On Whit Monday, while most Saint Lucians were on holiday, it seems the government was hard at work. At any rate, the government’s press secretary Jadia JnPierre-Emmanuel, whose office issued the press release announcing last evening’s Address to the Nation.
It would’ve been useful had she also released to the media a copy of the prime minister’s speech, with appropriate directions regarding publication, bearing in mind the stated purpose of the scheduled address:
“This matter cannot be left solely to the government and public sector and associations; it has to include the public at large because all citizens have been called upon to make a sacrifice of some kind or another.”
By “this matter” the release referred to meetings with unions from the private and public sectors that presumably had not delivered the reaction to pay proposals the government had been counting on.
As for the government’s statement, that “all citizens have been called upon to make a sacrifice of some kind or another,” the truth is that, like it or not, regular citizens not employed by the government have been suffering for several years now the consequences of mindless government policies that reside close to arrogance, if not abuse of public trust.
Another inconvenient truth: the government, when it changed its mind about the acknowledged oppressiveness of VAT and decided it was the only answer to the nation’s financial woes, held no advance meetings with the “public.” Which is not to say the prime minister did not meet with accommodating bodies such as the spineless Chamber of Commerce that cannot recall the last time its actions represented public thinking.
It seemed to make no difference whatsoever that the public service had for years been costing the nation’s taxpayers a lot more than they could afford. On its return to office in 2011, the Kenny Anthony government—having promised jobs-jobs-jobs— continued to burden the nation with more bills, whether related to wages for new consultants or for unsustainable suspect employment of party hacks, all of that borrowed money.
The borrowing and unconscionable spending continued as if indeed we were living the promised “better days” of the government’s 2011 election campaign.
At the time of going to press, I had no way of knowing what the prime minister would say in his address, let alone whether it deserved public support.
In any event, the noose around the public’s neck grows tighter and tighter by the second, even as the government samples a taste of its own medicine, prescribed for the Stephenson King administration when it was saddled with the killer burdens confronting the nation—now much worse.
Whatever the prime minister might say this evening (Tuesday), long after this paper has been put to bed, one thing will remain the same: one way or another, the public will continue to take it in the neck, as we have all these years, regardless of the day’s HOG—by which I mean, Head of Government, of course!
— Rick Wayne