PM accepts Government Senator’s resignation

Former Senator Ubaldus Raymond

Did Ubaldus Raymond ever really fit in with the crowd in the Saint Lucia Labour Party? Some observers might say he was always on the outside looking in. So it hardly came as a surprise that Raymond has resigned from his appointed post as a Government Senator. He ran the Castries north seat in the last election against Stephenson King and lost by a large margin.

His campaign took a hit when his son was arrested and charged in connection with a murder in Babonneau. In a statement issued on the July 2010 murder Raymond said as a parent the events had caused him anguish and pain. Said Raymond: “As crime continues to cripple our country, no one seems to be immune from its powerful tentacles. All of us are affected by crime in some way, whether as victim, perpetrator, accomplice or beneficiary. Many parents, families and friends have had to bear the loss of loved ones over the last few years as a result of crime.

“As young people settle their differences with deadly force, the families of both the victims and the perpetrators suffer serious loss either through the death or imprisonment of their young sons and daughters. Sadly and regrettably, my family has been struck by the crime problem and this has caused me tremendous sorrow as a father.

The politician went on: “My 19-year-old son, who was born out of a relationship before I was married, is alleged to have been involved in the death of Cyrus Lansiquot in Fond Assau on Tuesday July 13, 2010. Cyrus Lansiquot’s death as with any other sudden death saddens me immensely.” Raymond said his son’s alleged involvement in that death came as a complete shock and “has caused me to ponder even more on the plight of parents whose children commit crimes alongside that of parents whose children are the victims of crime.” He reaffirmed his commitment to his family: “I love my son and I am aware that so too do Cyrus Lansiquot’s parents and family love him. Emotions aside, however, it is proper and fair that the facts surrounding this incident be brought out.

“Yesterday, I therefore arranged for my son accompanied by his lawyer to turn himself in to the police and to co-operate fully with them in their investigation. I do not yet have all the details surrounding this incident and will await the results of the Police investigation.” Raymond then extended sympathy to Cyrus Lansiquot’s parents and family and said he prayed that “they may find strength in the positive experiences that they shared with him.”

“I also thank all of you who have extended the hand of support to me as I struggle to deal with this very difficult situation. I also appeal to each and every citizen of Saint Lucia to continue to play your part in making Saint Lucia a safer place.” The then would-be MP seemed to take a back seat on his own campaign. But as normally is the case with politicians who fail to win their seat he was still appointed in some way to the government team. His short tenure was not without a few sparks.

Raymond listed his objections to certain parts of Prime Minister Kenny Anthony’s 2012-2013 budget, although he supported it overall. He commended the Labour Party government for a “great plan to create jobs and jobs and more jobs” but cautioned governments that while GDP will show how well the economy is doing, it does not necessarily show how well the lives of people are enhanced. “We have been hiding for too long Mr President, behind GDP growth which in most cases does not benefit a wide cross section of our society. Yet, Mr President, with our current ad hoc developmental strategy, it is possible that we can achieve growth without achieving development. A well thought vision plan will ensure that development will be supported by economic growth,” said Raymond. Raymond said St Lucia’s governments on both sides have been spending too little on capital expenditure while the recurrent expenditure keeps growing each year. Raymond says capital expenditure is what grows a country and governments need to spend more on that category while exploring ways to decrease the recurrent expenditure. “What I did was to go ahead and compare the proportion of capital expenditures to that of total expenditures and Mr President, we are in a bad state in this country—let’s assume government does not spend any money on capital expenditure . . . no repairing of roads, no building of schools; this country or any country will fail miserably. Over the last seven years, government only spent between 33 and 38 percent on total expenditure on capital projects. “In other words, government spends about 70 percent of its total expenditure on recurrent expenditure.

“Recurrent expenditure is not a growth factor in this country, capital expenditure is the growth factor but yet still we have such a high recurrent expenditure in this country and such a low capital expenditure,” said Raymond.

On Friday we learned via an official statement that Prime Minister, Dr Kenny Anthony, has accepted Ubaldus Raymond’s resignation. The statement reads that the PM wishes to advise that he has regretfully accepted the resignation of Dr Ubaldus Raymond from the Senate and, consequently, as Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Commerce, Business Development, Investment and Consumer Affairs. The statement added that Dr Raymond resigned his position to allow him to take up the senior post of Chief Economist in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

The statement goes on: “Dr Raymond is the holder of a Ph.D. degree in Development Economics from Howard University in Washington D.C., USA and prior to returning to Saint Lucia to contest the 2011 General Elections in the constituency of Castries North for the Saint Lucia Labour Party, he served for seven years as Senior Economist in the Department of the Environment and the DC Public Service Commission in Washington DC and as Assistant Professor of Economics at Florida A&M University in the Department of Economics. Ubaldus ‘Jimmy’ Raymond possesses a wealth of experience and training in areas such as Monetary and Fiscal Policy, Macro-economics, Microeconomics, International Finance, Corporate Finance, and Managerial Economics, which will serve him in good stead in his new position.” Finally the Prime Minster wished Dr Raymond the “very best in his new position.” Meanwhile, in an interview with the Mirror newspaper Raymond suggested that he was not being as useful as he could be at the Ministry.

Another of our “best brains” off to greener pastures?

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