St Lucia government to reinforce COVID-19 restrictions, continue extensive borrowing

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(L-R) Allen Chastanet, Ezechiel Joseph, Bradley Felix, Dominic Fedee

By Caribbean News Global contributor

CASTRIES, St Lucia – On Tuesday, November 10, the parliament of Saint Lucia is scheduled to convene at 10:00 a.m, to reinforce COVID-19 restrictions and continue extensive borrowing of US$30,000,000 and EC$202,500,000.00; meantime enhanced COVID-19 protocols and a universe of systemic false-hood constitute a larger systemic manipulation.

Order paper for Tuesday, November 10

Included on the order paper are extensive COVID-19 statutory instruments, legal profession (Eligibility), excise tax (Amendment), customs duties (Amendment), fiscal incentives, companies (Amendment), regulations and report of the parliamentary commissioner 2017-2019 by prime minister Allen Chastanet.

Minister for agriculture, fisheries, physical planning, natural resources and cooperatives Ezechiel Joseph is expected to table statutory instrument No. 156 of 2020, water and sewerage (Tariff) (Amendment) regulations.

Minister for commerce, industry, enterprise development and consumer affairs Bradley Felix to table price control amendments and Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards Annual Report 2018-2019.

Minister for tourism, information and broadcasting, culture and creative industries Dominic Fedee will table various statutory instruments for tourism stimulus and investment.

In a previous article, the consequence of hypocritical and immoral play-acts, and notable, a prime minister that recites: “I don’t listen. I let the jackasses bray,” […] the statistics read:

  • “GDP is likely to contract by 26 percent;
  • Government Revenues are down by 36 percent;
  • Public Debt is now $3.6 billion and will likely exceed 90 percent of GDP by March 31, 2021;
  • National Insurance Corporation (NIC) has spent $68.9 million and government has spent $7.2 million on unemployment relief. Over 20,000 persons received some level of support;
  • Government has spent $38 million on COVID-related Health responses, which probably includes the move to the Owen King Europen Union (OKEU) hospital;
  • There have been 13,600 stayover arrivals since the borders were opened in July, and Hotels have re-employed 5,000 persons. 10,088 of these arrivals were from the USA;
  • “Citizenship by Investment (CIP) applications are up 129 percent.”

Besides, a letter entitled, Saint Lucia is sitting on a ticking time bomb of debt, explained:“Good economic management requires that countries place limits on their public debt. Countries that are faced with an unsustainable debt situation are forced more often than not to turn to the International Monetary Fund (IMF),” said Carlton Augustine.

Motions for Tuesday, November 10

Prime minister and minister for finance, economic growth, job creation, external affairs and the public service will table that parliament by affirmation resolution approves the draft Value Added Tax (Rate of Tax) (Tourism Sector Goods and Services) Order to vary the rate of tax for goods and services provided by a hotel and other providers in the tourism sector to set the rate of tax for tourism sector goods and services as follows:

(a) the rate of seven percent tax applies with regard to a supply of a tourism accommodation service; (b) the rate of ten percent tax applies with regard to a supply of:

(i) food and beverages, including, alcoholic beverages, by a restaurant,

(ii) water sports,

(iii) tours conducted by land, air or sea within Saint Lucia, including a direct supply of transportation services by the tour operator as part of the tour package, but excluding an indirect supply of transportation services by a tour operator,

(iv) admission to heritage sites and other touristic attractions.

Parliament is also expected to authorize the minister of finance to borrow an amount of US$30,000,000 from the Caribbean Development Bank, consisting of a Special Funds Resources portion in the amount of US$10,800,000.00 and an Ordinary Capital Resources portion in the amount of US$19,200,000.00, for the purpose of financing the implementation of policy reform initiatives designed to support Saint Lucia’s COVID-19 Crisis Response and achieving fiscal stability; […]

Parliament is expected to revoke the Finance (Administration) Act – resolution of parliament to authorize the minister for finance to guarantee borrowing by the Saint Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority from a syndicate of banks led by the Bank of Saint Lucia Limited to finance the Hewanorra International Airport Redevelopment Project, published as Statutory Instrument, No. 124 of 2019; to authorizes the minister of finance to guarantee a loan in the amount of EC$202,500,000.00 for the purpose of financing the Hewanorra International Airport Redevelopment Project by the Saint Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority from a syndicate of banks led by the

Bank of Saint Lucia Limited as follows:

(a) Bank of Saint Lucia Limited – EC$58,900,000.00

(b) 1st National Bank of St. Lucia Limited – EC$54,500,000.00

(c) Grenada Co-operative Bank Limited – EC$40,100,000.00

(d) Antigua Commercial Bank Ltd. – EC$24,500,000.00

(e) Eastern Caribbean Amalgamated Bank – EC$24,500,000.00.

Bills

The prime minister and minister for finance, economic growth, job creation, external affairs and the public service is expected to table the public finance management, public procurement and Asset Disposal (Amendment) for first reading. While the minister for tourism information and broadcasting, culture and creative industries, will table for first reading *Saint Lucia Tourism Authority (Amendment) and *tourism levy.

[Note the asterisk * per the order paper. Historically, most bills are rushed through all three stages in one sitting.]

Fact and Truth

On September 29, parliament convened under duress for substantial borrowing;

  1. Be it resolved that parliament authorizes the minister of finance to borrow an amount of US$3,750,000.00 from the CARICOM Development Fundfor the purpose of providing financial assistance to support of the implementation of the Village Tourism Initiative by enhancing specified infrastructure and supporting eligible small and medium-sized enterprises;
  2. Be it resolved that parliament authorizes the minister for finance to borrow an additional sum of US$5,000,000.00 by way of credit from the International Development Association for capital expenditure for the Health System Strengthening Project; – COVID 19 Financing for Health System
  3. Be it resolved that parliament authorizes the minister for finance to guarantee a loan in the amount of EUR$5,750,000.00 from the European Investment Bank by the Saint Lucia Development Bank for on-lending to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.

Conclusion

In this new world order – don’t be fooled, said a Caribbean News Global (CNG) editorial, ruffled many feathers: “Don’t believe the critics: Prepare to vote or be dammed”.

The recent US presidential election provides several historical analyses: “We have to remember the purpose of our politics isn’t total unrelenting, unending warfare. No, the purpose of our politics, the work of our nation, isn’t to fan the flames of conflict, but to solve problems, to guarantee justice, to give everybody a fair shot,” said Biden last Friday night in Delaware, 24 hours later is president-elect.

Saint Lucia faces a complex governing challenge, mired in debt, pain and suffering that will require common sense and common honesty. Trust and confidence are essential to unify the common purpose, putting people first.

Understanding the impact of COVID-19, debt and governance require truth and fact, science over fiction; economic and approved training, with results that supersedes the narrative of false hope, lies and fiction.

To underscore the challenges ahead is already apparent in a Chastanet-led administration bent on extending COVID-19 pain and suffering, extensive borrowing, and reckless governance.

“Democracy is not a state, it is an act,” John Lewis.

Related Documents:

Order Paper, Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Finance (Administration) Act – Resolution of Parliament SLASPA

VATValue Added Tax — Resolution of Parliament to approve draft Value Added Tax (Rate of Tax) (Tourism Sector Goods and Services) Order

EXPLANATORY NOTE SAINT LUCIA TOURISM AUTHORITY (AMENDMENT) BILL

EXPLANATORY NOTE TOURISM LEVY BILL

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