Prime minister's Press Secretary
Tuesday, November 21, 2006 – In a speech broadcast live on local TV and
the Internet to announce the December 11th General Elections here, Prime
Minister Dr Kenny D. Anthony told tens of thousands of Saint Lucians that the
present administration had performed exceptionally well in the nine years since
it first took office.
His account of the stewardship of the government was delivered in a major
address on the Castries Market Steps, in which he highlighted the significant
achievements across all sectors of the economy.
Dr Anthony said St. Lucia’s GDP in the nine years since 1997 had grown steadily,
from 3.3% in 1998 to a record 5.4% in 2005; and he revealed there was a current
forecast of 6.0% growth for 2006.
Driving that positive growth, the Prime Minister pointed out, were “the
government’s deliberate policies of investment in the manufacturing and tourism
sectors, as well as a dynamic programme of infrastructural development to
include extensive road rehabilitation and the expansion of water distribution
lines all over the island.”
While progress in the banana industry remains sluggish, Dr Anthony said, the
Government had invested over $140 million in the industry -- more than had ever
been invested by any government in bananas.
On manufacturing, Prime Minister Anthony said: “Despite stiff international
competition, manufacturing has enjoyed four consecutive years of expansion,
fuelled by growth in the food and beverage sector.
“Our targeted support for this sector, with the systematic reduction of taxes,
the granting of generous incentives and the implementation of policies to
encourage export has yielded positive results. Our manufacturers are more
vibrant and active now than at any other time in recent history.”
The Prime Minister reported that activity in construction has peaked on the
growth chart leading all other economic sectors. “This”, he said, was so
“despite increases in the cost of building materials due to high world fuel
prices, which has driven up the cost of shipping.”
According to the Prime Minister: “Construction’s contribution to Gross Domestic
Product has averaged well over 8% during our first two terms and St. Lucia has
become one huge building site as ordinary citizens and business entrepreneurs
felt confident to invest in bricks and mortar.”
St. Lucia is preparing to host matches in crickets’ premier event, the 2007
World Cup and Dr Anthony said “the legacy of such an event will be felt a long
time into the future.”
Speaking of the establishment of the Beausejour Cricket Ground in Gros Islet and
the National Stadium in Vieux-Fort, the Prime Minister said these projects had
“contributed to economic diversification, with St. Lucia now able to take
advantage of opportunities in sports tourism.”
The PM reported that the tourism industry, in the last nine years, “has had the
single greatest impact on the economic development of St. Lucia.”
“Since 1997,” he reported, “ten hotel projects, including newly-built and
expansion to existing hotels, have been undertaken, creating tremendous activity
in construction all over the island.”
The Prime Minister said these activities “have created wealth and employment for
our people” and “resulted in unemployment reaching a fifteen-year low of 15.3
He also chastised the Opposition United Workers Party (UWP) for quoting a 25%
unemployment rate, which, he says, “has no basis in fact, but rather, is an
invention of a UWP leadership, which has lost touch with the country.”
While economic development has moved ahead rapidly, Dr Anthony spoke of a social
development agenda, which has moved apace with brick and mortar projects.
He said: “In almost every area - education, health care, housing, care of the
elderly, social development, youth, sports and culture - we witnessed a gross
underdevelopment of our ability and our potential. So, we immediately set about
creating a more caring and compassionate society.
“The results are one of the proudest legacies of our administration. Today,
Saint Lucia is a more egalitarian and cohesive society than it has ever been in
The Prime Minister highlighted the attainment of Universal Secondary Education,
Universal Health Care, the abolition of the shift system, expansion of the
school feeding programme and a host of other achievements as significant
milestones in the nine-year life of the administration.
The Prime Minister delivered his speech Thursday 16th November.