News, Top Story

Opposition Leader Describes Government’s Approach To Cost Of Living As “A Band-Aid On A Bullet Wound”

“The Government of Saint Lucia has put a band-aid on a bullet wound, is the only way to describe the SLP’s approach to addressing the rising cost of living.” Opposition Leader Allen Chastanet

Opposition Leader, Allen Chastanet
Opposition Leader, Allen Chastanet

So said Opposition Leader Allen Chastanet, yesterday, as he compared the approach other governments took to mitigate against the rising cost of living in their countries to that of government, concluding that government is “uncaring.”

“Whereas other countries in the OECS are implementing major measures to keep assisting their citizens with electricity costs, helping to keep gas prices down and cushion the impact on citizens, the SLP administration’s latest measure of only removing the service charge on price-controlled items is too little too late and shows a Government that is uncaring, empty of ideas and bereft of any economic strategy,” Chastanet said.

He stated government is in a position to do more, especially since government revenues have reverted to pre-pandemic levels.

“As elected officials we need to focus on policies that help the people especially in times of crisis. This latest policy is not going to have any major impact and has been implemented too late” noted Chastanet while demanding that Prime Minister Pierre put his thinking cap on and get down to the serious business of managing the country’s economic crisis.

“In early March the United Workers Party outlined a six point plan to lessen the economic burden on the citizens of this country but the Government rejected those ideas. They are borrowing over $500 Million to finance the budget but have nothing to offer while the people suffer and yet they refuse to follow policies that have worked in the past and the new ones we proposed,” Chastanet added.

Chastanet claimed that kerosene had become more expensive than diesel and gas, “which is absurd and irresponsible to say the least.”

He believes that with kerosene at the price it is currently the country’s vulnerable will be impacted.

“How can you claim to put people first when you ignore the basic necessities of the most vulnerable among us?” Mr. Chastanet said.

The price of kerosene this week moved from $14.03 per gallon to $16.98 per gallon. Diesel also increased from $16.23 to $16.58 per gallon. Gasoline was unchanged at $15.95 per gallon.

Chastanet called on the Government to reinstate the Electricity Bill Support Initiative and make it available to more vulnerable households. He called on the prime minister to extend support to farmers and provide seeds, fertilizer and animal feed to bolster local livestock and crop production.

Chastanet proposed a reduction in VAT and the adding of more items to the list of exempted and zero rated items basket.

“Instead of providing relief, we see the government putting additional burdens on households with the increase in bus fares and no measures to assist the people who have to pay more. It’s as though the government has given up” said the Leader of the Opposition.

“We can’t afford to let this happen and knowing that the revenue of the country is back to pre-pandemic levels we must demand that the Minister of Finance and the Government do more and deliver on the promises that he made to provide support,” Chastanet said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *