After an intensive review of the current structure and operations of Saint Lucia’s ministry of tourism and the ministry of external affairs, the Lucian People’s Movement (LPM) said that the island might be better served if they were not headed by elected officials.
Speaking on behalf of the LPM, the party’s political leader, Therold Prudent, insisted that greater economic and social benefits would be derived if the current administration of Dr Kenny Anthony and all future administrations agreed to a joint national policy of depoliticizing these ministries.
The LPM believes that while it may seem prudent to allow the government of the day to place its political stamp on the highest echelons of these two ministries, given what it described as Saint Lucia’s history of political immaturity and the inability to respect the dichotomy between government and politics, in which successive administrations have failed the nation.
These two ministries, Prudent believes, are too important to the livelihood of the nation to be entrusted to the care of politicians with divided responsibilities and loyalties to constituents, party and country.
Moreover, simply being elected to Saint Lucia’s House of Assembly should not be interpreted as a qualification for holding these two crucial ministries or any other ministry for that matter.
He said that Saint Lucia would do much better if governments focused less on the best interests of their party and more on what’s best for the country. Such an approach would enable better decision making.
The LPM leader added, “The principles and policies of running a country should be similar to those of running a successful business. Therefore, our island would be better served if the ministry of tourism and the ministry of external affairs were placed in the hands of trained professionals with the knowledge and skills to pursue a non-partisan and focused national policy on trade agreements, development issues and investments, to bring jobs and other opportunities to our shores.”
He considers that choosing elected officials with no specialized academic background or practical training, and who are forced to learn to manage the island’s tourism industry and to conduct its foreign policy by trial and error only serves to undermine the nation’s economic agenda and national progress.
Prudent noted, “The situation is made even worse when these elected officials are forced to balance their responsibilities of extensive travels abroad and to adequately represent the concerns of the people who elected them into office.”
He further noted that, not only will the national interest suffer in terms of not being able to reap maximum benefits from those appointments, but so too will the constituents who elected these persons into office.
Prudent concluded, “While we in the LPM generally stand in opposition to the policies of this government, our party holds no malice towards the current ministers of tourism and external affairs. If anything, they should be viewed as victims of a very old and outdated traditional system that places an undue burden upon the limited abilities of our current elected officials.”
The LPM said that it hopes that the St Lucia Labour Party government views its input as constructive criticism and uses this opportunity to start a national dialogue on how best to restructure the ministry of tourism and the ministry of external affairs for the greater good of the nation.