The Minister of Agriculture has once more failed to comprehend the difference between producing and economics. His recent explanation on television has angered the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce as his government continues to make pronouncements which are out of sync with that of the Chamber, and by extension, ordinary common sense.
Chicken is a stable diet for over 95% of St. Lucians and there is no need to destabilise an industry which permits producers, retailers, restaurateurs and wholesalers to operate viably when in fact there are other ways of dealing with this issue.
In the past, government subsidised the banana industry to an extent which permitted farmers to make a very good living. Today, government does not need to re-invent the wheel but simply apply this philosophy to the chicken producers by way of increasing taxes on commodities like liquor and cigarettes which are harmful to our people. This way the government will earn the necessary funding for assisting the chicken producers without hurting all other players within the industry. But more importantly, government will ensure that the chicken producers remain efficient and effective.
Government simply needs to revisit the profound reasons why fish and codfish which were once loved by all locals are no longer available to ordinary vendors. For the guidance of all concerned, the reason for the absence is cost. It is ironic that the Minister and his colleagues have only now realised that money in the hands of locals is the way forward. One would have thought that after the implementation of VAT, a lesson would have been well learned that short changing the ordinary man would eventually impact negatively on the economy.
So we now ask this administration that since this reality has resonated would they now consider reversing a decision which has hurt the St. Lucia economy and continues to affect all and sundry.