Speaking at the Saint Kitts & Nevis Pavilion in the Sustainability District, the Prime Minister of Saint Kitts & Nevis, Timothy Harris, said he remained cautiously optimistic on climate progress, while urging the world’s bigger players to follow through on their sustainability commitments. He also welcomed ‘citizens of the world’ to join Saint Kitts & Nevis’ long-standing Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme, which has already attracted thousands of participants from the UAE and wider Middle East.
Timothy Sylvester Harris is the current Prime Minister of the twin-island Caribbean nation of Saint Kitts. In 1988, Harris graduated from the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies with a BSc degree with a First-Class Honours in Accounting. The only graduate of the BSc Accounting programme to obtain this distinction.
In 1990-92 he pursued his MSc degree in Accounting at the St Augustine Campus of UWI in Trinidad. He graduated top of the class with an MSc degree with a Distinction in Accounting.
In 2001 Harris successfully defended his Ph.D. in Administration majoring in Accounting from Canada’s Concordia University. On 18 February 2015 he became the third Prime Minister of the Federation of St. Christopher and Nevis after the success of Team Unity at the 16 February 2015 poll.
He succeeded the incumbent Denzil Douglas who served a historic 20-year tenure.
Welcome to Expo 2020. Can you tell us your first impressions? - “My first impressions are one of excellence in terms of what is being displayed here. I think we have seen the UAE’s dream being played out on the global stage and I offer my heartfelt congratulations to the government and its people for what is turning out to be a very memorable exhibition.”
What is the most important message you and the Saint Kitts and Nevis Pavilion is trying to convey? - “The message really is that dreams can be realised. If people exhibit certain values of industry, pride, patriotism – all those values that keep us functioning – a country can be elevated. When there is a clear vision which people buy into, you can achieve unthinkable heights of glory and acclaim.”
The Saint Kitts & Nevis Pavilion is in the Sustainability District and sustainability is clearly an issue close to your heart. As a Small Island Developing State are you disappointed with the outcome of COP26? - “In the end, COP26, as with many other summits, must deliver. Usually, the true test is whether the new ambitions – the expectations that have been set – can be achieved.
“We have seen throughout the history of the United Nations, and its efforts to mobilise global action, that there has been a deficit in delivery. If we look at, for example, at the global effort to mobilise to ensure that we have vaccine equity, we still see the disparity in the distribution with those who have more than they need. Yet we are all in this together.
“I think, ultimately, with respect to COP26, that we are far from realising the original dream, and the extension of the period for realisation must now be bolstered by strong action from those who are the biggest emitters of fossil fuels and all the other contaminants that have created distress not only within their own societies, but significant challenges for the progress of developing states such as those in the Caribbean.”
“The bottom line is whether we can realistically expect – given a history of underperformance – the commitment. Countries such as the USA come on board as significant partners and make commitments to assist others to slow the rate of global warming, but the question is, will this be realised?
“That is still a big question mark. So, we remain cautiously optimistic, but we need to see short-term goals as part of the broader fulfilment of the long-term vision. If one country is able to reach its deliverables and to consider their own accountability, hopefully that will lead to more countries doing better.”
The Saint Kitts and Nevis citizenship by investment programme has become one of the most successful worldwide. Are you actively targeting the UAE? - “We are looking to target citizens of the world. The truth is our citizenship by investment programme is the oldest and the best.
“We legislated for this way back in 1984, and it has withstood the time. We believed it to be a necessary programme for a small island state with all of the constraints of size.
“We are meandering a path to continued growth and development by allowing more people to come to the country, to contribute to its advancement and to then have the privilege of holding our citizenship. So yes, we are promoting the programme here.
“In fact, a large number of Saint Kitts & Nevis citizens are residents in the UAE and the Middle East. The number is in the thousands and it keeps rising every day.
“We were able to meet some of them, to see the talent pool that is available, and to ask them to consider coming to their now adopted country to contribute to help us advance as a developing state. There are limits to human resources in our small twin-island state.
“With more talented people coming into our country as citizens – and even residents – we can make Saint Kitts & Nevis the best example of a small island state. So, we are mobilising people everywhere for the development of our country which is very dear and sacred to us.
“You too are invited to become a citizen!”
By: Delroy Constantine-Simms and Dennis Edman