UPDATE: Government defends spending for Labour Day marketing

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UPDATE: Government defends spending for Labour Day marketing
Donovan Williams, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Heritage and Creative Industries. * GIS photo
Donovan Williams, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Heritage and Creative Industries. * GIS photo

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.

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42 COMMENTS

  1. Think about it, $200K EC has to be converted to USD to be spent in the USA. That's about $70K USD, which is peanuts considering travel costs, accommodations, meals, etc (for 20 people?). How much does this represent in the overall Tourism Budget?

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  2. Well Harry Maybe you need to ask yourself the question, Where did all the millions borrowed went to.
    Where did the Millions given after Debbie went to.
    Where did the millions given after the fire at St Jude went to.
    Where did the millions given to each UWP ministers for their constituency went to.
    Ask your political leader as former minister of tourism, was he Accountable to his boss, His cabinet colleage over funds spend from the tourism department.
    How about the Tuxedo villa affair.
    Then Harry will I respond to you, If these can be Answer correctly.
    Thanks for your cooperation in this matter.

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  3. So i realise a great deal of you are up in arms to the point that you are using strong words to others and personal attacks. Why are we so easily ready to add another problem to our lifes list of problems when it is not needed ?

    Anyways in regard to this the responces, this venture is not a venture which result in immediate profits. this venture is one which looks down the line through exposure of the island and its tangible benifits of exposing our brand to others. Whislt we may know St lucia very well, 7 mill of the 8 mill which viewed may of not ( not a proven statistic) and this exposure, whilst it may not equat to bolt for jamaica, is a starting point

    Thus, i think the intangible benefits fard outway the cots expensed

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  4. I have said it once and I will say it again until the people of our island get smarter than the politicians we will be stuck in the same rut. With a wealth of ignorance and zero progress. Until we acknowledge that the $ these politicians spend come from our VAT, PAYE, property tax you name it, the point is that it comes from our hard earned dollars. I don't know how easy money come by yall but I work damn hard for mine. So with that reasoning I have the right to be told how the $ that is spent benefits me or my country. And I don't give a fling off the wall who has to answer. Be it SLP or UWP why the hell is the argument ridiculous, senseless and as baseless as UWP wasted our $ so SLP can do it to. This is ludicrous! It is time we shape up and demand answers. I am sorry that response by the ps whom I have high regards for does not fly by me. If u spend that kind off money you should be able to produce something factual with figures and tell the country how it worked. Unacceptable! In these hard economic times u spending 200000 based on what you think! Please that shate only happens in st lucia. I have no evidence that this will work but I THINK I should try to see. But the politicians already intelligent enough to know we are colour blind so their party faithfuls will support come whatever.

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  5. I watched Christopher hunte(creative industries consultant) lashing out at Chastanet and by extension all the persons who expressed outrage for the wastage of tax payers money. HE said that he will not apologise.
    He said other ridiculous things(no surprises there considering his educational achievements)to justify this fiasco(expensive)
    He said one day we might see someone like Rhyana coming out of St.lucia because of this marketing strategy(rather marketing ignorance)He went on to say that eight million people saw what St lucia had to offer.
    What an idiot.Did he not see the press release sent out by his ministry?Maybe he read it but did not understand it.
    Either way,here is a joker who along with Lorne and company went on a joyride all the way to New York to market St.Lucia(so they said)to West Indians including St.lucians(how ironic)with the hope that (1)one day they will be able to export St.lucian services.
    (2)That those persons (west indians including St.lucians)will see our creative industry and wanting to see more will visit St lucia.What voodoo reasoning.The majority of the West indians who participate in this carnival cannot come to visit because they will not be able to return to the US because their holiday visas have expired.
    This joker could not tell us what marketing strategies were used,where they were effected and what were the results.
    But then ,he would not know anything about setting measurable objectives.
    OH YES;he is a paid consultant.It would be interesting to see what his curriculum vitae looks like.
    But then again,who needs that,when you have the Party card .

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  6. One thing I will add the last time UWP was in power the economy was no different from what it is now. So why when the SLP do it you guys have an issue... ?

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        • People stop hiding your heads in the sand, are Suzzy Q and don't know living in Saint Lucia? For those of us working within the system we can tell you much has changed and getting worst. Tighten your belts the ride is not going to be easy.

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  7. A few things.. for any of you who haven't visited NY during the labour day celebrations, here's what you need to know
    1. You meet all the St.Lucias who you never knew lived in NY
    2. Place to eat some good Caribbean food
    3. No different from carnival in Lucia (you'll see your neighbors, friends, aunts, wining, drunks etc)
    4. LOTS of police officers
    5. Lastly ..99.9% of people that attend are from the Caribbean.

    The government's initiative here was to market our very good "partying" skills that is already known or accepted by people from other cultures.

    This money could have been used to attend trade conferences that may help in us exporting our products or applied to detailed analytical research that may help us shift away from our dependency on tourism /bananas.

    Close-mindedness and lack of exploring other avenues to promote ourselves internationally will lead to our economic collapse. I suggest the government hold panel discussions with successful entrepreneurs on the island to think of ways to bring the country forward rather than spending 200k to attend a big party in NY.

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  8. LOOK AT THE PATHETIC GOVERNMENT DEFENCE.They were experimenting.A four hundred thousand dollar experiment.They think they deserve praise for spending only two hundred and twenty thousand dollars.Can you believe such hogwash?
    The release states that the government cannot measure the returns.How can any group of intelligent people invest in a pilot project with no measurable objectives as an integral part of the project?where was the advice of the consultant?
    THE release states that as a pilot it will eventually be refined to facilitate the sus tained export of St.lucian services.WHAT SERVICES IS THE GOVERNMENT REFERRING TO?Please tell us.
    After wasting all this money we are told that they cannot measure the returns but one day it will bear fruit.What is implied here(explicit) is that they will continue to spend more and more money on this project until they get it right and one day it will bear fruit.
    Can anyone really believe this.
    So,every year from now on the trip to NEW YORK will take place until the government can ex port services.CREATIVE SERVICES,PERHAPS,WHATEVER THAT MEANS.
    So much about value for money.But then again there are persons who ridicule those who think this is a waste of money considering the very bad economic situation St lucia faces.
    BETTER DAYS did arrive for those who went on that trip.

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  9. All the marketing decisions to go to the Labor Day Celebrations should have been backed by research and evidence. There is a reason people go to business schools to study marketing, analytics and economics. A government should never do something because they feel it in their bones. Every choice should have some economic plan behind it, cost-benefit analyses performed and decisions and subsequent outcomes recorded for the general public to be made aware. Until we stop doing things for the sake of doing them, regardless of political party affiliation will we develop.

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  10. for a blogger to offer the Florida Cruise Association conference as a waste of money to justify the the joyride undertaken by LORNE,CHRISTOPHER HUNTE and company is beyond comprehension.Quite silly ,actually.
    Does that person know who attends such a conference?Does that person know why such conferences are held.Is that person aware of the amount of money st.lucia gets as a result of the cruise ship industry?Is that person aware of the role the cruise ship companies play in determining which port the ships visit?
    Take time to get properly imformed.
    By the way,only a very,very uninformed person would call the debacle(at tax payers expense)which took place in NEW YORK MARKETING.Nothing about this wastage fits into the objectives of effective marketing.
    We reap what some people sow.What other result can be expected when the consultant (HUNTE)has neither the academic qualifications,nor the experience,the knowledge and skills to provide advise which is sound,intelligent,rational,prudent,and of driven by sound market intelligence.
    IT would seem that Sanches is very happy with this great value for money exercise.What a waste.

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  11. Why would you want to market saint lucia in a county where half the people cant travel because they are illegals and fled the caribbean because their countries didnt do them justice. Them guys must have gotten it good. $200000 to party and not a cent belong to you. #betterbloodydayz

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  12. St. Lucia needs to move away from tourism as its biggest form of income. How many St. Lucian's work in that industry anyway? Small business needs to be promoted. And that means competition for all the monopolies on the island. Only when government isn't afraid of saying no to big business will the people be able to rise. But this thing is the people in big business make up the government.

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    • When You say move away from tourism, what would you be replacing it with? You added, they should boost the local business, how is that going to happen if tourist don't come to the country the spend that money. Already there are lack of jobs, who is going to be buying and paying for services, and with what money? How do you plan to sustain the country, the infrastructure and other relevance?

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      • What happen to agriculture and being able to own your economy. Politics are truly blinding us. TWO Hundred Thousand dollars IS A Waste, While our International Airport is leaking. come on people.

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  13. [email protected] This is amazing that Allen Chastanet has the audacity to call the govt out on 'lavishness'. That is just to show Lucian people the kind of Conniving dog that this man chastanet is. That's all I have to say on this

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  14. All of a sudden The former tourism minister is complaining about spending, When he was minister of tourism He spends with no accountability to his boss nor his cabinet colleage
    One prime example, October of 2009 when he bring in the fcca, Florida Caribbean cruise association into St lucia at almond grove.
    What Agreement did he made with the hotel, and how muchmoney did he pay almond grove for the period of time.
    How much did he gave to the fcca for coming to st lucia after other countries rejected them.
    Each Delegate paid from $900 to over $1000.00 Then who Foot the bill for Transportation, Food, Entertainment.
    Wasn't it the St lucia government, under the then tourism minister,
    After they collected thousands of dollars from delegate, how much millions did the tourism minister gace to the fcca.
    So for him now to find now for marketing is waste, He is a Hipocrite.

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  15. New York is a very good city to market St. Lucia. Its a diverse city with lots of different culture, and its not only west indians they attend labour day canival so i must its good advertising for lucia as for the truck thats a whole other story.
    we need to see why the promoters did not do a good enough job. As a lucian American i always wear my tshirts advertising st.lucia.

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  16. Is it really necessary for a Minister and Permanent Secretary to go market St.Lucia? What is the role of the marketing people? That sounds like a joy ride to me

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  17. I absolutely agree with this article. All of the artists and government officials which were flown over to the New York Labor Celebrations in Brooklyn, to perform at parties and shows which did not receive a good turn out was indeed a waste of money. As much as the island would like to be represented during the parade the amount of the cost incurred was unnecessary. The money was used to cover the airfare and hotel accommodations of about 20 people some of which are not even that popular which indicates that people were not looking forward to seeing them. In addition the Labour Day Parade is attended mostly by other Caribbean people who are unable to travel outside of the US due to the lack of appropriate travel documents. So can someone please tell me what marketing benefits did St. Lucia receive from this?

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  18. Complaining about 200k but what about the Taiwanese millions? Give us a breakdown on that! Give us a breakdown on thousands (of public money) that was used to finance personal campaigns . . . even third world. What's your take!

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