Robing the poor

The Throne Speech written by the Labour (and liberal) government of Saint Lucia and delivered by Her Excellency on April 24, 2012, was an excellent delivery of the obvious and the admission by an administration endowed in Greek civilization “to become a tragedy like Helen of Troy.”

The catch is this: “All things are ready if our minds be so." This is a fine line, but myopic in thought and action, due to the fact that the reality is not balanced with a growth-supporting measures, but rather just another fine deal, made for smart messaging.

Until now, to savor the victory, the Labour (and liberal) government has moved from “STEP” to “NICE” to retain its grip on power with empty political rhetoric.

The Labour (and liberal) government to date has grown the recurrent estimates of expenditure by $68 million in five months — and it is clear by now that someone did not get the memo. In the meantime, as they cleverly ask the citizens of Saint Lucia to tie their waist and pull up their boot straps, it is very clear that only a few will benefit from their reckless borrowing and spending.

The Labour (and liberal) government seems not interested in their own messaging to make tough choices and commit to real fiscal discipline. It’s equally true that the habit of reckless tax and spend, and to make the deep economic and political cuts that are required for a sustainable fiscal footing is not going to happen.

The real struggle is a variable between better days, Greek civilization and the need for more time, because, “All things are ready if our minds be so." But let’s not forget that the Labour (and liberal) government of Saint Lucia is by nature a miserable administrator of the public purse. Their perceive strength is political rhetoric and perception to STEP,   LEAP and now, NICE. So, who’s benefit? “YEP” let’s see how “BIG” this will impact the greatest number. Talk about robbing the poor by raising taxes with language such as “no other choice" — is no doubt an autocratic approach to avoid spending cuts.

The news has been predictable, the outlook is bleak — STEPPIN’ to LEAP and now — YEP, BIG, and NICE, will not cut it.

A quick look at world markets reflects this. With $35 million allotted to NICE, the task, the mission at hand is to relieve the chronic employment shortage (so they stay). Are they for real? Could this be just another version of short term employment, the same kind that has kept poor people in abject poverty? And, then there is “SMILE” — SMILE about what? Maybe a Labour (and liberal) government of acronyms.

Never mind the political opportunism, the financial crisis remains unfavourable, with sluggish growth and fiscal imbalance. In the main, the fate of Saint Lucia is glossed upon with fancy acronyms, as its people are led towards the abyss of despair. In all likelihood, new stimulus to trade and to grow domestic demand in agriculture while reducing the food import bill and increasing manufacturing output is fundamental for the delivery of a long term reform.

Additionally, to solve the debt and job crisis, one solution is to create the environment for the private sector to create jobs, (rather than a NICE liberal distribution of public funds), reduce government spending, pay down the debt and balance the budget. While the throne speech called for the people to come together, the Labour (and liberal) government is not in step with the citizens but on their own vibe to be nice with their comrades.

While our house of faith is centered on God and country, others prefer, "faith in ourselves, in our country, in God."  While civil society, business and person should direct government, others prefer to “engage as government to civil society."

Indeed, “we need to engage each other in proactive and responsible ways. Let us not shout across the fence of divided opinion but sit in the circle of mutual respect and the kind of willing compromise that shapes the best solutions for the greatest number."

But, then again, while this is inspiring philosophy the Labour (and liberal) government, autocratic rule is the order of the day. Simply because, while citizens make ends meet, the Labour (and liberal) government lives up and talks down citizens of not being “strangers to hardship.”

Ouch, that hurts. Many may have thought that our fore-parents left these on the plantation fields, I guess we were mistaken — and so, this amplifies the need for a progressive analysis to citizen engagement, and a new world order.

In closing, I refer to the following quotations from the throne speech: “My government is committed to participation democracy that embraces all sectors of society.”  “This is a time to search for the common good. My government urges citizens to share their thoughts, ideas and solution."  “Fellow Saint Lucians, this pretence works only in the mind, so it is there that we must start our transformation.”

Certainly, I yield.  

Contributed by Melanius Alphonse

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