Chastanet says IMF report is mere “projection”; unemployment at its highest, tourism expected to decline

Chastanet says IMF report is mere “projection”; unemployment at its highest, tourism expected to decline
Allen Chastanet
Allen Chastanet
UWP Leader Allen Chastanet

News from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that St. Lucia is poised for growth but needs to keep its debt in check, has been met with skepticism from United Workers Party (UWP) Leader Allen Chastanet.

He said the report, as it pertains to 2015, remains a “projection” until the first estimate of a social and economic review for the year in question is completed.

According to the IMF, the St. Lucian economy is recovering and the short-term growth outlook is positive the government still needs to reduce the high public debt and improve competitiveness to improve medium-term growth prospects and reduce high unemployment, according to a report on Caribbean360.

That assessment was contained in the report of an IMF mission, led by Leo Bonato, that left the island last Friday after conducting Article IV consultations, Caribbean360 reported.

“On the back of strong tourism inflows and lower oil prices, the St. Lucian economy has returned to growth after experiencing a recession in 2012 and close-to-zero growth in 2013. GDP growth reached 0.5 percent in 2014 and is expected to accelerate to 1.6 per cent in 2015, driven by tourism and transportation services,” it said.

However, the UWP leader said if the 1.6 percent growth is based on the “premise that tourism and transportation are carrying the economy”, then the outlook is bleak due to an expected downturn in the tourism industry.

“When one looks on the tourism arrivals number, that I have up until 2015, shows that tourism arrivals increased only by 3.2 percent. That number is expected to decline before December,” Chastanet said.

And his reasoning: two major hotels – Smugglers Cove and Cotton Bay which account for about 450 rooms combined – have closed.

He said Smugglers Cove – recently purchased by another company and is undergoing a major overhaul – accounted for a large number of visitors from the United Kingdom and Canadian tourism markets.

“UK and Canadian arrivals have been declining significantly… That decline is also being precipitated by the value of their currency,” Chastanet pointed out.

He said last year at this time, the Canadian dollar was almost one to one US, and now it is 0.73, which means “hoteliers have to discount heavily or make up for that devaluation loss”.

The former tourism minister said the projections in tourism are destined to continue to decline. “One, we have less rooms avalable and two, the currency is impacting on the revenues we are getting from those two marekets.”

He pointed out that while stay-overs have increased by 3.2 percent, “bed nights” are down by two percent so far this year.

“The expenditure on tourism is flat or heading for a decline,” he noted.

Chastanet went on to say that the SLP government is misleading the public by highlighting the inflating GDP.

He said the GDP is based on current market prices versus constant market prices, and the difference between the two is the impact of inflation. “The fact remains that the economy has experienced negative growth in the last three years and in our opinion will experience the same thing this year.”

Chastanet pointed out that in 2011, St. Lucia was paying $100 million a year in interest payments, and is now projected to pay $165 million in 2015 and $195 million in 2016.

“In five years, the government would’ve doubled the amount of interest payments.”

He said commercial banks have been enduring severe credit risk due to the hardship faced by homeowners and businesses, and non-performing loans remain at an all-time high.

And in spite of the “so-called job-creation” initiatives by the SLP government, unemployment is at its highest in recent history, Chastanet said.

“We want to emphasise that government-hiring is not job creation and the paychecks for these workers are supported by borrowed funds,” he said, adding that government is lacking at creating “real and sustainable jobs for our young people”.



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  1. Why the SLP has Saint Lucians up the creek without a paddle?

    True to form, see how the ignoramus followers are busy congratulating a non- achievement? A projected increase is only what it says. It is expected. It is not at all guaranteed. Yet, that is what our SLP idiots find as good cause to celebrate! Sad isn't it?

    In times like these, I feel deeply embarrassed to call myself Saint Lucian. Are we really that stupid? That ignorant? Can such people make good choices for their own future?

    The mass of our uneducated and manipulated en rouge do not even know that the critical level that will make a difference in the quality of their lives is not 1.6%, but a fully sustainable 7% rise in GDP.

    One other thing all those ignoramuses have not taken into account too is that the report has made reference to some very critically important recommendations, which although may not be clear to the uninitiated. Those recommendations have to be undertaken to change the growth path. But did you hear, either the leader or the teaming hordes of blathering idiots within that party organizing to take any steps to put any of those in place?

    No! It is just business as usual. And you are wondering why we have such sweet SLP better days?

    And you are telling me that you are going to cast even one single vote to put any of SLP's clueless buffoons, back into power, to continue this IDIOCRACY?


    • Such a passionate response. All it does is show how ignorant you are of the concepts highlighted in this article. You flamboyantly brag about your "economics know-how" and call people with opinions which differ from yours "ignorant, Idiots,stupid". I find it hilarious. Almost as hilarious as the tripe u just posted here.

      FYI : GDP does not imply in any way the quality of life in a country. it is merely the value of production for a given year. If you want an idea of the quality of life then you may refer to the HDI(human development index).


  2. This man was previously minister of tourism and did precious little to promote St Lucia's tourism industry. He promoted his business interests alright. He is now leader of the main opposition party and will say anything to win public support and sympathy.He is in no fit state to be leader of this once proud coalition of Big Beasts -the UWP. This party which once ruled the island can do better than this man of self-importance. Oh yes they can! Why is he having a go at the report now? The UWP need to scrutinize every speech or comment emanating from this man before it is put in the public domain. Purely because everything he is saying to the media is having a negative effect and is likely to backfire and hurt their chances of ever getting elected again. The St Lucian public can see through this man and his opportunistic statements.

    Has he put any of his assets in a blind trust? This is something that all budding politicians who are prodigiously wealthy need to do in any democracy so the voters can have confidence in the electoral process.

    This is a requirement to prevent people with lots of wealth from simply buying their way into the political establishment and be placed under obligation by those with vested interests. I doubt he has done this. When a politician is placed under obligation it opens up a pandora's box for opportunism and corruption. He and his family behave like they own St Lucia. About time we send this lot packing with their tails between their legs. We do not want esurient capitalists running the country. St Lucia needs techocrats and pragmatists to prescribe and administer every dose neccessary for it's development. This man does not tick any of the boxes and should be relegated to the dustbins of history.

    Another thing I heard he was born in Martinique, and if this is the case then the current parliament should pass a law preventing foreign-born people from becoming prime minister of St Lucia. America has that law and so are many other countries. Martiniquans have unjustly claimed Empress Josephine as theirs, when we know that she was born in St Lucia. We cannot afford to have them laying claim to another potential leader. That would not be fair. I hope this man never becomes prime minister of St Lucia.

    This man is from the minority and we simply cannot afford to have such a man to lead us into any promise land. This is not back in the day when the minority brutally ruled our country with impunity. This should never happen again. Let someone from the majority come forward and take over the reins. This man being leader is a giant step backwards. I recently suggested the Right Hon. Richard Frederick as a potential leader. I think the right hon. gentleman would be ideal to take over the reins of the UWP.

    St Lucia need to wake up and to stop allowing people who do not have it's best interests at heart to try to assume the captaincy of it's ship. Please give Richard Frederick and Stephenson King the opportunity to take over the reins of this once proud group of big beasts. They are men of probity, valour,integrity and virtue. They are also incorruptible, upright and above suspicion. These two men have all the attributes of good leadership.

    We need to stop this rapacious capitalist in his tracks. He is aggressive and predatory and will do anything to be elected. Let us quell his voracious and insatiable appetite for power.
    Viva Saint Lucia!

    Malcolm L'overture
    Haitian Lucian


  3. that certainly will take some air out of the uwps balloon.. time for some head scratching next strategy!!


  4. These guys cannot even fix their own party, they were fighting each other when they were in power and that has gotten worse. The current government has no real opposition, once in a while they will make some noise but that is all it amounts to. Instead of being a tough opposition, these guys seem to be in a constant campaign mode. This country is in deep trouble.


  5. Paix chou Chastenant. SLP return the country to growth, reduced the debt your party put us in. Is persons like myself both SLP and UWP should worry about. Because I eh seeing colours, I checking for what's best for my family and I to grow and be successful in my country; cuz if you cyah make it in your country, you cyah make it anywhere cuz all countries crying. I eh want to "back-warders" (Google it if you want to play English professor) coming and mess up the vibe. And all y'all party hacks can keep yall dislikes and comments to yall selves.


      • You are clearly an idiot because Patois spelling is relative if your sorry ass had gotten out on Jounen Kweyol you would've seen different spellings at the various booths. IDIOT!


        • There is a standard published creole dictionary. He is right it is tju. Dont be so arrogant to think you know all. Embrace the acquisition of new knowledge.


      • Are u serious Chastanet and family doesn't need you. Remember they are employers and not employees. Some of you all write shit that's why you all are in shit today........smh


    • Talk about IMPACS and Stanley's crap....You have not said not a word!!!!! You now conveniently hulling stones on something you have not one clue about. Do some analysis then we will pay you some attention. It's the ignorance of people like you that have the country so backward


  6. Thank you for the information Mr. Chastanet. Kenny thinks that he can fool St. Lucians by using inflated figures...and all kinds of mamaguying... SMH.


  7. Now put a smile on your face Mr Chastenet. This is great news... It means you will be voted in as Prime Minister to correct all the ills of this incompetent SLP government. No more high unemployment. No more VAT. everyone will be able to send their children to school. Petrol will be under $10... No under $11. Change is coming.


  8. That is as real as you ll get it my friend. What he says reflects the actual situation on the ground quite accurately. Where as the doctored figures given to the IMF are not based in reality or account for the fear factor created by terrorism which reduce tourism especially from France.


  9. Chastanet has no credibility.

    Already the SLP have started a little PR leading to elections and the UWP is already on the backfoot.

    Chastanet now has to denigrate St Lucia to try and look good.

    Chastanet comes across as a petulant little boy who cannot manage anything. Reminds me of Mia Mottley in Barbados who also is arrogant and thinks she has a 'right' to leadership. They both have to force themselves on voters.

    Chastanet has an abysmal track record in government and in running the UWP.

    Chastanet was called up by a judge for being an unreliable witness.

    Chastanet is a spendthrift and does not know the value of money. He cannot be let in charge of taxpayers money.

    Chastanet does not respect women. Look at how he treats those in his party. The women's arm, etc.

    Chastanet is a poor judge of economic options and people. Just look at the Hepple issue and Boxing in Paradise fiasco.

    Chastanet is controlled by his father who should never be let near government affairs.

    Chastanet is divisive and does not have the gravitas or respect of the people to command leadership.

    Woy woy !


    • Can you add? Okay get a calculator. Add $48 million, + $86 million + $150 million + $150 million. If you did that correctly that is the price we ARE NOW PAYING FOR HAVING JOKERS IN POWER. We are borrowing with higher interest loans for money that has not been used to get the common man in the street anything. We have the VAT beating up our tails to collect money to pay for Kenny's games of OPIAGE. Does this kind of foolishness still deserve your vote?

      Just let me continue to think that you an idiot. But do not open your mouth and give me convincing evidence that this is so.


  10. If you cannot understand a problem, only accidental monkey-type tinkering will ever produce a positive outcome.

    Now, what is up there is what I call is real economic analysis. I can find no fault in the logic. Pity, that is way beyond the tether of the entire SLP -- from head to toe!

    With economics SLP is always at the deep end!

    Note, the critical bit of information that those not au fait with economics will miss. It will go right over their heads! That is why they are always in their comfort zones shooting shate each and every time they are on the market steps.

    If you expect (i.e., project) a 1.6% growth rate, and that is a nominal figure, ( meaning, in name only, that rate not having been subjected to a deflator, say, the consumer price index), then despite that seemingly positive growth rate, the nation's real GDP (inflation having now been accounted for) is in NEGATIVE territory. This bears repetition.

    Hey! This means that the economy is NOT GROWING!


    • Just like someone said the other day, SLP your big idol of worship at your alter for ignoramuses and by ignoramuses, has clay feet.


  11. everyone knows Kenny and his administration only cooks numbers. these people disgust me. They are a cross between the white liquid that oozes out of a crushed cockroach and the spit that collects on the side of a crazy persons mouth while they grimace. Absolute waste of space and time .


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