The Saint Lucia Social and Economic Labs have now gone through the pre-lab phase of focus group discussions on the six key priority areas for government, the National Competitiveness and Productivity Unit has reported.
The key priority areas comprise Tourism, Agriculture, Infrastructure, Healthcare, Education and Crime.
The Economic Labs initiative is a new approach government has undertaken to develop and deliver the Medium Term Development Strategy for 2019-2022.
Permanent Secretary in the Department of Economic Development, Transport and Civil Aviation, Phillip Dalsou said he is pleased thus far with the outcome of the first two weeks of the Social and Economic Labs.
The pre-lab phase has engaged various stakeholders from across the island in intense discussions on creating a vision and core priorities for the six priority areas identified.
“Once we had established the vision and what we would like to accomplish in all of those sectors, the second week has been devoted largely to problem solving. What are some of the key issues impacting some of the critical projects and priorities in those sectors and how can we solve these problems,” Dalsou was quoted as saying.
He noted that each focus group identified specific priorities for their sector. Infrastructure focused on the development of the road network, air and seaports to create capacity for economic growth.
Tourism identified a number of hotel concepts across the island that investors would find attractive while crime focused on the areas of crime prevention, detection and improvements in the justice system.
The PS said in agriculture, the discussion revolved around the seven priority crops that the government has identified and how farmers can be encouraged to grow those crops.
Dalsou explained that in the area of education there was quite a bit of discussion on technical vocational education and the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College, while in the area of health, the three big issues were St. Jude Hospital, the OKEUH and health financing and insurance.
Minister for Economic Development, Housing, Urban Renewal, Transport and Civil Aviation, Guy Joseph, said growing the economy should be important to the entire country.
He added that government has welcomed the involvement of the various stakeholders participating in this planning process.
“The work of developing St. Lucia is not just the responsibility of the government and too many times the focus is that of just government ministers and being held accountable for everything. At the end of the day if you do not equip the staff with the knowledge, the know-how and what the vision plan is, then it is difficult to expect everybody to deliver on what the overall plan is for the development of Saint Lucia,” Joseph explained.