity Administration fulfilled a major election manifesto commitment which signalled the country’s majestic march towards attaining three of United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“Today I as the Prime Minister, and my entire team, come with love and compassion in our hearts to deliver glad tidings and good share on the eve of Christmas,” announced the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr the Hon Timothy Harris, at the launch of the Poverty Alleviation Programme (PAP) at a ceremony chaired by Deputy Prime Minister the Hon Shawn Richards.
“We come not with mere words or a promissory note, but with thousands of cheques to deliver to all of the people who have qualified. The commitment that we made in our inaugural manifesto was so important to us. As you flip our manifesto document ‘Prosperity for All’ one of the things we highlight on the inner cover was this commitment to make $500 more available to the people of St. Kitts and Nevis.”
Prime Minister Harris, who was supported by his Cabinet colleagues, the Hon Eugene Hamilton, the Hon Lindsay Grant, the Hon Ian Patches Liburd, and the Hon Wendy Phipps, said his government had come publicly to deliver the cheques to the qualifying persons. A similar event took place simultaneously at Memorial Square in Charlestown, Nevis, led by Premier the Hon Mark Brantley. Remarks in Nevis were also given by Minister of Social Development the Hon Eric Evelyn, and Federal Senior Minister the Hon Vance Amory.
“They like to talk about transparency,” stated Prime Minister Harris. “What could be more transparent than what we are doing today, bringing thousands of people in the Square - distribute the cheques, let everybody see who is getting. The process has been very good one, and today what is happening here in Basseterre is happening also in Charlestown in Nevis - hundreds of people everywhere.”
Prime Minister Harris quoted a scripture that is a favourite of his Cabinet colleague the Hon Eugene Hamilton, from John 3:17-18. The passage in New International Version says: ‘If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?’
Prime Minister Harris posed how the love of God could be in a person who will only talk and do nothing. He said: “Today Team Unity comes to do something about poverty in St. Kitts and Nevis. The scripture goes on to say, ‘Dear children, let us not love with words of speech but with actions and in truth’.”
Over 4,000 persons in St. Kitts and Nevis, from households earning less than EC$3,000 per month, have qualified for the monthly payment of EC$500. The first payment was paid by cheque, but debit cards will be issued to all beneficiates and the money will every month from January 2019 be uploaded on the cards for use at designated vendors in the country, including paying their electricity and water bills.
“This government has been fair to all of you,” Prime Minister Harris told the hundreds who had gathered at the West Independence Square. “So, we come today to fulfil our mandate. We have come today in keeping with the ‘fair share’ philosophy. Yes, we have come in keeping with goals outlined by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals number one, number two and number ten. The goals say we must aim for ‘No Poverty’, ‘Zero Hunger’, and ‘Reduced Inequalities’.”
Giving remarks at the launch ceremony was the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Social service, et al, Mrs Janelle Lewis-Tafari. The vote of thanks was delivered by Deputy Speaker, Senator the Hon Akilah Byron-Nisbett. Demonstrative distribution of initial cheque payment was made to five beneficiaries from each of the eighth constituencies on St. Kitts, after which general payments were made to all present according to their constituencies.
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