The Board of Directors of the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce Industry and Agriculture and Prime Minister Allen Chastanet held a brief meeting on the afternoon of Friday 4th November, immediately following the Executive Luncheon at which the Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, Timothy Antoine spoke.
The meeting took an open discussion format, with Prime Minister Chastanet updating the Chamber on his Government’s progress in areas of critical interest to the Chamber inter alia, the Government’s intention to pursue Public Sector Reform to impact on the Ease of Doing Business in St. Lucia, key economic infrastructure development initiatives and attracting Foreign Direct Investment. The Prime Minister also advised the Chamber of his Government’s plans to reform the controversial Citizenship by Investment Program.
The Prime Minister also discussed some of his proposals, without providing detail, which he will be presenting when he addresses the nation including; the lowering of VAT, the introduction of a two tier but higher Airport Departure Tax, establishing a Tourism Authority to replace the St. Lucia Tourist Board as well as ideas about how that Authority would be funded, in addition to updating the Chamber on prospects for new policy initiatives.
Welcoming to the Chamber was the Government’s intention to involve, not only the private sector but the wider civil society in developing a national strategic planning framework and the development of a four year development plan for the nation. The Chamber Board also sort and received updates on initiatives discussed at the two parties first meeting including, the strengthening of Law and Order and introducing National Health Insurance.
The Prime Minister suggested that the Business Community would be pleased with the VAT Proposals being advanced by the Government and pledged to continue to involve and engage the private sector in the critical planning and reform initiatives which government is expected to pursue. The parties agreed to continue their own going engagement in the months ahead.