BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, November 3, 2023 (SKNIS) – The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis held its second community consultation on the 2024 Budget on Thursday (November 03) evening that featured even more engagements and recommendations from ordinary citizens, for which Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Honourable Dr. Terrance Drew was truly grateful.
Addressing those in attendance at the Old Road Community Centre as well as those viewing online, Prime Minister Dr. Drew said that these consultations will ensure that what is presented during the 2024 Budget debate next month truly reflects and responds to the realities of the ordinary citizens and residents of St. Kitts and Nevis.
“We have started a new process here in St. Kitts and Nevis where we want the Budget discussions not to be held just by government offices and in nice places like in the Marriott, but to utilize the community centers and to have community engagement or citizen engagement on one of the most important aspects of the government’s function that would affect their lives,” said Dr. Drew.
Prime Minister Dr. Drew reflected on a concern raised by one resident during Thursday’s consultation in Old Road regarding the hardship he currently faces in maintaining his small business.
“As the gentleman said his small business is being affected by government policy and he would like to see a difference if that can enhance his small business and other small businesses, and I note that we took his concern, and it really would be looked at to see what can be done with respect to that. This is the type of engagement that we need,” Dr. Drew said.
The prime minister stated that the Government does not purport to have all of the answers, “and even if it does think that it has all of the answers, I think that it needs to rethink that and engage you the people in the communities to get a greater sense of what is affecting you and to have a Budget that would respond to your realities.”
The finance minister added that there are instances where a Budget may appear on paper to the experts as one that is sound and balanced, “but then you come to Old Road and a man sitting on the corner tells you ‘things are tight over here because I can’t get my shop off the ground’. So how is the Budget going to respond to that? That is why we want this type of community engagement at the grassroots level, so whatever comes out of the Budget Debate in 2023 for the Budget in 2024 would reflect what the people on the ground, what the people in the communities, what the citizens are actually saying.”
Thursday’s event was the third such consultation held on the 2024 Budget within the last few weeks. The first community consultation was held on Tuesday, October 31 at the Lodge/Ottley’s Community Center. On October 11, a national consultation was staged at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort that gave insight to the nation’s youth on all that goes into the formulation of a national budget and provided them the opportunity to give their input on policies that affect them.
The Budget Presentation is traditionally delivered in December during a sitting of the Federal Parliament.
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