One week into December with the usual long list of year-end holidays around the corner, Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre called on the private and public sectors to confront and overcome the new COVID challenges to businesses and the wider economy.
However, Saint Lucian businesses are bracing for a not-so-bright Christmas 2021 never mind the encouragement of the PM and Finance Minister, to not lose hope and to grab the new opportunities for building a better future.
During his November 30 inaugural address to the 137th Annual General Meeting of the Saint Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre urged the island’s business community to start developing “partnerships that can be designed and deployed in a brave new approach to national development.”
In addressing the theme of the 137th Annual General Meeting of the Chamber- Adapt, Operate and Thrive in the Next Normal- the prime minister highlighted what he called “a climate of creative disruption that runs deep” against a background of “supply lines changing” with “production processes being revised.” He noted that in the COVID-19 era, “delivery modes have transformed” and “the conventional workplace is no more, as workers are unwilling to return to marginal existences.”
Pierre – an economist and business consultant by profession – pointed out that the new post-COVID era has led to new societal changes, to the extent that “even parents, have chosen home-schooling over employment.” “Shareholders are adjusting their expectations and customers are moving on,” he added.
“Taken together,” the PM Pierre said, “these signals should tell us that opportunities are beckoning, and we should not be left unawares, longing for a Paradise long gone.”
The prime minister’s address came just as the Chamber was warning Saint Lucians to be careful about spending on non-essential items during the coming holiday season, especially as supply line challenges meant inescapable price rises.
Meanwhile, the Castries Mayor Geraldine Lendor has been warning citizens that the municipality will not be undertaking the usual Christmas lighting-up and decorations of the city but instead be encouraging citizens to donate gift packages to the needy.
In all of this, business leaders continue to brace themselves for a second COVID Christmas; this time clouded by a crippled supply chain crisis and the new challenges posed by the latest variant: Omicron.