Basseterre, St. Kitts, November 02, 2023 (SKNIS): The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis is drawing high praise for introducing the Budget 2024: Community Consultations, which educates the public on the importance of the annual fiscal Budget and seeks input from community residents.
The first interactive community engagement was held on Tuesday (October 31, 2023) at the Lodge Community Centre under the theme “Marching Forward on the Journey to a Sustainable Island State.” Presentations were made by Nerissa Williams, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Climate Action and Constituency Empowerment on the Sustainable Island State, and Lavern Queeley, Senior Director in the Ministry of Finance on Financial Considerations. Economic Indicators were also presented by Vanroy Agard, a statistician within the Ministry of Sustainable Development, while the Economic Development Outlook was shared by Melicia Henry, an Economist within the Ministry of Economic Development and Investment.
Mark Handley, a small business owner and resident of Ottleys, commended the open community dialogue which was also attended by Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Honourable Dr. Terrance Drew, and members of the Federal Cabinet as well as senior government officials.
“I was very much amazed and applaud this kind of presentation to educate persons on how the government’s money is being spent … and how the spending on the government’s money would impact persons’ lives in relation to decreasing poverty within the country,” he stated.
Roleece Brookes of Molineux described the consultation as “a good initiative.” She posed questions to the panel about about the country’s revenue mix and made recommendations for improvements in several areas including the remaining two community engagements.
“Having ministry-specific budget consultations might give more room for more fruitful discussions and more deeper and robust debates, but overall it was a good initiative, commendable,” Ms. Brooks added.
Agriculturalist Willie Herbert expressed that it was a “good session.” He joined a few others in recommending that the information shared by presenters should be simplified a bit more.
“It is a great, great effort, a great educational [forum] because sometimes you listen to the Budget and you don’t know what they are speaking about, so now the [ordinary] man has an opportunity to interact, I think we would understand the Budget better,” said Mr. Herbert.
The residents encouraged others to participate in the remaining Budget 2024: Community Consultations. The next consultation takes place at the Old Road Community Centre on Thursday, November 02, 2023.
On October 11, 2023, the government engaged the youth population at a special dialogue on the Budget entitled “Transformation to a Sustainable Island State: A Conversation with the Nation’s Youth.” It was the first time a youth-centred Budget consultation was hosted.
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