The Opposition United Workers Party is immensely concerned about the Government’s tone deaf response to rising inflation, rise in gas prices and major economic woes affecting Saint Lucians.
It seems the Government’s meaning to “putting people first” is putting people first to bear the brunt of the negative impact.
If the Government does not put measures in place Saint Lucia’s economic gains will be eroded and people could lose their employment.
It appears this Government does not understand how the economy works. What’s happening with the rise in prices is that businesses are paying more for raw materials and goods; for everything.
This cost in some cases will be passed on to the already stretched consumer which is another difficulty all together. What will also happen is that businesses will try to get cost savings by decreasing staff. We have to act now in order to keep people employed. This is unsustainable and the Government must do all within its power to assist the private sector and save jobs.
I propose that the Government introduce two measures immediately: the decrease in import duty and the implementation of an electricity subsidy for both the business sector and households.
We saw the cold hearted response of the infrastructure minister to the rise in bus fares. He said the people have to pay one way or another; the people have the responsibility. Where does the minister expect Saint Lucians to get this new money to pay for increases that the Government has imposed on the people at a most difficult time?
This is an attitude of a Government that does not care in a time when Saint Lucians most need support. during his time in office introduced specific measures to help the most vulnerable with programmes such as income support and provided electricity assistance.
People are suffering and prices are still increasing at alarming rate. Are we going to watch as Saint Lucian businesses close or have to make the choice between buying goods or firing staff? Are we going to wait for families to make the choice between sending their children to school or buying food? Are we asking Saint Lucians to choose between buying medicine or taking the bus to work?
The Government has to act and cannot be allowed to pretend it can do nothing. As I have said before the Government is back to pre-pandemic revenues and needs to use some of those gains to help the people of Saint Lucia.
Source: Office of the Leader of the Opposition