Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNIS): Junior Minister of Youth Empowerment, Social Development, Gender Affairs, Aging and Disabilities, the Honourable Isalean Phillip said that the idea of transforming St. Kitts and Nevis into a more sustainable small island state is extremely important, especially as it relates to the ministries under her purview.
Minister Phillip was at the time lending her support on day three (December 16) to the Appropriation Bill (2023), 2022, of approximately EC$1.02 billion. The theme for the 2023 Budget Address is “Towards Our Transformation as a Sustainable Small Island State.”
“A sustainable island state means a St Kitts and Nevis that is ultimately self-sufficient, a St. Kitts and Nevis that is resilient, a St. Kitts and Nevis where our people, our environment, our economy and our resources will stand the test of time,” said Junior Minister Phillip,” while referencing a local saying ‘we small but we tallawah.’ “I think that is what a sustainable small island state exemplifies and signifies. And that is what we are working to live up to. We are working to maintain our core identity of who we are, and this is what we are working towards as a Federation in terms of being true to who we are as a people that is strong, self-sufficient and resilient.”
Junior Minister Phillip said that the Ministry of Social Development and Genders Affairs plays a key role in St. Kitts and Nevis’ transformation towards a sustainable small island state.
“Madam Speaker, the work of the Ministry of Social Development is vital to ensure that our transformation and thrust towards sustainability are efficient and we are all included in this thrust and that no one is left behind. That is really what we are trying to do and so we really want to think about it almost as a safety net. So, you have the government, the public and then you have this nice little net underneath so that the people who do not receive the benefits of what this good government has to offer, that, of course, they get caught so that no one falls by the wayside.”
During his maiden Budget Address on December 14, Prime Minister the Honourable Dr. Terrance Drew highlighted seven key pillars for sustainability. Junior Minister Phillip described the seventh pillar “strong mechanisms for social protection” as extremely important to reducing poverty, promoting equality and enhancing income security.
“The reality is that social protection is vital to our thrust to development and sustainability. And fortunately for the citizens and residents of St. Kitts and Nevis, social protection has been prioritized. Social protection is really the fundamental mandate of the Ministry of Social Development and Gender Affairs,” said Minister Phillip. “The day-to-day function of the Ministry is primarily to provide social protection services. And for the past 22 years Madame Speaker, the Ministry has been doing just that. We provide a slew of services including food vouchers, school uniform assistance, medical assistance, support for the Children’s Home, shelter services, and income supplement.”
The Ministry of Social Development and Gender Affairs was allocated $43,254,144 for 2023. Of that amount, $3.7 million will go toward capital projects.