With Saint Lucians more aware of how the world turns and the effects of global developments on nations and populations, in a heavily interconnected world, it is non-sensical for political opponents to blame the Philip J. Pierre administration for the global increases in food and fuel prices. Contrary to claims that the government is earning more and helping less, the Pierre administration has indicated that the Treasury is giving up just over one million dollars monthly to subsiding cooking gas to cushion the impact of rising prices.
On April 11, a 20-lbs cylinder of cooking gas was set to rise to $62, until the government increased its subsidy by 37% — from $16.13 to $22.10 per cylinder — bringing the current price down to $39.81.
In the last two months, fuel prices have been increasing in CARICOM nations, Saint Lucia being no exception.
The government agreed earlier this week, to fare increases for public transport, after a protracted period of negotiations dating back to the last administration, following the financial woes suffered by mini-bus operators during the Covid-19 pandemic and now increases in fuel prices.
Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Allen Chastanet continues to pretend that COVID, Supply Chain problems and the Ukraine war does not exist, never mind consumers worldwide are facing the same price increases confronting Saint Lucians.
The UWP leader, obviously unaffected by the rising prices that adversely affect the majority of us, insists on remaining a stranger to truth and closing his eyes to the government’s continuing efforts to shield consumers, a situation made more challenging by his mismanagement of the country’s finances during his reign as Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.
But while Chastanet remains locked in a world of delusion, the majority of Saint Lucians and the rest of the world are forced to adjust to the new international economic realities.
As Easter approaches, UK consumer prices have already hit an unprecedented 30-year high, the highest since 1992; and the US inflation rate increased by 40% — another record high.
From Sri Lanka to Russia, nations everywhere are beginning to default on their debts repayments.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) has confirmed that the Ukraine war has halved world trade; and the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) continues to warn that food prices will continue to rise, encouraging poor and developing nations to plant and eat more local produce.
But by Chastanet’s measure, none of this is happening.