The STAR Businessweek
As I put together this week’s edition of The STAR Businessweek, I can’t help but recall a contribution made to Rick Wayne’s TALK! television programme on DBS last Thursday October 25th. Seated with his guest, local politician and Minister for Economic Development Guy Joseph—a minister forever at the centre of opposition roro, allegations of bobol, and other disyllabic creole accusations—Wayne welcomed a phone call from an obviously irate viewer. The contribution, less prescient than it was obvious, was a modest yet critical request for Saint Lucia’s two political parties to come to an agreement on the development trajectory of our nation. In other words, the caller was asking for the bobol and roro to be set aside, even if for just a hot Castries minute, so that the ruling party and the opposition could set overarching, bipartisan ground rules on how to address basic facets of Saint Lucia’s development: an agreement on how to tackle public debt, the size of the public service, taxation, education, and our approach to FDI, to name a few. Earnest as the contribution was, it smacked of naivety as much as it did of desperation. Conjured images of a frustrated fellow citizen throwing his hands in the air as he makes one last-ditch effort (on his last 2 minutes of phone credit) to instate rules of engagement in an island that can only be described as a political backwater. Thankfully, not every small island state is run as poorly or as myopically as ours.
In this week’s edition, Mauritius and the Seychelles, two islands in the Indian ocean, are the subjects of reporting by the Financial Times. Despite being run for half a century by only two political parties (sound familiar?), Mauritius is a textbook example of how an island nation can reinvent itself over and over again while progressively improving the quality of life for its citizens and its private sector in each of its proceeding economic chapters. Read that story on pages 3 & 7.
The Seychelles, though they haven’t been able to crest the development success of their Mauritian neighbour, are operating at the cutting-edge of international development finance by leveraging the transformative powers of the world’s capital markets (instead of lazily engaging in the usual Chinese-Taiwanese coquetry we’ve become so fond of).
For more on that story, read “Seychelles sells world’s first blue bond in ‘dolphin debt’ deal” on page 7.
Finally, be sure to read this week’s lead story “Projections vs Potential: Saint Lucia and the IMF’s 3.4% Growth Forecast” starting on page 1. Spoiler alert, much of that projected growth seems to be based on what our Tourism Minister Dominic Fedee is fond of referring to as ‘projects in the pipeline’. But how long will those projects remain in utero? That’s above my paygrade … and his!
It’s Nothing Personal. It’s Business.
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