Chastanet boasts ‘IMF projects 3.7 percent growth for Saint Lucia’; Pierre worries about “unsustainable debt trap”

By SNO Staff

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(SNO) – Prime Minister Allen Chastanet is touting a positive economic outlook based on a recent report on Saint Lucia by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Writing on his Facebook page this morning (Oct. 22), Chastanet said “a 3.7 percent growth” is projected for Saint Lucia by the IMF.

He said Saint Lucia’s economic trajectory has been “positively assessed” by the organisation in its published World Economic Outlook October 2018, which takes into account the global factors that affect a country’s performance.

“According to the IMF, Saint Lucia’s GDP growth was three percent in 2017, sustained by robust activity in several sectors,” Chastanet wrote. “Favorable external conditions, coupled with hotel expansions and the addition of new flights, generated a strong recovery in tourism, with stay-over arrivals rising by 11 percent, the fastest growth in the Caribbean.”

While Chastanet reviews the IMF’s assessment which he calls positive, Opposition Leader Philip J. Pierre has expressed concern about the pace of the economy, particularly what he calls the country’s “unsustainable debt path”.

Pierre made his concerns known on the state of the economy and other issues in his address as political leader at his Saint Lucia Labour Party Annual Conference held at the Laborie Boys Primary School on October 14, 2018

Pierre said in June 2016 when the UWP were handed the reign of government, Saint Lucia’s debt was decreasing and the country was able to meet its obligations to creditors.

“The Labour government was always mindful that excessive debt and huge deficits would undermine our quest for a better life for our people. In fact, the IMF had noted that ‘the Chief reason for inequality and rising poverty rates is unsustainable debt,'” Pierre said.

The Labour government, Pierre said, ensured that deficits were in decline but when Chastanet’s United Workers Party (UWP) returned to power, he accused them of ending many fruitful projects and accumulating “unsustainable debt”.

“We reduced the recurrent deficit from nearly 9% to 3.5% of GDP in less than five years, our fiscal position was improving, with overall debt on the decline. Our country was on the verge of an economic take off after years of UWP mismanagement in the period 2006-2011.

“There were multi-million investments underway: Royalton, Harbor Club and scheduled to start were new hotels including Range. The Gros-Islet Highway and Feeder Agricultural Road Programme were ready to commence. Hewanorra Airport redevelopment, the Southern Administrative complex together with the Soufriere Square and Old Trafford development, and several other projects would have created several jobs and improve the quality of life for the people. All these were brought to an abrupt end and instead the government embarked upon a reckless accumulation of unsustainable debt.

Pierre bashed the government’s “careless” borrowing, disclosing in his address that the national debt will exceed $4 billion by end of this fiscal year.

“Comrades, many countries regionally and internationally have found themselves in economic difficulty due to high debt levels. By the end of this fiscal year our national debt will be over $4 billion,” Pierre said.

He added: “This debt is a commitment placed on our children and their children. Why is the government putting our children’s future in doubt by useless borrowing? In addition to the half billion dollars for Hewanorra Airport, $13 million to build a road for a foreign firm DSH, another $32 million for the Parker Company for services that can be done by local professionals? All these loans without the approval of the parliament. The Saint Lucia Labour Party condemns this careless borrowing and warns the government of the hardship they are imposing on future generations. ”

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8 comments

  1. Not a too bright PM.

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  2. You have to be very mistrustful of people who set fires to a building and then proceed to raise the alarm. Are they looking for medals anyone? Is this not a criminal offence?

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  3. We are a service economy. Tourism is our engine of growth. It is the main cylinder, if you will.

    The rule of thumb of growth is for 4% annual GDP growth. This 3.7% is well within the general expectations for our economy.

    Our SLP novices, all wet behind the ears should be the last to mention anything about debt.

    First, the scandalous waste of scarce resources, $48 million on Frenwell, of $86 million on the Black Bay forfeiture that we were to spend money on, to buy back, and the egregious secret GRYNBERG deal of $150 million are to be paid mostly with hard-earned currency.

    These are debt blunders, you blundering SLP. These non-productive outlays crowd out positive investments in the economy. Interest cost of capital has to paid on these sums when payments are backed by government loan funds.

    It is not the fault of the general population that SLP blowhards are not familiar with the implications of these for our economy. The educated all know that such issues do not generally emerge in six-form type textbooks or in introductory courses in economics.

    There are literally tons of literature on the Debt-to-GDP ratio. Yet, some can only mention it with no evidence of any knowledge of how this is to be managed in our situation. Yet, they saddled this country with a debt albatross firmly strung across the fragile neck of poor Helen.

    To each his own. Those, clowns in red shirts can fool a lot of people most of time. But they cannot fool all the people all the time. Each year much more educated people are graduating from universities around the world. The SLP is stuck in a plantation economy rut.

    They only know how to engineer, talk and deliver "persistent poverty".

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  4. You had your time to boast at a time when our debt to GDP was higher so what are you saying exactly? During Pierre's administration we had 3 consecutive years of negative growth (Recession), our credit rating was downgraded from AAA to CCC. We had shops businesses closing daily, Vieux Fort was a ghost town. Not to mention during his term not one road was fixed neither one public building renovated. Civil servants were constantly complaining of mold and poor working conditions at all public facilities including schools, not forgetting that no hospitals were completed. In spite of that when Chastanet was elected, Pierre and the SLP roiled that the reduction of VAT would leave government shot of 56 million in revenues, however, Chastanet explained that the reduction in VAT would lead to compliance which would spur higher collection, and the money which remained in the hands of business owners would spur the economy. The SLP bullshitted the assertion. Now exactly what Chastanet said happened: we are now collecting more revenue, businesses are thriving and now Vieux Fort is poised to be the Peal of the Caribbean. We have enjoyed two consecutive years of economic growth. We are now protracted to grow by 3.5 (growth we haven't seen in a long time) So who us the fool? You think that people will listen to Pierre? Maybe, because they can only see colors and can't read.

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  5. A projections is just a projection. Stop bragging and make it real without gambling (DSH)

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  6. I agree with Pierre. I also note not a single mention of finishing the St. Judes and Soufriere Hospital but an administrative complex and park in those districts instead of the hospitals. SMH. Soufriere square to political friends like Hennicart, vfort complex to Rayneau with no DCA approval but still no hospital. Pierre. Pierre. Pierre u couldn't even fix the Marchand main road as Minister of Infrastructure. I guess no votes on that road as it's a main road. CHoops tan. ALL OF U IS DE SAME.

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  7. "This debt is a commitment placed on our children and their children " Well said Pierre well said indeed speaking like a true statesman. The average Lucian does not care about the country debt ceiling they don't even know what that is and for those who know they act as if its no big deal that its so high in the name of party support. You cannot keep borrowing without the ability to pay your creditors that's why in August they almost forfeit on paying the creditors so they wanted to dip into the pension fund is good thing you caught them. You cannot borrow more than your generated GDP your are destin to end up like Barbados sooner or later you will have to cut your civil service and servants to make ends meet. The IMF just poppy showing them let him keep borrowing he will put the country in their claws just now and that would be it for St Lucia for years to come with some really dark days. From this man became a government minister to prime minister Allen Chastanet has never demonstrated good fiscal responsibility. He almost bankrupt the tourist board when was a the helm with his off the wall festivals cost the loss of jobs and he continue to do it even today without accountability by borrowing under the radar stopping projects that could have continued to stimulate the local economy. Thank you Pierre continue calling him out do it for the love not for the likes because it's PURE HYPE FACTS ARE FACTS. Remember the motto when they go low you go high.

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  8. Prime Minister Pierre you are always keeping your eyes on St Lucia dept ceiling all Allen Chastanet doing is the opposite just borrowing and increasing it. All the above projects that was started and should have continued to provide jobs and drive the economic engine was halted. Now there is four billion deficit and growing and he still borrowing without approval and all the comrades pating him on the back their so call road to prosperity Jackasses giving the people a stone to hold

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