News, Top Story

RIGOBERT FLAYS P.M.

Calls Him ‘Enemy of The People’.

LEADER of the Opposition, Dr. Gale Rigobert
LEADER of the Opposition, Dr. Gale Rigobert

Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony on Tuesday raised the possibility of St Lucia recording economic growth this year, for the first time in three years, while delivering his budget statement in the House of Assembly.

But the promise earned the Prime Minister scathing rebuke from the Leader of the Opposition Gale Rigobert who flatly criticized his performance as Minister of Finance labelling him “the worst economic manager” in the region and “an enemy of the people of Saint Lucia.”

Replying to the budget statement in the House of Assembly during the first day of the two-day debate Thursday, Rigobert questioned Anthony’s credibility, noting that in his statement last Tuesday he was again raising expectations that the Saint Lucian economy “may” return to positive growth in 2015.

She said she had waited in the hope of hearing “something positive and inspiring” from Anthony this time, but she said she had waited in vain, “for all that the Prime Minister and minister of Finance could offer was confirmation that his stewardship had been an abject failure.”

It was the first time Saint Lucians had heard Rigobert use such strong language anywhere, and her performance caught many people completely off-guard. The former University of the West Indies lecturer did not hold back as she flayed Prime Minisrter Anthony’s handling of the St Lucia economy, especially for presiding over three successive years of economic decline.

She declared: “I am calling this Minister of Finance, an enemy of the people of St Lucia because any Minister of Finance who presides over three consecutive years of economic recession and contraction, has demonstrated the incompetence of his economic management and his unsuitability to hold that position. He can only be considered as an enemy of the economic interests of the people of St Lucia.”

Quoting from the “2014 Caribbean Economic Review and Outlook for 2015”, published by the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Rigobert said a review of this document led to “the inescapable conclusion that this Minister of Finance, is the worst economic manager in the CDB member countries as no other Minister of Finance has presided over there consecutive years of economic contraction and negative growth….”

To compound matters, she said, Anthony had overseen policies that had resulted in by far the worst situation with regard to unemployment among CDB member countries. “The unemployment rate in St Lucia for 2014 as reported by the CDB is 25.8 percent, the next worst performance is in the Bahamas where the recorded rate is bad, but much less fortunate 14.3 percent.

Questioning the Prime Minister’s credibility, the Opposition Leader pointed to the fact that while he had raised the prospect of a return to positive growth, he had admitted that with the exception of tourism, the other three sectors that might be expected to contribute to the economic turnaround—construction, manufacturing and agriculture—had all recorded declines during 2014.

She said that for growth to take place in the economy, there had to be a plan. She had waited to hear Anthony’s plan to restore the economy to positive growth, “but again, I waited in vain.”

Anthony, she concluded, had “no plan…no strategy and no vision”.

7 Comments

  1. How could the prime minister have a plan when Kenny and Tony contradicts each other on any constructive agenda.

  2. An exercise in vacuity! That’s the only way to describe that Budget Statement

    Any Minister of Finance who expects a return to economic growth without presenting a clear plan to achieve such growth, cannot be taken seriously.

    Any Minister of Finance who in one act can take nearly 600 companies off the VAT list cannot be taken seriously. He must first explain why these companies were placed on the list in the first place. We’re not talking about 5, 10 or 15 firms but nearly 600!

    The only conclusion that can be reached here is that the VAT policy was not carefully thought out.

    Any Minister of Finance who claims a improvement in the Government’s finances and then can impose such draconian revenue -generating measures such as a 50 cents increase in the fuel surcharge on electricity and increases in car licenses cannot be taken seriously.

    These measures were not introduced in 2013 and 2014 budgets, so why introduce them now when you claim an improvement in the Government’s finances?

    After reflecting on these incongruences I, Sherlock have reached an elementary conclusion: not only is that Budget State an excise in vacuity; it’s also an exercise in buffoonery!

  3. This is indeed a stark reality which cannot be spun away or ignore. The only credible measure of good economic management is economic growth. I would not use that kind rhetoric i.e.. “enemy of the people” because I am sure that the Prime Minister, as any other Prime Minister, would prefer to crow about an economic turnaround even if it is to shore up the re-election fortunes of his party. We have heard some rationalizations for this situation and the favorite whipping boy is the global economic situation. We all know that other similar economies in the region are registering growth, albeit negligible. So it brings the government’s economic policies and particularly its fiscal policies into question.
    It is not the first time that we have heard this statement from the Prime Minister “green shoots” etc. etc.

    Having said that one must give credit to the government for in the least demonstrating that they have a handle on the current deficit notwithstanding that not much is yet to be done to address the unsustainable debt level which impacts the ability to focus on the productive capacity of the economy.

    There is not much in terms of innovative and creative policies in the budget that will spur the level of economic growth that can impact unemployment. The modest level of local and FD investment announced in the budget while welcoming will not suffice. Therefore in the meantime the make work programs of STEP, NICE, and SMILE must be closely managed so as not to adversely impact the encouraging trend in the current deficit.

    The jarring increases in vehicle registration fees by 100-250% in some cases may have some impact of inflation. However should the growth in tourism continues and hotels return to high occupancy rates and by extension profitability it would be prudent to have them share in the sacrifices that the average Saint Lucian is asked to make by imposing a small increase in their VAT to say 11.5 to 12%.

    Finally, any sector that has an export component should exploited to the max so as to the country’s foreign exchange earning capacity. Thus the agricultural sector will become a critical sector going forward as its contribution towards import substitution, and food security cannot be understated.

    The administration must focus on reducing waste, keeping the wage bill stable by seeking to reduce overtime and maintaining the hiring freeze, as well as to seek increases in productivity in the public sector to keep and build on the gains realized in the current deficit.

  4. Wahl…
    Empress “ario” Rigo is way more attractive and definitely has more IQ than Sarah Palin; le governor of Alaska with aspirations for executive office of de Republic. If only she had waited and built a momentum to crest with Hillary’s ascendancy as presidential hopeful. Alas, Palin’s cat was long outta le proverbial bag- tout suite and the world knows that even a Guy Joseph can match her sum total IQ and political razzmatazz.
    !
    Granted, our Grand Empress Rigo is a legit know it all of the Liberal Arts, it is safe to assume that she understands that the real problem with St Lucia is DEMOGRAPHICS.
    -Too many heads of households can be classified as near juveniles in both mental and chronological categories or both.
    -Too many of the current young adults and thirty-something were born in the same types of households described above.
    – Many of the teenage pregnancies of the reckless 1980’s kept ongoing even into their thirties.
    – If some of these households received basic monetary handouts from biological fathers , families and yes the GOV; most never received consistent PATERNAL nurturing and or QUALITY time –never mind a sense of unconditional love
    The Micoud doctor knows the breadth and scope of this sociological malady.
    Sociology 101 asserts / predicts that the odds are stacked extremely high against a child graduating above the highest level achieved by their household parents. (Especially, welfare queens and ghetto count-tesas)
    – Too many of the skilled talented St. Lucian workforce are in the developed metros of the world.
    – Consequently, this very youthful population has none of the mature modeling scaffolding it needs to galvanize their PURPOSE or to prepare for opportunity with poise, dedication and delay of gratification
    – IMPATIENCE and mass anxiety rules their roost
    With all due respect to the Empress Rigo, I also sense impatience, anxiety and too often callous indifference within her political party’s approach to this ship of state’s dire circumstances.
    Over the years, at many social drink eat dance soirees at ye olde Hellenites Club House , now a Government cultural portal, I ACTIVELY listened to hardworking blue and white collar Loosshans complain about how their native counterparts back on island were
    –“LIVING TOO LARGE on the hog.
    – Fete more than the visiting tourist
    – Multiply like rabbits without an economic safety net.
    – The banks own everybody”
    WE THE PEOPLE as a cultural milieu paddled our way into this quagmire.
    The only QUICK economic remedy must abandon some democratic liberties or embrace further widening of SES class stratification with embedded Tea Party –Reaganomics policies
    Is it “do or die” or “Do and die” ?
    Patience is truly a great VIRTUE!

  5. This vitriolic attack by this Drama-Queen Gale Rigobert against the Prime Minster, is in keeping with her previously displayed Medusa characteristics. Call to mind how this bald-headed Medusa devoured the occupants of her predecessor’s office, padlocking them out, leaving the dedicated office workers standing in the rain on the sidewalk, while Medusa discarded their personal items into the Castries river by the old Ice Factory. If her statements tells anything, is how well trained she is as leader of the pack of attack-dogs on Kim Jong Wong Allen Chastanet.

    Does anyone see the vicious self-contradicting statement of the trained Negress, or is it my loathing for Medusa ? If an individual is incompetent does that make that person a criminal, or much worse “AN ENEMY” ?? Gale is simply and idiot, subservient to an even bigger “Ler-ler”/imbecile Allen Chastanet – ah, the things we do for fame and power.

    “I am calling this Minister of Finance, an enemy of the people of St Lucia because any Minister of Finance who presides over three consecutive years of economic recession and contraction, has demonstrated the incompetence of his economic management and his unsuitability to hold that position. He can only be considered as an enemy of the economic interests of the people of St Lucia.”

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