Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre has described his maiden budget presentation to parliament as a measure to bring recovery to the Saint Lucia economy.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday ahead of the fiscal measure, the Finance Minister noted that the country suffered from the COVID-19 pandemic.
And he said the government is seeking to increase employment.
As a result, the Castries East MP explained that budget spending was important for projects to increase jobs, create wealth, and improve social safety nets to provide relief to disadvantaged individuals and people who suffered due to COVID-19.
Ahead of the budget, the opposition United Workers Party (UWP) claimed that Pierre is to borrow hundreds of millions of dollars to fund ‘the largest budget in St Lucia’s history.’
But Pierre asserted that there there are no design finance contracts.
He also explained that the loans in the budget are long-term measures with no interest in the first couple years.
Pierre recalled that a lot of borrowing under the former government was for short-term five-year projects, particularly roads, in a bid to win elections.
He said he was unperturbed by the opposition criticism.
“The people will see the expenses of the budget are for people-oriented projects that put people first,” Pierre revealed.
He said there would also be projects to improve the delivery of justice.
“We speak about crime. In this budget, there are going to be resources put towards crime reduction, enforcement and training,” Pierre told reporters.
He declared that the budget would be completely different and asserted that he has no issues with borrowing.