Saint Lucian Economist warns: “We are in trouble!”

Saint Lucian Economist, Doctor Adrian Augier, has sounded a grim warning that this country is in trouble economically.

Delivering a lecture on Tueaday to the 39th annual general meeting of the Elks Credit Union, Augier compared the national economy to an old farm that is under-fertilised, over exploited, ruined by bad farming and yielding smaller harvests every year.

He was speaking on the theme: “Time to Call a Spade – Why the Caribbean is digging its own economic grave.”

“ I want to frighten you; I want to shock you; I want  to jolt you to the realization that we are in trouble – that you are in trouble along with your job, your family your savings your home and your sanity,”  the Saint Lucian Economist told his audience at the National Cultural Centre.

(Section of audience)

He said he wanted to cause  the kind of discomfort that prevents his listeners from sleeping at night and rise up,  not only to demand that better be done to prevent development disaster, but to be part of a revolution in thought and action which causes this country to dramatically change its course.

“When I say the country I am not speaking about Mr. Chastanet or Doctor Antony,  I am speaking of us – every one of us here who believes that the sun will rise tomorrow as it did today,” Augier said.

He disclosed that growth rates have been declining for the past three decades, with just a bit of growth in the past year or so.

“The world has changed and so must we,” Augier observed.

According to him, the return to normalcy will not be easy.

He said that many banks in the region have lent out money that was not theirs to people who cannot now pay.

Augier said they cannot pay not because they do not want to, but because jobs have disappeared, markets have shrunk and real property values have fallen.

He explained that in certain areas, crime and instability have diminished the value of properties.

Augier said the economic situation is not only true of Saint Lucia, but across the Caribbean as well.

“We have to look at these issues and not pretend that they are going to go away or suddenly improve because they are not,” the Economist said.

He noted that the social and economic structure of these Islands have changed.

“It is not only true of Saint Lucia but it is a problem across the Caribbean,” he told the Elks AGM.

Augier asserted that there are some things that can happen in the market such as a change of legislation so that banks and credit unions can dispose of assets.

By way of explanation, he spoke of a house with a mortgage that is not being serviced.

“You need to turn it over quickly, reduce the price, put it on the market and get it sold.  That’s not nice when you have to put families out of their homes, but it’s your savings in the credit union underwriting the mortgage and if you don’t return the asset to the market you are going to hold an asset that is deteriorating,” Augier explained.

“We have to take some of the hard knocks and do what we have to do,” he declared, adding that banks have been unable to dump their bad loans which have stayed and corroded the balance sheets.

He explained that people save money in banks and credit unions in the hope of getting their investment back with some interest.

Augier, who is a Director of the First National Bank, said he is worried that the ability to bail out is dwindling.

“We wait and we hope and what is actually happening is that foreign interests are coming into the country and buying up things that we should be able to buy, investing in areas that we should be able to invest in,” he said.

According to him, it is a source of worry that Saint Lucia has a government apparatus designed to ‘help people to buy us out.’

“Foreign investment does not come here because they love us, foreign investment comes here because they see an opportunity which we cannot access or we have not begun to access or we are not positioned to access,” Augier observed.

He said the investors are looking for a return.

“If they are coming here to develop some brand new thing that we are not able to do for ourselves and they want to come in and help us do it or start it up with a possibility of Saint Lucians participating in that venture at some point in time, then that’s another matter,” Augier told his audience.

But  the Saint Lucian Economist said when industries  that are ‘exploitative’ are coming in to use unsustainable cheap labour and exploiting high unemployment by providing menial jobs, it is not good for this country.

Augier said there was need to contemplate what kind of investment is being encouraged here.


    • The new IMF report is out today 31st MARCH 2016….. it is damming to the PM.. look it Allen just mess the country up bad.

  1. Now we realize the ball is turninh no more fireign aifas trump has said he is cutting aid to foreign contries,st lucia gas mase so much mondy in the past what happened we need treat tge economy like your bank account..wake up now

  2. This is a global issue, not only St.Lucia. I have been in the US for the past 21 years and I must lament we are in trouble economically. Sad but true.

    • Actually consumer confidence in the US is the highest it has been for 15 years. The stocks markets are at record levels. Unemployment is very low. So no the US is not in trouble economically.

      The ECCU is royally screwed though. Grenada, St. Kitts and Antigua seem to be doing ok. But the rest will drag them down.

  3. Yet still we as a Caribbean people think that a change of government will solve all of the problems.

    • That Joseph, is the major problem.

      Speaking on St Lucia, it is probably the main reason for us not progressing.

      Re our electorate are hell bent on “PARTY POLITICS” and until this mind set changes we won’t start seeing progress.

  4. It would be great to read the full presentation made by Dr Augier. Any way to see it? In any event, his remarks are alarming, but what now? It would be welcomed to see a more focused opportunity to dialogue with the private sector as well as the enterprise and sustainable livelihood development community on how the Government can save money while promoting more entrepreneurship and self-employment in productive sectors. I think that this is something that all St Lucians can get behind for longer than the next election. Come on folks. The time to act is now.

    • The first thing the Government can do and should do is cut the number of Civil Service positions and no more salary increases for the next five years.

      45% of GDP goes against Civil Service wages! Utter madness!

      Allen and his stooges should all take a pay cut.

      He should have done this from the moment the UWP won the last elections.

    • What private sector? The same jokers here that try to live a first world life in a third world country. They drive Audis and BMWs. They build mansions. How? Bank loans. When their businesses suffer they fire lower level workers to maintain their lifestyles. Fewer people working means fewer customers. Their business suffer more to the point of being unable to service loans. Then the banks suffer. Unless people like Dr. Augier himself stop living with the champagne wishes and caviar dreams then we are all in trouble.

  5. Ti chas the boat is sinking give Dsh and dolphine park the aproval doh worry bout the haters we need money and we need it now you heard wat the AA said do something major ti chas

  6. Bravo Mr Augier! Finally some original thought and a focus on the only real “truth”, that of improving the quality and quantity of life for St.Lucians. Such thought demands true humility, empathy and mostly honesty. The Caribbean is failing, in fact, its foundation was misplanned from conception, it must be recast with a heightened urgency. I want the St.Lucia Times to serialise “James Baldwin” (all his books) so St.Lucians can begin to recast their mindset to understand that the primary purpose of economics and the economy is to improve their quality and quantity of life. That honourable goal demands that we value our lives and that of each other, and I am sure that Baldwin’s philosophies and narratives will help! I know from experience that St.Lucians value and trust foreigners more than they value each other… I have learnt after many years that this is misguided and the root cause of continued economic impotence for local people. But don’t blame the foreigners, just think beyond the cycle of their economic engagement, harvest and eventual departure from the country. Go back to basics because the foundation of contemporary economics has never worked for the 2nd and 3rd world…

    Imagine, the BRICS (2nd world) only emerged as an economic force after the 1st world invented “globalisation” which sort to shift “production” to lower cost economies in the BRICS; but that narrative was only created in order to increase profits in the 1st world. The current narratives of economics in academia and in practice are not written with 2nd or 3rd world countries in mind, it has failed continually with a compound effect; it must be arrested if the 3rd world is to succeed. St.Lucia must rethink economics, from the bottom up…

    Thinking in simple terms, it is not difficult to understand that where a country has few export opportunities, that it becomes a strategic imperative that the Ministry of Culture should strive greatly to ensure that the way people live their lives (the things the need and want) is not dictated by international forces, but by what they can create locally. The consequence of failure is an unsustainable economy, a trade deficit that will grow exponentially (more imports than exports). I say to my two kids all the time, there are only two types of people in the world, (1) buyers and (2) sellers and that the money is only ever moving in one direction (towards the sellers). So be a “buyer” but make darn sure that you are a “seller” too… or you will rot and burn in hell!

    • Two things:
      (1)In paragraph 2, it should read “sought” not “sort”…
      (2) It is worth pointing out that “Culture” is not simply about the “arts” more broadly it is simply “the way we do the things we do”. So the Ministry of Culture in that context, for example, should be responsible for defining what goods and services are featured in the Retail Price Index [the goods and service that are monitored for economic inflation]. The Ministry should also have models representing the way St.Lucians live and therefore the goods and services that result from each model…

  7. Well we’ve been in economic trouble for years now. Tell me something I don’t know. As for The dolphin park and DSH discussion started under the previous administration so guess what all of dem government is the same. I still have to work to pay my bills #nohandouts

  8. Sir, Have no fear the whole world is in trouble not just St. Lucia. Even the big countries are in trouble because people are turning away from God to pleasure and mischief (bad) calling it srlf-fulfilment. The great danger is, they don’t realize only a good relationship with God brings peace and fulfilment. People in big countries are moving off-the-grid, because they realize having the basic needs food, clothing and shelter is what everyone really need. They also know the world is being polluted, poisoned with all the modernization.
    So encourage every St. Lucian to grow food to satisfy them. Teach them waste management and to care for their health. Leave the fast (dead) food alone. Why help a group to wipe us off the face of the earth. Remember how the first residents of the St. Lucia, world lived?

  9. Why doesnt the labour party take adrian as its new leader instead of the the two soild people vying for the red thrown. Lets face it. The labour party is in a mess. after nearly twenty years in power the labour party is right where it was before the ti bondiye’ Kenny came to save them. Pierre will continue to refuse the people’S confidence in him and Hillaire was forty votes away from joining Juffali in the afterlife. The truth is that labour party is dead. As dead as Kenny’s career and this may be the first salvo in the war to win the party leadership by an outsider. Hopefully adrien can get rid of the labour communications personnel and get the hate out of labour party. They really do need more love over there.

  10. What he said is true,it’s like slavery all over again,but it is just modernize and less savage. These investors come and establish businesses and under play their employees,while foreigners come here get employed to rip the full benefits and its people are treated contrary to that…

  11. But who does not know that? Stale news Adrian. Last month chastanet said the country was broke. Playing politics some people laughed at Chastanet but they were unable to distinguish politics from reality.

    But it is very interesting that from two years ago and leading to elections Kenny the deceiver had been consistently saying that things were looking up and the economy getting on course. turning the corner was his favourite line. Eh bien look it. Now the bluffer has been exposed. The emperor had no clothes.

  12. De gettho youths is in no trouble we must survive………….when he was exploiting poor people by over charging to use Salman park, expensive carnival bands with his so called rich friends no he crying greedy joe……….jah jah is de only way he neva lets us down….

  13. U are nothing but a capitalist banker i am sure u are in the secret society or in the devilish rotary club u guys are a sold out to satan we will soon drive u off the landscape of st lucia and create a socialist state also the Chastanet and du boulay family

  14. Sad but true you’re back again to preach fire and brimstone for St. Lucia. St. Lucia is broke and it’s not Chastanet’s fault. As you said it’s only ten months. You St. Lucians when it comes to politics, you are bias. Dr. Kenny Anthony can do no wrong in your eyes but Chastanet does nothing good. The country is in a mess and you’re telling me all the debt and borrowing happened in ten months. Chups you’re always telling the Prime minister to listen to the people but you listen to the voice of God and stop wishing DOOM and GLOOM on OUR country. Let’s get down on our knees and pray.

  15. Blacks cannot successfully manage a country, just see what a mess all of Africa is. We all trying to escape to leech off the white-man country.

    • Africa as a nation is in its current state due to countless decades of continuos exploitation(colonialism) by the “white man” (who still exploits and pulls strings through various businesses and multinational corporations). It will arguably take many more years to completely rebound both economicaly an socially from such oppresion. So perhaps, use a better example next time? Good luck escaping and leeching off the “white man country”.

  16. I will this link below for you folks to digest. The banking system by its very nature will fail. It is only because the ECCB continue to bail them out we haven’t seen more turmoil in the ECCU. The ECCB bailed out several banks in Antigua and Anguilla. Grenadian banks were in a mess. Bank of St. Lucia is in free fall. Banking is the biggest fraud ever wrought on man:

  17. First thing first. How many ministers the pm has is he getting a salary for each minister position he hold? He should start cutting salary by giving up some of the ministers he is right now and just be the leader of the country

  18. So true Mr Augier……I used too warned my fellow St.Lucian’s ….we need too take back our sweet Helen …

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