By Caribbean News Global contributor
CASTRIES, St Lucia – Former prime minister and minister for Dr Kenny Anthony, in a resounding public endorsement – “This is Philip’s time” – the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) political leader, Philip Pierre at the annual general conference of the constituency of Castries East Saturday, touched on themes about “the collapsing economy and its implications; the nature of the Chastanet’s regime; corruption of the management of the public service and the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) and the need for a ‘road map’ to remove us from the political and economic and morass that sweeps the land.”
Against that background, Dr Kenny Anthony argued: “I want now to ask the most fundamental question, what type of leadership is required in these times?”
“In 1997 our party was called upon to rescue our country and responded magnificently. We were again called to do so in 2011 and once more, the labour party reset the economic engines and Saint Lucia’s ship was once again sailing smoothly. For the third time in recent memory, we are again called to right the ship of state which is dangerously adrift.”
A collapsing economy
The former prime minister and minister for finance touch on the following:
- This economy is falling apart and no amount of borrowing to construct cheap, poorly designed roads in the United Workers Party (UWP) constituencies will save it.
- Our leading sector, tourism is now in serious trouble. It has been dealt a fatal blow by the COVID pandemic.
- There will be no cruise industry to provide income to taxi drivers. Cruise ships will be few and far between this cruise season. If at all.
- Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, our export agriculture was declining. The inept minister for agriculture Ezechiel Joseph, bereft of any ideas, destroyed it.
- Manufacturing may be alive, but barely … a victim of declining demand, COVID-19, and poor leadership.
Dr Anthony reiterated that amid chaos and distress, “the government has refused to accede to the request of the SLP to deliver a package of support for small business to ease their plight.”
“The fiscal crisis will deepen; the deficit will widen uncontrollably. Revenue intake will continue to decrease sharply, impossible for government revenue to cope with expenditure.” He added, “In a recent interview, prime minister Allen Chastanet said that revenue had declined by 50 percent – who knows if he is telling the truth? This scenario means … basic services will suffer as the government finds it difficult to finance services. More reliance on borrowing to finance operations, increasing inability to pay existing loans or raise new money.”
“The nature of Chastanet’s regime has destroyed the country, incapable of truth in its simplest form; contemptuous of the constitution; destroyed the integrity, independence of the senior management of the public service and the RSLPF, ” Dr Anthony added.
“In Chastanet eyes and in his mouth, Saint Lucian’s are mendicants, donkeys and jackassess” meantime he engages in “plantocracy economics” and theories that are – more in keeping with his own “living standards” and “not that of the people of Saint Lucia.”
Moreover, he has “allowed his political party consultants to breach our protocols in entering the country to do their dirty work. He has defiled parliament by refusing to debate various COVID-19 ORDERS, all of which are blatantly unlawful and unconstitutional,” he said.
In keeping with SLP campaign slogan: “Putting You First” – “Our [first] priority is to develop and present to the people of Saint Lucia ‘a road-map to recovery’”, that surrounds:
- How do we re-open hotels that remain closed?
- How do we return to works the thousands who are unemployed?
- How do we protect small business and prevent them from collapse?
- How do we provide healthcare to our people when do not have the means to pay for such medical services?
- How do we protect our citizens from the avalanche of utility bills that they face?
- How do we assist our children to cope with virtual learning and teaching?
- How do we reach out to the poor and defence-less?
- How do we finance the recovery?
If there is a lock-box to finance the Airport project, “open it and feed the people,” Dr Anthony said unequivocally.
Former prime minister Dr Anthony concluded that “Only the labour party can restore Saint Lucia’s economy locally and it’s standing regionally and internationally,” called on party loyalist and concern Saint Lucian’s to “come together and do what we have done twice before.”
“Let us come to Saint Lucia’s rescue. Let us again, ensure that Saint Lucia is a place where its people come first.”