Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre on Thursday delivered his first National Budget. His $1.8 Billion ‘People’s Budget’ is expected to right the many grave financial and economic wrongs committed by the last United Workers Party (UWP) Administration.
In summing up at the end of the House Debate on the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for March 31, Prime Minister Pierre, revealed, surprisingly though well-received, that his administration will pay, as early as April 2022, increased wages to Public Servants.
In laying out the contrasting styles of his administration and that of the previous, the Prime Minister reiterated that his administration, unlike Chastanet’s, was not into political victimization.
He pointed out that after eight months in office the SLP-led administration had not dismissed any Public Servant because of their perceived political affiliation, pointing out that his government kept the Cabinet Secretary and Permanent Secretaries, who had served under the last UWP administration.
Prime Minister Pierre noted that while the opposition UWP continued to engage in deliberate “misinformation”, the SLP-led government was able to resurrect social programs buried by the last government, and provided more resources to the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force in their fight against rising crime.
PM Pierre noted that while the UWP was falsely accusing his administration of “stopping projects” and “victimizing UWP supporters”, it was an earlier UWP administration that had canceled the agreed Kuwait Fund-backed contract for the upgrade of the Castries-Gros Islet Highway.
The first part of the 2022-2023 Budget Debate ended without any input from the Leader of the Opposition. Chastanet had chosen to break with convention by not speaking immediately after the Minister of Finance and Prime Minister’s initial presentation to the House and risked the chance of the debate closing before he could make his presentation. As it turned out, the debate was brought to a close before Chastanet was able to make his contribution. It has been suggested that he may not have been ready to make his presentation, never mind he had the Estimates from the Thursday before, or was seeking to speak at a time with the largest viewership.
Whatever the reason, Chastanet appears to have miscalculated the will of the majority of members of the House and paid the prize of overestimating his influence on a two-man opposition bench.
Observers are claiming that Allen Chastanet has yet to come to terms with the fact that he is no longer Prime Minister, and the power that comes with it, which he so often abused.