GIS – Prime Minister of Saint Lucia Hon. Allen M. Chastanet said he has spent his first 100 days in office working on a plan to reduce Saint Lucia’s debt to GDP ratio, as the island’s deficit is larger than anticipated.
Mr. Chastanet said the new government’s term in office began with the realization that the 2016/2017 budget grossly underestimated certain areas such as school maintenance and the operations of the new hospital.
There was no policy debate on the budget for this fiscal year.
He noted that had those overheads been accurately catered for, then the country’s deficit would increase.
According to the Prime Minister, Saint Lucia needs a major boost in investment.
“I have taken it upon myself to have as many meetings as the Prime Minister to try to expedite investment in this country. Desert Star is a very ambitious project, I admit that, but I think that the developers have a great sense of confidence; I love the creativity of what they have done, and I think that to be able to jump start Saint Lucia and to create a buzz about Saint Lucia, that is the kind of project we need.”
The Prime Minister said Saint Lucia’s current finances have restricted his ability to institute reform.
“We have had a very difficult time in being able to establish control of the government. We have been confronted with some unprecedented things. I don’t think there has ever been in the history that I know of Parliamentary government of Westminster government, in which an Attorney General would be appointed by a former government. Ambassadors who have contracts that have no out-clauses. Investors that we signed up two days before the election with no out-clauses in their contracts. And so I’ve not had the opportunity of moving quicker because obviously there are legal issues and we always have to follow the rule of law.”
Prime Minister Chastanet said Saint Lucians can expect a four-year plan in April 2017.
“We’re using this time to develop our overall plan and so it is the intention of our government that when we announce the budget in April that we will announce a one year financial budget, but we’re going to roll out a four year development plan for this country.”