Prime Min­is­ter speaks on CARICOM Re­form, Tourism and Eco­nomic Growth

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

The thirty-sev­enth meet­ing of the con­fer­ence of the Heads of Gov­ern­ment of the Caribbean Com­mu­nity opened on Mon­day, 4th July, 2016 in Ge­orge­town Guyana. The hon­ourable Prime Min­is­ter Allen M Chastanet made his maiden ad­dress as the new­est Head of Gov­ern­ment to join the Con­fer­ence. His pre­sen­ta­tion fo­cused on his vi­sion for the re­form of the Caribbean Com­mu­nity, the mat­ters lim­it­ing our progress as a com­mu­nity and his key pri­or­i­ties for Saint Lu­cia.

As the new­est Head of the Gov­ern­ment he ex­pressed his en­thu­si­asms in col­lab­o­rat­ing ideas with that of other Heads in strength­en­ing the re­gion. “We do not take enough time to meet out­side of con­fer­ences, to find win-win so­lu­tions that will ben­e­fit us all as a re­gion.”

He noted that his re­cent man­date given to him by the peo­ple of Saint Lu­cia was based on a prom­ise to build a pros­per­ous Saint Lu­cia for the ben­e­fit of all. The Hon. Prime Min­is­ter Allen M Chastanet said, “Aus­ter­ity mea­sures have crum­pled our econ­omy while un­em­ploy­ment and poverty con­tin­ued to rise.” The prime min­is­ter out­lined his fo­cused and am­bi­tious plan to al­le­vi­ate poverty, re­build com­mu­ni­ties, re­duce tax bur­dens and com­mit to youth em­pow­er­ment and de­vel­op­ment. He also drew ref­er­ence to his plans for re­build­ing pro­duc­tive sec­tors and to gen­er­ate rev­enue for so­cial ser­vices.

The prime min­is­ter reaf­firmed the need for the com­mu­nity to find im­me­di­ate so­lu­tions that are cost-ef­fec­tive in de­liv­er­ing good gover­nance. “More of our ser­vices like the po­lice force, ed­u­ca­tion, health­care and avi­a­tion must be more in­te­grated. More of our poli­cies and struc­tures that are lan­guish­ing need to be re­viewed or dis­carded so that new and more ef­fec­tive ones can be put in place.” The Prime Min­is­ter stands firm in his be­lief that CARICOM has made a com­mit­ment to the peo­ple is no longer con­vinc­ing or ac­cept­able. The re­cent ref­er­en­dum for Bri­tain to exit the Euro­pean Union has put the sur­vival of in­te­gra­tion into fo­cus. Good gover­nance must be at the heart of our re­form process,” said the prime min­is­ter.

He also drew at­ten­tion to the is­sues lim­it­ing tourism growth and pro­mo­tion. “The im­por­tance of this huge in­come earner is not re­flected in our de­lib­er­a­tions and in­sti­tu­tions . . . we need to de­velop a world­class in­dus­try which at­tracts more than 1.5% of the world’s tourism. Have we ac­tu­ally worked out what the po­ten­tial of tourism is in our re­gion? . . . We must stop the idea of de­ter­min­ing how much we are go­ing to spend on tourism, based on what it’s pro­duced” he as­serted.

On the is­sue of de-risk­ing, he made sug­ges­tions of at­tack­ing it as a re­gion with a joint fo­cused strat­egy for correspondent bank­ing.

He em­pha­sised the need for greater com­mit­ment in cre­at­ing scope for women in lead­ing our re­gional or­ga­ni­za­tions.

In clos­ing, the prime min­is­ter ex­pressed his keen­ness in mak­ing his con­tri­bu­tion to the re­gion, stat­ing that “an­other day in poverty for one of my peo­ple, for one of the peo­ple in this re­gion is an­other day that we are fail­ing in our man­date to pro­vide a bet­ter life for all.”

Chastanet is com­mit­ted to youth em­pow­er­ment and de­vel­op­ment.

Prime Min­is­ter Allen Chastanet with other Heads of Gov­ern­ment at the Con­fer­ence.

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