By Caribbean News Global
CASTRIES, St Lucia – The prime minister and minister for finance 2020/2021 estimates of expenditure and revenue reflects salary increases of 66 percent for minsters equivalent to EC$ 61,601 and 47.7 percent equivalent to EC$ 65,320 for the office of the prime minister on basic salary, plus allowances.
The salary increases for government ministers, the least competent in modern history, the termed “Lapo” in the local vernacular, is taking place during COVID-19 health and economic crisis is very “alarming and deceitful”.
The ethics and/or lack thereof to such a discovery, not communicated to the taxpayers of Saint Lucia and not reflected in the normal sequence of the estimates are however detailed on pages 75 and 174 of the 2020/21 estimates.
Peter “Ras Ipa” Isaac president of the Saint Lucia craft and dry goods vendors association puts it best, “ This is a heartless government.”
The mismanagement of public finances supported by data is irresistible: Is Saint Lucia at the hands of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)?
Instead the Saint Lucian government staged a telephon to raise funds for the purchase of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for frontline workers; it is also at the benevolence of Taiwan and Cuba for medical support, calls to question “duplicity of purpose and sincerity”.
This however supports minister for economic development Guy Joseph, previous display of hubris in the parliament of Saint Lucia. “ It is a challenge to be honest in this country. I can tell you. I suffer it every day.”
It is further hideous to reference economic minister Joseph, but it conjures the nuance of “Lapo” punching beyond his weight, addressing Saint Lucia’s response to COVID-19.
Besides, in an open letter to the Trade Union Federation (TUF) president Julian Monrose on the subject of “governments proposal re: Short-term salary adjustments” prime minister and minister for finance Allen Chastanet is attempting a desperate appeal for TUF to accept government’s payment proposal for civil servants (50/50 cash and government bond) amidst COVID-19 crisis.
“Should our offer not be accepted, we will have to examine our legal options in order to ensure that we as a government can function, can meet our obligations and can continue providing essential services to our citizens.”
The government of Saint Lucia has demonstrated that “economics has no conscience … colonialism had a conscience,” ~ prime minister Chastanet.
Urban Dolor writes on social media: “No country wants its leader to be “deceptive”. No country wants its leader to be “schizophrenic”. No country wants its leader to display actions that do not match the leader’s words. On Tuesday May 26, the prime minister of Saint Lucia has an excellent opportunity to show that he is neither “deceptive nor schizophrenic” and that his action matches his words”.
Returning to a question by the Government Information Service (GIS), Lisa Joseph that stumped the economic minister last week:
Q: The TUF has publicly offered to waive a one percent salary increase; government ministers are due to a 55 percent wage increase. Will Cabinet also suspend salary increases?
Minister Joseph chockingly replied:
A: “We cannot suspend salary increases …”
Furthermore, the increase in compensation as described, calls to question why, and why now? Is this a golden handshake for poor representation and gross mismanagement of the country for the betterment of a few?