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PM Anthony predicts turnaround for economy

Caribbean Media Corporation

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Prime Minister Kenny Anthony says his administration will now focus on reducing the island’s debt burden, which is now estimated at 77 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

In his first public response to the recent disclosure by the Department of Statistics that unemployment now stood at 25 percent, Anthony said the situation could “get a little worse before it gets better”.

Private-sector interests have been lobbying government to revisit the newly introduced 15 percent Value Added Tax, saying it has impacted expansion-plans job creation.

“I have said before that it would get a little worse before it gets better, and I believe that the worst is over for the private sector. The problem now lies on the government’s side, given the fiscal adjustments that we have to make,” said Anthony.

“Over the last year, several St Lucians have lost their jobs, and some of the island’s major retailers such as Minville and Chastanet and a number of regional banks have been forced to reduce employees prematurely by inviting them to accept severance packages.”

Prime Minister Anthony said the recent decision by Telecommunications Company, LIME to terminate several employees had prompted him to write the company.

But he also said he remained convinced that the island’s job situation was stabilising and that had it not been for the National Initiative to Create Employment programme (NICE), unemployment would have been higher.

“In a sense, the NICE programme is helping to contain the numbers at the moment. But while it is true that people are getting jobs, it is an artificial containment in the sense that it is employment that is not nationally created by growth in the economy,” Anthony said.

PM CLUELESS

The opposition United Workers Party (UWP) has accused the prime minister of being clueless on how to deal with the economy, but Anthony has brushed aside the criticism, saying that the unemployment rate was as high as what the former government had left behind.

“If it was not for NICE, the unemployment rate would have been higher. They did not have the imagination to establish a NICE programme to provide jobs for St Lucians … ,” said the Prime Minister, adding that his government had also made “massive investments” in social and community programmes.

“So had the UWP been in office at this time, the unemployment situation would have been more serious – that, I have no doubt about,” he said.

– CMC

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11 comments

  1. Anonymous, where do we start?

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  2. Kenny you are clueless. STEP and NICE are not long term solutions!

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  3. I remember that SLP propaganda song during the election campaign. Lets all sign: Jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs. Again. Jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs. ...Lucians Believe all (nonsense) politicians tell them.

    You'll get what you'll deserve.

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  4. It is time for the population on a whole to ask for the constitution to change as the leader of the country can no longer hold both the position of Prime minister and Minister of Finance.Will you St.Lucian's accept that your child's head teacher is also her class teacher?

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    • @Anonymous, that's what I've saying forever, PMs are often not good with numbers and they've got too much on their plate. They should put an economist as Minister of Finance.

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      • Son of Helen we need to start a petition on line for 100,000 signatures or have a debate on the main media outlets whether it is radio or television.We are a democratic country and we have to start using our democratic rights in a positive way and by not always accepting what the government thinks it is right as St.Lucian's home and abroad are intelligent people.ARE YOU AND THE REST OF THE POPULATION IN?Can't wait to read your reply.

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  5. Oh so now he is Nostradamus, trying to give us BS predictions. You are not God ok. So leave your fortune telling career in the closet!!

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  6. We really need to do something drastic about the Unemployment rate! Especially among the YOUTH!

    I am not sure I agree that the Government's priority should be reducing the debt burden "at this time" to me the unemployed should come first.

    And contrary to popular belief it is not mainly unskilled workers who are unemployed. I know several persons with 7 and 8 CXCs and not working. With Associate Degrees from Sir Arthur Lewis and not employed. So we need to stop saying most of the unemployed are unskilled that is not the case. Many have done well at school and still cannot land a job.

    Not to mention all the Monroe, UWI, Open Campus and other University graduates who are also in search of work. St Lucia economy needs major stimulating this financial year. Major projects exceeding 9 months need to come on stream to get the economy going. Not just 3 week "Ti Canal" programmes, they only help persons for one month.

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  7. DE Kenny Anthony aye susay loloye.

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  8. We Tom Chou around with the uwp jop would be crearted

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  9. Really! The unemployment rate is much higher than that if the Youth unemployment is 40% what is the PM saying, don't BS the public. MOSQUITOS and FLIES they both are un wanted insets. UWP and SLP

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