by Kevon Browne
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN) – After the announcement of the proposed EC$952.2 Million Budget for 2022, various members of the parliament gave their initial reactions ahead of individual debates in the following days to come.
Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, the Rt Hon Dr Denzel Douglas continued his call for more serious investment in the Federation’s food security.
“Investment in agriculture. I am not certain if I picked up much on that particular sector, but I would have expressed my own concerns with regard to the relatively low level of agricultural production against the backdrop of there being, it would appear, a global food shortage and especially the difficulties that we’re having with international transportation in particular. So, these are some of the concerns.”
Even though the ministry received a EC$4.4 million increase compared to 2021 the leader of the opposition still feels that the government can do more to strengthen our food sustainability and weaken our dependence on food imports.
With the increase of funds projected for his ministry, the Minister of Agriculture the Hon. Alexis Jeffers explained briefly some of the plans his ministry has in store for the allocation.
“In every area, in crop, livestock and fisheries, of course, we intend to provide much more training to official folks and provide them with some of the equipment and some of the additional implements and so for that, they need to kind of be trade. So in all areas, we’ll see how much we can invest more with the additional funds that we have been given.”
The Minister of Education, the Hon Jonel Powell, ahead of his presentation later this week, indicated what education has planned for 2022.
“There’s one particular project that we’re looking at which hopefully will be able to supply our students and teachers with Wi-Fi at home at no additional cost to them. So that was another big project that we’re looking at, but you know, we have so many things happening within the Ministry of Education, some of the more prominent developments that we hope to highlight in the upcoming year include the professionalisation of all teaching force, the overhaul of the accreditation system and board and a number of other initiatives that I will speak to in more detail when my opportunity comes to present, but we have a lot in store for our education system.”
Although cut by EC$1.3 million, Minister of Tourism the Hon Lindsay Grant said the focus for that ministry’s allocations is marketing the destination.
“In terms of going forward, we are happy that we’ve gotten that allocation which will go towards our marketing of the destination to make sure that we have more persons coming in more persons aware. It’s really like starting from scratch in our key source markets of the United States, Canada, Great Britain, and so part of the fund would be used towards that. We also wanted to ensure that we not only begin, but we continue the process of our [sustainable] tourism where we go into the communities because our idea is that tourism is not just to be centred in Basseterre or Charlestown but as an integral part of the process, we must make sure that the rural communities also engaged in the tourism product so that trickle-down effect is at its greatest.”