ECONOMIST Doctor Ubaldus Raymond who contested the 2011 general elections on a St Lucia Labour Party ticket and lost to the incumbent Stephenson King in the Castries North constituency has had some harsh words for his old party.
Raymond who was made a parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Commerce after the 2011 election and later resigned to take up a position overseas has described the 15 election pledges made to the electorate by Prime Minister and SLP leader Dr. Kenny Anthony as “bluff”.
“All I see is the same old story, the same old bluff, the same old promises just wrapped in a different red cloth,” Raymond said of the ruling party’s pledges which include reducing unemployment to below 15 percent , increasing the personal income tax allowance from $18,000 to $30,000 and building anew Police headquartrers.
But Raymond was not impressed. He said the pledges would do no good for this country which needs relief, especially from taxation.
He said: “You cannot be taxing a down economy and you cannot be taxing a country with high unemployment,” arguing that such action would only worsen the economic situation, which is what has been happening in the last four years.
He observed that St Lucia had recorded three consecutive years of economic decline under the SLP, during a period of economic expansion in the world economy and even in the region.
“We have performed worse in the OECS, so I was hoping to have seen something that would have created some kind of stir in the economy from his fifteen pledges,” Raymond said of Anthony’s proposals.
Referring to the SLP pledge to exempt pensioners making $40,400 or less annually from taxes, he said:
“That is bluff! The question is how many pensioners in this country make more than $40,400? It is an empty promise. It has no effect,” Raymond said.
Dr.Raymond is Chief Economist with the Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands. He holds a Ph.D. degree in Development Economics from Howard University in Washington D.C., USA and prior to returning to Saint Lucia to contest the 2011 elections he served for seven years as Senior Economist in the Department of the Environment and the D.C Public Service Commission in Washington D.C and as Assistant Professor of Economics at Florida A&M University in the Department of Economics.