St Lucia parliament to amend the constitution and borrow USD$8.921M from CDB

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  • Parliament of Saint Lucia to borrow an amount of USD$5.217M from the Special Funds Resources of the Caribbean Development Bank (the bank) to finance safety nets for vulnerable populations affected by COVID-19.
  • Parliament of Saint Lucia to borrow an amount of USD$3.704M from the Caribbean Development Bank’s (the bank) Special Development Fund 10th Cycle Loan Facility to support the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Sector post-COVID-19.
  • Parliament of Saint Lucia to amend the constitution that a person other than a member of the House of Assembly may be elected as Deputy Speaker.

By Caribbean News Global contributor

CASTRIES, St Lucia – The parliament of Saint Lucia is scheduled to convene Tuesday, November 22, at 10:00 am and the Senate on November 24, for consideration of the ‘Constitution of Saint Lucia (Amendment) (No. 2)’ – ‘St Jude Hospital (Amendment)’ and to borrow USD$8.921M’ said the instruments from the office of parliament.

St Lucia’s parliament borrowing habits return in confidence

According to the explanatory notes of the St Jude billSt. Jude Hospital (Amendment) Act-1short title, 4:

“A new section 20A (guarantee of borrowing of the hospital) is inserted in the Act under clause 2 of the Bill.” Insertion of new section 20A 2. The St Jude Hospital Act, Cap. 11.20 is amended by inserting immediately after section 20 the following new section 20A.”

Guarantee of borrowing of the hospital 20A:

“(1) The minister responsible for finance may, with the approval of ‘parliament, guarantee in the manner and on conditions as he or she thinks fit, the payments of the principal and interest of an authorized borrowing by the hospital.

(2) Where the minister responsible for finance is satisfied that there has been default in the payment of principal money or interest guaranteed under this section, he or she shall direct the repayment out of the Consolidated Fund for the amount in respect of which there has been a default.”

Government to borrow USD$5.217M – Public Finance Management Act – Vulnerable population-1

Relative to the public finance management act … the minister of finance may, by an affirmative resolution of parliament, borrow from a bank or other financial institution for the capital or current expenditure of government:

“The minister of finance considers it necessary to borrow an amount of USD$5,217,000.00 from the Special Funds Resources of the Caribbean Development Bank (the bank) to finance safety nets for vulnerable populations affected by COVID-19; […] .”

According to the resolution to be tabled in parliament tomorrow, “the loan is repayable in eighty equal or approximately equal and quarterly installments.

Loan payments commence on the 1st day of January, the 1st day of April, the 1st day of July and the 1st day of October of each year after a grace period of three years following the date of the loan, or such later date as the bank specifies in writing;

“(c) Interest is payable at a rate of four point three nine percent (4.39%) per annum on the amount of the principal disbursed and outstanding and the borrower may request an interest rate conversion from the bank.”

Government to borrow USD$3,704M – Public Finance Management – Micro, Small nad Medium Enterprises COVID 19

In a second resolution of the public finance management act, “the minister of finance considers it necessary to borrow an amount of USD$3,704,000.00 from the Caribbean Development Bank’s (the bank) Special Development Fund 10th Cycle Loan Facility to support the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Sector post-COVID-19.

“The loan is repayable in eighty-eight equal or approximately equal and consecutive quarterly instalments” commencing “on the 1st day of January, the 1st day of April, the 1st day of July and the 1st day of October of each year after a grace period of three years following the date of the loan or such later date as the bank specifies in writing.

“Interest is payable at a rate of zero point seven five per cent (0.75%) per annum on the amount of the principal disbursed and outstanding.”

Related: IMF projection shows 6.4% inflation and 90% GDP in the medium term for St Lucia

Caribbean News Global jeremiah_-norbert St Lucia parliament to amend the constitution and borrow USD$8.921M from CDB
Jeremiah Norbert

The Deputy Speaker 

The explanatory note on the constitution of Saint Lucia is expected to amend, “section 36 of the Act (Deputy Speaker) is altered under clause 2 of the Bill to provide that a person other than a member of the House of Assembly may be elected as deputy speaker.

Related: Ten days almost seems like ten months considering the issues

“I now come to the Micoud North, the history-making, the face of the future, the never-die, Jeremiah Norbert,” said prime minister of Saint Lucia, Philip J Pierre, at the swearing-in ceremony of the Cabinet of Ministers, August 5, 2021.

… I have decided in the first instance, to offer him the position of deputy speaker. I will revisit with Norbert in the short term and once his progress is satisfactory, graduate him to the next level. I have assured Norbert that the needs of the people of Micoud North will be of top priority to my government.” 

The appointment of deputy speaker Norbert precedes five years without the position being occupied. However, now that the deputy speaker is functional, one expert questioned:

“What’s the urgency for this amendment? And, is this the most pressing issue affecting the populace that needs constitutional amendment? But perhaps the answer lies in the need to incentivize the Micoud North MP for winning a UWP stronghold, creating history.”

Observations

  • Costs obligations

“If the Micoud North MP is not comfortable and/or functioning as required, then the MP for Vieux-Fort South is the right person for the job, since he has no ministerial interest,” added the regional expert. “And let’s not forget the added burden on the public’s purse while the government laments that it is struggling to meet its costs obligations and commitments.”

  • Watering down the constitution

“The amendment to the constitution should never be driven by politics,” he advised. “This adheres to watering down the constitution through this means.”

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