The most pressing need for a doctor is to administer healthcare and to give patients an opportunity to get better. To date, the Saint Lucia Labour Party’s doctors’ cabinet have done little more than keep the secret of better days locked away to themselves. Obviously they are not concerned with what ails the nation and the appropriate remedies.
Equally, they have fallen short on socio-economic prescriptions consistent with national growth. Ever since they started basking in their pretentious “better days are coming” hoopla, all dressed up en rouge, the SLP doctors have administered one generic economic pill that it hoped would be a cure-all for every ailment complained of.
Along the way they have stifled most of our citizens with their one potion fits all diagnoses, and left others who were also promised a speedy recovery baffled and wondering about how to get out of the mess threatening the whole nation.
With every passing day, it is becoming increasingly difficult for the doctors to explain to a near comatose nation why the remedies they prescribed aren’t working. They have become as Hollywood actors performing per script while their very real misled patients die from neglect.
Obviously this SLP administration cannot count on its own policies and must resort to play acting, to dangerous games. They are obviously unable to calculate the multiplying effect and the long–term consequences of their voodoo remedies. Meanwhile the economy continues to suffer from chronic retardation and protracted uncertainty.
Further, the actors are burdened with a credibility problem as they try to explain why widespread tax increase has not flooded the treasury and why stimulus spending has not resulted in job creation.
With one defensive argument after another, they have half convinced themselves that this SLP administration, though widely disconnected from the cries of the people, will somehow weather the rapidly worsening economic and political storms!
If memory serves, it was the late Brother George Odlum who often reminded the nation that leaders must always listen carefully to
the voice of the people. Otherwise the result is chaos all around.
The way forward cannot be obstructionism. We need thinking leaders who are capable of analyzing and acknowledging the nation’s problems, and wise enough to quit dispensing the same medicines that have failed over and over and over.
Saint Lucia is dying and in dire need of economic remedies dispensed by experienced doctors capable of the following:
Reducing the deficit of $254 million is paramount by means of reducing unemployment that is approaching 25 percent.
Understand that as long as the deficit is above normal growth of 3-4 percent of GDP the national debt is growing constantly out of proportion (currently 6.3 percent).
That a hasty implementation of 15 percent VAT and the expansion of the tax base will not necessarily increase the tax receipts in a dead economy.
That leaders must respect the need for political and economic reform, or else the status quo will continue to prevail.
Acknowledging that without a concrete approach in addressing equality through STEM education (science, technology, engineering and math’s)—the people will remain poorer.
Employing a new agri-business strategy and manufacturing sector, that has the capacity to perform in excess of 25 percent of GDP.
Not relying solely on economic growth that is based on tourism.
The inability to incorporate the private sector into the national strategic plan for development with options for financial lending.
The non prioritization of bilateral trade and foreign direct investments (FDI)
Dismantling inefficient and sloppy state-owned enterprises that control the economy with stimulus packages.
Dealing effectively with the sad alternatives from the blue print for growth that create expensive public policies to accommodate members of the SLP party, and were designed to win an election rather than to improve the economy.
As a result the socio-economic health of the country has declined, and frankly, unless Saint Lucia is able to urgently make-up some significant gains, via structures that allow growth, innovation and high-value work that compete on quality and customization, we are bound to go under.
It’s as simple as that! The prescription of a generic political pill will not advance progress and neither can it re-formulated the month-to-month current account deficit worry to true liquidity, and a strong current account position. It’s a math equation.
Can our cabinet of wooden doctors resolve that for us?
Note: Melanius Alphonse is a management and development consultant; an advocate for community development, social justice, economic freedom and equality; the Lucian People’s Movement (LPM) critic on youth initiative, infrastructure, economic and business development. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org