PM told to take politics out of budget

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Opposition leader, Doctor Gale Rigobert, has accused the Prime Minister of bringing the budget process into disrepute.

Rigobert has said that Prime Minister, Doctor Kenny Anthony, has integrated the budgetary process into the political agenda and calendar of the ruling Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP).

She recalled that the convention over the past three years or so has been to have the estimates of expenditure and revenue laid before the house, just ahead of the start of the Saint Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival.

“Thereafter we would have what we understand colloquially as the budget statement after Jazz -that has become part and parcel of the budget calendar so to speak and if my memory were to serve me well,” Rigobert asserted.

She said the government is reported to have issued a statement suggesting there would be a budget statement and debate between May 11-13,  2016.

Rigobert explained that on that basis, many people were awaiting delivery of the budget statement.

She expressed concern that given the delay, investment and business would be on hold.

The Micoud North MP noted that potential investors await the budget statement to get a sense of the government’s vision and the direction it will take for the next fiscal year.

Rigobert asserted that the country is now in abeyance, a situation which she said Saint Lucia can ill afford.

“I would urge the PM to take the budgetary process out of his politics – these are two very different things,” the opposition leader stated.

Rigobert said she understands that the Prime Minister will be travelling soon.

As a result she was of the opinion that the earliest that the budget debate will take place is probably at the end of May.

However she declared that Saint Lucia cannot afford that level of uncertainty.

The opposition leader said:

“We are in too vulnerable a position right now to have potential investors wondering what is going to happen and even the business sector itself has become a little bit anxious wondering when will we hear from the Prime Minister.”

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