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Minister in the Ministry of Finance Dr. Ubaldus Raymond has called on St. Lucians to “bear patience” with the government, noting that Saint Lucia’s economy is on the path to recovery.
Dr. Raymond made the plea on Tuesday at a news conference where he disclosed that the economy has recorded a three-percent growth rate and a decrease in the unemployment rate.
The minister expressed confidence that the economy will be further boosted by the government’s foreign direct investment programme.
However, he pointed out that when the United Workers Party (UWP) government took over in 2016, the economy was in ruins.
“Fifteen months later, I can report to the nation that unemployment has dropped from the 24.5 percent we met, we found. Today at the end of 2017, it is now 20.1 percent, a 4.2 to 4.3 percent drop in the unemployment rate. That is tremendous. Today, we can boast and say that we are no longer the least performing jurisdiction in the OECS,” he told reporters.
Dr. Raymond said under the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP), Saint Lucia became one of the “worst performing” countries in the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).
“We ended up being the worst performing for a number of years. In fact, for three out of the four years they were governing the country. Today we can recall, we can say proudly that we are part of the top three in the OECS. Just fifteen months moving from the bottom to the top three. And we have recorded as a country in 2017, a 3 percent growth rate. This is tremendous.”
Dr. Raymond also disclosed that the country’s debt to GDP ratio has gone down.
”Although there was a increase in the debt situation in the country, it was very marginal. In fact the increase is actually decreasing. There is disacceleration of the increase of our debt situation in our country. In fact, for the very first time in year to year, we have a debt to GDP that has actually gone down. This is commendable and I must give the kuddos to the hard working members of my Cabinet, the Government of St Lucia. I want for St. Lucians to bear patience with us. As I said earlier, we are on a path of recovery.”