Pierre: Saint Lucia must balance its books

Opposition leader, Phillip J. Pierre, has asserted that Prime Minister, Allen Chastanet, has to understand that this country must balance its books.

Pierre, who is leader of the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP), made the comments in response to Chastanet’s assertion this week that Saint Lucia is broke.

Nevertheless, the Prime Minister had expressed confidence in the direction that his administration is taking.

Pierre said that from 2011, the SLP has been telling Saint Lucians that this country had a current accounts deficit which had to be reduced.

“When we came into government in 2011 that deficit was at 9.4 percent and when we left in 2016 the deficit was about 3.4 percent,” the SLP leader declared.

He asserted that what Chastanet must tell the people of Saint Lucia is how he intends  to balance the books of the country, increase revenue and reduce expenditure.

“That is the fundamental point,” Pierre declared.

“By making statements that the country is broke – these are very emotional statements that have no basis in economic logic,” the Castries East MP told reporters.

He referred to a study which was done by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), which found that Saint Lucia was beginning to show signs of improvement and getting its current account in better shape.

However Pierre said Chastanet, when he was in opposition, disregarded it.

He said the first action of the Chastanet administration  was to increase expenditure by increasing the number of government ministers.

Pierre accused the Chastanet-led government of reducing revenue by an ‘ill conceived’ reduction in the Value Added Tax (VAT).

 

“He knows very well that he has to get that revenue from somewhere – and where does he get that revenue? By selling the patrimony of Saint Lucia,” the SLP leader told reporters.

He said the Prime Minister must be more careful and ensure that his statements are based on economic fact and logic.

In November, 2016,  during an address to the nation,  the PM announced a reduction in the standard rate of VAT from the current 15 to 12.5 percent.

The reduction in VAT will take effect as of February 1, 2017.

 

 

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