Agnes Francis on SLTB finances: “It is bad!”

Agnes Francis, the Chairperson of the Saint Lucia Tourist Board (SLTB), has disclosed that the finances of the body are in bad shape and there is need to “stem the bleed.”

“I have no intention of being political – it is not my role; the minister is the politician; I am the technocrat; but as we speak, every time we think we have a handle on the finances it gets worse,” Francis told a news conference on Friday.

She disclosed that every day invoices come in that officials are not aware of.

Agnes Francis said as a result, it is difficult to determine what the financial status of the SLTB is at the moment.

“All I can say is that it is bad,” she declared.

Francis said:

“It is difficult to get a handle on it.”

She explained that the audit continues because every day something new surfaces.

The SLTB is in the process of transitioning to a Tourism Authority.

There have been concerns about the future of workers there but Agnes Francis disclosed that no one has  yet been terminated.

However she indicated that staff will be given priority for jobs in the new Tourism Authority.

The Saint Lucia Civil Service Association (CSA) has said that some 28 of its members employed by the SLTB will be given their marching orders.

“We have followed the procedures under the labour code and  basically the steps require that we inform the Labour Commissioner and inform the union and this is all that has happened so far,” the STLB official told Friday’s news conference.

She said the draft legislation for the Tourism Authority is already complete and was submitted to  Prime Minister, Allen Chastanet and  Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Tourism, Dominic Fedee, for review.

“The thinking is that the legislation should be model legislation for all statutory organizations so this is taking a little longer,” Francis stated.

However she said the quicker it can happen the less impact it will have on the finances of this country.

 

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