One of the key promises made by the ruling Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) during the election campaign, is to create more employment opportunities for locals in the next five years.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure, Phillip J. Pierre, revealed how his party plans to get this done.
Pierre said the aim is to reduce unemployment to below 15 percent through the commissioning of measures and initiatives in tourism and government-funded construction.
“Our intention over the next five years, is to bring unemployment down to where we left in 2006, which is below 15 percent. We will do this through several measures,” he revealed.
The SLP plans to initiate a vigorous public sector investment programme which will see the following projects either continued or commenced:
The construction of the North -South Link road
The Millennium Highway rehabilitation
The Castries to Gros Islet and Secondary Roads Improvement Project
The Dennery Water Supply Redevelopment Project (funds secured from the Mexican gov’t and the IDB)
The Desruisseaux Treatment Plant (funding from EU)
The Vieux Fort Water Supply Redevelopment Project (funding from IDB)
The John Compton Dam Rehabilitation Project
The Castries Water Treatment Project
The facility to support agriculture development and rehabilitation of agriculture feeder roads
In addition to this, Pierre said the commencement of three new large infrastructure projects, which includes, a new police headquarters at La Toc, a new theater complex, among others, will also assist with job creation.
“We intend to stimulate new foreign direct investment in tourism,infrastructure,energy, information and communication technology and other services,” he explained.
The minister said the tourism sector will be a key component in party’s economic development strategy.
“We are aiming for an increase of 50 percent in our hotel rooms by 2020, resulting in an additional 100,000 stay over visitors per year to our shores.”
The SLP also expects within the next two years, construction would be completed on the $100 million 12 megawatt wind farm in Dennery and the 3.2 megawatt solar farm in Vieux Fort.
Pierre said the SLP has already delivered on the promises made in its 2011 manifesto, by creating the National Initiative to Create Employment (
“NICE has created over 6,000 new jobs in a variety of sectors (public and private) and as of this quarter, we have injected $100.94 million into job creation.This has brought unemployment down to 20 percent, its lowest value in six years,” Pierre concluded.