Chastanet: “I am not going to fire anybody!”

Prime Minister, Allen Chastanet, has declared that a proposed re-engineering of the public service does not mean that people will be given their marching orders.

“It’s not about firing people. I am not going to fire anybody,” Chastanet told reporters today.

But he asserted that there is need to get more out of the $450 million that is being spent on salaries for public servants.

“The only way you can do that is by reorganizing and by training so that people are better equipped to perform their duties,” the Prime Minister said.

He disclosed that what he is looking to assess where the talents of people are and put them in the best possible locations.

“Things that we believe can be better done by the private sector, let the private sector do them,” Chastanet stated, adding that this country cannot continue to maintain entities that are losing money.

According to the Prime Minister, if any money is going to be borrowed it must be ensured that the cash contributes to economic growth.

He also underscored the need to resolve the matter of Saint Lucia’s debt, explaining that the highest expenditure issue that the country has is debt.

Chastanet told reporters that this country is spending some $180 million annually in debt financing, a sum that continues to grow.

“What makes that difficult is what you have borrowed the money for has not generated growth, so it’s a double whammy – you are not getting anything back for that money, it’s just an expense,” the Prime Minister told reporters.

“We have a situation at St Jude, we have a situation at Owen King in which they are talking about hundreds of millions of dollars of expenditure that we are going to have to incur, so there is no fiscal space,” Chastanet explained to reporters.