Opposition leader Allen Chastanet has accused the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) government of surrendering in the face of the crisis amid the Russia-Ukraine war, supply chain issues, and inflation.
Chastanet recalled that Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre had declared that Saint Lucia was facing its worst crisis ever, describing it as worse than COVID-19.
“Now, if in fact it was worse than COVID where is the commensurate actions by this government to show that they are dealing with this crisis to that extent? Where is the Command Centre that meets on a daily basis? Where are all the policy initiatives to be able to cushion the blow to many of the Saint Lucians who are suffering – in fact, the poorest of the poor? Nothing,” the former Prime Minister asserted.
“The reality is the government has thrown its hands in the air and said there’s nothing that they can do in this horrible crisis,” the Micoud South MP lamented in a video on his Facebook page.
But the United Workers Party (UWP) leader said other countries are overcoming the hurdles, helping to reduce the burden on the poorest of the poor, reducing VAT on electricity and food items, and lowering duties on food.
He also mentioned subsidies for electricity consumption and bus fares, support for bus drivers, feeding programmes and continuing the school feeding programme throughout the summer.
“These are great examples of things that can be done and should be done,” Chastanet observed.
He said the government uses Caribbean Community (CARICOM) treaties as an excuse for not reducing the duties, yet other countries have.
“I myself if I was Prime Minister I would take on that fight. There’s no way I would be part of a treaty that would facilitate the burden to the people of this country,” Chastanet explained.
He said he was shocked that a government elected on a platform of putting people first would not have the same attitude.
“There is no sense of urgency,” the former Prime Minister noted.
Chastanet asserted that the SLP was merely interested in getting into government.
However, he said the party does not know what to do now that it is in power other than protecting government revenues to continue funding ‘pet projects’.
On the other hand, Chastanet declared that his former administrated was tested during ‘the real crisis’ that was COVID and always put people first.