Pleads for better way of life in region
St Lucia’s Prime Minister Allen Chastanet in his first address to his regional colleagues has challenged them to deliver on their commitment for a better way of life for their peoples.
Chastanet was speaking at the formal opening of the CARICOM summit in Guyana last night.
Chastanet made his maiden address as the newest Head of Government to join the Conference. His presentation focused on his vision for the reform of the Caribbean Community, the matters limiting regional progress as a community and his key priorities for Saint Lucia.
He expressed his enthusiasms in collaborating ideas with other Heads in strengthening the region. “We do not take enough time to meet outside of conferences … to find win- win solutions that will benefit us all as a region”, he said.
Chastanet noted that his recent mandate given to him by the people of Saint Lucia was based on a promise to build a prosperous Saint Lucia for the benefit of all. He said: “Austerity measures have crippled our economy while unemployment and poverty continued to rise”.
The Prime Minister outlined his focused and ambitious plan to alleviate poverty, rebuild communities, reduce tax burdens and commit to youth empowerment and development. He also drew reference to his plans for rebuilding productive sectors and to generate revenue for social services.
Chasatanet reaffirmed the need for the community to find immediate solutions that are cost effective in delivering good governance. He said: “More of our services like the police force, education, healthcare and aviation must be more integrated. More of our policies and structures that are languishing need to be reviewed or discarded so that new and more effective ones can be put in place”.
The Prime Minister was firm in his belief that CARICOM has made a commitment to the people and should deliver on a better way of life.
“Our excuse that progress is hampered by consensus is no longer convincing or acceptable. The recent referendum for Britain to exit the European Union has put the survival of integration into to focus. Good governance must be at the heart of our reform process”, said the Prime Minister.
He also drew attention to the issues limiting tourism growth and promotion. “The importance of this huge income earner is not reflected in our deliberations and institutions …we need to develop a world class industry which attracts more than 1.5 percent of the world’s tourism. Have we actually worked out what the potential of tourism is in our region? … We must stop the idea of determining how much we are going to spend on tourism based on what it’s produced”, he asserted.
On the issue of de–risking, he made suggestions to attack it as a region with a joint focused strategy for correspondent banking.
He emphasized the need for greater commitment in creating the scope for women in leading regional organizations.
In closing the Prime Minister expressed his keenness in making his contribution to the region, stating that “another day in poverty for one of my people, for one of the people in this region is another day that we are failing in our mandate to provide a better life for all”.