The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

By Alexis B. Mont­gomery

ASaint Lu­cia Po­lice Force and the prime min­is­ter holds the gavel in midair, ready to slam it down at 8 o’clock on Sun­day night. The na­tion waits with bated breath and spec­u­la­tion is rife that se­nior Gazetted Of­fi­cers might just be fired on Na­tional Tele­vi­sion. The ques­tion is: will the Kenny An­thony ad­min­is­tra­tion feel com­pelled to ex­tend to the law­men a mod­icum of re­spect and dig­nity, in the em­ploy­ment of sen­si­tiv­ity and re­gard for neg­a­tive reper­cus­sions in mak­ing its al­legedly earth­shat­ter­ing dis­clo­sures come Sun­day, or will the law­men hear of their fate right along with or­di­nary mem­bers of the public in “open air”, so to speak? One thing is cer­tain: the fall­out from IMPACS will not be Kenny’s and his gov­ern­ment’s fault. It will be “the UWP’s fault” in keep­ing with the clas­sic pat­tern of the gov­ern­ment‘s style of avoid­ing blame. This week­end is a good time for the na­tion to see the gov­ern­ment in ac­tion, toss­ing the blame net far and wide, well away from its own regime. As usual it is UWP’s fault that af­ter the gen­eral public was force-fed a full glos­sary of eco­nomic terms by this gov­ern­ment in­clud­ing GDP, fis­cal deficit, com­par­a­tive ad­van­tage and, not for­get­ting their pet term – VAT, that the Eco­nomics pro­fes­sors can­not de­liver the peo­ple from mount­ing hard­ships. Is it the UWP’s fault that Prime Min­is­ter Kenny An­thony chose to im­pose 15 per­cent VAT on an econ­omy that he him­self had pro­nounced to be sick and hem­or­rhag­ing? Is it UWP’s fault that they heaped sev­eral hacks in high­pay­ing po­si­tions and hith­erto un­heard of po­si­tions upon the pro­claimed–to-be–bloated Public Ser­vice? Is it the UWP’s fault that in three years the new na­tional hos­pi­tal can­not be fully com­pleted and opened, nor can St. Jude Hos­pi­tal be moved back to its orig­i­nal lo­ca­tion? Spokesper­sons who con­ve­niently de­cried that it was a ma­jor atroc­ity for a hos­pi­tal to be re­lo­cated in a sports sta­dium are now si­lenced. Where are they now? Wouldn’t it have been more pro­duc­tive to en­cour­age the public to be pa­tient see­ing that an unan­tic­i­pated and com­plex dis­as­ter had oc­curred?

They once be­rated the UWP gov­ern­ment for a lag­ging timeline on com­plet­ing the Meat Pro­cess­ing Fa­cil­ity. Has it been com­pleted un­der Labour? What about the He­wan­nora In­ter­na­tional Air­port Re–Devel­op­ment Project and sev­eral other pending projects? Be­sides a slew of bridges – some ridicu­lously costly even in the view of en­gi­neers, what has this gov­ern­ment com­pleted so far, amidst all the crit­i­cism which is be­ing lev­elled at the UWP for not ex­pe­dit­ing the com­ple­tion of its projects? When will Labour’s blame game stop?

Again is it the UWP’s fault that con­cern has been raised about the un­wise and reck­less for­eign pol­icy which is be­ing pur­sued by this gov­ern­ment? They in­deed blame the UWP for their UN vote to sup­port the Rus­sian Gov­ern­ment and not Ukraine which is sup­ported by their west­ern al­lies, af­ter the ac­tion of Rus­sian-backed sep­a­ratist rebels to an­nex Crimea and desta­bi­lize Ukraine. En­cour­aged by this sup­port, Rus­sia now feels bol­stered in pro­vok­ing the US by an­nounc­ing that it will start mil­i­tary air­craft pa­trols over the Gulf of Mex­ico and the Caribbean, thus threat­en­ing the peace and se­cu­rity of our re­gion. Did the gov­ern­ment vote pro–Rus­sia all in an ef­fort to woo Rus­sian in­vestors who have yet to ar­rive?

Sim­i­lar con­cerns have been raised about the gov­ern­ment join­ing ALBA. This body has em­braced rhetoric which is both an­ger­ing and threat­en­ing in the view of the USA. This as­so­ci­a­tion does not bode well for a gov­ern­ment which knows all too well that the US can re­spond by pulling the plug or re­duc­ing their as­sis­tance in cer­tain key ar­eas as has al­ready been done in lo­cal law en­force­ment.

This SLP gov­ern­ment has only sought to make life harder for Saint Lu­cians via membership with ALBA, an or­ga­ni­za­tion whose ob­jec­tive is to min­i­mize the rel­e­vance of the USA in the re­gion. This gov­ern­ment also pro­ceeded to par­tic­i­pate in the Petro Caribe Agree­ment which be­gan un­der Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. As a new­comer there is lit­tle or no ben­e­fit for this gov­ern­ment to gain es­pe­cially in light of fall­ing oil prices. Oil prices be­low US $80 means that Venezuela is los­ing pre­cious cur­rency. The SLP gov­ern­ment con­tin­ues to im­peril the econ­omy in the ALBA ar­range­ment when clearly the orig­i­nal benefits un­der this agree­ment are no longer be­ing achieved. In Novem­ber 2014, the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund, IMF, called for a re­view of the Petro Caribe ar­range­ment cit­ing fall­ing crude oil prices as well as Venezuela’s harsh eco­nomic chal­lenges. Again is it UWP’s fault that their for­eign pol­icy is ques­tion­able?

Kenny promised that he would have demit­ted of­fice by now (it is three years). Is the UWP to blame that he is still in of­fice cling­ing to power? An­other gen­eral elec­tion is on the hori­zon. Saint Lu­cians can ex­pect the usual gim­mick of fis­cal ex­pan­sion, which is to say that they will go on a spend­ing spree to give the im­pres­sion that this econ­omy is on the re­bound, and that bet­ter days are still ahead. This tac­tic will only re­sult in in­creased ex­pen­di­ture, wage freeze, less space to award pro­mo­tions to work­ers and in­creased na­tional debt.

While this gov­ern­ment is pre­oc­cu­pied with blam­ing the UWP, the coun­try is fall­ing to pieces.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Saint Lucia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.