BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - LEADER of the Nevis Reformation Party, Dr. Janice Daniel-Hodge is of the view that when Nevis’ economy rebounds from the impact of COVID-19, especially in the area of tourism, the people must be self-reliant.
Nevis, like other territories around the region, has been heavily impacted due to border closures and the enforcement of strict policies for inbound travellers as a result of the pandemic.
Those policies have resulted in an increase in the unemployment rate and struggling businesses.
In her Independence Day address, Dr. Hodge called on the people of both St. Kitts and Nevis to, as an independent nation, take definitive steps to rebuild the economy which, at this time, is closely linked to the management of the spread of COVID-19.
She wants the people to be cognizant of the challenges currently facing the country and that they must be able to follow the necessary measures to rebuild the struggling tourist-dependent economy.
“As we implement and adapt to new procedures to combat COVID-19, new travel requirements, mask wearing, hand sanitizing, social distancing, vaccinating…I encourage everyone to accept the changes that are necessary for us to get through this COVID-19 pandemic together,” Dr. Hodge said.
Recognising that there are many changes and uncertainties about the virus, including how long it would reside with the people, Dr. Hodge noted that steps must be taken amidst “these changes and uncertainties to begin an economic recovery process for the benefit of our people”.
“In Nevis, we are fortunate to have a unique constitutional framework that gives us the right to make laws and policies, separate and apart from the Federal Government...Let us be eager to explore the unknown and be proactive rather than reactive.
“Let us consider how we can pioneer new research studies to help protect all of our people against COVID-19. We are an independent nation and we must exercise independent thinking, for the benefit of our people.
“We were the first nation to implement the Citizenship By Investment Programme, the first in the OECS to develop a Land Reform Programme, to explore Geothermal Energy...so let us exercise our independent rights to explore new treatment methods for COVID-19, especially for those who cannot participate in the vaccination programme because of medical, religious or other valid reasons,” Dr. Hodge charged.
To this end, she noted that the pandemic has taught the people “the importance of being self-reliant and it is imperative that we not only recover from the pandemic, but that we use this experience to build a more resilient economy. Resilient not only to the impacts of COVID-19 and future pandemics, but also resilient to the impacts of climate change, natural disasters and external financial shocks”.
She called for a diversified economy which has been amplified greatly during this COVID19 pandemic.
Dr. Hodge added: “As an independent nation, we must take bold steps and explore new frontiers to build a resilient economy and provide a better standard of living for our people.”