Decline of exports to the US creates more hardship for manufacturing workers says Douglas

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Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 24th 2017 – With the export of goods and services to the United States on the decline, St. Kitts and Nevis has recorded its worst drop for the months of July and August this year.

The decline in July was the worst in six years while in August it was the lowest in 11 years.

Former Prime Minister and current Leader of the Opposition, the Right Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas said Tuesday, when his St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party took office in 1995, the value of exports of goods and services was recorded at US$23.3 million (EC$62.9 million).

“It rose significantly in the following years and in 2014, the value of exports of goods and services to the United States had risen well over 100 percent registering US$56.8 million or (EC$153.3 million). The decline began in 2015 with the value slightly falling to US$56.7 million or (EC$153 million) with a significant drop to US$49.1 million or EC$132.5 million) in 2016,” Dr. Douglas disclosed during his weekly radio programme “Ask the Leader” on Tuesday.

Dr. Douglas said that the continued fall in exports and services is much concern in the manufacturing sector as this trend will certainly impact long term growth prospects in the overall economic fortunes not only of St. Kitts and Nevis, but also on the quality of life of the  young ladies and other workers who are employed on the industrial sites at the C. A. Paul Southwell Industrial Park in Basseterre and the Bourkes Industrial Park in Sandy Point.”

He noted that most of the women are heads of single households and the ability for them to care for their children and provide food and pay their mortgages or rent and meet their other expenses will make life harder for them.

“The cries throughout this country today is that things are hard under this Team Unity Government. Harder than what they were promised and harder than what they even expected. They are saying that they have been misled by Dr. Harris and his Team Unity Government  and it needs to go,” said Dr. Douglas, the nation’s former four-term prime minister.

He said the Harris-led Team Unity does not care about the women and other workers on the industrial sites and other sectors of the national economy.

“We have seen the onslaught by this Team Unity Government on the small man and young people in particular, especially when they stopped the PEP programme after promising to upgrade it and pay EC$500 per week to those working on the PEP; they have abandoned the one to one lap top programme and have made it extremely difficult for low-income families to have the opportunity to provide their children with laptops. The government has also abandoned the REACH programme that provided financial assistance to students to attend the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College and AVEC on St. Kitts and the Sixth Form in Nevis,” said Dr. Douglas.

He said it is obvious that with all the noise on the 2015 election campaign, Dr. Harris and his Team Unity government have deceived the people as it had no plan when it assumed office and now nearly three years after being in office, still has no plan for the economic development of the country or even stimulating the policy that was left to improve the quality of life of the workers.

“The Team Unity Government has failed to lead and to preserve the market and protect the jobs of the hundreds of workers in the manufacturing enclave,” said Dr. Douglas.

According to the foreign trade statistics issued by the US Census Bureau, the value of goods and services exported from St. Kitts and Nevis to the United States in July fell from US$4.1 million (EC$11 million) in 2017 compared to US$4.3 million or (EC$11.6 million) in 2016.

In August 2017, goods and services exported from St. Kitts and Nevis to the United States were valued at US$3.2 million (EC$8.6 million) compared to US$3.7 million (EC$9.9 million in 2016.