While our Prime Minister remains obsessed with Michael and Allen Chastanet many St. Lucians including a hard-core of the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce remain mystified. In the process, these concerns have now split the Chamber members’ views on their assessment of the Prime Minister.
It is ironic that our Prime Minister for the third time has displayed the anti-Chastanet sentiment at his various party meetings when he should instead be reflecting for a moment on the achievements of Lee Kuan Yew, the former President of Singapore who passed away just three days ago. Lee Kuan Yew took an area of marsh grounds in a third world region, the approximate size of St. Lucia and converted Singapore into a first world country with a per capita income increasing from $460 to $76,860 in 31 years. Our Prime Minister who is about to complete 15 years in government has placed St. Lucia in decline with negative growth for three consecutive years.
It was the vision of Lee Kuan Yew, who worked tirelessly to achieve unity among disparate groupings of Chinese, Malay and Indian peoples, that catapulted Singapore to where it is today. By comparison it is the lack of vision by our Prime Minister which has our nation reeling at 40% unemployment for the youth and 25% for the working community. If one adds to this his new tactic of sowing discord among our small rainbow nation by frequently attacking private individuals we have the recipe for disaster. A house divided can never stand!
We are presently a nation which continues to promote a STEP programme by utilising the meagre resources to provide minimal work like grass cutting, and constructing edifices with State funds where his cronies continue to lumber along in air conditioned offices leaving the road side employees to toil away in blissful ignorance.
The Prime Minister has failed to recognise the importance of citizens who have the ability to operate businesses, employ persons and pass on their skills and knowledge to make St. Lucia a SINGAPORE and not a CUBA or VENEZUELA where citizens have been trampled upon and brought their once thriving economies to a standstill. The greater part of St. Lucia’s income is derived from excise duties and taxation and if the business community continues to decline as we have all witnessed, so will the revenue of the State remain in decline. By comparison one simply has to revisit the manner in which our vendors are treated vis-a-vis STEP workers. Vendors do not rely on handouts, they are small entrepreneurs who are self-employed yet the conditions under which they are forced to operate are deplorable and by extension reflect poorly in the eyes of visitors.
The most recent decision by the Prime Minister to extract another $30 million from the NIC (Pensioners Funds) to construct another white elephant (Human Resource Centre) in the south is impractical at a time when some $40 million already extracted from the NIC (Pensioners Funds) remains unattended, unfinished and non-functional with little or no parking facilities in San Soucis. The millions spent on a recreational centre in the town of Vieux Fort, though commendable, is hardly utilised whereas all these millions should have been disbursed on productive assets to create employment. Every nation with scarce funds has a duty to prioritise projects so as to achieve maximum benefit from its resources, and this we are not doing. Instead we are using NIC funds for non-productive purposes and thereby possibly endangering the pensions of generations of St. Lucians in the years to come.
The Prime Minister at his latest Saltibus meeting continued to make a number of promises as general elections approach but ignores the plight of the fishing community in the heart of the Choiseul village where an environmental hazard has existed for 13 years based on a polluted fishing complex disaster. How could any administration be so incompetent and heartless and continue casting red herrings to misguide the people of St. Lucia. Thank goodness that a level of democracy still exists here and eighteen months from today St. Lucians will have their say and do what is necessary to save fair Helen. Hopefully by then it will not be too late but we are entering dangerous times.
A displeased Chamber Member