FOR the past six months, the nation has witnessed one of the most controversial periods directly after a general election. Revisiting the causes surrounding these events came in three stages: firstly, losing an election is always hurtful; secondly, new administrations usually work with more vigour and enthusiasm; and thirdly, new administrations always have their own vision which may not always coincide with the ideologies of the former administration.
This having been said, St. Lucia is now at a crossroads where animosity, aggression, malicious and fabricated rhetoric have become the order of the day. Whether we wish to accept it or not, politics has infiltrated nearly every part of our society and in one sense it is important that most St. Lucians understand the modus operandi of their country. But on the other hand, we must desist from becoming too partisan. Partisanship tends to cloud a positive approach and therein lies the division our nation is presently experiencing.
The adjustment period from one administration to another is not an easy process, as old habits die hard. But in life there is always a new beginning to any change and on that score we appeal to the public at large to consider this adjustment for the good of our country. Advising politicians remains a difficult task, but at the present time we are faced with two seasoned opposition personalities viz Dr. Kenny Anthony and Phillip J Pierre, both of whom have spent over twenty years in Government.
By all standards, twenty years is a relatively long period in any form or fashion and during those years these individuals have certainly accomplished some of their personal expectations and whether the public may or may not be entirely satisfied with their accomplishments, the fact remains that their expectations have been cast.
St. Lucia is entering a new era with a new crop of politicians and it may be fitting to permit this new crop to carve out a new direction based on their vision in light of a rapid and ever-changing world order. This does not for a moment suggest that the opposition must remain silent but the bitterness and anger we appear to be witnessing portray an aura of negativity. But with some careful soul-searching, a more moderate approach could produce a resounding success and this success could easily be translated into a better St. Lucia.
On a parting note, it should be observed that despite this administration’s inheritance of a nation wallowing in three years of negative growth, four major achievements have been registered. First, the manufacturers’ association on Saturday’s Star (May 20, 2017) articulated their praise for Prime Minister Allen Chastanet in respect to the exemption of VAT payments at the ports for local manufacturers. This relief has the potential of transforming the manufacturing sector into a more productive entity. This request fell on deaf ears for fifteen years during the SLP administration.
On the Star newspaper of May 20, 2017, the Guyana Trinidad Mutual Regional Office for the East Caribbean decided to redirect their headquarters from Guyana to Choc Bay, St. Lucia based upon the fact that St. Lucia is now regarded as the best place to grow and expand. Manager Kirk Maraj further indicated that this investment will be GTM’s largest investment in the Eastern Caribbean to date. The construction commenced on May 15, 2017 and should be completed by June 1, 2018.
In addition, several major companies abroad have now selected St. Lucia to register their head offices based on the confidence of the new United Workers Party administration, based on progressive thinking offered to major organisations operating abroad. Digicel has already occupied the entire premises of the newly-constructed Bank of St. Lucia complex at Rodney Bay which was underutilised but, more importantly, creating a financial burden to BOSL. KPMG is presently retrofitting a large section of the Johnson Centre to enhance their local operation.
Lastly, the banana industry has made major strides as a number of banana farmers have returned to the industry based on Government’s intervention and productive interaction with Winfresh and the French. All these achievements have manifested themselves short of one year in office.