Chastanet tells government to stop the blame game

By HERMISHA ROLLE, Staff Reporter

Dr. Anthony (left) and Chastanet.

United Workers Party Leader Allen Chastanet has told the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) government to stop the blame game and concentrate on fixing the economy.

His comments were in response to a press release issued by Press Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister Jadia Jn Pierre-Emmanuel in which she accused the UWP of admitting to be a contributor to the country’s fiscal problem.

The press secretary based that suggestion on a UWP statement issued on June 26, 2014, which said that Saint Lucia’s wage bill had been an area of concern for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for at least a decade.

The press secretary’s release said, “In its haste to criticise a recommendation from the IMF to reduce the wage bill, the United Workers Party (UWP) said ‘such recommendations from the IMF are not new and have been repeatedly made almost in the same language to regional government over the years’.

“Indeed, this is an admission that despite reports from the IMF and the performance of Saint Lucia’s economy at the time, the UWP government did not take heed. Instead, they increased the public service by almost 1,000 and granted an increase of 14.5 percent during an economic downturn. As a result, the wage bill increased by $86.66 million and had to be met by borrowing. This is a bold acceptance by the UWP that they chose politics over fiscal prudence,” the press secretary’s release added.

But Chastanet, speaking to Saint Lucia News Online (SNO) in an interview on Thursday, (June 26), said that government should stick to the real issues at hand – addressing the fiscal deficit and the current wage cut being proposed to public servants.

“This blame game has to stop because it this is not going to resolve anything. The issue at hand is that the economy is in crisis and we have a government that continues to live in denial. A government that is proposing a five percent pay cut to civil servants,” he said.

Chastanet said since the Labour Party came into power the imposition of various taxes and cutting of subsidies have negatively impacted the economy.

“What makes the matter worse, is that the money that they are hoping to save from the five percent pay cut is only $18 million. Then they have a further $55 million to solve. Where is that gonna come from?” he asked.

“Everybody is saying, to stop beating around the bush, be transparent and show your holistic plan of what you intend to do. Furthermore we’ve now had two years of contraction. First year by 1.5 percent and we’re projecting a contraction of 2.3 percent this year and matters seem to be getting worse than they were before. The Labour Party inherited a government in 1997 in which the GDP was 37 percent and the country was running on surplus budget. Sir John used to have over $100 million a year,” he added while pointing out that a GDP of over 80 percent and almost 25 percent unemployment rate now exists.

“The Labour Party does not see whats going on the ground and if you cannot empathise with what’s taking place with people then it’s a very sad day for St. Lucia,” he said.

Chastanet said he believes that the only solution to St. Lucia’s problems is for the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs Dr. Kenny Anthony to resign since the “people have lost confidence in his ability to run this country in those two departments”.

Chastanet said his party has some serious problems with a number of matters which have surfaced during the SLP reign.

“This is a man that misled the public and parliament when it came to Rochamel. This is a man who did not handle the NCU affair in a transparent way. This is a man who oversaw the greatest era of cost overruns in the history of Saint Lucia. This is an individual who signed a document for Grynberg who kept it a secret for nine years and now that it has surfaced still cannot say to the public of St. Lucia what transpired. Did he in fact sign the contract? Why didn’t he bring it to Cabinet? Why didn’t he bring it to parliament? Why wasn’t the governor general not involved? Why would the ambassador be asked to keep the documents at his home,” he asked.

“The next question we wanna know is how much is this case costing us and what is going to be the potential outcome if we lose? And what is the case he is making about Grynberg in this particular case? There are too many unanswered questions Dr. Kenny Anthony has,” he said.

Chastanet again called for Dr. Anthony to step down.

“He had suggested when he won election… that he would be leaving midterm. I think it’s time for him to honour that statement and do all of us a favour and leave and the Labour Party to find somebody else who can bring this to fruition,” he stated.

“As I have said, the United Workers Party (UWP) is the opposition party, we do have plans. We don’t agree with a lot of the things that Dr. Kenny Anthony is doing, for instance, $6.5 million to pave Clark Street, the $2 million he spent on building a concrete road – a four-lane concrete road to Bruceville. He came in, he said that he was not going to give contracts to people who were non-contractors. My understanding is that a relative of his was given the contract. That bridge is now collapsed. You’re telling me you’re gonna take $18.5 million to build a… building for the prime minister? When is he going to realise that his blueprint is not working?”

Chastanet said his party will be prepared to make its plans available to the people of St. Lucia nearer to the elections.

“Right now our job is to hold the government accountable,” he told SNO.

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30 comments

  1. Are we getting a reality check We just continue to write and talk nonsense especially when we don't know better, have not travel abroad, Now Lets face the music we blame Kenny for the 15 percent vat, Have we look into the Millions that was borrowed under king regime, Has these moneys paid back.
    How many contracts sign by the previous government which cannot be broken and which who has to pay that bills.
    Have we ask About the workforce, How many are employ and how much money or millions has to pay every month, What about the maintenance of structures under this government plus under the previous government,
    Has all the payment met, Plus Where are all the moneys coming from, Now don't you think that the vat was needed, Now look at other countries who use to contribute they to need help They have either fire persons or a percentage cut from salary. Lets be real Mr chastenet as tourism minister his phone bill alone was $50,000 plus a lot of wastage and now he thinks he has the solution, My fellow lucians he is phony and believe he can buy his way, we are not stupid. No matter what they say when we go to the poles we always do the right thing and vote no to these phonies.

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  2. a lot of u dnt no anything u can never put things right in 4 years most things implemented by the past present governments they have to sign contracts/ agreements etc and most of all if u have to change a law it has to be debated and be agreed if u brake a contract u have to pay the fee one example instead of the uwp government build new government offices before uwp lost the last election king sing a contracts with his palls 100000.00 a month rent instead of building new office blocks now slp in power they cant brake the contract they will still have to pay the money or more so stop talking crap and think things can be done all at once

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  3. a lot of you have no idea after the country is in so much dept.no country cant function without tax so many people working on the island not paying any taxes so that things can be done for the country and the people the pm ask for 5& cut u all rather loose your jobs what u all saying the government has to do nothing about the money we need to pay we st lucians needto wake up am no SLP OR UWP am here for who is doing a good job to put the country in right direction and now its not UWP mabe there will be a time it may be them.st lucians so stupid there was guy on the news saying (chastanet should be pm cause he has a hotel he has money he will fix the things in the country that says it all we have no ida and how stupid some of us are)my only problem we have to many people paying no tax in the country and the country needs the money

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    • Holy crap!!!!!!!!

      Both parties are to blame. Yes. But only ONE party NOW is in office and is in power.

      Only ONE party now has the power to put ALL its sh#[email protected]%&) together, and FIX the damn problem.

      SLP knock off all the bullshit. Put behind you all the bullshit of PR and the press releases. Fix it!!

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  4. When will it end. Kenny is dragging ass and therefore giving the opposition too much time for criticism for a problem they both created. Go ahead with the business of the country and do what you have to do. Barbados and Jamaica did it (NO PROBLEM). How comes it is a problem here?

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    • Kenny created the ENTIRE mess, starting with his country bookie political mischief. He precipitated this crisis by MARCHING with the CSA to win the next election. The country hadto borrow to pay for the wages and salary increases.

      Country bookies have no world view. Ignorance prevents them from seeing past their nose holes. (Excuse the French)

      It is therefore JUST and FITTING that this one should clean up after itself.

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      • Stop this country and city bullshit. Most of you so called city bookies still have mud stuck between your toes. The man has been, lived, worked and socialized in the biggest cities in the world.

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      • Kenny must take full responsibility for his deception and duplicity.
        No other politician I can remember has done what he has done to the economy of the country. Not this kind of harm.
        a) Causing the government to borrow $160 million to pay the 14.5% when he knew that this was not sustainable.
        b) Frittering away $45 mil on Rochemel, with no assets to show for it.
        c) Signing away the people's lands at Blacl Bay with absolutely no returns. St. Lucia now has to buy back this land for $85 million.
        d) Signing away secretly and against the provisions of the consitution, the Grynberg deal. Now the country has liabilities cost some estimate to be $500 million plus the legal fees to settle this matter.
        No other Minister of Finance has placed the economy in such harm especially to win an election.
        This man has totally outlived his usefulness as a minister of finance!
        There must be a price to be paid for that. Now he is asking the public service to bear the brunt of his inanities and corruption? That is adding INSULT to injury!
        Yet he goes about with a smirk on his face! That is cold!!!!!
        What kind of character does this?

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        • You are so right. No other Minister of Finance has ever placed the economy so quite DELIBERATELY and so PRECIPTITOUSLY IN HARMS WAY, JUST TO WIN AN ELECTION, only to turn around and can do nothing to stop the DECLINE, as our honoured and goodly Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. No other one!

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          • Untrustworthy! What kind of character does this to a country that this character is supposed to love?
            Can any HONEST person ever AGAIN trust such a character to vote for such a character EVER AGAIN? In your heart of hearts can you trust such a character?

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    • the problem with Kenny he is a humble man in sir john time he would just do it I can remember when the teachers went on strike and sir john tell all of them to go back to work or he will be employing teachers for other Caribbean countries they all shut up and went back to work lucians are use to the UWP lying to them and that juke boir plays a big part in spreading lies for UWP because he is one of them more people are educated now and can see what is going on around the world

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  5. WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I agree both parties have responsibility for the country problems now. But Kenny said he had the answers to getting us out of it, What did he do 15% vat,66% water Hike, LUCELEC fuel tariff increase, now 5% salary deduction. Who created the worst of it KENNY and LABOUR. and more so JOB for the boys. They realy need to go, a new government will not solve the problem magically, but for me right now I will take Chastnet over Kenny, BY THE WAY WHERE IS KING AND RICHARD IN ALL OF THESE WAR OF THE PEOPLE OF ST.LUCIA LOOKS LIKE THEY TAKE MOOMOO TABLET. THEY ON KENNY SIDE BIG TIME

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  6. Why is Jadia name everywhere? This is driving up the wall. Right now everytime this GIRL comes on the TV or radio - I just turn it off. Enough with the crap and go solve this financial mess.

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  7. Its time for Kenny to step aside in all fairness. I had the world of confidence in this man and he just gutted me. All this appointments of political hacks - Willius, Menisa, Jukes and we are here suffering - suffering. VAT 15%, skyrocketing costs of living and now 5% of my salary? Right now anything, anyone else except Kenny.

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    • Time for Mr. Screw-up to leave the scene of the disaster!

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      • Yeah man! The evidence has all been gathered and stored. SLP, it is time to leave the scene of the crime.

        I hear that they have teargas canisters in their plans. Another plantation slavery type character Compton, gained great popularity using these.

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  8. When will both parties realize that they are both to blame for the problems of the country.Standing on different ends of the country blaming each other is making the problems worse. It's time they both realize that they work for the people who elected them. Get your heads together and fix the problems,(two heads are better than one)

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  9. Hello do uall believe the current admin has done the country well?????

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  10. I only wish Chastanet would shut the hell up he have no clue to solve the crisis himself.

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  11. Stop it! Stop it! Please ! Or else I am going to vote against both of you'll to vent my frustration. Tired of all of these. And Chastanet if you don't have any plans why you talking crap.

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  12. It is time these men stop this childish behaviour and get on with the business of running the country. I am sick of all this back and forth between the two. I thought when Mr. Chastanet came became leader he said wanted to speak reconciliation.

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  13. I myself is so fed up with all those nonsense that is going on. What happen to that big belly teddy bear. I mean Allan Chastanet. Sarkwa ROLLY POLLY. WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE. YOU ALL ARE NOT GOD WHEN WILL YOU PEOPLE SEE THAT.

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  14. What type of person would be aware of the fact that the 14.5% increase was NOT sustainable. Yet, BECAUSE it would get him elected he went on to MARCH with the CSA ini support of this? What type of CHARACTER does this.
    But we are $87 million in DEBT. Plus, we are carrying additional debt for non-productive ASSININE BLUNDERS like, Rochemel/Frenwell costing $45 million, Black Bay repurchase of our own land and patrimony given on platter by a financial idiot, plus Grynberg $168 million plus legal fees.
    Added to that our finance wizard, King Midas in Reverse, on coming int office LOADED the payrolls, increasing the BURDEN on RECURRENT EXPENDITURE, with party hacks at home and abroad. What kind if character places the country's finances willfully in such jeopardy for PERSONAL political gainq? WILLFULLY?

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    • IMF, if it comes in with its usual conditionalities we know who is responsible. As you said, King Midas in Reverse. Put a country bookie in charge and that is what you get.

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    • It is time to have his donkey out on the pasture! Enough is enough! Too many lies, my God! Too many lies already!
      When will he stop lying? When? When? God damn it!! When?

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