Hon. Philip J. Pierre Minister for Commerce, Tourism, Investment and Consumer Affairs and Parliamentary Representative for Castries East
Home Up Hon. Dr. Kenny Davis Anthony Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, International Financial Services, Economic Affairs and Information and Parliamentary Representative for Vieux Fort South Hon. Philip J. Pierre Minister for Commerce, Tourism, Investment and Consumer Affairs and Parliamentary Representative for Castries East Hon. Felix Finisterre Minister for Communications, Works, Transport and Public Utilities and Parliamentary Representative for Babonneau Hon. Sarah Lucy Flood-Beaubrun Minister for Home Affairs and Gender Relations and Parliamentary Representative for Castries Central Hon. Damian E. Greaves Minister for Health, Human Services, and Family Affairs and Parliamentary Representative for Dennery South Senator The Hon. Calixte George Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and Leader of Government Business Hon. Velon L. John Minister for Labour Relations, Public Service, and Co-operatives and Parliamentary Representative for Laborie Hon. Menissa M. Rambally Minister for Social Transformation, Culture and Local Government and Parliamentary Representative for Castries South East Hon. Cyprian Lansiquot Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and Parliamentary Representative for Anse La Raye / Canaries Hon. Theophilus Ferguson John Parliamentary Representative for Choiseul Hon. Arsene James Leader of the Opposition and Parliamentary Representative for Micoud South


I feel privileged but humbled as I once again address the people of Saint Lucia and particularly the residents of Castries East at this festive time of year.

This year 2003 continued to be challenging but the manufacturing and tourism sectors registered growth in 2003.

Further growth is expected in Tourism in 2004 but there are concerns particularly with visitor safety and security. Government’s believes in the philosophy that the benefits of Tourism should accrue to as many people as possible however rights are accompanied by duties and it is the responsibility of all citizens to ensure that our visitors and locals enjoy our beautiful island in a safe and secure environment. We maintain a zero tolerance towards all crime and everyone must assist the authorities as they seek to protect our freedom and the stability of our country’s economy.

The year 2000 was the best year for Tourism arrivals and after the problems of 2001 we worked to attain pre 2000 levels. The St. Lucia Tourist Board, our marketing agency embarked on an intensive promotional drive. Targeted airlift capacity from our major source was part of that overall strategy. In this regard commencing April 2004 Delta Airlines will be flying nonstop to St. Lucia twice weekly from Atlanta. An agreement was also signed for charters from Manchester and the resumption of charters from Germany.

I am pleased to report that this year 2003 we have not only attained but surpassed 2000 levels and 2003 will now be the record year for tourism arrivals in St. Lucia. We are pleased with these results but there can be no place for complacency since the industry is global, highly competitive and is vulnerable to external factors over which we have no control.

In St. Lucia we must continually strive to improve the product to the highest possible internationally accepted standard. We must continuously improve all areas of service delivery and keep our costs competitive.

While we not the expansion in our tourism arrivals we must find ways of increasing the returns from the industry. To this end I implore business people and other creative entrepreneurs to find ways of causing visitors to purchase more goods and services manufactured in St. Lucia.

There are calls for additions in the number of hotel rooms to handle the increase in visitor arrivals.

However, the world investment climate remains challenging in the aftermath of recent world events. As a country we will have to decide what support we will give to investment in the country. To this end the tourism industry welcomes the addition of the Sandals Grande and notes its outstanding performance and contribution in 2003. I want to express my solidarity with the Hon. Prime Minister for his courage in rescuing the Hyatt Hotel. The successful Sandals Grande would not be a reality without the timely intervention of the Prime Minister.

In my message last year I promised new marketing initiatives in the small hotel sector. I am pleased to report that a marketing plan has been prepared by a local consultant and endorsed by the small hotel sector. Only last week government received funding through the OPSR for the implementation of the first stages of the plan. Small hoteliers must make use of these opportunities and ensure that they participate in these initiatives.

The Manufacturing Sector continued on its path of success and experienced continued growth in 2003. Our manufacturers must continue to improve the quality of their products. They have to keep abreast with changes in technology and continuously re-engineer to meet the challenges and opportunities of firstly the CSME and eventually the FTAA. Local consumers must give the necessary support by buying local wherever possible. I am satisfied with the determination, courage and tenacity of most manufacturers and the role of the St. Lucia Manufacturers Association under the inspirational leadership of Mr. Laurie Barnard, Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

We continued dialogue on the Consumer Protection Bill this year. I have received final comments from the private sector. It is my desire that a bill which is satisfactory to all particularly consumers will be tabled in Parliament in 2004.

I have received excellent cooperation from all agencies under my portfolio. The St. Lucia Bureau of Standards, St. Lucia Tourist Board, The St. Lucia Nature Heritage Tourism Project, The Free Zone Management Committee and the Trade Licencing Committee have all shared in the vision and mission of creating a profitable and sustainable commercial sector. I want to thank the Chairpersons and board members and staff of these organizations for their service, fortitude and initiative.

To the good people of Castries East I have continued to strive for improvement in the quality of life in the constituency. My promise of resurfacing every walkway in Bocage is becoming a reality. Both walk-ways viz near Welch’s and Seventh Day Adventist Church are now complete and lighted for the benefit of residents. Next year we will repair the other walkways in Bocage.

2003 was a good year for sports in the Constituency. The first ever Castries East Marathon sponsored by Caribbean Springs was held. The Philip J. Pierre Tournament, ended with victory for Pavee, incidentally the prize giving ceremony was sponsored by Cable and Wireless for the first time this year. I wish to thank Virgin Holidays for its sponsorship of an other Marchand Football League Tournament now being contested by over 10 teams in the Castries East and look forward to continuing this association next year.

I am delighted and thankful to the Ministry of Planning and the World Bank Disaster Mitigation Unit for the re-construction and expansion of the damaged and abandoned James Belgrave Court. The facility is now complete with lights, covered seats and changing room facilities. In collaboration with the Ministry of Sports the facility is scheduled to be functional from February 1, 2004 with a grand Sports Day and the finals of the Virgin Holidays Tournament. All sporting enthusiasts in the area are expected to participate in these activities. I want to thank Ms. Cheryl Mathurin for her work on the James Belgrave Court Project.

The Ministry of Social Transformation assures me of the expansion of the Entrepot Human Resource Centre to facilitate a supervised day care centre and possibly a library will commence early next year.

The search for an appropriate location for a sporting facility in Pavee is continuing and this project will commence as soon as suitable premises are identified.

As I reflect on the year 2003, I recall the times when words, actions and deeds have hurt the feelings of innocent people – when negative thoughts overcome positive actions and I sincerely wish that our society transforms into a more loving, positive and optimistic society – we must all join to make St. Lucia the best place in the world. I also remember my friend deceased Commissioner Brian Barnard and empathize with his dear wife and family.

In this journey, I am not alone, I am fortunate to be working with two outstanding Permanent Secretaries and a majority of staff who are dedicated and committed.

Best wishes and thanks to my family, the Prime Minister, my Cabinet and Parliamentary colleagues, Chairman and Members of St. Lucia Labour Party and all institutions and individuals that impact personally or professionally on my life as a Parliamentary representative and Government Minister. I thank you for your encouragement and worthwhile criticism.

Let me wish all citizens of St. Lucia and particularly the residents of Castries East a Merry Christmas and a prosperous and profitable New Year.

I Thank you.

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