2001 CHRISTMAS MESSAGE BY HON. PHILIP J. PIERRE
It is with a feeling of humility and deep gratitude that I address the people of St. Lucia, particularly the people of Castries East during this time of celebration and thanksgiving. First of all I would like to thank the people of Castries East for once again displaying their confidence and recognition of my efforts by re-electing me as their Parliamentary Representative on December 03, 2001. I can assure you that I will continue to do my best to ensure the improvement in the quality of life of my constituents. I would also like to thank the Hon. Prime Minister for appointing me to his Cabinet to serve once again as a Minister.
The Year 2001 was a challenging one. Even the most ardent critic of government would admit that the country was managed with less than half of the foreign exchange that existed in 1996. Due to prudent fiscal management we have been able despite the difficulties to keep the economy ticking, and the major sectors despite the impact of globalization have survived albeit at reduced levels of growth..
In the Year 2001 we saw St. Lucia been recognized as an International Financial Services Centre with a clean reputation and attracting over 300 entities. This sector faces many challenges and next year will be a year of consolidation, refinement and further growth.
The manufacturing sector suffered from the negative impacts of free trade and new international terms of trade. However, there were some successes in that sector and I want to acknowledge the work of all the manufacturers and assure them that their contribution to the economy is appreciated by the Government of St. Lucia.
The St. Lucia Bureau of Standards was reorganized and now plays an integral role in the manufacturing and commercial sectors St. Lucia. An important role of the Bureau in the new year will be to work with the manufacturing sector to assist manufacturers in providing high quality goods for the regional and international markets.
While it is acknowledged that there is little we can do in St. Lucia to alter world trends except creating an enabling environment and improving our standards, we must work together to assist each other so that individually and collectively, business can survive. In this regard I wish to implore the business sector to support local industry once their products are of good quality.
There are many avenues where businesses can buy local and assist the economy. A few examples are:
The creation of a buy local culture will maximize benefits to all economic sectors. Having said so however, manufacturers and producers must produce high quality goods and understand that competition is here to stay and they must establish the necessary strategic interventions for their survival.
The Year 2001 saw the completion of a number of infrastructural works in my constituency. The most significant was the completion of the Castries East Human Resource Development Centre which was officially opened in November. I want to applaud the Marchand Womens' League for their foresight and determination as far as this project is concerned. Thanks are also in order for the Minister and Staff of the Ministries of Community Development and Planning and the Hon. Minister for making the additional finance available to augment the contribution of the European Union.
Next Year we will commence work on the long awaited Ravine Chabot bridge for which residents have been very patient and understanding. The infrastructural work in Tou Rouge will commence and residents can look forward to a safer environment.
Residents of Black Mallet and Maynard Hill will receive their packages and relocation to Carellie will commence next year.
The residents of Castries East can look forward to the same quality of representation in 2002 and together we will make Castries East a better place for all.
Next year the challenges of the Tourism Industry will demand co-operation, dialogue and understanding from everyone. However, we must never forget that many of the happenings in tourism depend on factors beyond our control, eg. the state of the United States economy and the preferences of the traveling public.
With understanding and dialogue with all tourism partners, we can improve the quality of our tourism product in St. Lucia and derive benefits for all.
Finally I want to thank the Permanent Secretary and all Staff of the Ministry of Commerce, International Financial Services and Consumer Affairs and all its agencies for their dedication to duty. The Chamber of Commerce, Manufacturers' Association, Director and Board of the Bureau of Standards, Chief Executive Officer and Staff of the Financial Centre Corporation and the International Financial World Investment Centre, the Management and Staff of the Poverty Reduction Fund, Castries City Council, Basic Needs Trust Fund, LUCELEC, WASCO and the Ministry of Communications and Works for their co-operation. Without your support these achievements would not have been possible. I thank you all sincerely.
Let me wish one and all a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year, particularly the Hon. Prime Minister and my Cabinet colleagues, Permanent Secretaries and Staff of the Ministry of Commerce, Tourism, Investment and Consumer Affairs and the people of Castries East and the Staff of the Government Information Service for making this broadcast a reality.
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