I commence my concerns today on a very somber note. Somber in the sense that the Opposition continues feeding false irrelevant information to their hacks and by extension to the wider public which never existed but probably exists in the minds of the detractors. The fact that this government has or had any intention of postposing the elections is ludicrous but the manner in which the rumor was disseminated, one would have considered the decision a fait a complis.
Elections are constitutionally due every five years, consequently, there is no de-sire to stray away from this formula especially with an administrative leader who is serving his first term in office. The current leader announced from day one that it will take him three years to start rolling out his projects. He further stated that he needed two terms to complete his overall plans, therefore, calling an early election does not mesh with his intentions. The last election was called one year ahead of time WHY? That remains the million-dollar question but the results of the last election may have answered the question.
This administration has encountered serious challenges as a result of the COVID Pandemic and they have done an excellent job under the onerous circumstances, regardless of the constant ongoing criticism. Visitor arrivals at Hewannorra remain constant, the frontline workers remain focused and the signs of optimism remain high in light of a vaccine which has shed a new light. We are not out of the woods, but the manner in which our CMO has addressed the mini outbreak, is commendable. Without a total lockdown the cases have dropped significantly and the negative results remain in the high nineties which is encouraging. The backdoor entries have been successfully reduced based on the proactive measures of the Police and others. With a level of discipline, we can overcome these challenges and no current administration should consider quitting at this time as the measures in place are working.
Politics is a thankless and difficult profession but at the same time there are persons who venture into this field for various reasons. Three of the most prevalent pursuits are 1. The idea that they can make a difference, 2. Another kind of politician who considers education the end with all. 3. Then you have another kind of politician who does not wish to rock the boat and allows things to run via remote control.
In our opinion, we need to focus on what the current administration is pursuing and that is growing the economy, in so doing, a number of businesses will emerge which will permit St Lucians to gain employment and learn new skills. A perfect example today is the back and forth over the HIA Terminal. Let me reiterate one more time the plus side of this terminal. The modern facilities to be implemented will spearhead the following: (1) The quality and level of the shops will match international standards. (2) Many more retail outlets will be included to provide visitors with a wider choice. (3) New areas like art galleries which are presently nonexistent will now find a new home for our artists and their products. (4) The restaurants will be uplifted in both quality and quantity and (5) in the case of franchising, we shall witness a higher standard of merchandizing which permit local operators to have a greater revenue based on quality.
We shall surely witness the upliftment of guest transfers at an international level which again will furnish our operators with a higher income. The car rentals will be upgraded where international companies can join hands with the locals and offer new ideas that are nonexistent. Based on the sheer size of the terminal, a number of top-class maintenance individuals at all levels will be required to ensure that the maintenance and operating areas remain at a very high level. The expected number of maintenance employees will hover around 250.
Similarly at the new St Jude Hospital, the same scenario will apply as gone are the days when services will be carried out haphazardly. St Jude Hospital will be operated efficiently similar to what happens abroad. Discipline will be the key word and all equipment will be properly serviced and maintained by qualified St Lucians. It is expected that at St Jude’s Hospital a total of some 150 trained maintenance individuals will be required plus all the other indirect services available to the public.