Social Security Contributes to Housing Etc.
In this edition, I will take some time to highlight some of the work being done in the community by your Social Security organisation.
Everyone knows about the millions of dollars that social security pays each year to its insured members and their eligible dependents. That is the major role of Social Security, and is mandated by law. But there is also a role that the institution has taken upon itself in order to make life a little easier for our citizens, residents and visitors. These can be summarized as contributions to National Projects and National Development
To begin with, Social Security operates three scholarship programmes (The Susanna Lee High School Scholarship, the Robert Manning University Scholarship, and the Stanley Amory Technical Scholarship) which have already assisted more than 190 persons complete High School, College and University. To date, approximately one and a half million dollars has been invested in this programme; and our graduates continue to make their mark on and in our society. In addition to these scholarships, over twenty two million dollars has been made directly available via the Development Bank of St Kitts –Nevis to finance tertiary education of our people.
Social Security also makes an annual donation to the Ministries of Health on both islands of our Federation, and has already spent over eight million dollars in this field. This money has been used to upgrade many of our health centres and our hospitals, as well as to train and retrain health professionals. Some of our more recent notable donations to Health were a gas blood analyser and a mobile x-ray machine in St Kitts; the dental clinic in Charlestown and a special utility truck to the solid waste authority in Nevis.
As of the year 2011, our commitment to National Projects has expanded to include a donation of one hundred thirty five thousand dollars towards National Security. The money has so far been used to enhance the patrolling capability of our security forces as they combat the crime and violence challenges that are plaguing our nation.
Social Security has also facilitated infrastructural development through its investment arm. Since 1987, approximately sixty five million, four hundred thousand dollars has been expended for infrastructural development of all kinds.
But by far our greatest contribution to the development of our country has been in the field of housing. This contribution has been made mostly through the National Housing Corporation in St Kitts and the Nevis Housing & land Development Corporation in Nevis. Over the past twenty years, more than two hundred and ten million dollars has been used to indirectly fund the construction of houses for low to middle income earners in our Federation. Let me repeat that: over two hundred and ten million dollars has been used to provide affordable houses. I draw your attention to Cherry Gardens and Harbour View on Nevis; and Buckleys’ Park and Bamboo Terrace on St Kitts as just four examples of such housing development, and there are many more. Social Security has therefore been playing a very pivotal role in investing in affordable low and middle income housing for many years and will continue doing so in the foreseeable future.
However, The Board has now taken the decision to include another branch of housing as it seeks to promote a different level of investment of its funds for higher returns in order to enhance the Fund. Security has embarked on its most ambitious project yet: the development of approximately 90 acres at Dewars’ Estate on St. Kitts that is referred to as the Beacon Heights Development. It envisages the provision of at least 190 homes with very scenic views, with parks and gardens, and a commercial area.
This advanced level development is expected to feature the absence of unsightly overhead utility lines, and the entire community will be somewhat self-contained. It is being done directly by Social Security and represents our flagship contribution to high end housing for upper-level income earners. Thus, while our contribution to low and middle income housing will continue to attempt to satisfy the needs of the less financially able, this newest initiative (Beacon Heights) will offer an option that will be accessible by higher income earners while at the same time providing a source of greater investment income for the Social Security Fund
We will be telling you a lot more about this project in the near future.