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What went wrong? Buckle your seat belts Saint Lucia!

by: - July 23, 2012
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Melanius Alphonse

Let’s be real – you know what I know. However, the only difference is who will dare raise the issues or much less do what’s necessary to recover Saint Lucia economically and politically – without burdening the nation with the same old approach.

What really went wrong? Does anyone know? Of course, the citizens of this island know the truth.

For the last sixty years, the electorate has enabled a free reign to the Saint Lucia Labour Party and the United Workers Party, to do as they wish with the future of the island.

Associates have allowed them to borrow millions of dollars (in the name of Saint Lucia) without any checks and balances, and to dish out jobs to their most preferred supporters (whether they are qualified or unqualified for the task at hand).

Like a theatre filled with people watching a horror movie, viewers are on the edge of their seats waiting for the next horrifying scene.

The current maneuvering indicates that Saint Lucia is heading to economic demise but no one seems to know how to tap on the breaks of this runaway train that places political expedience and outdated ideology over country.

The Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) and United Workers Party (UWP) did not inherit a struggling economy.

If anything, they own it collectively. They are the authors and architects of why things are so bad in Saint Lucia, and that’s a fact!
The false expectation of prosperity from voodoo economics, instant gratification of $100 million in 100 days and thyme of “Better Days” from a fancy “blueprint to growth” that is unrealistic, has once again found common play in Saint Lucian politics.

Systemically, Saint Lucia is about to be burden into the Stone Age, and the smoldering wreckage in the aftermath of Kenny’s grand experimentation and his version of “the great leap forward”, will be felt throughout Saint Lucia for generations to come.

In light of present day reality the following are obvious.

Already the awarding of generous tax exemptions; preferred awarding of contracts, extensive borrowing, laid-off workers, stalled projects, a dual system of justice, and an added burden on the public purse with the creation of new jobs for party hacks within the public service are all evident.

And as the saying goes, JOBS, JOBS, JOBS and more JOBS for the boys and girls in the inner circle of the SLP, which in essence is what “Better Days” are all about and was designed to accomplish.

Attention needs to be drawn to the proposed 15 percent VAT – the largest single tax in the history of Saint Lucia, complements the Saint Lucia Labor Party (SLP).

In their quest to deliver bread, freedom and justice – they are about to impose a tax system on the struggling people of Saint Lucia, whether they are prepared for it or not.

Reminiscent of Massa days!!! Such will only lead Saint Lucia, a country that has been taken over by the out of touch political class to the brink of despair.

When injustice is rampant and even human rights lawyers are under attack, fear takes over. In addition, when crime is high, rape and incest a daily occurrence, burglary is on the rise, and citizens have to take increased personal responsibility to protect their property – it’s no wonder why citizens have lost their trust in the system.

So what happened? The factuality is such.

The declining spiral in Saint Lucia began with a decline in real incomes, real jobs, and a sharp decline in investment – together with the brain drain!

What followed was a non – enabling growth factor such as increase education strengthening for business development that has a work-ready force that investors look for.

Alongside the economic deterrents, the social cost nationwide enabled lower standards and a crumbling infrastructure.

What else is left?

Fear is beginning to take over, while uncertainty looms under the gripping 15 percent VAT to take effect October 1st 2012.

Only, the Great Architect of the Universe knows what awaits a country in which the leaders do not care for any formal or extended dialogue, and where power reigns supreme in the hands of an SLP government that barely made it to the finishing line ( in terms of the popular votes).

The looming turmoil is such that, declining currency flow; non collection of taxes or “tax liabilities” in the amount of $36 million in hotel accommodation tax (HAT), and low foreign currency reserves are fueling inflation and at the same time increasing the deficit.

Now that’s not a prediction, it is a trend; when a country has high deficits and low cash flow it will soon be unable to pay its debts.

And should it become entrap by its debtors, a systemic collapse is conceivable.

The outcome, looking forward!

Should business and the communities continue to decline economically and socially, eventually a cash transaction society will emerge, with off – books transaction to avoid higher personal and corporate taxes; plus 15 percent VAT, and render the economy in default and unable to pay its debts.

However, with prerequisites, discipline and an aggressive approach, this can be averted, as there are multiple options to advance major opportunities through international investments in emerging markets that give exposure to local business and partnering internationally.

Indeed, the conversation should be about how to bring innovative products to market. The development of new business to obtain a competitive edge and spur economic development in Saint Lucia – and, how to make industry and commerce more attractive and effective for those who need it.

Think about it, in the absence of enabling economic growth and social engineering turmoil will arise, the infrastructure will continue to decay, the people will become more disappointed and support for the political and economic class will collapse.

And that’s not taking into consideration the toggle for tag lines – simply beautiful, or – live the legend?

Buckle your seat belts, Saint Lucia!

By Melanius Alphonse