THE Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) and the United Workers Party (UWP) have finally released their manifestos and now Saint Lucians have an opportunity to compare the two.
The manifestos were released back to back last Sunday and Monday, an attempt by both parties to attract Saint Lucians to their camps.
The UWP promised to build a new Saint Lucia for all, outlining several plans for the nation in their 60-page manifesto, which includes five core goals called ‘5 for 5’. This plan will provide unemployment benefits, expand monthly assistance for the needy, save parents money on school books, reduce VAT to 10%, and provide medical care for all.
According to the party, it will focus on 17 key areas within their first 100 days of office if reelected. These key areas are as follows:
–Introduce a $3 million Back to School Programme targeting the vulnerable and single parents.
–Introduce consultation and prepare strategy for the introduction of unemployment insurance.
–Pass legislation in respect of national health insurance for all.
–Expand the E-book initiative and pay the license fee for academic year 2021/2022.
–Provide learning devices for all secondary school students.
–Provide learning devices for grades 5 and 6.
–Introduce a new tax regime for personal income and corporate tax.
–Further reduce VAT to 10%.
–Introduce Property Tax Reform.
–Introduce Local Government Reform.
–Complete land rationalization.
–Establish a National Youth and Sports Authority.
–Pass legislation in respect of cannabis.
–Commence construction of new police headquarters in Castries, Regional Court in Boisd’Orange and the Gros Islet Civic Centre.
–Commence work on the Millennium Highway.
–Introduce legislation for Border Control
–Strengthen IBCs to include a residential programme.
Party leader Allen Chastanet touted his party’s accomplishments at the launch which was held in Gros Islet, declaring they had already delivered on five years of promises and said the UWP intends to keep their new promises as well.
“Our 5 for 5 programme is designed to make sure that nobody in Saint Lucia is left behind. The people who are vulnerable in society are single parents who are unemployed, the elderly and the people with special needs; we will make sure that you can join the Flambeau train and enjoy a new Saint Lucia that everyone can benefit from,” he declared.
The party also intends to assist hospitality workers in gaining professional skills, certification and jobs, establish a north-south link road and an alternative road to the north, complete and operationalize a new Hewanorra International Airport, establish a cruise port in Vieux Fort, allow Saint Lucians to earn a medical degree studying at home, turn Castries Health Centre into a polyclinic, upgrade schools with an emphasis on technology, introduce an academic recovery programme for those impacted by COVID-19, among other things.
The UWP will focus on reducing crime as well, something they’ve struggled to accomplish during their time in office.
The party vowed that they will continue to improve and strengthen the systems responsible for the investigation, prosecution and dispensation of criminal justice and improve the intelligence and detection capabilities of the police and Border Control Authority in the detection and recovery of firearms at ports of entry.
The party also vowed to improve the search and seizure capabilities of law enforcement in the recovery of firearms, drugs and cash associated to criminality, as well as to install an additional 700 CCTV cameras island wide covering at least 200 locations.
These are just some of the plans mentioned; the UWP will launch its youth manifesto via social media in the near future.
Meanwhile, the SLP, in their 32 page manifesto, promised to stabilize Saint Lucia’s economy, reposition the island for growth and “restore good and honest governance” in Saint Lucia.
“We want you to know that you can hold us accountable for the promises we make,” Political Leader Phillip J. Pierre declared.
He continued: “To stabilize our economy and save jobs, businesses and families, we will provide income tax relief to low and middle-income households. That means persons earning $4,000 a month and less, will not pay income tax.”
According to him, this will put more cash in individuals’ pockets. Pierre stated that it will also stimulate consumer spending and generate more economic activity.
“To ensure that this is fair and sustainable, tax collection will have to be more vigorous, and tax exemptions and allowances will be reviewed and simplified. Consistent with this thrust, we will waive property tax on residential property,” Pierre said.
The Political Leader explained that this will be balanced by an affordable tax on property insurance premiums “which is more transparent, more equitable, and more collectible.” He went on to say that it will improve disposable income of households, encouraging home-improvement and repair.
“This in turn will increase property values across communities, improving living standards and accumulating wealth for all,” Pierre added.
The SLP also intends to remove the additional $1.50 Excise Tax on fuel for fishermen and revisit existing VAT legislation to ease the tax burden on the Manufacturing Sector.
“We will specifically support investments related to business recovery, retooling, product development and market diversification; we will support the financial restructuring of companies which need to reposition for future growth and diversification. This will be done by suspending stamp duties and similar transaction fees on specific intra-group and inter-company transactions between parent and subsidiary companies with the same ownership,” Pierre explained.
According to him, the SLP will provide $25 million in guarantees to support working capital loans to small and medium-sized enterprises. Pierre explained that this will assist with wages, debt, business recovery and expansion. The party will engage banks and cooperatives to help design this programme.
“We will provide Export Grants to help small and medium enterprises, cooperatives and registered business clusters, to meet export standards and similar international trade requirements. Most importantly, to ensure that all eligible citizens can access these benefits, we will eliminate political interference in the granting of incentives by establishing objective criteria for eligibility and approval,” Pierre declared.
The SLP will also focus on other areas if elected.