The Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis, Dr Terrance Drew, on Sunday has assumed the chairmanship of the OECS Authority. While assuming the chair, PM Drew has made public address, extending gratitude to the authority for giving him with the chance to serve at this platform.
During this, he has also highlighted the strategic priorities which will be pursued during the period of Dr Terrance Drew as Chairman of the OECS Authority. In the address, he added that, “Strong institutions are needed to deliver development for the region. This includes firm Authority, ably led, with high functioning, motivated, effective, as well as productive staff.”
He further added to inspire confidence in the public and fostering the cooperative partnership and ties which are significant in the complex and precarious geopolitical societies and economies which characterize the globe, of which the OECS is a part.
During the address, PM Drew added that, “With the growing rate of inflation, and other ongoing issues across the world, are directly affecting the pockets of the people across the region. Moreover, the people across the region are looking at their respective leaders for some solution.”
“The Sustainable Island State Agenda of St Kitts & Nevis is being constructed on mainly 7 main pillars, mainly, Food for Security, Economic Diversification, Green Energy Transition, Sustainable Industries, the Creative Economy, COVID-19 recovery, as well as Social Protection. For the OECS during my term, there will be five areas of special attention – youth; health; violence as a public health issue; energy; and environment,” added PM Drew.
At the same time, he said that, “The new global digital economy is the market space that our young people will work in and use to expand our region’s economic border. Therefore, they must be equipped to do so. Sports, the digital & orange economies, health, as well as tourism services, are areas ripe for investments along with involvement by region’s highly talented youth. Unless, we bring new space for our youth of OECS, we risk unprecedented brain drain at the time when we most require the creativity as well as energy of our youth.”
He highlighted that the another significant engine of growth and development in the OECS must be health, adding that, “History teaches us that global growth and social stability came about when modern nation developed capacity for reducing the burden of disease & keeping their people in good health. This good health imperative remains the same for the people of the OECS. We now fully understand and must therefore prepare for the next global pandemic as well as its far-reaching consequences, coupled with fact that NCDs are hurting our region.”
Meanwhile, he also added to come up with the measures to deal with the issue of mental health, including depression and suicidal ideation across the region, especially among young people.
The Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis, during the address, also focused on the growing crime and violence within the region, and also added that, “Violence is a public health issue.” He also announced on introducing into schools and communities, programmes for conflict negotiation, for counselling of abusers and abused persons, exhibiting zero tolerance for the perpetrators of domestic abuse, while still establishing support system for the victims and children scarred by this social scourge.
In the address, PM Drew mentioned that, “We must identify the reason of the problem of violence, addressing both the risk factors and protective factors, establish preventive strategies by working at the social levels to help those at risk. The answer is not always, even though it is part of it, more court and longer jail time.”
He thanked the government of the United States for the OASYS Project that was launched In Saint Kitts and Nevis recently that creates hope for young people who confronts the criminal justice system.