The United Workers Party (UWP) has accused Press Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister Jadia Jn Pierre-Emmanuel of seeking to deceive the public through a press release issued on June 23 regarding the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the government’s salary cut proposal.
The press secretary’s release had used a recent call by the IMF for countries in the region to cut wage bills to support government’s recent proposal to cut the salaries of public sector workers by five percent as a means of reducing fiscal debt.
In a press release today, June 26, the UWP accused the press secretary of “desperately” seeking to “cover-up the debacle of Prime Minister Anthony’s five percent wage cut ultimatum to public servants”.
The UWP, in an effort to shed “light on the naked propaganda” it believes came from the press secretary, stated: “In her calculated propaganda ploy, the press secretary neglected to inform Saint Lucians that such recommendations from the IMF are not new and have been repeatedly made almost in the same language to regional government over the years. For example, in their 2003 Country Report (Clause 30), the IMF made the following recommendations to the then Kenny Anthony Administration: ‘Priority should be given to carrying out a strong upfront fiscal adjustment and continued moderation in expenditures in the medium term. The rising debt-to-GDP ratio raises concern about fiscal sustainability. The staff welcomes the authorities’ intention to slow debt accumulation through spending restraint, including a reduction in capital outlays …… To ensure this, the staff urges additional steps to contain current expenditures, accelerated tax reform, and stepped-up establishment of the Revenue Authority ……..'”
It added, “The UWP advises Mrs. Emmanuel that her efforts would be best spent advising the prime minister to climb down from his stubborn posture and to give active consideration to the numerous recommendations submitted by public sector unions and other stakeholders including some of his ‘so-called consultants’. She may also wish to further advise her boss to adopt a more open-minded attitude in his efforts to engage public servants.”
The party went further by calling for the resignation of Finance Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony whom it believes did the country more harm than good in his two and a half years in office.
“Finally the UWP believes that after 2 ½ years in office, during which time he has delivered us to the doors of the IMF, it is now imperative that the prime minister resign as the minister of finance, economic affairs and social security before the country faces an even greater crisis. His willingness to concede to failure and demit office will allow Saint Lucians the privilege of choosing a new government to begin our recovery from ‘economic purgatory,’” the UWP said.
The press release from the press secretary was entitled “IMF Recommends Reduction in Wage Bill.” That publication, according to the press secretary, had quoted an IMF statement which was dated June 19. That statement, according to her release, had come about following the conclusion of the 2014 discussion on the common policies of the countries of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU).