Opposition Leader Stephenson King has described Prime Minister Anthony’s vain attempt to respond to a UWP Press Statement on the fiscal crisis in St Lucia as characteristic of a “wounded tiger”, which has resorted to lashing out at its adversaries, in desperation.
Mr. King in a statement today noted that “… Dr. Anthony has no moral authority to offer any advice on matters of fiscal prudence and management of the Country’s finances”.
Prime Minister Anthony’s past record is tainted with too many acts of reckless and grossly irresponsible judgements as Minister for Finance that renders him incapable of casting judgement or speaking with any hint of integrity on matters of Public Financing. Saint Lucians are all too familiar with Dr. Anthony’s track record as relates to “Helen Air”; “Rochamel”; the Helenites Property in New York and the many instances of “cost over-runs”.
These abuses, as cited in the “Ramsahoye Commission of Inquiry Report of 2009” led to the enactment of The Finance Administration Amendment Act on February 15, 2011 that mandates the Minister for Finance to secure Parliamentary approval before granting Government guarantees.
Dr. Anthony’s claim that former Prime Minister King “…mislead the Saint Lucian public … and International Agencies” on the 2010 economic growth figure of 4.4%, is nothing short of hypocritical on the part of the Prime Minister. Dr Anthony; more than anyone else, knows very well that no Prime Minister, including himself, ever gets involved in the actual computation and determination
of GDP statistics, but rather relies solely on the expertise and information submitted by the Government technocrats within the Department of Statistics.
The fact that then Prime Minister King quoted figures, officially presented to him by the Director of Statistics, that were botched and adjusted downward one year later without proper explanation, does not qualify Dr Anthony’s claim of incompetence. Dr Anthony needs to reflect on his own performance, during his reign as Minister for Finance, in which the Government lost EC$40 million in the Rochamel/Frenwell cost over-run guarantee scandal. More so Dr. Anthony should instead familiarize himself with the records of the past four years of the UWP Administration, during which time both the IMF and World Bank published favourable reports on Saint Lucia’s financial management performance.
The Prime Minister’s attempt to mépwizé and cast aspersions will not take away from the fact that Saint Lucia has slipped into economic crisis in quick time under his stewardship. Saint Lucians from all walks of life have been lamenting the onset of “bitter days” since the Labour Party’s rise to political office. The prevailing financial crisis which Saint Lucians have been experiencing over the past months was only confirmed through the statements made by Minister Pierre recently, that Government was forced into borrowing to pay the Salaries of public servants. It took Mr. Pierre and Prime Minister Anthony nine months to realise that the Country was experiencing a “Fiscal Crisis”?
Prime Minister Anthony would be best placed to shift his focus towards pulling the nation out of the current financial and economic crisis. Saint Lucians would prefer to hear from Dr. Anthony concerning his efforts to relieve Saint Lucians from the current economic quagmire and hardships which they are now undergoing, instead of spending his time throwing stones from his “glass house”.