A great, ominous cloud looms above the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force and the prime minister holds the gavel in midair, ready to slam it down at 8 o’clock on Sunday night. The nation waits with bated breath and speculation is rife that senior Gazetted Officers might just be fired on National Television. The question is: will the Kenny Anthony administration feel compelled to extend to the lawmen a modicum of respect and dignity, in the employment of sensitivity and regard for negative repercussions in making its allegedly earth-shattering disclosures come Sunday, or will the lawmen hear of their fate right along with ordinary members of the public in “open air”, so to speak? One thing is certain: the fallout from IMPACS will not be Kenny’s and his government’s fault. It will be “the UWP’s fault” in keeping with the classic pattern of the government‘s style of avoiding blame. This weekend is a good time for the nation to see the government in action, tossing the blame net far and wide, well away from its own regime.
As usual it is UWP’s fault that after the general public was force-fed a full glossary of economic terms by this government including GDP, fiscal deficit, comparative advantage and, not forgetting their pet term – VAT, that the Economics professors cannot deliver the people from mounting hardships. Is it the UWP’s fault that Prime Minister Kenny Anthony chose to impose 15 percent VAT on an economy that he himself had pronounced to be sick and hemorrhaging? Is it UWP’s fault that they heaped several hacks in high-paying positions and hitherto unheard of positions upon the proclaimed–to-be–bloated Public Service? Is it the UWP’s fault that in three years the new national hospital cannot be fully completed and opened, nor can St. Jude Hospital be moved back to its original location? Spokespersons who conveniently decried that it was a major atrocity for a hospital to be relocated in a sports stadium are now silenced. Where are they now? Wouldn’t it have been more productive to encourage the public to be patient seeing that an unanticipated and complex disaster had occurred?
They once berated the UWP government for a lagging timeline on completing the Meat Processing Facility. Has it been completed under Labour? What about the Hewannora International Airport Re–Development Project and several other pending projects? Besides a slew of bridges – some ridiculously costly even in the view of engineers, what has this government completed so far, amidst all the criticism which is being levelled at the UWP for not expediting the completion of its projects? When will Labour’s blame game stop?
Again is it the UWP’s fault that concern has been raised about the unwise and reckless foreign policy which is being pursued by this government? They indeed blame the UWP for their UN vote to support the Russian Government and not Ukraine which is supported by their western allies, after the action of Russian-backed separatist rebels to annex Crimea and destabilize Ukraine. Encouraged by this support, Russia now feels bolstered in provoking the US by announcing that it will start military aircraft patrols over the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean, thus threatening the peace and security of our region. Did the government vote pro–Russia all in an effort to woo Russian investors who have yet to arrive?
Similar concerns have been raised about the government joining ALBA. This body has embraced rhetoric which is both angering and threatening in the view of the USA. This association does not bode well for a government which knows all too well that the US can respond by pulling the plug or reducing their assistance in certain key areas as has already been done in local law enforcement.
This SLP government has only sought to make life harder for Saint Lucians via membership with ALBA, an organization whose objective is to minimize the relevance of the USA in the region. This government also proceeded to participate in the Petro Caribe Agreement which began under Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. As a newcomer there is little or no benefit for this government to gain especially in light of falling oil prices. Oil prices below US $80 means that Venezuela is losing precious currency. The SLP government continues to imperil the economy in the ALBA arrangement when clearly the original benefits under this agreement are no longer being achieved. In November 2014, the International Monetary Fund, IMF, called for a review of the Petro Caribe arrangement citing falling crude oil prices as well as Venezuela’s harsh economic challenges. Again is it UWP’s fault that their foreign policy is questionable?
Kenny promised that he would have demitted office by now (it is three years). Is the UWP to blame that he is still in office clinging to power? Another general election is on the horizon. Saint Lucians can expect the usual gimmick of fiscal expansion, which is to say that they will go on a spending spree to give the impression that this economy is on the rebound, and that better days are still ahead. This tactic will only result in increased expenditure, wage freeze, less space to award promotions to workers and increased national debt.
While this government is preoccupied with blaming the UWP, the country is falling to pieces.