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Progress: Deficit Contained, Tourism Visits Up

When the SLP took government in 2011, we faced a big mess. Our economy had lost thousands of jobs and our deficit was skyrocketing out of control – all of this under the failed UWP regime. In 2014, the SLP made progress turning around the ship of state and putting Saint Lucia back on the right track. Dr. Anthony explains:

We’ve stabilized the fiscal deficit. And, tourism visits are up. We still have more work to do to turn our country around and fix the mess that the UWP handed to us. But, it’s clear that sure and steady progress is being made and that, after a term of maladministration, Saint Lucia is once again moving forward.


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SLP Congratulates Dominica Labour Party (DLP)

Performance in government matters. It’s why the UWP was swept out after one failed term of high unemployment and record national debt. And it’s why Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerritt and the Dominica Labour Party (DLP) won an historic fourth term. The UWP in Saint Lucia failed. The DLP in Dominica is succeeding.

On behalf of the Saint Lucia Labour Party – and all Saint Lucians – we extend a heartfelt congratulations to Prime Minister Skerritt and the DLP.


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Check for Yourself! Our Commitment to Jobs

We have a big mess to clean up. When the UWP entered government in 2006, they inherited a Saint Lucia that was working. Unemployment was at record lows. Our debt was manageable. People felt deep in their bones that things were getting better. Then, the disastrous UWP government took control. They lost thousands of jobs and ballooned our debt to record levels.

Now, the SLP is back in government and we're doing our best to clean up the UWP's mess. We know that we can't solve all our problems overnight, but, that if we put our faith in Almighty God and the people of Saint Lucia, that we can surely and steadily move this country forward.

When we took government, we immediately made job creation a top priority. So, we created the National Initiative to Create Employment (NICE). This program has helped a grand total of 4,847 Saint Lucians since we started it. This includes:

  • 1,118 jobs
  • 525 seniors helped with housing
  • 104 farmers getting Farm Labour Support
  • 1,412 workers getting apprenticeships and training
  • 146 new private sector jobs thanks to the private sector partnership
  • 9,476 positions created through four cycles of STEP
  • Hundreds of jobs created in the cruise sector

Make no mistake, there's still more work to do. Our job is not done. So, the next time your UWP friend complains that it's taking too long to fix the economy, remind them who got us into this mess in the first place. What we must do now is not turn back to the failed policies of the UWP.Now is the time to take a good look at ourselves - the people of Saint Lucia - to stand up tall once again and believe in ourselves and believe in our future. We believe in Saint Lucia. We call on you to do the same.


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Entry barriers for Cuba-trained nurses must come down now!

‘Artificial barriers to entry set up for Cuban trained professionals, particularly in the medical and nursing field, need to be rejected and abandoned, once and for all. For several decades, Cuba has remained among the top three nations in the world for medical care and advancement. This nonsense where a group of elitist doctors have conned our Government into setting separate and additional entry qualifications for Cuban trained professionals has to come to an end NOW -- this year, in 2012 -- and it must start with this batch of students…’ By Maryanna Williams (Exclusive Crusader Correspondent) A loyal UWP supporter asked Former Minister of Health and defeated District Representative Keith Mondesir for help in bringing his daughter back home from Cuba -- and with no more Taiwanese money, Mondesir is looking for a way out. Being the cheapskate he is, Mondesir is trying to shift the responsibility placed on him by his supporter on to the Government. And the already lost Stephenson King has allowed Mondesir to mislead him -- yet again. When will King ever learn? Has he learnt nothing from Mondesir’s Tuxedo Villas Scandal? Doesn’t he understand that it was greedy Ministers like Keith Mondesir, Richard Frederick and Rufus Bousquet who dragged him down? Why is he still letting these undesirable elements control him? Even Mondesir’s reasoning on television defied logic and common sense. Mondesir suggested that the Government had made a promise to parents, but he could not substantiate this. He then suggested that the Prime Minister should ask his friends who gave him a car (while in Opposition) for the money, or take from a promised one-hundred-million-dollar injection into the economy to bring the students home. Is Mondesir for real? This man must really be a quack, so we must really be thankful that the people of Anse La Raye Canaries offloaded him from the seat of Government on November 28, 2011. So, here it is: you have cheapskate Mondesir trying to escape from a supporter’s private request, together with disgruntled parent and political instigator Nathaniel Reynolds, and puppet Opposition Leader Stephenson King, all of them all over the media trying to make this into more than it is. It is not insignificant that Nathaniel Reynolds is a former President of the UWP Youth Arm and that all the leaders of this ill-advised agitation are integrally and inextricably connected to the UWP. This is essentially a UWP campaign of lies and misinformation against the Government by men who have attained some notoriety in those areas, as well as in bullying and bulldozing. And if the quiet but Professional current Health Minister, Honourable Alvina Reynolds, did not come out and make a statement saying that her caring Government would try to assist, then these lying men would have had the nation believe that the SLP Government was running away from its responsibility. As a parent myself, I would be concerned if my daughter was stuck in any country and my Government was responsible for this. Even if the Government was not responsible for my daughter’s plight, and I did not have the financial means to bring her back, I would try to get them to assist -- but I would do so honestly. I would do like the Grambling University parents and raise the issue with the Ministry of Education so that they could formally take up the fight on behalf of my daughter. In this current case, we all agree (and the Government has taken steps to realize this through Minister Alvina Reynolds) that the students need to come home as quickly as possible. However, we must be under no illusion whatsoever, that because Keith Mondesir, Nathaniel Reynolds or Stephenson King said so, the Government is automatically or politically is responsible for bringing the students home. Unless that promise is stated somewhere in writing or in documented speech, the UWP trio of instigators is simply being downright dishonest with this matter. In the absence of a documented promise, it is the responsibility of parents and families to bring their children home. Where parents are financially incapable of doing so, as I am sure some are, we should have no problem if the government takes some of our tax revenues to bring these children home. But when parents like Nathaniel Reynolds, who from all indications is financially able to do so, refuses to pay even a Cuban cent to bring his daughter home, we must object loudly to our taxpayer dollars being used for that purpose. As patriotic St. Lucians, we cannot continue allowing the privileged to profit and prosper on the backs of the poor. Our education revolution will succeed with leadership, impetus and support from government but it will also require commitment and contributions from the beneficiaries. Resources are scarce and those who can afford to pay must make a bigger contribution so that we can afford to finance those who are not able to pay for themselves. Every dollar we pay for a privileged person is a dollar less we have for a poor person’s education, health, nutrition, and recreation. We cannot afford this luxury as a small developing country. We must all demonstrate our commitment to our country’s development and contribute according to our capabilities. We must also take according to our need and not our greed. As Mahatma Ghandi observed, “There are enough resources for every man’s need, but not enough for every man’s greed.” Mondesir is free to say “It’s only fifty thousand dollars so Government should pay it.” Many of us may be tempted to agree with the simplicity of the statement, but it is that exact same logic which caused the Tuxedo Villas and Richard Frederick Tax Evasion Scandals – “it’s only a few thousand dollars, so government can afford to lose that.” See how easy it is to move from one to the next, and for criminals to use good to justify evil? Our Government should feel free to take the moral high ground and just bring everybody home, especially if the return trip is overdue. In doing so, however, government must be careful to distinguish and differentiate its decision so that it cannot be used as a precedent for future dishonesty by the Mondesirs and Kings of this world and their accomplices. In welcoming our newly trained nurses back home, we must thank the Cuban Government for their sponsorship of this vital training and development of our human resources. We must also commend the last Labour Government and ex-Health Minister Damian Greaves for piloting a new strategic direction for health which included expanded primary health care, new General and Psychiatric Hospitals and the requisite nursing and medical staff to support the larger infrastructure. The returning nurses are therefore an important part of the plan for Health Care in St. Lucia and every effort should be made to engage them immediately after they arrive home. Artificial barriers to entry which have been set up for Cuban trained professionals, particularly in the medical and nursing fields, need to be rejected and abandoned, once and for all. For several decades, Cuba has remained among the top three nations in the world for medical care and advancement. This nonsense where a group of elitist doctors have conned our Government into setting separate and additional entry qualifications for Cuban trained professionals has to come to an end NOW -- this year, in 2012 -- and it must start with this batch of students. And fittingly, it must happen under a Labour Government, which, as a Party and Government, saw the value in accepting Cuban scholarships while the UWP refused on petty political grounds.

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WHY DID KING HAVE TO FUSS OVER UBALDUS?

‘Let us wish Ubaldus well and let us move on and not make this story into something bigger than it really is. He has simply expressed his personal disappointment at being underutilized and in the context of a Government laden with abundant talent…’ By Maryanna Williams (Exclusive Crusader Correspondent) As the Opposition UWP begins to buckle under the weight of a working SLP Government, its incompetent Leader - Stephenson King - continues to embarrass and drag down the Party. His own former Chairman Clem Bobb and Executive Member Oswald “Ozzie Boy” Augustine have blamed the UWP’s electoral defeat in 2011 on the glaring blunders and bungling of Stephenson King and have called upon him to step down as Political Leader. However, transfixed by the trappings of Opposition Leadership, which include a Minister-level salary and several other perks, the now unemployable Stephenson King will fight to the death to keep his current position. The same way he plotted to take away the Prime Ministership from Spider after Sir John’s death, is the same way he is now maneuvering to stem any current challenges to his leadership. So, those who are waiting on King to call a UWP Convention to facilitate his own removal will have a very long time to wait. For, while King may be governmentally incompetent, he has acquired certain political survival skills which protect him personally, but hurt the Party seriously. This was clearly demonstrated in his stint as Prime Minister where King virtually went to bed with ‘devils’ to protect his Prime Ministerial position. The unholy alliance with Richard Frederick has haunted him up till today and his embracing of Rufus Bousquet over Jeanine Compton dealt a lethal blow to the reputation of the UWP Government which King led. This was further exacerbated by King’s attempts to protect tax cheats Keith Mondesir and Richard Frederick and his high tolerance for the financial excesses of Allen Chastanet. Stephenson King’s leadership claims were also seriously undermined by his lack of loyalty to supporters like Ausbert d’Auvergne, Lady Janice Compton and Dunstan DuBoulay. His almost incredulous dependence on divisive and vindictive persons like Rick Wayne and Sam Flood severely diminished his standing as a leader in the eyes of many St. Lucians. In the lead-up to the 2011 Elections, King was seen as a puppet whose every move and every decision was controlled by someone pulling his strings. King was seen as weak, indecisive and incompetent, so St. Lucians who were serious about their country’s reputation and future voted him and the UWP out of office and returned the accomplished Kenny Anthony and the SLP to the seat of Government. But it seems that Stephenson King has learnt nothing from his Party’s electoral defeat, as he continues to make mindless statements with alarming regularity. Maybe, he believes that winning Castries North over Dr. Ubaldus Raymond imbues him with some sort of immunity from stupidity, but he needs to wake up from his false sense of invincibility within the UWP. Some very high-ranking supporters of the UWP have been openly critical of his rejection of Kenny Anthony’s offer to be more inclusive and elevate the role of the Opposition in Government, and in particular, the status of the Leader of the Opposition. King’s seemingly inseparable bond with Richard Frederick has also angered some die-hard UWP supporters who want to cleanse their Party of undesirable elements and contaminating influences. These UWP purists cannot stomach their Political Leader following the lead of Richard Frederick and Rick Wayne, in trying to pursue a Grynberg conflict which “Greedy Joe” and others in the UWP Government fuelled. Some are livid that King allowed Frederick to drag him into attacking the new Castries City Council Board when the evidence clearly pointed to corruption in the CCC under the Ministerial stewardship of Richard Frederick. And when King opened his mouth last week on the resignation of Dr. Ubaldus Raymond as an SLP Senator and Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Commerce, Investment and Consumer Affairs, a top UWP friend of mine switched to the language of obscenity to criticize his Political Leader’s statements. He could not understand why King would be driven to comment on a “non-issue”; and worse yet, why would King want to elevate the opponent he defeated under very acrimonious circumstances on November 27, 2011? My UWP friend was livid when I suggested that King was being politically expedient. “Political expediency my arse,” he snapped back, “everybody saw King and Ubaldus almost come to blows on Election Day, and now King inviting the same flippin’ Ubaldus to serve under him? Where is King’s flippin’ brain? When will he learn to keep his damn mouth shut? These men must really learn when to speak and when to keep their damned mouths shut.” Even SLP supporters came under fire from my UWP friend for making a mountain out of Ubaldus’ molehill statements. “The man get a big flippin’ job and he leaving and you all SLPees don’t want him to say what convinced him to leave? The flippin’ man is entitled to say what he want, and instead you all letting sleeping dogs lie, you all attacking him? For what?” For once, I agreed with my UWP friend and felt there can be no possible benefit for the SLP in attacking one of its own in public. Ubaldus is an intelligent man, who was probably misled into making a negative statement by a media fascinated with scandal. There is no need for Labour to crucify Ubaldus for his statement. Just accept it as Ubaldus’ grievance -- whether merited or not -- and move on. Consider the many positives – that the SLP has high quality reserve talent that can be exported to the region, that Ubaldus will now be fully employed in his area of natural competence, that the door has been opened for another competent Saint Lucian to have the opportunity to be appointed to the Senate, and that the immense talent and expertise in the SLP Government is recognized at home and abroad. So, let us wish Ubaldus well and let us move on and not make this story into something bigger than it really is. He has simply expressed his personal disappointment at being underutilized and in the context of a Government laden with abundant talent, this cannot be translated into a criticism of his Party or Government.

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Dr. Ubaldus Raymond appointed Chief Economist in the Turks and Caicos Islands Government

Prime Minister, Honourable Dr. Kenny D. Anthony, wishes to advise that he has regretfully accepted the resignation of Dr. Ubaldus Raymond from the Senate and, consequently, as Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Commerce, Business Development, Investment and Consumer Affairs. Dr. Raymond has resigned his position to allow him to take up the prestigious senior post of Chief Economist in the Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Dr. Raymond is the holder of a Ph.D. degree in Development Economics from Howard University in Washington D.C., USA and prior to returning to Saint Lucia to contest the 2011 General Elections in the constituency of Castries North for the Saint Lucia Labour Party, he served for seven years as Senior Economist in the Department of the Environment and the DC Public Service Commission in Washington DC and as Assistant Professor of Economics at Florida A&M University in the Department of Economics. Ubaldus ‘Jimmy’ Raymond possesses a wealth of experience and training in areas such as Monetary and Fiscal Policy, Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, International Finance, Corporate Finance, and Managerial Economics, which will serve him in good stead in his new position. End. Source: Office of the Prime Minister (468-2111) The Prime Minster, on behalf of the Cabinet of Ministers, wishes Dr. Ubaldus Raymond the very best in his new position and is confident that he will continue to make our country proud.

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24th Annual Castries East Constituency Conference

SAINT LUCIA LABOUR PARTY
CASTRIES EAST CONSTITUENCY
[ESTABLISHED SINCE 1950]

The Saint Lucia Labour Party Castries East Constituency will be hosting its 24th Annual Constituency Conference at the Bocage Secondary School, on Sunday, July 22, 2012 at 3:00 pm. The conference shall be held under the theme “Empowering Castries East through Education and Training.”

The 4th term Parliamentary Representative for Castries East and Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. Philip J Pierre, will deliver remarks where he is expected to thank residents for their continued support and outline a vision for the future.

The guest speaker of the conference will be Hon. Dr. Kenny D. Anthony, Prime Minister and Parliamentary Representative for the Vieux Fort South Constituency.

The conference will also hear reports from the Chairman and Treasurer of the Constituency Group. Additionally, the newly elected executive shall be introduced to the gathering.

It is expected that the conference will celebrate the 4th consecutive victory of the Saint Lucia Labour Party in the Castries East Constituency.

For further information, please contact;
Ms. Andrea Bourne: 285-2279 or 451-7248


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GRYNBERG - A DIRTY DECEITFUL & DISHONEST DUD

‘Those who by their unethical actions inadvertently angered Grynberg will have to explain whose cause they were fighting. And those who visited, called and coaxed Grynberg to sue based on their private motive of trying to embarrass Kenny Anthony, will also have to account for their actions… ‘

By Maryanna Williams
(Exclusive Crusader Correspondent)

Some months before the 2011 General Elections, the UWP Dirty Tricks Brigade, led by Rick Wayne, introduced a curious story about the “Sale of St. Lucia’s seabed” by Kenny Anthony. They claimed that Kenny Anthony had sold the seabed of St. Lucia to an oil explorer (Jack Grynberg) -- and that was the biggest scandal in the history of St. Lucia.

All that had happened was that the Government had given exploration rights to Grynberg’s company as St. Lucia could not afford to undertake the costly search for oil on its own.

The agreement with Grynberg was quite clear and was fleshed out in its entirety by acclaimed Consumer Rights Advocate Andrew Antoine, in a three-part series in the Voice newspaper. Antoine’s analysis was robust and thorough and he found no devil in the details. But, somehow, then Planning Minister Richard Frederick, then Government Press Secretary Darnley Lebourne, and confessed anti-Kenny Anthony critic Rick Wayne, all thought they could substitute spin for truth.

They tried desperately to make this into a political scandal to stop Kenny Anthony and the SLP’s march to victory, but the people were not fooled. I proudly played my patriotic part, as usual, in exposing the dishonesty and deceit of this un-Godly UWP design. And, in the end, truth prevailed over evil.

Frederick even went to Grenada to gather information and he held a press conference there with former Grenada Deputy Prime Minister Gregory Bowen, to try to make this Grynberg story into what it was not. Rick Wayne even convinced the gullible Stephenson King to address the Nation, as Prime Minister, on the subject – and, as usual, King made a fool of himself in that address.

So, before elections the people rejected this attempted Grynberg con; but in the post-election period, Rick Wayne, Stephenson King and the UWP seem persistent in pushing it as a failure of Kenny Anthony. It is therefore opportune that we take them back down the very short memory lane on this matter.

Below are some extracts from my articles on the subject last year:

“For the 2011 general elections, Stephenson King and the UWP must show slate and they cannot; so they are trying to throw dirt at Kenny Anthony and Labour. Persons like Rick Wayne need to realize that when people are suffering they will not mistake bluff and stupidness for food. This manufactured Grynberg scandal will not cut it; it is a big fraudulent argument by Richard, Rufus, Rick and their friends. Rick Wayne would be well advised to try to keep his big ego in check, and the next time he writes or has input into a silly speech for the Prime Minister, he should not go on News Spin to preview it; that’s Darnley Le Bourne’s job, if instructed by Mr. King.”

“And this foolishness that Rick Wayne blurted out on News Spin about Grynberg being ten (10) times worse than Rochamel; where does he get off shooting off his mouth with such garbage? Rochamel was a private public partnership where the Government was forced to take a US$14.5 million hit in the interest of the people of St. Lucia. There was no malice, no fraud, and absolutely no dishonest intent or wrongdoing on the part of the Kenny Anthony Administration. If the same Rochamel principle had been applied to the Le Paradis Hotel Development in Praslin, today we may well have had a completed hotel with hundreds of St. Lucians employed, instead of the idle and uncompleted structures now overrun with snakes and serpents.

Kenny Anthony did not lose one cent under the expired Grynberg agreement. All monies that have been expended thus far have been wasted on a fruitless witch hunt by Richard Frederick, Rufus Bousquet, Rick Wayne and Stephenson King. Like the Ramsahoye witch hunt, this one is again at considerable tax payers expense and begs the question: Should St. Lucians continue paying for the private political battles of a discredited Government and its cronies?”

“Several weeks ago, I cautioned Prime Minister Stephenson King about allowing himself to be used by Rick Wayne to make malicious statements against Kenny Anthony. Dr. Kenny D. Anthony, as Prime Minister of Saint Lucia between 1997 and 2006, and as Leader of the Opposition from 2006 to the present, has made St. Lucians at home and abroad very proud to proclaim him as a son of our great land. Kenny Anthony is competent, he is confident and he is comfortable in the company of all classes of people, from Presidents and Prime Ministers to the ordinary and dispossessed plebes.

But Prime Minister Stephenson King, who Rick Wayne referred to as “unfit to lead a boys’ scout troop,” has stupidly accepted the chameleon’s advice to attack Kenny Anthony on “Grynberg.” The agreement has expired and not a cent has been lost, nor a centimeter of seabed given up, but Prime Minister King and his “Dumbley” sidekick Lebourne, were mouthing Rick Wayne’s crap about “the biggest scandal in St. Lucia’s history.” Come on, pleeease, give St. Lucians a break!”

“Prime Minister Stephenson King’s former right hand man – Ausbert d’Auvergne – has now confirmed that Stephenson King as Prime Minister, actually signed a renewal of the Grynberg agreement in November 2007. Former External Affairs Permanent Secretary - Earl Huntley - has also corroborated this by stating that he received a signed copy of the renewed agreement from PM King’s Secretary in November 2007, although he returned it for review. D’Auvergne also indicts Stephenson King for signing the agreement despite the fact that it and two (2) other applications were being reviewed by Cabinet. He further informs King and the country that two (2) signed copies are available in the files of the Ministry of Economic Affairs which he (d’Auvergne) previously headed, and that it is a criminal offence to destroy government documents.

Since the statements by Messrs d’Auvergne and Huntley, Stephenson King, “Dumbley” Lebourne, and “Bad Boy” Doddy Francis have become mute, or as George Odlum, our late Orator extra-ordinaire would say, they have been “moomoorised.”

So, “Grynberg” has backfired on King and company like a 10-ton bomb, and the promoters are in shock and do not know how to respond. In the meantime, Mr. Rick Wayne, the chief cook in this saga has abandoned Stephenson king and returned to the comforts of Miami. Come on Mr. King and company, we now need to hear from you on this matter, not from Kenny Anthony as your friend Therold Prudent suggests.”

“Prime Minister King should have taken my advice to fight the election on his record, however dismal, and not on the manufactured shortcomings of Kenny Anthony. Every St. Lucian knows that Kenny Anthony is miles ahead of Stephenson King in terms of leadership acumen and governmental competence, so King’s best bet is to highlight the positives from his own record and downplay his many major foul-ups. But he let Rick Wayne rule is agenda and look at what has happened.”

“……..my simple advice to Kenny Anthony and the Labour Party is to curtly dismiss this Grynberg dud and continue focusing on the issues which matter to the St. Lucian voter. These include government corruption and wastage, denial of better wages and working conditions, loss of jobs, closure of businesses, bribing of investors and lack of job and further education opportunities for young people. Rick Wayne can hop, skip and jump, but St. Lucians have already decided that Kenny Anthony is just the type of Leader we need now, to repair our country and its battered reputation.”

This was before November 28, 2011 but it is now documented history that Rick Wayne and the UWP’s Grynberg story failed to score with the St. Lucian electorate, because people saw it as an attempted con. They also saw the story as having more to do with the greed and ineptitude of the UWP than with the well-being of St. Lucians. Richard Frederick and the UWP attacked Grynberg’s agreement because they wanted to make a deal with another explorer and Grynberg was in the way. Kenny Anthony’s Grynberg’s agreement expired in 2007 and Stephenson king signed a renewal, whether withdrawn or not. If Grynberg is suing now, it has to be the fault of Stephenson King and the UWP, who abused and maligned him and his company.

It is unfortunate that the action is taking place when Kenny Anthony is in power, but as with the Black Bay Lands, the mess left by King and the UWP will have to be cleaned up. In the fullness of time the misdeeds of Stephenson King, Richard Frederick and Rick Wayne on this issue will be fully exposed.

Those who by their unethical actions inadvertently angered Grynberg will have to explain whose cause they were fighting. And those who visited, called and coaxed Grynberg to sue based on their private motive of trying to embarrass Kenny Anthony, will also have to account for their actions.

So, my advice to Rick Wayne is to stop trying to pin this on Kenny Anthony and shine the spotlight instead on himself and his UWP associates who are the real culprits in this matter.


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GOVERNMENT TAKES THE LEAD STEP IN VAT PREPARATION FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

The Government of Saint Lucia announced yesterday that it will make available seven hundred and seventy-eight thousand, eight hundred and seventy dollars and thirty-two cents ($778,870.32) for a Small Business Sector VAT Preparedness Project, to commence in June. This announcement was made by Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Hon. Dr. Kenny D. Anthony while addressing a session of the House of Assembly on Tuesday June 27, 2012.

A number of key stakeholders have partnered to design and develop a programme aimed at providing much needed assistance to the Medium, Small and Micro Enterprise sector in transitioning to the VAT readiness, thus enhancing the successful implementation of the new system of taxation.

The Ministry of Commerce, Business Development, Investment and Consumer Affairs, in collaboration with the VAT Implementation Unit, the Small Enterprise Development Unit and the Office of Private Sector Relations have forged an alliance to develop this package of assistance to the small business sector in order to ensure that small businesses face minimal difficulties during the implementation period of VAT.

The components of the ten (10) week programme include:
(1) Provision of VAT ready accounting software to businesses at no charge;
(2) Provision of training to Business Development Officers of the Ministry of Commerce;
(3) Provision of training to staff of businesses on the use of accounting software at no charge;
(4) Provision of technical assistance on software usage to small business after training at no charge.
It is anticipated that approximately one thousand five hundred (1500) participants will benefit from the project which will be made available throughout the island by using venues in Gros-Islet, Castries, Dennery, Vieux-Fort and Soufriere.

End.


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Pitons World Heritage Status in Danger

The World Heritage Committee (WHC) has indicated that at the upcoming 36th Session of the Committee, which will be held in Saint-Petersburg, Russian Federation, the Pitons Management Area (PMA) of Saint Lucia will be placed on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

The decision of the Committee stems out of an "extreme concern" that despite the commitment given by the then UWP administration at the 34th Session of the WHC in Brasilia in 2010 that it would enforce a moratorium on all new developments in the PMA, five additional developments were approved by the Stephenson King government in 2011.

In 2010, a technical monitoring mission of the WHC had already determined that based on real estate developments that had been approved by the government, a situation may have been created where the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the PMA had been compromised. On that basis, the WHC had threatened at its Brasilia meeting in 2010 to enlist the PMA unto the List of World Heritage in Danger. The Pitons escaped being placed on the ‘endangered’ list only after the King government gave a firm commitment to the World Heritage Committee that it would impose a strict development moratorium and conduct a Limits of Acceptable Change study.

However, in clear contravention of the commitment given by the Government of Saint Lucia in Brazil in 2010 and later confirmed by Cabinet Conclusion No. 645 of 2010, the Stephenson King government, acting on recommendations coming from the then Ministry of Physical Development, Environment and Housing, approved five new developments in the PMA, via Cabinet Conclusions 404 and 1039 of 2011. It is these contraventions by the former government, coupled with its failure to follow up on the agreed course of action with the WHC, that have precipitated the action by the World Heritage Committee to place the PMA on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

The Government of Saint Lucia views these developments with grave concern and is saddened that the irresponsible behavior of the former government has now placed Saint Lucia’s prestigious World Heritage status in jeopardy. The government will participate in the upcoming WHC meeting in Saint-Petersburg and seek to reassure the WHC of its unwavering commitment to preserving the Outstanding Universal Value of the Pitons Management Area and fulfilling the obligations that have been given with respect to the management of this World Heritage Site.


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