Not one dollar of government funds has gone into the pockets of the people who need it the most

May 18, 2020 in National

Basseterre, St Kitts, May 16, 2020 – The EC$120 million stimulus package that the government claims it has established is yet to reach the pockets of over 5,000 workers who have lost their jobs, laid off temporarily, or on reduced hours, as well as large and small businesses forced to close for the past two months as a result of the state of emergency imposed by Prime Minister Dr the Hon Timothy Harris.
Speaking at Friday’s St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) press conference, Deputy Political Leader, Hon Marcella Liburd said that to date “not one dollar of government funds has gone into the pockets of the people who need it the most – our pensioners, our working poor and those who eke out a living as farmers, as fishermen and the many others who are self-employed and are not registered at Social Security.”
Liburd, who is seeking a third term as Parliamentary Representative for St Christopher 2 (Central Basseterre) also told reporters and the nation, that the EC$5 million that Dr Harris claims was allocated to the Poverty Alleviation Programme (PAP) is still only reaching the same 4,000 persons who have always received it.
“The Prime Minister has yet to confirm whether some 4,000 additional persons, who have been newly or recently unemployed or are receiving no income, are now receiving the EC$500 dollars in assistance,” said Liburd.
She expressed the view that the disbursement of the stimulus funds is not having an impact because it was poorly designed, poorly structured, poorly administered and much of the money has been misallocated to areas that are meaningless to our people at this stage.
“By this I refer to the EC$30 million that the prime minister claims has been allocated to mortgage loans and the EC$191 million that has been allocated to construction projects (and were already included in the Budget for 2020),” pointed out Liburd.
She said that as a result of the mishandling and mismanagement of the economic stimulus package, all persons across the Federation are suffering.
According to Liburd, over 5,000 people are at home, either not working or working on reduced hours and businesses large and small have seen profits slashed by as much as 60 percent.
“The ineptitude and incompetence being demonstrated by the Harris administration at this critical stage is in danger of severely or permanently compromising the sustainable development of St Kitts and Nevis if swift action is not taken immediately,” said Liburd, who added that loss of jobs and slower economic activity could push more people into abject poverty.