Pierre: Saint Lucians being burdened with “unnecessary and avoidable” debt

By SNO Staff

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Pierre in a sitting of the House of Assembly in November 2018.

(SNO) — “What a tangled web we weave when we practice to deceive.”

Those words were used by Opposition Leader Philip J. Pierre to begin a statement on his Facebook profile on Saturday, Dec. 15, as he expressed his concern about the country’s rising debt, particularly the US$100 million loan from Taiwan to finance the Hewanorra International Airport Redevelopment Project which is expected to begin in 2019.

Pierre said on Tuesday, December 11, while history was being made in plans to demolish the Parliament Building soon, the United Workers Party (UWP) government was borrowing approximately half a billion dollars in less than 24 hours.

“How many of us knew that our children yet unborn were being burdened with debt which was largely unnecessary and avoidable,” Pierre wrote.

He said the elected Opposition “chosen by thirty seven thousand and most likely considered by another twenty thousand who choose not to vote“ were informed of the decision by the government on Friday, December 7, 2018 that taxpayers would incur that debt “when only months before a budget was approved with estimates of Revenue and Expenditure”.

“Are we to believe that in May this year the government had no idea that it would be adding half a billion dollars to our debt?” Pierre asked. “Please be reminded that is not Allen Chastanet’s debt or the writer’s debt. Both of us may not be around when the country is asked to pay.”

The Castries East MP noted that there are “many disturbing and frightening aspects” of this borrowing that must be condemned as “reckless and uncaring”. He said his Facebook post will deal with only one aspect.

He then explained: “Earlier, government ministers and other surrogates were boasting of ‘growth’ predicted by the International Monetary Fund as an endorsement of the economic skill of the Prime Minister and that the Opposition were “agents of destruction and against progress.” Were the officials of the IMF mislead? If so, can we rely on the projections? Many will ask what am I talking about. Let me quote Page 5 of the IMF report dated June 2018 Article IV Consultation Page 5..

“Public Debt will increase only by the amount of the road network loan.,,,”

“Was that accurate information given to the officials? The truth is public debt includes debt of statutory boards like SLASPA and that debt had to obtain a guarantee from government and is indeed part of our national debt.

“Fact is, our National Debt was increased by two hundred and seventy million dollars. I beg the question, was the Prime Minister aware of this grave distortion of the truth? If not who will inform the IMF of that error that is indeed serious and far reaching.We can’t afford to allow party affiliations to cast such a shadow on our judgement.”

Pierre said in his next post he will deal with some other “disturbing aspects” of that borrowing.

In a press release, government had said “in order to ensure the project starts in the New Year, the Minister for Finance on Tuesday brought a resolution before the House to guarantee a loan of US$100 million from the Export–Import Bank of the Republic of China (Taiwan) for the Hewanorra International Airport Redevelopment Project on behalf of the Saint Lucia Air & Sea Ports Authority (SLASPA)”.

Prime Minister Allen Chastanet explained, according to the release, “that the among the objectives of the HIA project was to alleviate the congestion during peak arrival, to implement urgent investments that will position SLASPA to take advantage of Saint Lucia’s competitive advantage as the ideal location for a hub for regional travellers, improve the earning potential of SLASPA and to expand the infrastructure of Saint Lucia and increase the capacity of the country to accommodate growth”.

Chastanet, who is also the Minister of Finance, also explained to the House of Assembly the myriad of shortcomings of the current airport, among them the inability to handle increased arrivals, the release added.

“The airport also has several inadequacies including the number of check-in counters and absence of automated check-in facilities, space allocations for the Immigration services and inadequate road infrastructure to facilitate the seamless operations of ground transportation. The tower and technical block are also in need of upgrading and the current facility poses challenges in meeting security requirements. Other issues include the inadequate seating within the departure concourse and the fact that the location of the terminal building does not allow for parking of wide bodied aircraft directly in front of the terminal.” the press release further stated.

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10 comments

  1. The $48 million handed over to Roachamel and the $150 million given by the Santa Claus SLP government to Grynberg that nobody got anything from, were not unnecessary debt? Yes. The unsuspecting population has to repay those large sums with nothing show for it. Nothing. Nothing at all.

    The country has to divert funds away from productive use to pay for the foreign exchange payment losses of these sums to the foreigners. They came and presented imaginary clothes to the Emperor of the SLP.

    Even today, even little children were able to see that the Emperor had no clothes.

    The SLPs inside and outside do not understand economics.

    The only thing that they know how to do is to create ghettos and give party supporters low menial jobs cutting grass in STEP. These SLPs are full of useless degrees.

    (3)(3)
    • You talk about $48 mil to roachamel and $150 mil to grynberg, what about the daher building that the uwp gov purchased and is just sitting there? Talk about st jude's ...... the point is both of these governments fuck us over and because y'all so political y'all eh seeing what the great white hope is doing........keep playing petty politics while we borrow up the wazoo to build an international airport which we don't need in the first place.....why not make improvements to HIA.......you think having an international airport is going to bring more tourists here? The people that come here come for unspoiled beauty not to see what they see everywhere...........

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  2. Once Guy relatives not involved in the construction i'm okay with it

    (0)(1)
  3. But to me it was Pierre's government who borrowed us away until we were downgraded by Standard and Poor. He must also remember that we still continue to pay for the legal battles like Gryndberg which could have been avoided.

    (1)(1)
  4. Say what you all want. i will not be voting SLP ever. But this is about my country. the taiwanese seize tourism funds from grenada for years after they switch to china based on a loan. my question to politicians is this; since you all borrowing so much money from other people, which by the way, all our little foreign earned money on tourism and other things go back to them for payment of the debt, why dont you all borrow from banks in the region instead or our own local banks? This loan from taiwan should be stopped pronto. the chinese are tricky people. they are all the same. i dont back that at all. it means that for the next 50 years or so, 90% of whatever revenue made through that airport goes to taiwan. what does this say? its not only us in sheet street, but your children and grand children. this is how debt from countries and organisations work. and it means more ghettos with lucian youths generation after generation can't do well because we busy taking whatever little money we make and giving it back to Taiwan, IMF and whomever. It took me time to understand that . my training was not as an economist. But now that i do, let me tell others beware. There is a reason jamaica and guyana so badly off. their leaders borrowed and borrowed hundreds of millions. most of those leaders did not think of tommorow unlike the chinese who do. or some were just corrupt and bobolis. now whatever they sell even if they have oil, a lot of the money they make goes straight to paying back the debtors.

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  5. Duel city are you so dumb?

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  6. Phillip J Pierre, you need to give your mouth a break. When your party was in power, it was ok for Kenny Anthony and the rest of you to spend money, borrow and put the country in debt without considering who would pay these debts. Today, here you are talking shit as if you were a damn septic tank. It just hurts y'all so bad that y'all are not the ones in power to misuse or a use the country and it's people. *sit da hell down and shut up*

    (12)(7)

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