PRESS RELEASE – Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony has outlined 15 major promises his party plans to deliver if re-elected to office.
Below are these pledges:
1. We will continue our relentless efforts to reduce unemployment, especially among our young people. It will remain our Number One (1) priority. We reduced unemployment from a high of 24% to 20%. We aim to reduce it even further, below 15%. We will do so by a combination of measures, from increased opportunities in Government financed construction to new investments especially in Tourism. Our aim is to construct no less than 2000 new hotel rooms.
2. We will continue with plans to develop a major highway along the north east coast of our island, linking Gros Islet to Dennery on the east coast. This is our Number 2 priority. We will finance this road by funding
from the newly established CIP Programme and applying the 30 million pounds sterling allocated to Saint Lucia by the British Government and to be administered by the Caribbean Development Bank.
3. We will put more money in the pockets of taxpayers by increasing the personal income tax allowance from $18,000.00 to $30,000.00. By increasing the personal allowance by $12000.00, some 3500 persons will no longer pay income tax and be required to file a return.
4. We will bring more tax relief to our pensioners. We will exempt from tax an additional $4000.00 of any income from a source in Saint Lucia by way of pension for past services to all pensioners or income earned by resident individuals who are citizens of Saint Lucia and have attained the age of sixty years. When this additional exemption is added to the new tax threshold of $30,000.00 the annual tax free amount that pensioners will receive will be $35,400.00. In other words, pensioners would only pay income tax if they earn more than $40,400.00 annually.
5. We will introduce a programme to assist parents in meeting the cost of the fees for CXC exams. This programme will be based on need and performance and will come into effect in 2017.
6. We will establish a Tertiary Education Trust Fund and will finance it by an allocation of $3.0 million
dollars every year for five years. This fund will be managed by an independent Board and will aim to finance tertiary education especially for young people from underprivileged and vulnerable households.
7. We will:
(a) Construct a new Police National Headquarters at La Toc;
(b) Construct a new National Judicial Complex;
(c) Construct at Choc a new National Theatre Complex.
8. We will begin planning for a new dam on the Troumasse River, which will allow for major development in the south of the island.
9. We have started to transform our economy by creating new spheres of activity like services, information technology and renewable energy. We will continue this work to ensure that Saint Lucia has a vibrant, robust and resilient economy that supports growth and development in all sectors.
10. We will implement Universal Health Care so that every Saint Lucian, regardless of financial ability, will be able to get proper and affordable health care.
11. We want more young people to get access to tertiary education. We will transform the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College to a University College with full degree granting status.
12. We understand that to be competitive, our economy must become independent from the importation of oil products for energy. So, we will work toward a complete transition away from fossil fuels for electricity generation, with a goal of 100% renewable energy by 2035.
13. We will rejuvenate the city of Castries, restoring it to its former status as the most attractive city in the Eastern Caribbean. Castries will be made safer, cleaner and will be converted into a Duty-Free cruise destination.
14. We will completely transform the agricultural sector, focusing on new value-added products like nutraceuticals and organics, to allow our farmers and agri-business people to export these products and take advantage of the fastest growing sector of the international food and beverage market.
15. We will enact new legislation to protect the Queen’s Chain (the People’s Chain) as a coastal protected area and secure and guarantee the rights of way and public access to our beaches. While the Queen’s Chain will be leased we will forbid its outright sale whether to developers or private persons.