Explanation called for on impasse between government and public service in St Lucia

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Explanation called for on impasse between government and public service in St Lucia
LPM leader Theo Prudent
Therold Prudent – LPM Political leader

CASTRIES, St Lucia — In what have been a lengthy and protracted negotiations between the government and the public service unions over wages, the Lucian People’s Movement (LPM) says that the time has come to explain the matter in its proper context to the people of Saint Lucia, since they are the ones who will be most affected by whatever outcome is reached.

According to the LPM, “Some of the factors that have helped to shape the current perception of the public service, and what drives their belief that the government is able to meet their demands for wage increases, stem from the unprincipled practice and the reckless behaviour of the very same politicians who are today in government.”

On leaving office in 2006, and having served as the island’s former minister of finance, Dr Kenny Anthony is said to have been fully aware of the island’s troubling mounting deficit and the devastating impact that mindless borrowing would have on the island’s economy amidst the growing warnings of the approaching global economic meltdown.

“Yet, Dr Anthony, steeped in the irresponsible and outmoded belief that opposition leaders must always seek to exploit the vulnerability and political weaknesses of the administration that replaced them, opted instead to play politics with the long-term interests of the nation. He openly sided with the public service in their demand that a frightened Prime Minister Stephenson King increase wages by 14.5 percent in order to quell the potential for any industrial action and civil unrest throughout the country,” the LPM said.

To this end, the LPM maintains that, while it understands the plight of the public service for an increase in wages during one of the most economically depressed periods in the history of Saint Lucia and the world, the nation’s attention should be focused instead on stamping out the politically mischievous behaviour of leaders who, when in opposition, lulled citizens into believing that the government has deeper pockets than it does.

“Hypocritically, they deny this when their backs are against the wall in government,” the LPM said.

According to the LPM, this type of behaviour is driven by political expedience, and it has the potential to not only keep Saint Lucia in a state of perpetual poverty but also to make it very difficult for the nation to arrive at a national consensus as to what the country can and cannot afford.

“The LPM’s principled position on the way forward for our nation will never be dictated by a need for votes or an uncontrollable desire to remain at the helm of our island’s government (as is so obvious with the ruling Saint Lucia Labour Party and the parliamentary opposition United Workers Party). Therefore, given the global situation where workers have to accept lower wages to keep their jobs, the LPM believes that the time for an increase in salaries is not now,” the party said.

However, the LPM insisted that it remains very distrustful of the motives and policies of Anthony, and believes that any effort geared towards reconciling with the unions must begin with government providing convincing evidence of the dire financial situation of our country.

In addition, the LPM called on Anthony to demonstrate to all Saint Lucians that he is willing to lead by example by doing the following:

a) Not insisting (as recently during a televised national address) that the people of Saint Lucia come together for the good of the country, when he really means for the good of the Saint Lucia Labour Party.

b) Establishing a truly bi-partisan National Economic Council with the ability to advise and make recommendations to the government for job creation.

c) Not politicizing the governance of the country by ending all political appointments and programs across the board (which Anthony knows is beyond the ability of the government to sustain).

d) Insisting on value returns by Saint Lucia’s Ambassador to the United Nations and other foreign diplomatic staff and facilities paid for by the people of Saint Lucia.

e) Adopting, with immediate effect, the cost-cutting measures that the LPM proposed for downsizing and restructuring embassies and consulates.

f) Limiting the number of persons that the prime minister and other government ministers can take on foreign travels, and limiting their accommodations at hotels to a standard room.

g) Granting Alva Baptiste a greater voice in carrying out Saint Lucia’s foreign policy instead of allowing him to languish in the shadows of highly paid Vaughn Lewis.

h) Make the misuse of electricity, water and phone calls at all government agencies and the unauthorized use of government vehicles, an offence punishable by termination of service.

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13 COMMENTS

  1. If that's the depth of your analysis of the current situation then, like the present and past administrations, LPM eh ready yet!!

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  2. Last night I heard a gentleman say on the news that he wanted a salay increase, even if it meant that the government had to borrow the money. Are we that selfish and ignorant. Can't we see what what is happening in the US, the Eurozone, the BRIC Nations.

    As a nation we cant even afford the 4% increase that the SLP is proposing. However Saint Lucians are seeing it as a political game; SLP gave 14.5% so SLP can do it too.

    Everyone wants and increase, not only civil servants, but we need to realize the economic crisis that we now face. We should aim to live within our means with the hope that things will improve in years to come.

    As a nation we are too greedy and can't forsee the destruction our nation is being driven into.

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  3. Very good article. Wish the other two parties could look at the situation not politically but with what is best for the country at heart. Would have bee great if the opposition party could have taken the higher road on this issue and stood with the decision not to give n increase at this moment for the betterment of the country.

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  4. While I agree with most of what you said. I totally disagree that you hold it agains kenny for siding with the people for them to get a pay increase when they demanded it during king's term. Kenny then was doing the job of the oposition and if you were In politics you would do the same. What king had to do is what kenny is doing now and come to an agreement with the people as to what he was able to afford to give to them and not giving them a ridiculous 14.5 causing the country to run into such debt. I totally agree with kenny he is doing his job as a pm and is giving what he can. Like he said even with the amt we need to make sacrifices. He is hanging his hat where his hand can reach. King should have done the same.

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    • How can you agree with most of what the LPM party said but don't think it was foolish for Kenny to have taken the positions he took in opposition? How about the economy? You mean its okay to destroy the economy because you are not the PM? Boy oh boy God put a hand for us as St Lucians.

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  5. I agree 100 percent with this article but can Kenny manage the economy? kenny doesn't know shit in finance neither any of the other ministers! A serious overhaul is needed in gov't and the public service and a detail look at efficiency, productivity, and cost cutting measures in combination with technology!

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  6. I agree with the LPM 100%. I like the way they identified the problem and offered a thought provoking response to the PM. This is history and solution in one pkg.

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  7. I agree with b,f and h.The other statements are clearly you own political agendas.stop playing politics and this blame game, look towards sustainable solutions for abetter saint Lucia.

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    • I totally agree with the article. The SLP's agenda is to maintain power and control (neo-socialism). Ever since the rise of Kenny Anthony, party began to play the major role that it does in governance. There is a time to end campaigning and govern.

      SLP is disappointing because it boasts of its intelligent membership which shamefully uses its brilliance to exploit the system for the profit of its top members with positions, contracts etc. it is too glaring and this unpatriotic behavior must stop!

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