The Saint Lucia Social and Economic Labs has brought together over 150 stakeholders from all sectors of the economy to participate in a new approach to develop and deliver the Medium Term Development Strategy for 2019-2022.
Senior Public officers from across all ministries, private sector personnel and representatives from civil society organizations converged at the Royalton Hotel for the two week strategizing session dubbed Saint Lucia Social and Economic Labs.
Phillip Dalsou, Permanent Secretary in the Department of Economic Development, Transport and Civil Aviation said the exercise represents a continuation of a process started in April of this.
That’s year when the Cabinet of Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, senior public officers and the private sector agreed on six priority areas that the country should focus on over the next four years.
Dalsou explained that the process essentially provides the forum for discussion on the six key priority areas.
“It will be a process that will be over two weeks in which we will be problem solving some of the complex problems and issues that are challenges in those respective areas. So we expect that through a collaborative and cooperative approach we can develop solutions and the emphasis is on solutions because far too often we place far more emphasis on blame and what we want to do is to solve some of the critical problems in those priority sectors,” Dalsou stated.
The key priority areas selected with the greatest impact on the lives of most Saint Lucians are Tourism, Agriculture, Infrastructure, Healthcare, Education and Crime.
Dalsou stressed that the output of the exercise will not be another report but the development of detailed implementation plans for each priority sector.
“It is expected that these plans will be incorporated into the budget process for 2019-2020, so that by the time we start implementing the budget for 2019-2020 we would be clear in terms of our implementation strategy and hopefully we would have a major increase in the implementation rates for our projects and programmes, ” he said.
Contracted to lead the process is PEMANDU Associates, a global management consulting company focused on government transformation, business turnaround and strategic communication.
Chris Chew, Engagement Manager for the Economic and Social Labs said the ultimate goal is to identify game changers in the six priority areas that ‘move the needle’.
“The goal of this strategy is basically to deliver GDP growth of 4 to 5 percent, job creation and private investment and within these three areas what people should be able to expect is a vibrant and robust economy, a government that can deliver on what it promises and on the projects that it commits to and ultimately an improved social outcome,” Chew disclosed.