Change to high income status a positive says St Kitts PM

BASSETERRE, St Kitts, Thursday January 17, 2013 – “A beam of sunshine” for the nation is how St Kitts and Nevis prime minister Dr Denzil Douglas has described the recent decision by the United States to upgrade the Eastern Caribbean island to a high income country.

“The third beam of sunshine on the start of this New Year has to do with our standing and reputation internationally. After many years of sustained analysis, detailed planning and visionary policy formulation and implementation St Kitts and Nevis has been officially designated a high income country. This as you know is extremely rare for a country of our size.”

He continued, “When one is as tiny as we are, this classification is overwhelming evidence of our country’s success against great odds; boosting investment levels, stimulating economic activity and improving the business climate.”

All this, the Prime Minister said, would expand and enhance the life chances and overall prospects of the people at a time when major economic powers and several small nations have seen their status plummet.

St Kitts and Nevis was upgraded to “a high income” country by the United States in December last year after official statistics by the World Bank showed that St Kitts and Nevis was now better off, having recently reduced its debt-to-gross domestic product (GDP) ratio.

“In accordance with … the Trade Act of 1974…, I am providing notification of my intent to terminate the designation of [St Kitts and Nevis] as a beneficiary developing country under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program,” said a statement issued by the US White House in December and signed by President Barack Obama.

The statement added: “…the 1974 Act provides that, if the president determines that a beneficiary developing country has become a ‘high-income’ country, as defined by the official statistics of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (the World Bank), then the president shall terminate the designation of such country as a beneficiary developing country for purposes of the GSP, effective on January 1 of the second year following the year in which such determination is made.”

“Pursuant to … the 1974 Act, I have determined that it is appropriate to terminate the designation of St Kitts and Nevis as a beneficiary developing country under the GSP program because it has become a high-income country as defined by the World Bank. Accordingly, St Kitts and Nevis’ eligibility for trade benefits under the GSP program will end on January 1, 2014,” the White House statement said. Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)