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PRESS RELEASE – Prime Minister and Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs, Hon. Dr Kenny D. Anthony, has noted the public discussion on a Business Insider Report, following a news item on “St. Lucia News Online” and subsequent reaction by the Leader of the United Workers Party, Mr. Allen Chastanet.
On the surface, any knowledgeable and intelligent individual would question this report before endorsing it wholeheartedly like Allen Chastanet did.
Without thinking, without any care or concern for this island and its people, solely with the intention of injuring the government, Allen Chastanet jumped into the fray.
The article states that “Saint Lucia’s tourism-dependent economy never fully recovered after tourism drastically slowed following the financial crisis. (Even airlines slashed the number of flights there).” On the contrary, Saint Lucia’s tourism figures have grown consistently over the last three years, registering record arrivals each quarter. Airlift has also increased. In 2013, Saint Lucia welcomed 317, 000 stay over visitors. This was a record year. In 2014 that record was surpassed with total stay over visitor arrivals estimated at 338,158; a 6% increase from 2013. So far 2015 is showing significant growth. At the end of the first quarter, Saint Lucia recorded a 6.4% growth over the same period last year.
How then can it be accurate to state “tourism drastically slowed following the financial crisis?”
Again, Allen Chastanet should have known better than to run with the comments on airlift, given his history in the tourism sector. Saint Lucia has more airlift and achieved this at a fraction of the cost incurred when Chastanet was Minister for Tourism. The Review of the Economy 2014, on page 18 states that,
“Jet Blue and Delta both introduced new services from Boston in November and New York (JFK) in December respectively in addition to increased seats during the year, particularly during the summer when Jet Blue serviced an additional flight from JFK. Service from New Jersey on United Airlines was also retained throughout the year.
Both Canadian and UK markets rebounded in 2014, recording a 15.0 and 4.4 percent increase in arrivals respectively. The Canadian market registered the highest arrivals to date with 41,388 visitors attributed mainly to increased airlift from West Jet, Air Canada and Sunwing.
The UK market maintained its market share of 22.0 percent with 73,960 visitors, reflecting a full year’s service from the introduction of Thomas Cook in November of 2013 and increased service from British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.”
Further, it is now clear that the figures attributed to the World Bank are incorrect and outdated. The facts clearly show that the Business Insider is wrong to classify Saint Lucia as the fifth slowest growing economy in the world.
The GDP growth figures quoted are estimates that are not based on official information or on real figures recorded over the last three years.
Obviously, if old figures are compared to updated figures, the outcome will be flawed. If Mr. Chastanet wishes to comment on economic issues, for which, it is now emerging that he may not be academically qualified, he should do so on the basis of verifiable facts.