Editorial

Government Must Deliver!

It is six months and a few days since Russia invaded Ukraine. It Is also two years and six months since the coronavirus was first announced in Saint Lucia. Both events have dealt Fair Helen devastating blows, from high prices in food, energy, fuel, to even death.

It has not been easy for the government and people of Saint Lucia whose way of life has been turned upside down by both events. Three hundred and ninety-one Saint Lucians have so far died from COVID-19, while thousands more worry about the high cost of basic food items and other necessities needed for comfortable/survivable living.

No doubt, the economic cost of the war in Europe, though thousands of miles away from us, is affecting us, some more badly than others. And with no end in sight to that conflict, things will only get worse as government can only go so far in their subsidization efforts.

Presently we are hearing of Europe being pushed to the brink of a deep recession by Russia’s weaponisation of energy. That being the case, how long will government’s handouts and subsidies last?

A lot therefore is riding on our key industries, particularly tourism, which is our primary industry, to lower unemployment and avoid the stagnation of the economy. Build better and build fast is the theme the business community is working with to shore up a not so healthy economy, however it’s a theme government could adopt as well to avoid negative growth.

But government need not be the only ones to build better and fast. All right-thinking citizens must bear this burden. What is happening in today’s world requires a removal of the laissez-faire attitude of some Saint Lucians, and putting on the mantle of hard work, as this is necessary to dig Saint Lucia out of the economic pit into which it could sink deeper, as the war in Europe and COVID-19 drags on.

Granted, Saint Lucia will not be facing a winter with a reduced supply of energy as the citizens of Europe will, but radical action is still needed by us to prevent an economic disaster in the weeks and months ahead. No end is in sight to the high cost of goods and services in the country.

Costs of goods and services will only get higher, if government does nothing. Cosmetic changes by government will not reduce inflation, more so if wages and salaries are not on par with the price of goods and services in the country.

In essence, the economic situation in Saint Lucia could easily crumble if workers living standards are hit by rising prices that their wages or salaries are not on par with.

As experienced in other countries, industrial action usually results as workers call for salaries and wages to reflect the high cost in their living standard. Such an action can cause more hardship for government and the economy in general. On the other hand, a will-nilly concession to demands for higher wages could put the country into an inflationary spiral from which recovery will be difficult. Students of history will remember Guyana.  The path which our government and leaders of our community must follow is neither well-lit nor well paved. Great care will have to be taken to avoid tripping.

The onus therefore is on government to have a plan that will match up to the scale of the crisis that could hit us sooner, rather than later.

We are hoping that government can step in and cap energy, fuel and food prices. We understand that the cost to government will be enormous but if an economic collapse can be avoided, it would be worth it.

Saint Lucia today is different from the Saint Lucia of five years ago. Wars, pandemics, violent crimes, apathy (like we have never seen before) are all negatively impacting the soul of Fair Helen and undermining efforts by the authorities to do right by the people.

Government cannot sit back and relax at this stage in our history. Intervention is needed by the highest authority in the land to beat back the negatives that are created from violent crimes, pandemics, wars, apathy and more. The citizens expect government’s protection. Government cannot say no. Government must deliver!

1 Comment

  1. and where is the long promised SUGAR in the supermarket shelf by the minister ???
    a man is good as his word, but it do not mean a lady don’t have to deliver.

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