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G.G. says Saint Lucia will Continue Belt Tightening Measures

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Contact: John Emmanuel

Her Excellency Dame Pearlette Louisy
Her Excellency Dame Pearlette Louisy

Tuesday, April 30, 2002 - St. Lucia's Governor General Her Excellency Dame Pearlette Louisy has warned of the need for continued belt-tightening measures instituted by Government following the economic woes brought about by the events of last September 11. In delivering the Throne Speech on Tuesday, at the second session of the 8th Parliament of St. Lucia, which paved the way for the presentation of the 2002/2003 Supplementary Estimates of Expenditure by Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Kenny Anthony, Dame Pearlette said despite the recently revised optimistic forecast on the part of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund for the global economy, St. Lucia would have to maintain its guard in weathering the remains of the economic storm.

She spoke of her government's attempts at protecting jobs, containing the rate of inflation and expenditure during the tough period while ensuring access by the poor to basic services. The relationship between government and the private sector would she noted would be pivotal and would gain new life via the setting up of the National Economic Council of Social Partners. The council will be chaired by businessman and former president of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture Richard Peterkin and will be up and running by June 20th, of this year.

"This particular module which my government has adapted is designed to be more representative of civil society while preserving an essential economic focus. Accordingly the terms of reference for the council have been drafted and approved by Cabinet to include representatives of the major social partners as well as persons with broad national experience and sectoral expertise. This council will take a national approach to social and economic issues that influence the economic transformation that St. Lucia now requires in light of our internal and external circumstances. The principles objective is to enhance our ability to sustain development, reduce poverty and improve productivity and international competitiveness," said Dame Pearlette.

House of Assembly in Session
Joint Session of the House of Assembly

Government she explained was bolstered by the quite reserve of St. Lucians in all walks of life demonstrated by a renewed sense of community and caring. The growing army of local philanthropists she said was encouraging and government would itself rise to the challenge by getting the National Insurance Corporation to support many of those ventures. In addition to that, government would establish a National Community Development Foundation that would strengthen the work of the Poverty Reduction Fund (PRF).

Another encouraging aspect Dame Pearlette pointed to was the proliferation of youth groups on the island, aimed at guiding young persons over some of the tough hurdles confronting them like pre-marital sex, drugs and crime. Government the governor General noted had made significant investment in sporting facilities across the length and breadth of the country, with the intention of providing an avenue for expression for an abundance of youthful energies. That investment she noted had already begun to pay off in various ways

In delivering her almost ninety-minute address Dame Pearlette also issued a call for the entire St. Lucian society to be galvanized in the fight against illegal drugs and mounting crime. According to her, "we must remember that we are indeed our brother's keeper and the society we build or fail to build will be the legacy we inherit." Society she exclaimed must exhibit and maintain zero tolerance for drugs and for crime. "We cannot and must not compromise on the use of drugs. When these evils spill over into the mainstream of our lives they become more than law enforcement issues, they become concerns of civil society affecting education, health, employment, security, community development and business. We must therefore all be part of the solution."

Dame Pearlette says government also remains well aware of the problems facing the elderly in society and will through the Ministries of Social Transformation and Heath and Human Services, to embark on a comprehensive national policy for the elderly. It is anticipated that this policy will among other things emphasis ways of fulfilling the health and recreation needs of the elderly and of using their vast experience and acute cultural awareness to inspire and strengthen the protection of the nation's heritage.




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