The Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) notes with pleasure that Allen Chastanet and his United Workers Party (UWP) have drawn the attention of the public to its plans to bring relief to parents who are struggling to meet CXC payments for their children.
Over the years, the SLP has invested heavily in improving the education sector, so as to provide a safe learning environment, a place for all students at Secondary School and improvements in the quality of instruction in schools.
The SLP’s record proves that it has and will continue to deliver promises made to enhance the education sector in Saint Lucia.
In 2011, the SLP promised to make $500 available to all students entering Form One and has delivered on that promise. Prior to the last general elections, there was also a promise to provide laptops to Secondary School students and the SLP has delivered.
This programme was recently expanded to provide computer labs and projectors to schools. During its tenure in office, the SLP has constructed a new Micoud Infant School, a new Canaries Infant School and has rehabilitated several schools including Vieux-Fort Infant, Clendon Mason Memorial, Corinth Secondary, Fond Assau Primary, to name a few. Only last week, a contract was signed to construct a new Dennery Infant School.
It is therefore laughable that Allen Chastanet and the UWP would suggest that the SLP’s plan to provide support for CXC fees to parents is a ploy.
In a Press Release dated March 23, 2016, the UWP accused the SLP of reducing subsidies for the School Feeding programme.
However, the record says otherwise. Since assuming office, the SLP has expanded the School Feeding Programme to include thirteen (13) new schools.
These schools are Anse La Raye Primary, Carmen Rene Memorial, Fond Assau Combined, Grand Riviere Combined, Gros-Islet Primary, La Croix Maingot Combined, L’Etangs Combined, Monchy Primary, Mongouge Combined, Pierrot Combined, Richfond Combined, Soufriere Primary, Vieux-Fort Primary, Belle-Vue Combined, Marchand Combined and Ciceron Combined.
It is noteworthy that there are over 3,500 students attending these schools. Therefore, the UWP’s assertion that the SLP has reduced subsidies in that regard is blatantly false.
The UWP further accused the SLP of reducing the School Transportation Subsidy.
Upon assuming office in 2011, the SLP Administration undertook a review of the School Transportation Subsidy Programme, after numerous complaints from schools and parents.
It was discovered that the list of drivers was padded with individuals who did not own vehicles and never provided transportation to students.
After a verification exercise, these drivers were removed from the list but the service to the various schools continued.
As such, to state there was a reduction in subsidies without acknowledging the abuse of the programme by the UWP Government is misleading. Additionally, more students are staying closer to home, due to the implementation of Partial Zoning.
The SLP wishes to remind the public that when Prime Minister, Hon. Dr. Kenny D. Anthony announced that he would introduce the Cruise Ship Employment Programme, Allen Chastanet also called it a ploy.
To date, over 600 young people have gained employment via this programme on Carnival Cruise Lines.
As opposed to casting doubt that the SLP will deliver its promises in the face of overwhelming evidence that it can and has, Allen Chastanet should formulate and present his own plans for the development of Saint Lucia.
The SLP is convinced that given the Labour Party’s record and the commitment of Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Kenny D. Anthony to ensuring all students have equal access to education in Saint Lucia, this promise of assistance for CXC fees will be delivered.
As Dr. Anthony stated in his address at the public meeting in Babonneau, the mechanism through which the assistance will be provided needs to be determined to ensure maximum reach and impact.