Letters & Opinion

The Role of Government and Opposition

POLITICS the world over includes the role of an opposition — or oppositions, as the case may be — but the big question remains: How productive are oppositions when we witness on a daily basis the level of emotional contributions fielded to various administrations and, by extension, the public?

We are all aware that the ultimate reaction of the opposition is to ingratiate themselves at the expense of any administration, but at what stage of our lives will we take note how quickly the world is changing technologically and now with the birth of climate change?

Let us take Dominica as a living example of our topic. Over the past twenty years, some 40,000 residents have migrated to various parts of the world for one reason or another, which automatically reduces the nature of economic activity required to promote significant growth.

Above and beyond this drawback, PM Skeritt who, has done a great job in creating an unusual relationship with China, Venezuela and Cuba, has attracted over US$650 million (China’s contribution alone was US$400 million) and with those funds, the government improved many areas requiring vital assistance. With the CIP programme in place, subject to correction, Dominica was able to bring in another US$150 million since the inception of the CIP.

Today, with the passage of Hurricane Maria, all these significant achievements have been compromised or totally destroyed. In light of China’s past financial support, what are the chances of China re-pledging that kind of assistance again when China itself is presently facing its own difficulties where personal debt within China is the highest in the world and is presently forcing the Government to address the situation, which means outside assistance will be downsized? The ECCB recently indicated that any annual growth under 4% is not an option for any nation endeavouring to better the standard of living for its people, so herein lies a tremendous task.

As of June 2017, twelve months after the present administration took office, the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce has indicated that as a result of increased confidence, local businesses have registered an increase in sales. Additionally, the Ministry of Tourism has advised that versus the same period of 2016, an increase of 14% was registered, placing St. Lucia in second place within the Caribbean with Bermuda holding the top slot.

Basic common sense tells us that the present administration is on the right track. Consequently, the opposition needs to recognise those results and revisit their ongoing propaganda machinery. These progressive results have not yet included the opening of Harbour Club in December 2017, the construction of a 400-room five-star hotel at Pigeon Point by Sandals Resorts, the commencement this year of the Sab Wisha project at Choiseul, and the demolishing of the Rex and Papillon Hotels at Rodney Bay for the construction of a new 400-room international hotel. The banana industry, which was hovering at 8,000 tonnes annually is about to reach 30,000 tonnes by December 2017, thereby, increasing the revenue earned in the last four years.

Putting our differences aside can only secure an improvement over our past status, at the same time taking note of the disadvantages of climate change which shows its ugly head from August to November annually. These are the bottom-line issues we must address as the time is fast approaching when assistance from abroad, which is already in the diminishing stage, is likely to be frozen at any given time.

Michael Chastanet

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