Press Release:- The United Workers Party successfully hosted its National Council meeting on Sunday June 28, 2020, at the Gros Islet Human Resource Center.
Present was the executive of the party and three delegates from each constituency branch.
The National Council accepted branch reports and commended the Government’s response to the management of COVID -19 in Saint Lucia which saved lives and protected the nation and saw Saint Lucia stand out as a regional leader.
A key feature of the discussion at the meeting was the support of the national council for the recently debated Appropriation Bill (Budget Address) and the many initiatives undertaken and announced by the Prime Minister during his presentations.
Key among those are:
- The achievement of reducing unemployment to 16.8% from 24% in 2016
- The country’s continuous growth over the last three years including economic growth of 1.7% in 2019
- The continuation of key national and community projects to stimulate economic recovery and to create jobs. Some of these projects are:
- HIA redevelopment
- St Jude reconstruction
- Road rehabilitation island wide
- Water redevelopment projects in Dennery and Vieux Fort
- Construction of early childhood centers, renovation of community centers
- Construction of the Micoud Secondary school and renovations amounting to 8 million dollars of schools in this financial year
- The National Council commended the Government for the various initiatives under the Economic Recovery and Resilience Plan. The plan includes:
- The provision of US$3.1 million to provide grant assistance ranging from to $5,000 to $25,000 to micro and small enterprises
- the provision of low-cost financing to meet working capital requirements of SMEs affected by COVID-19 with an allocation of EC$5.0 million at Belfund to benefit 350 people.
- waiver of taxes on interest earnings of financial institutions from loans to microenterprises,
- increase in the subsidy on bulk flour to bakers from $12 to $17 per bag,
- waiver of import duties on building materials for Housing Development
- reduction in electricity fuel surcharge to generate savings which will be used to reduce electricity bills of qualifying households by between $50.00 and $100.00 per month.
- Expansion of the Public Assistance Cash Transfer Programme from 2,600 households to 3,600 households
- Increase in the Child Disability Grant from $200 to $300
- Increase in the grant for Persons Living with HIV from $100 to $200
- Increase in the grant for children in Foster Care from $200 to $300
- Provision of Covid-19 hygiene care packages for the poor and vulnerable
- Micro-finance loans to households to diversify into micro small enterprise and cottage industries
- Small infrastructure projects within the Rural Community
The UWP believes that these initiatives show a caring UWP Government that continues to provide support for the most vulnerable in our society.
The Prime Minister also announced duty-free concessions on vehicles for nurses, police officers, firemen and firewomen and a waiver of 100% duty for Minibuses and Taxi drivers.
There was a call by Prime Minister Honourable Allen Chastanet to support more local products and the UWP will support this initiative by ensuring that we do our fair share of purchasing local as much as possible.
The meeting ended with the National Council’s approval of three candidates for the upcoming general elections and its resounding support for Allen Chastanet as the Political Leader of the United Workers Party.