Opposition leader Allen Chastanet has accused the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) government of extortion over high fuel and cooking gas prices.
“It is unacceptable that the Government of Saint Lucia continues to extort the public with high fuel and cooking gas prices, especially when fuel prices globally have generally been on the decline,’ the former Prime Minister stated on his Facebook page.
“This unjust and unfair practice places a heavier burden on the already struggling economy and citizens. It is not only an act of greed but also a failure to prioritize the needs of the people over the interests of the government,” Chastanet declared.
He said in March 2022, the average price of a barrel of oil was US$100 resulting in the cost of fuel at the pump in Saint Lucia being EC$14.95/gallon and a 20-pound cylinder of cooking gas being EC$35.46.
The former Finance Minister noted that so far this year, the average price of a barrel of oil had been US$75.
But he observed that consumers must pay EC$17.00/gallon at the pump and EC$43.27 for a 20-pound cooking gas cylinder.
According to the Micoud South MP, a recent study in the the Eastern Caribbean confirmed that Saint Lucia ranks among the countries with the highest fuel prices in the OECS.
“Doesn’t the Prime Minister have a conscience? How can someone who consistently claims to care completely ignore the impact that this disastrous policy is having on the citizens whom he represents especially the most vulnerable in our society?” Chastanet said.
In addition, he said the government must be held accountable for its actions and take immediate steps to rectify this situation, including lowering gas prices and the complete removal of the excise tax on fuel for fishermen, as promised in the SLP 2021 Manifesto.