Although he did not call it ‘Five to Stay Alive’, in reference to his 2016 campaign slogan which introduced five things he said his party would accomplish during his first term, Leader of the United Workers Party, Prime Minister Allen Chastanet this time around came up with another set of fives he plans to introduce should he be re-elected.
This new ‘Five for Five’ as he called it was announced during a virtual meeting the party held last Sunday. According to Chastanet, if reelected, his government will “introduce unemployment benefits, provide monthly assistance for the needy, save parents money on school books, further reduce VAT and provide medical care for all.”
He reminded Saint Lucians of what his government has accomplished and touted his government’s leadership.
“Last election we took to the people our ‘Five to Survive’ – the things that we would do to get St Lucia back on its feet and we delivered on every one of them,” he stated.
“We all saw when COVID came, and persons were laid off with no income. It was our innovation to use the NIC to access almost $70 million to facilitate payments. Our first of the five is to deliver a well-funded programme for people to receive an income when things like that happen in the future. Our second of the five, is money for the needy. When we came in, the vulnerability list was capped at 2,000 and was only $150.00 per month. We upped that to 3,000 persons and $215.00.”
He stressed that this is still not enough, however, and added that the UWP will support those in need with up to $75.00 a month for electricity bills, $30.00 a month for water bills, $200.00 a month in food vouchers, as well as support for single mothers “with school feeding, school uniforms and transportation.”
Chastanet promised to make ebooks available for all secondary school students in September.
“The third thing we’ll do is save parents money on schoolbooks. We will make tablets available for forms five and six. We will also make electronic textbooks available for free in the next school year – saving parents an average of $1,000.”
He also announced that the UWP will reduce VAT by 10%.
According to Chastanet “our fifth promise is medical care for all St Lucians. It will provide coverage for up to $75,000 per person every year. It will be made available to everyone, but for the vulnerable, elderly, special needs and single mothers, the government will cover the premiums.”