UWP Denounces More SLP Lies and Misinformation
22 March 2022
The United Workers Party has categorically denounced statements made in a release from the Office of the Prime Minister of Saint Lucia on March 18, 2021.
The UWP said the contents “are replete with gross inaccuracies, blatant misinformation, and propaganda” which were repeated by the Saint Lucia Labour Party on the campaign trail before the last general elections.
Said the UWP: “It is unclear how such information can emanate from the Office of the Prime Minister without being fact-checked for accuracy before being presented to the people of Saint Lucia.
“In accusing the former administration under Prime Minister Allen Chastanet of causing the economy to contract by twenty four percent, it is abundantly clear, in the face of all the available evidence, that it was the COVID-19 global pandemic which contributed to that significant decline in the economy. This contraction was largely due to our economy’s significant dependence on tourism as its largest revenue earner.
“It was a testament to confidence in St Lucia that were able to borrow EC$300 million at half a percent interest with a ten year moratorium, and a forty year payback period. That money was used in large part to pay salaries and operating costs of government and to meet budgetary shortfalls as a result of significant declines in revenue caused by COVID-19.
Going further, the release states, “…VAT was reduced to benefit big landlords.” It is inconceivable how this can be sensible as any reduction in VAT does not benefit landlords or business owners as that money is paid to government and does not remain as revenue to the business. The Allen Chastanet administration’s reduction of VAT ultimately resulted in cheaper rents and reduced the cost of goods and services to the ordinary Saint Lucian.
“Government only lost revenue in the first twelve months and in eighteen months any losses were recovered because of increased economic activity.
“Reference is also made to the wind farm in the constituency of Dennery as a loss, but fails to articulate that the prospective project would have been situated on private lands which the government asked the developer to purchase from the owners at market prices – he did not.
“The $185 million in Direct Finance Contracts for roads which are referred to as burdensome were all to be paid by the gas tax of $1.50 per gallon of gasoline – again, failing to provide all the information to the people of Saint Lucia - Another example SLP ‘half-truths.’
“This current SLP administration continues to publish information that has been debunked and refuted by the evidence, time after time.
“Mere days before its responsibility to present a budget, this SLP government has embarked on a campaign of misinformation and lies. A flurry of unfounded allegations of corruption has taken on the same form, as witnessed during the elections campaign, all in an effort to shift the blame from their inability to manage the economy.
“This SLP government will have to borrow heavily as it cannot deliver on the promises made during the campaign and will resort to heavily taxing the people of Saint Lucia.
“The Economic Review says it all, and is a testament to the remarkable performance of the Allen Chastanet-led administration during one of the most challenging times in the history of Saint Lucia and the world.
“Record tourist arrivals and the opening up of new gateways and additional flights in the US from Chicago, Dallas, expanded flights to Miami, New York, Atlanta, and Boston are all evidence of the hard work during the last administration. In 2021 the economy saw a growth rate of 6%, second only to Guyana which benefited from oil discoveries.
“What the SLP must do is account to the people of Saint Lucia for their inability to deliver all what they promised, particularly during the first hundred days in office. At every opportunity they have attempted to shirk the responsibilities of prudent governance.
“While in opposition the SLP claimed to have all the solutions and advice for Saint Lucia. Now is the time for them to heed their own advice and deliver to the people.
“Without a doubt the SLP under Philip J. Pierre has been unable to put the people first”.