King’s $300 million stimulus package!

Prime minister and minister of finance Stephenson King yesterday announced to his Cabinet of Ministers his bold decision to pump some $300 million into the local economy, as an incentive to the private sector to hire out-of-STEP Saint Lucians.
During an exclusive interview with this writer following his Cabinet meeting, the prime minister revealed he had taken a long, hard look at the consequences of the world-wide recession and decided that what Saint Lucians needed most at this particular time were jobs, jobs and more jobs.
The national economy was not all that important, right now, he said. From here on he will concentrate on opportunities for the poor to become millionaires.
It had taken him quite some time to arrive at that almost epiphanical conclusion, said the prime minister. So as to avoid the wall-to-wall election-time beggars with their jumbie sob stories, he had toured the country disguised in a body corset that rendered him as bodylicious as Claudius Francis.
“It was only after several night-and-day visits to William Peter and George Charles boulevards, Wilton’s Yard, the Vieux Fort mangue, Choiseul, and Tomas-ravaged Soufriere that the idea came to me,” the prime minister revealed. “You know, like an epiphany. If their reason for not hiring the good citizens I saw just liming around in clouds of smoke was that the business sector can hardly pay its own bills, then, no big thing, I will take care of that.”
He still is not yet quite certain which companies are deserving of his special stimulation, or how much each business house stands to receive.
“That’ll depend on the number of workers they employ,” he said. “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”
“Hey,” I said, “isn’t that a Karl Marx notion? Aren’t you concerned about being labeled a communist?”
“Not at all,” the prime minister replied. “When your belly is grumbling for lack of attention your first thought is to fill it. Hungry bellies aren’t interested in philosophy. I speak from personal experience.”
I wondered whether he had conducted private-sector surveys, perchance to discover the businesses most deserving of financial stimulation. He planned to do just that, the prime minister said. But already there was one organization that stood out.
“Let’s face it,” he said, “the public service employs nearly three-quarter of our work force. So right there you can see what I mean by ‘each according to his need.’”
“But what about the ability part?” I prodded.
“Well, again the public service comes to mind,” said the prime minister. “What company in Saint Lucia boasts more doctorates, Bachelor degrees and so on? The nation’s best brains sweat in the public service inventing solutions to our several problems. Then you have the tourism industry, by which I refer to the hotels, guest houses, taxi drivers etcetera, etcetera.”
“What about the banana industry?  It employs a whole lot of people.”
The prime minister smiled his least scrutable smile: “You know who killed the banana industry, right? Most of the farmers were advised to invest what little savings they had in tour buses and used luxury cars imported from Miami, most of them under-invoiced. Which of course accounts for a lot of the complaints from tourists who say their drivers treat them as if they were cargo. You know, like they were transporting banana and sacks of mango and dasheen to the market.”
“So does that mean our banana farmers will have to limp along with no stimulation whatsoever?”
“Well, not exactly,” the prime minister promised. “But at your age you would know   resurrecting the dead takes a lot more stimulation than most people imagine it does.   I was thinking just the other day, while watching the National Geographic channel, that if only we could find a buyer for our seabed . . . But then again, we no longer own our sea bed, do we?”
I ducked the insinuation. “So are you saying there’s no way to prevent more farmers from going bananas!”
The prime minister smiled. “Right. And you know who killed bananas!”
My final question: “With the mother of all recessions showing no signs of letting up any time soon, how do you propose to lay your hands on $300 million?”                  Again the prime minister’s smile spoke volumes: “Now, that’s the million-dollar question?”
“Don’t you mean $300 million?” I asked.    “Meme bête,” he chuckled. “Meme pwel!”
And I said: “In any language, $300 million is a King’s ransom!”
“Not to mention a whole lot more than we got from Jack Grynberg!” said King.

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