Letters & Opinion

The Complementary Factors of Zero Growth and Poverty

READING the book, “Governing In A Small Caribbean Island State”, by James Fletcher, was interesting and it speaks candidly on the subject. Subsequently, I witnessed Mr. Fletcher on a local TV programme where he defended his political values in an honourable manner despite the subtle pressures of the host.

A small island state like St. Lucia will always face certain challenges for a number of reasons and the most common are (a) a state with limited natural resources, (b) a tiny population, (c) limited manufacturing ability, (d) a mountainous terrain which makes agriculture difficult, and so the list goes on.

On the other hand, we have seen governments come and go and the only way we can truly judge which administration performed satisfactory over a given period is to genuinely reflect on the achievements of the various administrations. The majority on island will undoubtedly agree that the UWP under Sir John Compton produced the best growth. Under those circumstances, any right-thinking St. Lucian would automatically focus on the method and formula used which provided this success story.

Today we have an administration which has revisited the agenda of the golden years in an effort to rekindle some form of tangible growth versus an administration which oversaw zero growth between 2011 and 2016. Zero growth and poverty go hand in hand, therefore, any administration assuming office must face the reality that the previous formula implemented failed to grow the economy and must be altered for greater positive results. The present administration recognized the pitfalls and has taken a new approach but change has its challenges and there will be those who will remain confrontational until the nation’s fortunes are turned around.

Foreign investment is the key to our success but, by the same token, we need the foreign expertise to bring us to the other level. St. Lucia is a tiny nation in the growing stage and though many St. Lucians have great skills, the DSH project appears to be an area that should not be cast aside, based on the vision of our PM who is determined to raise the social and economic standard of the south from a non-productive asset to a productive and thriving economy.

There are those who criticized the development within the Gros Islet area, which grew from a sleepy town to the most sought-after real estate and presently hundreds of residents from the south are forced to make that daily journey for employment.

Commonsense will tell us that our PM is doing his best in the interest of addressing the needs of the residents in the south and they must not be misled by politicians who had the opportunity to act appropriately but failed to do what was necessary. Mr. Fletcher, in his television interview, was correct when he indicated that the current PM had a vision and confirmed that the PM had no desire to hurt the country.

Mr. Fletcher also elaborated on the fact that there were areas in which he disagreed with the current PM but, by the same token, the views of others don’t always have to mesh each other in every way, as the current PM has a mandate and he must be permitted to function without the constant critical utterances and no meaningful contribution.

We clearly understand that the opposition is in purgatory, as indicated by the former PM, but this is the price which must be paid for the sins of ineptitude and the same will apply to the UWP if their results do not meet the expectations of the public at large.

By Political Observer

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