Guy Joseph Talks Real Plans!

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Clau­dia Elei­box

Guy Joseph gave a re­fresh­ing per­spec­tive on his role as Min­is­ter of Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment, Hous­ing, Ur­ban Re­newal, Trans­porta­tion and Civil Avi­a­tion on Mon­day, Oc­to­ber 23, 2017 when he hosted a press con­fer­ence at Govern­ment In­for­ma­tion Ser­vices studios. For the first time over the past few months the fo­cus for Min­is­ter Joseph was not St Jude Hos­pi­tal, at least not un­til closer to the end of his brief­ing.

The ini­tial or­der of busi­ness, prompted by Se­nior Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Of­fi­cer Ni­cole McDon­ald, was his over­view of the govern­ment’s meet­ing with the World Bank. Min­is­ter Joseph re­it­er­ated some of the points made by Prime Min­is­ter Chas­tanet at this year’s United Na­tions Gen­eral As­sem­bly. He men­tioned that due to the re­cent dev­as­tat­ing and re­veal­ing ef­fects of cli­mate change, world lead­ers are now more in­clined to rec­og­nize Saint Lu­cia as a de­vel­op­ing state rather than a mid­dlein­come state for re­cov­ery and adap­ta­tion loans.

Mov­ing on to his re­spon­si­bil­ity for hous­ing and de­vel­op­ment, Min­is­ter Joseph high­lighted the dif­fi­cul­ties as­so­ci­ated with at­tain­ing land in Saint Lu­cia, par­tic­u­larly for lo­cals.

“In the last 20 years we have not had many hous­ing de­vel­op­ments in Saint Lu­cia,” he noted, “We have de­vel­oped a sys­tem that makes the price of land pro­hib­i­tive in Saint Lu­cia.”

Re­quire­ment costs needed for de­vel­op­ing land are un­rea­son­able for many, and he plans to ini­ti­ate new in­cen­tives to make the process more af­ford­able.

Min­is­ter Joseph ex­pressed his pref­er­ence for young peo­ple to in­vest in a house and land be­fore per­haps in­vest­ing in a ve­hi­cle, and hopes new in­cen­tives will en­cour­age the in­vest­ment prac­tice.

“There are a lot of rules that we have that we can do away with in terms of re­duc­ing the cost,” he said.

Re­gard­ing the trans­porta­tion sec­tor, Min­is­ter Joseph claimed that noth­ing has changed or im­proved since he last served in the min­istry of trans­port. At this week’s meet­ing, he spoke again of plans to “re­vi­tal­ize” the sec­tor.

Joseph also ad­dressed prob­lems within the telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions sec­tor re­gard­ing tele­phone and in­ter­net ser­vices. “LIME, their ap­pli­ca­tion is still pend­ing,” he as­sured Saint Lu­cians, “It was sent to me to be ad­dressed. There were some is­sues that were not clear and I have since writ­ten to the com­pany and re­quested of them that be­fore this li­cense is re­newed we need to know what the merger [with FLOW and Lime] en­tails, what the ex­pec­ta­tions are mov­ing for­ward and how it is go­ing to work.”

Joseph was also en­thu­si­as­tic about plans to de­velop num­ber porta­bil­ity. It has been an is­sue for in­di­vid­u­als who want to keep their orig­i­nal num­ber but de­sire to switch providers. Min­is­ter Joseph af­firmed that changes are in progress.

Other items were ad­dressed, and McDon­ald in­formed the gath­er­ing that an­other sim­i­lar press con­fer­ence will be held to delve into more de­tails.

As for the St Jude Hos­pi­tal, Min­is­ter Joseph promised, with a copy of the pre­vi­ous project man­ager’s exit report in hand, that is­sues will be re­solved as soon as pos­si­ble. Again, he as­sured that the Govern­ment of Saint Lu­cia will present a de­fin­i­tive state­ment by the end of Oc­to­ber or be­gin­ning of Novem­ber 2017 on the way for­ward.

Min­is­ter Guy Joseph speak­ing at a press con­fer­ence ear­lier this week.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Saint Lucia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.