The St. Lucian government has once more demonstrated its ability in overcoming two major international hurdles. The first achievement is the removal from the EU Grey List. For those unfamiliar with the EU Grey List, it signifies a bonafide list created by the EU for checks and balances associated with the financial services of the region. Any adverse measures implemented within that sector, seriously affects the foreign exchange earnings of that sector and by extension, becomes a negative factor. Despite the complete caution and sensibility of this situation, this administration was able to achieve an acceptable agreement which not only permitted the industry to perform but placed St. Lucia back in the fold of respectability with the EU.
The second achievement was the decision by the US government to lift several embargoes against the RSLPF. Granted, that this decision had existed for close to ten years, it clearly shows the seriousness of the US decision. It is so sad that when certain administrations for political milage can create such an unnecessary tangled web, it remains disturbing. We shall not embark on the ills of the past, but suffice to say, it was not easy for the current administration to sift through the maze of errors which were inherited based on what was initially presented to the US authorities and the unprofessional handling of the information gathered. Be it as it may, the evidence is gradually unfolding, and it is only a question of when closure will be determined.
Thirdly, another controversy has arisen based on the fact that the former administration agreed on the purchase of a quantity of land in the Canaries area for the construction of a Dolphin Park. There was total silence and zero transparency when this parcel of land was agreed upon the behalf of a developer to construct a Dolphin Park taking into account that the Queens Chain could only be leased to the developer if the adjacent lands were purchased.
The election bell may not be officially rung, but the chimes are already in the air and both parties appear ready to do battle besides a shortfall of two candidates for the SLP. As usual, both sides have voiced their positive outcomes, but based on the physical evidence of accomplishments by the incumbent, one wonders whether the opposition is in any position to remain optimistic.
The reliance on the SLP to have an independent serve as their mouthpiece, is a sign of weakness especially a discredited individual, but desperation comes in various forms and most times not necessarily what we wish for. The current administration has claimed the respect of the international community in several ways and to date, as the Covid pandemic slowly winds down, St. Lucia has turned out to be the most sort after destination for US arrivals within the OECS, Barbados included.
Hotel accommodations on island revolve in the ninety percent range for the US market alone. For the last 90 days there has been an average of six daily flights averaging 700 visitors per day and at weekends some 10 flights per day with incoming numbers reaching as high as 1,500 visitors in one day.
From July 1st British Airways expects to offer a daily flight from Heathrow and incoming numbers should be in the high seventies based on the decisions that both St. Lucia and the UK governments permit anyone with a double vaccination not to be quarantined at their various destinations. This is all truly remarkable for the current administration and their wisdom of keeping the nation’s borders open in the midst of a pandemic despite calls for a lockdown. The PM indicated several months ago that Covid would be around for quite a while and advised the nation to learn to co-exist with Covid and this has been the determining factor for our incredible success to date.