Letters & Opinion, Politics

St. Lucians Impatient For New Elections

Jeff Fedee
By Jeff Fedee

THE situation facing St. Lucia today is such that the economic problems have gotten out of control. The general public is of the view that the S.L.P. administration has failed the people and the country, and should call early elections. It is clear that the public is disillusioned and are looking forward to the speedy passage of the time left in the life of this parliamentary period of twenty-four months.

By any measure this SLP government has failed to live up to its expectations and fulfil the promises it made to the electorate. Therefore the people look forward with eager anticipation to the elections to teach Labour a hard lesson.

The hard evidence that confronts us on a daily basis, is of a country in the depths of an economic crisis, which was confirmed by the government’s resident guru Jimmy Fletcher, who said in a statement to regional officials when signing an MOU, that ‘our country is going through a very serious economic crisis. Despite this, agents of the government are still engaged in lies and distortions to fool the public. Contained in the propaganda sheet NATIONWIDE of November, 15, 2014, was the following: “Day by day, month by month, year by year, this government shows how much different and better it is. Under the current Prime Minister, the government the majority voted for at the end of 2011, has simply been working day and night to ensure it delivers on its promises to make life better for all St. Lucians.’’

This is a classic ploy straight out of the handbook of Adolph Hilter’s master propagandist Joseph Goebbels, whose method was to tell lies diametrically opposite to the truth, and the lumpen proletariat (the thoughtless masses) would believe it. The NATIONWIDE editorial continued: “Every week this government announces here and everywhere, positive results of new projects being undertaken….and the leader of the main opposition party cites unemployment and job loss figures from imagined sources.”

Tell that to the hundreds on the breadline who have been laid off, and the school-leavers graduating with no hope of employment.

Instead of these sterile flights of fancy and outright delusions, the writer avoids the reality that confronts the citizens of this country, which are in direct contradiction to the claims of this delusionary scribbler. I recommend therefore, that the writer visits government’s statistics department to get the real facts and figures about job losses in the country and the decline in St. Lucia’s economic performance.

The information from the statistics department reveals that during the rule of the U.W.P. administration between 2006-20011, at the height of the global recession in 2008 which hit the leading economies of the world like a tsunami, the unemployment rate was 20.6% after five years of U.W.P. rule. Ask anyone who is honest and they will tell you that there was greater optimism in the country then, compared to the hardships, despair and gloom which exist today. Under this SLP government the unemployment rate climbed to 23.3% in 2013, and the figures obtained three months ago showed that it had reached 25% of the work force, and was expected to climb even further by year-end.

The ‘very serious economic crisis’ is due to the huge fiscal deficit, which is the difference between government revenue and expenditure, which this administration has never tried to seriously address by its extravagant spending which it has lavished on non-productive consultants and its select supporters. Prior to the elections of November, 2011, our fiscal deficit was a manageable 5% of G.D.P. under the U.W.P., which was well within the acceptable parameters of prudent economic management which any qualified economist would confirm. In its first year in office the SLP increased the fiscal deficit from $166 million to $230 million, the following financial year 2012-2013, the deficit climbed to an astronomical $328 million, or 9.5% of G.D.P., almost double in two years what the SLP inherited from the U.W.P.

This excessive spending by the SLP is what formed the basis of the plea from the government to the civil servants to take a cut of 5% in wages. But the Prime Minister’s method of imposing the cut without the approval of the civil servants, was to incorporate this measure in the Estimates of Expenditure or budget of 2013-2014. This would make the cut compulsory as long as the government with its majority passed the bill in Parliament. But Kenny Anthony did not take into account the resolve and determination of the civil servants. Inspite of the passage in Parliament, the civil servants and the T.U.F. threatened to shut down the country if the government ever dared to cut their salaries. But a weakened government could not succeed in its planned imposition, because in the minds of the civil servants were vivid images of Kenny Anthony marching up and down the country goading them to demand a 14.5% increase from the U.W.P. administration. This man definitely has no respect for the intelligence of St. Lucians.

This Monday, November 17, the government suffered another major blow with the announcement that the government negotiating team had reached a decision that wages would not be cut, instead there would be a ‘wage freeze’ for three years for the period 2013-2016.

The Chairman of the G.M.T., retired banker Chester Hinkson, made the announcement citing the hardships that such a cut would have imposed on civil servants with loans to pay and other financial obligations. Kenny and his ministers must be seething over the outcome of the negotiations. But he misjudged the Chairman who he surmised would act like a ‘puppet’ subject to the whims and demands of the Prime Minister. To his credit Hinkson conducted the task in a balanced, fair and even handed manner, and looked at the merit of the arguments presented by representatives of the workers and the government from an objective perspective to hand down such a courageous decision. It was therefore concluded that the government had no case. But the other dimension to the Chairman is that he emerges from the Hinkson family that fiercely guards its reputation and integrity. They are not for sale to any politician. This is their primary objective.

Special praise must be given to the head of the C.S.A., Mary Isaac, for her determined and resolute stand against this dictatorial regime. She has demonstrated qualities that are contradictory to the normal cowardly and docile attitude of St. Lucians. She was the epitome of coolness under the relentless onslaught of insults from government agents during her battle with the administration. The Prime Minister will never call general elections before it is constitutionally due because the cabal in government wants to plunder the state’s coffers to make as much as they can for the next two years.

We will continue to observe the Prime Minister’s behavior for the rest of this parliamentary period, and see if the Prime Minister continues to behave like a plantation master or the elected representative of the people that he should graciously serve.

1 Comment

  1. Yes. St. Lucians are impatient for General Elections.
    There is much confusion and anguish in St. Lucia as the people languish in an economic and social purgatory , with no end in sight. We can even link the increasing number of suicides with the sense of doom felt by many in once Fair Helen. It is interesting when people try to separate economic from social issues as they defend the immorality of the liberal policies and memes that now make up our societal environment, yet the increasing suicides shows what happens when we have nothing truthful or of substance to hold onto in our lives.

    We have come to the end of the lifespan of the fraudulent Kenny and Tony show. His supreme self confidence in the face of his 11 years of utter economic and social mismanagement as the leader of this country, no longer holds any water.
    It is a pity that we (as I predicted years ago) have had to hit rock bottom before we were willing to admit and see his incompetence. It is also unfortunate that we have further to go. For years we heard of the Rochamels, the NCAs, the costoveruns, etc. For over a decade we saw the crazy borrowing followed by drunken spending followed by no auditing. Since 1997 we felt the tension as the SLP big shots split the country asunder with their selfishness and tribal politics. We watched without comprehending as our national debt went from $400 million to $800 million to $1 billion to $1,200 million to now close to $2,000 million!
    Yet we sat there arrogant and intellectually dumb as we continued to live off of the wealth created in the 60s and 70s by ‘Green Gold” refusing to see that we were only using and not creating anything of value. We have been increasingly happy with the ill discipline, the weed, the rum, the cell phones and the sex. Walk down any street in Castries to see how our women dress and the language spewed out and the garbage on the street. We can only pity the state of the homeless also!

    We have been happy with believing the myth that we were ‘catching up with Barbados’, that we were the next San Tropaz , that we are the “Honeymoon Capitol of the World’ that we were so great that tourists would automatically come over the horizons to our shores even as we continued to debase the society that once made all seem possible.

    So finally from the bottom of the pit we want Elections called.
    Let the people decide if they have finally seen through the clown that has ruled the roost for 11 years. Who knows – maybe they have not! Maybe the race hustlers have convinced enough St. Lucians that the alternative cannot do anything good for St. Lucians because he is of a lighter shade than most St. Lucians. Maybe one ‘big belly white man’ whose life spent in the upper socio economic strata is not trustworthy whereas another ‘bigger belly white man’ who scrunted for the early part of his life before latching onto the money trough that is the taxpayer speaks in the language the majority understand.

    The SLP will not call elections until the last minute unless they do an internal poll giving them the advantage therefore we can expect that we have to wait until 2016 or 730 days hence. Till then we suffer in tense frustration , in economic misery with no hope of an answer from the few who fill their pockets daily from taxation and borrowing.

    But maybe we are only on the receiving end of what we deserve.

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