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St Kitts and Nevis Labour Party lauds its prosperity agenda

Labour believes that no man, woman or child should be left out of the prosperity agenda. The St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party has always held true to its mantra

St Kitts and Nevis: “Labour believes that no man, woman or child should be left out of the prosperity agenda. The St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party has always held true to its mantra “For the Good That We Can Do”. This was evident in every initiative rolled out by the SKNLP,” the press statement read.

The statement further read: There have been major developments in community and social development by the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party since the era of Sir Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw.

The National Provident Fund was introduced as an initial step in improving social services. At the request of the Government of St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla, the Ministry of Overseas Development sent an expert, J.M. Jordan of the Department of Health and Social Security, to prepare a feasibility report.

The Act creating the Fund was passed by the House of Assembly on 28th May 1968. It was to cover all persons between ages 16 and 60 under a contract of service and included casual labour and domestic servants. Registration of employers and employees took place in the few days between the passage of the Act and the operative date.

A contribution of 5c for every dollar earned was to be made by the employee and this was to be matched by the employer.

The first Director of the Fund was St. Clair Phillip, he was succeeded by Robert Manning. Minister Fitzroy Bryant was the Chair of its Board of Control. By 1971, the expansion of the Fund was under consideration. In 1978, the National Provident Fund was replaced with the Social Security scheme.

In 1974, when the Labour Party created the Federation of Labour Women, Ann Liburd was elected as its first president and founded the Toast Mistress Club of St. Kitts and Nevis the following year to train women in effective communication skills, English, Mathematics and other basic education.

During the 1995 – 2015 era, St. Kitts and Nevis senior citizens benefited from increased pension from $25.00 under the PAM Administration to $210.00 under the Labour Party Administration. Labour also made major improvements in health care for senior citizens by providing at home care and reduced cost for medication among other benefits.

St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party also introduced Increased Social Security benefits in areas of maternity, death/funeral grants, and sick leave. Maternity benefits included weekly maternity allowance and a lump sum maternity grant to help with baby expenses. The funeral grant was created to assist family with funeral expenses in the event of the death of an insured persons or their dependent. The sickness benefit or sick leave benefit is a compensation to you for income you may have lost because you were unable to work because of an illness.

The SKNLP Administration also introduced the Self-Employed Pension Plan. Every self-employed individual between the ages of 16 – 62 years is regarded as an insured persons by Social Security.

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) was established under the Labour Administration in 1995. It is responsible for the coordination of pre and post disaster management activities. The same Labour Administration constructed a new NEMA Headquarters at Buckleys.

Uniforms and books were provided to deserving students in all schools throughout the island under the Student Education Learning Fund (SELF). The SELF Programme offered financial relief for many low-income families struggling to provide for their children and ensure they received a proper education.

The welfare system was also total revamped to ensure the children in need of assistance received the best care and assistance possible. Frequent visits, accountability check, and a thorough vetting process were done to provide proper secure environment for the children.
The Children’s Home and Infirmary were completely upgraded to ensure they receive the best quality care and were adequately provided for. 7 new churches were constructed.

The first ever work experience programme was established under a Labour Administration. The People Empowerment Programme (PEP) was designed to create empowerment opportunities for unemployed nationals. Training was provided to individuals to help them build the necessary skills for the service economy and offered internship opportunities and a monthly stipend. While focus has been placed on developing vocational skills, the trainees have also received social and life skills and entrepreneurship training. Areas of training include building trades, cosmetology, hospitality, agriculture, computer graphics, early childhood development, personal development, and money management.

New and improved community centers and safety shelters were also constructed in various communities throughout the island. New Day Care Centers and Community centers were built in East Basseterre, Central Basseterre, West Basseterre, Challengers, Old Road, Sandy Point, Newton Ground, St. Paul’s, Dieppe Bay, Saddlers, Molineux, Tabernacle, Cayon and Conaree. These community centers provide a free venue to host community and family-based events.

The Mold Empower Nurture and Direct (M.E.N.D.) Families St. Kitts and Nevis Programme is was established by the SKNLP. The programme was a local adaptation of the Chilean Puente Programme. It was a social cash transfer programme aimed at protecting and promoting the wellbeing of the poorest and most vulnerable households in St. Kitts and Nevis. It also featured an experimental learning programme designed to impart knowledge and skills to the most vulnerable households.

Created the atmosphere to become #1 in the OECS, #2 in the Caribbean, in the Human Development Index (HDI), according to the United Nations. The HDI was created to demonstrate that economic growth is not the way to assess the development of a country; people and their capabilities should be the ultimate criteria.

According to a Country Poverty Assessment that was conducted in St. Kitts and Nevis there was a national poverty rate of 21.8% by 2008, which was a significant improvement form the rate of 30.5% in 2000. The United Nation Human Development Index showed that between 1995 and 2015 ordinary Kittitians and Nevisians saw a 67% improvement in their quality of life and material well-being.

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Scott Johnson

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