Letters & Opinion

No Voodoo Economics

By Edwin James

THE dangers of placing desperate politicians at the helm of the nation is not only scary, but irresponsible. Running a country requires a level-headed team to address the insurmountable issues directly staring politicians in the face. Being responsible for finding 40 million dollars monthly for 9,500 civil servants in these difficult times is challenging, taking into account that during the SLP administration not only was the CSA offered zero zero zero increases over a five year period, but a possible 5 – 10 percent pay cut was seriously under discussion.

Above and beyond these decisions, the former PM clearly articulated that something had gone wrong which never happened before, and St. Lucia could not borrow unless the then administration got its financial house in order. The opposition leader has already advised the nation that he won’t be able to borrow if elected, but in another breath, he intends reducing government revenues by some 60 million dollars annually.

It is beyond any comprehension what kind of economics the leader is proposing. St. Lucians need to treat this decision with caution or face the reality of destabilization. The nation is at the brink of taking its place where it rightfully belongs and the appropriate decision in ensuring that we don’t squander that opportunity is to ensure the overwhelming return of the current administration into office.

The list of errors made by the opposition are incredible. The number of St. Lucians including myself who migrated at one time or another to assist St. Lucia, remains a token of pride. The initial investments made by us where funds earned abroad and repatriated to a country, we call home is a fact, so it was no disgrace in doing so. In addition, some 120 St. Lucians who were given an opportunity to join our efforts also repatriated their earnings. The Prime Minister is pursuing a similar situation by engaging external agencies and foreign investors in order that St. Lucia can benefit from that type of investment. On the other hand, we have a group of individuals decrying the investment of foreigners.

Imagine, persons with the skills willing to invest and enhance our infrastructure are viewed as leaches. Presently three major cruise lines viz. Carnival, Royal Caribbean and MSC agreeing to construct a major facility in the south. Sit back and consider the spoils to be gained by this investment? These decisions and discussions have taken months of negotiations and suddenly, we hear a group of losers talking about colonization when developed countries are themselves seeking to find investors of that caliber.

Attracting foreign investors is an ideology which has gone on for years and any administration which closes their minds to that kind of investment will remain in the doldrums. Large companies continue seeking areas to expand their businesses and extend their profit margins, is normal, as no one is investing in a third or first world country as a Samaritan. In the process St. Lucians will develop new skills which can only augur well for the future.

At this time, a major drilling organization presently on island participating in the construction of the HIA Terminal have had incremental discussions with government regarding the underwater works for the new cruise ship terminals in the south. All going according to plan. Within four to six months, major works should be in progress where St. Lucia will find itself within the international arena based on a formidable and strategic position in receiving thousands of passengers.

This investment will provide hundreds of new jobs which would never have been available if this investment did not take place. This investment cannot be compared with its counterpart in Miami, but it should be noted that the cruise ship terminal in Miami employs 150,000 persons.

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