The Ministry of Tourism and Creative Industries has responded to concerns by the main opposition United Workers Party (UWP) about the monies spent to fund a local contingent to Labour Day in New York.
According to a statement, it would have originally cost government almost EC$400, 000 for the Labour Day New York marketing and promotional initiative. However, after the final tally, the ministry was able to reduce the amount to about $220, 000.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Donovan Williams, explained that the initiative was a pilot, which will eventually be refined to facilitate the sustained export of Saint Lucian services.
Williams said the project has gotten negative feedback in some spheres because of misinformation on the project and a misunderstanding of the project’s overall mandate.
He acknowledges that the return on investment at this point cannot be measured, but in moving forward it will bear fruit.
Seven artistes, headed by Ignatious Tisson, better known as the Invader, performed on New York’s Eastern Parkway earlier in September.
Moving forward, Williams has assured the criteria will be publicized in order to stem any confusion regarding artist selection.
EARLIER REPORT on Sept. 25, 2013: EC$200,000 goes up in flames in New York Labour Day celebrations – UWP
The article below is a press release/statement from the United Workers Party (UWP) and NOT St. Lucia News Online
As Saint Lucians reel under economic pressure to meet their financial commitments, the Saint Lucia Labour Party government continues to disregard the cries of the people by showing no mercy in the manner in which they persist in spending lavishly on events that have no real benefits for Saint Lucians and the economy.
One would have thought that the minister for finance would have recognized the need to spend the Value Added Tax (VAT) revenue of the country in a manner that would bring solace to the people of the country. It is already very difficult for citizens to pay 15 percent VAT during a time that the local economy is comatose, and to spend that money on frivolity is indeed double jeopardy for all of us.
Earlier this month, the Ministry for Creative Industries with an entourage consisting of ministry officials and artistes spent a whopping EC$200,000 to attend Labour Day celebrations in New York and an additional EC$30,000 on a truck, presumably to market St. Lucia to St. Lucians in the Diaspora and the rest of the world.
This effort put on by the ministry was a complete failure and is another example of wastage on the part of this government. Whilst elderly citizens struggle to pay VAT on medication and families suffer as they strive to take care of their children, the government continues to display its uncaring ways by spending tax payers’ money without due care to alleviate the plight of those people who are crippled by the implementation of their policies.
The Kenny Anthony administration has displayed that it is bereft of ideas to stimulate the local economy. Why didn’t the government use that EC$200,000 to save a few small businesses (instead of blaming the closure of small businesses entirely on the owners and operators)?
Why didn’t that money go towards meeting the cost of medication for poor elderly people? We therefore call on the minister of finance and, in particular, the minister for creative industries to account for the EC$200,000 and more that was spent on the New York Labour Day Promotion fiasco.