Government of Saint Lucia

Go to Homepage


[Site Map]

[Contact Us]

Search this Site

2006 New Year’s Address To The Nation By The Honourable Dr. Kenny D. Anthony

horizontal rule

Governor General
Prime Minister
The Cabinet
The Senate
House of Assembly
Overseas Missions
The Constitution
The Staff Orders

National Television Network
Watch NTN Live

Saint Lucia Gazette
Press Releases
About Saint Lucia
Frequently Asked Questions
Web Links
Government Directory
Browse by Agency
Site Help



JANUARY 16, 2006

Fellow St. Lucians,

As has become customary, around the middle of January each year, I report to you, the citizens, on our achievements, progress and failures of the year past. It is also an opportunity for me to outline the broad development objectives for our nation in the current year.

Last year, in my New Year’s Address to the nation, I identified a number of priority areas for our country. This year I would like to report on what progress have been with regard to these priority areas. I will commence by reporting on the performance of our economy.


Preliminary data on the performance of the Saint Lucian economy up to year-end 2005, suggest strongly, that the country remained firmly on its path of accelerated growth. Despite the sluggishness of the Agricultural Sector and in the cruise sub-sector, reduced arrivals of cruise ships, all other major sectors of the economy expanded, leading local officials, as well as regional and international institutions to forecast economic growth of approximately five per cent (5%) for 2005. This will be the highest growth rate Saint Lucia will achieve since 1992, some fourteen years ago.

Expansion In Tourism

Developments in the tourism industry have been catalytic. Visitor arrivals for the eleven month period from January to the end of November 2005 featured significant increases of 21.8% to a total of 23,698 with respect to yacht passengers, and a further 6.8% to a total of 290,047 stay over visitors. While data for December is not yet available, there is every reason to believe that St. Lucia surpassed that important milestone of 300,000 stay over visitors in 2005 as arrivals typically averages in excess of 20,000 in the month of December.

However, US home porting and constraints in domestic berthing capacity restrained the overall performance of the cruise sector by 17.5% up to the end of November 2005.

Increase In Manufacturing Output

The value of manufacturing output from January to September 2005 alone, exclusive of textile and paper products, is estimated to have increased by 7.7% to $91.7 million. This is an important development, as this sector prepares to face the challenges of operating in a more competitive environment.

Buoyancy In Construction

Unquestionably, a construction boom is well underway. The expansion was largely private sector led, as public sector construction slackened in the course of the year.

Private sector construction activity was particularly buoyant in 2005, owing to increased confidence in the economy. This is evidenced by the following indicators drawn from the first half of the year.


  1. Investment expenditure in tourism plant of $60 million;

  2. Investment in telecommunications equipment and plant of $17.1 million;

  3. A 7.1 per cent increase in the value of imported construction material to $43 million; and

  4. A tripling of funds disbursed by local financial institutions for financing commercial and residential construction to $93 million, of which commercial construction attracted $54 million.


In 2006, construction activity will be accelerated as the Government Public Sector Investment Programme unfolds.

Merchandise Trade

The buoyancy in the economy was reflective in merchandise trade.
The value of merchandise trade imports grew by 12 per cent to $522.8 million. Unfortunately exports contracted by 8.5 per cent largely as a result of a reduction in the export of bananas.

There were significant increases in all three categories of imports; namely consumer goods by 55 per cent to $288.1 million; intermediate goods ($131.2 million) mainly on the strength of the rising price of oil and capital goods ($103.6 million) led by increases in machinery and transport equipment.

Improved Fiscal Performance

On the fiscal side, taxes from International Trade and taxes on income led to an improvement in current revenue by 17 per cent to $304.2 million. This increase is consistent with domestic economic expansion and improved administrative efficiency. Effective control measures led to relatively flat current expenditure of $249.4 million and resulted in a considerable improvement of the current balance of $54.9 million by the close of June 2005. However, the level of
Capital Expenditure exceeded the current surplus and led to an overall deficit.


When I addressed you at this time last year, the emphasis was on the priorities for 2005. Indeed, I had set seven priorities for the Government and nation. Today, I am pleased to report that we have been able to register successes in each.

Was Unemployment Reduced?

Priority Number One was to reduce unemployment.

Unemployment, as you know, has been a stubborn problem. At long last, I am beginning to see a downward movement.

I indicated that Government would seek to reduce unemployment by intensifying investment in tourism, encouraging more investments in the Information Technology Sector, encouraging self-employment through establishment of small businesses and expanding opportunities in public sector construction. One year later, I am pleased to report that we did succeed in encouraging significantly more investments in both the tourism and construction sectors, leading to increased employment at all levels.

According to Mr. Edwin St. Catherine, the Director of Statistics and I quote him,

“The main driver for the decline in the unemployment rate is growth in the number of employment opportunities available in the hotels and restaurants and the Construction Sector, with employment in hotels and restaurants skewed towards the employment of women by a factor of two women to every one man employed and a factor of six men to every one woman employed in the construction sector. The Hotels and Restaurants Sectors added approximately 3, 500 persons, while the Construction Sector added approximately 2,500 persons. While this is a healthy development, it must be sustained since the situation can be reversed due to the cyclical nature of construction activity and the fickle nature of the Tourism Sector.

For the first time, quarterly employment statistics for the 2nd and 3rd quarter of 2005 are indicating that the numbers of persons employed in the Hotels and Restaurants Sector has surpassed the Agriculture Sector, recording in the third quarter a total of 8,980 persons employed when compared to 7,460. The Construction Sector employed approximately as many persons as did the Agriculture Sector in the 3rd Quarter of 2005”.

Today, several new tourism investments have taken off. In the past year, we have seen the opening of the new Coco Palm resort at Rodney Bay and the renovated Coconut Bay resort in Vieux Fort. The Plantation at Cotton Bay and Discovery at Marigot Bay are both about to come on stream; and new construction works have started on the Landings at Rodney Bay, the new Bay Gardens Suites (also at Rodney Bay) and on the new Le Paradis at Praslin on the island's East Coast.

At the same time, several existing hotels began expanding last year. These include the original Bay Gardens Hotel at Rodney Bay, Le Sport Villas at Cap Estate, Cara Suites at La Pansee in Castries and Jalousie Plantation in Soufriere – which changed hands and went under new, local management last year.

Altogether, the total number of investments in our tourism plant announced in 2005 have amounted to way over one billion EC dollars. This is a remarkable show of confidence on the part of local and foreign investors in our country and our tourism industry. Similarly, the Government of St. Lucia has to date awarded incentives to 24 local and foreign investors to expand accommodation for the Cricket World Cup. To these will be added Bread and Breakfast Accommodation Projects approved for the thousands of visitors expected here for the Cricket World Cup next year.

The developments just mentioned have also resulted in increased confidence on the part of the airlines, which have again began to focus on increasing airlift to St. Lucia. Last year, we were able to secure new daily flights to and from Atlanta by Delta Airlines; the expected return of Air Jamaica with three weekly flights to and from New York as of next month; and direct flights from Manchester by Virgin Atlantic in June.

It is precisely because of the good performance of our tourism industry last year, that a very upbeat Minister of Tourism, Philip J. Pierre, was able to so confidently predict a few days ago, that this year, barring unforeseen circumstances, St. Lucia is set to reach and pass the 300,000- mark for stay-over visitors and hotel occupancy is also set to pass last year's 68% record. All of this continues to spell jobs and more jobs for St. Lucians.

Progress On preparations For CSME

Priority Number Two last year was to finalize St. Lucia's entry and participation in the Single Market and Economy created by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Here too, we have some progress to report.

Legislation has been introduced in Parliament to remove discrimination between St. Lucians and other CARICOM nationals to create the conditions for the Freedom of Movement of factors inherent in the CSME.

Last year, the Ministry of Commerce, which also has responsibility for matters pertaining to the trade aspects of the CSME, also began an ongoing public education drive aimed at informing the population and related sectors of the issues involved. These measures took place against the background of the establishment by the Government of St. Lucia of a Special CSME Task Force. The Special CSME Task Force is principally responsible for engaging the various sectors and fine-tuning of the required measures and mechanisms for our eventual entry into the new regional trading arrangements between member-states of CARICOM.

I know that some of you are uneasy about the CSME. I understand the fears. I wish to reassure you that this Government will jealously guard the patrimony of Saint Lucia. The CSME will widen our horizons as our nationals will benefits from new rights and privileges in other member states. We must remember that unless we are part of the CSME we cannot sell our exports to the region on equal terms with our CARICOM neighbours.

St. Lucia will be present at the official ceremony launching the CSME in Jamaica on January 30th, 2006. Our presence there will be to reaffirm our commitment to the new regional initiative. Once all issues are resolved, St. Lucia will be ready to join the CSME in the first quarter of this year.

Any Respite in Crime?

Crime reduction was the third priority outlined in my New Year’s Address in 2005. As you are aware, a number of initiatives were introduced to combat crime and criminality. These included the recruitment of more police officers. It is the intention of the Government to increase the membership of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force by year end to over a 1,000 for the first time in its history.

The Programme for the Recovery of Illegal Weapons was another initiative introduced by the Government to combat crime. In 2005, the Programme recorded a measure of success with a total of 203 illegal guns being removed off the streets and from the hands of criminals. The number of guns removed off the streets this year as a result of the programme is four times greater than the numbers retrieved in the two years preceding the implementation of the programme, when an average of between 40 and 50 guns were being recovered each year. As a result of the success of the programme – which rewards informants and not the criminals -- there was also noticeable reduction in the number of gun-related offences throughout the country.

Last year Saint Lucia recorded the same number of homicides as it did in the previous year. Thirty seven homicides is an unacceptable figure. In fact any homicide is unacceptable. This year, that figure must be reduced.

Additional measures introduced last year to intensify fight against crime in 2005 included the introduction of a new Criminal Code which came into effect; and later in the year the new edition of the Revised Laws of St. Lucia was published and launched. Further, the curriculum at the Police Training Academy was improved and a new Crown Prosecution Service was introduced to improve the prosecution of criminals. The Interception of Communications Bill was also enacted last year, to strengthen the ability of the police to keep track of the more sophisticated criminals and their activities.

I regret that the establishment of the Forensic Laboratory has been delayed by design issues, but I expect all issues will be resolved shortly.

Getting Ready for Cricket World Cup 2007

The fourth priority outlined in last Year’s New Year’s Address was to meet the challenges of hosting the Cricket World Cup in 2007. In this regard, several initiatives were undertaken.

The local organizing committee in 2005 relocated its headquarters to Castries and appointed additional staff to ensure proper organisational preparedness and execution of programmes island-wide.

Early in the year, the Local Organising Committee got an important moral boost when it hosted Dr Ali Bacher, who spearheaded South Africa's hosting of the ICC's Cricket World Cup. Dr. Bacher commended the Local Organising Committee for the quality and level of preparations undertaken to date for the hosting the third biggest sporting event in the world.

Similarly, following successful site visits by the delegations from the International Cricket Council last year, the Beausejour Cricket Ground passed the test with flying colours and the venue development inspectors approved the plans for further development of the venue. Similarly, plans continued to be implemented to improve infrastructure and transportation access to the site. In this regard, the Bella Rosa link road, which provides an additional alternative route from the Gros Islet highway to the venue, is under construction and on schedule.

Representatives of the Local Organising Committee also held meetings last year with residents living in close proximity to the venue. The Local Organizing Committee also launched a broader sensitization programme to educate and prepare Saint Lucians in the various communities as to what role they are perform to make our hosting of the World Cup the most successful ever. These roles ranged from providing entertainment to serving as volunteers. The feed back from the communities so far has been very positive. On October 22, 2005, the Local Organizing Committee held a very successful Road Show. And on December 5, 2005, the volunteer programme was launched. It is my hope that the benefits of the volunteer programme will instil into all Saint Lucians a greater sense of volunteerism which will redound to the greater good of our Society.

Repairing and Rehabilitating of Roads

Priority Number Five last year was to intensify our efforts to repair and rehabilitate our road infrastructure. In this regard, drivers and commuters travelling between Vieux Fort and Soufriere were pleased that the South West Coast Road was finally completed last year. In addition, several roads were repaired under the Tertiary Roads Programme. In the case of the Castries-Gros-Islet Highway construction will commence this quarter. The rehabilitation of the East Coast Highway is expected to pick up momentum. Several new bridges were also constructed last year as part of the road rehabilitation project. Because of the heavy rainfall in what was the busiest hurricane year on record, several major and tertiary roads that were earmarked to have started were unavoidably delayed. However, weather permitting, work will resume. In fact work has resumed on several of these roads. It is expected that 2006 will be another busy year for road repairs and rehabilitation island wide.

Preparing Bananas for Tariff – Only Regime

Priority Number Six for 2005 year was to prepare the Banana Industry for the inevitable transition to a tariff-only trading regime. In preparation for this eventuality, Government has on one hand, continued to provide assistance to banana farmers and their organisations. On the other hand, Government has also intensified its diplomatic efforts within the World Trade Organisation (WTO) along with other African Pacific and Caribbean member-states to secure a better deal for our farmers than what is being demanded by Latin America and what is being offered by the European Union (EU). Given the vicissitudes of international trade, our banana farmers can only continue to hope for a better deal on the world market.

Despite the many challenges that confronted the banana industry in 2005, Saint Lucia continued to be the major producer of bananas in the Windward Islands. In 2005 Saint Lucia produced more than half of the total production from the Windwards grouping. With the advent of the tariff only regime, the prospect for the banana industry remains worrying.

Improving Water Supply

A major priority last year was to improve our water supply and in particular, to ease the plight of the Dennery communities.

In this regard, we have done quite a lot. Millions were expended to begin work on a new 18-inch transmission line from the new Errard water intake to the new storage and treatment plant at Bois Jolie. Meanwhile WASCO has been given the go-ahead to procure the materials required to improve the water supply in Dennery North as promised in last year’s address.

In addition, the 20-inch pipeline to Gros Islet was commissioned last year. Work has also began on a new 14-inch pipeline to take water from the Gros Islet plant back to the communities between Gros Islet and Castries. New water works have also been completed last year at Grace/Woodlands in Vieux Fort North, as well as at Hill 20 and Talverne. New tanks have also been installed at Desruisseaux.

The World Bank has also approved a US $7 million project and the Central Tenders Board has made the necessary land acquisitions to enable expansion works which will double the capacity at the T.R. Theobalds plant at Ciceron. The age-old bottlenecks in the Roseau Dam are also being removed to increase capacity and flow.


What then are our priorities for 2006?

For this year and until such time that the General Election is announced, the Government will focus on six (6) priorities.

Priority number one is to secure further reductions in crime;

Priority number two is to intensify efforts to reduce unemployment;

Priority number three is to speed up implementation of the Universal Health Care System, the UHC;

Priority number four is to complete preparations for the Cricket World Cup, 2007;

Priority number five is to complete the drive to universal secondary education, to provide every child a place in a secondary school.

Priority number six is to ensure that Saint Lucia conducts its electoral business without reproach and Saint Lucian participate in elections that are free, fair, and free from fear and intimidation.


I will now focus on Priority Number One.

I am aware that the issue of crime is the most burning issue among Saint Lucians. Indeed, it is fair to say that while Saint Lucians credit the Government for its efforts in stabilising our economy, promoting education and sports, strengthening governance and attacking poverty they are generally disappointed that the efforts to contain and reduce crime have not yielded greater results. It is clear that the Police and the Government must redouble efforts to convince our citizens that we can win the fight against crime.

I propose to invite parliament to revisit all offences involving firearms and stiffen the penalties in respect of the possession of unlawful firearms and the use of such firearms in the commission of crime.

I will grant approval to train a further sixty police officers this year to increase the strength of the Special Service Unit from 45 to 100 men.’

Now that the process of constitutional reform is underway, the Saint Lucia Labour Party will, at the appropriate time, propose and pursue amendments to the Constitution of Saint Lucia, to remove all impediments, whether introduced by judges or otherwise, to ensure that the death penalty is enforced. Judges must implement the will of the people as expressed in the laws they have freely chosen to enact. We must cease the vacillation over capital offences, but comply fully with the Rule of Law. There must be no exception.

In the course of this year, further reform will be effected to the court system. I propose to introduce a night court, staffed by two additional magistrates to hear traffic offences. This initiative will ease the burden of police officers who are compelled to waste valuable policing time during the normal course of the day.

We have inherited a dilapidated and outdated Central Police Station in the Capital which has become dysfunctional. Government will focus its attention on the rehabilitation and refurbishment of the Central Police Station as a matter of urgency in the next few months as a temporary measure. In the meantime, plans will be drawn up for the conversion of the existing Police Headquarters into a modern, functional Headquarters Complex that will include a new Central Police Station.


Earlier, I spoke of the inroads we have made into unemployment. I intend to continue the broad mix of policies the Government pursued in 2005.

There are, however, two major initiatives which the Government proposes to undertake this year.

Firstly, the Government is aware that unemployment is highest amongst young people, especially persons between fifteen and twenty four years of age. In addition to the initiatives currently being undertaken by the National Skills Development Centre, Government will finance a programme of training for young persons particularly in the eastern and southern parts of the island for future employment in the new hotels to be constructed in those areas.

Secondly, as a country we have to be concerned about competitiveness. If wages continue to rise faster than productivity, then we are going to be in trouble. Government will, therefore, introduce a range of measures aimed at enhancing productivity into the workplace.

Details of both measures will be announced in the 2006/07 Budget.


The implementation of the Universal Health Care system is our third priority. Your have heard much about this programme. We must take decisive steps towards its implementation, especially now that construction of one of the two new hospitals is underway.

The Government will start with the changes to the governance and administration of Victoria Hospital. As I have stated before, the governance of the hospital will be ceded to a Board.

Secondly, commencing May 1st, The Government will introduce a scheme to provide free medical drugs to pensioners who suffer with hypertension and diabetes. The Government will invite the nascent UHC to administer this programme on its behalf.

I must however, warn you that the introduction of the UHC will cause discomfort and anxiety in the initial stages, but, we must press ahead because we cannot continue to deny basic health care to Saint Lucians who do not possess the income or the means to access such care.


This year, we intend to complete our preparations for the 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup. The foresight of our Government in constructing the Beausejour Cricket Ground has given us more time in these critical months leading up to the Opening Ceremony on Sunday 11 March, 2007 and the first match in Saint Lucia on Wednesday 14 March, 2007 to concentrate on the myriad other issues critical to the hosting of a successful tournament.

In fact, we are sufficiently advanced and on schedule with our preparations that the Local Organising Committee intends to use the West Indies home series this year as a trial run for many of the new components that will be featured during the Cricket World Cup.

As stated earlier, the Beausejour-Bella Rosa link road is nearing completion, and with its commissioning in the next few months and the use of new drop-off zones, the traffic congestion that has been perhaps the one negative feature of international cricket at Beausejour will be a thing of the past.

Much of the permanent improvement works at the Beausejour Cricket Ground will also be completed within the first half of this year. Persons attending matches at Beausejour this year will notice an even faster draining outfield, due to comprehensive drainage works, improved concession stands, a new President’s Box, and a permanent Venue Operations Centre, among other features. However, the feature that will bring even more pride to Saint Lucians will be the installation of night lighting at the ground, which will allow Saint Lucia to feature in a proud and historic first for West Indies cricket – the staging of the very first day-night One Day International on Wednesday 10th May, when Zimbabwe and the West Indies square off.

As I have repeatedly stated, the eyes of the world will be on our country in 2007, and the publicity that we stand to gain from our participation in the Cricket World Cup is both unprecedented and invaluable. Therefore, there is much that remains to be done in order that our country and our people can stand up to the most rigorous and intense international scrutiny.

We have to beautify our island. There are still too many eyesores that we take for granted or appear content to live with. Indiscriminate littering must be curbed and curtailed. Customer service must improve. We cannot make a successful transition to a service economy if we provide discourteous or unhelpful service. We must do a better job resolving conflicts. We used to be much more loving and caring. We have to rediscover that community spirit, and rekindle those feelings of respect, tolerance and neighbourly love that characterised our culture. And, we must make our country more secure.

There are still other challenges left to be overcome. Among these are providing sufficient accommodation to cater to the large numbers of visitors expected for the Opening Round and semi-final match that we will host. While I am extremely pleased with the response to the Cricket World Cup Accommodation Incentives packages, and remain optimistic that the Bed and Breakfast sector will help in bridging the accommodation gap, we still have an uphill battle.

I also want to see more of our local businesses preparing for the opportunities that 2007 will provide. The BOOST initiative of the OPSR is a positive step, but local businesses should also look to partner with other companies in the region, in order that they may profit from the entire tournament, and not just the Saint Lucia legs.


I now turn to our fifth priority.
Since assuming office, this Government has proven that economic growth is not incompatible with social re-engineering. Given the importance of education to our developmental process, its role in dismantling socio-economic barriers, walls of injustice and prejudice and as a source of empowerment, this Government has relentlessly pursued the goal of attaining universal secondary education. As a Government, we have always held dear the ideal that education should never be the exclusive preserve of a select few. I have long contended, that education must never be seen as a privilege but rather as an inalienable right of every citizen. It is only through equal access to educational opportunities can our citizens improve their life chances and change their circumstances.

As a Government, we have long embraced the belief first espoused by our esteemed Nobel Laureate, Sir Arthur Lewis, that “the cure for poverty is not money but education.” We have long regarded universal secondary education as a worthwhile ideal to which we should aspire. Today, I am indeed pleased to report that this long pursuit is near over. The dream of universal secondary education is about to become a reality.

There can be no doubt that the attainment of universal secondary education by the next academic year will be a monumental milestone in our development. Since assuming office we have worked steadily towards the achievement of that goal. During the tenure of this Government, four new secondary schools have been built. The construction of these four new secondary schools have increased considerably the existing stock of secondary school places available in Saint Lucia.

The construction of three more secondary schools this year will serve to further augment the available stock of secondary school places. To date construction has already began on two of these secondary schools – the Gros-Islet and Marigot secondary schools.

The Gros Islet Secondary School is being built on 8.32 acres of land at Massade and will contain twenty classrooms, three science labs, one computer lab, one learning resource centre, an art room, segregated sick bays for male and female students, a staff room, offices for the principal, the vice principal, the school bursar and school counsellors and an auditorium designed to accommodate 1,000 persons.  The school, when completed will be a four stream five form secondary school designed to accommodate seven hundred students. 

The Marigot Secondary School will be built on 10 acres of land alongside the Marigot Playing Field and will also contain twenty classrooms, three science labs, one computer lab, one learning resource centre, segregated sick bays, a staff room, offices for the principal, the vice principal, the school bursar and school counsellors.  This school will also be a four stream five form secondary school designed to accommodate seven hundred students. 
In order to meet the stock of secondary school places required to make universal secondary education a reality, the Grande Riviere Senior Primary School will be transformed into a full-fledged secondary school.  A new three storey concrete structure will be constructed on the existing site, an existing building will be expanded and upgraded to make provisions for specialist rooms, an existing toilet facility will be upgraded, a wooden building on the compound will be repaired and the school site will be landscaped.  The new secondary school will contain between fifteen and twenty classrooms, two science labs, one computer lab, an auto mechanics room, a learning resource centre, a home economics room and the appropriate administrative facilities.  The school will be either three stream or four stream, accommodating between 525 and 700 students as resources permit. 

Also, three existing secondary schools namely the Choiseul Secondary, the Clendon Mason Memorial Secondary School and St. Mary’s College will be expanded, upgraded and rehabilitated.

A new building will be constructed on the compound of the Choiseul Secondary School, an existing building will be expanded and all existing buildings will be given a facelift.  The school will be expanded from its present capacity of 525 students to 700 students.  When the expansion is completed the school will be transformed from a three stream to a four stream five form secondary school.   
A third floor containing six classrooms will be added to the existing accommodation of the Clendon Mason Memorial Secondary School and existing rooms in the school will be refurbished and reorganised.  Particular attention will be paid to science labs, a learning resource centre and accommodation for teachers.  The school will be expanded from its present capacity of 550 students to a four stream five form secondary school accommodating 700 students.   
St. Mary’s College – which is currently a four stream secondary school, will be transformed into a five stream secondary school when expansion work is completed. When the expansions are completed, St. Mary College is expected to accommodate as many as 875 students. 
Surely, will all these investments in our education infrastructure, by the next academic year universal secondary education will at long last become a reality. I salute Hon. Mario Michel, our Minister of Education, Human Resource Development, Youth and Sports on this remarkable achievement.


As you know, our Constitution requires that General Elections must be held by the end of March 2007. But recent developments since the start of the New Year have indicated that some are more anxious than others about the upcoming national electoral contest. Indeed, some who are interested in the electoral race have demonstrated that they well understand the Creole proverb which says “Sa ki pa ni bon pye, pwan douvan” (“Those with bad feet or legs should start early.”)

But, that aside, the Government last year did much to ensure the necessary pre-requisites are put in place so that the elections take place in a manner that is consistent with our democratic traditions.

The enumeration of voters is now well underway. Scrutineers recommended by the Leader of the Opposition on behalf of the Opposition and myself, on behalf of the Government, are monitoring the process to ensure its integrity.

Earlier this month, I announced that regional and international observers will be invited to monitor the next General Elections. This is important, because while seven elections have been held since Independence in 1979, on no occasion has observers ever been invited. I wish St. Lucia to be an outstanding example of international best practice in electoral behaviour and conduct. We must conduct our elections without reproach and satisfy ourselves that we have been faithful to democratic norms and practice.

I urge all registered and eligible voters to ensure they are verified, so that, when the time comes, all will be ready, willing and able to perform their constitutional duty by exercising their franchise at the polls wherever they are registered to vote.


Fellow Saint Lucians, the year 2006 will, without question, be another interesting year. We expect that most of the projects which have commenced will be brought to a successful completion. Universal Secondary education will at long last become a reality. As well, our preparation to host the ICC Cricket World in 2007 will be at the point of completion by year end.

The Constitution of Saint Lucia requires that the next general elections for Saint Lucia be held no later than March 2007. I fully expect that during the course of this year we will see an acceleration in political activities on the part of all legitimate political parties. I take this opportunity to appeal to the leadership of all political parties and their supporters to conduct their electioneering activities in a peaceful, respectful and non-confrontational manner. For my part I intend to take all measures within the authority of the Prime Minister to ensure that general elections are conducted in a free and fair manner.

Let us all work together during 2006 to build a harmonious, peaceful and orderly Saint Lucia. I know we can do it, if we try.

I thank you, and wish you a 2006 rich in good health, blessings, joy and success.


horizontal rule

Home ] Up ] Office of the Prime Minister Site Map ] [Site Help]

© 2012 Government Information Service. All rights reserved.

Read our privacy guidelines.