Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre says Saint Lucia needs to urgently and seriously adjust and redefine its economic, political and social strategies to confront current challenges and seize available opportunities created by the effects of new regional and global changes on national economies.
The Prime Minister, whose new administration recently observed its First 100 Days in Office, insists it won’t take the usual traditional approaches to address national economic reconstruction and the COVID-19 challenges inherited by the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) following its victory at the July 26 General Elections.
Pierre clearly feels that the time has come to turn a new page, perhaps, a new chapter for Saint Lucia’s future. Faced with the biggest-ever national debt and a near-empty Treasury inherited from the Allen Chastanet administration following five years of parlous handling of the nation’s finances, Pierre, as Minister for Finance, Economic Development and the Youth Economy, has to undertake a major institutional overhaul and readjustment to ensure the national economy is brought back on track.
His ideas for early and gradual change have been being shared with major stakeholders, including the island’s Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture; the PM recently advised the need to recharge, retool and reboot to overcome the challenges ahead.
Pierre told business leaders gathered at the Chamber’s 137th Annual General Meeting (November 29) the past has long gone and “Consistent with that reality, our broad economic and political philosophy must be forward-looking” and “powered by principles of inclusion and equity.”
His message underlined the need for private and public sectors to communicate, cooperate and share approaches to the common problems posed by the COVID pandemic’s effect on daily life and businesses. The Prime Minister told the business leaders: “In business and government we must build meritocracy guided by principles of good governance” and “unbridle the energy and creativity of our people to work together.”
He posited that “Ours cannot be an exploitative program” and contended that negative old attitudes have no place in future planning. “Attitudes of ‘Winner take all and the Devil takes the hindmost’ are obsolete and unsustainable in our small, interwoven society,” adding that “Enlightened self -interests must also exist alongside mutual trust.”
“Without these vital elements,” Prime Minister Pierre added, “we are lost!”