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PM warns Sir John:‘Do Not Politicize CSME’

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Contact: Prime Minister's Press Secretary

Wednesday, January 11, 2006 - Prime Minister Dr Kenny D. Anthony has warned UWP Leader Sir John Compton to resist the temptation to politicize the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME).

The Prime Minister, who just recently reaffirmed St. Lucia’s commitment to the CSME, both before and after Sir John’s most recent criticism of the newest regional economic initiative, said the UWP Leader should be careful not to politicize the issue for partisan ends.

According to the PM: “I am aware that some UWP supporters, like some SLP supporters, are uneasy about the advent of the CSME. But it would be a sad day for St. Lucia if Sir John encourages UWP supporters to oppose the CSME.”

He continued: “The harsh reality is that if St. Lucia was to stay out of the CSME, then we would not be able to sell our exports to the rest of the region on equal terms with other manufacturers and exporters.”

The Prime Minister said he was concerned, “because the UWP Leader is trying to give the impression that the Government did nothing to explain what the CSME is about to the people of St. Lucia.”

“But,” Dr Anthony pointed out, “the work of the Government in that regard discredits that view.”

He recalled that the matter has been addressed in his January 15, 2005 New Year’s Address to the Nation, as well as in the Throne Speech delivered later by Her Excellency, the Governor General, to the Joint Sitting of both Houses of Parliament.

In addition, he pointed out, the Government had appointed a special CSME Task Force and the Ministry of Commerce has been pursuing a continuous public education campaign on the issue.

The Prime Minister warned: “This is one issue on which the country should be united. This is not the time or the season for creating fear or panic about the CSME.”

He said he acknowledged there was some apprehension in some quarters about the impact of the CSME on the country, “but we St. Lucians are fully capable of holding our own, as we have done and demonstrated these past few years.”

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