COMMENTARY: Economically, could Dr. Anthony be Saint Lucia’s worst prime minister?

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COMMENTARY: Economically, could Dr. Anthony be Saint Lucia’s worst prime minister?
Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony.
Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony.

According to the National Bureau of Economic Research in America, the global recession ended five years ago (June 2009). So Kennynomics had plenty of time after assuming office to produce a solid recovery for Saint Lucia.

In fact, according to the same Bureau of Economic Research, the worse the recession, the stronger the recovery. In 2014, Dr. Anthony should have had a booming economy by now, right?

Dr. Anthony and Co. touted in 2011 that they could do a better job with the economy of Saint Lucia. They promised better days, foreign direct investment (after scaring them away while in Opposition), $100 million injection into the economy immediately upon assuming office and jobs for every boy and girl. Of course, Saint Lucians bought into the promises of a “revived SLP” coming fresh out of purgatory.

But just one day after winning the General Elections, Dr. Anthony was now singing a different song, saying that, “it will be a difficult road ahead and there will be many sacrifices to be made.” Not too long after, during a national televised address, the same Dr. Anthony was pleading with Saint Lucians to implement some belt-tightening measures to save, because, according to him, Saint Lucia had some bad (no longer better) days ahead. What ever happened to the better days they touted?

In his 2014/2015 Budget Address, Dr. Anthony claimed that he had brought down the national debt of the country but not significant enough to decrease government’s exorbitant expenditure. I get it, any prime minister in his position would always want to give the country hope and to show that he is working hard to make things better. Who wouldn’t do that? But come on, we are living in the age of technology and instant communication. Every recovery would always be better than any recession, no matter how little the recovery. So reducing the debt by so little doesn’t mean much. It’s like rolling on the beach – you are still lying down on sand!

The right measure and comparison for Dr. Anthony’s record is not to compare the recovery to the recession, but to compare Dr. Anthony’s recovery with other recoveries from other recessions in the Caribbean since the Great Depression. By that measure, what is clear is that Kennynomics has produced the worst recovery in the Eastern Caribbean.

Unemployment figures continue to rise after reaching an astounding 24.9 earlier this year. Businesses continue to close as a result of a huge shortfall in sales. This of course happened after Mr. Prime Minister introduced the infamous Value Added Tax (VAT) at 15 percent, causing Saint Lucians to reduce their spending because of a spike in the price of goods and services.

Why would you blame them when earlier, the same prime minister told them to implement some belt-tightening measures to save money? They took his advice and now they are not spending like they use to. Didn’t he know a reduction in spending would mean less revenue collection by the government? Where on earth was he taught such economics – even the average man on the street knows that this is the wrong approach.

Dr. Anthony’s economic performance has been much worse than that of the former Prime Minister Stephenson King – someone who does not have ‘D R’ in front of his name. Real GDP growth under Dr. Anthony has been in the negative region since taking over from the United Workers Party – for someone who gave the country so much hope of better days. Not saying that things were so good under the UWP but at least they saw real GDP growth in the positive figures and at the time, it was the best in the OECS when compared to other island states. Dare I say compare the latest GDP figures with the rest of the OECS?

Despite his rhetoric, Kenny Anthony has failed to deliver for the poor and less fortunate as well. Oh but he invested millions in social programmes because Kenny loves the poor! I know I know! The money does come in handy for some families but IT ISN’T LONG-TERM and there are no returns for the government. So in essence, its good monies put to bad use. The only thing booming under Kennynomics is poverty.

These dismal results of Kennynomics have been produced because all of Dr. Anthony’s economic policies are thoroughly anti-growth, indeed, the opposite of what is needed for long-term booming growth. Instead of cutting tax rates, which provides incentives for increased production, Dr. Anthony introduced VAT at 15%; raised the price of water by 66% (and is due for another increase in January 2015); raised the price of electricity; reduced the subsidies on rice, flour and remove it completely on sugar; increase the list of VAT applicable goods, including fish, ground provisions and peas.

Instead of deregulation, which increases the ease of doing business, and results in reduced barriers to productive activity, Dr. Anthony has been all about increasing regulation – and we wonder why investors are not coming to Saint Lucia. Instead of cutting spending, Dr. Anthony entered office exploding spending during his first two years, and only now wants to restrain by cutting public servants’ salaries by five percent.

And instead of saving money to pay for loans that will soon become mature, he decided to lavishly spend $11 million on a bridge, $5 million on a new home for SSDF, and while he is at it, why not a few more millions on the renovation of the old Golden Hope building which will become his new Comfort Bay, while Saint Lucians continue to pay for his poor handling of the economy.

Oh! Did I forget to mention the hundreds of thousands of dollars being spent to represent Saint Lucia in the Grynberg Affair that he Dr. Anthony is responsible for? What about the exorbitant amount of money being paid to Anthony Astaphan and the courts to get his only formidable opponent in Allen Chastanet out of the way?

If I had access to all these monies, I know I would be spending it differently to make Saint Lucia a better place.

– McKinley Joseph 

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58 COMMENTS

  1. I have realized that St lucian
    do not take time to really think of their future and that of their children. That is not Kenny Anthony first term in office we have seen his operation before . we always knew that he was not good when it comes to finance however we still did the most outrageous thing and still vote for him and expect that the economy would be miraculously better. when will we learn. Right now I have no Faith in neither of the two leading political parties .I think its time for fresh blood. I think is the opportune time for the lesser political parties to step up they game and win the hearts of the people by coming up with innovative ideas and policies that can take St Lucia to the next level.

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  2. WOW!! i have enjoyed reading the comments here.
    They were rather refreshing and educational. I will not add to this debate because the participants here contributed significantly to the topic discussed. But, we need elections NOW!! Our country is sinking and hanging to a mere straw. If we are to save it; Kenny and his clowns must go!!

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  3. I Pity my fellow lucians because inspite of an age of information and Enlightenment Our behavior in what we write and say is a testament of us as a nation, Isn't it time that we stop thinking local and act local; If we think global and act local all the maypris from the uwpees will translate into progress

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  4. This is not very accurate or informative at all. Although this author of this piece makes some good points, in large part, he demonstrates a lack of understanding as to how economies work. The comments under this reinforce the idea that the people of Saint Lucia are a rather ignorant bunch.

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  5. That whole SLP administration is the biggest joke in the whole OECS especially that ole rapist Lorne Theophilus as Minister of Tourism Ha ha LOL are you serious Minister of Tourism, Mate. If we give them fellas their whole five years term even Haiti will be in better shape than us. We need an emergency elections to kick these clowns out of office cause if we don't lucians won't even be able to buy a bread. LUCIANS WAKE THE **CK UP !!!

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  6. It's not a question of whether Dr Anthony 'could' be our worst leader; he IS St Lucia's worst leader. Gosh, how I miss John Compton! The only true and patriotic leader ever known to St Lucians. It's so sad that so many people vote for the party and not for the policies that come with the party. So sad!

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    • I was thinking the same darn thing.

      When country bumpkins are so darn limited in intelligence, knowledge and foresight that they can think no further but to select other FAILED country bumpkins and "DAMAGED GOODS", do INDIVIDUAL Saint Lucians think of other viable choices to get this miserable country out of the hands of these darn and unending, but routinely selected morass of god-forsaking failures?

      Why do SAINT LUCIANSC stubbornly refuse to learn from our mistakes?

      What a miserable future we are handing over to our kids, if the current situation is not pointing ALL OF US in a very different direction from what it is today.

      In fact, SAIN LUCIANS are suckers for real punishment.

      And we are due for even more routinely punishing bitterness, IF THE MAJORITY OF SAINT LUCIANS ARE NOT DETERMINED TO PUT the COUNTRY FIRST, BEFORE ALL THE CRAP THAT ROUTINELY BUBBLES AND FLOATS TO THE TOP, IN BOTH THE TWO MAIN POLITICAL PARTIES.

      PS: Given their make-up and HISTORY, UNDOUBTEDLY, the CURRENT LEADERSHIP of both parties STINK!

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    • Kenny is very busy DISMATLING the institutional requisites of a REAL democracy in Saint Lucia. We have ALREADY TASTED and FELT his CURTAILMENT OF PRESS FREEDOMS.

      HE IS PRESSING HIS LUCK and testing the waters to gauge how far he can go with his so-called Town Hall Meetings. Lately and now coming under serious threat are:

      1. The give-and-take of parliamentary discourse; he legislates what he wants and gives you a take-it-or-leave-it fait accompli, like the 5% cut INSTEAD!

      2. Packaged with this is A VERY OPEN AND DISCONCERTING HOSTILITY TO LABOUR UNIONS.

      One wonders what is next. Is it independent courts and universities? The CCJ has already been SHOVED DOWN OUR THROATS WITHOUT A MANDATE. REMEMBER?

      The writing is on the wall. We can kid ourselves if we like.

      This man is a very dangerous threat to our fledgling democracy WITH HIS EXTREMELY CLOSE TIES with SOCIALIST Venezuela, plus a SOCIALIST FROM MAURICE BISHOP'S GRENADA IN BOSL with a brother as MINISTER OF INSECURITY OR Attorney General, and HIS
      EXTREMELY CLOSE TIES TO THE CUBAN GOVERNMENT'S CASTRO BROTHERS, namely, RAUL AND FIDEL.

      Please don't say that you were not forewarned. The destabilized state of the economy TODAY MAY WELL HAVE BEEN INTENTIONAL,
      and renders the country ripe for more coercive powers of the state to be put in play.

      Kenny is VERY SUSPECT AND POLITICALLY, EXTREMELY DANGEROUS!

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  7. SLP campaigned on the slogan "En Rouge" and everyone knows red means danger. The tongue is a powerful weapon and we need to be careful with what we say and how we use it.

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    • "En rouge"! Well, well, well! What an NATIONALLY embarrassing and palpable piece of self-fulfilling PROPHECY!

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  8. Talk about lack of vision and lack of judgement and you get Kenny Anthony.

    The guy implements a VAT TAX at a time when the whole world was still in economic down turn.

    Then settles with civil servant for a 4% increase are months of negotiations. Only to ask them to take a 5% pay cut after he promised them the 4%. WOW UNPRECEDENTED !!

    And he lectures St.lucian as if we suppose to accept his foolish blunders.

    Yea I'd say, he's the worst we've seen given the current situation. HE'S A FRAUD !!

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  9. Lol why is that not a surprise. We are witnessing the "ERA OF FAILED LEADERS", his almost on the level of Obama sadly,chastanet will do no better.

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    • An extremely good bluffer. No doubt about this. It took a very long time for Saint Lucians to penetrate and see through the mask. I wonder: Which entertainer is next and will you please, please tell us?

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  10. I think if you can't balance your budget then your government fails. What do the people say? As far as we know the PM budgeted way over his head and passed a budget that he has no way of financing. By the way this PM did spend the over 200 million we had in reserves just to say he reduced the debt. He went all about touting his horn. There were many toothless people in the crowd cheering when he said that. All fools. I still think you all did take alot of time to realize that Dr. Anthony only cares about politics added witgh vindictiveness.

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  11. Are we to expect any difference from Flambeau, for 70 years we have been tossing and turning between SLP and UWP, the only alternative is to kick both out for good.

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