St. Kitts and Nevis is not listed in the fastest growing economies in the region, according to information sourced from the Caribbean Development Bank. This revelation indicates the proverbial “maths don’t add up”, as implied by Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris.
Prime Minister Harris has repeatedly boasted of St. Kitts and Nevis as being the best regional economy and his gloating suggests that the twin island state is among the top growing economies in the Caribbean and Central America.
In 2018, the St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, declared that “St. Kitts and Nevis was the only country in the sub-region projected to see five percent growth rate in 2018.”
President of the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) Dr. William Warren Smith, in his annual news conference, named the fastest growing Caribbean economies in 2018 as Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada and Guyana. The revelations contradicts the implications by the St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister.
Grenada’s region-leading performance of 5.2 percent continued a five-year positive trend as that country continues to experience the financial growth coming out of its home-grown economic reform programme.
The CDB President said reconstruction efforts led the way to 3.5 percent growth in Antigua and Barbuda, as the country rebuilt and recovered following the passage of Hurricane Irma on Barbuda in 2017.
Dr. Smith said growth in Guyana, recorded at 3.4 percent, was mainly due to increased construction activity, in advance of the first commercial production of oil in 2020.
Conversely, in his review, Smith noted that in Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands, the devastating 2017 hurricane season stymied economic growth as visitor arrivals declined sharply – by 40 percent and 50 percent respectively, due to extensive damage to hotel stock. A fall in construction activity as well as the impact of the fiscal consolidation led to economic contraction in Barbados, despite a modest increase in tourist arrivals.
Smith said that the majority of the bank’s borrowing members recorded economic growth averaging 1.9 percent, compared with 0.5 percent in 2017.
Both the Basseterre-based Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) and the Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF) have projected a growth rate of 2.7 percent for 2018.
The report by the CDB president comes at a time when Prime Minister Harris has blocked the International Monetary Fund (IMF) from publishing the Article IV Consultation on the state of the St. Kitts and Nevis economy which was assessed by an IMF Mission Team in June/July 2018