‘Kenny’s liberal SLP’s spending us broke!’ by Melanius Alphonse

The assumption that “nothing eh running”, depends on which side of the equation you’re on! – Really.

This is nuts! But, are you disheartened or misguided?

So why hasn’t something been done about this – and seriously, how can one associate with reckless spending and stimulus largesse for a few, in the face of day to day realities that matter to Saint Lucan families, such as healthcare, a good paying job, the environment, education and a higher quality of living.

In fact, the SLP government is yet to table a plan for growth and prosperity that can chart a new direction; but already the liberal idealism is clear: grow a deficit budget, tax and spend regardless of current liabilities and future cost to service the debt.

Melanius Alphonse is a management and development consultant. He is an advocate for community development, social justice, economic freedom and equality; the Lucian People’s Movement (LPM) critic on youth initiative, infrastructure, economic and business development. He can be reached at malphonse@rogers.com

This is quite remarkable given what persisted previously in a UWP administration. You may be asking, why is the SLP government hell bent on this course, while achieving little returns for the taxpayers?

The answer is simple – this is imbedded in the blindfold of the SLP’s liberal ideology and deficit models.

The odds are such; economic growth that forms part of a credible plan and a balance budget are not immediate priorities and the continual mindset to stimulus spending speak to that fact, with the “HOPE” that something with spark.

One thing is certain, there is every bit of a brainless outdated liberal economics that will burden future generations and threaten the things families care about in Saint Lucia.

Think about this for a minute.

At the moment there seems to be no serious engagement by an SLP government with the public-private sector (to bring into Saint Lucia new sources of funding and investment), no economic trade missions by the ministry of finance and certainly no communication on a fiscal level by the minister for finance that interests economic, development and credible investment minds to base any potential strategic business decision.

More fundamentally, a strategic scenario is needed to decide what is required for Saint Lucia in light of a dim view of a growing 21.2% unemployed labour force, and how to diversify such to harness trade and investment and to widen the tax base.

One scenario is to lower exemptions on products that should be produced locally, and help SME’s compete and growth with a corporate tax rate of 20%, instead of 33.3%.

After all, why should there be any chickeneering “to reduce the corporate income tax rate after an impact assessment has been made following the introduction of VAT”, by then, its 2013 and another fiscal year.

It should be quite normal to reward hard work by enabling more after tax profit to the ones who assume that risk and are more likely to reinvest in growing the Saint Lucian economy.

Having said that and since I have not purchased addition liability insurance — it is best to lay fiscal policy at the hands of Saint Lucia’s chief economist and the national economic team – after all, they’re on the public red purse.

In the meantime, while government is content to give our money as it deems fit, in an all too often situation that seems to cater to the political electorate and achieve electoral promises – the money has run out, 15% VAT is unavoidable and inflation is rising daily.

Internationally, leading financial institutions are watching and the credit lending agencies have both eyes on Saint Lucia. Which causes many to discourse, what really is the government doing or should not do; what are our economic strengths, our limitations, and who should we engage in emerging markets?

Sadly, this is easier talked about than to accomplish in an environment where ideology drives political policy in a dictatorial attempt to govern a country and grow the economy, outside of a structure to enable such.

A recent example is the current EC$195 million stimulus package by the government of Saint Lucia. The only ones that are ready for such are the “ideological mind” of the blueprint to no socio-economic and sustainable growth.

The capital outlay to sustain such is not reflected in the current economic life of families, that are falling prey to a shattered economy that is increasing the unemployment pool; and further, recurring stimulus packages will not pull an economy out of a recovery, instead they will grow the debt and delay the inevitable.

Preferable, restructuring in the form of a balanced budget, job creation in agri-business, manufacturing and a rebranded travel industry, equitable taxation and an improved legal system will serve Saint Lucia’s best interest.

And by the way, the long awaited report by the special advisor in the ministry of foreign affairs should make for interesting reading, even if much of the content is predictable at this moment, to know that ‘We are on our Own!’ Of course, we have always been – who believed otherwise?

But regrettably, the actions and record of the SLP government with the Saint Lucian economy is on the verge of further hardship, higher personal and household debt, while government largesse takes fair Helen on a fairytale, pie in the sky fantasy, to better daze.

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