For decades, the governments of both the UWP and SLP have withheld critical information from the people of Saint Lucia.
In fact, when it comes to assistance from donor agencies and corporations who have to date contributed funding or have entered into agreements with any elected government in Saint Lucia, don’t ever expect to be told the whole truth about these “transparent” arrangements or contracts.
A number of prime examples are as follows: the rebuilding of St. Jude’s Hospital, the Dennery flooding, HIA redevelopment that is now on hold, Blue coral, Hurricane Tomas recovery, sole source contracts, capital projects, NIC investments and holdings, Rochamel, NCA, Daher Mall, the Black Bay Lands fiasco, Marigot Development and now the best held state secret, Grynberg.
The troubling thing about most of these arrangements or contractual agreements is that they all represent a larger problem or an accepted norm of what passes for good governance in our country.
Both current and past administrations (SLP & UWP) have kept Saint Lucians in the dark, with a closed door, hush-mouth model of accountability and transparency, except for those who fit tightly into their narrow circle of patronage and outdated ideology.
As always, the majority of the people of Saint Lucia are at the bottom of the pack to receive the crumbs left over, after the inner circle of that government have ravaged through the choicest part of any international funding or investment received in the name of the people.
How can we even begin to talk about accountability and transparency, when no such thing has ever existed in our country?
Right now, in this technological sphere and fragile economy the government of Saint Lucia should very well consider making information about public expenditure; non classified communication and data publicly available in a downloaded format.
Currently, it is a closely guarded secret and a nightmare sourcing, or researching information that should have been accessible and unrestricted in the first place.
And therefore, it is unwise in the twenty-first century for a developing country and its citizens to be deprived of quality information and measures to improve the quality of transparency, accountability and efficiency.
Such would help to accelerate capital decision making, variable and project cost analysis. This matters a lot, in the midst of global competitiveness because it would lessen the troubling bureaucracy, red tape and hidden nuances that are consistent with ideologically driven development and political economic development that is hedged on blind trust – and most often throw-away transparency, accountability and effectiveness.
The reason for this is to provide better services that connect with opportunity and readiness that the struggling middle class can take hold of and the working poor can better prepare for, as well as the future citizens of Saint Lucia.
Saint Lucians have the capacity to provide workable ideas and practical solutions to drive today and tomorrow’s economy, but when political ideology and a political driven economy interlock in five year cycles, the machinery of good governance eventually stops working.
It’s time to do the right thing.
Melanius Alphonse is a management and development consultant. He is an advocate for community development, social justice, economic freedom and equality; the Lucian People’s Movement (LPM) critic on youth initiative, infrastructure, economic and business development. He can be reached at [email protected]