PRIME Minister and Minister of Finance Dr. Kenny Anthony promised St Lucians economic growth this year when he presented his government’s budget four months ago, but present indications are that this would be miniscule.
According to data published last week by the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, the St Lucia economy is poised to grow by 0.3 percent this year, the smallest growth among the OECS countries.
St Lucia has recorded negative growth for the last three years in a row, including a rate of -1.6 percent last year, ECLAC said.
In contrast, the Antigua and Barbuda economy is expected to show growth of 5.4 percent this year, the fastest growth in the entire region.
According to the CARIBBEAN JOURNAL’s latest edition, the growth comes in part due to a series of high-profile, multimillion-dollar tourism projects launched in Antigua an Barbuda in the last 14 months.
The paper said that when the government of Prime Minister Gaston Browne came to power in June 2014, there was one overriding goal: to make Antigua and Barbuda an economic power house.
So far in 2015, that’s been the case, CARIBBEAN JOURNAL said.
St Kitts and Nevis is next with a projected economic growth of 4.6 percent this year, ECLAC said, followed by Grenada at 1.3 percent. Dominica (0.9 percent), St Vincent and the Grenadines (0.8 percent) and St Lucia (0.3 percent) are at the bottom of the table.
Among the other Caribbean Community Countries, ECLAC said the economy of Guyana would grow by 4.5 percent this year, the Bahamas by 2 percent, Barbados by 1.5 percent, Jamaica by 1.1 percent and Trinidad and Tobago by 1 percent.
The pathetically comedic position that Saint Lucian leadership finds itself enmeshed with is that since Associated Statehood, neither of the parties’ leadership “does not know what it does not know” when it comes to economic development.
You first have to recognize that a problem exists, before you try to understand it, and then to solve it. But if you mis-characterize any problem, then you are not going to even come near to finding a solution for that REAL problem. In effect, you are trying to solve some other problem. What is missing from the political nuisances with all their fluffing, bluffing, frothing and blathering?
Short answer: An “eureka ” or “aha” moment when our economically obtuse nuisances finally recognize that Saint Lucia’s economic problem is NOT cyclical but structural. So STEP is not the solution nor even any kind solution. This bandage, front and centre is a real part of our underlying problem.
Ok. They don’t teach structural economic transformation or transformation economics in law school. Neither one nor the other concentrations is part of the curriculum of MBA or law degrees.
Of our two key attention-grabbing obtuse economic thinkers one has a nauseating mantra of “air lift”, “air lift”, “airlift”. The other has an equally ludicrous and nauseating mantra of “FDI”, “FDI”, “FDI” with am risible focus on where on an index Saint Lucia lands each year “as a nice place to do business”. These are our grand and spectacular genius designs for economic development, to date.
Being non-economists, both are clueless and oblivious of the pivotal role of the quality of our human capital in all of this. And this my friends is the 6,000 pound gorilla that is always in the room, but ignored that all our novice Ministers of Finance have failed to deal with since gaining Associated Statehood. We continue to suffer from a debilitating lack of leadership. Witness the social implosion of violence and suicide, in our streets and in the residential areas of the poor, the unemployed, underemployed, and the unemployable. A high correlation between STEP and these neighbourhoods would not be at all surprising.
Therefore, all the campaigning for the next election is going to be quite futile, a clever distraction and a planned political cover-up, as the real mission critical issue facing this country is not yet even on the radar screens of either of its two major political parties. This does not augur well for the future.
Expansion into any foreign locale overseas demands, among other criteria, a high quality level of infrastructure. Our inability even to a provide potable water supply to the local population for years on end, speaks volumes regarding our state of readiness for FDI.
Sadly, our various platforms of very scandalous and continuous political buffoonery is full of the language of hope. But hope my friends is not a strategy.