The Lucian People’s Movement (LPM) is aware that tourism-related construction development is one of the primary potential economic fixes on the island.
However, after listening to Dr Kenny Anthony’s interview with Daher Broadcasting Service (DBS) reporter Kendal Burton, titled “Road to Recovery,” the leader of the LPM, Therold Prudent, believes that Saint Lucians are being misled by Dr Anthony’s remark that “the tourism sector is stabilising and showing signs of growth.” Prudent believes that, in the short to medium term, Dr Anthony should not be using the word “growth” to describe Saint Lucia’s current economic situation, given that the government’s expenses far exceed its revenues.
Moreover, with unemployment and its corresponding ally, poverty, still at disturbing levels, and only one bank in the country earning a profit last year, it is shameful that Dr Anthony would characterise, as evidence of growth, the economic events that are currently impacting the lives of the Saint Lucian people in a negative way.
Continually to ignore these alarming results and simply praise a small increase in the number of cruise ship arrivals as evidence of economic growth, however volatile, is a blatant attempt on the part of Dr Anthony falsely to convince citizens that true recovery is emerging.
Therefore, given the government’s penchant for choosing political expediency over economic reality, it is incumbent on the Saint Lucian people not only to recognise how disturbingly removed the prime minister remains in his understanding of their daily struggles but to also begin the march towards a suitable leader who is capable of moving the country beyond this current and unending economic stalemate.
Prudent added that, while Dr Anthony made it clear that Saint Lucia’s fiscal deficit and high public debt are “chronic” problems, he conveniently omitted the fact that it has been difficult for domestic financial institutions, foreign investors and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) to issue loans to the government and citizens to help spur economic activity on the island.
“An initial spending cut initiative from 9.6% of GDP to 5.6% by the current administration may provide miniscule relief from the economic pressures,” noted Prudent, “but it is clearly very far from solving the overwhelming socio-economic problem confronting us.”
For these reasons, Prudent said, “Even though global recovery succeeds in increasing the flow of resources into the island, growth and development are not assured, given the Anthony administration’s questionable quality of service and their appetite continuously to burden future generation with enormous debt.”
“It appears for the most part, that the decisions of the government do not take adequate account of the needs and proposed initiatives of its own agencies, community organisations and independent professionals,” Prudent concluded. Therefore, if the future development of Saint Lucia is based solely on Dr Anthony’s “hopeful agenda,” and not on quantifiable creative collaboration, then the country is doomed to continue along the path to failure.