Budget April 27 2010

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					                                          TABLE OF CONTENTS

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ANNOUNCEMENT BY MADAM PRESIDENT ........................................1

PAPERS LAID

Honourable Attorney General, Minister for Justice and Leader of Government
Business

      S. I. Nos. 38, 39, 40 of 2009 .....................................................................1
      S. I. Nos. 41 of 2009. ................................................................................2

      Estimates 2010/2011 – Volume 1 .............................................................2
      Estimates 2010/2011 – Volume 11 ...........................................................2
      Economic and Social Review 2009 ..........................................................2

BILLS

    Appropriation 2010/2011 ............................................................................2
     All Stages
     Presenter: Honourable Attorney General, Minister for Justice and
       Leader of Government Business
Debate:            Minister in the Ministry of Education and Culture ..................16
                   Senator Emma Hippolyte ........................................................22
                   Senator Alison Plummer ..........................................................35
                   Minister for Commerce, Industry and Consumer Affairs ........46
                   Senator Silas Wilson ...............................................................64
                   Senator Everistus Jn. Marie .....................................................77
                   Senator Damian Greaves..........................................................89
                   Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation ...............................107
                   Minister for Home Affairs and National Security .................133
                   Honourable Attorney General, Minister for Justice and
                   Leader of Government Business (reply) ................................149

      Commercial Code (Bills of Exchange) (Amendment)..........................154
      All Stages
      Presenter: Honourable Attorney General, Minister for Justice and
      Leader of Government Business


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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
       National Savings and Development Bonds (Amendment) ..................155
        All Stages
        Presenter: Honourable Attorney General, Minister for Justice and
         Leader of Government Business

ADJOURNMENT .......................................................................................157

INDEX ……………………………………………………………………...158




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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
                                  SENATE OF SAINT LUCIA

                    Constituted under the provisions of the Saint Lucia
                                 Constitution Order 1978


PRESENT:

Senator Leonne Theodore-John, LLB
President of the Senate

Senator Dr. Nicholas Frederick, B.Sc, M.Sc, LLB, MA (Ed), PhD, MBE
Attorney General, Minister for Justice and Leader of Government Business

Senator Gaspard Charlemagne, B.Ed, ACP
Minister in the Ministry of Education and Culture

Senator Allen Chastanet
Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation

Senator Charlotte T. Mangal, LLB
Minister for Commerce, Industry and Consumer Affairs

Senator Guy Mayers
Minister for Home Affairs and National Security

Senator Everistus Jn. Marie
Deputy President of the Senate

Senator Allison Plummer, PhD. (Chem.)

Senator Damien E. Greaves, MSc, B.A, Cert. Ed

Senator Silas Anthony Wilson, Exe. Dip., MA

Senator Emma Hippolyte, CGA, CFE




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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
                               PROCEEDINGS AND DEBATES

                            OF THE MEETING OF THE SENATE

                                Fifth Session of the Ninth House

                          Second Meeting – Tuesday April 27th 2010

                                         ---------------
                                   The House met at 10:17 am
                                         ---------------

                        PRAYERS were read by Clerk of Parliament


ANNOUNCEMENTS BY MADAM PRESIDENT

Follow Senators, a hearty thank you once again for your trust and vote of confidence in
me in electing me to the office of President. It is my prayer that we will work together in
sincerity and dignity as we do our part in dispensing with the affairs of our nation Saint
Lucia.

Senators, we are pleased to have in our midst today in an observing capacity, students,
along with their teachers from the following schools. From the four primary schools of
the Vieux Fort North Constituency, we have Grace Combined School, Pierrot Combined,
Belle Vue Combined and Vige Combined. We are also pleased to have in our midst two
fifth form students of the Vieux Fort Comprehensive Secondary School, Campus B. And
last, but by no means least, we welcome in our presence students from the Montessori
Centre. I trust that the students here today, for their visit will be a rewarding and fruitful
experience.

PAPERS LAID

Honourable Attorney General, Minister for Justice and Leader of Government
Business: Madam Speaker, I beg to lay the following Papers standing in my name:

                 Statutory Instrument No. 38 of 2010
                 Saint Lucia Parliament – Proclamation Proroguing Parliament

                 Statutory Instrument No. 39 of 2010
                 Saint Lucia Parliament – Appointment of Session of Parliament

                 Statutory Instrument No. 40 of 2010
                 Price Control (Amendment) (No. 4) Order



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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
                 Statutory Instrument No. 41 of 2010
                 Consumption Tax (Amendment of Schedule 1) (No. 4) Order

                 Estimates 2010/2011
                 Volume 1

                 Estimates 2010/2011
                 Volume 11

                 Economic & Social Review 2009

BILLS

                                  APPROPRIATION 2010/2011

Honourable Attorney General, Minister for Justice and Leader of Government
Business: Madam President, I beg to present for First Reading a Bill shortly entitled
“Appropriation 2010/2011.”

Bill Read a First Time

Honourable Attorney General, Minister for Justice and Leader of Government
Business: Madam President, I beg to move for the suspension of Standing Order No.
49(2) to enable this Bill to go through its remaining stages at this Sitting.

Question Proposed, Put and Agreed to
Leave Granted

Honourable Attorney General, Minister for Justice and Leader of Government
Business: Madam President, I beg to move for Second Reading a Bill shortly entitled
“Appropriation 2010/2011.”

Madam President, permit me to give some background to this Bill. Madam President, we
heard a most compressive Budget presentation delivered by the Prime Minister and
Minister for Finance about a week ago. That was preceded by a Throne Speech by Her
Excellency Dame Pearlette Louisy, Governor General, and those two important
documents laid the policy framework for the government, which the government intends
to pursue during the current parliamentary session.

Madam President, you might recall the theme of the Prime Minister’s Budget Address. It
was “The Road to Recovery, Engineering Growth, Engendering Social Cohesion and
Building Resilience to External Shocks.” That was the theme of this most comprehensive
presentation by the Prime Minister and Minister for Finance.

Madam President, Senators, I intend to present my address in two parts, first by virtue of
the fact that I am Leader of Government Business in the Senate, I have a duty to try to


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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
summarise the contents of the Prime Minister’s address, so as to lay the platform for the
debate by the Honourable Ministers. Secondly, as Attorney General and Minster
responsible for Justice, I have also a duty to give a brief report on the work of the
Ministry of Justice and the Attorney General’s Chambers, in so far as they are relevant to
the debate, and to give some indication of the directions in which we might be moving
during the current session.

Madam President, this is really a synopsis of the budget, I certainly cannot give an
adequate summary, and I know our venerable senators around us will augment what I
have said so that a total picture can be presented to the Members of the Senate for their
debate. So this constitutes the first part of my summary.

Madam President, it appears to me that two overriding concerns are reflected in the
policy statement made in the two addresses that I alluded to, namely, the Throne Speech
and the Budget Address, and these two major issues were firstly, the impact of the global
recession on the economy and secondly, issues relating to crime and security.

Her Excellency, the Governor General, captured this very clearly at the opening of her
Throne Speech in which she said: “Along side these adverse economic circumstances our
country must grapple with a myriad of social issues which have implications for our
immediate and long term future.” These two phenomena seriously impacted on our
economy and have posed serious challenges to the administration of this country.
Notwithstanding the negative effects of the recession and crime, the two policy
statements in the Throne Speech and the Budget Address reflect signs of hope. This
hope is indicated in the very theme of the Prime Minister’s Budget Address which I
indicated earlier – The Road to Recovery, Engineering Growth, Engendering Social
Cohesion and Building Resilience to External Shocks. It is a theme that emphasizes that
amid the economic difficulties and the social ills all is not lost, that this country will
survive and will continue to make progress for the betterment of life of its people.

 Let me comment very briefly on the question of the recession and the effects on the
economy. The global recession started in 2008 and wreaks havoc on the economies of
the world. Virtually every country experienced serious erosion in its economy. Overall,
the world economy declined by nearly one percent, and here are a few examples of the
near catastrophe in a number of countries. In the year 2009 the US economy contracted
by 2.5 percent; the European area by 3.9 percent; the United Kingdom by 4.8 percent;
Canada by 2.6 percent; and within the Caribbean region, Barbados declined by 5.3
percent, Jamaica by approximately 2.5 percent and Trinidad and Tobago – a very wealthy
country in deed – by 3 percent. Within the Eastern Caribbean, Antigua declined by 8.9
percent; St. Kitts and Nevis by 9.6 percent and Anguilla by an extraordinary 24.4 percent.
The overall decline for the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union, the ECCU, of the OECS
Countries, was 7.3 percent. Saint Lucia’s estimated contraction is 5.19 percent for the
year 2009.

Accordingly, Madam President, Saint Lucia’s contraction by 5.19 percent is
understandable and almost tolerable in these adverse circumstances. Even then, the


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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
contraction is not extraordinarily greater than at certain other times when there was no
recession. For example, I had noted that in the year 2001, the economy declined by 4.13
percent. Madam President, the recession impacted negatively on several of the
productive sectors of our economy. The contributions of various sectors to the Gross
Domestic Product, GDP, were also adversely affected. Agriculture was marginally
affected; Tourism, after expanding by 2.2 percent in 2008, contracted by 6.5 percent in
2009. And although total visitor arrivals expanded by 7.1 percent to 1,014,761, which is
quite a feat reaching the million mark for the first time, the actual earnings of Tourism
fell because of discounted hotel prices, as hoteliers had to woo visitors by reduced room
rates. Employment in the Tourism sector fell about 12 percent in 2009. In the
construction area, there was a decline by 24.4 percent in 2009 and the sector’s share of
the GDP, Gross Domestic Product, dropped from 6.6 percent in 2008 to 5.3 percent in
2009. This was the direct consequence of the global financial crisis.

The recession also had negative effects on certain other sectors of the economy. Real
growth in the banking and insurance sectors decelerated, slowing down to 0.5 percent in
2009. This resulted in domestic credit and money supply reducing in amount.
Commercial bank liquidity tightened as growth in loans and advances outpaced the
marginal increase in deposits. Madam President, the recession, somewhat ironically,
resulted in improvements in our balance of payments and in a reduced trade deficit, as a
result of a reduction in the importation of goods and services. People cannot import
goods if they have no capital and so the balance of payments are closed up somewhat.

But, Madam President, despite the recession, we were still able to salvage some of our
economic sectors. The manufacturing sector, which had experienced a decline of 5.9 of
GDP in 2008, increased to 6.3 of GDP in 2009, representing an increase in the value of
output in the manufacturing sector by 1.3 percent to a value of $176 million in 2009. The
effect of all this was a contraction of some of our major income generating sectors.
Central Government’s fiscal position in 2009/2010 deteriorated. The overall fiscal deficit
widened from $50.6 million in 2008/2009 to $125.5 million in 2009/2010. This was
influenced by a decline in total revenue on grants and an increase in total expenditure.

Still, Madam President, one must commend the Customs and Excise Department in
particular for its efforts in collecting revenue during the latter part of the fiscal year.
Government also wishes to acknowledge the significant contributions to grant funding
made by the European Union and the Government of Taiwan. The increase in the overall
fiscal deficit also affected the level of public debt. Public debt increased by 3.1 percent
to $EC1.8 billion dollars at the end of 2009. As a result, the ratio of public debt to Gross
Domestic Product rose from 60 percent in 2008 to 71 percent of GDP in 2009. This
overall economic downturn associated with the contraction of the economic sectors had a
negative impact on employment. The unemployment rate rose to 20.8 percent in 2009.

 Fortunately, Madam President, the recession resulted in reduced global demands for
petroleum products and as a result oil prices were comparatively much lower in 2009
than in 2008. This had the effect of reducing the price of electricity to the consumer and
also of stabilising transportation cost. The reduction in the price of electricity and


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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
transportation had, in turn, the effect of controlling the consumer price index and
reducing inflation in the country. The inflation rate dropped considerably to
approximately 1 percent in 2009. The effect of all this was to bring about some relief to
the consumer population.

Madam President, last year I spoke at length about the benevolence of this Government –
a level of benevolence that is unprecedented. I will not go into details but, Madam
President, it is amazing that at a time of deep recession government has actually been
able to pay an increase of, I think, 3.725 percent in salary to civil servants, teachers and
other public servants. That increase was received by them on Thursday the 23rd of April
this year, even while the House of Assembly was debating the Budget. Isn’t that
benevolence at a time of deep recession?

Madam President, in terms of what the Prime Minister and Minister for Finance had to
say regarding the road to recovery, one will note that he made reference to mechanisms
for engineering growth. In light of these recessionary trends, the Prime Minister has
given details in his Budget Address of some of the measures he intends to pursue towards
recovery. Madam President, forgive me if I avoid details since I am pressured by time
constrains. In the sphere of Agriculture, he proposed to revitalise and diversifying the
sector. This would include giving support to farmers to improve productivity of bananas
and non-traditional crops. He proposes also establishing a new agricultural marketing
and distribution facility to replace the Saint Lucia Marketing Board, and this new facility
will be located at Cul De Sac. He proposes also to enhance the livestock subsector of
agriculture at Beausejour Agricultural Station, and he proposes to complete the meat
processing facility being built at Vieux Fort with the assistance of the Government of
Taiwan.

In the sphere of Tourism … and you will hear very much more about this when Senator
Chastanet speaks about his programme in the Ministry of Tourism. In the sphere of
Tourism his proposals, that is the Prime Minister’s, involves increasing visitor arrivals to
Saint Lucia, improving marketing, developing the yachting and cruise tourism subsectors,
supporting the Westin/Le Paradise project, the hotel being built at Praslin, as well as the
hotel at Malgretoute and the Jalousie Plantation at Soufriere, and expanding hotel room
accommodation in the island to assist in increasing visitor arrivals.

In the area of construction, the government intends to enhance the construction subsector
through a number of public sector projects. These include road projects island-wide,
including the West Coast Road overlay; the construction of bridges and culverts; the St
Jude Hospital reconstruction project; the Hewanorra International Airport development
project, a project which is surely needed; the construction of the Hyper-mart building at
Bois d’Orange to resolve acute space and rental challenges that the Public Service is
experiencing; and the Port Castries re-development project to enhance the appearance of
Port Castries and to make it more attractive to tourist. You have heard much about this
development, and we are pleased to note that some efforts will be made in this regard to
commence this most important project. He proposes also to give support for a number of
private sector led building projects in various parts of the island.


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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
In the sphere of manufacturing and commerce, government proposes to implement the
Micro and Small Scale Enterprise Act to facilitate the incorporation of small businesses
and to develop e-commerce and undertake trade missions. Government intends to review
the Consumer Protection legislation, and it hopes to develop the entrepreneurial spirit
especially amongst young persons. We are glad to know that we have those young
people here and emphasize the need for some degree of initiative in setting up their own
businesses and making those businesses successful. Government intends to utilize the
approved NIS loans to the Saint Lucia Development Bank to on-lend to entrepreneurs.
Also within the manufacturing and commerce sectors, the government intends to promote
the development of human resources and in this regard it will be paying attention to a
number of important areas in the sphere of education and health.

In the Education sector, it is important to provide scope for life-long learning to provide
the safety nets for children with special needs, to expand the use of information and
communication technology in the teaching-learning situation, and to link education with
the world of work through a labour market information system which would be set up at
the Ministry of Labour. Some of the major projects which will be undertaken in the
education sector will be the rehabilitation of school plants, the upgrading of the Vieux-
Fort Comprehensive School Campus B, the implementation of education enhancement
programmes through Information Communication Technology (ICT) programmes, the
basic education enhancement project to improve the curriculum and other education
facilities and the ongoing efforts to upgrade the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College to
a full fledge university.

In the area of health, the government wishes to expand opportunities for its citizens to
enjoy an efficient, adequate and friendly health care service. Reference has been made to
the reconstruction of the St Jude Hospital and the ongoing new hospital. Efforts will be
made to consolidate the delivery of services at the new mental health hospital at Coubaril.
These efforts should help position Saint Lucia as a world class tourism, health and
wellness destination. This is what is promised by the Minister for Health. That is right,
you go across to the east of Castries – or to the west rather – and you will see what is
going there: new hospital, the wellness center, etcetera.

On the way to engineering growth, government must also stabilize the financial sector. I
shall discuss this matter later in my address when we discuss crime. Government must
raise a total of $844 million to meet its recurrent expenditure. In order to do so, it will be
necessary to improve its tax administration by enforcing its existing taxes to make sure
that these taxes are collected. Few new taxes will be imposed, except for the altering of
the property tax regime by levying the tax on the commercial value of the proper rather
than on the presently used rental value of the property. In addition, Government intends
to implement this year, what it proposed last year, and that is to impose a withholding tax
of 15 percent on interest payable to non-residents. Finally, there will be an increase on
the tax on the use of cellular telephones from the current rate of 10 percent to 15 percent.




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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
In order to spur growth and maintain its capital programme, the total capital expenditure
amounts to $366.6 million. Of this amount, $13.5 million will be the proceeds of the sale
of land by government. Another, $36.4 million will be grants from friendly governments
mainly the European Union countries and the People’s Republic of China (Taiwan). An
amount of $96.9 million will be raised from new bonds which will be floated, and an
amount $119.8 million will be the proceeds of loans principally from the CDB, the
Caribbean Development Bank, and the World Bank.

What does the Prime Minister have to say about engendering social cohesion on the road
to recovery? Both in the Governor General’s Throne Speech and in the Prime Minister’s
Budget Address reference is made to the evidence of social decay which abounds in our
society. Crime, deviant behaviour, disrespect for elders and authority and our symbols,
general apathy, drug abuse, all these and more are evidence of decadence in our society.
There is need for shared vision in our society. There needs to be safety nets to protect
vulnerable groups in our society. These social nets are necessary against the background
of food, fuel and financial crises that have adversely affected the most vulnerable groups
in our society. It is for this reason that government envisages the following programmes,
among others, to address perceived needs of marginalized persons. These include the
establishment of a Social Reform Council which is going to be a broad based statutory
body that will identify interventions to be made, to correct problems of social dislocation.

Another programme aimed at marginalized persons is the programme called HOPE
standing for the Holistic Opportunities for Personal Empowerment, and this programme
is to continue so as to provide employment, training and economic opportunities for
marginalised participants. A third programme in terms of social cohesion and bringing
people together, is the proposed Juvenile Rehabilitation Center proposed to be
constructed in Dennery to encourage young offenders to become law abiding citizens
once again.

In the area of sports, the FIFA Gold project is to create a playing field at Bexon. The
construction of the National Tennis Center at Beausejour in Gros Islet with the assistance
of the Government of the People’s Republic of China/Taiwan will certainly be a good
measure to assist in the development of the sporting prowess of our young persons. And
another project is increasing the allowance to the poor. Here is another indication of
government’s benevolence.

Notwithstanding the pressures on government’s Budget, government intends to eliminate
extreme poverty, and that is indigence, from its population. The Caribbean Development
Bank (CDB) defines a person as indigent that is, extremely poor, if such a person earns
the equivalence of less than about EC$131 a month. Two years ago, government raised
the poverty allowance from $75 which was retained by the previous government for a
single person, to $135 for a single person. This figure will be increased, and this is where
the benevolence of government shows itself, by an additional 25 percent later this year. I
think the Prime Minister says, October 1st.




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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Madam President, towards the end of my address I shall give a very brief synopsis of the
provisions of the Budget in figures very briefly, but at this stage if you would permit me
to move to the second part of my address where we deal with matters relating to law and
order; that falls under my portfolio to some extent. Madam President, I mentioned earlier
that one of the major themes of Her Excellency, the Governor General’s Throne Speech
was the issues of law and order in relation to crime and security.

Madam President, in as much as I am responsible for matters relating to Justice and my
colleague, Senator Guy Mayers, the Minister for Home Affairs and National Security is
responsible for related issues of crime and security, I thought it would be convenient in
the interest of time to deal with all those matters in this, the second part of my address,
whereas the Home Affairs and National Security Minister will furnish further details on
crime and security when he makes his presentation.

On the subject of crime, Madam President, these two Ministries that I refer to, that is the
Ministry of Justice and Attorney General’s Chambers, and the Ministry of Home Affairs
and National Security, have been working very closely together during the past two years
in trying to find solutions to problems of law, order, crime and security. We have been
doing this through what we call roundtable discussions co-chaired by the two Ministers,
and we have been doing so monthly.

Her Excellency spoke in the strongest language about the spate of violent crime that is
affecting our country, and she said, I quote, “My Government is very concerned about the
spate of violent crimes that is affecting our country. The murders and mutilations that
have been reported in the media have been nauseating. Particularly worrying has been
the fact that even police officers, our court prosecutors and the magistrates, the very
persons whose departments seek to enforce our laws and uphold justice in our society,
have become targets of violence.” She continued to say, “Citizens of this state can no
longer fold their arms while assaults on our most sacred institutions are launched in
broad daylight.” She says further, “The paramount duty of government is to ensure the
security of its citizens. We cannot abdicate this duty. We must maintain the rule of law
at all times and with all our might to protect the judiciary which is the bulwark of our
democracy and the fortification of our country.”

And this is what the Honourable Prime Minister had to say in his Budget address: “There
is no doubt that one of the major challenges facing our society is the fight against crime
and its impact on public safety and security. Our current reality,” the Prime Minister
says, “is that our vision for a better quality of life is under threat as resources that might
otherwise be spent in areas such as economic growth, poverty reduction, social services
and transformation of our institutions must be directed at trying to ensure that our
citizens can feel safe.” That is what he said; I was quoting him. These are the words of
the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister said, “Frankly, Madam Speaker, the people of
the country are fed up with the crime situation.” Those were the words of the Prime
Minister.




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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Madam President, I will not go into detail on the crime prevention measures, for as I have
said, the Minister for Home Affairs will do so. I would prefer that he does this and in so
doing make a reference to the many measures that are being made through legislation to
strengthen the arm of the police. But, Madam President, there is a comment that I would
like to make. I get the impression when I hear the talk shows and listen some persons in
administration, some religious persons and so forth, that the way to reduce crime is to
simply pass new laws. Persons flout the traffic laws by driving at great speed. They
pack in the wrong places. They openly threaten our police. They openly curse, swear
and verbally abuse other individuals. They openly sell videos of intellectual materials
which they have pirated, nudity or virtual nudity is commonplace on our streets. All that
and more, but all people are demanding are more laws. Madam President, I do not agree
that all we need are more laws. All those behaviours are criminal behaviours in our very
comprehensive Criminal Code.

Madam President, crime can be reduced if we enforce the laws. The enforcement of our
laws is the duty of the police, the customs officers, our immigration officers, our income
tax department, and so forth. These agencies are the ones to bring people to justice when
they infringe our laws. Admittedly, as society changes, we have to pass new laws to
meet emergency situations. For example, as a result of growing trends in money
laundering and terrorism, we passed a suite of six laws to address this trend during the
last session. We passed the Criminal Code (Amendment) Act, the Counter-Trafficking
Act, the Money Laundering Prevention Act, the Extradition (Amendment) Act, the
Proceeds of Crime (Amendment) Act and the Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Act. All
these were passed in the last session, and we are in the process of publishing the Money
Laundering (Guidance Notes) and the Anti-Terrorism (Guidance Notes) by way of
subsidiary legislation, that is, Statutory Instruments.

Also, as a result of the irregularities in the financial sector and the need to stabilise the
financial sector, we have already passed in the previous session, the Payment System Bill
and the Money Services Bill, and we shall soon be enacting the Commercial Code (Bills
of Exchange) (Amendment) Bill, the Financial Services Regulatory Authority Bill, the
Insurance Bill, the Civil Code (Amendment) Bill, the Criminal Code (Amendment) Bill
and the Finance Administration (Amendment) Bill. Those last three are pretty famous
Bills.

In addition, in order to address the growing misuse of computers and cell phones, and we
are pretty serious on this, we shall soon be enacting – they should come here very soon –
the Electronic Transactions Bill, the Computer (Misuse) Bill and the Privacy and Data
Protection Bill. Furthermore, as our shipping and yachting sector is expanding and
modernising, we have to regulate that sector for the purpose of both safety and security.
In this respect, we recently published the following regulations – very comprehensive,
thick documents: the Shipping (Fees) Regulations, the Shipping (Safety of Pleasure
Vessels) Regulations, the Shipping (Registration and Proprietary Interest in Ships)
Regulations, and the Shipping (Distress Signals and Prevention of Collisions)
Regulations; and we have before Parliament, even at this time, the Shipping
(Amendment) Bill.


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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
We want to improve standards of broadcasting and so we propose to enact the
Broadcasting Services Bill. Praedial Larceny is getting more sophisticated so we have to
pass the Sale of Agricultural Products Bill, which in fact is before the Parliament as well.
We want to rely on video links to obtain evidence from vulnerable persons or remote
persons, such as children and those tourists who might be overseas after they have been
attacked locally. Rather than having these people to come down here, we might be able
to get the evidence from them by other means. And so we want to rely on video links to
obtain evidence from vulnerable persons or remote persons. We are now carrying out
Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) tests for criminal prosecution. This is going on at the
forensic laboratory, and, for this reason, we have to revisit our existing Evidence Act, and
a brand new DNA Act will soon be tabled before Parliament.

Although I believe that our law enforcers need to enforce existing laws, we are prepared
to refine existing ones, and so we are just about to finalise the existing laws, regulations
and code for special reasons. We propose to amend the Motor Vehicle and Road Traffic
Act for the purpose of analysing the breath of drunk drivers and to provide for a code of
discipline for public transport drivers. They have been asking for a code of discipline,
they will get one very soon. We also intend to regulate the use of force by the police, and
we will pass the necessary legislation to regulate the use of tasers and incapacitant sprays.
The principal instruments have been enacted but there needs to be a subsidiary legislation
to ensure that these are properly utilised, and, as I have said, the exercise that I have just
referred to will soon be completed. I must repeat, though, that while we are updating our
laws to meet emerging situations, we expect our law enforcers to enforce our existing
laws.

Madam President, as Minister for Justice for more than three years, I think I am now
competent to write a book on the subject, ‘The Proverbial Slowness of Justice’. Madam
President, during the past three years, it has been a battle against delays, particularly
delays in the Magistrates’ Court, delays in remitting criminal matters to the High Court
and delays in dealing with civil status matters, for example, birth certificates,
rectifications, etcetera, at the Civil Status Registry and the High Court. Madam
President, I often feel frustrated and despondent, but once in a while an outsider’s
remarks tell me that all is not lost and that I must not give up the fight. I quote the
remarks of a Trinidadian Senator, some of you may know the name, Dana Seetahal,
writing in Trinidad’s newspaper, the Sunday Guardian, dated 17 May, 2009. I have the
documents in my file – the article – and she says, “I write this column in Saint Lucia
where I have just had a week of meetings with several key stakeholders in the criminal
justice system … I was deeply embarrassed when I heard some of their recent laws and
practices that represented some of what we have been talking of for years, but have not
come close to putting in place …” She is Trinidadian, remember. “We have been talking
about abolishing preliminary inquiries (PIs) for the past five years,… this is another
measure Saint Lucia has effected: PIs are abolished …Imagine such a system in
Trinidad and Tobago… These are all matters that our authorities can put in place in T
and T that we have talked of, while “little” Saint Lucia has gone ahead and done it.” She
is a Senator in the House of Parliament in Trinidad.


                                                                                           10
Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Also in the STAR newspaper, which has frequently, over the years, reported negatively
about the inefficiencies with prosecution of criminal cases in the High Court, in an article
dated 15 April, 2010, just about a week or two ago, this was what was reported, and I
quote – I also have the article if anybody wishes to see it – “There was a silent solidarity
as members of the judiciary prepared for the reopening of the last session of the law year
on Monday 12 April … On this occasion, all files were accounted for and the prosecutors
were able to execute their duties with efficiency, long absent from the court. The speed at
which the system can operate was on display for all to see … Court proceedings went
well into the afternoon with most trial dates being filled. Is this a new regime or the calm
before the storm?” When I saw the article, I smiled and asked myself, “What is going
on? What is right?” Because we always thought everything was going wrong.

As critical as I might be – self-critical – there is something right in the Justice system
after all. We commenced the implementation of the so called “Delay Reduction Rules”
about 15 months ago and indeed things are changing for the better.

Madam President: Honourable Attorney General, you now have 10 minutes within
which to complete your presentation.

Honourable Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation: Madam President, I seek the
suspension of Standing Order 35(3) and seek an additional 15 minutes.

Question Proposed, Put and Agreed to
Leave Granted

Honourable Attorney General, Minister for Justice and Leader of Government
Business: As I was saying, Madam President, as from 15 December, 2008, no new
Preliminary Inquiries took place in the Magistrates Courts. Indictable cases, that is, very,
very serious cases, must reach the High Court for Case Management or Sufficiency
Hearing within 28 days after the accused appears before the magistrate and moreover any
necessary trial date must take place within a certain timeframe. When I came to the
Ministry, there were hundreds of PIs pending before the magistrates. It was a task even
finding the files. I understand, however, that as of 21 April this year, there were only two
Preliminary Inquiries pending in the Magistrates Courts and that the documents for about
100 complete previous PIs were being processed for High Court trial. It seems that the
days of the PIs could soon be gone.

We are now obtaining judgements for serious criminal offences committed as recently as
2008; that was not the case before. The cases lagged for almost 10 years before they
reached the trial stage in the High Court. So there is something right after all. Before the
Delay Reduction Rules were implemented, there were complaints from the judiciary that
the Assizes List was too short, bearing in mind the number of cases that were before the
Magistrates. Sometimes a mere 15 to 20 cases, look at the Assizes List that was
published about three weeks ago in the Gazette, there were 79 cases before the judge for
trial and there are about 275 matters down for Sufficiency Hearing of which 195 have


                                                                                         11
Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
been committed for trial. The processing involves various parties, mainly the senior
magistrate and the Computer Aided Transcription Unit, which we call the CAT Unit. Of
course, this poses a heavy burden on the High Court’s Case Management Unit and the
single presiding criminal judge. These are issues which we are trying to deal with in the
future.

I have made passing reference to forensic services, and I am pleased to say that after long
delays, the forensic laboratory is now functioning. The operations of the Ezra Long
Laboratory at the Victoria Hospital have been transferred to the new forensic laboratory.
The DNA and a number of other forensic services are being offered at the laboratory, and
we hope to include a paternity test there before long. However, there is an acute need for
additional staff and equipment to optimise the use of this powerful crime fighting facility.
We trust that the institution will be fully accredited later this year and that in due course
we will be able to extend our services to the other OECS countries.

Last year, I said in this forum that the Civil Status Registry has been an administrative
nightmare. It still is an administrative nightmare nearly three years later, but this delay in
processing birth certificates by the Civil Status Registry cannot be excused. We know
that virtually the whole country has to be re-registered. In fact, I remember Sir John
when this situation cropped up with the requirements for birth certificates. He estimated
that at the rate the Registry used to issue birth certificates, it would take, by his count,
assuming that the population is about 170,000, about 35 years for us to re-register. Last
year, I said, based on my estimate involving the increased number that we were able to
process, it would take one and a half years to do so, because we had significantly
increased the number.

But frankly, Madam President, I think we should have been able to put our shoulders to
the wheel and should have been able to demonstrate, after three years, that we are capable
of setting up the administrative structures for adequately dealing with the problem. We
all have to accept the blame and I really have to apologise for this.

However, in the past few weeks there has been a clear determination to move the system
forward and to make it work properly. A lot of work has been done. During the last
financial year, that is from 1st April 2009 to the 31st March, 2010, you must hear this
Madam President - a total of 26,020 Civil Status records were issued by the Civil Status
Registry - 26,020; that is approximately 1/5 of the population of Saint Lucia. But the
unfortunate thing is that, as at that date, we had 7,161 uncollected Birth Certificates in a
large office we set up to house the certificates. People complain about certificates and
they do not collect these certificates. Clearly, a great deal of work is going on, but our
supervisors must put proper management structures in place to try to reduce the vast
number of uncollected certificates and to make the system move more smoothly.

Madam President, what has also concerned me is that a large percentage of the Birth
Certificates contain errors. I have frequently spoken about this, and to correct the errors,
people have to pay about $500 to lawyers because of the complexities of applying for



                                                                                           12
Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
rectifications and because our laws did not permit the Civil Status Registry to make the
change.

Fortunately, in the last few weeks, Madam President, God has been good to us. The new
Civil Status Act came into effect on the 17th March, and it promises to cure so many
painful problems we have been experiencing. The most immediate is that it permits the
Civil Status Registry to do rectifications in-house. In fact, we immediately set up a
Rectification office in the Y-De Lima building. It has to be a special office because of
the large number of people who need assistance. Since the office opened on the 15th of
March this year, applications have been received from 237 people for a small fee of $50,
compared with the $500 which persons could not afford to pay to private lawyers. About
23 urgent rectifications have been process, and the remaining ones will be dealt with by
the Deputy High Court Registrar, or the High Court Registrar, pending the appointment
of an adjudicator in the next few weeks. The post has been advertised and we hope to fill
the post of adjudicator very soon.

So indeed the new Civil Status Act has been a saviour. Since the new Act came into
force on the 17th of March, we have been able to do a number of other things under the
new provisions, in addition to rectification. For instance, we have been able to appoint
12 religious marriage officers, six Civil Status Marriage officers, and three District
Registrars. I think this has brought a certain degree of relief to our communities. Madam
President, about two or three weeks ago, I attended a wedding in Dennery and the
Reverend Pastor announced to the congregation that this was the first wedding he was
executing. He said he was doing so with the approval of his church and with the
authority of the government and that he was pleased to perform that ceremony. And he
thanked God for this. I said to myself, having appointed 12 Religious Marriage officers
and all of them calling upon the blessings of God for this government, I am sure we will
do extremely well.

Under the new Civil Status Act, there are some procedures, and I thought I should take
this opportunity – although I notice my time is running – just to indicate some of the
important provisions. I think we will have to keep on saying it; we will have to get
public awareness programmes instituted so people can hear it over and over and they can
read it so that they can act accordingly.

Some of the provisions under the new Civil Status Act are as follows - when I say you, I
mean members of the public – you or the responsible person must take the Birth Record,
that is the hospital paper, to the District Registrar of the district where the child was born
within five days of the child’s birth. (2) Soon after the child’s birth, you should submit
the child’s name and the father’s full name – this is very often a problem - to the hospital,
or to the District Registrar of the district where the child was born. The child’s name
must be registered with the District Registrar within six months of the child’s birth.
Thirdly, the mother of the child is authorised to change the child’s forename once, and
once only, within one year of the child birth without paying a fee. However, this is only
possible if the child was registered within six months of the child’s birth. (4) If you
request any change to the child’s name after one year of the child’s birth, you must pay a


                                                                                           13
Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
fee. (5) If the child is of unwed mother, the putative father, that is the persons who
claims to be the father, may declare himself to be the father by signing an affidavit, a
statement of truth – an affidavit form – which must be supported by the mother. I do not
think the father can unilaterally say this is my child, it has to be supported by the mother,
so the law requires this. This must be done within six months of the child’s birth. (6)
When the new Birth Certificate comes into effect in the coming months, any change,
whether done by an Adjudicator or by a Deed poll which is executed by a lawyer, will be
entered on the Birth Certificate. (7) As soon as the Adjudicator is appointed, you can
apply to have any mistakes corrected - that is, rectified. The fee will be $50 and the
waiting period will be about two weeks, because of the large number of applications
involved. (8) You will be able to apply for your Birth Certificate and other vital records,
Marriages, Death Certificates, etcetera, online. However, you must first pay the required
application fee at the Registry of Civil Status, before you can receive the record you have
applied for. And (9), you may collect your Birth Certificate or other vital record at the
Registry of Civil Status on High Street in Castries, at the existing sub offices, or at your
local post office.

Madam President, I have suffered with the public at the long delays in getting vital
records. I sincerely, as I have said, apologise for this. During the past few weeks we
have stepped up on our management, as I have said earlier. We have to clear out any
backlog of applications and uncollected records. We really have to get these out of the
way. And there is another reason for this. I have been reluctant to say this in public, but
I would like to say it now, that in July this year, with the aid of the Government of
Taiwan … thanks to everyone, thanks to the Taiwanese … Well it is our turn to thank the
Taiwanese Government. With the aid … yes, under Ambassador Tom Chou, we shall be
unveiling an ICT project that will enable us to issue Birth Certificates in one day. An
incredible amount of work has gone into transporting into the computers system,
hundreds of thousands of civil status records, hundreds of thousands that has been done.
But the job is well advanced and the Taiwanese are resolute in trying to stick to that
target date. They have said that they will not allow the bureaucracy to get in the way. I
will bless God to be alive on the day when that project unrolls.

Madam President, I notice my time is running out. I had intended to say a little about our
legislative programme, but I think in a sense I will have to make short shift of this, so I
will make very quick passing reference to some of the initiatives. A Legal Aid Board has
been appointed and will be meeting to commence the operation of the Legal Aid Unit.
As Attorney General, we are responsible for the work of the Attorney General’s
Chambers, as well as the Registry of Companies and Intellectual Property, ad a group that
we do not talk about for reasons of security, the Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA),
which does all the investigation into fraud, etcetera.

In addition to many of the enactments I have talked about, our Legislative Agenda is
extremely heavy, and we are severely understaffed at the Attorney General’s Chambers.
We have lost two of our three persons, and we have a single drafting person there at the
moment, and this has gone on for the last three months. The agenda is extremely heavy,
and we have to look at the treaties and conventions … a number of Acts for the other


                                                                                          14
Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
sectors of the government. We want to look into Law Revision; we want to look into
Constitution Reform, and we also have to address the matter of accession of Saint Lucia
to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). I will not expand on this, Madam President,
because of time constraints.

I think Her Excellency, the Governor General, was fairly comprehensive on the
legislative agenda for the government, and she presented it so interestingly. It is not the
liveliest subject to present to the public – laws and laws and laws! In view of this, I will
curtail my presentation on the Attorney General’s legislative agenda for the government.
In the other sectors, we looked at trade and agriculture; we have, looked at local
government, and so forth. So, Madam President, we will try our best within the limited
resources we have to work feverishly to address the agenda for the government and lay
the framework for the work which the various Ministries have to execute.

Within the little time that I still have, Madam President, I will make some quick reference
to some of the contributions of my Ministry to the Budget. Sometimes we want to gloss
over this, but I think in terms of revenue the Ministry of Justice and the Attorney
General’s Chambers is doing quite well, notwithstanding its size, in bringing much
needed monies to the Consolidated Fund. For example, marriage licences bring in about
$1.2 million a year. You know, my good friend the senator, knows that Saint Lucia is the
honeymoon capital – the wedding capital – and it brings in money, it brings in money –
$1.2 million dollars, much needed currency. Fees, fines and forfeitures bring in a lot of
money as well; the civil status fees, quite a lot. I just told you that we did 26,000 for the
year. Multiply this by 10; that is $260,000, and now that we have started rectifications at
$50, it is a lot of money. The Registry of Companies… Now we have, through the online
system, expedited the registration of companies, and we have gotten about almost $1.5
million for the year for registration of companies. So we are making a significant
contribution to the revenue base of this country.

Before I go through the very brief presentation, the actual Bill, I would like to take this
opportunity to thank my Cabinet colleagues and the staff of the Ministry of Justice and
Attorney General’s Chambers for the support they have given me during this year, and I
thank the Almighty God for giving me the strength to be able to carry on with my work.

Madam President, the Appropriation Bill provides for the appropriation of 1 billion – I
almost said 1 million, I am not so accustomed to these huge figures you see, not like
some of my colleagues – $1,210,911,400 for the services of the state for the year
2010/2011. As I indicated earlier, of this amount the sum of $844,284,900 is to be
applied for the recurrent expenditure in the various agencies and Ministries and these
details are provided in the Bill, the documents which is before the Honourable Members.
This amount, the $844.2 million, includes amounts for debt servicing and for sinking
fund contributions. Furthermore, the sum of $366,626,500 is to be applied to capital
expenditure. I have already indicated the sources of revenue for capital expenditure,
namely, government sale of lands, the issuing of bonds, grants and loans.




                                                                                          15
Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
In conclusion, therefore, Madam President, it is my pleasure to congratulate the
Honourable Prime Minister and Minister for Finance for such a detailed, human oriented,
benevolent consideration in his Budget, and I want to thank all the other Ministries who
have been supporting these efforts. And so, Madam President, I give my fullest support
to the Budget, and I wish to commend it to the Honourable Senators on this occasion.
Thank you, Madam President.

Question Proposed

Honourable Minister in the Ministry of Education and Culture: Madam President,
Members of both sides of the Upper House, fellow Saint Lucians. I must first extend my
congratulations to the President for her recent appointment as President of the Saint Lucia
Senate. Our new President, Mrs. Leonne Theodore-John, is a well known, young,
progressive minded barrister in Saint Lucia. I have known her for a while, and therefore,
I can attest to the fact that she will serve this Upper House with single-minded
determination, letting nothing distract her.

I anticipate, therefore, a sterling contribution from her, and therefore, she has our best
wishes for success in her new position.

Madam President, let me pay tribute to two of our icons in Culture and the Arts who
passed away during the past two months. I refer to deceased Pat Charles, the former
Chairperson of the Cultural Development Foundation Board, and Sixtus Charles, a soloist
and actress during the time of the Arts guild. I am very concerned that Pat Charles, who
was a very close friend of mine, died and I did not know; and yet I was in Saint Lucia. I
do not know how it happened. I only realised that, when I saw a tribute paid to her by
CDF. It was on my desk, and I asked who is that Pat Charles? Is it the same person? I
take this special opportunity in my position as Minister responsible for Culture to extend
condolences to their families. I hope that both families will find consolation in the
tremendous and sterling contributions they made to Saint Lucia in the Arts and in their
other fields of endeavour. I remember accompanying Sixtus Charles on the pipe organ in
Soufriere when she came down to a funeral about a month before she died, and she had
me to play the Ave Maria by Schubert. She was a classical soloist, although she equally
appreciated folk singing.

Having said this, Madam President, let me put my Budget presentation in some
perspective that will clarify my approach and provide a structure that will be clear in its
intention and in its presentation. First of all, I want to spend some time discussing
Culture, cultural policy in Saint Lucia vis-a-vis CDF, the body responsible for, or the
institution responsible for Culture and cultural development. I will speak of the problems
of CDF. I will look at the bigger picture that Culture is and focus on what we have
achieved through the CDF in 2009/2010. After I am finished, you will realise and agree
that it leaves much to be desired. Whatever was presented to me, to discuss culture from
CDF point of view, are the usual things – Assou Square in January; Carnival in July;
Emancipation Day; La Rose and La Margarite Festival, August to October; Kweyol
Heritage Month and Jounen Kweyol in October; Saint Cecilia’s Day for Musicians;


                                                                                        16
Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Festival of Lights in December jointly with CCC; Festival of Carols in December; and
they launched a National Arts Festival in December.

Madam President, I wish to quote on page 3 of the Cultural Policy Booklet. It says: “In
Saint Lucia while we have seen an expansion and deepening of education and adorning
recognition of the role of the arts and the media in developments, there is still a critical
dearth of imaginative approaches and honest, self reflection in dealing with our
problems.” And it goes on, “When we use the word Culture, we are referring to the
distinctive ways in which a particular grouping of people, whether classified by ethnicity,
nationality, religion or some other category, have responded to, reflected on, and
expressed their historical and continuing experience of life.” And the book goes on and
says, “But we need to be careful that we do not come away with the idea that this
distinctiveness is the sum total of Culture.” That is said in Saint Lucia’s National
Cultural Policy.

Madam President, the policy makers warned us of the need to be careful. Furthermore,
the framers of the policy warned that any listing of areas of Culture or cultural activity
must, to some extent, be debatable and certainly incomplete. In effect, what they are
saying is that the Cultural policy may call for review whenever this is necessary, and they
suggested a five policy framework – cultural and artistic promotion; cultural heritage in
its preservation and protection; Culture and development; cultural relations; cultural
financing and administration. Madam President, after twelve years of scant regard – I say
twelve years because it is twelve years since they prepared that – of scant regard for the
provisions of the Cultural policy and after so many developments in Culture in the
Caribbean, Latin America and the world, after all the suggestions, 12 suggestions made in
the policy booklet, from page 22 to page 28 of that booklet... It suggests what could have
been done by CDF. It has Culture and development; Culture and health; Culture and
national planning; Culture and economic development; Culture and agriculture; Culture
and the environment; Culture and gender; culture and the mass media; culture and sports;
culture and tourism, culture and technology. The policy booklet attempts to show the
connection between culture and each of the topics identified. I therefore submit, Madam
President, that if we had attempted to work on some of the suggestions made, our cultural
development would have been more vibrant, more in keeping with the other countries in
the region, in Latin America and in the world.

Madam President, you will agree with me that we have problems in our cultural
development. We have failed to be guided by our policy. We have confined ourselves to
folklore and traditional events. We have not kept abreast of the strides made in the
Caribbean and Latin America, hence a summary of what we do annually in culture
amounts to Assou Square, Carnival in July, Emancipation Day, Creole Heritage, St
Cecilia and so on, which I called out earlier.

Financial support and/or allocation from government… Last year the Prime Minister
gave $1.5 million for the development of the Arts and so on, and what I know is that of
late, only $800 thousand has been spent. But while we are the main agent for
development of Culture in Saint Lucia, we have other groups. Other groups which make


                                                                                         17
Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
quite a bit of sense. For example, we have SPAC. What is SPAC? SPAC is Students
Performing Arts Company, and look at what is done outside and away from CDF. SPAC
has personnel, a group of people, working together to push the arts: Mrs Priscilla Lucien,
Music Curriculum Specialist; Mrs. Anne Marie Biroo, a Music Curriculum Specialist
also; Mr. Barry George for Dance; Mrs. Martha Mc Lennnon, Technical Theatre; Ms
Zenith William, costumes and set design and construction; Ms. Kentilia Louis, Theatre
Arts Curriculum Specialist dealing with Drama; Mr. Travis Weekes, Theatre Arts
curriculum specialist, and there is a management team of Mrs. Petronilla Deterville, Head
of CAMDU, Dr. Anthony Felicien, Administrative Manager and Ms Kentilia Louis, who
is the Programme Manager. We will see most obviously that we have a group of people
who are prepared to push the Arts, and they are ready to do it. They have plays that they
put up all the time and listen to some of the plays which they call their achievements;
“Tinday,” an annual musical theatre production. They have done Masquerade Masters,
annual musical theatre production, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s, the Merchant of
Venice, that was done year before, and Errol Hill’s Man Better Man. The SPAC
represented Saint Lucia at Caricom’s “Youth Ambassador” programme, and we even had
where they had an extract from Derek Walcott’s, Joker of Seville.

I want to contrast this with what we have been doing at the Cultural Development
Foundation (CDF). One of the big problems which bedevil any effort to address the
problem of cultural development in Saint Lucia is finance or lack of proper management
of finance, and this is what I think is the problem. I had to call in officers from CDF
when they found themselves in trouble again for some financial thing I called them to my
office and the discussion started by they telling me it is a perennial problem. So I asked,
what are you doing about the perennial problem? You cannot come to me telling me that
lack of finance is a perennial problem, and yet when you have a deficit around carnival
time on your own, you take a group of people and go to have semi-finals in Vieux-Fort.
No costing was done. How much would it cost to have semi-finals in Vieux-Fort? It was
predictable. CDF lost a lot on that semi-finals in Vieux Fort. So what we have to look at
is how we might make people own up and say, sorry I made a mistake.

There are two things which were critical… the Prime Minister hearing that they were
going to Vieux Fort with semi-finals asked me for an explanation. I wrote asking for the
explanation on behalf of the Prime Minister. We got no explanation and they went and
did their thing in Vieux Fort and never revealed how much money it cost them and why
they lost.

Madam President, let me make some statements which I hope will elucidate and provide
a broader outlook on culture. Each of the statements suggests the bigger picture of
culture. Cultural development is essential to educational development. Culture has a
broader component than folklore and therefore we cannot confine it to folklore or the
things we have been doing. Culture is not adequately quantified compared with tourism
and agriculture. We should be able to collect cultural statistics and the sharing of best
practices.




                                                                                        18
Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
In Saint Lucia, education and culture are meant to be two sides of the same coin. This is
why the deceased, Sir John, when we got back into power rearrange and put education
and culture together. There is so much that can be done through culture. I have been
exposed to some of the information because I have travelled to places like Washington,
Paris, Ecuador, etc. See what has happened… In El Salvador there was a problem and
they decided, they showed how they use art and culture to help fight violence. What did
they do? They used the fine arts and entertainment. Even right here in Saint Lucia, the
Organisation of American States (OAS) gave us an opportunity to use culture to see if we
could tackle some of the problems of the young people and they asked where do you have
problems in Castries and we suggested Marchand. They started a band, and from that
time we have seen improvement in the behaviour of those young people at Marchand.
You know why? These young people, instead of going to fool around, idling around,
they go to the band house and they practice. It was remarkable how quickly they learned
how to play a violin. I can tell you violin is not easy to play.

Every year, they try to bring another group of people at Marchand. So we have a lot of
things that culture can help us do. We must accept culture as the transformational force,
transformational power and transformational agent in national development. We must
look at the important role of culture in the socio-economic development of public policy
in Saint Lucia. We have to look at culture as one of the factors for the development of
our country and not only our country… culture development of countries. We must
attempt to involve our young people in Saint Lucia. Whilst I was in Quito, Ecuador, we
were invited to bring some young people to participate in a level of discussion and give
them time a day before, to sit down and make recommendations to the Caribbean and
OAS, and these people were so good. The document they gave out was, we the young
people representing our countries and organisations at the first meeting of young people
for Latin America and Caribbean integration in participation, culture and development.
I saw these young people work up to one o’clock in the morning, because they had to
give this paper so that we, Heads of Government and Ministers of Culture, could discuss
it. And they were suggesting we have to encourage and create models of inclusive
participation that guarantee the incidence of young people on their conception of what
we, are doing, the design of what we are doing and the implementation of what we are
doing. Surely there is nothing more intelligent about the young people from the
Caribbean and Latin America than Saint Lucian young people. We tried our best. The
first person we selected did not have a visa so she could not go. The second one, her
passport had expired, and so it was too late for us to get things done for her quickly
enough.

Finally, Madam President I wish to suggest what is referred to as the Network Portals or
the threshold to facilitate getting ahead with culture should be examined. We should look
at the documents and publications. We should look at the sharing of best practices. We
should look at news and events. We should look at sources of financing, mapping of
institutions and stakeholders. We should look at the linkages with members from
different areas, from different countries in the Caribbean and we should look at press
releases. This would inform us as to how things can be done.



                                                                                      19
Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Having said so much, I now want to talk briefly on the School of Music. The School of
music is right here in Castries, and the School of Music has been that institution that has
done so much to train young and old. The School of Music had one of the best choirs,
but now most of the members are too old and cannot do as well as they did before –
Belcanto, I am talking about.

Teachers have learnt music; other people – independent people – have gone to the School
of Music and it has done a great job. I want to mention that because Mr. John Bailey, the
Director of the School of Music, is going on retirement. Now, I do not believe that
anybody with such resource should be allowed to retire, as long as he can walk. I am
serious about that. And I called in Mr. Bailey I said, “Mr. Bailey you might be tired. I
cannot stop you from going, but what I want you to do is to give us some ideas as to
where the School of Music is going. Ko vas this school of music? Give us the ideas so
that we can pass it on.” And he has agreed. I said, “Nowadays, people who do not want
to depend on government jobs, what they do they have a consultancy. Are you prepared
to start a consultancy so that same School of Music can use your services and so on?”
He was very pleased that I called him in. I said that I would arrange some discussion
with the Prime Minister, that he should think about it and that we could contact him again
by the end of the second term.

So, the next cultural consideration I have is the question of a national museum. I have
discussed with people why we cannot get a museum going after 69 years – that is what
the research said. For 69 years we have been trying to get a museum; we have identified
buildings for a museum and still we cannot start. We collected artifacts, we identified
buildings, but to no avail. I hear there is a problem between one group and another
group, whether it is Archaeological and Historical Society (A & H) or National Trust.
Small countries always have this problem, and yet small countries should be the easiest
ones to bring about change or improvement. Another attempt, I decided, has to be made.
Madam President, I am sure you will agree with me. We will invite relevant groups. I
am going to invite the Archaeological and Historical Society; selected Non-Government
Organisations (NGO); volunteers; United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization (UNESCO); and so on, and so on. I would like very much to see something
done to establish a museum. That is where all your history and all the things you want to
keep and show and so on, that is where you put it, so why should we not continue with it?
I will not go further than that; I do not want to prejudice my attempt; I do not want to say
too many things; I feel it will be too bad.

The next thing, Madam President, another suggestion to the Cultural Development
Foundation (CDF), after I have mentioned all the things they could do and work on … I
am surprised that there is a big thing about homecoming for Saint Lucians. This is a
good idea; it is not the first time we heard that, and the Ambassador for CARICOM, Dr.
Soomer, has not told me that CDF has come to offer something, because when you have
these Saint Lucians, you have to bring them together, you have to organize special get-
together; put things that the people remember Saint Lucia is noted for, and so on.
Nothing has been done from a CDF standpoint to say, “well, we will see about the folk
this and the folk that during the time the people are here.” I am very concerned, because


                                                                                         20
Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
when you have taken time and you make suggestions to people and you see they do not
move, there is a time when you have to make them move. I do not know if Madam
President will allow me to use the term ‘sluggish bottoms’. To me they are sitting on
their ‘sluggish bottoms’ and you have got to do something to make these people realise,
because otherwise they will say the whole government never cared about CDF. CDF is
the initiator; that is what they put you there for. So, when we have the Saint Lucian
Diaspora in July … as a matter of fact, my brother and sister from Canada will be
coming; I do not want to let them down. So we must have a good programme.

A group of us, about four of us, visited Taiwan and I tell you, Madam President, that
place is so developed, I had to ask what is it missing? The place is so developed, but one
of the first big impressions made on me was a visit to a special education school. If you
listen to what I wrote there, you will realise how far ahead this place is. Madam
President, I wish to applaud the government’s allocation of over $2 million towards
special education needs.

Madam President, I have recently returned from a visit to the Republic of China
(Taiwan), and I had the good fortune to visit the government’s Special Needs Education
School. It was an impressive structure, housing 350 students and 113 teachers. What
impressed me most was not the fact that the government had a school, but that the
government had a policy for special needs education, so that other special needs
institutions had guidelines to assist them in the delivery of education and training for
children with special needs. At that school we visited, special needs education begins as
early as five years old, so that the special needs are integrated into the early childhood
programmes. Their policy articulated the view that primary and early elementary
schooling revolved around the acquisition of life skills – you get that, for the young
children – while upper secondary and beyond revolved around the acquisition of
technical and vocational skills. There is legislation to support this, and the school
operates in a climate of the partnering and involvement of many stakeholders – the
school, parents, businesses for job or practical experiences, and corporate and private
agencies.

While many of the structures and resources may not be available to us in Saint Lucia, we
agree, we know, I would like to recommend that the government institute a policy that
would guide us and private agencies that are attempting to offer special needs education –
a policy that would cover curriculum issues, programme issues and that would state
government’s intention for the involvement of these children in the development of our
country. They are not disabled; be careful – we treat ours as disabled – they are not
disabled; they are differently abled – get that. They are not disabled; they are differently
abled, and it is for us to provide them with the skills to contribute to society as if we think
they cannot do anything for society. At the school in Taiwan, we were taken to the
school’s cafeteria, completely managed by the older children, what we call the differently
abled children, and we sampled the students’ snacks, which was so good. It was a
memorable experience. This was an indication of the students’ skills and many of them
afterwards received employment.



                                                                                            21
Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
My point in all this, Madam President, is that our government must do more than pay lip
service, and other people too – not only government, opposition and everybody else must
stop giving lip service and give attention to special needs education by an initial step of
establishing a policy to guide a vision for the special needs children of our nation.

I wish to take a few other points that I want to develop.

Madam President: Honourable Minister in the Ministry of Education and Culture, you
have 10 minutes remaining within which to complete your presentation.

Honourable Minister in the Ministry of Education and Culture: Well I will use the
10 minutes, Madam President, because I am quite disciplined, when you give me an hour
I take an hour.

Just let me mention one or two things … and it is important; where a man needs, what I
call, praise, you have to give him praise. After I left here at the end of the Prime
Minister’s presentation, next morning a good friend of mine, very close, he calls me
‘Gaspy’, and he said, “Gaspy, man the Prime Minister was damn good,” excuse the
expression, Madam President. “You know what I know?” I said, “What do you know?”
He said, “I do not want the Prime Minister to go for any degree.” So I am wondering,
“Why?” “But the man is so good already, if the man goes for a degree, he will come back
as foolish as some of the others who have degree.”

The last thing I want to add on – it came to my mind – I wanted my friend across to hear
that. It is the question of what we take for granted. When I was talking about the
museum I did not realise that last year, between the 9th and the 11th March, there was a
discussion – a three-day workshop, really – and the workshop aimed at training a cadre of
persons who will better understand their role in the development of museums as places of
access to information and knowledge. They also discussed the need to teach and
reinforce the basics of good museum management. They also discussed the question of
ensuring that professional standards are improved and maintained at local museums; and
the need to develop a consciousness among the populace of the significance of museums
to our cultural and social development.

Now, I do not know … Somebody was asking me why they have not been able to get on,
but here is the case where they have been empowered, as it were, to do the thing. So,
Madam President, I am prepared to forego some of these things that I have there, rather
than complain that they did not give me enough time. Thank you very much.

Senator Emma Hippolyte: Madam President, I do apologise to the people of Saint
Lucia and the Governor General for my absence at the Opening of Parliament last week,
but my flights were cancelled because of the volcanic eruption in Iceland.

However, I thank God for allowing me to be present here today and I thank Dr. Anthony
for the opportunity to serve. Madam President, please accept my congratulations on your
appointment as President of this Senate. Madam President, the Senate proceedings have


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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
always been professional and objective, and I pray that under your presidency you will
ensure that we keep to the high standards set by your predecessors, who presided in
accordance with Parliamentary procedures rather than follow the dictates of Members
opposite. I empathise with your predecessor, but she has everything to be proud of,
because she chose to do the right thing, and I wish to publicly commend her for her
professionalism. This is the behaviour that should be emulated by all professionals
especially our young women. Madam President, this situation reminds me of my own
situation, where both as a Director of Audit and as a Director of the National Insurance
Corporation (NIC), my contracts were not renewed because I performed my duties in
accordance with the laws of the State, and I performed them without fear or favour. This
is why I believe I have to reemphasise this point in this Honourable House, and this is
why I welcome the Governor General’s pronouncements at page 9 of Her Throne Speech
for compliance with the country’s financial laws.

Madam President, my presentation today will focus on the control environment in the
government, in the country. I have decided to focus on the control environment because
of its impact on our productivity within government, in the civil service, our productivity
as a country now, and our productivity as a country for the future. The impact of the
control environment on direct foreign investments; the impact of the control environment
on the cost of our debts as a country; and the impact of the control environment for our
overall economic progress.

Madam President, as an auditor, when I get in to do an audit, I usually have to come with
an opinion. And generally, we have different ratings: satisfactory, unsatisfactory needs
improvement. I will, at the end of my presentation today, explain to you, this Honourable
House, and to the nation why I have concluded that the performance of this government
and the contents of this Budget need improvement.

Madam President, I was able to watch some of the presentations on the net since I was
not in Saint Lucia, and I was able to read the Prime Minister’s Budget Address during my
11 hour flight to Miami. Madam President, my first reaction to the Budget Address is
that government is finally coming to grips with the reality of the day. That was the first
reaction I had. But on arriving in Saint Lucia and hearing the details of the Asphalt and
Mining (A & M) dealings, Madam President, I concluded that this government has not
fully understood the path in which it is leading this country. Secondly, I note the usual
absence of accountability concerning projects and commitments made in prior years, and
I will deal with this issue in greater detail later.

 Madam President, I intend to cover the following in my presentation. The lack of
accountability by government, the poor governance in government, and the tone at the
top which I have lamented from 2008. I will cover finance; public debt; fiscal policy,
especially the proposed taxation on marker value of properties; regulations for finance
and insurance companies; and I will speak generally on the government’s relationship
with A & M, and how this relationship tarnishes the control environment in this country.




                                                                                        23
Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Madam President, this Budget is presented against the background of world recession
which has tapered off in some countries, while it has lingered on in others, bringing
countries like Greece to the brink of bankruptcy. We need to note, though, that it is the
countries who took bold, decisive and timely actions that came out ahead. We saw
President Obama leading the charge and bailing out the problem banks in the United
States (US), resulting in the recovery of these banks a year later, and this action also
having positive impact on the recovery of the world economy. We saw the United States
of America (USA) and China making funds available to the private sector, resulting in
the growth of the economies, and in China having a growth rate of over 10 percent in
2009. On the other hand, we saw Greece, with delayed action and poor assessment,
having to pay high interests on its debts, resulting in the intervention of the IMF and
other countries of the EU. The result, Madam President, is a sovereign country having to
bow to the dictates of the IMF, the European Commission and other Eastern Caribbean
countries, and having to introduce fiscal measures that will bring hardship to its citizens
who, in turns, are now reacting with anger and violence.

Madam President, in 2006 Saint Lucia enjoyed a growth rate of 5 percent under the
administration of the Saint Lucia Labour Party.            The United Workers Party
administration came into office in December 2006 and in 2007 the country’s growth rate
dwindled to a mere 0.5 percent, less than 1 percent before the recession which came into
effect in 2008. Let the record show this. This was followed in 2008 by another poor
performance of growth of 0.7 percent. This performance was worse than that of our
sister OECS countries.

And now, in 2009, we have a negative growth rate of 5 percent. In short, Madam
President, the economy contracted by 5 percent. The average Saint Lucian is worse off
now than they were before. Another way of putting it, Madam President, 5 percent of the
population who may have been at the margin, are now in poverty. Madam President, I
will revisit this issue in more detail later.

In preparing this year’s presentation – but even before that – I need to remind our friends
opposite that for the past three years the average performance of this economy is a
decline in performance of an average of 1 percent. We need to recognise that every Saint
Lucians is poorer than he or she was before this administration came into power. In
preparing this year’s presentation, I reviewed my contribution to this Honourable Senate
in 2008/2009, and I noted the following: in 2008 I called on government to consider five
social and fiscal measures to address the company’s problem; that was the onset of the
recession. I told the government that we were in extraordinary times and we needed
extraordinary measures. I reminded the government of the importance of good
governance and of setting the right tone at the top. I called for the implementation of
social programmes to cushion the poor and the marginalised. Again in 2008, I called for
a strategic vision on ICT, because it could have implications for the type of schools and
the number of school buildings, and it had implementations on the way we progress as a
country. I also called for the teaching of solar technology at Sir Arthur Lewis
Community College, as a means of utilising solar power, so that we could be less
dependent on the conventional sources of oil and gas. I envisioned Saint Lucia


                                                                                        24
Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
manufacturing solar heaters and solar gargets to reduce the electricity consumption of
each household, and also to contribute to export earnings and to a reduction in our fuel
import bill. I called for the implementation of the Universal Health Care (UHC)
programme to improve access to health care for all Saint Lucians, especially the poor and
the needy.

Madam President, in 2009 I called for a policy on food security for our country. Others
on this side of the House were making similar calls. They lamented, they suggested, but
we were all ignored. I called for research in the use of local materials for pig feed to
reduce the cost of pig production to our farmers. I called on the Prime Minister, again in
2009, to set the tone right. I called attention to government’s use of limited resources to
commission a forensic audit of the Vieux Fort/Soufriere road, instead of using the
government audit office which is the official organ of Parliament to do that review. I
called on government to account and be transparent on the funds that were given.

Madam President: Order, order.

Senator Emma Hippolyte: Thank you Madam President. I called on government to
account and be transparent on the funds that were given by the Taiwanese Government to
Saint Lucia but which were not paid into the Consolidated Fund, contrary to the laws of
Saint Lucia. In 2009, Madam President, I also called government’s attention to the
dangers of having one individual holding two positions which could result in conflict of
interest in the Ministry of Finance.

Madam President, I am going through all of this background just to show this Honourable
Senate that I have brought to the attention of this Honourable Senate and to the
Honourable Government the issues that impact the control environment.

Lastly, in 2009, I urged government to consider some of the fiscal measures that were
included in the Budget, such as the taxing of income to non-nationals and the capping of
maintenance expense at $10,000, for tax purposes.

In 2009, Madam President, I wrote to the President of the Senate asking her to improve
the process leading to the Budget debates and asked that she take action to cause
Parliamentarians to better understand the contents of the Estimates of Revenue and
Expenditure and the rationale for such content. I also asked the President to cause the
Director of Audit to perform a follow up audit on the Kessler Report on the Vieux
Fort/Soufriere road and to perform an audit on the Taiwanese plan issue. Madam
President, I wanted us to move away from the speculations. We needed the facts, an
independent analysis of what was happening, and Parliament has an organ to do so. That
organ is the Director of Audit. And as Members here, we need to recognise the structures
that exist within government, and we should use them.

Madam President, I am happy to see that the government has now included two of the
five suggestions of 2008 and one of the six suggestions of 2009 in this year’s Budget.
One may say better late than never, but I am of the firm view that had the government


                                                                                        25
Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
introduced these measures earlier, we may not have had this dismal 5 percent contraction
of our economy in 2009, Madam President. It is one thing to take a measure; it is another
to take timely action. This is what has been shown to us by the international world. Not
only must we take decisions, but we must also take timely and appropriate decisions.
That is why I am raising it here, Madam President that we can learn from it.

The Prime Minister also reported that the taxing of income on non-nationals was not
implemented in 2009 but that it would be implemented in 2010. Here, in my own humble
view, the short term revenue generation was given precedence over the long term gains of
this fiscal measure, Madam President. Most times, I think we need to take a long term
view on such issues because of the possible negative outcomes of those measures for us
as a country. We may have the movement of capital from Saint Lucia to other
jurisdictions, or we may have a decline of new capital coming in, and that is not what we
want when we are trying to get this economy moving. I understand most times the
people at the Ministry of Finance trying to get a revenue source, but it has long term
implications.

Madam President, I am happy to note that the Parliament office has worked with the
Ministry of Finance and has held one session with Parliamentarians on the budgeting
process and related matters. I thank all for heeding my plea, and hope that these sessions
will become part of the normal process, Madam President. Madam President, I am,
however, disturbed that two of my requests which impinge on the governance of
Parliament and the Ministry of Finance have not been acted upon. My request for an
audit, an independent opinion, on the non-disclosure of and the accounting for funds
contributed by one government, namely, the Government of Taiwan to the Government
of Saint Lucia, has not been acted upon. Madam President, I therefore look to you and to
Members opposite, especially our Attorney General and Leader of Government Business,
to expedite action on this urgent and important matter in order to ensure that our
Ministers uphold the laws of our country at all times. Madam President, I repeat that the
current practice where government Ministers accept funds in the name of the government
and people of Saint Lucia and where these funds are held in accounts other than in the
Consolidated Fund, and where expenditures are made therefrom by persons other than
those authorised by the Finance Act is an infraction of the laws of Saint Lucia by
Parliamentarians themselves charged with the responsibility of upholding the laws of
Saint Lucia, a commitment, they renewed only last week in this very Parliament, Madam
President.

The second issue, Madam President, is the poor segregation of duties and responsibilities
within the Ministry of Finance. The current situation where the position of Director of
Finance and the position of Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance are being
held by one and the same individual is dangerous and reckless. The separation of the two
positions serve as checks and balances in the governance process, and that separation
should be maintained. Madam President, I will repeat my 2009 presentation on this issue
for emphasis: “Madam President, there is another abnormal situation in the Ministry of
Finance where the positions of Permanent Secretary of Finance and the Director of
Finance are held by one person, a situation which requires rectification. Section 69 of the


                                                                                        26
Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Constitution of Saint Lucia makes provisions for Ministries to be headed by Permanent
Secretaries. The Finance Act provides for the Act to be administered by the Director of
Finance. The Director of Finance is also the Chairman of the Tenders Board. Permanent
Secretaries are accountable to the Director of Finance for the financial aspects of their
Ministries. So you see, Madam President, a conflict arises when these two positions are
held by one person. I called on the Attorney General to give this Honourable Senate the
commitment that he would do all in his power to ensure that the governance structure of
government is honoured.”

Madam President, the current situation exposes the individual, and I will repeat this, the
current situation exposes the individual to the risk of being charged with negligence and
dereliction in the discharge of his duties. It also exposes our country to fiduciary risks. It
exposes our country to risk of errors and non-detection of key issues in financial matters
which may result in losses and liabilities to this country, Madam President. Parliament
has not been provided with any justification for this abnormality, nor have we any
comfort of compensating controls, Madam President, as our Minister for Finance himself
has limited knowledge, or, more accurately, I would say, no knowledge of financial
matters at that level. So this country, at this moment, is truly exposed to all the risks and
liabilities that we cannot afford because of our already precarious position. Why are we
putting the people of Saint Lucia at such risk? I want the Leader of Government
Business and I want the public of Saint Lucia to start questioning the Parliamentarians on
this issue, Madam President. I, therefore ask the Attorney General to inform this
Honourable Senate on the actions that he has taken to protect this country from the risks
mentioned.

Economic decline, Madam President... Madam President, a decline of 5 percent in GDP
crudely means that 5 percent of our population is now poorer than they were in 2008.
This is approximately 8,500 persons who were on the edge of poverty and have now
found themselves in deep poverty as a result of the deep hole dug by this government.
Madam President, they might not have been in this situation had the government
instituted early and effective social and economic programmes. Madam President, one
hungry person is too much, far less 8,500. The other alarming situation is that, Madam
President, because of the government’s inaction or later action, according to the
government’s own projection, about 40 percent of these 8,500 persons will remain in the
newly found poverty up until the end of 2010. This is about 3,500 persons and, Madam
President, we do not know how long they will remain there, as the projections did not go
beyond 2010. In reality, the unemployed youth of Palmiste, Soufriere, or the
unemployed mother of Marchand Boulevard, and her three children, may have to go
many more nights without supper because of the late action of this government.

I will go a bit now, Madam President, on the Budget. About three years ago, almost three
years from the onset of the recession, government is now presenting a recovery package
in this year’s Budget. However, I noted on page 14 of the Budget, that the Prime
Minister cited seven achievements of his Administration on page 14, Madam President.
When I looked at it, five of the seven were initiated by the Saint Lucia Labour Party
Administration.


                                                                                           27
Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
I will now focus on poor accountability and lack of implementation, Madam President.
Madam President, on the issue of accountability, the government has again ignored this
basic responsibility of providing explanations as to why projects that were included in the
Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure are either not implemented or deferred. Madam
President, our analysis of the Budget for 2007/2008 and 2008/2009 show the following:
from 2007 to 2010 the government’s Capital Budget declined by 33.85 percent, from
$552 million in 2007/2008 to $366 million in 2010/2011. Madam President, there are
some 26 capital projects that have been on the books from 2007 to now with varying
stages of implementation and some have disappeared with zero implementation. I will
just cite the names of a few – closed-circuit television under Home Affairs; close-circuit
system for Police – it has been there from 2008 with, zero implementation as at March
2010; national development; quadrant development and special projects; $207 million in
2007, only 1.91 percent implementation and that looks like monies on consultancies;
Tourism, improving competitiveness of rural tourism products, $15.87 million... it has
been in the Budget from 2007, but as at March 31, 5.47 percent implementation, Madam
President. Education… upgrading of Sir Arthur Lewis Community College – it has been
in the Estimates from 2007 – as at March, zero percent implementation. Health…
Castries Urban Polyclinic costing 7.5 million – it has been in the Budget from 2007 – it
has certainly disappeared from this year’s Budget, Madam President.

Madam President, the foregoing reality is very worrying. As an auditor, Madam
President, I am deducing from these records of poor implementation that the strong hand
of management that is required to keep the ship of State on course, is absent. Ultimately,
the buck stops with the Honourable Prime Minister, and he should have told us clearly
the reasons for non-implementation. Madam President, in an efficient government
structure, the Prime Minister would hold Ministers accountable for the outcomes of the
works of their Ministries, and each Minister would hold their Permanent Secretary
accountable for the management and outcome of their Ministries. But this does not
appear to be happening. One gets the impression that each Minister is a law onto himself
or herself; each Minister is king; the Prime Minister is king; each Minister is king, and
the ship of state is on auto pilot.

Madam President, this comes back to my concern over the tone at the top and the overall
governance environment in government. This concern is manifesting itself in the ‘asphalt
and mining’ fiasco and in this last IMF report on our country. Madam President, the IMF
report is written in layman’s language, and it is on the internet, so I urge all
parliamentarians, and I urge all Saint Lucians to read the report and then question their
parliamentarians. Madam President, I now present this IMF report as a document of this
Honourable Senate. And, Madam President, with your permission, I will quote from this
report later.

I will now focus on fiscal and public debts. Madam President, on pages 11 and 12 of the
Budget, the Prime Minister painted a gloomy picture of the state of the economy and the
future of our country. The IMF report also paints a not-too-rosy picture of our country. I
will now quote from the Prime Minister’s own presentation. And I quote, Madam


                                                                                        28
Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
President, “Madam President, the deterioration in the central government’s fiscal
position in 2009/2010 was not surprising, mirroring the downturn in the wider economy.
The overall fiscal deficit widened to $125.5 million, representing 4.8 percent of GDP,
compared to a deficit of 50.6 million in 2008/2009 or 1.9 percent of GDP. This outturn
was influenced by a decline of 2.5 percent in total revenue and grants to $800 million,
while total expenditure increased by 6.2 percent to $926 million.”

The long and short of this is that our present debt, Madam President, of $1.83 million is
71 percent of our GDP and 11 percent higher than the ECCB prudential guidelines of 60
percent. That is where we are. Madam President, I am raising this issue simply because
the A&M proposed debt of $450 million, if concluded, will bring our debt to GDP rating
close to 100 percent, Madam President. So we have to question the timing, the purpose;
can it wait? That is why I am bringing it in, Madam President. Every country must
borrow, but we have to question the timing and the reason for moving our debt burden
from a 71 percent debt to GDP rating, to almost 100 percent. It appears to the average
person as a set of recklessness on the part of the government. Madam President, the Saint
Lucia Government, along with others in the OECS, by accepting special IMF funds, now
has to implement structural and fiscal reform, and some of the measures in the Budget are
simply to meet this obligation.

The IMF recommended changes in the computation of property taxes as well as the
introduction of VAT in 2010, among other things. However, the Prime Minister’s
address did not indicate that VAT will be introduced in 2010. I would like Members
opposite to tell this Honourable Senate of the timing of the introduction of VAT in Saint
Lucia. While the general objective is to increase the revenue base of government, there is
no mention of the social cost of these measures. But rest assured, Madam President,
there is cost. One example of that cost, Madam President, is that the government
introduced annual vehicle licenses, but gave no consideration to the cost to the country.
Only this morning, I heard a gentleman on the radio, lamenting that he spent two hours
on a line at the Ministry of Communications and Works, to pay for his annual license.

Madam President: Senator you now have 10 minutes within which to complete your
presentation.

Senator Silas Wilson: Madam President, I beg for the suspension of Standing Order
35.3 to allow the Honourable Senator an additional 15 minutes within which to complete
her presentation.

Madam President: Senator, I think you are actually directing this Honourable House to
rule 35.1 of the Standing Order if you are asking for a suspension of this Order.

Senator Silas Wilson: Madam President, I wish to invoke Section 35(3) to allow the
Senator an additional 15 minutes within which to complete her presentation.

Question Proposed, Put and Agreed to
Leave Granted


                                                                                       29
Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Senator Emma Hippolyte: Thank you Madam President. I thank Members of this
Honourable Senate for this. Yes, Madam President, I raise this issue so that we can focus
on the cost. Sometimes the cost is not just the $100 that the person paid. There is a cost
to this gentleman who spent two hours on the line. There is a cost to the country. And I
am raising this – and I notice that Senator Charlemagne earlier focused on cost... We
need to utilise our resources effectively. So when we think of revenue generation and
how we move forward, we need to take the total cost; and that total cost is not just the
outlay. It is the whole effort. It is the gas that has to be used to travel to the place… it is
a lot of things, and we need to think more effectively.

Madam President, the negative impact of changing the method – the rental value from a
five percent value of rental property to a 0.4 percent of market value – that negative
impact falls on persons who occupy their own homes, especially households headed by
women, widows, pensioners and the elderly. The tax on these properties, in some cases,
may increase by as much as 30 percent. Unless there is a means of cushioning this
impact, some of these persons will end up losing their homes. This might not have been
the objective, but then again, when we present these measures, we need to envision what
the end impact will be, and there is the possibility that by the introduction of this
measure, this government is intentionally or unintentionally putting pain on women and
the elderly.

Madam President, I will focus now on the reduction in expenditure, but before doing this
I also need to present an issue here as well, in terms of the cost of debt, as we discuss
cost. I have seen a summary analysis of the cost of government debt. The cost of
government’s bonds is at 7.3 percent – that is the interest rate, treasury bills, an average
of five percent, and loans an average of 3.9 percent, giving us the weighted cost of debt
of 5.6 percent. The question that I want this Honourable House to answer, the question
that I want the Leader of Government Business to answer, relates to the proposed interest
rates on the Asphalt and Mining (A&M) loan. How does that fit into that cost of debt?

Madam President, on the issue of reduction of expenses, I am happy to see that the
government is taking steps to contain expenditure. I need to commend the government
on that initial step, Madam President. However, I note that while the Prime Minister’s
Budget Address calls for rationalising of rental space, I sense that the action by
government is different to the Prime Minister’s pronouncement. I am aware that the
government has a tacit agreement with the National Insurance Corporation (NIC) for the
rental of office space in the buildings of the NIC. I note that the government has
purchased the building in Bois D’Orange for office space and commercial space.
Government is also renting from several landlords. I heard – and I am calling on the
Leader of Government Business to correct me if I am wrong or provide clarification to
this Honourable Senate – I heard that government also rented the new building being
constructed on the John Compton Highway in the vicinity of Saint Lucia Electricity
Services Ltd. (LUCELEC). I also heard, Madam President, that government has made an
advanced payment of rent of $1 million to the owner of the building.



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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
In summary, Madam President, when I looked at the Estimates a while ago, the rent
expenditure for this government has moved in 2009 from $27.6 million to a projected
figure of $31.1 million in 2010. So I would like the Leader of Government Business to
enlighten this Honourable Senate on government’s policy relative to office
accommodation, and I need the Attorney General to tell us how government intends to
deal with the negative impact of its current practice of the dispensing of largesse. How is
that going to impact the investment fund of the National Insurance Corporation? I want
the Leader of Government Business to tell the people of this country how the government
intends to safeguard the funds of the National Insurance Corporation that is owned by the
pensioners and the workers of this country, Madam President. Government must
remember that the NIC pension fund sustains the economy of this country and
government would be derelict and reckless in actions that are going to threaten that fund.
This matter must be discussed, and discussed in detail.

While I am on the NIC, Madam President, the Prime Minister indicated in his Budget
Address that the NIC will construct a fire station on the John Compton Highway and a
building at Pointe Seraphine, while at the same time National Insurance Property
Development and Management Company Ltd. (NIPRO) will construct a Police Station in
Gros Islet and one in Babonneau. I need to ask, is there an error in this statement? From
my knowledge, the National Insurance Corporation set up a subsidiary company, NIPRO,
to undertake the maintenance and the construction of its physical plans and to provide
these services to government and other entities. Madam President, I would like
clarification by the Leader of Government Business. What exactly is happening? What
confusion is there between the NIC and NIPRO? We should be using our resources
effectively in this country. Are the loans from the NIC different in conditions and
structure to those of NIPRO? There is a usual saying that the devil is in the details and
we need the details, Madam President.

Now I will quickly go to Asphalt and Mining (A&M), because I am running out of time.
Madam President, based on the scenario where our debt burden is about to choke us, the
public is questioning the prudence of government’s decision to borrow over $400 million
for the Hewannora Airport project at this time. Moreover, the questions that beg
responses are: Who is A&M and who are the principals of that company? What is the
financial strength of A&M and what is the company’s track record in the construction of
roads and airports? Does the company have the requisite skills to construct such assets?
Why should St. Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority (SLASPA) choose a design finance
built arrangement for a project such as an airport, which could have dire consequences if
construction is not done properly? And that is why I am talking about this control
environment, Madam President, because these little issues – and move the politics aside –
this is a small country and we have limited resources.

If you take a company that do not know A from B and put them to construct an airport –
we take a loan of $400 million – and if this airport does not meet international standards,
does this company – can it come and reimburse and make good the damage? If for some
reason there is a plane crash and after investigation we are being told that it is because of
an error in the construction of this airport, will this government, with its limited


                                                                                          31
Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
resources, have the funds to compensate? Why is this government taking such reckless
action and exposing this country to such risk? And I need – not only in this Senate – but
these issues need to be discussed throughout the length and breadth of this country. And
I will say it in Creole event though I do not say anything else, (Creole starts) I want the
people of Saint Lucia to start asking this Government why they are putting the people of
Saint Lucia in the kind of risks they are doing. When the government takes $450 million
in Saint Lucia, borrow money and they have not told us how they are going to pay it
back. But the biggest problem for me is the people who have the contract or the people
government wants to give the contract have never done this kind of work, and we know
airport business is a thing of risk. If something happens on this airport or a plane
crashes, does the company have enough money to pay the owner of the plane, and people
who have died? That is something that I want all the people of Saint Lucia to start asking
the government, to start asking each Parliamentary Representative for them to give you
an explanation, because the government in this kind of action is putting the country at
risk. (Creole ends).

Madam President, I listened to the radio calling programme only yesterday and there is a
perception by the general public, and you know most times I am not here, so I always get
the temperature of things from the calling programmes. There is a perception, Madam
President, from the calls, that the government has a relationship with A&M which is not
fully arms length. The Prime Minister must therefore take all steps to provide all
information on A&M, and not that alone, but on all contracts that have been signed
between A&M and the Government of Saint Lucia.

Madam President, the company constructed the Allan Bousquet Highway and the
information I have, and I again ask the Members opposite, especially the Leader of
Government Business, to correct the information that the selection of this company was
done through direct purchase instead of the standard tenders’ process. Again, Madam
President, the violation of the control environment. I was told, and I need confirmation
from the Leader of Government Business, that the full cost of the Allan Bousquet
Highway was approximately $12 million. From my information, Madam President, the
highway is already completed and consultants have been paid; however, I could not trace
the expenditure in the Estimates, so I call on the Leader of Government Business to
enlighten this Honourable Senate. The question is, is the Allan Bousquet Highway a loan
or a gift to the people of Saint Lucia? If it is a loan, what is the interest rate and the
duration of the loan? And will A&M now have to pay taxation on interest earned in
accordance with the proposed legislation that we have just been discussing? I want the
Attorney General who is the Leader of Government Business to tell this Honourable
Senate whether the Attorney General vetted and approved the contract for the Allan
Bousquet Highway. I was also informed, Madam President, that this contract may not
have been sent to the Director of Audit and the Accountant General. Again I would like
the Leader of Government Business to confirm this, because this would be against the
procedures.

Madam President, I will again repeat my concern for what appears to be deterioration in
the control environment in government and a high level of tolerance for unethical


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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
behaviour. This situation requires urgent rectification. I would suggest to the
government, Madam President, to consider what Belize has done and consider an Act
called The Contractor Generals Act and with your permission I will make this document
a document of the House, Madam President, and what I will do is to just read a section of
it which gives us the function of the contractor general. And I will read:
    (a) To monitor the award and the implementation of public contracts with a view to
        ensuring that –
        (i) such contracts are awarded impartially and on merit;
        (ii) the circumstances in which each contract is awarded or, as the case may be
              terminated, do not involve any impropriety or irregularity;
        (iii) without prejudice to the functions of any public body in relations to any
                contract, the implementation of each such contract conforms to the terms
                thereof;
        (iv) there is no fraud, corruption, mismanagement waste or abuse in the
                awarding of contracts by a public body;
    (b) to investigate any such fraud, mismanagement waste or abuse;
    (c) to develop policy guidelines, evaluate programme performance and monitor
        actions taken by a public body with respect to the award, execution and
        termination of contracts; and
    (d) to monitor the grant, issue, suspension or revocation of any prescribed license
        with a view to ensuring that circumstances of such grant, issue, suspension or
        revocation do not involve impropriety or irregularity and, where appropriate, to
        examine whether such license is used in accordance with the terms and conditions
        thereof.
Madam President this is in an effort to improve the control environment.

Stronger regulations, Madam President … The issue of CFL financing and its subsidiary
or associated company, British American, could result in the lack of trust in financial and
insurance companies. My concern, Madam President, is whether the government has
assessed the full situation and its potential impact on our economy. I am told that an
accounting firm was appointed liquidator for British American and some information has
been presented to the Courts Madam President; but there is a possibility that the liability
of these companies may exceed their assets and this may result in unmet commitments to
clients.

Madam President, my question is, who is representing the general public? And what is
the government doing to protect the general public, especially those with claims? Is the
company still operating, Madam President, as we speak? Are people paying premiums to
the company? And should government allow this to continue unconditionally? I
therefore call on the Leader of Government Business to provide this Honourable Senate
with full details of the situation Madam President.

The public expects the government to protect its interest, and in this instance government
must deliver; government must protect the small person with the little policies, because in
some cases that is all they have.



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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Madam President, I note the Prime Minister mentioned the introduction of new
legislation to strengthen regulations for financial insurance companies. May I suggest,
Madam President that the government legislate for all insurance companies to make their
audited financial statements public.

Secondly, another issue that needs addressing is for government to ensure that the
Ministry of Finance has the staff with the requisite skills and qualifications to enforce the
legislation, and thirdly, Madam President, government should legislate to prevent
insurance companies from discontinuing medical insurance contracts with persons who
attain a certain age. Just an example, Madam President … You, at age 40, might have
purchased a medical insurance from some company. At present, the insurance company,
when you attain an age of 65 or 70, automatically discontinues that insurance policy, and
this is the time and age when the public needs that coverage. So I would really like this
government, in looking at the legislation, to protect the interest of the average Saint
Lucian and take steps to ensure that when somebody already has a policy, no insurance
company should have that right to discontinue. That would require, Madam President,
that the insurance policies are amended, and I rest, I am confident that the Members
opposite will take steps to get this done.

Madam President, I will just quickly read a little section of the International Monetary
Fund (IMF) report and that is just the assessments – the Executive Board Assessment –
that is the IMF board … their assessment of where we are in Saint Lucia. I am going to
quote from it now. “The Executive Directors observed the global downturn that has led
to a marked declined in Saint Lucia’s Economic activities. The economy is recently
showing welcome sense of an emerging recovery, although downside risks remain, given
the continuing dependence on tourism.” That is one quote, Madam President. Another
quote, and I am reading as is “they encourage the authorities to move ahead with the
implementation of the plan, value added tax in 2010 and to embark on measured
withdrawal of discretionary spending, including by scaling back capital spending.” I am
repeating that, Madam President. “Including by scaling back capital spending.” That is
the IMF’s report. Also, again from the quotation, “Directors emphasise the need to
prioritise and improve the efficiency of public spending, to contain the growth of the
Public Wage Bill and to seek more concessional financing in order to create fiscal space
for higher targeted social spending, and to observe external shocks.”

Hence my earlier question of the A & M the justification for the A & M loan at this point
and also the cost of this loan, Madam President, because the government is getting that
suggestion from other areas as well. Contain your expenditure, contain your capital
expenditure at this time and look at the cost of borrowing. Again, I am going back into
the reports, “they encourage the authorities to move forward on structural reform
including, improving the business climate and boosting labour productivity.” That is the
IMF report saying that, Madam President. And you go against this in terms of the control
environment that I have been talking about.

Investors will not come to Saint Lucia if we do not have a good business environment.
Most of us looking at the BBC would look at an ad by Georgia. Most of us looking at


                                                                                          34
Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
BBC and the general public could see that. Georgia is paying BBC big monies to tell the
world that it is the first in doing business. That the country is high up in terms of the
corruption list; that it is number one; there is no corruption in there. This is goodwill that
is required for investors to come into our country and that is why we must take note and
change the course of what we are doing now. The report also calls for a regulatory
approach to, and welcomes the authorities’ approach to strengthening regulations and
supervision of non-banking financial institutions, and the resolution of insurance
company BAICO. That is what I have spoken about between CFL financing and British
American and the whole issue for us, Madam President.

Madam President, I will end here by saying that my professional assessment of the
operation of this government and the content of this Budget is simply, needs improving.
I strongly believe though, Madam President that Saint Lucia can and should do better.
Madam President, I thank you and Members for this moment and urge government and
the people of Saint Lucia to seize this opportunity to change the course of our history, if
not for ourselves but for our children. May God bless us all and beloved country.

Senator Alison Plummer: Thank you Madam President. I would first like to start off
by thanking the Governor General, Dame Pearlette Louisy, for affording me this
opportunity, a second time around, to express my views on the Appropriation Bill
2010/2011 which is being laid before the House for consent.

Madam President, my views are that of an independent senator and one may ask the
question, what is the position of an independent senator? A big secret, right? As a friend
of mine once responded when I quickly qualified my position in the House as being
independent … He said “Independent? There is no such thing as independent; you are
either for something or against it.” He is correct. When one debates a point, one is
either for it or against it. But what he fails to realise is that my colleague and I hold the
most privileged seats in the House. We hold the most privileged seats because we
unequivocally debate against the issue, not the person or the group of persons. We hold
the most privileged seats because our critical thinking is not limited by imaginary
boundaries established within the confines of a party that has its only jurisdiction locally
within our dearest 238 square miles of space. And so, although it is not very
characteristic of this Upper House, Madam President, I stand before you with no charade
to impress potential constituents, with no venom to insult the opposite side and,
importantly, with no desire to debate on figures of expenditure and revenue, at a time
when I know at best my words can only be recorded, and possibly fall on the ears of
helpless listeners - people who only serve as onlookers, bystanders of a process that
forms the single most important part of a government and its people.

So forgive me, Madam President, if my presentation on this Bill will be like no other
presented in the House before me. This is because for this debate, Madam President, I
have chosen to focus largely on the process, the budgetary process, and not the fine
details of the figures. I am no economist. I said so in my last speech. I am a scientist,
but I am also a trained Systems Manager, and systems comprise processes. So I am
compelled to look deeply into what is called our national budgetary process.


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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Madam President the people of Saint Lucia are no fools; they know that my words and
those of any other Member of this House and the Lower House are meaningless when it
comes to impacting on the national Budget for the current fiscal year. But what they may
not be aware of is that our words have been cast as meaningless, not by the constitution,
but, Madam President, by design of our governments. When will this stop? When will
the most important time in our country’s parliamentary session be stopped from being
used as a political platform to gain favour, or to impress potential voters? When will we
stop wasting this Honourable House’s time and use it for the business of the country and
the people of Saint Lucia, as set out by the constitution of this country?

If we are really honest with ourselves, everyone would agree that year after year
performances are witnessed from Members of both the opposition and the ruling party in
this Honourable House during the debate. The Budget debate which I mentioned, no
doubt is the most crucial time in the parliamentary session. And year after year we
accept it. Each year we have the usual feedback; I listen to the news; I listen to the talk
shows, and the cries are the same: lamenting the quality of the debate in the House during
this period; lamenting how funds have been appropriated, and, Madam President, it is
surprising - or not surprising rather, because this has happened year after year - the same
cries come from both the public and the private sector alike. Yes, if you thought you had
to be out there to feel helpless, wait until you are in there. I have been there, and I speak
to senior public servants. Even Ministers complain of what is approved of in the Budget,
feeling beyond their control. As I mentioned I know, I was there; I am still out there. I
am in the private sector capacity. But, Madam President, this cannot be right. It cannot.
It does not take rocket science to see that the budgetary process is flawed. It is flawed,
and I am bold enough to say so even if it has demonstrated no change from our
independence. It must be flawed, because if the very process by which allocation and use
of public funds is an utter mockery on democracy, the very basis of our constitution, then
something must be wrong. We cannot continue to mislead the people of the country into
believing that democracy is only when we go to the polls. Our vote at the polls is
meaningless, if the people of Saint Lucia do not have the opportunity to influence and
monitor how their money is being used. Madam President, we can stop this, but each
year we do nothing about it. We continue to relish in the doom that both the public and
the private sector, except for the Minister for Finance of the day, faces - the doom of
helplessness as we witness funds being allocated in ways in which we can only look
forward to analyse after the fact. You hear it, Caribbean Money Market Brokers
(CMMB), radio stations, programmes hosting discussions to analyse something that has
already been approved. Is that what we want?

 Madam President, do you realise that no matter how strong a sector’s proposal was or
how good the argument for funding was, it is as if everything were out of our control.
We just wait to accept what is given to us, once we have the comfort or relief of being
able to express ourselves in this House or on talk shows, or streets. At the expense of the
development of our people and this nation, the opposition of the day, and I am not
speaking to any particular opposition, waits, almost like vultures, to pounce on a mistake
of a government of the day, and yes, this is at the expense of our people and our nation


                                                                                          36
Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
that these mistakes are utilised for political gain. But, Madam President, I am not
helpless. Those who know me quite well know that I am very uncomfortable when I am
part of a system or a process which I can do nothing about. I know we can change this.
We can stop this nonsense which has characterised our budgetary process since our
Independence, over thirty years ago – this nonsense which I have evaluated to be caused
by nothing more than an abuse of constitutional power and I will explain.

This is an abuse that silences our people into believing that the only input they can have
in running this country is to talk about, or march against government actions that have
already taken place and that we, the people of Saint Lucia, have no way of influencing.
The truth is, nothing is out of our control other than what has intentionally been designed
to be that way, through a selfish interpretation of constitutional power that have plagued
every party that has been in power since we have gained independence, and I will explain
later on, Madam President.

We did not need to wait for constitutional reform to cause a change. The existing rights
and obligations laid out by the chapter on Finance, number 5 of the Constitution, as is it
already allows for the freedom of democracy that we need and that we are not even
practicing even after 30 years of trying to interpret it. What makes us think that a new
constitution, by some magic, will cause our leaders to conform? Madam President,
permit me again, as I delve further into the explanation. Section 79 of the existing Saint
Lucia Constitution Order requires the Minister responsible for Finance to lay the
Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure of Saint Lucia for a new fiscal year in the House
before, or not later than, 30 days after the commencement of each financial year. This
section further goes on to state that only when the estimates have been approved by the
House, that the Appropriation Bill which authorises the government to withdraw from the
Consolidated Fund in accordance with the approved estimates can be laid before the
House.

Now, procedure has it that the finance committee, which comprises of all Members of the
Lower House, both opposition and ruling, with the Speaker as Chair, meets to discuss and
debate these Estimates before they are presented to the House. What is presented to the
House, ideally, should be a joint report from that committee, reflecting what is agreed to
by both sides. But, Madam President, what currently obtains, and from what I understand
has obtained from Independence, is that this finance committee meets only once to
review these Estimates submitted by the Minister for Finance. To make matters worse,
this one time occurs only hours before the Throne Speech and the presentation of the
Appropriation Bill to the House. This process leaves no time for real debate and revision
of the figures presented and I repeat, no time outside of the architects and engineers of
the Estimates, to effectively debate these figures – not only debate by Parliamentarians
who form the finance committee, and member of the Lower House, but also by our best
economic and social strategists within the country.

Madam President, if this process of the finance committee of meeting only once and on
the same day as the Appropriation Bill is being laid before the House is not interpreted as
sheer laziness, then it must be interpreted as the arrogance associated with assuming


                                                                                        37
Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
correctness with power. Madam President, it does not have to be this way. As I said
earlier, nothing is preventing the Minister for Finance from submitting to the finance
committee the government’s Estimates for Expenditure and Revenue for a new fiscal
year, months or even weeks in advance of the beginning of that year to allow for
sufficient time for debate and revision. Likewise, nothing is preventing the laying of the
Estimates before the House months or weeks before the Appropriation Bill is laid instead
of the manner in which it is done where everything is presented to the House within the
same Sitting. There is nothing, Madam President, preventing this from happening,
nothing apart from allocating adequate resources to the Budget Department and to allow
for proper Budget planning and implementation.

The People of Saint Lucia should demand this level of democracy. The nation’s
budgetary process should be based on principles of openness, transparency and
accountability. The way in which this budgetary process is executed does not allow for
these principles to be upheld, and I repeat, we do not need to wait for a change in the
Constitution to allow for this. The Constitution already affords our Leaders an
opportunity to make our people play a greater role in determining how their funds are
being used by the people they put in power. Madam President, it is not enough to say
that we have met with key stakeholder groupings and listened to their proposals in
preparing for this Budget. What happens once the proposals are submitted or heard? I
have said before true openness in the process affords all stakeholders an opportunity to
get feedback on proposals sent to government for inclusion into the Budget.

The Estimates on which the country’s Budget is based should never be deemed clarified
information until the point at which the Appropriation Bill is being read. An
Appropriation Bill is passed simply to authorise the drawdown of money from the
Consolidated Fund in accordance with the Budget that has already been approved. It
leaves no room for debate. In fact, so insignificant is the Appropriation Bill to democracy
that our Constitution contains provisions for the use of monies from the Consolidated
Fund, even in the absence of an Appropriation Bill. So insignificant is the Appropriation
Bill to the democratic process, the Bill that we leave as the climax or the highlight of our
budgetary debate, so insignificant it is deemed by our Constitution to the democratic
process, that compared to the Estimates, our Constitution sets the time limit within a
Parliamentary session for the presentation of this Bill, only in relation to the time limit set
for the presentation of the Estimates.

Madam President, in the US, the Estimates are required to be submitted to the relevant
joint committee for debate at least nine months in advance of the new fiscal year. In
Scotland, it is almost 12 months in advance, and there are several other examples where
due process is followed in the national budgetary process to allow for adequate debate
and revision. This arrogance of submitting Estimates, not only within the first month of
the same fiscal year, but just a few days before it is constitutional due to be presented,
and being presented together with the Appropriation Bill must stop. We need to cause
adequate time separation between the steps in the budgetary process. We need to give
Parliamentarians adequate time to debate the joint finance report before discussions on
the Appropriation Bill takes place.


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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
We have heard from a former knowledgeable Speaker from the House recently, in the
public domain. We have heard him lament the process, and it is because he understands
the process of democracy. A new Appropriation Bill or Act must signify the opening of a
new parliamentary session. That is understandable, although my personal views may not
support this, as I believe there must be a more scientific way of measuring the
performance of our Parliamentary Representatives. But if a Parliamentary Representative
choose to utilise his time in the House during the first Sitting of a parliamentary session
to reflect on what he believes to have been his achievements over the previous
parliamentary session, then he is free to do so during the discussion of the Appropriation
Bill – free to do so, but not at the expense of thorough discussion on the Estimates and
not at the risk of creating unnecessary distractions of the House and our people of Saint
Lucia to political innuendoes.

Moreover, I believe the structure of the debate on the Budget should not be based on
individuals elected to hold the seats or selected to hold position. This type of structure of
debate calls for the focus to be on the individual and not the issue. A Budget debate
should be structured in a manner to cause debate on subject matters, not on Ministry
matters. For instance, in responding to crime or business developments, while there may
be one Ministry with overarching responsibility, there may be several activities that may
be cross-cutting, spanning across different Ministries. Therefore, in preparing for a new
fiscal year, I would like to see this House debate policy on each subject matter, whether it
be crime, social development, business development or Tourism, in a manner that allows
for all agencies to come together to defend their contributions regarding the subject. That
way we would alleviate the silo effect that often we hear from external consultants. They
can often accuse our government agencies of operating under a silo effect.

If, however, we were to present our national Budget in a manner which forces our people
and our Representatives to debate on subject matter which spans across all Ministries, we
would also avoid the consequent Jekyll and Hyde effect that our people and our business
sector experience internally when dealing with government, and this is to say for instance
when one arm is providing an incentive to do something and the other arm is often
hindering its progress. It happens all the time in the business development policy area.
Almost everyone in business could identify with it and I also mentioned it during my
maiden Budget speech last year. Let me give you an example. Let us use as a point of
reference, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, which implements programmes based
on the philosophy of, say, ‘buy local’, efforts which are genuine, and you have some very
hard working people in there who focus on this. But while their efforts are genuine and
meaningful, government as the largest purchaser throughout the Ministries purchase
goods of comparable quality to that which is produced locally, from external
manufacturers. In fact, we even have imported brands sponsoring local events, local
major activities, where no opportunity had been given to manufacturers of similar
products in this country.




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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Yes, we speak of policies to grow the local business sector while the largest industry on
the island, and I speak of the Tourism industry, is given incentives to import, not what is
manufactured locally, but foreign products under the convenient misused pretext of an
inability to meet supply/demand locally, and without any structured efforts to help our
businesses grow – to help achieve the goals and objectives that a Ministry of Commerce
and Industry strives so much to do.

But I will not delve further at this point into other examples of the “silo and Jekyll and
Hyde effect”, lest I distract my listeners from the essence of my discussion, which is to
provide justification for the need for rapid reform in the budgetary process. Going back
to the need to change the structure of the Budget debate to focus on subject matters and
not on people or industries, I think that if the government were serious about an effective
Budget debate, there would be no reason why the finance committee or the people of
Saint Lucia, during the Lower House debate, could not hear contributions from the
selected Ministers responsible for the three most important areas that the budget covers
this year, and I speak of crime, Tourism and business development.

What better forum to hear these Ministers’ contributions in defending the amounts that
had been allocated to sectors under their responsibilities. Of course, their contributions
without voting ability in the process. But instead, we wait for a week later when most
often radios are turned off; televisions are turned off; people do not listen to the Senate
debate; at least not many people. But we wait until then to hear them, after all the time
has been wasted – after all is said and done – defend these budgetary allocations. And,
Madam President, as if the Budget preparatory process was not bad enough, the Budget
control process is even worse, and, in several ways, I am echoing the words of Senator
Hippolyte who spoke before me. We spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on
Commissions of Inquiries each time a party enters into power, and an immeasurable
amount of time debating these reports from these inquiries. However, we are silent on
the inadequacies of the Audit Department as demonstrated by that Department’s failure to
meet its obligations under Section 84 of the Constitution.

Section 84 of our Constitution requires a report from the Director, on the use of public
funds from the public accounts of Saint Lucia, to be laid before the House within each
fiscal year. While I will not bring up the poor history of the past several years before me,
suffice it to say that during my first year of being part of this parliament, yes, I may have
seen some reports from statutory bodies, but I have never seen an audit report from a
government department being laid before this House. But no, we continue; we continue
to tie up our time to hurl accusations or respond to accusations of misuse of funds here
and there, by calling talk show programmes, being part of different fora, and if I am
lucky enough, I would still live to see another independent inquiry costing taxpayers
money, lots of money, to investigate actions that have long past, instead Madam
President, of putting that money, that same money, to strengthen the Audit Department,
so that it can do its job effectively and efficiently. And indeed, I am echoing the words of
the senator who spoke before me.



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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Madam President, if the people of Saint Lucia had confidence in the system of which the
budgetary process is part one would not be preoccupied with the perceived past of any
individual holding a particular seat or a particular position. Our people would not be
preoccupied with that. They would not be preoccupied, because one would be confident
that the system would take care of them – that the strong system would not cause the
people to be holding their breath, each time they hear a new project has been awarded.
Too often, because of this lack of confidence in the system, our people lose focus and
target the individual, and not the weak system. This continues to leave us hurling and
shouting in circles year after year.

Madam President, a strong system of governance and a strong system that allows for a
good budgetary process benefits both sides of the House. It allows the government of the
day to carry on its business without fear of accusations, and it also allows the opposition
to focus its efforts on areas that are meaningful for the development of this nation. But
there could be no change. Indeed, there has been no change. There could be no change if
for successive years, no leader of finance has been bold enough to change a process
which is entirely within his control, and his control only. Is it any wonder that our people
are not moved? Our people are nonchalant by the consecutive flowery impressive
Budget themes each year, with beautiful words such as creating growth, reengineering
change, change and change.

Change, Madam Speaker, how can we ask for the faith, for the trust in our people that we
can change things that are not within our direct control, when we cannot even change the
things within out direct control? That we continue, out of convenience to utilise the
mechanism that silences democracy. Madam Speaker – and it is not only for the leaders
of finance that I am speaking – but I am also addressing consecutive leaders of
opposition, who may have disappointed this nation in some fashion or another. Yes, they
too have disappointed this nation by not putting the pressures in the important places, or
on the important issues that can cause effective change in the system, changes that would
result in protecting our people and their monies, rather than changes that focus on people
as their subject matter. Too often, at the expense of the development of our people and
this nation, do Opposition Leaders embellish in the distractions and the disturbances on
the energies of our people, while our people should be otherwise focused on productive
advancements.

And on this note, Madam President, I wish to digress my attention from the call for
change. Note that it is not change of people, but rather change of a system. Although I
indicated earlier my lack of desire to spend time debating a Bill I cannot change, I feel
obliged to make a few observations regarding the relevance of the theme of this year’s
Budget and that is, “The road to recovery, engineering growth, engendering social
cohesion, building resilience to external shocks.” Indeed, this theme is relevant in this
time. Again, it sounds good. However, having listened to the Budget presentation, I am
a bit concerned about the strategies used to build resistance to external shocks, and I will
explain.




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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
I am a bit concerned that I have not seen any creative or new initiative, but rather
discussions on several matters that have been presented several times before. And I say
this for two reasons. Again it is no rocket science that small businesses form the bedrock
of any economy. However, little is mentioned on new initiatives to sustain the survival
of these businesses in these challenging economic times. Madam Speaker, I have been
hearing a lot lately about various initiatives to encourage youth enterprises, and this is
good; it is good. But, I dare say it is good for youth development and, surely, social
development. As such, it cannot be an initiative discussed exclusively under
manufacturing and commerce, as we saw in the Budget Speech.

I would like to caution this House and the Minister for Finance that getting start-up
financing for good business ideas, is usually the least challenging part of starting a
business. Getting funding for a good business idea is not relatively difficult. If one is not
getting funding to realise that business idea, well, more than likely, one needs to revisit
that business idea. I believe, however, that the area of focus should be equally if not
greater, be placed on sustaining business activity, particularly beyond the first three year
mark where the major challenge lies. I therefore, urge government to look closely at
what factors cause most businesses to fail in their early start-up, and I urge government to
commit to counteracting these ailments in any way possible.

Madam President, most small businesses wrap up, not because of profitability, but rather
most times, because of cash flow issues. It is often said – we know it – that cash is king
in a business. The government therefore needs to strengthen the safety nets that provide
support in this area. In addition, as the largest purchaser in this country, government
needs to assess the length of time it takes to pay small businesses for services and goods
rendered. Too often it takes months upon months to pay a small business for a service or
goods purchased. While I understand that the government itself has cash flow
challenges, I would like the government to take a deeper look at the devastating effect
this delay in payment can have on small businesses, which, in most instances, do not have
the deep cash base to buffer a lag in cash inflows. I urge the government to assess this
situation.

There are several creative ways to counteract this, and I use Barbados as an example.
Barbados has recently implemented a mechanism utilising intermediary funding agency
to counteract this. This is worth exploring. And with regards to building resistance to
external shocks …

Madam President: Senator you now have 10 minutes within which to complete your
contribution.

Senator Everistus Jn. Marie: Madam President, I wish to invoke Standing Order 35(3)
to give the Senator an extra 15 minutes to complete her presentation.

Madam President: Senator, I think the proper order is that we ask for the suspension of
Standing Order 35(1).



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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Senator Everistus Jn. Marie: Thank you, Madam President. I beg for the suspension of
Standing Order 35(1) to allow the Senator an extra 15 minutes within which to complete
her presentation.

Question Proposed, Put and Agreed to
Leave Granted

Senator Dr. Alison Plummer: Thank you Madam President, thank you fellow Senators
for allowing me this. In continuation of my presentation, I speak to the point of building
resistance to external shocks, and I turn my attention to the manufacturing sector, a sector
which I hold dearly to my heart. Without preempting Senator Mangal’s presentation,
which is ahead of me, I recall the Governor General’s Thorne Speech in which she
established Government’s economic strategy to be based on, among other things,
“Identifying and injecting resources into emerging and existing sectors with growth
potential.’ Well, I dare say, Madam President, if this is really the case, one would have
expected that the budgetary presentation would have been littered with emphasis on
developing the manufacturing sector, because this is the only sector that recorded an
overall growth within the last fiscal year in spite of external shocks.

Now I support the Tourism sector – very important for inflows of foreign exchange; very
important for backward linkages; however, we must admit, and with all due respect to the
Senator responsible for Tourism, very often when Tourism is spoken of, we hear good
news due to unexpected activities externally; we also hear bad news due to unexpected
external activity. However, when you are developing a sector based on the manufacture
or production of goods, you are in a position to more scientifically strategize your
growth, because, I am afraid, Madam President, that next year I may be listening to a
speech that may contain, even as the Senator responsible for Tourism mentioned, the
unexpected cold winter brought us increase in arrivals or unexpected ash over some other
country may counteract that. And so I urge the Minster for Finance and his Cabinet
Ministers to give the Senator with responsibility of Commerce and Industry all the
support she needs to propel and to develop Industry.

The rise in trade deficits that we are seeing, as some may quickly boast, could signify,
yes, an increase in imports; could signify an increase in our lifestyle, economic activities
etcetera, but the trade deficit, Minister, is worsening when not even cash inflows due to
the export of services of Tourism can counteract that trade deficit. Export bulleting could
be tabled as part of a document of the House published by the Offices of Trade
Negotiations (OTN), Issue 5, February, 2010 - Cautions Against this Ballooning Trade
Deficit. “In 2008 …” I quote, Madam President, from this publication “…the Saint
Lucian economy spent circa US$4.1 billion more in merchandised imports than
merchandise exporters earned.” But it goes on to note, “While this ultimately has
significant implication for international debt, it provides a strong motive for the
promotion of viable exports.” We therefore need to get on with it. Get on with the buy
Saint Lucia campaign, get on with promoting internationally recognised standards and
assisting our entities to reach world class standards so that they are able to compete and
export our products, because in my view, if I will relate it to the theme of this very


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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Budget presentation “Building Resilience Against External Shocks”, I would say this is
where most of the debate should be taking place.

I would also put forward the need to strengthen the manufacturing sector’s
representation. We say it in several different fora: a Minister’s or a Prime Minister’s
decision is only as good as the information put before him – and these are borrowed
words, Madam President, borrowed words from Owen Arthur, the past Prime Minister of
Barbados in a recent discussion I had with him. So, therefore, it seems only reasonable
that the Leader of Government Business would be concerned that the information that he
is fed with comes from strong representative groupings. When we have a sector that is so
promising, that shows such potential as the manufacturing sector, not even having a
secretariat but is simply run and promoted by the hard efforts of individuals who hold
executive positions on the Manufacturer’s Association, and I speak of the president and
her team and previous presidents – something is wrong. But, Madam President, I am also
concerned that while we are struggling to get proper representation of promising
economic sectors, we are in the business of setting up a lot more councils and
commissions for all other sectors. I do hope – and I am pretty certain – and I ask that the
same thought that has been put to providing stability for the growth or the strengthening
of all these new commissions and councils be directed also to representation for the
manufacturing sector.

Madam President, in closing a very general comment about the lots of new projects,
construction largely that have been announced. While I acknowledge that construction
provides the government of the day with short term bliss of reporting increase in
employment, I am also concerned about what is left to happen with the functionality of
these structures that are being built. I say so, because I recognise that – and we all
recognise that – we operate, we live in a country with limited human resources,
something that makes our island and other islands of the Windward Islands unique
among all other developing countries, the limited human resources. The capacity to
absorb the training, the discussion – no matter how much training we put before them,
how many meetings or consultations it is the same people – I therefore, with caution, ask
that all these new initiatives of more than one hospital being built at the same time, or
more than one new service, be looked at carefully, because where would we find the
people to ensure that these projects are implemented in a manner that is sustainable and
the people also? And where do we have the time to learn from the mistakes that we have
made?

I also caution about the thrust to duplicate … and we see it in the health sector for
instance. We hear of new CAT scan and new this, and I am not sure if the public is
aware that we already have a CAT scan in Saint Lucia. This is not to say that one cannot
provide a backup. But then that CAT scan that is located just within a few yards away
from the public hospital is not inaccessible because of distance; it is inaccessible because
of cost. And cost, because it is operated like how any programme should be operated
within the public sector – it is a business. And so I urge the Ministers with responsibility
for that area to explore ways of deepening cooperation so that we look at foremost the



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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
priorities and the needs of our people; possibly energies could be spent on other
diagnostic equipment.

Again in closing, Madam President, on the issue of the limitation in our human resource
capacity, I lament the absence of any talk on regionalism in the Prime Minister’s
presentation. I do note that the Governor General spoke to it, but Madam President, we
will go no further than where we are if our vision is confined again within only the 238
square miles of space that we occupy. Thank you and thank you fellow Senators for
giving me this opportunity.

Honourable Attorney General, Minister for Justice and Leader of Government
Business: Madam President, I beg to move that this Sitting be suspended until twenty
minutes to three.

Question Proposed, Put and Agreed to
House suspended at 2:08 p.m.




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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
                                     Resumption @ 2:59 p.m.

Madam President: I beg to remind Senators, that when the House rose, the question
before it was that the Appropriation 2010/2011 Bill be read a second time.

Honourable Minister for Commerce, Industry and Consumer Affairs: Thank you,
Madam President. Madam President, as I rise in support of the 2010/2011 Estimates of
Revenue and Expenditure, I do so with some measure of trepidation.

Trepidation, Madam President as Saint Lucia is indeed at the crossroads, as Her
Excellency, Dame Pearlette Louisy, Governor General of Saint Lucia, so aptly described
in the Throne Speech.

Madam President, the Governor General went further to state and I quote at page 1, “The
actions we take from now on and the decisions we make, given where we are now
positioned, will to a large extent determine our destiny; determine whether we sink or
swim, whether our country is able to navigate the treacherous waters ahead of us. It is
all about choices, and the choices that we make which will define our future since we
have to live with them forever.”

Madam President, in these difficult days, we must appreciate that a Budget is a tool to
allocate limited financial resources among prioritised needs. We must understand that
everyone cannot get everything they want, but that they should at least get what they need
and what is necessary to get the job done. Therefore, the budgetary process must reflect
the real priorities for our people and not the shouts of those with the loudest voices or the
most influence.

Madam President, I am acutely aware of the challenges facing our country, our region,
and I dare say our world. High food and commodity prices, a somewhat unstable
financial and business environment and a severely stressed global economic systems are
having an adverse effect on life as we know it in Saint Lucia. But Madam President, the
spate of crime, violence that has taken over this country is cause for much concern. It is
cause for concern, Madam President, as it appears that the citizens of this fair Helen are
paralysed and that we are allowing the criminals to take over. We seem, as a nation, to
have become numb and unaffected by the murders and mutilations which are portrayed in
a nauseating manner on the media.

Madam President, it is not only “worrying” as Her Excellency described it, but indeed
alarming, that police officers, a court prosecutor and now a Magistrate, have been
targeted by these criminals. These are the very persons to whom we go to enforce our
laws and to mete out justice.

Madam President, I wish to quote from the Throne Speech again at page 8. “The
paramount duty of government is to ensure the security of its citizens. We cannot
abdicate this duty. We must maintain the rule of law at all times, and with all our might



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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
protect the judiciary which is the bulwark of our democracy and the fortification of our
country.”

Also at page 8, Madam President, and I quote. “My Government will continue its efforts
at developing laws, regulations and a code of ethics for police officers to enhance the
powers of the police.”

Madam President, you may be wondering why it is that I am taking such time to deal
with the matter of crime, when my colleague, the Honourable Minister for Home Affairs
and National Security, is seated right here and will be speaking on these matters later.
But, Madam President, I crave the indulgence of Honourable Members as I get to the
crux of the matter.

You see, Madam President, the situation we find ourselves in as a nation today means
that we have to give up some things in order to get through on others. And so it is in a
spirit of compromise that I give way to the more pressing issue of crime abatement, as it
is necessary to get the situation under control, so that the fears of the private sector, the
citizens, the business community could be allayed. As these persons fall under the aegis
of my Ministry, Madam President, I must address their concerns. And, so Madam
President, I applaud the Minister for Finance for his decision to allocate much needed
resources to the police in augmenting their crime fighting arsenal.

However, Madam President, the police need to stop hiding behind the excuse of no
resources. We have heard this for years, but there are always some resources available,
and, surely, something can be done with the little that they have; this is what is expected
by the citizenry of this country. Madam President, the constant cry of the police for
support from the citizens must not go unheeded, but the police must also support the
citizens. I applaud the efforts, Madam President, which I see for the development of a
code of ethics, for actions of the police when dealing with suspects, individual citizens,
anybody, but Madam President, I implore the Minister to find the solution to the backlog
of cases that sit with the Police Complaints Unit, the complaints which never see the light
of day. It is time Madam President, that an independent body is established to look into
complaints against the police.

 Madam President, I wish to read from a report of an incident dated April 18th 2009, a
report which was hand - delivered to the Commissioner of Police, the then Permanent
Secretary of Home Affairs and National Security, and the Minister for Home Affairs, my
colleague, on Monday April 20th 2009, a little over one year ago. And I will be quoting
some sections, because I think it is very important that the House is apprised of this
situation and in certain cases I will be using letters to preserve the anonymity of people.
“After turning the vehicle, I drove a few yards and stopped my vehicle. While there for, a
minute or so, I realised that the same vehicle, “A” which I had allowed to pass earlier
seemed to be waiting on me to move from the area I had stopped. I thought I was
obstructing the person’s access, so I moved the vehicle forward and parked a few yards
ahead. The other vehicle did not move but remained stationary with its headlights on
high beam. The lights were shining through the right side or driver’s side of my vehicle.


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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
The vehicle remained in that position for an initial period of about five minutes before I
started to worry. At approximately 8:16 p.m., I called one Sergeant “Y” who lives in the
Corinth area and told him what was happening and asked him whether he knew who
drove vehicle registration “A”. He said he did not know, but also tried to allay my fears
by telling me that it was possibly nothing to worry about and probably the individual in
the car was just talking to someone whom he had stopped to drop off, and absent
mindedly left his headlights on.”

It goes on Madam President, “While we were there, also, a dark Toyota Corolla parked
near the main road. At that point, I became very concerned, as I thought that the person
in that vehicle had also come to the vehicle which continued to have its high beam
headlights shining into my vehicle. At that point, I began to panic. I therefore, called
Sergeant “X” and asked him to come to my assistance. He tried to calm me down and
asked that I relax and turn on the ignition of my vehicle and proceed to his home in
Corinth, which I did. As I moved off, he asked me to check whether the vehicle was
following me. I indicated to him that it was. The vehicle moved near the former Solid
Gold club. I looked in my rear view mirror, the vehicle was still following. I got to the
intersection of Corinth and Monier, and the vehicle was still following. Sergeant “X”
asked me whether the vehicle was still following, and I said yes. He asked that I continue
driving to his home. When I approached his home I saw him coming down the stairs
towards me. I was about to park on the road in front of his vehicle when he shouted that
I should stop in the middle of the road, which I did. I attempted to get out of the vehicle,
but he told me to remain in the vehicle and do not come out.”

It goes on, Madam President, “I observed what was going on from my rear view mirror
and realised that the car had stopped as if the driver was contemplating what to do. After
a minute or so, a police vehicle came up behind the car, with its blue lights flashing, and
sounded its siren. It sounded like it came out of a movie, Madam President. At that point
I thought that it was sergeant ‘X’ who had called the police for assistance.”

It got worse, Madam President. “At that point I can only infer that the driver of the car
came out. I did not see him, and I heard sergeant ‘X’ call out ‘Y’, why are you - why as
in the letter ‘Y’ and ‘w-h-y’ are you following this vehicle? That is “so and so” in the
vehicle; she called for assistance, telling me that someone was shining his/her lights into
the car, etcetera, etcetera. Why are you doing that?’ The individual identified, ignored
Sergeant ‘X’, proceeded to the car and asked me to step out of the vehicle. I did not. In
addition, Sergeant ‘X’ asked that I remain in the vehicle and not come out. All this time,
‘Y’ had his firearm in his hand and he ignored sergeant ‘X’ as he told him who was in the
vehicle, and refused to respond as to why it was that he was following me.”

Madam President, it goes on further, “There were exchanges. The vehicle was deemed
by ‘Y’ to have been suspicious. That was why he had left the lights on the vehicle and he
had called for backup. To date, this ‘Y’ individual has not identified himself as a police
officer, not to me, nor was he in uniform, nor did he produce identification.” You will
also appreciate, Madam President that he was not in a police vehicle. “I became
incensed by the exchanges and I shouted at the police officer and asked him if he was


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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
mad, that he was entrusted to provide safety and protection to citizens and that he had
caused me to fear for my life. I further indicated to him that his actions were suspicious,
as there was no justification for having his personal vehicle high beam headlights shining
into my vehicle for 20 minutes at 8:00 in the night, in a residential area - a well lit
residential area and not at 2:00 in the morning. And I asked if my vehicle was
suspicious, why didn’t you call for backup? Why didn’t you allow the uniformed police
officers, those in the police vehicle, to approach my vehicle if it was suspicious? Why did
you have to follow the vehicle for over a mile? Wasn’t that suspicious?” Madam
President, it goes on further, “I was afraid. I went to the J.Q. Mall; I was not calm; I did
not know this individual. I did not know who he was, and I did not know what could
happen to me. So I went to the Gros Islet Police Station and made a report which was
entered in the diary and what have you, and he brought it to the Commissioner of Police
and the note in the diary indicated that I would decide how to proceed later on.”

Madam President, you have heard me say ‘I’ a lot in this report, because, Madam
President, this incident involved your humble servant. To date, despite repeated calls to
the Commissioner of Police, the Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of Crime
and Discipline, who incidentally, when I called him three weeks ago, indicated that he
had never seen that report, but who confirmed to me last evening that he had finally
gotten the report after being insistent to the acting Assistant Superintendent of Police
(ASP) in charge of the Complaint Unit, that he had finally gotten it on his desk on Friday
of last week. So Madam President, no action has been taken, no response has been
forthcoming. Is it any wonder, Madam President, that there are attacks on the judiciary
and on law enforcement? When are we going to realise that the police force needs to be
cleaned up? If those at the top do not shake up and clean up, can we expect any different
from those below? If a complaint from me, a Minister of Government, can simply be
ignored for over one year, how do we expect that John or Jane Public is going to have
confidence in the current Police Complaint System and, by extension, the police
themselves?

Now, Madam President, I used this example and I want to make it abundantly clear to
Honourable Members, that I support the police in their efforts at crime interdictions, drug
interdictions, and whatever it is that is necessary, but I do not accept and support that
persons wield their power and their authority to the detriment of the citizenry of this
country. And when these are endorsed by the tacit, non-performance or non-existence of
anything being done by the hierarchy of the force something is rotten in the state of
Denmark.

And, Madam President, I wish to refer to a little - well it is not an incidence - but a little
scenario which occurred earlier on this morning. You will recall, Madam President, that
there were young students in the gallery today. Earlier on, they were having a session
with the Honourable Speaker, and I walked into the Members’ Lounge and the
Honourable Speaker asked that they use this opportunity to indicate to me what it is that
they would like me to speak about in this Honourable House. And I want to say, Madam
President, that the first thing that was said by a young boy, was that he wants to see a
crime free Saint Lucia. So this is a situation, and this is an issue, which touches on the


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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
minds of every single Saint Lucian in this country. Young and old and the little ones are
very much aware of the impact that it is having on our society, and it is the responsibility
of each and every one of us sitting here this afternoon to ensure that we put our shoulders
to the wheel to do what is necessary, to take this country back on the road to recovery,
Madam President.

We owe it to the next generation. This is the same generation that the Governor General
spoke so aptly about – the same generation that we are losing. This is not about the
future of this country; this is about the here and now of this country and we must, as a
society, take back the reigns and put this country back on the road to recovery. There is
no where else that we can go.

Madam President, the children also asked that I speak about proper roads for them to go
home. One young boy said to me he lives in a place called – excuse the language,
Madam President, but this is the name of the area he said to me – it’s called Jackass
Town; and so, Madam President, by its very name you would ask yourself, if he is asking
for proper roads, then there must be a problem. They asked for playgrounds; they asked
for proper libraries in schools; computers in schools, and, Madam President, I hear
Honourable Members on the opposite side speaking about the largesse of the Taiwanese
and what have you, but these are the same people who are bringing those computers into
the schools to ensure that the young people of this country have an opportunity for them
to be able to learn and have the proper learning aids. So, Madam President, and if I
might just let the cat out of the bag, I understand that the Taiwanese are going to launch a
project on Monday of next week involving the donation of computers. So I want to
applaud them for their efforts and to extend our sincere thanks to Ambassador Tom Chou
and his team for what they are doing to promote the development of our young people in
this country.

Madam President, I have outlined to you the situation as it stands with the crime
situation. I think that I have articulated the point clearly, and I leave that for my
colleague to ponder on and to take the necessary action as we strive to make this country
a safer place for all Saint Lucians.

Madam President, over the past week, we have heard all kinds of descriptions for the
Budget. It has been described as being bland, not having taste, full of vagueness, and it
has even been described as a cut and paste budget. There have been questions about the
practicality of some of our programmes, whether we need to take a piece meal approach
to certain projects, whether we should commit resources to this project as opposed to that
one. Indeed, Madam President, if one were to listen to the opposition, one would think
that Saint Lucia is the only country in the entire world where the global crisis did not
have an impact. It did not take place. Clearly, Madam President, the opposition has
been playing politics with the realties of the economic situation of not only our country
but the wider region and indeed the world. Madam President, there also seems to be
some level of imbalance and disequilibrium being displayed by some Members of the
opposition. So that I would dare to say that we probably completed the National Mental



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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Wellness Centre in good time. Maybe those Members should visit the centre to receive
some therapy to restore their sense of realty.

Madam President, the Honourable Prime Minister and Minister for Finance have been
able to navigate through what can only be described as a tight fiscal situation. He had to
walk a very tight rope of allocating scarce and limited resources for our unlimited needs
in as efficient a manner as possible, and we have so far survived. We are surviving while
Greece, a member of the European Union, is seeking a bail out package from the Union.
But, Madam President, our fair Helen is surviving. This can only be attributed to the
policies of my captain and his crew of which I am a humble member.

Madam President, I wish to delve into the Budget now to deal with some aspects of the
Ministry that I hold the portfolio for, and I will be going through the Budget presentation
by going through some of the achievements that we have made for the Budget period
under review, as well as, what it is that we expect to do in the coming financial year.
Madam President, as you are aware, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Consumer
Affairs is responsible for promoting, facilitating and monitoring the performance of the
country’s manufacturing, industrial, services and commercial activities. We help
promote export of goods, services, etcetera, and we look to ensure the importance of
these exports in a national development context. At the same time, Madam President, the
Ministry has the responsibility for the promotion and protection of consumer welfare, and
competition law and policy. As the primary government agency responsible for the
affairs of the private sector in Saint Lucia, we recognise the need to provide a highly
efficient and effective service to our clientele to ensure that they remain competitive in
this changing global environment.

In terms of our Consumer Affairs Department our achievements... during the period
under review, the Ministry was able to accomplish the following: The Draft Consumer
Protection Bill, has been received from the Attorney General’s Office. This is being
currently reviewed by the Ministry. I have seen it; I have seen some areas that need to be
amended, and this will be sent to the Attorney General’s Chambers for ongoing
transmission to the Parliament, so that it can be enacted in the shortest possible time, in
order for us to provide that protection that is due to the consumers. The Ministry was
also able to effectively conduct its consumer protection mandate, by resolving consumer
complains and monitoring the prices of goods and control goods on the market. We were
able to resolve 58 or 88.85% consumer complaints and the value of the redress that
consumers received as a result amounted to some $62,334.34.

Madam President, the Ministry’s Mutual Cooperation Programme, which is done in
collaboration with the University of Vermont, continues to bear fruits, as earlier this year
we were able to re-launch the Wind Turbine Renewable Energy Project in the community
of Praslin. This is an important initiative, as it assists the fishermen in that community,
so that when they get up very early in the morning to go out to sea, they will be able to
get some electricity down at the bay, in order for them to get their gear to go out to sea
and bring back their catch. The University of Vermont has done a number of projects in



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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
renewable energy and this is spread throughout the constituencies of Micoud North and
Micoud South and some other areas.

The Ministry was also the focal point for a number of regional initiatives which were
undertaken by the Caricom Secretariat, two of which I wish to highlight as follows:
consultancies to assess the need of consumer agencies in the region and also to deal with
product safety, sustainable consumption and e-commerce. Madam President, in light of
the global economic and financial crisis that we have been experiencing, the effects we
still continue to face, the Ministry of Commerce observed World Consumer Rights Day
in 2010 under the theme Our Money, Our Rights.

This was done in collaboration with some external sources for funding. Madam
President, I must say as the Minister for Commerce, I felt that the initiatives undertaken
by the Consumer Affairs Department this year were laudable. The Department went all
out to ensure that they spread the word and that the message of the theme, ‘Our Money,
Our Rights,’ was brought to all and sundry. They went to the length and breath of this
country. This was done through an extensive road show, which I participated in, and in
which we went around this island to the various communities, speaking to people,
encouraging them to understand the value, the importance of managing their monies
properly, especially in light of what has happened in the world over the past few years.

Madam President, there were consultations with school children and stakeholders. There
was a table set up downstairs the building, the Heraldine Rock Building, where staff were
able to hand out information to persons, in order to encourage them to use their financial
institutions properly to demand service and good value for their money, and to ensure
that they were making proper investments. We emphasised that while it was their money,
it was their right to protect themselves, and it was their right also to demand good service
and value for that money. So I want to applaud and commend the staff of the Ministry of
Commerce and specifically the Consumer Affairs Department for their notable
achievements this year in trying to get the message out there to people, so that the
government is actually doing what it is... the Ministry is fulfilling its mandate to ensure
that we encourage consumers to protect themselves and to have that knowledge which is
key for them.

Madam President, in 2008/2009, the Ministry was involved in public consultations on the
draft Agreement establishing the OECS Competition Commission and the Uniform
Competition Bill. This OECS arrangement will serve as the National Competition
Authority for Saint Lucia. In 2009, the OECS Authority approved the Agreement and the
Uniform Bill. It is now left up to the Attorneys General of the OECS Member States to
take this process forward and so I am encouraging the Attorney General of Saint Lucia to
encourage his counterparts to move along speedily with this.

Madam President, consequent upon Cabinet’s decision to transform the government’s
supply warehouse into a Statutory Corporation, the Ministry prepared a policy document
and submitted it to the Attorney General’s Chambers to transform into the legal
framework, in order to give effective to Cabinet’s decision. The National Supply


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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Corporation Bill has been prepared and it is under review at my Ministry. I have seen it.
I have noted some concerns, and I will be discussing further with the staff in order for it
to be forwarded to the Attorney General‘s Chambers for further review before being
brought to this Honourable House.

Madam President, on the issue of the government supply operation, as you are aware,
government has subsidised the government supply operation to the tune of EC$10 million
during the period 2009/2010. To date $9,990,233.71 has been utilised. Madam
President, the supply warehouse continues to operate at a loss.

The cost of the commodities are much higher than the selling price. Government has to
take a policy decision to review these prices which came into existence at least two
decades ago. The rising cost of these commodities provides one justification for review.
However, the approach for the subsidisation of these essential commodities must be
targeted to ensure that it reaches the class of persons for which it is intended. These
persons, Madam President, are the disposed and the indigent. Currently, the subsidy
benefits all and sundry which clearly is not the intention of government. To this end,
therefore, the Ministry has already prepared a proposal on the way forward and this is
currently being reviewed and should be placed before Cabinet within the coming weeks.

Madam President, also during the period under review, 5,643 import licences were
received and processed by the Ministry, and $20,700 was collected for hotel liquor
licences in 2009/2010. Revenue projection for hotel liquor licences for the fiscal year
2010/2011 stands at approximately $284,440 and that for petroleum licences is estimated
at $12,808. Madam Present, I wish to deal with the issue of the import licences, because
Senator Plummer raised some issues with respect to support for the manufacturers and
the sectors and what have you, and the need for us to buy local. Madam President, the
import license regime is very critical and important to this because this is the way in
which the Ministry is able to safeguard the manufacturing sector to ensure that we
practise what we preach, when we speak about buy Saint Lucian or buy local. And,
Madam President, I want to refer to what some Members may have heard in the media
concerning a banana company and their so-called – how would I put it Madam President
– their chastising of a labour organisation for raising concerns about the perception that
labour organisation intends to purchase boxes from outside of the region and, Madam
President, I wish to applaud the staff at the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and
Consumer Affairs for having recognised what I would call, not delaying tactics, but
people trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes when we are dealing with matters,
because this same company which chastised the labour organisation saying that the
organisation had not applied for an import license to bring in those things, while an
Import License Application sat in the Ministry. This is a demonstration of the
commitment of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Consumer Affairs to ensuring
that where it is that we can purchase products that are produced locally, we encourage all
persons to do so. It is not just a government decision, or a government policy for the
government institutions, but it is one which we abide by, and which we encourage people
to do so. And so it was deceitful, and the Ministry recognising that, realising that they
were not negotiating in good faith, did not allow that import license, because you had to


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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
negotiate. There are ways and means of dealing with situations, and it is not one which
the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Consumer Affairs is going to accept.

Madam President, I wish to go further to indicate to the Senator on the other side, the
Independent Senator, Senator Plummer, that the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and
Consumer Affairs supports, encourages the buy Saint Lucian, the buy local campaign.
And I agree with her that the Tourism sector must be encouraged and must work with the
Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Consumer Affairs to ensure the viability and the
sustainability of our locally produced goods and services. But I dare say, the Ministry of
Commerce has a dual role, to ensure that we protect our consumers as well. So there is
the double side of it all, that while we encourage the locally produced manufacturers and
what have you, we must ensure that they are compliant with standards and quality.
Madam President, as a former Director of the Bureau of Standards, I am sure that the
Independent Senator, Senator Plummer, is well aware of this. And I want to tell her, and
I would like to show a sample of something which I do not want to see, and I do not want
to encourage, Madam President. Because you see, Madam President, while we support
local and regional, we want to ensure that there is the quality, and I do not think… I think
it would be irresponsible of any government, whether this administration under the UWP
administration or a Labour administration, to accept and to encourage persons to buy
products of substandard quality, whether it be local or regional. And I need only show
you this sample in order for you to know what it is that the Ministry of Commerce,
Industry and Consumer Affairs need to do to protect consumers in this country. I will not
disclose where it came from, or who it was, only to say that this is not the quality and
standard that we expect, and that we encourage. So while the Ministry encourages buy
local, buy Saint Lucian, buy Caricom, it must be of the requisite standard and quality, and
fit for the quality, the purpose and the consumer to whom it ultimately reaches.

Madam President, I move on to Commerce and Industry. The Caribbean new design
initiative is a regional project, spare headed by Caribbean Export to promote design as an
emerging field that can be explored by local designers, in order that they can compete
locally, regionally and internationally. This initiative seeks to enhance the capacity of
designs locally by increasing the output of high-end products. To-date, the Ministry, in
collaboration with the local steering committee of designers, has identified six sectors for
attention: arts and crafts, fashion, architecture, wet design, industrial design and furniture.
Madam President, the formation of the Textile Co-operative Society is an ongoing
initiative in collaboration with the Department of Co-operatives, and it is aimed at
providing persons currently operating within, and those with potential, within that
industry, with an opportunity to form alliances in order to meet their common, social
economic and cultural interests, while at the same time contributing to the economic
development and sustainability of the textile industry in Saint Lucia.

The textile co-operative bylaws are being reviewed by the Department of Co-operatives
and the Ministry in collaboration with the Department of Co-operatives, is in the process
of undertaking an intensive training programme for that sector. And, Madam President, I
want to link that initiative to that of a similar initiative, or an initiative to enhance that
sector – the garment sector – by the office of private sector relations, under the


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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
programme STRIDE, and this is being done in an effort to revitalise the garment industry
in the area of Dennery. This I will elaborate on a little further later on in my presentation.

Madam President, last year we saw the hosting of the second Taiwan/Saint Lucia
Partnership Trade Exhibition at the Gaiety in Rodney Bay from the 2nd to the 4th of
October. The objective of this exhibition was to further enhance and strengthen the
relations between our sister countries. It serves as a measure to expose the general public
to the range of small business equipment and consumer products made in Taiwan, as well
as the diverse range of goods and services produced in Saint Lucia. The Ministry has
already received correspondence from the Embassy for the hosting of a third exhibition.
We are currently with discussions in them to finalise the type of goods and services to be
showcased so that we can liaise with the private sector in order to get that sector full
participation.

Madam President, the Martinique Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in collaboration
with the Point a Pitre Chamber of Commerce of Guadeloupe undertook a French mission
to Saint Lucia from the 8th to the 11th of June, 2009. The National Development
Corporation in collaboration with the Ministry facilitated this activity, with a view to
ensuring that we had full private sector participation to explore business opportunities,
and to develop invaluable business-to-business networks in the French departments of
Martinique and Guadeloupe.

Now, Madam President, you would appreciate that with the advent of the fast ferry
service between Martinique and Guadeloupe, you have seen the number of speculators
and people who traverse those waters, engaging in business activity whether it be small,
medium, what have you; and so, Madam President, we have our sister French islands
here close to us which we have for years started off in small business, and for which now,
with the advent of the Epers, we have this opportunity to further enhance and develop
that initiative. And so, Madam President, the objective of that mission was to encourage
the exchange of the information on industry trends and business opportunities in our key
sectors, and to strengthen the business relationships between private sector
representatives of the respective island in pursuing ventures of mutual benefit.

Madam President, this exchange is timely, given the responsibilities and the opportunities
to be derived under the Epers and the closeness of our countries. This can only serve as
the catalyst for us to use our French neighbours as the gateway to Europe, to take full
advantage of these opportunities.

Madam President, I move on the Small Enterprise Development Unit, SEDU, which is
really a unit which is there to enhance facilitation, to provide an enabling environment for
the sustainable growth and development of the micro and small business sector.

Madam President: Honourable Minister, you now have 10 minutes within which to
complete your presentation.




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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Honourable Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation: Madam Speaker, I beg to
suspend Standing Order 35(1) in order to allow the Senator an additional 30 minutes
within which to complete her presentation.

Question Proposed, Put and Agreed to
Leave Granted

Honourable Minister for Commerce, Industry and Consumer Affairs: Thank you
very much, Madam President. Thank you very much Honourable Members. Madam
President, if I go on further and do so rather quickly; SEDU provides assistance to the
micro and small enterprise sector in Saint Lucia through proactive measures captured in
programmes. And we have some programme areas: entrepreneurial development training
advocacy, SME law administration, market and product development, finance, access to
finance and management advisory services. During the period April 2009 to March 2010
– 15 beneficiaries – we had 33 persons requesting assistance for incorporation under the
Micro and Small Business Enterprises Act. Out of this number, 24 have been
incorporated. The number of beneficiaries for concessions – 15. The value of the
equipment was $1,796,478.84; consumption tax – the amount of revenue foregone by
government – was $917,200.24. Under the business name registration programme for
firms, we had 130 individual companies. We had 465, a total of 595. Persons using
SEDU services from April 2009 to March 2010: service 269, retail sector 95, hospitality
86, construction 94, manufacturing 61, agriculture 24, agro processing 9 – a total of 638.

Entrepreneurial development training, where we had basic project management for small
contractors, cost estimating for small contractors, financial management, marketing
management, peach tree accounting, the PMP – project management professional cost,
small business management. We had a total of 261 persons – graduation in July of 2009
of 149 persons. In terms of revenue collection, entrepreneurial development training –
$81,650; Jazz 2009 – $14,410, a total of $96,060.

Madam President, I spoke of the office of private sector relations earlier. I spoke to the
initiative being undertaken by the office of the private sector relations. You will note,
Madam President, that they are responsible for the private sector development
programme and that that programme’s objective is to continue the process of revitalizing
the economy of Saint Lucia, by increasing and sustaining the competitiveness of the
private sector. The strategic priorities of this, is capacity building through direct support
to firms, the creation of a more conducive business environment to policy and legislative
reforms, promoting sustainable livelihoods and employment generation, especially in
poverty stricken areas, through micro and small enterprise development, and the
stimulation of business growth and expansion through entrepreneurship development and
improved business support services.

Madam President, there are a number of initiatives that are being undertaken by this arm
of government, the Office of the Private Sector Relations(OPSR), and during the fiscal
year 2009/2010, the activities implemented were the SFA 2002 Private Sector
Development programme which commenced in November 2006, and was completed in


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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
September 2009. We have the SFA 2002 rural credit facility, more commonly referred to
as restoring strength to our rural enterprises. It commenced in March 2009, and it was
completed in November 2009. We also have the SFA 2005 Economic Diversification
Programme, STRIDE – Strengthening Trade Rural Investment and Development of
Entrepreneurship. It commenced in December 2008 and it ends in December of 2010.

Madam President, we have had total expenditure under SFA 2002 dealing with direct
business support services, business environment enhancement, and programme
management in the amount of $2,059,007.65. SFA 2002 restored programme
management, public awareness and promotion, direct support to micro businesses,
technological upgrading, equipment and so on, to the tune of $3,555,186.55. Madam
President, the list can go on and on. Activities which are going to be untaken during the
Budget review period. Twenty-five enterprises received direct assistance under the
Special Framework of Assistance (SFA) 2002, with three micro business clusters being
formed and a total of 65 businesses benefiting. The component of the Private Sector
Development Programme (PSDP) continued to impact positively on business activity in
the rural areas by reaching out to more remote areas such as parts of the Dennery and
Canaries districts and parts of Anse La Raye, Choiseul and Soufriere.

Madam President, benchmarking activities were undertaken for the Saint Lucia
Manufacturers Association (SLMA) and the Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association
(SLHTA) with 56 businesses benefiting – 12 manufacturers and 44 Tourism related
firms. The benchmarking initiatives included some training components directed towards
those sectors as off shoots from the consultants’ assignments.

Under the enhanced business environment, 17 business associations were assisted under
these components. The public sector also benefited tremendously, largely from training
activities geared towards the capacity of staff to deliver services to the public in response
to rapid changes in the global environment that require such services to move at the same
pace as those of private sector.

Madam President, I wish to move on to the Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards (SLBS) and
to the highlight the work of the bureau for 2009/2010. There are many factors, Madam
President, which contribute towards the quality of life, and in today’s world of liberalised
trading of goods and the provisions of services, there must be a guarantee of quality,
safety and acceptable performance. It is critical, therefore, for this country to expand,
strengthen and enhance the infrastructure built upon a tripod of standards, quality and
metrology to protect and safeguard public health and safety, and to promote trade,
industrial efficiency, sound environmental management practices and social equity.
Madam President, it goes without saying that in our small country which faces so many
challenges in setting up and maintaining a standard, quality and metrology infrastructure,
we must remain resolute in our thoughts and actions to demonstrate that these challenges
are surmountable.

Under the Market Surveillance and Product Safety Programme, the Bureau of Standards
was able to monitor 91 percent of the retail market in Saint Lucia; test 112 electrical


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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
items and 59 samples of packaged water; inspect 36,738 used tyres, 58,163 new tyres and
501 retread tyres that were locally manufactured. During the fiscal year 2009/2010 the
Bureau recorded an increase in total revenue of $332,130 or 16 percent. However, total
expenditure also increased by $223,112 or 11 percent, resulting in an excess of revenue
over expenditure of $171,122. To date, the Compulsory Standards Compliance
Programme is the largest contributor to the Bureau’s income generation, and produces
about 65 percent of its total income. In 2009/2010, income from the source increased by
22 percent. Government’s subvention represents 29 percent of total revenue and this
amount has remained the same for the past three years.

During the past year, we have seen the Bureau intensify its efforts in that direction
through training. We have had 97 persons trained for Food Safety and 48 in Service
Delivery for Customer Satisfaction.          Laboratory Management Requirements
Documentation 12; Introduction to Quality Infrastructure and Quality Management
Systems (QMS) 8; Managing for Success 14; Quality Management Systems in
Laboratories 16; Standardisation 8; Technical Regulatory Framework and Development
of Action Plans 7; and Sensitisation on QMS 9.

Madam President, the need for resident, permanent skilled staff to deliver the objectives
of the Bureau and for bringing in new, innovative and creative ideas into the productive
and service sectors of this country, is one of the greatest priorities for the Bureau. A
significant development during 2009/2010 was the signing of a Mutual Cooperation
Agreement between the Bureau and Anglo Japanese American (AJA) Registrars Europe,
with head office in Rome, Italy. AJA is an international certification body with branches
all over the world providing certification services to a broad range of sectors.

Madam President, I move to metrication. The drive towards full metrication is led by the
Saint Lucia Metrication Board through the Project Office of the Saint Lucia Metrication
Secretariat. The Metrology Act number 17 of 2000 makes provision for the metric
system to be the legal system of weights and measures in Saint Lucia, and the Bureau
serves as the National Metrology Institute and the National Legal Metrology Authority,
hence its role in the metrication programme. Support for the national metrication
programme is provided largely by the Metrology Department of the Bureau. Madam
President, I wish, at this point to congratulate Consolidated Foods Limited for having
achieved and reached that status of being fully metricated in what it is that they are doing
and ensuring …, and though it is that consumers thought that they were being charged
more for products, they were able to clarify that it was actually the new weights and
measures that were being used that actually meant that things, they were actually getting
more even if they were talking about more money; but it was value.

In terms of filling stations, petrol stations, part of the petroleum sub-sector have
commenced the transition to the metric system as several electronic fuel dispensers have
been re-programmed or retrofitted to dispense in litres. Sixty-three percent of fuel
dispensers were metricated as at 25 February, 2010. SOL was at 56 percent, Chevron at
80 percent and independent stations were at 38 percent.



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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Madam President, the Bureau continues to assist individuals and companies with the
reprogramming of imperial electronic scales to metric. The Bureau, under its
Compliance Programme 2009/2010, conducted 157 warehouse inspections on imported
products and 76 inspections at retail outlets throughout Saint Lucia. Products inspected
during these activities included electrical appliances, food products, and pre-packaged
goods. They monitored approximately 18,000 consignments of imported products, and
they tested 324 samples of imported products.

Madam President, I speak now to the Administration of the Ministry of Commerce. The
ministry is embarking on a project initiative to improve the efficiency and effectiveness
of its operations through the implementation of a Quality Management System based on
International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9001 standard. Madam President,
this is in order for us to better meet the needs of the private sector, consumers, partners in
the ministry and the public generally. And, Madam President, you would appreciate that
this is a very important initiative, because we must practise what we preach. We cannot
be insisting that manufacturers, providers of services in this country, bring their goods
and services to a particular standard when we, as the government agency responsible for
providing guidance and assistance to these sectors do not have standards by which we can
be judged and standards by which we can give effective and efficient service to the
consumers. And so, Madam President, this project stems from the instinct decision to
improve the processes utilised by the Ministry of Commerce in the execution of its
mandate and in so doing to provide leadership that reflects best practices. As such, the
focus of the ministry under the Quality Management System Project is to improve our
efficiency and our capacity to respond to our customer needs and expectations,
particularly in this environment of changing commercial trading and economic
environments.

Madam President, we note that while, internationally, there are several private sector
agencies which have embraced the principles of quality management, including our local
enterprises such as Harris Paints, Caribbean Awnings, Baron Foods Limited and Prestige
Autos, there are fewer public sector agencies, globally, which have sought to embrace
this model. The Ministry therefore takes this bold step in adopting as an under-pinning
culture, the ISO 9001 model which is founded on eight quality management principles:
customer focus, leadership, involvement of people, process approach, systems approach
to management, continual improvements, factual approaches to decision making and
mutually beneficial supplier relationships. These, when adopted as part of the ministry’s
culture, are expected to establish more efficient, effective and adaptable business
operations. The project has been given a life span of a minimum of 18 months with the
expectation that the system of this nature may serve as a catalyst to public service reform.

Madam President, I move quickly now to a preview of the fiscal year 2010/2011 and the
activities to be undertaken.     Madam President, given the current global economic
environment and the outlook over the medium term, the ministry’s priority must be one
that stresses developing economic resilience, reducing economic vulnerability and
stimulating growth. Honourable Members will recall in the Prime Minister’s Budget
Address at page 34 that he said, and I quote, “Export development is the key requirement


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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
for economic diversification and alleviation of poverty. In this regard, emphasis will be
placed on the development of global competitiveness among exporting companies and
those with export potential.”       Madam President, it is in recognition of these key
requirements that I wish to clarify comments made in the Lower House.

Madam President, Honourable Members will recall in the Lower House that the
Honourable Member and Parliamentary Representative for Castries East spoke to the
non-implementation or the perceived non-implementation by this Administration of the
National Export Development Strategy or more commonly referred to as the NEDS. I
wish to remind the Honourable Member and Members of the opposition of the fact that
the NEDS was in fact prepared by the former Administration during the period 1998 and
1999 when there was a period of false starts, and that it sat on a shelf for a number of
years and nothing was done about it.

Madam President, I am proud to say that it is this Administration which took it off the
shelf, dusted it off, and brought it to a national consultation on 7 April, 2009 to ensure its
validity and appropriateness to these times. It is on the basis of these consultations that
government was able to breathe new life into the NEDS which was formally presented to
the Cabinet of Ministers on 10 December, 2009, and by Cabinet Conclusion 1538 of
2009, Cabinet has approved the NEDS and its implementation plans. So, Madam
President, this government has heeded the call, this government is quite aware, as the
Prime Minister clearly articulated, of the importance for export development, the
importance to ensure that exporting companies are put on an even better footing and
those that are export ready or have the export potential are properly assisted in order to
ensure the viability and the sustenance of our economic development.

Madam President, in the area of the Consumer Affairs Department, our strategy will be to
stimulate consumer confidence through the promotion of consumer welfare and
promoting and facilitating a fair trading environment; promoting a competitive culture by
prohibiting anti-competitive behaviour in the market. We hope, Madam President, to
enact the consumer protection legislation to enable the Consumer Affairs Department to
carry out its functions. I indicated earlier that this document, is before us and that we
have seen some areas that need revamping; this will be speedily brought to the attention
of the Attorney General, and we hope to have this matter in this House before the end of
this financial year. Madam President, we will be reviewing other Commercial and
Economic Legislation to help facilitate our commercial activities. This will include our
Shop Hour Legislation and the Sale of Goods Legislation. We will establish the
appropriate institutional arrangements and norms for protecting and promoting consumer
welfare and interest, as well as establish cooperation agreements with member states and
international institutions and agencies to deal with cross-border consumer protection
issues. We will also pursue the enactment of uniform legislation on competition law
policy for Saint Lucia and the OECS countries.

Madam President, I spoke earlier of the government supply warehouse; the strategy of
this government is to ensure that we are continuing to provide the basic commodities,
such as bulk rice, flour and sugar at affordable prices to the public. But this must be


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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
more targeted, and it must reach the persons for which it was intended. So the major
initiative is to enact the National Supply Corporation Legislation, to give effect to the
transformation of the government’s supply warehouse as a statutory corporation.

Commerce and Industry … we shall the implementation of the National Export
Development Strategy, in keeping with the strategic objectives of increasing gains to the
national economy through increased employment, improved balance of trade position and
increased enterprise growth and output, and to enhance the international competitiveness
of the private sector, while increasing that sector’s their market share. Madam President,
we will be undertaking a review of the incentives regime which must have some measure
of reform so as to attract new and expanded investment into the productive sectors of the
economy. We will be looking at introducing a World Trade Organization (WTO)
compliant fiscal incentives regime for the development of the manufacturing sector;
introducing incentive regimes for the growth and development of the growing services
sector industries; developing and providing information to prospective investors that
clearly states the available incentives and concessions, the legal, financial and other
requirements for the award of available incentives and concessions. The list goes on and
on, Madam President.

Madam President, we are looking to institute a business licensing regime to register all
businesses that operate in Saint Lucia. This initiative will provide useful information to
advise the government on the formulation and implementation of appropriate policies and
programmes, to attract further investment in the economy, and to promote the increased
export of goods and services from Saint Lucia. And, Madam President, I wish to inform
Honourable Members and the House, as we speak to the business licensing regime, that
the Ministry has undertaken a review of the trade licensing regime which currently
operates in this country, and we wish to announce that, in order for us to better handle the
matters dealing with the issuance of trade licences, the Ministry has actually as part of its
new trade licensing regime, provided guidelines for the granting of trade licences. And
these guidelines are predicated under government’s policy to reserve certain activities for
nationals of Saint Lucia and Caricom nationals, and it is also used as a criterion to assist
the board in arriving at its decision when recommending applications for approval.

Madam President, there are a number of foreign companies that are operating in this
country without the requisite trade licence. I would like to sound a note of warning or
maybe a note of caution to them, that they are operating within this country illegally; that
all persons are subject to the laws of this country and no one is above the rule of law. It
is for this reason and the need to regulate this sector, that the Ministry of Commerce will
be undertaking a trade licensing amnesty. That is not to say that we will be going soft on
you. We are encouraging, we will be announcing in a few weeks, how this amnesty is
going to be handled, but I would caution and encourage all those who are operating in the
environment without the requisite licence to come forward, to pay up your dues and to
regulate your status. The amnesty is not going to be for an indefinite period; it is going to
be for a set period, after which we will enforce the law, we will ensure that persons, all
persons, respect the laws of this country. If you do not have the requisite trade licence,



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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
you should not be operating within this country. I encourage all persons to heed the call
and to come to the Ministry to regulate their status when this is done.

Madam President, today actually, we have a number of, the first team from Saint Lucia
going across to Shanghai to take part in what is known as Expo-Shanghai, where the
Peoples Republic of China had extended an invitation to CARICOM Member States to
participant in a Six-month International Trade Exposition to be held in Shanghai China.
So contrary to what Members on the opposite side might think of our intensions, we are
an - all embracing government; we still love the Chinese. They have asked us to partner
with them. We did not throw them away. We did not put them out of this country. They
have extended the hand of invitation to us, and so we welcome that; and so the first team
… and I want to encourage the first team that is living today, to make us proud and to
really truly showcase Saint Lucia’s rich and vibrant culture and history - showcase our
key industrial and economics sectors to that international audience, highlight the
contributions of our micro and small businesses to Saint Lucia’s economy, and promote
the products of our Saint Lucian leading exporters, because they are taking some of our
products across, as they seek to get new contacts for new resources, sources of raw
material, equipment and potential or new business opportunities. We welcome one and
we welcome all.

Madam President, I think that my time is running out so I will go now to the challenges
and developments that are likely to impact this Budget and how we hope to deal with it.

Madam President, it is quite clear that there is a weak global economy, and the slow
recovery prospects in of aftermath, in the recession, means that most businesses continue
to require support and direction from the government. Madam President, we also have
Cariforum’s delay in articulating a structured support programme for implementing of the
Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the EU, and it means that most businesses
have not yet fully realised the implications of this new agreement, and they will require
assistance in responding to the new realities that it encourages. The same observation
can be made for the implementation of the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME,
where the private sector needs ongoing assistance in adjusting to this new economic
space.

The recent global financial crisis has also resulted in tighter credit access for micro and
small entrepreneurs, which potentially limits new investments. Government must
therefore, give greater consideration to micro finance strategies that can potentially renew
market confidence.

Madam President, there is a specific need for business stimulus to revitalise the central or
downtown area of Vieux Fort, and this is relevant to development which impacts on the
private sector. Commercial activities have been diverted to the periphery due to
transportation logistics, and poor development planning or zoning resulting in the near
abandonment and decay of the central business district in Vieux Fort.




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Madam President, these issues are not to over shadow, but merely compound the need for
the private sector to generate growth and employment that are urgently required for
economic review. The diversion of the 10th CDF funding to health sector means that
there is no identified funding for the Private Sector Development Programme (PSDP)
after December 23rd 2010.

Madam President, the movement of commodity prices on the world market which has
impacted and may continue to impact on the government supply operation – The current
rounds of negotiations between CARICOM and Canada will impact on domestic trade
and consumer protection and competition law and policy. Export performance has
declined over the years, principally to changes in the EU import regime for bananas, a
commodity that has traditionally been the country’s main export. Growth in the export of
manufactured goods has also declined, due to increased international competition through
global trade liberalisation. The implementation of the EPA will also impact trade
investment and consumer protection and competition law and policy.

Madam President, these are the issues that confront us as a country. These are the issues
that confront us as a nation. These are the issues that confront as a Ministry, as we strive
to make this environment, an environment for which there is economic vibrant stability
and so on.

Madam President, I wish, at this point, to go back to what it is that the young children
asked me to speak about this morning. And I want to say, Madam President, that it is
important that we, as the politicians of today, the representative of the people … although
my learned colleague on the other side, in the independence, spoke of not having a
constituency; but then, when she started to speak, I was a little bit confused as to whether
she was talking as an independent senator, as an executive member of the manufacturers
association, or as a senator; so I was not quite sure.

But Madam President, we have a responsibility to the young people of this country to
ensure that we provide them with the kind of example, and the kind of goals - that we
provide some goals and some things for them to work towards - persons that they can
emulate. And, Madam President, I do not want to be blowing my trumpet or the trumpet
of persons who have done… I think that it is instructive that we have now produced a
publication which was alluded too earlier by the Minister in the Ministry of Education
and Culture with respect to icons, and he referred to two icons, one of whom I think is
within that book. And I want to say that it is important that we encourage our young
people not to just look around this room in this Honourable House or in the lower House
for role models. That we have substantial role models and persons who have made
sterling contributions to this country, who are living and also those who have gone, for
which it is that our young people can emulate and they can see the value of hard work
and dedication, and so when the cries of the young people are being heard and they speak
for a crime free Saint Lucia, top of the list, they speak for proper roads to go home, they
ask for playgrounds and libraries so that they could have somewhere for them to learn,
somewhere for them to recreate, we must heed those calls, and so Madam President, I
want to thank … because this was not just a government initiative, this was an initiative


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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
which was supported by the private sector and I think we have failed to recognise that,
and I would like to place on record our gratitude for our private sector partners such as
Renwick and Company, First Caribbean International Bank, Joseph Shipping, Sagicor,
United Insurance Agent Saint Lucia Limited, Saint Lucia Distillers Group of Companies,
the Bank of Nova Scotia, the Saint Lucia Motor and General Insurance Company
Limited, the Saint Lucia Air and Sea Port Authority and Consolidated Foods Limited for
putting their stamp of approval on this publication and contributing towards the
developments of the young people of this nation and for encouraging and enhancing that
environment within which they have to grow.

Madam President, in conclusion, I would like to take this opportunity to commend and
thank the former Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Commerce Industry and
Consumer Affairs who I now heard, or must have heard clearly, the views articulated by
Independent Senator Plummer with respect to the Tourism sector and the need for the
Tourism sector to work with the Ministry of Commerce to ensure that we buy Saint
Lucian, and I am sure that having come from the Ministry of Commerce, he is very much
sensitised to the needs for the collaboration, and so I want to thank him and commend
him for the work that he did while he was at the Ministry of Commerce. I would also like
to thank the current Permanent Secretary and all staff of the Ministry for their continued
support and dedication in executing the policies of this government. Sincerest thanks to
the Director and the staff of the office of Private Sector Relations, the Bureau of
Standards, the Metrication Board and Secretariat, the Standards Council, the management
and staff of the Government Supply Warehouse, who I would like to let know that I have
not forgotten them, that I am right there with them and they will be seeing me sooner
rather than later. Thanks also to all our private sector partners, the Saint Lucia Chamber
of Commerce, the Manufacturers Association, SLASPA and all private sector companies,
individuals and firms who continue to support our programmes and initiatives.

Madam President, unlike in previous years when I was a little bit disappointed that we
were dealing with our so-called soft sectors in a somewhat marginalised way, I can say
that I am a little bit more convinced that the Ministry of Finance has gotten a better
appreciation and understanding of the value of our so-called soft sectors which have a
major impact on the economic sectors. I am satisfied that the serious challenges and
resource allocation decisions which this Budget presented were resolved with some
compromises to us all. It is in this spirit of compromise, Madam President that I consider
this Budget, and I am compelled to support the 2010/2011 Appropriation Bill. Madam
President, I implore, let us all therefore traverse the road to recovery: Engineering
Growth, Engendering Social Cohesion and Building Resilience to External Shocks.

I thank you, Madam President.

Senator Silas Wilson: Thank you very much, Madam President. As my fellow colleague
Senator on the side here did, let me congratulate you on being appointed President of our
Senate. I trust, Madam President, that your stint as President shall be in the same vein as
that of your predecessor, and that you continue to hold the office of Senate President with
integrity and with honour.


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Madam President, as is customary, allow me to refer to some of the points made by some
of the Senators on the other side, including the Leader of Government Business and the
Attorney General, who, presenting his submission to us here today, spoke briefly about
the scourge of crime that grips our country. In his submission on that particular subject,
he said that his Ministry, along with that of the Minister for Home Affairs, do one thing
every month: sit down around a round table and talk about crime. Talk! Talk again and
while crime continues to bite into the very core and fabric of our society, those who are
interested to bring solutions to that problem sit down around round tables every month
and talk about crime.

And he said as well, Madam President that the solution to combating crime is not to enact
new laws but to enforce existing legislation. For once, he and I agree on one thing. He
and I agree on one thing, absolutely. But I want the Member opposite, Madam President,
to reconcile the issue of enforcing laws with the fact that case files involving Members of
Parliament disappear, or with the fact, Madam President, that this Cabinet has acted
perversely to protect one of its own. And you speak about enforcing laws! I want the
Member to reconcile enforcing our laws with the fact that a Minister of government was
before Customs on account of invasion of duties, but we know what happened to that
particular matter, Madam President, that it got stuck for years and that the Customs
Comptroller, in his affidavit, said that there were systemic impediments. Reconcile that
for me please Mr. Attorney General. I agree with you; I agree with you, certainly, that
we have to enforce the laws, but laws cannot be enforced for some and not enforced for
others.

We are here today, Madam President, to conduct debate on yet another set of Budgetary
Estimates and proposals by a United Workers Party Administration, and the proposal for
2010/2011 is entitled: A Road to Recovery. But the general thread and the trajectory that
come out of this Budget, the contents, the proposals... I do not see the road to recovery,
Madam President. Instead, what I do see, what I do see, Madam President, is a very
narrow and steep footpath in which Mr. Tom Chou, our Ambassador, is going to put
$20.8 million, and the ideas of engendering social cohesion and building resilience to
external shocks – beautiful words, Madam President, beautiful words, absolutely,
beautiful words. But we here remain doubtful that this government can together, even
with its best intentions and with the full support and cooperation of each and every Saint
Lucian, reverse the trend of negative growth that our country has seen in the last three
years.

Today, more than ever, Madam President, our young people, in their many thousands, are
eager to migrate. Our young people continue to fill the cells of our police stations and the
Bordelais Correctional Facility. The name for our beloved fair Helen, Saint Lucia, has
been stained and tarnished, primarily by a callous demonstration of poor governance,
corruption, a perverse Cabinet and an insensitive government, consumed each and every
day with holding on to political power at any cost. When I listened to the government in
the Lower House and even here today, Madam President, I got the impression that it is
perfectly okay for us to judge Saint Lucia and to say that we did badly in comparison


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with other countries. Not that we did well in comparison to the other countries, but we
did badly in comparison to the other countries.

The ideal is no longer for us, as a country, to aim for excellence, but for us to be content
with poor performance if we can justify it on how badly our neighbours in Barbados and
Trinidad are doing. And so, Madam President, it reminds me that every time, Madam
President, somebody points out some evil deed that this government has committed, they
say to us who are you? You have sins too. Two wrongs can never make a right, and if it
were bad then, it cannot be right now, and the ideal cannot be for us to be content with
lack of performance, simply because we can find comfort that other people around us did
not perform.

Madam President, in order for us to come to terms with the implications that this Budget
holds for our country, it is important to understand the context within which this Budget
is being presented, and the economic and social review tells us that during last year, the
economy contracted by 5.2 percent. The Prime Minister, in his beautiful Budget, as some
of you may call it, spared no effort in blaming the recession for the poor performance of
our local economy, and in that very same Budget where he did say that economy
contracted because of the recession, he holds firm to a prediction of 2.9 percent growth in
this year. But we here are all too familiar with the predictions of this government, and I
want to just cite some bleak statistics for 2009. We saw a 5.9 percent decline in stay-over
arrivals in the Tourism sector and a 20 percent contraction in the Construction sector, and
this, Madam President, is the third consecutive year of decline in that sector. I will get
back to that a little later, because I said something last year that the Minister for Tourism
did not take very kindly to. We saw a 6.7 percent decline in banana production and a 4.3
percent decline in revenue from banana exports. Today, Madam President, in only three
short years, this government has moved unemployment from a low of 13.5 percent to
20.5 percent.

This is the reality that this Budget must speak to, and if there is one thing, Madam
President, that this government has become very, very, very, very synonymous with, it is
over predicting the growth rate for any given year in this country. Remember in 2008,
that beautiful Budget... hotels all over the place, golf courses, from Vieux Fort in the
South to Cap Estate in the North. Seven percent was the growth prediction. You recall
what that was – the actual performance of the economy? Point seven percent. Last year,
Madam President, with a recession that had begun to bite, all of the signs were there, that
it was not going to be a nice year. They came last year and they projected 2 percent
growth, and we said to them that that was unrealistic. Do not raise the hopes of our
people in vein, because this government knows very well, Madam President, when they
come to this House and they predict growth rates that are absurd, they do not have the
capacity to attain that. They know that very well, but that is put in the Budget for one
reason – bluff, all over the place. And if one calculates, Madam President, the average
growth – but that cannot be growth – the average decline that this country has seen since
you assumed office on December 12, 2006, the decline is over 1 percent annually. In
other words, you have failed to grow the economy in three years.



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The country’s debt, despite your bravado on the Boulevard that you were going to reduce
debt and that you were going to cut Recurrent Expenditure by $3 million... Well, that is
not the case. The debt continues to climb, and it is going to climb even further by the
time we leave here tonight, because you are borrowing $174 million dollars, if I am
correct. And about cutting the expenditure, that too, that too was only bravado, because
instead of cutting the expenditure, you have increased it. You have increased it. And
despite the warnings from the International Monetary Fund, Madam President, that some
of those unusual kinds of design, finance, construct, contracts should be accounted for in
our total debts, you do not include them there because you want to hide the debt. But I
will come to that in a little bit. Stick a pin there; you will need that pin for later.

So, we are here again today, Madam President, in the people’s Parliament with another
Budget – beautiful projections, grand projects, about airports and seaports, and about
hotels too. For the fourth consecutive year you are going to raise the expectations of
Saint Lucians only to dash them again. How much more of that can Saint Lucians put up
with? How much more can we put up with? You have destroyed our reputation overseas
and all that time you, the Members opposite, you operate as if all is well, all is bright and
well in Saint Lucia.

Madam President, Agriculture... It is no secret that the policy on agricultural
development is driven by the dictates of Taiwan, because every time the Minister for
Agriculture speaks, the Ambassador repeats what he says. The general situation with
Agriculture, however, is that there was a general contraction of 8.5 percent last year, and
that was driven primarily by a reduction in banana exports and revenue. The poor rate of
implementation in agricultural projects, coupled with the absence of clear policy
directions, significantly high cost of production and insufficiently organised structures
and systems, do not point to recovery in this fiscal year. The banana crop has been at the
center of agriculture, and much has been said about the future of that crop. It is our
humble view, Madam President, that the biggest threat to that sector is not those new
trading arrangements in Europe ─ it is not that ─ but the approach that our government
has taken in directing the future of that crop; and I will tell you what I mean.

I will not blame you for adverse weather. You have no control over droughts, over
storms, over hurricanes; but your response in dealing with some of those is vital, and we
are coming out of perhaps the most serious drought in recent memory. The figures,
Madam President – and we on this side take no pleasure in making that bold prediction –
but the figures for banana production this year will be the lowest that Saint Lucia has ever
recorded. And a year from now I will be here to vouch for that. And we take no
pleasure, Madam President in making that prediction.

What has been the government’s response to dealing with that particular issue that
confronts our banana farmers? All you hear from the Minister is fertilizers and more
fertilizers, as if that alone will solve the problem. The Budget, when it addressed
bananas, Madam President was very general – no specifics. But, Madam President, the
farmers, who at 6 0’clock in the morning when they leave their homes, and go to toil on
their banana farms and meet me as I live my home, say to me, “We thought that the


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Minister would have spoken about support for agriculture in terms of assisting in
irrigation.” Madam President, the Saint Lucia Labour Party, during its term in office,
invested heavily in modernising the sector. We built a number of ponds in the valleys, in
Cannelles, in the Mabouya Valley, in Cul-de-Sac, in Roseau. The irrigation systems are
there. Goodness! If you can give the Honourable Minister for Tourism and Civil
Aviation $50 million, which in my opinion was virtually wasted, why can’t you give the
farmers some assistance in paying for those irrigation systems, in order that we may
continue to have high yields year round and that we can maintain a good quality of fruit
year round? Why? What is the new level of mechanization on our farms? Our farmers
are getting older and young people are not being attracted to the sector, because we may
continue to do things in the very same old way that my grandfather did.

No mention of that Madam President, but rather the Minister for Agriculture, in his usual
style, goes all around the country, in his town hall meetings, presenting graphs and pie
charts about growth in agriculture, when on the ground farmers are catching hell. They
cannot meet the bank payments, because farmers who used to sell 200 cartons of bananas
a week, now have gone down to 20 and 25. That is the situation with banana farming,
Madam President. Nobody has to tell me that, Madam President, I know that, and the
Minister for Agriculture, Lands, Forestry and Fisheries… I am not sure if he is into
bananas, Madam President, because I understand that his farm is now being turned into
an orchid farm. I stand corrected, and I sure somebody here might want to clarify that
down the road. But the fact, Madam President, is that the government has broken the
trust that it got from the farmers.

In the Budget there was an agricultural marketing agency of $5.7 million. That has been
in the Estimates from 2007. And for all the talk about the central clearing house and a
new Marketing Board… 2007 it was in the Budget; today, less than one percent
implemented ─ only $18,000 spent. The abattoir - $12.9 million - the estimates show
15.6 percent implementation, and every day the future of that sector becomes bleak, and
the Minister engages in showmanship.

Madam President, during last year’s debate on those Estimates, we cautioned heavily
about the massive allocation of $50 million to the super guru in tourism. We pointed out,
Madam President, that to invest $50 million in going and market Saint Lucia in the
middle of a recession spelt danger, and that, Madam President, some of that money
should have been redirected to the Construction sector that for two years had performed
badly. I predicted, Madam President that the figures for visitors coming into Saint Lucia
last year were going to drop. And not only were the figures going to drop, but that the
revenue would have dropped. And I further pointed out, Madam President, that if the
Budget last year was about generating growth and securing jobs, then that was not the
way to spend money, especially, Madam President, given the fact that the entire $50
million allocation for marketing of tourism was borrowed money.

Well, we all know, Madam President that this Minister for Tourism has an insatiable
appetite to spend money that does not belong to him. You give him; he will spend. He
spends on boxing. He spends on meetings. Just ask him, and he will take you wherever


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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
you want to go, Madam President; he loves to spend. And they describe us, Madam
President, as “prophets of doom and gloom”, and we do nothing about marketing, as if to
suggest that because you spend on marketing, people will come. That is the logic.
Because you spend, people will come. But the figures are interesting, Madam President;
interesting, because our position have been vindicated today, and despite the misleading
predictions of 14 percent growth in that sector, there was a contraction of 5.8 percent.
That is the reality. You predicted 14 percent growth; it fell by 5.8 percent and you
walking out. The only place where there was growth in the tourism sector, Madam
President, was in the cruise ship sector. And you heard everyday the market vendors
complaining that they are seeing a lot of people, but these people are spending no money.
(Creole starts) they are seeing a lot of people but the people do not have money to spend
(Creole ends). Recession… and you waste the people’s money. So was it really worth
it? Of course not, Madam President.

I am certain that we would have generated more growth had we invested in other sectors
of the economy. For instance, construction and repairing school plant, But the ironic
thing about all of this, Madam President, is that we told them not to spend so much last
year and to wait for when people have money and they can travel, to go back to the
market place. This year, Madam President, the signs of a recovery are there, but the
money is not there to spend on marketing. This year, when signs of a recovery are there,
when people have more disposable income… and while they are telling you not to spend
your money in these hard times, they are spending the country’s money all over the place.
But this year, there is potential for growth, but there is no money to spend for tourism
marketing. So they have gone back now, down to $30 million. But I want, Madam
President to examine something for a second here.

Madam President, in 2002, the country spent $20 million in marketing tourism. The
revenue was $161 million. In other words, for every dollar we spent on marketing in
2002, the country got a return of $8. Last year, we spent $50 million on marketing, and
the revenue for this year is $156 million. So for every dollar we spent last year, we got
back $3 only. And you call that prudent fiscal management? Last year’s revenue was the
lowest in seven years in tourism, and you did so in a recession when you spent a lot of
money – $50 million. It is absurd, Madam President, to say the least, and I am being very
generous. And, Madam President, do I read on page 22 of the Budget Address that
despite massive re-branding expenses and efforts, the government has considered that
that was a waste of resources? They have said, Madam President, that Saint Lucia will be
branded under the concept of “simply beautiful” – so why the three lines and the two
pitons? Why? Again, this Minister for Tourism has a propensity to spend money that is
not his. Even if we all know in this Chamber, that he will not bring back any returns…
and I understand not, Madam President, why no one in this government can tie down the
Minister for Tourism? Why? Why?

Madam President, this tourism sector in Saint Lucia is no longer a tourism sector, you
know. This is a hotel sector now! The linkages have become so blurred that we cannot
find them, even with a microscope. And I challenge the Minister of Tourism to tell me
that that is not the case – that hotels in this country now, even while we speak about


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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
developing agriculture, are being given import licenses to bring in fruits and vegetables!
Not only that, Madam President, but the Independent Senator will also be surprised that
those hotels are also being given licenses to bring in things like ketchup. It is beginning
to bite into the manufacturing sector now, Madam President. Yes, there are hotels in this
country that get licenses to import ketchup. One wonders about the future of Baron
Foods and Viking Traders.

What about securing growth, engendering social cohesion and building resilience to
external shocks? And you are bringing in ketchup. What is different about Grace in
Jamaica that Baron cannot give you in Saint Lucia in terms of flavour of ketchup? What
is so different? So, Madam President, for all of the money that we are throwing away at
tourism, there is great imbalance between the inputs and the outputs you know. When
last year we got a return of only three dollars on every dollar for tourism marketing, this
is absurd, Madam President; that has never happened before. And you can check the
statistics for yourself – that has never happened before. When $20 million used to bring
us $8 back in return, we spend $50 million, and a mere $3 is all we get for every dollar
we spend.

The Prime Minister spoke about tourism benefits being enjoyed by all. The Nature
Heritage Tourism Programme was disbanded by this government, never said why; and
they have in their Budgets from since 2007, something called ‘Improving
Competitiveness of Rural Tourism Products’ – same name, but hear this. Since 2007,
they have only implemented 5.47 percent of that project. Could we not, last year, have
taken some of that money we gave to market Tourism overseas to improve our product
locally and prepare for the recovery? Could we not have done that?

Madam President, I turn to the issue of national security. It is undeniable, Madam
President, that crime is a big issue. It is a big issue, because, Madam President, this
government has not been able to get a tight grip on crime. It is no longer a social issue,
but it is also an economic issue. And the recent shooting of a magistrate – and our
thoughts go out to her – shows that crime has taken on a new dimension and it remains a
fundamental issue to be dealt with in a most serious manner. Madam President, it was
with much dismay that I heard the Minister for Tourism, following a decision of a major
cruise line, Norwegian, cough up excuse, after excuse, after excuse, skirting the really
issue as to why that cruise ship chose to omit Saint Lucia from its itinerary. Let me say,
Madam President, that if the Minister was so right in his excuses, that it was perhaps
because of volatility in fuel prices that cruise ships perhaps might want to stay further
north ... If at all that is true, why are we investing $40 million in Port Castries? Why are
we? Why? I do not believe that the excuses offered by the Minister cut it.

At the heart of Norwegian deciding to omit Saint Lucia, is the crime problem. And
unless we can, as a country, stand up and face the reality, we are not going to be dealing
with the right problems. And despite the fact, Madam President, that crime requires
some decisive responses and firm leadership, this Minister for National Security is busy
politicking. The government has an ICT policy that they are going to create ICT Parks
and so on, and instead of directing the Taiwanese assistance to developing those, the


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Minister is busy courting the Taiwanese to put computers in his political office. And he
seems to have an obsession to win that seat, Madam President. I understand that he
spends more time in that office than in his ministerial office. In fact, a friend of mine
said to me to warn the current Parliamentary Representative for that constituency, whose
home is not very far from the political office of Senator Mayers, that if per chance he
were to walk that road and lose a dollar coin anywhere in the vicinity of Mr. Mayers’
office, he should kick that dollar coin till he gets to his home.

The language on crime and national security, Madam President, was very general and not
specific. Additionally, there was nothing new in this Budget on national security and
crime. The approach that this government has taken to dealing with crime is more
vehicles and more policemen and more talk. More policemen, more vehicles and more
talk. The important processes have not been dealt with, such as, new technologies. How
do we fingerprint those people that are engaged in burglaries everyday around the
country? How do we stop and crack those rings of people who steal cars? What about all
of those other things that have been there all along? Why is the implementation rate so
poor? Madam President, the closed circuit security system for the police costing $5.9
million has been in those Estimates from 2008. Now, zero implementation, not a dollar
has been spent, not a dollar has been spent.

Madam President: Senator, I wish to inform that you now have 10 minutes within
which to complete your presentation.

Senator Emma Hippolyte: Madam President, I beg for the suspension of Standing
Orders Section 35(1) to allow the Senator an additional 25 minutes to conclude his
presentation.

Question Proposed, Put and Agreed to
Leave Granted

Senator Silas Wilson: Thank you very much Honourable Members.

Madam President: Excuse me, one minute please. I wish to, at this juncture, recognise
in our midst, the presence of Ambassador His Excellency, Eldridge Stephens. Welcome.

Senator Silas Wilson: Thank you very much Honourable Members. Madam President,
generally there are no new initiatives to deal with the escalating crime problem that grips
our country, and our young people live in fear. People are building concrete walls around
their homes all over the country, and all of this is happening while there is no serious
policy direction from either the minister or his ministry and all we hear is more vehicles,
more policemen and more talk.

I now wish to move on to the issues, Madam President, that deal with Communications
and Works. Madam President, in this debate, much has been said about a particular new
modality for financing of, in particular, road development projects, and perhaps even the
Hewanorra International Airport. I refer, Madam President, to the design, finance and


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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
construct arrangements that the ministry has entered to with at least two contractors.
Madam President, for a while I did not believe what I was reading when I went through
those Estimates. Madam President, the explanation provided by the Minister for
Communications and Works is that the government has entered into an arrangement with
companies who will provide the financing to undertake those projects, who will build
them, that the government would have paid them over a period of time the principal
amount of the contract with an interest component that ranges anywhere between 5.5 and
7.5 percent. Madam President, those contracts have not been entered into our total debts.
However, Madam President, there is something very amusing about those projects. As I
said earlier, we are paying back those companies the principal amount, and in the case of
the East Coast Road, it is $32,224,598 and the Allan Bousquet Highway $12,240,105.
And there are more, Madam President, that were entered towards the latter part of last
financial year and I refer to the Desruisseaux/Anse Ger Road which is in the region of
$10.3 million. So that gives you a total, Madam President, of $54 million in design and
finance constructs.

Deputy President in Chair

Senator Silas Wilson: Mr. President, on page 481 of the Estimates under the capital
allocation for the Ministry of Communications, Works, Transport and Public Utilities,
there are two allocations in there: one for the Allan Bousquet Highway Phase I of $12
million and one for the East Coast Road Rehabilitation of $32 million. But when you
move across, Mr. President, you will realise that there is an allocation for payments on
those two projects – one in the region of $3.467 million and the other one of $7.694
million, and you will realise, Mr. President, that those allocations are being financed
through bonds. Now my colleague, Senator Emma Hippolyte, did ask earlier whether
those projects were gifts or whether they were loans. Clearly, if we are paying them
through bonds, they cannot be gifts.

So, this therefore means, Mr. President, that we are paying a road construction company a
total of $54 million with interest that ranges from 5.5 to 7.5 percent. We are borrowing
through bonds and we are paying back those bonds at about seven percent interest as
well. So this government has created a new word, because it is paying interest, not once,
but twice. So can we, therefore, Mr. President, call that interest cost overrun? We are
paying interest twice on the same projects! Is that the best use of State funds in a
recession? Is that the best use of State funds in a recession?

The Hewanorra International Airport, Mr. President … that has been around for some
time now. Once again, the Prime Minister in his Budget Address used his favourite
phrase to describe the stage at which this project is, and he said that Saint Lucia Air and
Sea Ports Authority (SLASPA) is at an advanced stage of the procurement process and
the public will be duly informed of the successful bidder. Mr. President, we hear so
much about a master plan for the redevelopment of this airport. It has been said by the
government in last year’s Budget Address that the project is likely to cost some $450
million. To date, Mr. President, the government has not said anything about how it plans
to develop the infrastructure to support an airport of that cost and of that size. By that I


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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
mean it has not spoken about what, if any changes will be made to our road network in
this country to facilitate travel at a faster pace. The government has not said anything
about what is going to be the future of a second airport in this country, which is the
George F.L. Charles Airport. However, it spoke about the airport in the south being a
hub, a hub for Southern Caribbean Air Traffic and Cargo. A hub for who I ask; and a hub
for what? How realistic is that hub proposal? We know that in St. Vincent they are
building an international airport. Dominica is lighting its runway and making other
changes to get the required certification for an international airport. You already have
hubs in Barbados and in Trinidad. The small island in the Grenadines have strips that can
take private jets. Whom are you going to become a hub for, and a hub for what? Where
is the feasibility study on this airport redevelopment to cost $450 million, in a country
where we cannot find money to invest and rehabilitate feeder roads? Who are you
building a hub for; a hub for what? How realistic is that proposal about Saint Lucia
becoming a hub for regional traffic?

And finally, Mr. President, the Voice Newspaper of Saturday the 17th April raised some
concerns about the procurement irregularities, if I should say, in this airport deal. Only
yesterday, the Civil Society Network raised an alarm that the country is not in a position
to finance that project.

Mr. President, they raised issues about shady means used to finance the airport project,
and if I said to you earlier that the design and finance project which the Minister made us
almost believe was free money when he said that the road has been built and we have not
yet paid a cent for it, the truth is here in these Estimates. We are paying interest twice. If
indeed, Mr. President, we are going the route of design and finance, then God help us
with the interest. Because if the interest on two road projects is in the region of $4
million, then $450 million is a lot of bread that the country cannot afford. So, Mr.
President, I want to read to this Honourable House that the Voice is concerned about the
damage that is being done to Saint Lucia’s reputation, both at home and abroad, as a
result of the furore over this project. In this regard, and in the interest of transparency
and accountability, the Stephenson King administration would be well advised to
consider these options carefully before proceeding in a manner that could have negative
long term consequences for Saint Lucia. And we suggested, Mr. President that among
the things that should happen is that Saint Lucia Air and Sea Pots Authority (SLASPA)
ought to reopen the process to ensure that there is transparency and accountability.

Mr. President, a look at last year’s proposal in the areas of Communications and Works,
showed poor implementation. There were so many roads listed to be funded under
Kuwaiti funds or under other revenue, but very few of them were achieved.

However, this year, an allocation of US$12,000 million from the Kuwaiti Fund has been
replaced by only a mere EC$2.8 million. What has happened to the remainder of those
projects? And Mr. President, an allocation of $15 million was presented for some 60
small road projects. Fifteen million dollars divided equally into 60 roads represents a
mere $250,000 per road. And considering, Mr. President, that our road infrastructure has



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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
almost collapsed because this government, for whatever reason, seems unable to bring
light into public sector investment, this will not take us very far.

It may appear that the recession is over, but we must guard against that false sense of
security. And again I saw, Mr. President that the government predicated its 2.9 percent
growth this year on the airport project, as well as proposed hotels. I want to guard
against that Mr. President, because that recipe has failed and has chocked us in the last
four years; it has failed us in the last couple of years. The government ought to find more
creative means of stimulating growth in the Construction sector. And while I am on it,
Mr. President, there are issues about those design and finance projects, because we
understand, reliably, that the East Coast Road … people who provide services, truckers
and others, have difficulty getting payment for work that they have done. And in a
recession when the Construction sector has failed us, we have entered into a contract that
was shrouded in secrecy; but it appears, Mr. President, that our people in this country are
being short changed.

Youth and Sports … Each year, Mr. President, I have lamented matters that affect young
people. I am fully convinced now, that this government has little interest in youth
development. There is nothing in this Budget which, in my humble opinion, reflects the
level of emphasis that is required to change the dire situation that confronts our young
people.

In a recent study conducted by the Caricom Commission on Youth Development, many
serious revelations were made, and I quote - and I will make it a document of the House,
Mr. President. “Most of the young people encountered generally see themselves making
progress towards their dreams and aspirations in five years, although they, who grapple
with survival on a day to day basis, are so consumed with hopelessness and despair, that
they are either resigned to being dead, struggling or incarcerated in five years, or
unable, or afraid to envision tomorrow, because today is so dark and uncertain.” And
the report further goes on to state Mr. President that “Caribbean adolescents and youth
continue to be seen only as beneficiaries of services and products rather than as strategic
partners in policy, development and implementation. At the same tim,e the Commission is
convinced that the absence of vibrant national youth councils, young leaders and a
bonafide, democratic, regional youth network from the youth governance landscape has
removed healthy levels of pressure and influence from national and regional agendas and
affected the strong advocacy, brokerage and catalytic role that is necessary for change.”

It therefore came as no surprise to me, Mr. President, when I read that, as to why this
government seems hell bent on destroying the National Youth Council. Not too long ago
that ugly spectre raised its head, but the National Youth Council indicated that they were
being treated with scant regard and disrespect, that they had no role in advising on policy,
and that they were give token representation.

This report further goes on to say, Mr. President, that reducing youth unemployment to
the level of adult unemployment would propel growth of Saint Lucia’s Gross Domestic
Product (GDP) by 2.5 percent. The Department of Youth and Sports has removed itself


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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
from being a facilitator to an organiser of sports programmes, and there is a dearth of
youth programmes – absolutely none. Every United Worker Party administration is
known for its hostility towards the National Youth Council - every single one. This one
is no different. And we have seen it, Mr. President, his omission from speaking at a
youth awards. That was a blatant sign, that you do not want the National Youth Council
(NYC) to voice its concerns. But we are now into youth month, Mr. President, and it is a
shame that the government has not made a single pronouncement to this date about youth
month. In fact, I was taken aback when I heard the Minster for Youth and Sports last
week Thursday, unveil a programme for youth month which is in April, but none of the
activities for youth month will be held in April. It is amazing how you operate. So
Youth Month is gone – no programmes – it is amazing.

But, Mr. President, I want to share with you something that happened on the 1st of April.
We were here in this Parliament on the 31st of March this year; and when I left here I got
a call that there was an invitation for me to attend an ecumenical service to mark the
opening of Youth Month. And was I delighted! Finally, I thought there was something
good happening for youth month. So despite everything that I had planned for the
Thursday morning, I left it behind and I drove down to the Vieux Fort church. This is the
programme; but to my surprise, Mr. President, there were some young people there – and
they thought it was necessary to be there – but there was not a single Member of Cabinet
there – not the Minister for Youth and Sports, not the Prime Minister; but to add insult to
injury, Mr. President, there was not even a message read from the Minister for Youth and
Sports, congratulating the young people on the occasion.

Madam President in the Chair

Senator Silas Wilson: ... But I felt good that day, Madam President, because one thing
came back to me: that the resilience of our young people blossomed on that day. And my
heart goes out to them because you can see in their eyes that they envision a future for
themselves and they will strive towards it. But they made it very clear to me in
discussions afterwards that they were solely disappointed in their government. I was the
only activity ironically, Madam President, for youth month - the only activity; not
another one was going to come where the Minister could have made good on that error;
just that alone, but they were not there; they were too busy making deals. That is a
shame. And that is how you treat the youth of this country; that is how you treat them!
Youth month would have come and gone like any other celebration, no planning
committee, no Public Relations (PR), not even the National Television Network (NTN)
was there for that matter, and I suspect, Madam President, that it was hurriedly organised;
it was to avoid total shame.

Madam President, I am delighted to see the return of the National Football Facility in this
year’s Estimates. It has come and gone like this government will. It was once in an
advanced stage of preparation, but last year it flew away. This year it has come back. I
hope this is the last time, Madam President that the young people of this country would
have to put up with this embarrassment. They do not deserve this. If we are serious
about our young people, we have to stand by the things we say; we have to.


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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Madam President, I say this afternoon without any any fear of contradiction, that the
contents of this Budget does not allow the goals that were set out in this Budget to be
realised. The low levels of confidence that are evident in our people right across this
country; the hopes and dreams of average Saint Lucians that have been tattered, smashed,
vanished by this Government; people live from day to day with no hope. The weak and
inconsistent policies of this government will continue to be with us as long as this
government remains in office. The narrow footpath that they termed as a road to
recovery will further displace and alienate more of our common Saint Lucian folks, and
the decline in our economy will continue to accelerate. I wish to repeat, Madam
President that it is not enough, it is not fair, neither is it right for us to be content with
mediocrity simply because we can look over our shoulders and see neighbours not
performing well for us to justify it on that.

Saint Lucia has always set the trend. We have always been the standard bearer. We have
always been that light on the hill that others can look up to, but today that is no longer the
case. We have become the laughing stock of all around us. Saint Lucians now hang their
heads in shame at the specter of what passes for governance. Ever since this government
came into office, our beloved country has started to slip backwards. It is time for that
slide to be arrested. We can no longer continue with that embarrassment. If you love this
country as much as you say, then please do what you were put in there to do. At every
opportunity, Madam President, we have reminded you, this government, not to refer to
Rochamel to justify your misdeeds.

You promised transparency, but whenever questions are asked you create a side show
with Rochamel. So obviously the biggest beneficiary of Rochamel is this government,
because they profit from it to do their own evil. And while this inexperienced and
incompetent government is dealing with reconciling its priorities, our people are quickly
slipping into abject poverty. We cannot wait for you to get in right. Our laws are daily
been broken, and my comrade sister spoke about the issue of the Director of Finance,
which is a contravention of the Finance Administration Act, about the issue of the
Taiwanese largesse. And so that has given great credence to the allegations of corruption
that hang over your head like a halo but you do nothing, but you do nothing. Let us
again, as Saint Lucians, be that light on a hill, that light that the entire world has seen and
has admired it for. Let us restore the pride of our country. But importantly, Madam
President, let us not continue to operate in the way that we are doing. You have wasted
three long years, and a fourth will soon be upon you and the day of reckoning draweth
nigh.

It was Sir John who said, Madam President, in 2007 when he addressed an Independence
Schools Rally, there are some things that come back not including lost opportunities.
That applies to you. While I cannot commend this Budget, Madam President, and while I
believe that there is no road to recovery in this Budget, there is no social cohesion,
Madam President, with all humility and sincerity, I wish the government good luck.




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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Senator Everistus Jn. Marie: Thank you, Madam President, and let me take the
opportunity to congratulate you on your ascendency to the position of President of this
Honourable Senate. It is my wish that colleagues here would provide you with all
support to ensure that you are effective in your new role.

My role in this debate is to critic the Appropriation Bill before us and to add value to the
process that would allow for improvements to the plan set out for our country over the
next financial year 2010/2011. The interest of the people of Saint Lucia must be
paramount in this exercise. I have perused this year’s Appropriation Bill together with
the Budget Address by the Prime Minister, and my conclusion is that this Budget is a
Budget of hope; and I do not intend in any way to be disparaging. I recognise that it must
be very challenging to prepare a Budget against a background of global economic
uncertainties in which far more resilient economies, like the United States of America
and United Kingdom, our major tourism markets are experiencing warring high levels of
debts to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratios of 80 percent and 68 percent respectively
and widening budget deficits. Saint Lucia’s debt to GDP ratio itself is 71 percent, and
although this is outside prudential limits, it is not, to my mind, cause for a panic but
concern, not to mention the growing budget deficits. We cannot, as a country, keep
spending more than we are earning.

Our debate should not be about whether government borrows money or not, but whether
the purpose for which government is borrowing is justified, is transparent, and it is
accountable. To address the issue of the growing deficits government can do three
things: raise taxes, cut back on expenditure or do both.

Regarding taxes, I think government missed an opportunity to implement the broad range
tax of the Value Added Tax (VAT). Value Added Tax (VAT) would have commenced
the process of gradually reversing the budget deficit. Any significant increase in existing
taxes, I would concede, may have endangered economic recovery, something that still
remains rather tenuous. Cutting back expenditure surely would mean having to address
the size of our public service, and that would mean putting people out of work. Of
course, no government nearing the end of its term would be expected to take such a risk.
I understand that. What is really left now, is borrowing to make up for the short fall in
recurrent revenues and to meet the government’s capital expenditure programme.

I shall come to the issue of borrowing later, but for now let us look at government’s
approach at generating revenue in this Budget for 2010/2011. Let us take taxes. Back in
2007, a major policy initiative was announced, which was the implementation of VAT. It
is rather noticeable that it still has not been implemented, even though the government
has given commitments to the IMF that by October this year we will implement VAT,
and yet no reference to VAT has been made in this year’s Budget. Perhaps the IMF
needs to be updated.

VAT was intended to simplify the system of indirect tariff taxes, is broad based, and that
would have covered taxes on goods and services and allow the government to spread the
burden of tax across the country.


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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Madam President, I recognise that it is not an issue in this Budget, but it is an issue. And
given my experience, because I understand the policy directive and the need to draft the
relevant legislation is with the Attorney General’s office, and I know what it is like when
Bills come to this House that government side is very often loath to make adjustments to
Bills, and you almost feel it is a fait acompli when they get in here. So I am going to take
the opportunity now to address some of my concerns in the proposed legislation
regarding VAT. And there are two areas which I have concerns with which I will
discuss, and that is VAT on water, and the exemption of VAT on hotel accommodation.
And I will want the Honourable Minister for Tourism to pay particular attention to the
latter, because I think it is in the interest of the industry that you address this matter
properly.

On the issue of VAT on water, let me suggest that the government should abandon this
idea of charging VAT on water. Until you seriously address the issue of the under
capitalisation of WASCO, you cannot add anything onto water. In fact, to charge VAT
on water would be a financial burden on WASCO, because right now, WASCO is in no
position, in terms of its accounting system, to handle this issue. The truth is, it would
cost WASCO somewhere in the region of $6 million to get a system in place to charge
VAT; now for me that is enough of a reason to abandon the whole idea. What I am
suggesting is that you can zero-rate water, and that is important as opposed to exempting
it. The difference being this: as I said you cannot afford to burden WASCO with any
VAT cost. To exempt water would mean that WASCO would have to bear the burden of
any VAT on its inputs in the supply of water, and a major item would have been
electricity, which WASCO would have a lot of difficulty paying. So by zero-rating, you
have given WASCO the ability to claim back the VAT on its inputs. So I am suggesting
you abandon this idea of charging VAT on water, have water to be zero-rated, as opposed
to being exempt.

Then I come to the issue of – and it is in the VAT policy document regarding hotel
accommodation... I found it rather strange… In the policy document which is intended to
find itself eventually in the legislation… it speaks of… it is intended to exempt hotel
accommodation from the payment of VAT, given the competitive nature of the industry
and the ease of substitution between services provided by one destination for that
provided by a completing destination.

Now, I am convinced that somebody either has been given bad advice, or does not even
understand what is meant by exempting hotel accommodation and in the same vein
talking about the competitiveness of the industry. I would have loved to see VAT
extended and replacing HAT, because the whole idea was to simplify the system and to
remove those various pieces of legislation for different pieces of taxes, to make the whole
administration process simpler. So I would rather see that. However, it appears that
HAT… and of course, it gives a chance to change the culture, because I do not think the
culture of HAT is the best. And I feel confident, that the implementation team handling
the VAT is likely to bring about a more disciplined environment in which VAT is being
charged.


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I am going back to the idea of exempting hotel accommodation. By exempting hotel
accommodation it does not mean that inputs supplied in the provision of hotel
accommodation will not be subject to VAT. Your electricity and all your inputs will
attract VAT. The problem you will have by exempting the service of hotel
accommodation is that you will not be in a position to reclaim that VAT which you have
paid on your inputs. Now that cannot make you competitive. All it is doing is adding to
your cost. So the idea of exempting hotel accommodation is not one that will help your
competitor. And I think from a tourism standpoint, from a hotel perspective, I think you
should abandon this, because it does not make sense. And I suspect the advice is routed
more in a misunderstanding of what exempt is as appose to being zero rated. The
intention is it should have been zero rated and not exempted. So that is a piece of free
advice for the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation.

I want also to take the opportunity here, because very often in a society, we do not find
the time to affirm people when they do good things. And I have had the pleasure with
interacting with the VAT implementation team, and I think they have done a very good
job to date, and I think they need to be commended for that. They have made use of the
experiences of other jurisdictions and have avoided a lot of the pitfalls. And from what I
understand, all the work they can do, have been done, and the material now is in the
Attorney General’s office waiting for the final drafting of the relevant legislation. So I
want to place on record my own satisfaction in the way they have gone around sensitizing
the various sectors. And I think they have done an excellent job, and that needs to be
placed on record.

I now move to the subject of property tax, one of those new increases in tax, which the
government could not help itself. And sometimes when I look at it, I almost get the
impression that it was an afterthought. The Prime Minister, in his address, makes the
point that property tax has been an experience of poor compliance; that may well be the
case. But I do not understand how changing the basis of valuation would improve the
level of compliance. I see no connection there. In fact, I think in changing the valuation
as stated in his address to market value makes it worse because the truth is the tax is
going to go up. So if you could not pay a lower tax, I do not know how you could pay a
higher one.

And I have issues with the tax itself. The fact that it is open-ended, and I put it in the
context with the theme of the budget, talking about social cohesion. I mean you may well
have your property in an area and a development is taking place. Your property benefits
from it and the consequence is that, you are ending up paying more tax on an unrealised
gain in your property, and you are supposed to fork out hard cash. There is something
unfair about that, and I think you run the real risk of driving people out in certain areas
and making these areas exclusive to certain groups. People do not have the means to pay.
So in talking about social cohesion, you do not want a situation where there are certain
areas in Saint Lucia where only certain people can live because they have the means to do
so. That is not compatible with the theme that is coming across when we speak about
social cohesion. The other questions which remain unanswered are, who is going to pay


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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
for those valuations? How often are these valuations going to take place? These are
questions which need to be asked.

I will suggest this to my colleagues on this side: if you must persist with the new basis of
market value, I will strongly suggest that there is some system of relief or you cap it. In
that way, you provide some psychological gain to the payer, that look I could have paid
more but there is some relief available. You may be able to get people complying with
the tax. But as it is, I think there is certainly a need to either provide relief for certain
categories of people, or you pay over a certain threshold, or you cap it. But it cannot be
open ended, because I think it will become far to onerous to certain people.

I remain on the issue of revenues, and, Madam President, when you are looking at the
Budget on the expenditure side, a lot of what is planned is conditional upon what is being
received. So that if there is not much confidence in your revenue side of the Budget, then
it undermines any confidence to what is projected to be done in terms of expenditure.
And I thought I would need some clarification in the estimates of revenue. And it sticks
out almost like a sore thumb, and I find it repeating itself Budget after Budget, and
perhaps my colleagues on this side would provide me with the answers that I think we
should have.

Under capital revenue are land sales of $13.4 million. Now, I do not want to think for
one minute that this is some balancing figure. I would hate to think so. I would want to
believe that there is something very deliberate about it. Perhaps somebody could tell us
who are those lands intended for, where and how much, so that you could have some
credibility about the figure in the statement, because it is a big figure – $13.4 million.
But if you cannot have this confidence that, in fact, there is some plan to sell land in some
area for some particular reason, then it undermines the creditability of what you intend to
do with that money. So it would do all of us some good if we had some information
regarding that.

And then I come to EU grants, which is a major item in our Revenue Estimates. At the
risk of being controversial, I will have to speak on this issue. The key to unlocking EU
funds to the coffers of government is a national authorising officer; that is a key person in
this. In fact, I know in many jurisdictions, governments spend quite a bit of time in
mastering this art of coming to know the regulation regarding EU operations, so that they
can extract every dollar out of funds available to them. Some countries are better at it
than others, and they take it very seriously. So I ask the question: why is such an
important role as the national authorizing officer, someone who stands between the flow
of EU funds and government coffers tied up with the Permanent Secretary of Finance, the
Director of Finance, the Chairman of SLASPA, the Chairman of the Tenders Board and
Vice Chairperson of National Insurance Corporation? I mean, I am concerned about that
person’s health. I mean I know the gentleman. I am sure he is a hard-working gentleman,
but his effectiveness is constrained by time. There is only 24 hours in a day. And I am
saying if we are going to be unlocking those funds in a serious way, I cannot see how you
can justify having one person tied up with so many other responsibilities, And I need not



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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
go… make the point… I think Senator Hippolyte was making an excellent point about
conflict of interest, and I think she has made the point quite adequately.

I need not go over it again – between the Permanent Secretary and the Director of
Finance. He has placed himself in a position of conflict of interest, and I think we need
to restructure this in the interest of the country and the individual. That is certainly a no,
no. And if we are going to be serious about what we intend to do, then we need to do
everything in a more efficient and effective way. And perhaps this is one area I think we
need to do something about.

I am moving on to the borrowing issue which I said I would come back to. To date our
level of borrowing is at a staggering $1.8 billion. As I said, we must borrow; but we
must be transparent and accountable about it. Good governance calls us this. We have to
be honest with people, let them know exactly what we are doing, and we have to do it
right. The idea of window dressing the fiscal position of the country is not advisable, and
I will tell you what I mean by this. This new modality, as my friend over there referred
to, of design, finance and construct, is not in the spirit of the Finance Act, and will be
construed as what the IMF calls off budget financing. And it is this. You are contracting
people to do public works with their money or monies that they source. They complete
the job, and then you pay for it long after it has been completed. But of course, by the
time it is completed you have access to the works. The debt associated … you have to
borrow, because the reason you are doing it is that you do not have the money in the first
place. So you eventually have to go and borrow to get that money. But in the meantime,
you have the works complete, but on your books, there is nothing registered saying that
you owe.

Now you know, I find that very strange coming on the heels of a Commission of Inquiry,
where a former Prime Minister was taken to task – and rightly so - for coming to secure a
loan in the Parliament long after something had been done. Well, we are doing the same
thing here. Because money comes at a cost; you are right. Projects are being done which
are not reflected in our books. And this is not in the spirit of transparency and
accountability. And it has shown certain contempt for our Parliament, because the
moment that debt kicks in, we have to come before this Parliament to seek approval for
that debt. But the project is done. We do not come to Parliament seeking loans in
isolation; they are tied to projects. So the Parliamentarians should have a right to ask
relevant questions about the project. What is this money spent for? Where is it? Ask all
the relevant questions. Now how could you be asking relevant questions when the
project has long been completed? That cannot be good governance. And I am not the
only one saying that they should stop it; the IMF has said you should stop it.

So I am calling on the government, in the spirit of good governance, you should decease
from this new modality of financing projects. I know it is expedient, because you get
things done quickly, but they come at a cost. And I suspect it is a heavy cost in trying to
window dress our fiscal position. So I really beg my colleagues on this side of the House
that the government deceases from trying out this new modality of financing contracts.



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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Last week, I was a bit taken aback whilst listening to contributions from certain Members
in the Lower House. Let me say, Madam President, right here, I am no emissary of any
Minister of government. As a Member of Parliament of the ACP EU Parliamentary
Assembly, I represent the Saint Lucia Parliament so let nobody get confused that I am out
there representing any Minister of government as was suggested in the Lower House. I
report to the President of the Parliament. I send all my reports to the President of the
Parliament.

While I am there, I probably need to say a little more about my activities there. I am
currently a member of the Economic and Finance Trade Committee of the ACP-EU
Parliamentary Assembly, and I am also a past Chair of that committee. In fact, only last
month, I attended the 19th Assembly of the ACP-EU Parliamentary Assembly, at which a
Banana Declaration was adopted by the Assembly. I was part of that committee which
drafted the Banana Declaration, and the declaration speaks to the concerns of ACP
banana producing countries and EU banana producing countries about the EU’s current
free trade agreements with Latin American countries and the need and the intention, the
desire, on the part of the EU to go beyond what was agreed at the World Trade
Organisation (WTO) in the final settlement of the banana dispute between the EU and the
Americans, to further reduce tariffs below the 140 Euros per ton as part of their free trade
agreement with the Latin American fruit.

What this will mean is that it will compromise and severely weaken the competitiveness
of banana producing countries in the ACP. In fact, the declaration went further to state as
part of the agreement at the WTO that there was 190 million Euros that was set aside for
ACP countries as compensation in that agreement to reduce the tariffs from 176 Euros to
114 Euros per ton on Latin American fruit. Like I said, in the FTA’s with the Latin
American countries, they are going beyond that and there is a big outcry among ACP
banana producing countries and the EU producing countries like the Canary Islands, and
the French Departments of Guadeloupe and Martinique, about the unfairness of it and
they have even been asking that before the European Parliament agrees on this 190
million Euros, it gives consideration to what is taking place with a view to either increase
the level of compensation or dissuade the European Commission from going the route
that they currently seem to be embarking upon.

Madam President, while I am there, I need to share some information which I think is
critical to our industry regarding what is taking place in Europe. The banana
compensation package of 190 million Euros, contrary to what banana farmers believe
here, is not money for banana farmers in Saint Lucia. It is for 10 ACP countries, three of
which are African countries, namely, Ghana, Cameroon and Côte d’Ivoire, and seven
Caribbean countries. The issue now is how we allocate those monies between those
countries, and from my own sense of what is taking place, the Africans would love the
monies to be allocated on the basis of export tonnage. Now, that is going to be skewed in
their direction, because the production of Cameroon, which is the biggest exporter of
bananas, is 10 times ours.




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Now, what I am suggesting here is that, I know the Minister for Agriculture is not here
but I am sure he is listening or somebody will say to him, we need as a cariforum region
to have a common position in dealing with the European Union on this matter, and the
common position should be this: that the allocation of the banana company measures
should be based on contribution to GDP and the number of farmers in the industry. And
the reason I am tying those two and particularly the farmers in the industry, is that in
Africa banana plantations are owned by companies. In fact, in the case of Cameroon you
only have three companies, unlike in the Caribbean where we have small farmers. Now,
I am saying, it is fairer to me, if you are going to be helping people who are going to be
affected, then more should go to these people who are least able or have the least
flexibility to do otherwise and that will be the case of small farmers; a company could
diversify and do other things, but a small farmer in Saint Lucia cannot; he has very little
choice.

So I am suggesting very strongly that we have a common position; that Saint Lucia
perhaps takes the lead, because I do not hear anybody talking about it, to ensure that we
take a common position regarding the basis of the allocation of the 190 million Euros that
is available to ACP countries. As to how that money is going to be made available,
having decided the basis of the allocation, I have it on good authority, because it came
from the Trade Commissioner of the EU, that the money is going to come in the form of
budget support, meaning that the money will go to government, not to farmers. So
farmers who are already counting their chickens, had better understand that monies are
not coming directly to them. As to whether government may choose to do that, it is a
matter for government, but the monies are not being paid directly to farmers. That is as
much as I can say on the issue of bananas.

Then I come to issue of the fuel pass through system, and I want to acknowledge the
government’s demonstration of will to implement this policy. I had my own doubts
initially that they would, because this has been around for so long and nobody has done
anything about it. But there is need for caution, and there is need for making preparations
down the road. As the global economy grows out of recession you should expect that
there will be an increase in demand for energy, and with the increase in demand for
energy, you should expect an increase in the price of crude oil and that is going to be
your challenge. Can you sustain the current $3 per gallon in a period of rising oil prices?
And the truth is, you will not be able to. So you need to prepare yourself for that. I mean
right now it is 80, but I remember back in 2008 we had $147 a barrel. So there is need to
make provisions for that.

I am going suggest a policy decision you all may want to consider. I have said it in other
forums but I do not think that I have done so here. Diesel powered vehicles are a lot
more efficient, fuel efficient that is, than gasoline vehicles. In fact, it is about 25 to 30
percent more efficient. The government should find some way of encouraging minibus
drivers to have diesel powered vehicles. And I will tell you the reason for that, and it is
to help with trying to protect deterioration in your revenue on petrol. You see, if you are
able to segment the market in that way, because the first call in any price increase of fuel
is going to be your minibus drivers because it is a major part of the operational cost and


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you are going to have a cry out for increase in bus fares. If you have your minibus
drivers powered vehicles on diesel, it means that you can target help where it is most
needed and that is the rational for this. You may wish to provide duty free fuel, it might
be a good stimulus to get people to change their vehicles, the car dealers will be happy
that they have got a chance. But I think down the road you seriously need to consider
that. There are people who have concerns about the environmental impact of diesel, but I
am saying to you we could get a better quality diesel; it is just a matter of making a
request to get it. But, diesel is a far more efficient fuel than gasoline, and if you were to
encourage minibus drivers to use diesel as opposed to gasoline, it will make your life a
lot easier in times of rising prices to target help where it is most needed. So you could
have your reductions on diesel in terms of taxes and keep gasoline as normal. So that is
something to consider. It is interesting that since the implementation of the system back
in September, people are mostly unaware of what has been happening there, prices have
been changing every month and nobody is even quite aware of what is happening; so
much for the fear of making that decision.

On that issue, I want to tackle just one point which I find the ministry – I think the
Ministry of Economic Affairs is just a bit too pedantic in making fuel price adjustments.
There should be a threshold above which you make changes. I mean, I had a ridiculous
situation some months ago where they changed the price of gasoline for a cent. The price
of gasoline was changed for a cent per gallon. I mean it did not work out to anything in
litres and you had people changing pumps, costing tens of thousand of dollars – changing
their pumps for one cent, because that is how the calculation could end up. I mean that is
absolutely ridiculous. So I am suggesting … the Minister for Commerce is here … that
you let your people know that there should be a threshold above which you change
prices. You do not change prices based on what the calculation is; there must be a
threshold, and I am suggesting five cents per gallon and a cent per litre. The pass through
… we were taking it a little too far; it is getting ridiculous.

Madam President: Senator, please be informed that you have 10 minutes within which
to complete your presentation.

Senator Dr. Alison Plummer: Madam President, I beg for suspension of Standing
Order 35 (1) to allow Senator Everistus Jn. Marie an extra 30 minutes.

Question Proposed, Put and Agreed to
Leave Granted

Senator Everistus Jn Marie: Madam President, does that mean my 10 plus 30?

Madam President: Yes.

Senator Everistus Jn Marie: Thank you, thank you colleagues for being so generous
with your time. Thank God I am in the Upper House and not in the Lower House.

Madam President: Order!


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Senator Everistus Jn Marie: Madam President, WASCO … This remains a major
concern to Saint Lucians. We cannot ignore our water and sewage infrastructure and
expect to successfully attract foreign direct investment in this country. Good water
infrastructure is key to this country’s economic development and our recent drought spell
is a reminder that climate change is real and has visited us. We need to address this
WASCO situation. The private/public sector arrangement which somehow got derailed, I
think it was unfortunate, because the government does not have the money to do what is
required at WASCO and there was an opportunity to take it and we lost it. WASCO
needs some major capitalisation to carry out the work it needs to do now and down the
road. And if we persist with the idea that we are not going to look for any private/public
sector arrangements, the government had better be prepared to find $250 million to
ensure that WASCO is able to meet the demands of the country down the road. You
cannot just ignore it and expect it to correct itself, and I am saying bearing in mind what
is happening in terms of climate change, this is a very serious reminder that we need to
address this water situation. You cannot be talking high end hotel industry and you do
not have water in your country.

Agriculture, I mean, we … I find that, you know, almost irresponsible that, you know …
and we are still talking about water commission. It is almost like, you know, we trying to
appease the public, that we are doing something; but we are doing nothing. I mean, the
World Bank had gone through quite an exercise with preparing the country for this and
we just abandon it like this. I think it almost comes across as being reckless; and to
blame the management of WASCO, I think it is unfair. WASCO’s management has a
Sisyphean task to keep this thing running. And the challenges are going to get worse,
more demanding. WASCO’s electricity bill is now about $700,000 a month. At the
height of the oil crisis it was $1.2 million, I do not know how long the LUCELEC will be
able to put up with that. We need to address this issue.

Madam President, I want to talk a little about this very endearing phrase “social
cohesion”. Last year May, there was a dispute between government and public servants
that spilled unto our streets at the most difficult of times. Of course, we are in a recession
and it was, you know, it was heart – rendering, and I could not believe that the nation was
worrying itself over a matter that really should have been handled in a more responsible
way. We are almost in danger of destroying the country. And I think we need to put
things in place to avoid situations like that happening in the future. We were a
democratic country. We observe the rule of law, but we must not take these things for
granted. And there is a reason we are able to do that, because there are structures in place
that facilitate that. We have the rule of law and democracy because of the proper balance
we have in the society, among the judiciary, the executive and the legislature, although
though I have an issue with the executive and the legislature, in which I find that the
executive is dominating the legislature and undermining its role in terms of parliamentary
oversight. Because as Cabinet Ministers, when you sit here, collective responsibility
prevents you from taking a position which you know should be different. And you more
or less sit there, ready to say “yes,” when in fact you know you should be saying ”no,”
but feel precluded because of Cabinet responsibility. That is a matter perhaps for


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constitutional reform; but we need to address it. But the point I am making here is the
fact that we are able to observe the rule of modern democracy because we have structures
in place to facilitate that. And I am saying, in the same way when we have these disputes
which are of national significance, especially when it could have a deleterious effect on
the most vulnerable in our society, we must find a very civil way of dealing with that.

I am going to suggest this: that we establish, if possible, enshrined in law, a tripartite
body of employers, trade unions and government to sit down to address issues of national
importance, especially when there are national conflicts.

I think we would go a long way in avoiding what happened last year in May, where we
were tearing each other apart at the worst of times and where no side was prepared to
give in. It almost became a personal battle, and I have to say that at times I was very
disappointed because, as a citizen, I took the initiative to do something about it, and there
were times when I felt that Cabinet Ministers were taking it to be a personal matter - as
well as on the other side. It was not personal because the country’s future was at stake,
and individuals were taking this thing so personally, that they could not give in to this
party or to that party. So I am hopping that some consideration be given to this. It is not
any new concept. I think the Barbados economy has such a system in place, and it speaks
about the level of civility in our country if we can do this sought of things.

I now come to the vexing issue of crime. Madam President, I do not think we understand
how serious this issue really is, and my colleague here should be having sleepless nights,
given the magnitude of the task that he faces, and so should the Minister for Tourism. I
am going to quote a statistic here which will frighten you. You will agree with me if I
said … I think 14 murders we have had to date … that was averaging of about 42 by the
end of the year. We are on an average of 42. I have a statistical digest here from the
Economist, and it has a league table of the number of murders per hundred thousand in
various countries, and on top of the table is Belize with 32.7 per hundred thousand. Saint
Lucia is not in that league, not because the figures are good, but perhaps Saint Lucia was
not invited to, or did not submit data. But I am telling you, if you translate the 42
murders into number of murders per hundred thousands, we would be number two. Now,
how can a country which has Tourism as its major driver find itself in a league table of
the highest level of murders in a country, per hundred thousand? And there is something
even more interesting in compiling the statistics, and would be instructive for the
Minister for Home Affairs, very instructive as to how or what it is you do not do in trying
to solve crimes, and the figures will bear it out. It terms of number of police per hundred
thousand Brunei is top of the league with 1,074.

Saint Lucia, which has a total of 1,031 police officers, and I stand corrected, but I think
you have 826 regular officers, 155 special constables and about 50 rangers … When you
translate that per hundred thousand that would place us as number five; now here is the
inconsistency. In that league table, there is no country in the top 16 – which I can easily
recognise them – which has, if you look at the police per hundred thousand, if they are up
there, they are not in the murder statistics; but Saint Lucia has the highest number of
police, they are in the top five, and the highest level of murders. What does that say to


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you? I do not want to make a correlation between policemen and murders in the country,
but clearly, the number of policemen we have here are not solving the issue of murders in
the country, and it tells us something about the deployment of our police; we are not
making the best use of our policemen, or are they into something else? Perhaps we need
to get civilians to do some of those police work and get the policemen on the streets. I
heard this heart – rendering story that our Minister for Commerce has given. I could not
believe that. Something needs to change in that police force. That is very clear to me. It
is not effective, and the answer to crime is not more police; it is clearly not working; it is
not working, and the data points it out; it is not working; it is not a case of more
policemen, and we should not waste any more money on hiring more policemen. There
must be a better way of dealing with this, and the answer is not having more policemen;
the numbers do bear this as a solution which works. I know politically it sounds almost
appeasing that by hiring more policemen you are attempting to do something with crime.
The truth is, you are not.

And how have we got to that position, and especially among our young? Young people
have lost, to my mind, respect for human life, and adults are to blame. There is a loss of
self worth, and as I said, it is the adult – it is the way we run our society … People too
often are seen as tools for a purpose to advance somebody else’s agenda. The powerful is
forever suppressing the powerless. People are driven to a state of total helplessness; and
no wonder they turn to crime. Our society needs to be a fairer society; everyone must
feel he or she has a fair chance. A right to a job should not be based on any party
affiliation. And I want to challenge all Saint Lucians, especially those with positions of
influence – employers – to treat your workers more humanely and fairer, and to
government, to grant jobs on merit. You see, all these things – the cumulative effect of
not doing these things – creates a very bitter society; some people can handle it, some
cannot; and the truth is most do not handle it properly. And it is no wonder they turn to
crime out of pure desperation and frustration.

On the issue of housing which I think is an associated reason for some of the crime …
We need to find money to place people in better housing in and around Castries. Those
ghettos need to be cleared up. If you do not feel good about yourself, you live in squalor;
it is no wonder you lack respect for other people. People who feel good about themselves
are likely to treat other people better. You cannot have in our city, ghettos around town;
the government must deal with this issue. We need to clear up … place people in proper
housing. Let people have a sense of worth and value, so they will treat others the same
way.

I really implore the government that they do something about this, because it is part of
the problem, crime did not arrive here overnight. I think it is a cumulative effect of the
way you have been living over years, and the results now are bearing themselves out on
our streets. So we need to do something to reverse it, that albeit that a solution will not
be overnight; but we need to start doing things now, and we owe it to our next generation,
because if we do not do it now, it will get ten times worst.




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I was talking to some young kids from Montessori school, whom the Minister met in the
lounge earlier on, and that is one of the issues they raised with me: we would like to see a
crime free Saint Lucia. If our young children can feel the effects of crime, we are in
trouble; it will get to the stage where they grown up accepting it and thinking it is normal.
It is not normal, and I think there must be the political will to deal with this issue, if not
for this generation but for the next generation, because it is not fair that we, who have the
ability to do something about it now, do nothing. And it is very heartening to hear that in
the Throne Speech the Governor General speaks about the implementation of the Labour
Code. I think that is a step in the right direction and I want to applaud them. We need a
fairer society, until then we will have a crime infested society.

I want to turn to the Hewanorra International Airport Redevelopment project, or perhaps
my last issue. I remember sometime in February this year, I came from London - it was
on a Sunday - and I entered the airport and I was horrified, absolutely horrified, after an
eight - hour flight, got into this place, hot, overflowing with people, visitors are outside,
you go to the carousel, your bags, you do not know whether they are on the carousel,
whether they are somewhere in a corner … And to add insult to injury, customs officers
are opening up your bags to find out what …. I mean I was totally embarrassed with this,
and I am saying what a bad impression for a first - time visitor. And if Saint Lucia were
not my home, I am telling you, I am not coming here again. That was a horrible
experience, and I think I shared that with the Minister for Commerce, or Minister for
Tourism that something needs to be done, you cannot be talking high end - on tourism
and having that kind of reception. It is incompatible.

But I see that as a weekend problem, and then we talk about the 400 million plus
redevelopment of Hewanorra International Airport. Well, from where I stand, without all
the information, it appears that it looks a hell of a lot of money to sort out a weekend
problem, because during the week I understand Hewanorra International Airport is like a
ghost town. I stand corrected, but that is the general feeling I get. For sure, it is not like
a Sunday. But I need to say this. As big as this project is, I find it particularly
disappointing, that a project of that magnitude, because clearly - and I heard the Minister
for Foreign Affairs speaking about its impact on the South, and he is right. I share his
views on that … How can a project of that magnitude at such an early stage find itself
mired in controversy about corruption charges? How does that happen?

I mean I find that most unfortunate. I mean how is it that if something of that magnitude
which we need to get all Saint Lucians … because this is a major capital expenditure
work... How do we find ourselves … I mean somebody has messed up! I did not want
to hear Saint Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority (SLASPA) coming, after accusation, to
explain what is happening. That should have been done first. I should have had that
information first, and all of us should have that information, because this is a major
capital expenditure and the public should be made aware. So it is really unfortunate that
something of that size should start on the wrong foot. And I think you have a major job,
Minister for Tourism, to correct this, so that you get all Saint Lucians on the side of
something which is major, because if we get it wrong, it has serious implications for the



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next generation. It is a heavy debt for us to be carrying; so we must get it right, and we
must get everybody on board.

And some of the questions I would like … since you are going to be following my
presentation is … I understand it is going to be paid through passenger tax. We would
like to know whether that passenger tax is competitive, and over what period of time we
expect to pay this, and what is your anticipation in terms of airlift, increase in traffic and
that sort of thing. We need to have a lot more information to give us the comfort that this
is money well spent, or it is going to be well spent and it is going to be something we can
all be proud, of something that is going to help, particular the south, which has been a
non-starter for some time. So I look forward to your presentation so that you apprise the
rest of the nation as to what is really taking place with this massive programme.

And finally, Madam President, as I said earlier, my colleague and I are not here to score
political points – and I think you are right, Senator, when you said we provide a critical
perspective of the Appropriation Bill and most things before us in this parliament. We
have no constituency, really, or people to appease, or any party line to follow. We just
say it as we see it. In fact, it is not our role to score political points, though we appreciate
the need for the opposition to do so. What we desire is to ensure that, at the end of this
Budget debate, we, as a collective, arrive at what is best for our country and all its
citizens, especially those who are least able to take care of themselves – those we refer to
as vulnerable groups. And I trust that the government give consideration to the many
suggestions from the opposition benches, and from us here, the Independent senators.
But sadly, violent crime remains the biggest challenge facing the country and the solution
does not lie in more policemen, or in the use of capital punishment which, some would
want us to believe, is some panacea for curbing crime.

The problem in our country is a lot more deep-rooted than most people realise. What we
need is a more caring and just society. We need to affirm and promote stronger families.
We need to respect all citizens and to ensure everyone has a fair chance to realise his or
her full potential as human beings.

And finally, to show the way forward, we need leaders who are responsible, fair and just
so that life in Saint Lucia can be the envy of the rest of the world. I thank you.

Senator Damian Greaves: Thank you, Madam President. First of all, I would like to
congratulate you on your ascendancy to the presidency. I congratulate you, Madam
President, and I want to thank you for the opportunity to present my own thoughts on this
Budget. I want to say, from the outset, that we have a debate thus far that has shown such
maturity, such decorum, and is so educational, that certain people in the Lower House
will do well to emulate what has obtained today thus far.

In my usual style, Madam President, I often like to piggy back on the points made by
individuals around the table – those who had the good fortune to have gone before me. I
want to start with our Independent Senator, Mr. Everistus Jn. Marie, I thought that those
points were so very well placed. I thought the presentation so clinical in terms of the


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analysis of the Budget, but what is most important about this, just like in the case of the
other independent senator and my two colleagues on this side is that what seems to be
happening – and I will follow in that vein. Hopefully – is that you take the Budget and
you place it within the context of the prevailing environment or climate, not only
domestically from the point of view of Saint Lucia, but from the point of the view of the
region and internationally.

I agree with Senator Jn. Marie that the interest of the people must be paramount. He said
it is a Budget of hope. Senator Jn. Marie and I do not often disagree, but this time we
have to disagree. I do not know that this is a Budget of hope, because, in the same
breath, he spoke to the 71 percent debt and his exact words were, and I quote, “71 percent
debt to GDP ratio is a cause for concern, but not a cause for panic.” I agree. But he also
suggested to us the route that this government, that our friends on the opposite side, seem
to be taking, in terms of the concealing of certain financial transactions and loans on the
books, in terms of the window dressing analogy – and that is a beautiful analogy – the
window dressing analogy. I believe that they may be a cause for panic, if today our
friends on the opposite side here, our friends opposite do not take seriously what Senator
Hippolyte, Senator Plummer and Senator Jn. Marie have so graciously done in terms of
providing them with the requisite advise free of any consultancy fee. And if we talk
about the $450 million which is the intension, or the allegation that this is going to be
done in terms of increasing the debt to GDP ratio in this country reaching nearly 100
percent, then there is cause of panic, Madam President. And in the same breath, he spoke
about the water situation which I agree with, in the context of climate change which we
recently experiencing in Saint Lucia and which, in fact, was not peculiar to Saint Lucia
but to the rest of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and the Caribbean
in general.

And then the brain wave came to me... While it is true that the Hewanorra International
Airport (HIA) may be indeed a very important idea for the development of the South, the
question is, isn’t water more important at this particular juncture? Shouldn’t we,
therefore, Madam President, have the testicular fortitude to take the $250 million that
Senator Jn. Marie spoke about and put it into the water sector to get this water problem
fix once and for all for the benefit of our citizenry? That is the question I pose.

The airport project is important, I understand that. But we have not seen an
Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). We have not seen the feasibility study. We
have not seen a Health Impact Assessment; that is also important. We have not seen a
Social Impact Assessment; that is also important. All of these things are important. Do
not look around Senator, through you Madam President, do not look around, Senator
Chastanet, as if you are in no man’s land. Yes, I know I have been in school too long,
and that is why I am schooling you today. That is why I have the privilege to school you
today. You have to look at this thing very seriously. That water situation is a situation
that will revisit us again. It will revisit us again. We all went through those problems.
You kept telling me, “why you did not do it before? “Why you did not do it before?” We
had it on the books. We gave a way forward when you took over the administration of
this country. We gave you a way so that you could make a decision. You have ignored it


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entirely. And you know that point about the morality of governance, it keeps wearing its
ugly head; it is as if we never learn. You have accused the past administration of the
problem of Rochamel, mistakes were made, perhaps because of our youthful exuberance,
perhaps owing to the whole business of – and this happened since 13 years ago and it
keeps coming up and it came up last week in the Lower House and you have not learnt,
and you have not learnt.

Madam President: Honourable Members, may I direct you to standing Order 41(c)
please. Please continue.

Senator Damian Greaves: And then we raised the idea of the morality of governance
from the point of view of one man wearing several hats. Who is this person wearing all
these hats? Is he the only person who can perform those functions in your administration
– National Authorising Officer, Chairman of SLASPA, Permanent Secretary, PS,
Director all kinds of things? What is going on in this country? Are you saying that there
are no other people who can perform those functions and roles in this country? And it is
important that we look at it because not only are we referring to perhaps the illegality of
it or the immorality of it, we are talking about the comprising of efficiency – that is what
we are talking about. And this point was so very well captured by Senator Hipployte and
Senator Jn. Marie that I think you should really, really take this thing very seriously. And
the other point that you mentioned which I thought was very good was when you looked
at the fuel pass-through system, and you issued a note of caution. I like the note of
caution, but I also want to suggest to you that the fuel pass-through system has been
devastating in terms of the social impact of our people in Saint Lucia, of the poor, it has
been devastating.

Yes, I have heard the cries of the people, the rising costs of goods and services and then
you put forward the beautiful alternative of having a diesel powered vehicle. But I will
be the first to stand and suggest we have to look at the impact of that in terms of our
health and in terms of our environment. If you can produce for me clean diesel like you
talk about clean fuel, or clean gasoline I would feel a lot happier, and I would be
enamoured regarding this particular alternative or suggestion that you have put forward.
But well done, Senator Jn Marie. I think you have touched on some very critical issues,
and I hope our friends in administration will listen to you.

And then we come to the Leader of Government business, so long ago this morning. All
is not lost, he says. Okay, I understand that; but when you tell me, through you, Madam
President, that the situation in Saint Lucia is understandable and tolerable, I take strong
exception to that. It is understandable; it cannot be tolerable. How can it be tolerable?
Because you are not feeling it? Because there are those of us around the table who are
not feeling it? What about those out there who are feeling it? It cannot be tolerable; no
situation like this could be tolerable for the masses of our country, or for those people
who are in poverty. How can you say that what is happening in Saint Lucia is
understandable, but tolerable? As my former principal at the “A” Level College, I hope
you do not punish me for my recalcitrant. You once told me, “Damien you are becoming
increasingly recalcitrant.” I hope, Sir, that you pardon me for my recalcitrant.


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And, Madam President, he speaks about the benevolence of the government – and he
jumps – I have never seen that gleam of excitement in my good friend – the Leader of
Government Business’ – his eyes gleamed. It reminds me of Lorenzo and Jessica in the
beautiful garden in the Merchant of Venice: Thy eyes reveal speechless messages. He
spoke about allowances to the poor and salary increases. Oh! He jumped at that. But
where is the benevolence apart from that? All of those taxes… You said there are not
many taxes. What we are looking at is the impact of the taxes, and Senator Emma
Hippolyte and Senator Jn Marie really dealt with that beautifully, in terms of the impact
of the taxes.

Now of course, if you do not believe them, you can also look at the report of Price Water
House Coopers. I find that this document, which is a tax letter to the client – what you
call the client newsletter – spoken of at Saint Lucia Budget 2010/2011, April 23rd, 2010
,where it explains the impact of the property tax in terms of shifting from the rental, to
the market value, and how that could have some really, really debilitating effects in terms
of the poor, and those who are seeking to acquire their own housing.

But I want to commend you. I want to commend, you Honourable Attorney General and
Leader of Government Business, for the strides that you have made in the judicial system.
All those PI’s you spoke about this morning, and the fact that 26,020 civil status matters
were dealt with. I want to commend you on that. I want to commend you for the
computerisation of the civil status records. I also want to commend you for the fact that
we are really rolling this thing out now. It seems that we have reached a point of
comfort, but of course I agree with you, and I want to echo with you, the disappointment
of the 7,161 birth certificates that lay unclaimed in the Registry of Births and Deaths.

And then I come to my friend Senator Gaspard Charlemagne, the Minister for Education
and Culture. I did not know that the Senator was an accomplished musician, and I think
it is so good to hear you say here, in terms of culture, that the accomplishment of the
CDF leaves much to be desired. It means, therefore, if that is the feeling, the question is,
has the CDF been emasculated in terms of its functions, its roles and its responsibilities?
The question is, is the CDF, the Cultural Development Foundation being allowed to
pursue what it is supposed to do? Is it being allowed to pursue its mandate? He spoke
about the critical dearth of imagination or of imaginative thinking. I believe what we
need to look at, Madam President, is that: is culture being main streamed into the
development agenda of the country? He spoke about culture and health. He spoke about
culture and development, culture and youth, culture and education, culture and commerce
– all of those things.

It means, therefore, we must begin to think of main streaming culture in the development
agenda of this country. And I want to prove that this is where we should go by looking at
a paper written by David Austin in his interview of a well renowned development
economist called Karry Levid Puliany who spent quite a bit of time in the University of
the West Indies, but really has a chair at the McGill University. And on pages 18 to 19,



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Madam President, this is what she says – and this is what perhaps we should be looking
at.

The question was posed by David Austin, the journalist. And I quote, “how do you feel
about the prospects for change in the Caribbean? Do you feel that there is a genuine
hope that the dire situation in the Caribbean can be turned around?” And here is her
response: “…All I might wish to add is that the base, the rock bottom of all development
of a society lies in its cultural sphere. That culture in the wider sense, as a way of living
together… You see the problem, Madam President, is that so many of us believe that
culture is simply the artifacts: your dance, your music; but culture is also a
conscientisation of individuals in the society: the building of consciousness, taking our
society to a higher level in terms of the way we think, the way we behave, the way we
interact, and our approach to certain situations in the society. That is what we mean
essentially by culture being mainstreamed into the development agenda of our society.

And she continues, “…there is such a thing in a Caribbean way in which people relate to
each other that has very positive aspects. And it is that culture in the Caribbean, in
various manifestations, that is to my thinking the grounding, the base on which a positive
kind of development does rest.” And here is the very instructive paragraph, Madam
President. “As an economist, I should believe that the base on which everything rests is
the economic and technological, the resource base. I used to think that that is what it
was all about, in terms of development. That is why I say that the base is really not in the
economic; the base is in the social and the cultural.” You heard Senator Jn Marie spoke
about justice – the social and the cultural. We are talking about justice in the society,
treating people fairly. We are talking about equity and equality.

“Everything which develops the cultural self-confidence of a people is positive. From
that, people will grow and societies will flourish and live together. It may not sound very
practical. I believe development has to do with how people relate to each other, whether
co-operatively or with synergy or competitively with conflict. The one will produce
development, the other will produce chayos.” Need I say more? End of citation, Madam
President; need I say more about the importance of development?

A renowned economist, by any stretch of the imagination has come to the conclusion,
that our development must not be seen solely in terms of your resource base, in terms of
the economic pursuits and so on, but the culture, the social scenario. And this was
written in 2007, just three years ago. So the hens have come home to roost. People are
beginning to understand, and that is why I though my dear Senator would have spoken
about the importance of the cultural industries.

I would suggest, Madam President, that the time has come for CDF to perhaps go through
a period of introspection, and begin to re-examine itself and its mandate in view of the
changes that have taken place, and in view of where it wants to see itself going in the
future. And there is nothing wrong with that. And by the way, I want to sound my
disappointment. I want to first of all applaud this current administration for its cultural
endowment, or cultural industry’s endowment. My disappointment lies in the fact that


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yet another board or committee is being touted as the best way to manage the funds or to
manage this endowment. I think it is about $5 million or $5 thousand or whatever. I
cannot remember the figure; I will get back to that later. The point is I do not know why
we need to do that when there is a Cultural Development Foundation, which ought to be
able to manage these funds, and which ought to be able to use the funds to good measure
in terms of looking at the cultural pursuits of our country.

With that, Madam President, I wanted to touch on Senator Plummer. Senator Plummer
really opened the eyes of the individuals in this Chamber this morning, talking about the
reformation or the reforming of the budgetary process. I hope that the Constitutional
Reform Commission has taken note of that sterling contribution by Senator Plummer this
morning. And I like the phrase that she used. And I quote, “We must get rid of those
mechanisms that silence democracy.” I want to really thank… and I think she should be
commended on that very, very insightful contribution this morning, in terms of the
reform of the budgetary process, which brings me, Madam President, to what was
presented by the Member for Castries Central of this Honourable House sometime last
week. What a charade!

The Honourable Member sought to inform this Honourable House and the general public
about the Recurrent Expenditure and what he touted as the deficit – the Recurrent
Expenditure deficit in this country – and he looked at a number of years. But you know,
one of these days – you know, you can fool the people sometimes but you cannot fool all
the people all the time. Yes, he spoke about the Recurrent Expenditure. He came with
his Powerpoint presentation. I want to look at the recurrent expenditure, just one
example because all of them… but I do not have the time to look at every single one. But
I want to look at the Estimates of 2005/2006.

Indeed, Madam President, it shows Recurrent Revenue of $546,192,067. It shows the
Recurrent Expenditure of approximately $557 million, and indeed it shows a deficit of
about $11 million. So it says minus ten point something million dollars. What the
Honourable Member did not do, was to inform this Honourable House that in fact, right
here on this page, whatever deficit was there, it had already been project that the surplus
from the excess revenue/bonds would have filled that deficit. And the surplus was
approximately $72,288,074.

What that shows us, Madam President, again, the need for reform, because it begs the
question. None of those Budgets which the Honourable Member sought to demonstrate
in this House last week were under financed. They were either financed from prior year
revenues or from borrowing. The key is when the final accounts are produced. That is
the crux of the matter – when the final accounts are produced. And if you look at all of
the Budgets, they were fully financed. So it begs the question as to how the Budget is
implemented year after year as our senator, Senator Plummer, pointed out. The approved
Budget plan for the year … In other words, what we are talking about is at the final
outturn from the final account is what we should be really concentrating on. But what
has happened? It is a malaise that all of us in the Caribbean suffer from – the lack of
meetings by the Public Accounts Committee, because our public accounts committees are


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not functional. And as I said, it is a malaise in the entire region. But you know what,
Madam President? We must always try to be honest and do not be disingenuous in
presenting information, because it may come back to haunt us, or it could come back to
haunt us one day. So I want to sound that note of caution. We must come with the facts,
but come with all of the facts, not some of them to pretend that something is so wrong or
something is so dishonest about how things were done by the former Administration.

My concern with this Budget, Madam President, is that no attention is being paid or little
attention has been paid to this Budget by people from outside. I attempted to go around
and ask questions. I passed through Dennery and asked questions; walk around Castries,
I asked questions and there is a seeming detachment. Nobody listens to the Budget. I
asked people, “What you thought about the Budget?” “Oh the Budget? I did not have
time to listen to that”, “Oh that man, I did not listen to that”. You know this is
frightening, although I must use the word frightening advisedly. No attention is being
paid out there to the Budget. This is an important occasion in the life of a country, in
terms of policy statements and decisions as to what the country will be doing over the
next financial year, and nobody seems to be interested. So there is seeming detachment
of this Administration with respect to the realities on the ground which ultimately
translates to some apparent insensitivity. To my mind, Madam President, this Budget is a
perfect reflection of how this Administration has been muddling along with no particular
direction. The policies are so incoherent. I have struggled over the past few Budgets
presented by this Administration from 2007 to 2008 to 2009, quite a bit of repetition,
some people prefer to say ‘cut and paste’, to use the new technological parlance, but I do
not think in all honesty, Madam President, that this Administration has come to grips
with the fact, that by some strange magic, there will be recovery just because the People’s
Republic of China (Taiwan) pose millions of dollars in the outstretched hands of
politicians. So some people have been touting that the budget has been vague and blunt -
thank you very much Senator Tessa Mangal, I really appreciate that – and people talk
about the road to recovery – my colleague coined a new phrase there that it is the slippery
footpath to recovery, you going up but you sliding down.

What is it in this Budget that signals recovery, Madam President? Who is going to
experience this recovery? I say that there are many more questions than answers. So we
have had 62 pages and 200 minutes of pure emptiness, hopelessness and disappointment,
just a hodgepodge of things put together. To put it bluntly, Madam President, the budget
is quite ordinary if anything, it does not feature recovery, but rather a further comatose
state and ultimately the untimely death of our country powered by incoherent policies.
So it lacks imagination. (Creole starts) The budget is just like a turnover, Madam
President. It is just like a turnover. You know what is happening? Open it, it is coconut
inside of it. Where is the hotel? Coconuts! Where is the tunnel? Coconuts! Where is –?
Coconuts! Where is the refinery? Coconuts! So what is happening now is the whole
budget is coconuts. My government self is coconuts. (Creole ends) So in reality there is
nothing in this Budget. What you have is a phantom Budget with no clear rational for the
policies proposed, no clear justification for the revenue measures proposed, no coherent
policies and, at most, what you have is abnormal practices by this Administration.



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So what lessons have we learnt from the current crisis? If we were denying it before,
Madam President, the crisis has brought home the reality that there are structural defects
in Saint Lucia’s economy and Saint Lucia is not alone in that. I will never say Saint
Lucia is alone in it. So what you have is a toxic mix of high debt and fiscal imbalances,
with debt to GDP ratio at an all-time high of over $1.8 billion increasing the debt to GDP
ratio from 66 percent to 71 percent. So I pose the question: this debt to GDP financing -
are we going past the prescribed prudential standards? As leaders our country, as leaders
of this country the current Administration is appearing to be extremely irresponsible in
their bid to buy a little prosperity now at the expense of future generations who will have
to deal with the consequences of such action. I want to caution against, caution against
buying a little bit of prosperity now at the expense of future generations. What have we
learnt? Persistent unemployment and poverty is strangling the country and preventing
sustained growth.

You know, Madam President, I think that a recession is a terrible thing to waste; a
recession is a terrible thing to waste. We had opportunities in this country to try and get
it right for once. We have to start thinking out of the box, Madam President. We have to
use what you call the BDT formula; we have to be Bold, Decisive and Timely; Bold,
Decisive and Timely. At the time of the recession, as Senator Hippolyte has suggested,
there are things that we could have done. There were issues that we could have taken up.
This is a time where we are saying we can focus on opportunities rather than problems.
We have to deal with the problems. So like the outstanding business philosopher and
management guru, Peter Drucker, articulated, and I quote, “Good executives focus on
opportunities rather than problems. Problems have to be taken care of, of course; they
must not be swept under the rug. But problem solving, however necessary, does not
produce results. It prevents damage. Exploiting opportunities produces results.” end of
citation. Small wonder that Saint Lucian businessmen, in a recent report, appeared to be
the most negative, compared to their OECS colleagues on how quickly the economy
would grow.

A country on the path of lack of sustainability ... I want to present to you some general
observations emanating from the Budget but also within the context of the country. We
have a country that is on the path of a lack of sustainability, but my biggest concern is
that we have a country facing a development impasse. The development task remains, I
know and I would agree, Madam President, an extraordinarily difficult one, and the range
of development options is narrow; we all know that – it is narrow in the extreme. That is
a fact. But, we cannot blame the current Administration or my colleagues opposite in this
particular environment, although we have to concede that it is difficult to detect any
strong sense of a national debate about our island’s predicament at this juncture. So in
the Lower House when people began to present things that happened 13 years ago –
Recurrent Expenditure deficit 13 years ago – Rochamel 13 years ago, but did not address
the issues, the pertinent issues, regarding how people are going to survive this debacle,
how people are going to survive in the future, then one has to be concerned. If the
government does not set the tone of debate in this country, Madam President, little else
can be expected from others in this society; that is my argument.



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Madam President: Senator, at this juncture I wish to inform you that you have 10
minutes remaining within which to complete your presentation.

Senator Emma Hippolyte: Madam President, I beg for the suspension of Standing
Order 35 (1) to allow the Senator an additional 30 minutes to conclude his presentation.

Question Proposed, Put and Agreed to
Leave Granted

Senator Damian Greaves: Thank you, Madam President. I see you are in a hurry for
me to go. I am just joking, just joking. Thank you so much for graciously offering me
more time, Madam President, and my colleagues. What a beautiful spirit we have
compared to the Lower House. So we have to suggest that if the government does not set
the tone of the debate we are in trouble. My observation, Madam President, is that civil
society has become extremely weak. You hear little beyond ritual statements from the
Chamber of Commerce, the Hoteliers’ Association and other pertinent groups. Why?
Why are we at such an all-time low; ritual statements from the Chamber of Commerce,
the Hoteliers Association and other pertinent groups. Where are the development-
oriented, non-government organisations (NGO) Madam President? And the media, the
fourth estate, to my mind, are mostly consumed with inter-party machinations and are
quick to raise issues about the political ambitions of anyone who seeks to raise issues of
developmental significant in the press and elsewhere. I dare say, Madam President, that
this tendency to discuss issues in excessively personal terms is one of the problematic
features of our political culture in Saint Lucia, aided and abetted by parachute journalism.

Indeed, Madam President, the key facilitator of development has to be those formally
charged with the national system of governance and with charting development policy.
That is what is critical, that is what is critical in the face of a vacuum caused by the
apparent witnesses of the state of the private sector and local civil society.
Unfortunately, Madam President, this Administration has shown neither the vision nor
the fortitude to do this. I want my friends opposite, my colleagues opposite to take this in
the fineness spirit of our democracy. I am not criticising you destructively. I am offering
you constructive criticism.

So what are the key sources of my concern, relative to the 2010/2011 Budget? One of the
key causes of concern as echoed by others and which I will also echo is the increase in
taxes as revenue generating measures. Talk about the cell tax, 50 percent, 60 percent; the
property tax with a change to the market system. That has been exhausted. I will not go
through … I just want to echo the sentiments of the harsh reality of the devastating
impact that this will have on the poor people of this country.

The Price Waterhouse Coopers’ report suggests, and I quote on page 6, “there is a need
for improvement in property taxes, but the suggested rates on the open market valuation,
are too high. Government will have difficulty collecting those taxes, and the system will
be overwhelmed by objections in the assessments which would be based on valuations by



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public sector-valuers.” (Creole starts) I was not the one who said it. The experts said it.
(Creole ends).

So Budget targets are seemingly unrealistic as well - that is another concern - and highly
improbable. My colleagues have already looked at that. So we continue to live through
“this advanced stage syndrome.” And the question I ask, Leader of Government
Business, through you, Madam President is, when are we going to experience
completion? (Creole starts) That advanced stage is not finishing at all. (Creole ends).
Everything is up in the air, including the HIA and the Asphalt and Mining (A & M) issue,
according to the allegations out there. Everything is up in the air, (Creole starts) nothing
is anchoring. (Creole ends) The boat is out there and it is not anchoring at all; everything
is in the air; we have to look at that.

Madam President: Senator, as well as other Members, I will direct you to Standing
Order 7(1). The proceedings and debate of the Senate shall be in English Language. I do
note that we live in a society where Patois is widely spoken. I would appreciate it if
members, after speaking in English, perhaps can elucidate or repeat that which is spoken
in Creole, but not to take the Creole in its form as your main debate. Thank you.

Senator Damian Greaves: Thank you very much, Madam President. I was merely
embellishing because we passed a law in this Honourable House sometime ago where it
was suggested that we could use the Creole to embellish, and what I sought to do, with
your permission, was to just embellish and kind of explain, so that I could reach people
out there who may, in fact, be experiencing some difficulty understanding what I am
saying; but, you are the boss.

You have the green shoots of recovery spoken about in the Budget - green shoot of
recovery to be found every where. If you look at the Budget address on page 5, “Saint
Lucia’s economic performance and out look.” If you look at the budget address pages 8
– 12, you wonder where the green shoots are coming from. And you know what. You
know there are hints of a schizophrenie personality in this Budget, because you are
saying a lot of things and other things are happening. You are smiling because that is
how you wanted to describe certain individuals in this Honourable House some time ago.
But this Budget is a patent example of a schizophrenie personality. You have declines in
stay - over arrivals in the Tourism industry. We will come to that. Declines in the
banana industry of 6.7 percent; contraction in the Construction sector of 20 percent;
unemployment rate of over 20 percent and climbing. But of course, you had some
modest growth which was recorded in manufacturing, small crops and cruise Tourism.
That is to be applauded.

My point, however, is that in all of this decline – we talk about decline by 5.2 percent in
terms of Gross Domestic Profit (GDP) – in all of this where everything is up in the air
and we are not quite sure what is going on, and we have the incoherence policies, you are
expecting a growth rate of 2.9 percent. I want the Leader of Government Business and
the Minister for Tourism, my good friend Senator Allen Chastanet, to explain that kind of
mathematics to me. I had asked him to explain in 2008/2009 when the Honourable


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Senator d’Auvergne was here with the quadrants. I said that they had reinvented the
Pythagoras theorem, in terms of the five quadrants, not the four quadrants. And then you
have the International Monetary Fund (IMF) talking about 1.1 percent. You came at 2.9
percent, the IMF is saying 1.1 percent. But what again I want to register as a concern as
the Honourable Senator Jn. Marie suggested … The budget is uncomfortably silent on
VAT, and the emphasis is uncomfortably. It is uncomfortably silent on VAT, on the
Value Added Tax, although it had been touted to be a priority in this year’s Budget.

The question is, whither VAT? Are we getting some signal here of things to come,
Madam President? Or, as posed by the Tax News Letter of 2010 by Price Water House
Coopers, has it become a victim of political timing? My good friend, the Honourable
Senator Chastanet, will answer that. So, indeed, many of the economic indicators at the
end of 2009 hinted at the deteriorating economic performance and position. So what we
are seeing is that there has been no conscious effort – and that is a concern – no conscious
effort to present the facts on the non-implementation of promised projects as far back as
2007; we have spoken about that. You know, it is like a death announcement, Madam
President. You know, when you talk about all of those relatives, Senator Silas lost his
uncle, aunt, wife, and you know, too numerous to mention. So these days we have a
Budget being presented like a death announcement, that, that, that, that and the other
things in terms of the non – implementation, too numerous to mention.

Yet, I agree that there is an urgency to do something to make a change and get our
society out of that sense of burden which seems to be a normal condition. You know,
this normal condition thing, really, we have to look at it, you know. I believe that as
Saint Lucians we are beginning to accept mediocrity as normal. We are beginning to
accept the crime rate as normal. We are beginning to accept indiscipline as normal. Do
you know, Madam President, that in Grenada where I now live, for the time being, if a
young man is caught walking the streets of St. Georges, the capital of Grenada with his
pants below his posterior, he is arrested. If the bus conductor or the driver on that
minibus is not appropriately clad, by that I mean appropriately dressed, he is asked to
disembark from the vehicle, go and put on appropriate attire and come back to drive that
minibus. It is the little acts of indiscipline that we have overlooked that has brought us to
this situation.

So there is an urgency that we need to deal with this. Instead, the privatisation of
government features prominently. Is it true, Madam President, I am posing this question
to you. Is it true that there are Ministers whose private farms are being used as model
Taiwanese farms? Is it true? Is it true that so far it is only one Member of Parliament
who has given her account of how the largesse of the Taiwanese has been spent? Is that
true? Why is there crass reluctance to present an account in the same way the
Honourable Member of Parliament for Micoud North has presented time and time again,
Budget after Budget in this Honourable House? What is the problem? Why can’t you
follow that lead of transparency and accountability? No account given with the regard to
the Taiwanese largesse, among others. Allegations as I said that certain Ministers farms
are being used as Taiwanese model farms … Then you have allegations of certain civil
servants receiving contracts, and the record number of direct purchase contracts,


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signalling, Madam President, signalling the blatant and flagrant abuse of this country’s
financial rules and regulations. Where are we going? Why aren’t we dealing with this
rot? Why aren’t we dealing with this spoilage? So it comes down to the fact, Madam
President, that we have a moral issue to deal with. If we talk about crime, and we talk
about the projection of 42 as calculated by my mathematical genius, the Honourable
Senator Jn. Marie, that not even the Leader of Government Business could understand.
He had to take his calculator to look at certain things.

It stands to reason that there is a moral issue of governments that must be given serious
attention in this country; the breakdown of the society begins here. It begins at the top. If
the top is not leading the way, in terms of the tone of the conservation; in terms of the
tone of the development; in terms of tone of decorum; in terms of the tone of
transparency and accountability, what do you leave for others out there who are watching
you - what do you leave for them? That is the question, but you have an excellent theme.
Madam President. It is a noble theme: “The Road to Recovery, Engineering Growth,
Engendering Social Cohesion and Building Resilience to External Shock” Beautiful! Oh,
there is so much nobility here: engendering social cohesion! Isn’t there a terrible
contradiction, Madam President, in terms of what we have seen thus far? Isn’t there a
schizophrenic personality here, in terms of matching words with action? I said over the
years this administration’s Budgets, year after year, have taken on an unfortunate, as I
have said to, schizophrenic personality. The process of social cohesion, it suggests, will
be led by the Constituency Development Programme, on page 47 of the Prime Minister’s
Budget Address. This is to be applauded. It certainly has to be applauded. I think the
Members opposite should begin to put their hands on the table like this - my friends
opposite – they are not even applauding a good thing. You see what I am telling.
Detachment. Detachment! (Creole starts) They do not even know what is happening,
poor thing. (Creole ends) But, Madam President, you told me not to use Creole, I am
sorry. I am saying this is to be applauded even in the face of the cloud of suspicion
within which it is shrouded, because there are suspicions it is yet one other means of
ensuring that you pass on the largesse to your own constituents.

So I am happy that we are going to have a committee. It is suggested that there will be a
committee or commission that will be put in place to look at this situation – bipartisan -
and I heard people calling for about $300,000 each. That sounds good. Justice, equality,
that is what Senator Jn. Marie has been asking for. Let the justice and the equality begin
from tonight with that constituency development programme.

In the face of the “doctrine of the engine of growth” Madam President, or private sector
led development, the missing equation in our development thrust seems to be an account
of the social cost. Nobody is accounting for the social cost, not just in relation to
economics, but in terms of the general social decay and the high levels of violence we are
seeing in the society. And the violence is not just physical you know, it is the kind of
verbal abuse that people spew out to each other. There is an anger in this society, Madam
President. There is an anger that needs to be exorcised in this country. There is a
bitterness. There is a feeling of hopelessness. We have to do something about that. We
have to find a way to deal with that anger and that bitterness. That spirit - that spectre -


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has to be exorcised once and for all - has to be - and there is a lack of incentive for young
men to engage in productive activity. We know that young men prefer to hustle. Some
of them prefer to hustle than to work. There are signs of social breakdown of the
community and neighbourhoods, and this is manifesting itself in several different ways.
Those who have the means look to their personal security, because our society no longer
offers the mutual security that existed in former times, when people were able to care for
each other.

Unfortunately, everything is being individualised, and the struggle is to find individual
solutions, because social solutions appear to be disintegrating. So everybody is looking
for an individual solution. Why? Because social solutions are disintegrating. So let us
build a wall and shut everybody out when we build our home; let us build a gate; let us
have a security system and shut everybody out; let us be a virtual prisoner in our own
homes so we can shut everybody out; let us not talk to the neighbour because I do not
want the neighbour to see what I am doing, or I do not care about this neighbour. That is
what it has come to in Saint Lucia. We must find the soul of the nation, because we have
destroyed the soul of the nation. But it is to be applauded that the Prime Minister is
looking at social cohesion. I have come to the realisation, Madam President that the
solution is not more capital, not more money, either from the domestic or external point
of view; it is not just access to foreign exchange or even access to technology. It lies in
the social, as Senator Jn. Marie suggested. I think he is a natural sociologist. The root of
our development does not lie, Madam President, in economic factor, it lies in a society
that is coherent, functional, synergistic, a society that does not suffer from
dysfunctionality where everybody is somehow disconnected from everyone else. Let us
get back there; let us get back there. And the source of that energy lies, as I have said
before, in the cultural and social sphere.

The Budget speaks to strategic priorities, and there are 11 strategic priorities outlined –
commendable. But I want you to include a twelfth strategic priority, Mr. Leader of
Government Business. I want you to include the moral issue of governance, transparency
and accountability. I want you to include the control environment as outlined by Senator
Hippolyte which in fact impacts the development of a country. No proper control
environment? Then there cannot be a properly guided and directed development of the
society. You need it, you need it.

And I come to Tourism. Madam President we appreciate the passion – through you,
Madam President – Senator Chastanet, Senator Chastanet,…

Madam President: Senator, may I direct you to Standing Order 37(6). Ministers shall
be referred to by their title of their appointment and other senators by name. Please be
mindful of that.

Senator Damian Greaves: Thank you Madam President. Madam President, thank you.
You know you are so gracious, I think you are performing with distinction, but pardon
my confusion, because I could not remember whether Minister Chastanet was Minister
for Tourism or Minister of Hotels, but please pardon my confusion. But we appreciate


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his passion; we appreciate his passion because it is a reflection... We appreciate his
passion in relation to the Tourism sector, because the Minister for Tourism and Civil
Aviation, we want to know whether this passion has translated to real economic
development. We want to know that apart from the fact the Tourism has many
deficiencies as a development strategy with the level of serious competition both inside
and outside of the Caribbean as well as the gains that slip away, owing to the dominance
of foreign ownership of key plants... We want to know whether the whole concept
continues to be based on the perceptions of stability and the receipt of “appropriate
welcome.”

We are yet to see the stability, Mr. Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation, and we
know that the appropriate welcome has not played out to our satisfaction. So I posed
these questions and I am not criticising you. Do not take it personally. Through you,
Madam President, I do not want the Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation to take these
questions personally.

You know one of these things... We must take the debate to a higher order and stop
thinking that when people are asking questions they are launching personal attacks on
other people. We must get rid of that. Let us go to a higher level. (Creole starts) Let us
jump (Creole ends) Let us go to a higher level, okay.

Visitor arrivals... I want to ask in this Honourable House, did the increase that you got in
terms of marketing translate to higher revenue in view of the discounted packages? In
terms of the issues of efficiency of marketing, was this market targeted to achieve that
efficiency? I am worried! Another concern... Where are the linkages with the local
Agricultural sector? What is this administration doing to foster those linkages? Why
would you refuse a farmer selling eggs and say to this farmer: we do not want your eggs
until you can find the money to buy a refrigerated truck or vehicle. Yes it happened. I
want him to investigate it, because... I am not putting the pressure on him, because when
you sit down sometimes in the office and things are happening on the ground, there is a
certain kind of detachment; sometimes it is due to no fault of the Minister. That is
natural. No disclosure …

You see that is the kind of camaraderie we can have, we can laugh at each other. That is
the spirit.
No disclosure on how much money was given to the airlines, Minister for Tourism.
What is the difficulty in presenting this information? (Creole starts) What are you afraid
of? (Creole ends) If you cannot understand it in English I will ask it to you in Creole.
(Creole starts) How difficult it is for you to present the information in here on how many
million of dollars you pay the airlines. (Creole ends) Should we continue to pay those
airlines in perpetuity? I had done it already. We applaud you on the strides that you
have made vis-a-vis airlift. You are to be applauded on that. Beautiful. And I
understood you were speaking to the Ministry of Tourism of Grenada and some other
countries to try to assist. But the question is, what have we gained from that airlift? I
pose a question again: what have you done with the study of small traders and
speculators? Have you found out how they can be facilitated through customs relief, tax


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incentives, allowances and other mechanism as promised in the 2009 budget? I have not
heard about that yet. Shouldn’t this be reported to the country? My concern is that I am
yet to see any strategy particularly in consonance with the development agenda of this
country. And I want you to unravel that. There is a mystery; there is a mystic; it is
mystic. But I have four main anxieties. If you do not address these... These are my four
main anxieties... Do not look in the air. (Creole starts) You wanted it. You are there
now. (Creole ends) You wanted it. You are there now; face the music. (Creole starts) If
you cannot stand the heat leave the kitchen. (Creole ends) If you cannot stand the heat
leave the kitchen, or if you cannot stand the music leave the studio.

So in view of the huge increase in the marketing budget over the last few years,
effectively moving from 26 million in 2005 to 55 million in 2009, have we efficiently
increased our market size? Anxiety number two: have we maximised the benefits to
ordinary Saint Lucians and to small businesses? What really is the return on the
investment made? Anxiety number three: in view of the millions being given to various
airlines, what monitoring mechanism have you put in place to inform policy decisions
and to help justify the investment? You have to make sure you monitor what is
happening so that you can pull back and renegotiate. And the fourth anxiety: what
returns have you received from the Hepple appointment?

I move to Agriculture... It is being touted out there – this is the view out there –that there
is a mirage that Agriculture is doing well, but that is not the case. And fully justified in
the Budget, we saw all the declines. In the social and economic studies we saw the
decline. Why has this sector performed so badly? The Minister for Tourism and Civil
Aviation, at the last House meeting, spoke about the Minister of Agriculture in glowing
terms. I believe that the Minister for Agriculture is trying his best, by the way.
Production surpassed imports. Did production surpass imports? Which imports? So let
us look at the crops … Shouldn’t we look at the crops that have economic value? Is there
a translation to economic benefits, in terms of those economic crops? Again, what are
the linkages to Tourism? We need to look at that seriously. And then I come to look at
the banana industry. You know, when are we going to really be fair to the farmers of this
country and tell them that a spade is a spade? When are we going to do that?

The Prime Minister of St. Kitts had the fortitude to tell the people in his country that the
sugar industry had tremendous challenges. He paid off the workers in the industry and he
still did not lose the election. In fact, he won handsomely. What is wrong with us?
Sometimes individuals must take certain risks. You know what is wrong with us?
Because we are thinking about next political office, we are risk averse. We are risk
averse, but you know the paramountcy of the country must be seen, and you know in my
second life in the politics I will make sure that this is part of the agenda. We must look at
the country; we have to take care of the party, but we must also look at the country. The
country is paramount. Intense anxieties... I want to let you know, colleagues opposite
and Madam President, I feel intense anxieties once again evident in the banana industry,
reminiscent of 1993 – reminiscent of what happened in the 1980s and in the 1990s.
There is a certain level of restlessness that has me uncomfortable. I believe, on hindsight,
there is a failure to change the approach whereby groups of farmers are linked by past


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affiliation rather than future business strategy. So we privatised the industry, people
formed various banana companies... None of the companies to date can be said to have
turned into enterprises shaped by their sense of different market opportunities within the
industry. That is part of the problem. That is the crux of the problem. So we have to
look at that. And we have to look at our food security and food sovereignty.

You know, Madam President, I despair I want to know if the Ministry of Agriculture, in
view of climate change, the draught, the intensity of flooding, the intensity in terms of
our weather patterns, or hurricanes, the threats of earthquakes – are we making any plans
in that regard? Are we thinking of agro-processing in terms of turning the products into
something that can be stored and preserved in the eventuality of a major disaster?. Are
we beginning to plan that way or are we merrily walking away? I think we need to look
at that. That is critical – the warning signs are there. And then I quickly turn to
Education.

And I really want to talk about the levels of male performance; I noticed nobody has
touched on Education, thus far. But I want to show you the link between what is
happening in Education, Madam President, and what is happening up stream in our
Education system – the link that can be created between that and what happens
downstream, in terms of the level of crimes that are talking about. So let us go. Let us
look at the levels of male performance – by the way – which was raised by the
Honourable Prime Minister in his Budget address. But I want to look at the Economic
and Social Review of 2009 pages 44 to 49. First of all, in every section or sector of the
Education system, here is what is happening... the dropout rate. So when you look at
public primary education, 70 percent of all primary school dropouts... In keeping with
the previous year, the majority of the dropout... 71.4 percent of the dropouts were male –
71.4 percent. But let us go. Apart from the dropout rate, the repetition rate for primary
schools... Although it fell marginally, males accounted for 65 percent of all repeaters.
That is a telling sign. So look at the male marginalisation, link it to the male
underperformance and the male underachievement. Let us go to the secondary... page 46.
Similar to the primary level, male dropouts accounted for the majority of dropouts – 57
percent. Let us look at tertiary – the post secondary education... page 48. The total
enrolment at the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College... Female students accounted for
71 percent of the total enrolment at the Post Secondary Department, mirroring last year’s
result – 71 percent of the people, in terms of the Vieux Fort Comprehensive School
comprised females.

And let us look again at Skills Training... page 48. The total number of learners enrolled
with the National Enrichment and Learning Programme (NELP) fell by 13 percent, but
female learners accounted for 74 percent of the learners. Female trainees accounted for
65 percent of the total enrolment of the National Skills Development Centre. A total of
234 students, 72.6 percent of which were females, graduated from the NSDC in the
review period. This is a telling story folks; the drop out rate, those who go on to higher
education … folks, this is a telling story. And if you look at that - if you juxtapose that,
to the fact that the main perpetrators and victims of crime in this country fall between the
59 to 29 age group, then there are certainly, certain things that need to be looked at now –


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not tomorrow. In fact, certain things that needed to be looked at yesterday. But the
question is, how do you maximize manhood? How do you maximize the manhood of
those people? Madam President, I put it to the Members of this Honourable Chamber
that this administration, my friends opposite must get cracking on this issue of the male
drop out rate. Something has to be done on this.

 It is small wonder that you have that kind of result downstream, because if you do not
take care of the upstream, then the result will be manifested downstream. So we need to
get cracking on this. This is a serious matter – through you Madam President – Senator
Mayers, the Minister for National Security. So take that seriously because it is here. And
the question is why are they dropping out? Have we done the requisite studies to find out
why they are dropping out? Are they dropping out because of teachers? I shudder to
think that that may be the reason. Are they dropping out because they just do not like
school? Are they dropping out because parents cannot afford to send them to school?
Are they dropping out because they simply do not like school, or they just do not want to
be educated? Something smells about this particular situation, and we have to use some
kind of perfume or cologne to get rid of the fowl stench.

And then we look at early childhood education – one to four years. In the Social &
Economic study on page 44, we are talking of the trend of the closure of private pre-
school centers. That is a telling situation. We cannot have that happening now. At that
tender period, that is when we need to capture that net. That is when we need to capture
that sector and try to deal with some of these problems. This needs to be investigated. If
it is the private sector, is there anything that the administration can do to stem the flow of
the closure of those early childhood education center? All of that leads to the same thing
we are talking about downstream.

Technical and vocational education… We talk about seven hundred and something
students coming out in any one year. The question is, Madam President, where are the
students being absorbed? That is where we need to do the man power study – all of the
studies that we want to do – where are they being absorbed? And do you know, Madam
President, that there is a huge phenomenon of date violence in schools? Oh yes! date
violence in schools! If you do not believe me talk to the St Lucia Planned Parenthood
Association. Talk to them. Talk to them and find out about the sexual abuse of young
people in schools, among each other. Talk to them. We cannot turn a blind eye to that
situation in this lovely land of our birth. It cannot be business as usual. We have to stem
the flow of this. So Minister of National Security, thine hands are filled, but thine hands
are not alone. I am there to help.

Communications and Works… Let us leave that alone. Too many things have been said
about that already.

In terms of health, we are happy that the administration is following to the letter, a lot of
the things that have been said before. The only thing I have a concern about, Madam
President is that, you cannot have all of that reform – all of the beautiful new general
hospital sustaining the strategic direction, the improved mental health services – you


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cannot have a national health information system, the rehabilitation of the centres and all
of those things, if you do not have a means by which people can have access to these
services. And that is where UHC must be considered in concert with the Health Care
Reform, because it is part of the Health Care Reform in terms of the financing of the
health care system, or else it would just be an exercise in futility. Our main issue in
health, Madam President, is access: justice, equality, the social cohesion ─ that is where
it all comes in. There must be access. So you put all these grandiose things and people
cannot access it. (Creole begins) you put all the big hospitals and people cannot pay to
enter; that does not make sense (Creole ends). So what you have to do is that you have to
look at the financing of the system at the same time – look at how people can access
those services, because medicine and medical care are not inexpensive. They are not. So
we have to look at that.

I am happy that the transit home has come to the fore, but I lament the fact that the
building is there, but the requisite staff is needed, and so on. So I hope that this is looked
at expeditiously.

The only thing I want to say, Madam President, about the airport development project is
that I feel sorry for the people at SLASPA – the leadership and professional staff at
SLASPA ─ because this situation places their professionalism in jeopardy. Questions are
being asked. Questions are flying all over the place. It really compromises their
professionalism, just like Senator Jn. Marie spoke about the compromised
professionalism of the staff of WASCO. We need to stop doing that. Stop casting these
aspersions on people who sometimes are really blameless. So we have to look at that.
Let us not do that, because I am hearing certain things, Minister of National Security
through you, Madam President, and I am just letting you know what is going on. So we
need to look at that.

My final point is the whole idea of climate change. What we are talking about is climate
change. You know Senator Jn. Marie, Madam President, was bang on target in terms of
what is happening in the area of climate change. We have to take this thing seriously , I
want to know, in view of the fact, according to Senator Plummer, that our Ministries
operate in silos, what is happening to climate change, because here is one situation where
all Ministries must be on board, either with a commission or a committee – that is where
we need it – where everything must be on board in terms of a multi-sectoral approach,
including NGO’s and the like, to look at this climate change issue, and we must begin
now. We must begin yesterday. So I want you to take this thing very seriously.

Finally, Madam President, I want to commend the staff of the House of Parliament. I
have never seen such professionalism. Last week these people were bang on target. In
all their exhortion, if you asked them a question, they would find it. If you ask them to
go to the Library, they would find it. And today I think we really must give them a round
of applause around the table. I want to commend the staff. Truly, they have shown the
way in terms of professionalism.




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But, Madam President, you cannot manufacture hope. Where there is hope, people feel
that, yes, we can go forward. They only look to escape physically by migration and
crime, and psychologically by mind altering drugs and such like situations where they
feel there is no hope. Then you begin to feel an atmosphere where there is no hope as our
situation in Saint Lucia now reveals, and where it becomes difficult to change. But I
know the Members opposite has taken great stock of what we have said. I believe that
there is hope after all, if we do the right thing – if we come together in a bipartisan kind
of relationship, and deal with some of the ills of our society, to push this country forward.
In the end, Madam President, the paramountcy of the people – the paramountcy of the
country is important. And we all need each other so that we can have a socially cohesive
approach and become a socially cohesive people and society to deal with all the problems
that bedevil us, whether we are rich, poor, black, white, of different creeds or in rural or
urban areas. I thank you, Madam President.

Deputy President in Chair

Honourable Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation: Mr. President, it is an honour
to be here today, but before I begin my presentation I would like to acknowledge some
friends from Soufriere who are here today, and I would like to thank them very much for
coming out.

Mr. President, I am given the great honour today, of making to this Honourable House
and to my colleagues, a presentation on both agriculture and tourism. I will begin with
agriculture. There is going to be an EU supported project, SFA 2005, Mr. Deputy
President. The first part of the project will be for bananas. One is to improve the
production and the productivity of the banana sector. And despite the hardship that was
suffered by the farmers during the most recent drought, this government is continuing to
support the farmers who have the capabilities of staying in this sector, and we will be
providing resources to them to make sure that they can stay in. And the SFA 2005 is
such a project.

First of all, the activities will include pest and disease control and production scheduling.
In fact, Senator Damien Greaves mentioned an individual in strategic management. He
said that out of every disaster, you can rise to the ashes and discover something ─ a new
phoenix. There is an opportunity now for the banana growers and other agriculturists to
actually change their schedule of profit to meet the peak periods of the winter. So some
good can come from some bad. The establishment of demonstration plots and the
improvement to irrigation… the cost is at $997,000. Also, in the continued plans for
diversification, cocoa, which has been a fast growing crop here in Saint Lucia - and with
the establishment of Hotel Chocolat in the Soufriere area and Unionvale which has been
around for a very long time already ─ cocoa prices are continuing to rise. We now know
that Hotel Chocolat will be embarking on the development of a new factory. In fact, Mr.
President, this will be reversing the tendencies of colonialisation. And for the first time,
we will be taking a product here, and producing it to its final stage? So, we are excited
about this project, and we are glad that Hotel Chocolat has chosen Saint Lucia, but we
recognise that even with miracle works, we are able to increase the cocoa production


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quite substantially in Saint Lucia, this will not be sufficient to meet the demands of the
factory. Therefore, we will be importing wet beans from several of the other regional
islands, in order to be able to help in that production.

In fact, Mr. President, just recently in London both the Minister for Agriculture and I
attended the opening of a new store in Borough’s Market. Borough’s Market is the
market for premium agricultural products, and it was opened up in the name of Rabot
Estate. And all the Chocolate products that were being displayed in the shop came from
Rabot Estate. In fact, the owners of Rabot Estate have also now reached out to several
people in the community to be able to develop pots, to develop art and all kinds of other
artifacts which are coming from Saint Lucia. We have now taken the linkage step even
further, in that we are now bringing the products straight into the market and not just
depending on the market of the tourists when they come here. What we are looking to do
is to rehabilitate 200 acres and establish 100 additional acres of cocoa, as well as to
supply inputs to cocoa producers and establish greenhouses for cocoa. We are going to
be spending approximately $3.3 million on this project.

We are also going to be helping the farmers with pineapples, increase production and our
diversification drive. We are going to introduce new planting material; we are going to
have an expansion of pineapple production, and we are also going to improve the harvest
techniques. We are going to be spending over $600,000 in this area.

In the area of cut flowers, we want to increase production for domestic and regional
markets. We want to provide shade houses, expansion of acres and also to give them
marketing support. We will be spending in excess of $600,000 in this area.

Cassava … To increase production, we are going to expand the amount of acreage, and
we are going to put the infrastructure in, for the introduction of new varieties. We are
going to be spending over $400,000 in this area.

Yes, we have been working on the new marketing Board for some time, but this will be a
recurring decimal in my presentation. This government, when we inherited office,
inherited a situation in which the fiscal space that was provided to government for its
own investments was extremely limited, and as such, we had to rely on PPPs: Public
Sector, Private Sector, Partnerships. The government has patiently been waiting and has
now secured the participation of Consolidated Foods Limited (CFL) and Winfresh, to
become partners with the Government of Saint Lucia. The Government of Saint Lucia
has now established a company which is now with Attorney General’s (AG’s) office. We
have also put in $3.4 million to start off this project and government has allocated 18
acres of land in Cul de Sac. The preliminary designs for this complex have been
completed and we are looking forward to a commencement very, very shortly.

The purpose of that marketing Board is to help the farmers. And I am very surprised at
some of the Senators on the other side to even think of criticising the Minister for
Agriculture for going on a road show, to what, Mr. President, to help educate the farmers
on what was coming. So often we find ourselves criticising people when they introduce


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things after the fact and here the minister took a road show, went and met the farmers
face to face to explain to them what this new marketing Board was going to be about,
which was really to help modernise the process of selling agricultural products. Still
today, 2010, we meet farmers and we ask them, “How are you deciding what you are
going to plant?” And they tell you, based on what the future of the weather is. They cut
their products on a Thursday, put them in the back of their vans and drive to town, not
knowing who they are going to sell these products to or at what price they are going to
sell them to.

This new marketing Board is to reverse that. It is to now do the intelligence to determine
what the demand is and the seasonality of that demand, and to understand what the
quality of the product that we want to be able to achieve is. The Board will link this
information with what the production capacities of the country and the farmers are, and
give a farmer a contract so the farmer knows what he is going to be producing. In that
contract, we will include the price of the product and the quality that is expected. The
Ministry of Agriculture, through its extension officers, will be helping to grade these
farmers and in grading these farmers that will then help them in terms of their financial
support. This means, Mr. President, that if a farmer is an ‘A’ plus farmer, meaning that
he is consistently meeting his standards of both quality and the price that he is supposed
to sell at,, then he is a safe bet to lend money to – he showed a continuing ability to do
that.

Farmers may be lower grades, which means there will be less financing available to them
or even potentially at a higher cost, but now the goal will be to work with those farmers
in helping them to become ‘A’ plus farmers. This is going to go a long way in being able
to close the gap that has existed for a very long time between the farmers and the bankers.
In fact, even the Development Bank has suffered from this disconnect, in that the least
amount of loans made by the Bank has been to the agricultural sector, although it is the
area in which the greatest need for assistance is evident.

Additionally, the old marketing Board that we had … over 95 percent of the products
they sold was imported. To make matters worse, Mr. President, they were given duty
free concessions and even with the benefit of those duty free concessions they could still
not make money. So this marketing Board is bringing in the intelligence, sophistication
and the skills of the private sector to bring on the table the farmers, the government and
the main purchasers. Long, hopefully, will be gone the days of farmers crying about
getting their money 90 days after the fact, because once they have delivered their product
to the marketing Board, they will be paid immediately, and it will the responsibility of the
marketing Board now to collect the monies from the hotels or from the grocery stores.

The minister is also intending to expand the facilities there for a farmers’ market in which
products for the farmers will be available, but more importantly that independent farmers
could bring their products there. So individual restaurants, smaller boutiques, hotels, and
people who have small shops throughout the country, can come to one place to buy their
products.



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Mr. President, we are also waiting for the abattoir. Unfortunately, this project has been
delayed because of design problems and also the bill of quantities that was produced. I
am reliably informed by the minister, that this project will begin within the next month,
and it will take one year for completion. It goes without saying, the attribute that this is
going to be able to bring to the pig farmers and to our meat producers.

We just recently opened, Mr. President, the Anse La Raye Fisheries Complex. This has
been a bumper year for the fishermen, not only in terms of being able to catch fish, but
long ago these same fishermen, after selling fish to fisheries complex, were waiting in
excess of 90 days in order to be paid. This government is very proud of its track record
of being able to pay the fishermen within 30 days. In fact, just this last week, the
Ministry of Agriculture got an advance of over $700,000 to be able to pay off the
fishermen for the incredible amount of fish they have been able to bring in to the fisheries
complex.

It cannot be business as usual, Mr. President. The idea of the fisheries complex being a
last resort and freeze blasting all these fish and then holding it until people can purchase
it later in the year is not going to work. We must start selling our fish at a premium
which means that we must sell our fish as fresh fish and learn to export the product,
because it is a short window, it is only a three-month window, and let us sell the fish at its
premium and then have enough fish where we can be using it throughout the year. So
this is going to be one of the goals the minister has this year.

The other thing that we are looking to do is to get Hazard Analysis and Critical Control
Point (HACCP) certification – HACCP certification. This will go a long way in allowing
us to be able to take advantage of the market in Martinique. It has been such a shame,
Mr. President, that here we have a fisheries complex with a surplus of fish and
Martinique is in demand of fish and we cannot even sell the fish to Martinique simply
because we do not have the certification.

We have a very exciting project coming, Mr. President. Unfortunately, it is coming on
the heels of the lowering of the tariffs by the European Governments on bananas. It is a
four-year project that is being done by the EU. The purpose of this project is to help
mitigate against the tariff reduction. It is specifically going to be targeting the
agricultural sector:

    1. Is to improve the competitiveness in bananas. So the goal is, people who are only
       producing six tons per acre, they need to start getting up to 12 and 15 tons per
       acre. It is only those farmers who can do that who are going to be able to survive.
       And resources will be made available to help them.

    2. Diversification. We have talked about that. We had some ideas of our own in
       terms of where we believe that diversification should be taking place.

    3. Social adjustment. Yes, to Senator Damian Greaves’ statements. True
       sustainability is the ability of making sure that things are economically viable,


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        environmentally sustainable and also socially acceptable. If any one of those
        things is a detriment, it is not sustainable.

I think that there is a long recognition by the Europeans and by the governments of this
region that some people are going to have to transfer out of bananas and into something
else. So Agro-tourism … the ideas of helping us expand our village Tourism project and
also the hardest hit communities, are our areas of focus. Unfortunately, Mr. President,
despite the fact that the project was supposed to begin in January of this year, we are still
awaiting the meetings with the EU in order to sit down and understand the full amount of
money that will be available under this project. But the Ministry of Agriculture has not
sat by ideally and has, in fact, put its documents in place and has been working with other
islands to make sure that once the meetings begin, we can go through a very expedited
process.

I want to again congratulate the Ministry of Agriculture for what I think is a phenomenal
job. We keep on talking about the vulnerability of tourism or the vulnerability of all our
sectors. Because Saint Lucia is dependent on exports, everything that we do is going to
be vulnerable, and in the case of agriculture, the minister seems undaunted by the damage
that has been done by the drought. Expectation is that it is going to take six months, Mr.
President, in order to be able to solve this problem. Preliminary estimates are that there
has been over $18.5 million of damage caused in our Agricultural Sector. This is very
similar to the number that we had during hurricane Dean. So again both the Minister and
I walk at the hip. Every attempt is being made to make sure there is a linkage between
agriculture and tourism.

I must also commend the Taiwanese Government for their continued work in the
diversification and in the linkages. The ability to be able to have the tissue cultural lab
and the new flowers that are being done there, the potential for this market is tremendous
and when the tissue cultures are now produced fully from Saint Lucia, the cost reductions
will be dramatic. The establishment of greenhouses … which is not an easy process, and
one in which we must encourage everybody to be able to go to, because we must increase
the productivity and the quality of what we are producing.

I will now move on to tourism. First, the year in review. The first major product we
always have every year is Jazz. Last year’s Jazz was one full of hype, probably one of
the best promoted Jazz Festivals we have had. Thank you much – in part because of the
publicity that we got because of Amy Winehouse. Unprecedented coverage in
entertainment magazines, television coverage, publicity in the UK market was almost
every single day. Unfortunately, the financial results of the Jazz Festival was severely
impacted, because of the rain that we experienced on the Thursday, and we were not able
to recuperate that revenue since people who came for Thursday were allowed to come in
on Friday and this diluted our ticket sales. The cost of the Jazz Festival last year was
close to $7 million.

Carnival was probably the – if I am not mistaken – the most successful carnival we have
ever had in Saint Lucia. We had over 22 bands. We had three bands which had sections


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of over 1,000 people, and I am very happy that the $1 million that the Ministry of
Tourism had initiated and pledged to carnival had produced such wonderful results. I
think that the Saint Lucia Carnival is now on the map in the region, and I believe that it is
only going to grow from strength to strength.

We had Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC), Mr. President. ARC was very special this
year, because it was the first time that we had the new Rodney Bay Marina and we had
all the new berths. And I have to say since the completion of that marina the exit surveys
of the people who participated in ARC have been phenomenal. There was a huge
outreach this year in terms of entertainment at the Rodney Bay Marina, in trying to bring
the community in touch with the people from ARC. I have been reliably informed, Mr.
President, that the ARC this year is already totally sold out. In fact, organisers are
already trying to find additional berths in Canaries in order to be able to bring more
people out, and this will be the 20th year of the ARC.

The opposition’s favourite punching bag, the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association
(FCCA) Conference ... The FCCA Conference took place, Mr. President. Again, this
conference is a conference that takes place on an annual basis and brings all the cruise
ship executives of the world to a meeting in one destination. Unlike the quotes that were
being bantered around by the Members of the Lower House, this event cost $3.5 million.
The immediate results that we have seen have been the establishment of the maritime and
hospitality school. Based on meetings that we had at the (FCCA) conference and the
pledges of the Chairman of the FCCA himself, we are now going to be establishing a
school in which we are looking to train close to 1,200 high school leavers a year, and a
six - month programme with Monroe College. The students will have three months of
practical work and three month of theoretical work; we are also going to be working very
closely with the Saint Lucia Hote4l and Tourism Association in order for the students to
be able to gain their practical programming. The cruise lines have committed to hire in
excess of 800 people per year. Right now they are employing close to 34,000 people per
year, and we believe that this is a huge opportunity.

I want to take a moment, Mr. President, and indicate how this came about, because
sometimes we think that these things just happen by themselves. We were approached by
one of the recruiting agencies indicating that they were very frustrated by the inability to
recruit more Saint Lucians to these jobs on the cruise lines. The problem was that you
either had to have five years of experience or you needed to have certification.
Unfortunately, in Saint Lucia, we did not have any institution that was providing the level
of certification that was required. As such, people who would be recruited were people
who were already working in the hotel sector. Many people, after working for five years
in the hotel sector, had established families and were not prepared to leave.

We believe the opportunity of getting kids out at an early age … working on a cruise ship
almost become like a paid university degree. It is an international area, Mr. President,
and I think assuming and hoping on the expansion of our industry here, it means it starts
producing well trained people down the road. So instead of new hotels coming in and
pillaging existing workers, we are now going to see a steady flow of a quality of staff


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coming in, and we believe that over time this is really going to improve the quality of the
workers that we have in Saint Lucia. I am also very honoured to be part of this
programme, because the skills that Saint Lucians gain in this industry are international.
A Saint Lucian leaving here and going to Canada, going to the States, going to Europe,
going to Latin America - anywhere in the world - can use the skills that he or she has
earned here in Tourism. And unlike the Caribbean, the rest of the world perceives that
we are some of the best leaders in Tourism. Sometimes we do not believe in ourselves
enough, Mr. President.

We then had the famous Bachelor programme. Again, things do not happen by chance.
Last Easter Mr. President, we were approached by the producers of the Bachelorette
which is the female vision of the bachelor, but they were stuck, that the place that they
were going to go to, they could not go to, and they were looking to see if Saint Lucia
could accommodate them. We spent the entire weekend working with the hotels and
adjusting schedules to be able to accommodate the Bachelorette. We were able to
manage something, but unfortunately, it was not to their liking. But they were so
impressed with how we mobilised, that they decided that they would put Saint Lucia on
the short list for when they were going to go out on scouting for stout missions for the
Bachelor. They arrived down here and within less than eight hours had indicated that this
would be their choice destination. I will come back to that decision that was made
because it was very critical in the strategy that we adopted in moving forward from that
point. We also produced for the first time, TV ads. And I will be showing a sample of
the TV ad a little bit later.

In terms of the results of our marketing initiatives - and I will be getting into substantially
more details so, Senator Greaves, please be assured I will be answering your questions -
we have seen a phenomenal rebound in the Canadian market, Mr. President, and I believe
that there has been two causes of that rise, because Senators had indicated that they do
not believe that Tourism is a science, but Tourism is very much a science. There is a
cause and - effect relationship in Tourism, but the problem is that we do not watch
numbers, and we do not understand what the causes and the effects are. And
unfortunately, many of the people sitting here just say odd things, not based on any facts.
I mean, I keep on saying do not let the facts get in the way; because it sounds good, does
not necessarily mean it is good. So there were two causes for the growth in the Canadian
market: one, that the Canadian dollar went on par with the US dollar. For many years the
Canadian dollar lagged around the 65 cents stage, and for many years Cuba and the
Dominican Republic became the destination of choice for Canadians. When the
Canadian dollar moved closer to the US dollar, it meant that the Canadians value of their
dollar meant that they could buy a higher quality vacation.

The second combination was the introduction of Westjet into Saint Lucia. What Westjet
did was that it provided competition into the market - real competition. And as a result of
Westjet coming in with two flights, Air Canada went to five flights, and so that increased
capacity. Now, all of a sudden, the ability of Canadians wanting to come on vacation in
the Eastern Caribbean, a place they had liked for many years but could not have afforded
to come to, saw almost a doubling in of our Canadian arrivals in less than two years.


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Our United Kingdom (UK) market has been up and down, in part because of air access,
but more recently has been because of the recession. The pound at one point, was close
to two to one. The pound dropped in the recession all the way to $1.35. We saw British
Midland disappear; we saw BWIA disappear; and we also saw, because of the reckless
behaviour of the former Minister for Tourism, that British Airways almost entirely
disappeared from this destination. In fact, British Airways went down from three flights
to half a flight, and now we have been able to resurrect that, and we have now been able
to get British Airways back up to five flights into Saint Lucia. And more importantly, is
that those flights are non-stop to Saint Lucia, with a continuation service to Trinidad. So
in addition to getting the British market, we have also been able to gain valuable access
to the Trinidadian market.

In terms of Europe, we had lost our connection to Europe, Mr. President, but we have
now started seeing the reintroduction of Condor; and I am very proud of the fact that this
will be the first time that Condor will be flying during the summer into Saint Lucia, so
this is a year - long service and we are already seeing the consequential returns on that.
In terms of the US market, I am going to wait and to show a graph over here before I
speak about it in absolute details, because the US market is a market in which we have
had the greatest amount of difficulties …Basically, what I would like to do is to show the
correlation between the importance of airlift and the number of arrivals that we have had
and what has taken place over the last three years, and that is why you have seen the
peaks and troughs with the US market.

So here we have it. The US was predominantly the main source of market, but the
figures began declining in 2006. The UK is the second largest market, and although
arrivals have fluctuated over the years, you can see that they have started coming back
up. And then, recently, this last eight months, they declined, because we had two things
that happened: the Virgin flight got consolidated with Barbados, so we went from three
Virgin flights non-stop dedicated to Saint Lucia, to one dedicated flight, and the other
two were shared with Barbados, directly as a result of the recession.

The next one is the Caribbean market. It was vibrant, and it was up there with the UK
market, but with the demise of the airlift in the region, we have seen a 25 percent drop off
since 2007, and I explained to you what went on with Canada.

Here is a very interesting slide. This shows you, in 2006/2007, the changes in the airline
seats. So in 2006 there were 91,000 American Eagle flights and that went up to 100,000
when we added that extra flight that went to Barbados. United States Air went from
13,000 to 8,000; Delta went from 45,000 to 40,000; America Airlines went up from
51,000 to 68,000 seats per year, and that was based on the increase in flights that we got
out of Miami. Air Jamaica went from 36,000 to 51,000 by increasing in the frequency;
British Airways went from 26,000 to 21,000; and then Virgin Atlantic went from 76,000
to 80,000. And Air Canada you can see stayed flat. Westjet came in at 408; and
Caribbean Star went down 95 percent in the seat capacity. We saw the lost of seats with



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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
BWIA and so we had a total drop of 25 percent in our seat capacity between 2006 and
2007.

The next year, in 2008, the impact of the recession resulted in commodity price increases.
So in July of 2008 we saw the price of oil starting to go up, and all of a sudden we started
seeing airlines going out of business. Airlines that did stay, started consolidating flights
and started grounding planes. One of the biggest decisions that took place in this region
was that American Eagle, which had been a long stay partner of ours and the rest of the
Caribbean … American Airlines decided to terminate their hub in Puerto Rico, and they
initially reduced the size of the Puerto Rico hub by over half. They went from 22
Americans Eagle planes to 11. We saw the decline in American Eagle, from 100,000
seats to 64,000 seats. US Air also declined, again to 7,800; Delta decline; American
Airlines went up slightly because we introduced the New York flight. Air Jamaica
almost completely disappeared; it went from 51,000 to 12,000 seats, a 77 percent decline.
British Airways, as I indicated to you, went from 21,000 to 15,820; Virgin Atlantic went
up slightly because we introduced the Manchester flight; Air Canada went from 18,000
to 15,000 seats; Westjet came in and we were able to add extra seats; and you saw that
the Canadian market went up 451 percent; LIAT, stayed flat, Caribbean Airline state
flight that year as well. And so, in total, we saw a 15 percent decline in the total number
of seats between 2007 and 2008.

Now, here is what has happened ... and he has asked where has some of the money gone,
and you know, I am very surprised, because at repeated times we have indicated how
much we have spent on the airline support. But for your benefit, I will help you again,
because I know sometimes, as people get older, they tend to forget things.

We spent about US$1.5 million with American Airlines. In total, we spent about EC$8
million in airline support over the last three years. And what have we bought with that?
We bought approximately 170,000 seats. And as you can see by the two previous graphs,
over a two - year period, we lost all those seats. Now, one thing that I know, and I
believe that the average Saint Lucia understands, is that if a person cannot fly to Saint
Lucia, they cannot get here, because I have never heard of a tourist swimming here or
taking a train. So here is what has been the result: the result was that we got the
American Airlines … in 2008, the American Eagle went all the way back down to
25,000, so we lost 61 percent of the seats. US Air stayed stagnant; Delta Airlines … we
were able to get them to increase their services by 17 percent; American Airlines that
year increased their capacity by 10 percent. We have now brought Jet Blue in, and there
were 4,200 seats there. Air Jamaica went off completely. Candour we were able to bring
in, and that added another 1,000 seats; and British Airways - went and there you go,
Senator Wilson - we went from 15,820 seats on British Airways to 42,000. The benefit
is, you cannot come to Saint Lucia if there are no airline seats.

Mr. President: Order, order.

Honourable Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation: The interesting part is that, if I
may, t Mr. President … You see in addition when you do not have enough airlines seats,


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and I know that Saint Lucians will remember this … Last year, to fly to New York city
was over US$1,100. But when you have some bourgeois Senators who are not
accustomed to being able to have somebody pay for their tickets or having to pay for their
tickets, they do not realise the sensitivity of these things.

So here we go … The airline which began service to the island in October, Jet Blue, will
increase its operations from three flights a week to five flights a week starting tomorrow,
and we will be introducing a new airfare of $99 one way to New York city. So when we
talk about putting money in, in order to get airline seats; in order to increase the
competition and reduce the cost of traffic, there is a direct correlation to the people in
Saint Lucia. The other thing that is very, very interesting to note, is that ninety-five
percent of people going through both George Charles Airport and Hewanorra Airport, are
tourists. So the population of Saint Lucia is benefiting from an inordinate amount of
capacity. If it were not for the hotels being in here without the airlift, flying anywhere
would become substantially more inconvenient. And I have to tell you – and I wish
Senator Hippolyte were here – because like her, I was stuck in London. And England,
with the tunnel and fast ferries and all kinds of things… planes stopped for five days, and
it became hundreds of thousands of people stuck on Mainland Europe who could not
even get back to England. Up to now, there are still people stranded in the Caribbean and
all over the world, waiting to get home. And that is the dependence that this world has
now come upon, in terms of airlift.

So, if we now look . . .

Mr. Deputy President: Honourable Minister you have ten minutes to complete your
presentation.

Honourable Minister for Home Affairs and National Security: Mr. President, I
request that Standing Order 35(1) be suspended in order to allow Senator Chastanet an
additional sixty minutes to complete his presentation.

Question Proposed, Put and Agreed to
Leave Granted

Honourable Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation: Mr. President, thank you for
your graciousness and that of my Senate colleagues.

So, what did we see happen in the US market? When we start going and we look at our
Tourism arrival statistics what do we see? Last year, in September, we saw that the
arrivals started declining because of American Airline’s disappearance. It took us until
April to be able to bring back the number of arrivals.

I would like Senators, if they can indulge me, if they can go through the Economic and
Social Review and go to where the statistics are on page 18. And what page 18 shows is
the amount of aircraft passenger landings and movements between George Charles
Airport and Hewanorra Airport. And what we saw was that in 2004, 464,000 passengers


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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
went through George Charles Airport. And what we look at now is that that number went
all the way down to 249,000 passengers in 2009. What we then saw was, in the same
2004, there were 310,000 passengers at Hewanorra Airport and, as of last year, we had
459,000 passengers at the Airport.

Unfortunately, that trend is going to continue, because market intelligence suggests that
American Eagle is not coming back into Puerto Rico, and therefore, the continued
expansion of airlift is going to be into Hewanorra Airport. So when Senator Jn. Marie,
was indicating that he came down on a Sunday, we have now seen American Airline go
to double daily flights; we have seen Delta go to double daily flights; we now have Jet
Blue up to five flights a week; we now see Air Canada reaching on a daily basis; British
Airways going into five flights; but we are now starting to see that capacity is coming in
on a daily basis at Hewanorra Airport and the constraints are now starting to grow.

So, basically what we have been able to do now… this summer we are going to be seeing
an unprecedented expansion of seats. Jet Blue is going to go to five flights out of New
York; American Airlines is expanding its New York service from two flights a week to
four flights a week. We are also seeing American Airlines changing the gauge of its
planes from 737 which carried 150 passengers, to 757 both in the morning flight and in
the afternoon flight. We also are seeing that Delta Airlines going to 757 planes and in
addition to that are adding a second flight three days a week, Saturdays, Sundays and
Mondays. We have seen US Air move to two flights a week out of Charlotte, and, more
importantly, this summer will be the first time that we are going to have four flights a
week: two on West Jet and two on Air Canada, straight out of Canada.

Last year there was one flight, and you remember how expensive it was for people to go
to Toronto. So I am looking forward to substantially more reasonable airfares coming
out of that market. So, the importance of seats is not to be underestimated and when we
came into power we were quickly able to change around our marketing strategies and the
emphasis of what we wanted to do. In addition, resources were given to us and you
know, again, when people have malice in their minds, they decide to put information in a
certain way. This continuing barrage of $150 million, as if there were no money given to
tourism before. So the former government – and this is not something that we really
should be proud of – who came out and said their new platform was Tourism, put $25
million into Tourism and let us listen to the Budget: $5 million in overheads for the
Tourist Board, $5 to $6 million a year on the Jazz Festival. They kept on borrowing
money because they never had enough money, so the debt financing was over $1.5
million a year; they were paying in debt financing. By the time you are left with it, you
almost had EC$12 million a year to be able to spend in Canada, to spend in the United
States of America and be able to spend in Europe. It is impossible. I want anyone to do
that math for me; when you now take what it costs for advertising and you are able to do
something... Saint Lucia has not had any consistent advertising campaign. And you
know, when I listened to the former Minister for Tourism in his Budget presentation, and
again, it is very, very disturbing when I hear some of the claims and some of the
statements that are being made by him with regards to the management of Tourism.



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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
When we talk about Dr. Hepple, you know, sometimes, I try to take the high road, and for
three years I have taken the high road. The former government hired a company called
Vacuum Agency, paid them US$15,000 a month in order to do the advertising campaign
for the Saint Lucia Tourist Board. They had no money to do advertising, so for three
years the agency just sat and twiddle their fingers. At the end of the contract all the
photography and the equated they did… in the contract, the government forgot to make
sure that it was their material. So they terminated the contract, all the material walked
away with him.

We talk about fiscal responsibility! I have listened and we can say we are on the eve of
the Budget debate, and how many times I have heard about transparency. How many
times I have heard about how we need to keep people accountable and not once have I
heard anyone make mention of the fact that this government has recently found a Civil
Servant suspected of stealing money from the government of Saint Lucia, and when he
absconded this government went after him and has brought him back here to face justice.
From my recollection, this is the first time that this has happened, and I would have
thought at least, at least the very benevolent and objective opposition would have
recognised that fact.

So, let me deal with Hewanorra Airport. When the Government came in and Sir John
developed a quadrant economic plan, the first area that he wanted to focus on was the
George F. L. Charles Airport because you know he wanted to be able to expand the
Castries Habour. We brought down specialists; we brought down the TSA; we brought
down the FAA; we brought down Engineers in order to be able to bring jet services back
into George F. L. Charles Airport. We exhausted our analysis for six months. The
conclusion – it was free because it was given to us by American Airlines – and the end of
the analysis, that conclusion was that there were too many obstacles at George F. L.
Charles Airport and even by trying to expand the airport either way, would not allow us
to bring a 737 into George F. L. Charles Airport. So our eyes were then turned to
Hewanorra. The Hewanorra situation became even more critica, as I said to you last year
– sorry in 2008 – when Puerto Rico was shut down as a hub. And now the difficulties
and the sensitivities of Hewanorra Airport really started to manifest themselves with the
increase capacity coming into Hewanorra. One, the size of equipment was substantially
bigger, meaning we had jumbo jets, we had eight three thirties, 300 and 400 people
arriving at the same time, two baggage carrousels. So, as Senator Jn. Marie indicated,
you have people now trying to take their bags off and stack bags; so when people come,
they do not even know where their bags are.

So what did we look at? We said how can we fix up this Airport without spending a lot
of money? So the first thing that we did – if you recall being to Hewanorra Airport it has
very, very high ceilings – so we said let us puts in a mezannine floor and let us create an
upstairs and a downstairs. We went through all kinds of methodologies to be able to now
put in new baggage carrousels, and in trying to determine which way we would expand,
etcetera. But here is the fundamental problem that happened with Hewanorra: the
terminal is actually located too close to the runway. So the reason why the two jumbo
jets park where they park, is because they cannot park in front of the new terminal. We


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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
also understood that everybody now was moving towards jet ways and to be able to
spend money and not have a jet way, really would be taking the country backwards. We
tried our best. We looked at every single possibility. We spoke to the Airlines. We tried
to figure out everything. We looked at hotel check-in programmes, meaning instead of
having the guests check in at counters at the airport, have them check in at the hotels.
But we still had a difficulty in terms of the arrival hall. And if you think of the arrival
hall, you took out that office on the left hand side, put in the mezannine floors, it did not
work. You then start calculating how much money we would have to spend in George F.
L. Charles Airport which was an excess of EC$100 million, because the electricals were
bad, and also your plumbing was bad in terms of having to put the reinforcement areas
that you were trying to do there.

Also, any of you who would want to go up and see the traffic control tower, would see
how delinquent that is as well. The point is, if you spend that kind of money, in a couple
of year’s time, you would not have to come right back and spend more money. So we
felt that this was bad money – good money that was going on top of bad money – We
then engaged the services of American Airlines, and I really want at this point to say
thank you so much to Mr. Dolor, who provided us with his architect who has built twelve
airports in the region, and it was a very sad moment for us because Mr. Popo, who
worked very closely with us, was on vacation recently in the Dominican Republic and
died with his son in car accident, and he almost became like family to us. He spent a lot
of time here helping us design the Airport. American Appointed Sagoriere which is their
architectural firm that they use in Miami Airport that they have used all throughout Latin
America, and we came up with a design that we felt would work.

The next thing that happened was that SLASPA went out and asked for bids and eleven
bids were brought in. Some bids proposed that they would do a privatisation of the
airport, meaning that they would run the airport and they would construct the airport and
they would hand it back to the government after they were finished. We looked at all of
those. The government felt that giving away an asset like an Airport, which would…
after several discussions with a lot of different countries… they said if you can avoid not
giving away your Airport, you should try to do it, if you can avoid it. But sometimes,
financially, it is not unavoidable. But particularly, in a country that is just getting out of
infancy of its industry, you want to try to retain control of your Airport.

So the bids that proposed a construct and finance deal were the companies that were
selected. Three of those companies met that deal. Now you know, again, we have to be
careful in this country, because we are all in the boat together. All of us are in this boat
together and I will sit here and jive with you in a friendly manner, but ultimately at the
end of the day, the decisions that the former government made, now are ours. Whether
we supported them or not, they are ours. So it is history, and likewise, the decisions that
we are going to make are decisions that we all are going to have to live with. But that is
what democracy is, when you appoint a government to represent you. So we have talked
a lot about democracy here today. So it is the job of this government right now, with the
burden of that responsibility, to make the right decision.



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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
The focus of Hewanorra Airport has been on a company called Asphalt and Mining. But
there are four other companies that are part of the bid. So when I hear the Senator talk
about, ‘are we sure the building is going to stand, are we sure the building is going to be
safe,’ I mean as if this government would be so irresponsible to enter into a contract and
negotiations with people who do not even have the capacity or the previous experience.
That is how naïve we are. Heery and S&G… Founded in 1952 Heery has expanded in
new and dramatic ways over the past several years through acquisitions, new services,
new markets and new offices, redefining what it means to be responsive, resourceful and
diverse. Heery is a full-service architectural, interior design and engineering construction
company.

In May of 2007, Heery acquired Sequeira Gavarrete, a 20 year old Hispanic-owned firm
with a significant portfolio of aviation projects at the Miami Airport, including a $1.2
billion North Terminal Development, which is the new airport terminals if you going
through Miami that you go through, and a $300 million Intermodal Center Rental Car
Facility. They are the architects. BB&T… BB&T has been in existence for over 135
years offering a complete range of financial services including banking, lending,
insurance trust and wealth management solutions. It is the tenth largest financial holding
company in the US, with more than 30,000 employees and more than 1,800 locations in
12 states in Washington DC. Its bank subsidies operate approximately 1,850 financial
centers in the Carolinas, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, etcetera.

As of the 30th of June 2009, BB&T Corporation is the 10th largest US financial services
holding company with more than US$152 billion in assets, and was ranked number 260
on the 2009 Fortune 500 list; 260 that is what they were ranked.

Senator Silas Wilson: On a point of Order!

Mr. Deputy President: What is your Point of Order, Senator?

Senator Silas Wilson: Mr. President, the Member is reading from a document that he has
not acknowledged the source of the document.

Honourable Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation: I am happy to make it.

Senator Silas Wilson: Please do.

Mr. Deputy President: Senator, he is not bound to make it a document of the House.

Senator Silas Wilson: No, but he cannot quote from a document that he is not going to
make a document of the House.

Mr. Deputy President: You may proceed, Minister.

Honourable Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation: … Thank you Sir. The other
company that is part of it is T.Y. Lin International, founded in San Francisco more than


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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
50 years ago. T.Y. Lin International has established itself as an internationally
recognised civil and structural engineering firm specialising in planning, designing and
construction engineering, operating from offices throughout the United States and Asia,
with a professional staff of more than 1,400 engineers, including planners who deliver
project-specific solutions. T. Y. Lin provides services to airports, bridges, runway
systems, ports and marines and rail transit.

The next one, Delant Construction, was established in 1982 by the Delgado family as a
continuation of their lifetime dedication to the construction industry. And within the past
years, as the General Contractor of Record, the company has completed the construction
that sells the most successful design-built projects in Dade County, totaling over $100
million of construction. The state-of- the-art Metro West Correctional Facility Phases I
and II, the Krome Detention Center Off-sight Infrastructure project in Miami, the Noise
Abatement Barrier at the Miami International Airport, the Jet Fuel Storage Tanks in
Florida, the North Side Utilities and Drainage project, and the Water and Sewer
Department Headquarters in Miami. The company has worked under $250 million
design automated people mover project at the Miami International Airport.

Now, my disappointment in the rhetoric that I am hearing going around… this is just a
list of the companies that have submitted the bid in conjunction with A&M. I wanted to
prove to the House that this is not a naked bid. Now, here is the most disappointing part
of all this. I have listened the last couple days to the debate. I listened to the civil
society, all making comments with no facts… on the assumption that they will do this
and the assumption that they will do that, and saying how the country is going into debt.
Now, let me ask you a question. A government that has only increased the debt to GDP
by four percent in three years and that the full four percent ─ because remember we have
declined the first year ─ but the full four percent came this year in the wake of the worst
recession that we have had since 1930… And the numbers are there. Where did the debt
come from? A decline in government revenues and an increase in government
expenditure. Now if we want to take this debate to a more meaningful level, I think we
have to stop with the speculation and allow due process to go through. The due process
must go through. You cannot do that, because you are putting out bids and they are
secret bids and you are in negotiations. And when the deal is done, government will
present the deal it has in hand. But it is irresponsible to go out to the public of Saint Lucia
and to speculate on what you think may or may not happen, because on a continuous
basis the opposition have looked like fools ─ in making statements about fingerprinting;
you are not suppose to do fingerprinting. Oh, but here is a document that says that you
signed it into legislation.

How many more of these errors are we going to continue? But what I am saying is, you
are now maligning the name of a good company. And the only malignment and the
deterioration of the image of Saint Lucia is coming from the opposition, in your
continuing effort to be able to say things that are not based on fact, and the same thing
that just went on. No, the Voice asked a question, and The Voice also again speculated
on ... But you know, you bring up the Voice, because the opposition all of a sudden has a
fascination with the Voice Newspaper.


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On the 24th September, 2009 a very famous writer here call Micah George, after the
Rochamel papers came out, wrote an article, and the article says, “The dust seems to have
cleared a little, so here it is and it is bad, very bad. The report is so damning on the
former Government of Dr. Kenny Anthony, his wisdom regarding the proper management
of the countries finances, that I am beginning to ask myself whether ─ and listen to this ─
the former Prime Minister should be trusted again with the Ministry of Finance. As
brilliant an individual as the former Prime Minister is I have every reason to believe he
is brilliant ─ I wonder if this brilliance extends to the financial management. After
reading what the Commissioner said about the Rochamel Affair, and brushing aside the
101 questions that come to mind, I want to ask the former Prime Minister… I want him to
explain just one thing for me, why the establishment of Frenwell?

He then went on to say, “Talk about prudent management of the country’s limited
finances under Dr Kenny Anthony, I am even more afraid to comment on the NCA affair.
Now, when you keep on talking about why we bring up the past, I have to say to you, it is
extremely difficult to realistically sit here on this side, and accept constructive criticism
from an administration that, in nine years, tripled the debt of the country and ballooned
the expenditure. So now that we have found ourself with the worst crisis since 1930, we
are left with no options.

You know, when you talk about the US Government bailing out AIG to the tune of $85
billion... And sometime we say these numbers… we do not really know what they mean.
Eighty five billion dollars is the equivalent of the GDP of Singapore and Taiwan
combined. That is what the $85 billion is. But they had the capacity to dig into their
coffers to be able to make that out, because they had good fiscal management. In the Bill
Clinton days, they reduced the debt. Our debt had already passed 66 percent, when we
came into the office. Yes, it is true, absolutely true; it is a fact. In fact, it was 67 percent
in 2007, as you left office; 67 percent ─ that is what the debt was. And then you want to
criticise a man who has practised the most incredible fiscal responsibility, a person in my
leader, my Prime Minister, who I know weeps at the thought that anybody would have to
dwell without food, weeps at the thought that the value or the quality of life of Saint
Lucians has been reduced. To sit there knowing that he is at the helm, and as much as he
knows that he can spend that money, has to practice the discipline of not doing it. And I
challenge the people on the opposite side to go and review the performance of all the
islands in the Caribbean, and all the people in the rest of the world and see the level of
debt that they have inherited because of the recession. But this government did not do it.
It found ways to make cuts internally. It found ways to improve productivity, and, yes,
we went into debt. But as soon as this thing turns around, we are going to be there ─ and
you want to know when the turn around is coming.

The IMF report, in its conclusion, says, if I may, Madam President, “Against this
backdrop, the directors welcome the authority’s commitment to implement the credible
fiscal framework to achieve fiscal sustainability while minimizing adverse implications
for growth and employment. They encourage the authorities to move ahead with the



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implementation of the planned value added tax, and to embark on a measured withdrawal
of discretionary spending, including by scaling back capital spending.

“Over the medium term, directors emphasise the need to prioritise and improve the
efficiency of public spending, to continue the growth of the public wage bill, and to seek
more concessional financing in order to create fiscal space for higher targetted in social
spending to absorb it somewhere.”

Let me explain that in English, because sometimes I know we say things and we think the
people understand it out there. Saint Lucia has a debt to GDP of 67 percent, now 71
percent. But the cost of the financing to us is almost 15 percent of our recurrent
expenditure. Barbados has a GDP deficit of 115 percent to GDP, way past the prudential
limit. But the difference is that the cost of their financing is only 5 percent of their
Recurrent Expenditure. So sometimes we get very hang up on that ration, without
realising it is not just the ratio in itself, but it’s the quantum. It is the burden of that debt
on your society. And the burden of debt on this society is very high. And so what the
World Bank is saying to you, you must review the people who you have lent money to or
borrowed money from, and try to get more concessional rate to bring down that burden.

“Directors noted staff’s assessment, that Saint Lucia’s Exchange rate does not show
clear evidence of an over evaluation. Given the risk of low FDI inflows and increase to
growth potential, they encourage the authorities to move forward on structural reforms,
including improving the business climate and boosting labour productivity…” All those
things we have touched on. “The directors observe that the financial system has been hit
by both an economic downturn and a collapse of the CL Financial Group. Given the
deterioration in banks’ soundness indications, they encouraged the authorities to closely
monitor the financial sector and take action as needed. Directors welcomed the
authority’s regional approach to the strengthening of the regulation and the supervision
of non-bank financial institutions and the resolution of the insurance company BAICO.
They look forward to the adoption of the Financial Services Regulatory Act and related
regulations. Directors commend the authority’s intention to keep the SDR allocation as a
pool liquidity buffer.”

We have just gone through the worst recession. In addition to the worst recession, we
have had major fallout in productive sectors. Airlines went out of business, financial
institutions that we all looked up to, they though it could never go. In Jamaica, there is a
saying, “his money cannot finish.” That is what we thought about CLICO ─ their money
cannot finish. The government has been hit by Dean. It has been hit by commodity
prices. It has been hit by coming as a new government with a very aggressive opposition,
and I commend you all for that. You have done a great job ─ but that is a shock in itself
─ and this government has survived. But not only have we survived financially
according to everybody else, but also with our civility and our humility… and when I
listened to the Prime Minister’s speech and his presentation, that is the part that struck
me: the humility.




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So when we talk about Hewanorra Airport, the sun has not set on that airport yet. There
are multitudes of ways you can finance the airport. But you believe the opposition wants
to throw those out? No, they automatically believe that you are just going to borrow
money from some man and that also the debt in the country is going to go up. And
even… you know, when I hear the proposal of take the $250 million and put it into
WASCO instead when the airport generates revenue. Do you know that; that the airport
generates revenue? It generates revenue in the ground handling services; it generates
revenue in the stores it has there; and it generates revenue in the departure tax that you
have. So it has a revenue stream. When you talked about the water, you just talked about
the fact that we had a crisis in this region, throughout the whole region, Madam
President. Everybody … in fact in Trinidad they are still suffering from the drought, they
are still suffering; and this government, what did we do? We instituted a crisis plan and
we caused people to reduce the amount of water they consumed. We assumed that we
would not get rain until June, and we caused a cut back in the production of water. Yes
we did cut back on the consumption of water. And guess what? The rains came early
and we are almost back to normal. But in addition to that the government has now gone
into a contract with a company to do wells and to find a solution that if we have this
problem again, we have more reservoirs. We were very quickly able to get both the
reservoir at Praslin and Ravine Poisson working.

Now, Senator Greaves brought up a very interesting point. How do you know what
tourism is producing? How do you know the money that you are spending is going to
generate a return; and what does tourism generate? Well, there is a thing that is called a
Satellite Accounting System. It was developed by the World Bank and by the United
Nations World Travel Organisation (UNWTO), and it is now being endorsed by the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) and everybody. The leading person on it is a
gentleman called Adam Sacks, and I got tired of waiting. I do not make any apologies. I
come from the private sector, so sometimes the length of time it takes to get things done,
it is a bit annoying. So we used some of the $50 million from the Tourist Board’s budget
and had him come down and do a Satellite Accounting System. What the Satellite
Accounting … well let me go through the presentation.

So by monitoring tourism’s economic impact, policy makers can make informed
decisions regarding the funding and the prioritisation of tourism development. It can also
carefully monitor its successes and future needs. In order to do this, tourism must be
measured in the same categories as other economic sectors, example, employment and
gross domestic product. The problem with tourism is that tourism links to all different
sectors. So the situation with somebody who is a taxi driver, for example, will not show
up in the contribution to tourism. It would show up as a contribution to transportation. A
bank who lends money to a hotel or who lends money to a staff person working in a hotel
shows up in the financial sector, not in the tourism sector. So what a Satellite Accounting
System does is that, it penetrates tourism and it follows the tourism dollar and it starts
determining where the tourism dollar is going and who is making a contribution to, and
benefiting from tourism.




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Most economic sectors such as financial services, insurance, construction are easily
defined within country’s national accounts statistics. Tourism is not so easily measured
because it is not a single industry. It is a demand side driven activity which affects
multiple sectors, to various degrees. Tourism spans over a dozen sectors including
lodging, recreation, retail, real estate, air passenger transportation, food and beverage, car
rental, taxi services and travel agencies, etc.

The Tourism Satellite Accounting (TSA) was conceived by the UN World Tourism
Organisation and has since been ratified by the UN, Eurostat and Organisation for
Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The standard has been adopted over
50 countries around the world and the TSA deals with the challenge of measuring tourism
in two important ways. It defines the tourism economy and provides methodology for
calculating tourism GDP in a way that is consistent with the national accounts.

TSA enables comparisons of the importance of tourism to other sectors of the economy;
allows the benchmarking of Saint Lucia with other destinations; tracks the economic
contribution of tourism over time, and monitors the strength of tracking capital
investment; and allows for the extended analysis of full economic impact. This is done
by the Central Statistic Office which is the key agency and which has input/output
models, the Tourist Board who gives them statistics, the Ministry of Tourism, the
Ministry of Finance and the Tourism Economics.

The next one just shows you a graph of all the people: we have visitor surveys, we have
the balance of payments, we have household expenditure – figures that the statistics
department provides – cruise surveys, the national accounts and tax receipts, all going to
help build up this model.

The highlights ... Tourism is a vital and internal component to the Saint Lucian economy.
In 2008, the total tourism demand tallied $1.7 billion. Tourism GDP tallied EC $656
million. Tourism is the single greatest generator of economic activity in Saint Lucia.
Sixty-four percent of economic output is attributed to tourism, either directly or
indirectly. The core tourism sector, meaning the hotels and the restaurants, contribute 30
percent to the GDP, but when you take in all the other inducements, it is 64 percent.

Tourism activity injected EC $1.7 billion into this economy and nearly 80 percent of that
total came from stay-over visitors. That is why you call me Mr. Hotel, because what I
focus on is two things: I focus on the number of rooms that we have and what the
occupancy of the hotels are, because the higher the occupancy of the hotels, the more
linkages there are. Every single night in a hotel room that goes unoccupied, like the hotel
room tonight that is not occupied Madam President, it cannot be sold tomorrow. It is the
most perishable item we have ever seen. The opportunity of selling a hotel room on 25
September, tonight, could never happen again. It is lost. So the greatest cost that we
have for this country is an empty hotel room, because it means a taxi driver did not get
work; it means a farmer did not get to produce food for that person; it means the
government does not collect taxes; it means a vendor did not get the opportunity of



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selling something. That is the biggest cost. So that is why I am glad that you were able
to pin-point that very well.

Tourism spending in Saint Lucia. … Tourism has been a volatile but growing sector in
Saint Lucia’s economy over the past eight years. The volatility in tourism has been
because we have not put together a consistent marketing campaign, and we have not
treated tourism as if it were a science; we just allow and react. We do not anticipate
whether the air fares are going to change. We do not anticipate whether airlines are
going out of business. We do not anticipate where the market is growing and change our
marketing thrust. We do none of those things – none. We all believe that it is just the
hotelier that is raping Saint Lucia; that is what we all believe. And you know, it is
amazing to me that we continue saying that it is the foreign investors who control,
tourism. Eighty percent of the hotel rooms in Saint Lucia are owned by Saint Lucians
and people from the CARICOM region – 80 percent. Tourism consumption includes
only visitor related spending, while tourism demand includes capital investment and all
government support of tourism. So this basically shows you the sectors – the
transportation, recreation – that goes into the impact which produces the effect on
tourism.

Now this is a very important one, Dr. Plummer, because you made some statements, and
I just want to help clarify them, because sometimes I know that people make those
statements and they really believe it to be true. The manufacturing sector in Saint Lucia
benefits from the same incentives as, and more than, tourism. The manufacturing sector,
like tourism, gets fiscal incentives and tax relief on corporate tax holiday, as well as when
you are building the hotel or building your manufacturing plant, you get to bring
materials duty free. When you bring in your machinery and the hotel brings in its beds
and its linen and all that kind of stuff, all that comes in duty free. But here is where the
difference is. All the materials that you bring in to produce your products are duty free.
In the hotel sector, they pay duties on everything. So the duty on carrots is 54 percent,
the duty on fish is 51 percent, the duty on chemicals is over 60 percent. Okay? So when
you look at now this graph here, you have the accommodation sector up at the top, and all
the inducements down below. These are all the people that the more tourists you have
staying in your hotels and if it is the right type of tourist starts now providing linkages to
your opportunity. And what I was saying to a manufacturer, is it easier to sell to a person
who is in your country versus having to go through the process of getting your products
into another country, clearing all their standards, paying the transportation cost and then
competing on a world market? We are tied to the hip, the more you can sell, is based on
the more tourists we get here, and here is an interesting number.

The next slide just shows you how it is divided up, that hotels sales make up 40 percent
of the GDP, so hotel rooms are 40 percent of the GDP. Now here is the interesting one;
here was a big surprise. This was the revelation of revelations. Tourism generated $513
million in taxes for 2008, both directly and indirectly, and this was 67 percent of the total
government revenue. Sixty seven percent of government’s revenue is coming from
tourism, but 99 percent of people in Saint Lucia believe that the hotels are getting a free
ride. And what that translates into is that 67 percent of the education in this country is


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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
being paid for by tourism; 67 percent of water and health, of the roads is being paid for
by tourism. And the sad part is that tourism has only been performing at a 61 percent
occupancy. And then we are turning around and getting on our knees and begging other
countries to give us money, when we have the capacity within ourselves to earn our own
money, but we continue to be so blinded, our hate is so great, yet we talk about we should
be an open market, we should be receptive to people. But every time that this country
and people in this country are put to the test, we fail.

Ten years ago when they were bringing Haitians here – 1,500 Haitians to relieve them of
the stress and the poverty they had in their own country, not only Saint Lucia – there was
riot not to bring them in. We must stop this; we have far much more to gain as an open
society than we have as a closed society.

Here is the next big revelation – here is the other interesting one: tourism generated 27
percent of all jobs in Saint Lucia in 2008 on a direct basis – 12,000 employees. This
implies greater GDP per employee than the average of the economy, meaning if you take
those total numbers of employees and divided it over the GDP, tourism actually pays a
higher salary than any other sector in Saint Lucia. Yet, when we talk about tourism, we
talk about menial jobs; we talk about subservience; and that is why you find me, from the
time I came in here and even when I was President of the Hotel Association, if anyone
would refer to anybody working in tourism in that way, I would take them on. Because
for people to choose a responsible way to make a productive contribution to their
country, to be the backbone of the foreign exchange in this country, because over 80
percent of the foreign exchange in this country is earned through tourism, and for us to sit
there and criticise them is absolutely unacceptable. Unacceptable!

The next question we have to ask ourselves is … how many of us have asked ourselves
that question. Why would a tourist come to Saint Lucia? Why? Do we really believe it
is the only place they can come to for a vacation? I say numbers and I am not so sure
people listen to the numbers. The Caribbean is two and a half percent of world tourism –
two and a half percent – the entire Caribbean. That means that Saint Lucia is less that
1/10 of one percent of World Tourism. So that is how many other places people are
going to. You truly said it – competition: Jamaica, Barbados, the Dominican Republic,
the Bahamas and the OECS just here. Then you have Mexico, Asia, Indian Ocean and
the Middle East. We must keep our eyes on all of them and understand what each one is
doing and steal the ideas that are successful.

So in Asia, boutique properties became huge, and we have now adopted it. Now, I told
you I was going to come back to “The Bachelor.” Last year, when we saw that we are
going to have “The Bachelor,” and we knew that “The Bachelor” was going to be aired in
the beginning of March, and we knew that “The Bachelor” was the number one show on
the ABC and there would have been an approximate viewership of 17 million people
watching the show …

We also knew that after the H1N1with Mexico, there was also a further fallout with crime
in Mexico, and there was a huge decline in arrivals in Mexico. And my past experience


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indicated to me that people do not go back to places with that kind of crime. Well, just
think of yourself. Would you take your family to somewhere you hear that they are
shooting people, etcetera? They say, you know what, there are some other places to go. I
love Mexico, but you know what, I will pass it for the next two years. Let me see how it
settles down. So I suspected that there would be a segment of the American society that
would not go back to Mexico. So even though we were in the midst of a recession,
people were still travelling, there would be an opportunity to steal some market share
from Mexico. So what did we do? We put together an advertising campaign. We hit the
road hard - September, October, November and that resulted … What did it result into?
It resulted that in November we saw that Tourism arrivals increased by 10 percent; in
December, we saw it go up by 4 percent; in January we saw it go up by 13 percent; in
February, we saw it go up by 10 percent and in March we saw it go up by 14 percent.

But here are the real numbers … that the US market in those same four months increased
by 37 percent per month, and the airlines ran close to a 90 percent load factor. So it
means that we used all our seats, and that was without “The Bachelor”. All those
numbers did not have the impact of the bachelor. “The Bachelor” only came March 1st.
And we were then aggressive in getting the US airlines to increase capacity, which I just
told you about. So this summer, last summer in May, June, July and August, we had
9,000 airlines seats a month, and this year we are going to have 24,000. And so we are
expecting the US numbers to increase by 80 or 90 percent over last year’s numbers.
Now, when you talked stealing the opportunity and stealing the moment … and you
know, am I disappointed that my Budget was cut to $30 million? Hell yes! Do I think it
was right that my Budget was cut to $30 million? Hell no!

The government does not have the money. So what we will have to do with the tourist
board is to find other ways to try to continue the programme. And the goal here is to
increase the revenue in the country, because you know my Prime Minister is very tough.
He says, “I do not spend money, not knowing where the money is going to return.” And
when we start spending the $15 million initially, he started to see the return. And then
we get into crisis, after crisis, after crisis; and I can say it to you: thank God we had that
money to spend, because if we did not have that money to spend, the numbers would
have been down last year, instead of 5 percent down in Tourism arrivals - land based
tourism arrivals - we would have been down closer to 20 percent. And if you do not
believe me, go to Anguilla; go to the BVI - those are destinations that do not have a jet
airport. So when American Eagle went down, they had nothing to replace those seats
with. Go to St. Vincent; go to Grenada … The reason I am having the meeting with the
Grenadians is that they waited for Air Jamaica to go out of business. I saw it; we all saw
it; but they were living beyond hope. And the difference now is that when Saint Lucia
made that transition, we now have momentum. So Barbados went out - US$55 million
budget - imitated Saint Lucia, went and put all of the airlines in place, but guess what
happened? The business did not come. So USA that was flying daily this winter, went
down to one flight. Delta that was flying into Trinidad, gone; Delta airlines flew a flight
between La Guadia Airport and Nassau Bahamas for 30 years they flew that flight; last
week, gone.



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So it is not about just spending the money to get the airlift. It is about making sure you
fill those seats; if you do not fill those seats, then you can hang me, because there I would
have wasted your money. But do not tell me that you have an industry that is important
to the economy of Saint Lucia, there are so many people depending on it for their own
livelihood, and we play jokes with it: oh the Minister got $150 million. They forget to
tell you that in their own plans, they were going to move it to $30 million. So $30
million less $50 million is $20 million. Last year, I got $45 million, so that is only $15
million difference. So ultimately, in three years, what did I spent? I spent $35 million
more than they would. Now compare $35 million to $150 million. And they were
playing politics! But that is irresponsible. The most important thing for us to understand
is a formula called value. What is value? Value is price plus experience. What is
experience? It is safety, uniqueness and quality of service. We must increase the value
of the Tourism destination. Does crime hurt? It kills us - no pun intended. Does the un-
cleanliness of our country hurt? Sure it does, because it tells people that you are not
proud of being in your country. And why do I want to come to somewhere that is dirty?
When you go on a taxi and the taxi fare is EC$25 but you just tell them $25 and the
person gives you US$25 and you say nothing - that hurts. And these are the things in the
long run that we have to resolve, otherwise we will not have a sustainable project.

Branding … the former Minister for Tourism talked about branding; now this is a
gentleman that spent over $150,000 when he was in office to have a UK company
produce a new brand logo for Tourism. When I was Director for Tourism, we had Saint
Lucia with a little hibiscus flower called, “Saint Lucia Simple Beautiful.” He came into
power; he changed it, and he put Saint Lucia with some marijuana plant on the side in
blue. Do you know what the tag line was going to be? Earth Ship! We are going to go
from “Saint Lucia Simple Beautiful” to “Earth Ship.” How come he did not say how
much he spent on that. But he comes and says, Branding - Branding is a waste of time.
Tell that to BMW; tell that to IBM; tell that to Apple; tell that to Mac Donalds; tell that to
Coco Cola - branding means nothing - Branding means everything!

And here is the difference. When we came into power we said, let us not have a Tourism
brand. Let us have a country brand, because it is irresponsible for us to believe that Saint
Lucia is so big that one Ministry for Tourism can publicised its brand all over the world.
So we produced a brand that is Saint Lucian. The squiggles that he talks about are the
colours of the flag of Saint Lucia; and the two things that are the bumps, our world
heritage site - the pitons.

Now, nobody else in the world can imitate that logo - no one, because it is ours. And the
reason why there is no target at the bottom, so that Agriculture can put its tag; National
Development Corporation (NDC) can put its tag; Commerce can put its tag; anybody can
put whatever tag they want to. And the tag that we have chosen right now for our
campaign is called ‘Leave the Legend’ which is what … the history of Saint Lucia shows
that Saint Lucia is more than sun, sand and beach; show them that we have a real country.
That is the story we are going to tell. And the saddest part is that there has been plenty of
opportunities for the Minister to come and get that explanation, because it has been made
public. So again, to play politics with something that is your national, is like criticising


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your own flag. That is what the equivalent of criticising is. We are talking about
irresponsibility of money. Beausejour … the former government borrowed the money,
and you know how they paid the debt the first year? Tell them. The first person to win
the lottery won $900,000, and nobody claimed it. That paid the interest for the first year.
Then they went into debt and they were about to go into receivership; so what did they
have to do? they went to what? They went to a company called Canadian Bank note, and
gave them Beausejour, and gave them the lottery. So all the revenue of the lottery now
goes to Canadian Banknote. Canadian Banknote pays the National Lotteries Association
EC$25,000 a month to pay salaries. But all the monies that are supposed to be going into
sports and scholarships none - of it. And you designed a stadium to produce what? One
cricket event!

Thank God, that was not what you tried to diversify the economy. And what are you
going to do now? Even the people who buy boxes cannot get value because the time that
they had the cricket match, it was an international cricket match, they do not get access to
their box. So where was the financial prudence? And you know, when people come and
say certain things, there was another senator here who made a statement about NIC and
fiscal responsibility with NIC. Where was that person when they were making the
decision to buy the Blue Coral building? Fourteen million dollars ($14 million) Madam
President, estimated that they were going to spend $6 million in fixing it, but true course,
cost overruns - cannot have anything if it cost does not have cost overruns - it went to $36
million. So here is the problem - the debt that NIC has in it, the rent cannot pay it back.
So when we talk about transparency and you talk about sometimes that we bring up the
past, because it is difficult to take constructive criticisms from people who have yet to
apologise to the people of Saint Lucia. Where is the apology? Coming here and talk
about - concern for the poor people of Saint Lucia – and you put them in this debt? The
government was left with no choice; had to practice fiscal prudence; the debt was already
too high. Now, what I showed you was that the numbers are starting to rebound. And
you talk about all these projects that could not come through; the government realised it
needs to go to PPP programmes. Tell me the project – you know the former Minister
talked about so many other projects getting off the ground; he said Barbados, the Four
Seasons Hotel - it is not off the ground. It will only get off the ground if the Government
of Barbados puts up the guarantee to have that project go through. Four Seasons in
Nevis, still not open. Ritz Calton in Turks and Caicos, still not open, not one single
project since the recession, has restarted. Yet do we speak optimistically? Everyday I
am having meeting; everyday we are trying – the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr
Bousquot, myself, Prime Minister – everyone is trying to motivate and to get these
projects off the ground. And everyday you think you are a step closer and next thing …
it is like snakes and ladders. But I will not be daunted. I will not allow the criticisms of
the opposition to deter me in my effort to get those hotels open, because I know that in
getting those hotels open it means jobs for people; it means jobs, and that is how you are
going to solve the poverty.

I want to talk about VAT and property tax if I can Madam President, very quickly to
answer some of the questions. The reason a white paper was written was in order to get
the input of everyone. In terms of HAT, several other countries have attempted to put


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VAT on Tourism.. Because the mix of our Tourism is leisure, the prices that the hotels
charge include the air, includes commissions, and therefore when you put the VAT on
that, the amount becomes astronomical. So what they tried to do was to say, let us reduce
the VAT. So in the case of Dominica they have brought it down to 10 percent. In the
case of Antigua … So what we said is our problem is, we have been having difficulties in
calculating on a percentage basis. So let us go now to an absolute tax on HAT. But your
point is absolutely correct. It must be zero rated in order for them to be able to get the
credit. But that is the reason. We believe we can collect more money that way; so we
know there is an occupied room, here is what the tax is. In terms of property tax, again,
irresponsibility Madam President, irresponsibility when I hear a person of the distinction
of Senator Hippolyte talk about an old person having now to pay extortionate property
taxes and may lose the property, yet anybody who is over 60 years is exempted.
Anybody who has a house and land valued at … that you are buying a house for the first
time and it is $200,000 or less, no property tax; for $400,000 or less 75 percent, only pay
25 percent of the tax; $600,000, 50 percent. Anybody who is building a new commercial
building gets a tax exemption for the first three years. You really believe that this
government would put a tax in to try to overburden the people of Saint Lucia? But here
is the problem. The former government did not have the testicular fortitude in order to do
what. You had two forms of taxes. You can either pay, based on rent, or you can pay on
market value. Tell them how much money were you collecting – EC$2.5 million a year
in property tax. The lowest in the region, the lowest in the region, the lowest in the
region.

I want to leave this now, Madam President, and I want to go to a place that is becoming
very dear to my heart, which is Soufriere and Fond St. Jacques. I have to say that I am
extremely honoured and very touched by the reception that I have received in Soufriere
and Fond St. Jacques and I have also indicated … It is part of my Budget, yes. I have
now been made the caretaker for the United Workers Party in the Soufriere/Fond St.
Jacques area, and I have to say to you that I will be working very, very hard to help fix up
the bridge, to help fix up the Humming Bird Beach, continue work that we are doing in
Dewash with the farmers and the other farmers in the area, bringing lights and new
sporting activities to Soufriere. This weekend I would like to invite …

Senator Damian Greaves: Madam President, Madam President, on Point of Order, I do
not think that the Member has the prerogative in this House to talk about doing anything
in Soufriere.

Madam President: Honourable Member, what is the Point of Order?

Senator Damian Greaves: … and that should be stopped, Madam President.

Madam President: What is the Point of Order?

Senator Damian Greaves: The Point of Order is that the Minister for Tourism and Civil
Aviation is talking about whatever he is doing in Soufriere because he is a caretaker of
Soufriere. Being a caretaker of Soufriere has nothing to do with this Honourable House.


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If he wants to talk about the Ministry of Tourism and what he is involved in, in terms of
the explanation he has been giving, that is okay, but he cannot come in this Honourable
House and talk about you are the caretaker of Soufriere and then proceed to talk about all
the leebawah.

Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation: Madam President, let me reword it. We have
a project call Village Tourism and under the pretext of Village Tourism what we will be
doing is focusing very much to make sure that Soufriere is able to benefit from Tourism.
For over fifteen years, Soufriere has been made to languish. That when you talk about
having the World Heritage Site, you talk about having the Sulphur Springs, you talk
having one of the most beautiful waterfronts and yet, when you go to Soufriere, you do
not even notice that Tourism is in the town. We are going to make some fundamental
changes with the support of the people in Soufriere to see these things happen.

The water taxis… I am so impressed with the entrepreneurship that I am seeing and by
the development of the Humming Bird Beach to now bring tourists to that beach, and the
difference between the people who come on water taxi and the people who go on the
catamarans, Madam President, is that people who go on the catamarans are what we call
a pre-organized tour. So it means that they have already got the restaurant booked, they
have got the Sulphur Springs booked already. The objective here now is by bringing
independent tourists to Soufriere, they can now sell them touts and sell them drinks, and
sell them food, and sell them arts and crafts directly, and create a hospitable location for
them. So again, I believe there is a lot of opportunity in Soufriere, and I am very much
looking to exploit that opportunity in Soufriere and Fond St. Jacques.

So again, Madam President, I want to thank this distinguished House for the opportunity
of being able to speak today. I want to summarize by saying that I am in full support of
this Budget because of the is discipline and because of the strength that the Prime
Minister had to have in the tough decisions he had to make in these… It is a time where
it is unbelievable, and yet, we believe that the recession is over but yet there is still a lag
effect to this recession. So again, Madam President, I want the people of Saint Lucia to
know that I continue to support my Prime Minister, support of my Cabinet colleagues,
and that I will continue to work very diligently to make sure that the people of Saint
Lucia get what they deserve. Thank you.

 Honourable Attorney General and Leader of Government Business: Madam
President the extension of time which you granted to the Honourable Minister for
Tourism in order to help him complete his contribution to the debate has opened up the
possibility that we will not be able to conclude the business of Senate by 10:30 p.m. as
stipulated in the Standing Orders, and therefore, Madam President, I beg to move that
Standing Order 9(2) be suspended in order to allow this Sitting to proceed beyond the
stipulated hour.

Question Proposed, Put and Agreed to
Leave Granted



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Honourable Minister for Home Affairs and National Security: Thank you, Madam
President. I am pleased to stand in this Honourable House in support of the Budget
presented to this Honourable House by the Honourable Prime Minister. I must say that I
fully support the Budget as presented, under the theme: “The Road to Recovery,
Engineering Growth, Engendering Social Cohesion and Building Resilience to External
Shocks”. Madam President, let me take this opportunity, also, extend my best wishes and
congratulations to you on your ascension to the Presidency of this Honourable Senate.
Unlike those opposite who walked out in protest and did not even give you the privilege
of walking in with you, but today want to congratulate you... I wonder if it is this Kenny
and Tony syndrome that they are suffering from. But it is also interesting, and I am very
pleased at least to see that they have remained – the opposition has remained – in this
House throughout the debate. Although, as I speak, two of them are absent, but at least
they did not do like the lower House and suffer from the syndrome of walking out. But at
least they are here this evening. They are considered Her Majesty’s loyal Opposition and
so I expect them to be here to participate and to be Her Majesty’s loyal Opposition. And
I am also pleased that we are in the Senate, but we are not talking to an empty gallery. I
am really pleased to see the amount of people who are sitting in the gallery and we know
where they are from – from Soufriere and Castries East. I am very pleased to have them
in the gallery to support the Senate this evening.

Madam President, a lot was said by the opposition during this debate. Accusations
flowing left, right, and center and I wonder those persons who are giving advice now –
the qualified Auditors, etcetera, who were giving advice to this government now – where
were they when their government was in power? Where were they when the now Leader
of the Opposition was spending tax payers’ money recklessly? Were they there to give
support or to advise him on the Rochamel affair? It is not us that accused him of
maladministration. Was it? It was renowned lawyers and judges at the conclusion of this
appeal that accused him of maladministration. Where were they when all of that was
going on. And they have the gall now to try to give us advice? Look at the whole issue
of the airport development and the Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation eloquently
dealt with that situation. But who was spoiling Saint Lucia’s reputation in the
international arena? It was not this government. Who raised all this dirty linen and tried
to make it seem that what we were doing was corrupt? They did not wait and ask
question. They made all kinds of insinuations against the government, not giving
SLASPA the time to do the due diligence to prepare itself and then come and report
properly to the people of Saint Lucia. But then after they raised all this dirt and trying to
see what was going to stick, they went behind our backs and tried to tell the people just
hold on with your investment, elections are coming just now. Do the investment when
we are in power.

Madam President, we have seen Saint Lucia’s reputation being spoilt by what the
opposition has been doing. We are living in very difficult times, and last year when I had
the opportunity of speaking in this House, I said that we were living in perilous times,
and true enough I am still holding on to that view, because we continue to hear all sorts
of unfounded allegations coming from the other side, trying to make this government
look bad. But we know, without a shadow of a doubt, that we are still in recession, and it


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is a global recession – not just Saint Lucia – and Saint Lucia’s economy being dependent
on Tourism we feel the impact of that global recession. But we do not have anybody
marching in the streets, or striking, or chaos in our streets like we see in places, like
Turkey, that are more developed than us. Look at what is happening in Thailand and
these other more developed countries. But, you know what, because of the prudent
management of this country, we are weathering the storm. The opposition does not like
that, so they resort to all sorts of devices.

But, Madam President, one of the issues we have to deal with as a country, is the issue of
crime. A high crime rate spells disaster for our Tourism product, in particular, and our
economy, in general. And so, we, as a country, and as a people, need to come together to
do what we have to do to protect the integrity of our country. I am reminded of the song:
“We are the World.” This song, Madam President, “We are the World” was written back
in 1985 by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, and was sung by a group of well-known
and world renowned artists, at the time to draw attention to the plight of Africa and to
raise funds to alleviate the famine that existed in Africa at that time. In Saint Lucia, we
keep talking and talking about the impact of crime on the society, and the crime on the
economy of this country, yet, we still keep playing politics with the issue of crime. Year
after year, we keep doing it, and I am saying it is time to stop. It is time to change, and it
is time for a different approach.

Madam President, I can relate to Michael Jackson and his music because we were both
born in the same year, and I enjoyed his music growing up as a child. And in similar
fashion, there is a school friend, a classmate of mine, way back when I attended Anglican
Infant and Primary school. Her name was Sandra Lord, and her singing name was Little
Miss Blue. And she penned a song for Independence in 1979 called “Saint Lucians
Unite, walk in the light, join hand in hand to build a strong nation…”. And that is what I
am asking us as Saint Lucians to do today.

This year, we have a very important event taking place called “Homecoming,” under the
theme, (Creole starts) all Saint Lucians are one (Creole ends) - all of us Saint Lucians are
one. And I want to remind Saint Lucians that I have said it again and again, that crime
has no political colour. The perpetrators of crime do not care whether you are an SLP, a
UWP, a PPP, a ONE or any “P’ at all, and therefore, we have to unite as a country to
fight that scourge of crime. It is time we put our political colours aside, and deal with
that scourge of crime that we keep talking about. And so in the words of this song “We
are the World,” I thought I would change it a little bit and use the verse which says,
“There comes a time when we heed a certain call, when Saint Lucia must come together
as one. There are people dying - and that is a fact, literally dying - it is time to lend a
hand to life, the greatest gift of all. We cannot go on pretending day by day that someone
somewhere will soon make a change. We are all part of the Saint Lucian family, and the
truth you know, love is what we need.” If we have love for each other Madam President,
it will result in a reduction in crime. It will result in us treating each other better. And it
will result in better families and a better nation.




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But what examples are we setting as leaders for our children to follow? And when I sat
here in the Parliament during the debate in the Lower House, I was appalled at some of
the comments coming from the opposite side. Madam President, one of them in
particular that was really, really disheartening to me, was made by the Leader of the
Opposition. And I do not care how his Members tried to sugar coat it, that kind of
language, that kind of name calling should not be allowed in this Honourable House.
This is the kind of behaviour that we will not tolerate from our children, and why are we
allowing it to happen? And why are we doing it in this House? That kind of behaviour
cannot reduce on crime, because that is the kind of thing that gets people angry when you
denigrate them that way and they resort to violence, ─ if we want to see a reduction in
violence in Saint Lucia, we, the adults from the opposition, have to start behaving in an
appropriate manner. Because no matter how they try to tell me that is not what he meant,
how do I explain that to my 11 year old daughter, what was meant?

Madam President, I just want to take as an example, this calendar, ─ this is the dog
calendar and I put it up. What is this? This is a poodle. Now that is not a snake; it is not
a bird; it is not a fowl; it is a dog. A poodle is a dog, that is what it is. And when we start
referring to people as poodles, that is what we are calling them. And that has no place in
this House. And if we are going to talk about fighting crime, we have to start from here.

Madam President, crime and violence is the number one concern among the people of
Saint Lucia today, including the state of the economy and the world recession that we are
all feeling the negative impact of. Whereas my government is doing all that it can
presently to solve such a perplexing problem, we recognise that the involvement of the
people of Saint Lucia, particularly the youth, is necessary in this fight against crime, if we
are to be truly victorious. Therefore, our response must be immediate because crime, the
social cancer, has the potential to thwart the economic and social development of our
beloved country. That is why I have called for a joint sitting of the Upper and Lower
Houses to discuss and debate this issue of crime. If it is of such importance to us we will
let the highest authority in the land, the Parliament, give directions as to what we should
do to fight the scourge of crime, because no one of us has the answer. We heard all sorts
of things being said here tonight, and during the course of the day, because we felt that
what we had to say was gospel and that that was the way to go. But then you heard other
people come up with other ideas. And therefore we need to have a discussion ─ a
dialogue ─ at this level, and let the best ideas flow. No one of us is wise enough to have
all the answers. And so I call again for a bipartisan approach to fighting the issue of
crime.

I listened to the Member Opposite saying that the government was hellbent on destroying
the National Youth Council. Well, I do not know which government he is talking about.
Maybe he was referring to their government, because I know, as the Minister of National
Security I do have a good rapport with the National Youth Council and the President of
the National Youth Council.

Madam President, according to the 2010 report of the Caricom Commission on Youth
Development, youth crime cost Saint Lucia a high of four percent of its gross domestic


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product, and if the medical psychological, moral property and other economic cost to the
victims and their families are added, then the cost to Saint Lucia would be much greater.
It must be made categorically clear that this research data from the CARICOM
commission on youth development, further suggests that solving this problem must be
treated as a national urgency. As a result my Ministry has engaged the Saint Lucia
National Youth Council ─ yes, the NYC ─ in fruitful dialogue in an effort to get a youth
perspective to put a proper national crime prevention and crime fighting strategy in place.
And I must say that the NYC has welcomed this idea of co-operation and collaboration in
this regard. I am very happy to say, Madam President, that in the coming months, the
NYC, the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the Ministry of Education and my Ministry will
engage the youth of this country in various communities, and at a national level, in youth
related activities including a major national debating competition on crime, all geared
towards influencing policy decision-making in an attempt to handle this crime problem
while simultaneously ensuring that the youth are positively involved in meaningful
activities, and are contributing to national development.

Madam President, this national debating competition on crime will help us as we strive to
deal with this issue of crime. The background of this is that an analysis of the
perpetration of criminal activities in Saint Lucia clearly indicates that most crimes are
committed by persons between the ages of 16 and 35. The United Nations defines youth
as persons within the age range of 16 and 35. It is fair to say that most of the criminal
activity in Saint Lucia is committed by the youth of our nation. A number of reasons
have been given for this. These reasons include unemployment and poor parenting, and
we heard that today from our Independent Senator, and I endorse that. I think this is one
of the main contributing factors to it ─ poor parenting.

 Other causes include corruption within the law enforcement agencies, marginalisation of
the role of the church in our society, and the negative influence of external media; these
are some of the contribution factors. Now, given the recognition that the continuation of
the development of Saint Lucia ultimately resides with the ensuing generations, hearing
from the youth their perspectives on the causes and solutions to crime and violence may
provide valid options that could be considered by the government and the society, in
dealing with the socio economic problem that crime is. A debating competition will
provide an opportunity to hear from the youth themselves, all sides to the many causes
and solutions to the situations of the unacceptable level of crime in this very small society
of ours.

The competition will cause the participants to undertake both field and desk research on
the nature of crime in the society. And if the solutions come from the youth themselves
then implementation could lead to more satisfying rates of success. We cannot leave the
youth out of the equation if we are to be successful. And so, we will work out the format
of the competition with the young people, and I can ensure you, Madam President, that
we will have a level of success when this project is implemented.

My ministry will give its full support and there will be rewards and prizes for the
participants of this debate. If we really are in crisis, and we agree that crime is an issue,


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then, again, I say let us take a bi-partisan approach to fighting the issue of crime. Let us
all come together as one and let us show the criminals who are in charge. But at the
moment, crime is being used as a political football, and if we keep doing the same crazy
things all the time, we will keep getting the same results. So we need to change, Madam
President; we need to see a change.

In this regard, Madam President, the Ministry of Home Affairs and National Security has
a vision that we need to see Saint Lucia safe and secure through delivering effective and
coordinated security services in partnership with our stakeholders. And in that regard, we
have looked at a couple of priority areas. The Ministry of National Security is
responsible for four departments: the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force, the Bordelais
Correctional Facility, the Saint Lucia Fire Service and the Probation and Parole
Department, and we engage the various stakeholders, citizens and communities in Saint
Lucia. Our focus, Madam President, will be on five strategic areas for 2010/2011 and
our new initiatives are tied to these strategic areas, and we outline them here on the slide:
human resource development; improving institutional capacity to respond, because we
need to be proactive; building stronger partnerships and support networks; delivering
effective rehabilitation programmes; and to ensure continuity of communications and
operations of the various departments of our Ministry.

Madam President, one of the major challenges in our quest to combat crime is the reality
that crime is multifaceted. Everybody has been saying that. So there is no one plaster for
that sore. It requires a multi-dimensional approach in finding solutions to the issue of
crime. And as a government, we can do all that we can, but without the support of our
citizens and key stakeholders, our efforts will be futile. This means that every agency
and every individual in this society has to contribute to this process. I cannot emphasise
this enough, because you see, Madam President, the whole issue of the proliferation of
gangs and the gang culture in the cities and towns of this country has increased. Serious
and violent crimes in Saint Lucia. And we see, looking at this slide, the whole cycle of
crime in this country. One of the driving forces behind it is the whole issue of the drugs
and the influence drugs have on robberies, money laundering, burglaries, fraud, stealing
of motor cycles and illegal guns, which lead, sometimes, to murder and homicide. But
even as we talk about the drug culture and all the other illegal activities taking place,
according to our records, domestic violence is the primary cause of murders in this
country. It begs the question: what is causing all of this anger in our society? Why is
there so much anger in our people?

Madam President, when we look at this chart, we see that gang members commit
property crime to obtain funding for illicit operations, primarily narcotics trafficking.
Approximately $5 million worth in property value was lost in 2009 due to burglaries and
robberies. Funds from these property crimes are used to purchase narcotics and illegal
firearms. Inter- and intra-gang conflict over turf control result in murder and other
violent crimes. And then you have the consumers of narcotics also engaged in property
crime to satisfy their habits. Narcotic traffickers have at their disposal, through property
crime, ever ready funds to carry out their activities and criminals gain legitimacy through
corporate, political and social endeavours, thus negating law enforcement efforts directed


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at them. They look for cover any where they can get it to hide their dirty dealings. And
then having obtained that cloak of legitimacy, the criminals exert great influence within
their circles of crime. As a result of this readily available property crime fund, the
amount of narcotics arriving and leaving in Saint Lucia continues to increase.

One of the other offences, Madam President that is of serious concern to us is the issue of
burglary. Establishments, whether they be businesses or homes, are targeted when
occupants are away. The majority of the robberies and burglaries occur predominantly in
Castries, Gros Islet, Vieux Fort, Micoud, and the Anse La Raye districts. Anse La Raye
experienced predominantly tourist related robberies – Up to last year, we had the
incidents of a group of tourist being traumatised at the waterfall – whereas Castries, Gros
Islet and the Micoud districts experienced the most homicides. Madam President, when
we look at this chart up on the screen, it tells us the areas where burglary, robbery,
firearm use and murders happened on a regular basis. And if you look at the Castries
basin, for instance, we see that the Castries basin experienced the majority of the criminal
activity. The inner city ghettos surround Castries and the gang members use the ghettos
as a base and a refuge from which to launch their attacks on unsuspecting citizens and
visitors to our island. The prevalence of abandon buildings in and around the city center
acts as a safe haven for perpetrators of violent crimes. And if you look at this chart,
Madam President, and Members, you will see what is happening to our city, because
violent crime is most prevalent in this area. We expect that, in some instances, because
Castries is the most densely populated district and it is your centre of commerce, you
have people moving from all other districts, coming into the city looking for jobs, looking
to better themselves, to get to the better schools, etcetera, and some of them find
themselves in unfortunate situations … And we see here that a lot of the murders and
homicides are taking place surround our city, as though our city were under siege. And
the records will show that 59.75 percent of all murders for the year has occurred in the
Castries district.

Madam President: Honourable Minister for Home Affairs, I wish to inform that you
have only 10 minutes within which to complete your presentation.

Honourable Minister for Commerce, Industry and Consumer Affairs: Madam
President, I beg to move for the suspension of Standing Order 35 (1) to allow the
Honourable Minister for Home Affairs and National Security an additional 60 minutes
within which to complete his presentation.

Question Proposed, Put and Agreed to
Leave Granted

Honourable Minister for Home Affairs and National Security: Thank you very
much, Madam President, and thanks to my colleagues for the extra time, but I think that
the issue of crime is so important that we need to spend the time to talk about it.




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Madam President, and since the issue of the abandon buildings is a cause of concern and
somewhere that is harbouring criminal activity, we will be dealing with this in a
determined manner during this year.

Madam President, the records will show that even while we talk about all of these
murders and homicides taking place in the Castries basin, more specifically, 59 percent of
these murders were committed in the Marchand, Leslie Land and Morne Du Don areas of
Castries. And if you look at the chart of the homicide distribution, we see what is
happening to our country. Where the highest rates are the Castries basin with over 55
percent, Gros Islet with 15 percent, and Anse La Raye with nine percent. If the town,
village or community you live in does not show up here, that means that you are living,
for now, in a safe environment. But what is fuelling and what is the cause of all these
homicides, Madam President, is something we need to find out, we need to discuss, we
need to tackle. The crime rate in the country is normally measured by the amount of
homicides taking place in the country, and as was said before me, it did not start
yesterday; it did not start this year; it did not start last year. I want the figures to show
what has been happening in our country over the last 10 to 11 years, because, Madam
President, back in 1996 when we were a closer, friendlier society, there were nine
homicides in Saint Lucia. In 1997, the homicide rate went up to 12; in 1998 it went up to
14; in 1999 it stayed at 14, and then all of a sudden we had this jump to 23 and then to 34,
and then to 39; and in 2003, 36; 2004 38; 2005, 38; and then in 2006, the worst we have
had in our country’s history, 43. And then the figures have sort of stabilised in the 30’s,
apart for 2007, when the figure went down to 29. It begs the question, what has fuelled
all of this? What is happening in Saint Lucia? Do we continue to blame … each party
blaming the other for the crime situation? And then I hear people say the buck stops with
the Minister for Home Affairs and he has to deal with it. That is what I heard from the
other party. I am saying the time for this kind of nonsense is gone. We are now reaping
what we were sowing all those years, and we are showing it - a whole generation - ten
years. Look at what has happened to us, when before that our crime rate, our murder
rate, our homicide rate was down in the teens and in single digit figures. And look at
what has happened to us over the last ten years. What has contributed to this, and why
are we in that state at this time?

In the last two decades, the first significant increase in the homicide rate occurred in
2000, and the homicide rate in 1996, as I said, was only 9. And look at where we are
today. In 2007 we believe that the advent of Cricket World Cup and with the abundance
of man power, funding, training and equipment positively impacted on that year. But
then the numbers went up again, and in 2009, 37, and then we saw where we are today.

We also have to look at what times of the year these homicides are taking place. And we
wonder if there is a correlation with the kind of activity taking place during the year, or
the time of the year with the amount of homicides taking place. If you look at the months
of March and April over a four - year period, you will notice we have a low rate of
homicides. And we are told sometimes that - we are reminded too - that it is the time of
the Lenten season when there is not all this abandonment and so on, and maybe that is
one of the contributing factors to a lower crime rate, although these days nobody wants to


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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
observe that period any more. And then we look at the June/July period where there is all
this abandonment due to the carnival activities, and we see an increase during that time.

Now, there was an anomaly in 2009 when the crime rate spiked in June, when we had all
these gang warfares taking place in the city. And then we had discussion on what is it we
are going to do to try to reduce on the incidents of homicides in our country. And we
took decisive action for July.

Last year, the red lines will show you that in July, based on information coming from the
police on the amount of criminal activity taking place that sometimes lead to homicides,
we thought that we should try to put some controls in place for carnival. All over the talk
shows I got a lot of blows for it, Madam President. But we took decisive action, and we
notice that carnival in 2009 was one of the safest carnivals we have had in the last four
years.

We will continue to implement those measures this year because we know that the
criminals use the cover of darkness to perpetrate their crimes, and our responsibility is to
keep our citizens safe, to keep our visitors to our shores safe, and so we will implement
the measures we have to implement.

But sports is also another avenue that is used to keep the crime level down. When the
young people are engaged in a positive way, we also see a reduction in the criminal
activity. And so when you look at the green lines down during August to October 2007,
that was when again, based on the amount of crime that was taking place in the city, the
parliamentary representative implemented this ‘Peace and Love’ football tournament, and
there was a calm for that period, which resulted in the homicide rate going down for that
period. We have football going on now in Marchand, and it is having the desired effect.
So it shows that when you take decisive action, things are happening. But, Madam
President, we are still very concerned at the rate of domestic violence which contributes
to more homicides than any other factor, any other single factor, and the chart here shows
us what is happening. Twenty-five percent is criminal activity, but domestic violence,
Madam President is 26 percent, and gang related, drug related and all of these others deal
with the rest of it.

Madam President, we have also found that young men aged 19 to 24 years were the
dominant perpetrators of murders against other young men aged 17 to 30 years. And we
also see that the use of firearms and sharp objects are the major weapons used in carrying
out murders and homicides. The firearms trade is inherently linked to narcotics
trafficking. Narcotic traffickers and dealers need to protect their drugs shipments and
their territory, and therefore the use of firearms. But we do not make or manufacture
firearms in Saint Lucia, neither do we manufacture or make cocaine in Saint Lucia. Most
of the firearms originate from the US, South America, Martinique, Guadeloupe, and also
from Germany.

We have a serious problem, Madam President, with drugs being transhipped through our
ports, our porous borders. And I want to complement the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force


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for the efforts that they have been making in tackling this issue of drug trafficking
through our ports. The records will show that with most of the other OECS islands and
Barbados, the RSS territories with similar problems of drug trafficking, for last year,
Saint Lucian police were able to intercept the largest amount of cocaine in all of the
islands: six hundred and fifty-five (655) kilograms of that product was intercepted during
last year, but we still have more of those drugs coming into our country. Is it Saint
Lucians that are responsible for most of these drugs that are coming into our country,
Madam President? The records will show that many foreign nationals were arrested for
cocaine trafficking for the period 2007-2009, and this chart tells you where they have
been coming from. We had more Venezuelan, British and German nationals arrested
during the period 2007/2009 for trafficking in cocaine, than we had for any other
nationality. These are the problems that we are faced with in our little country today.
And in the case of cannabis or marijuana, we had Jamaicans, Vincentians and
Venezuelans who were the main persons arrested for trafficking in marijuana, than any
other nationality.

Now, we have a lot of people who are involved in the drug trade, Madam President, and
who are flaunting their wealth in our faces. They have no visible means of earning all
that wealth, they are not registered, not working for the government or for any established
company or business that they can be taxed, so they flaunt wealth; they build big houses
and they drive big, nice, fancy cars. Therefore, in order to bring some measure of
control, asset confiscation has to be in the mix.

We need to ensure enforcement of the Money Laundering Act No. 8 of 2010. This
involves confiscation of assets from the proceeds of crime. This is a necessary tool to
discourage drug trafficking, money laundering, and property crime that has increased
over the years because of its role in fuelling and funding narcotic trafficking and drug
consumption.

In terms of the burglaries, the absence of the Automated Finger Printing System has been
a problem, and the flaws existing in the transport system has facilitated the rise in stolen
motor vehicles from 2006 up. Madam President, stealing of motor vehicles was not even
on the radar back in 2006. But you see, that is where sometimes the policies of the
government can cause problems; because when the government policy was changed in
2007, when we did away with the annual licensing regime of motor vehicles in 2007, all
of a sudden all sorts of things started happening with motor vehicles. People knew that
there were no checks and balances, and all of a sudden stealing of motor vehicles came
on the radar screen. We have a problem there; we are talking about 1997, not 2007. But
we see we had a continuous increase in stealing of motor vehicles, as people use stolen
vehicles to commit their crime. We also saw an increase in criminal deportees coming
into Saint Lucia. We believe that also had an impact on crime in Saint Lucia and the
chats here will show you where most of our deportees came from. Now, not all of those
persons who were deported back to Saint Lucia are criminal deportees. I want that to be
clear because in many instances, especially when it comes to Canada and the United
Kingdom (UK), for instance, people were returned for sometimes very menial things: if
you cannot say where you are going to stay, who is meeting you at the airport, making


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sure you have enough money to meet your expense, and so on, you will be turned back at
the ports. Because it is easy for Saint Lucians to go into these countries since there is no
visa regime. And so, I want to caution Saint Lucians that even now that the threat of visa
regime is over our heads from the UK – as a matter of fact we are going to be having a
meeting with the UK Officials next week – that we cannot take this thing lightly and that
Saint Lucians must understand that they have the reputation of their country to protect.

So, like what is happening with some of the … all of you have been listening to the news
and you see what is going on in Canada, where we have some of our young males
committing serious crimes up there. This can have a negative impact on Saint Lucians
who want to go to Canada to better themselves, whether it be for medical purposes, to
live there or to go to school, and the same with the UK. So we cannot take those
privileges for granted. The concerns that are being raised by the UK are being taken very
seriously by this administration, and we will be working along with the UK Officials to
ensure that the concerns are taken care of and that there is no implementation of any visa
regime for Saint Lucians wanting to enter the UK. But we cannot take this for granted.
We must make sure that when we visit those countries, we behave ourselves properly.

We also, Madam President, have to deal with the stigma of those criminal deportees who
are coming back to our shores, because some of those people are well schooled in their
criminal activities. They have learnt it, they have lived long periods of their lives in the
more developed countries and then they come back to Saint Lucia after they have served
their time in these more developed countries. They do not have the family ties, the
family support structure here, and they go right back into a life of crime. Sometimes the
sophistication of their crimes presents serious challenges to our police. We will be
proposing some kind of monitoring programme for these people who come into Saint
Lucia just like in the US where persons who are accused or sentenced for child
molestation are put on a register and they are monitored. We will have to consider doing
something similar for those kinds of people.

But, Madam President, we also have another problem, and that is, even as we are
concerned about criminal activity, road fatalities continue to be a problem, and the same
number of persons died from road fatalities in 2007 as did persons who died from
homicides. Most road fatalities occurred as a result of people running off the road, head-
on collisions, hit and runs, motorcycles collisions and bicycle collisions. Some of the
main factors contributing to these fatal accidents: the number one, driving under the
influence whether it is alcohol, or drugs, or both; defective vehicles; the use of cell
phones while driving; speeding; persons on motorcycles who do not wear helmets;
persons riding in the back of pickup vans, flying out of those vans on impact. We have a
responsibility to bring a measure of order to the streets, Madam President, and so we
have been working very closely with the Ministry of Communications and Works to put
in the appropriate measures to fight that scourge.

Madam President, the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force is our primary agency responsible
for the protection and safety of our citizens, and it is continuing its effort to combat the
increasing incidents of crime in Saint Lucia, especially in the city and the surrounding


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areas. We have adopted a number of strategies which include the development of a
known offenders tracking system that allows for the analysis of wanted criminals.
Utilising the police network, this system has allowed for information sharing among
Police Stations. There is also significant increase in intelligence driven policing, the
development of crime management mechanisms to enhance the efficiency of crime
reporting, and increase police visibility. We have been deploying our resources
strategically and also in touristic areas. There have been increased traffic checks island-
wide. There has been increase in strategic sweeps and raids in crime hot spots, an
increase in execution of outstanding warrants and in the enforcement of provisions of the
Liquor Act along with Customs. There have been a number of joint customs and police
activities, and we have also enforced the provisions of the large crowd and gathering
permit. And we have asked the police to ensure that dances and large crowd events end
at the 2:00 a.m., the time which is permitted under the Act. We are also strengthening the
relationship between local communities and other stakeholders. We have also pursued
the reestablishment of a reward fund for the payment of informants, which has resulted in
an increase in the detection rate, and for the months of February and March this year, we
have seen a reduction in robbery offenses by 56 percent.

There has also been the introduction of the traffic enforcement team, as well as those
sweeps that we have talked about has contributed to the reduction. We have also seen
the effective collaboration with forensic science service labs in the UK which have been
giving us forensic evidence to help us in major crime fighting, and I cannot wait, Madam
President, for our forensic lab to be fully operational, because it is costing us a lot of
money and it is taking a long time to get our samples out of the UK and other places. We
have also, Madam President, had the recruitment and training of fifty-eight new
Constables who are now employed with the Police. We have improved our
telecommunication system – and that is an ongoing thing – and we have procured two
additional vessels for the Marine Unit. These vessels, Madam President, despite what
you heard from the other side about no capital expenditure for the Police for the last two
quarters of the year, we have signed and made the appropriate deposits on our boats
during this period, and we expect our first two boats to be here by the end of June, early
July.

We are also nearing the completion of the refurbishment of the old cat whiskers building
in Rodney Bay and that is, a good example, Madam President, of collaboration among
the private sector, the citizens of Saint Lucia and the government, because our social
partners are the ones spending the money to refurbish that building while the government
is going to find the resources to man it and make sure that we secure that Rodney Bay
area. We replaced the asbestos roof on the police band building for the comfort of our
officers, and we constructed generator houses, opened a custody suite which gave us
extra capacity to hold persons who are arrested – because we are bursting at our seams at
the various police stations – and continued the training, Madam President, of hundred of
our officers in firearms use, crime scene management, traffic, criminal investigation,
mediation and supervision training.




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As we move forward, Madam President, a closed circuit television system is being
worked on. Again, it was mentioned in last year’s Budget. The funds were not available
for last year but the funds are being made available this year for the implementation of
that system. We have to use that new technology to assist the police in being more
effective. The Police will continue to hold community and group lectures, as we practice
and improve on our community policing. And, Madam President, I must say that this
morning I was late coming here, because I was down in Anse La Raye which was a good
example of community policing where the Police in Anse La Raye came together with
the Magistrates, the teachers, and other prominent people in the community of Anse La
Raye, to deal with a problem that exist in Anse La Raye: that of delinquent school
children and that of children being around adults selling alcohol, especially, during
Friday fish night in the village. And it was felt that instead of throwing the long arm of
the Law at the problem and arresting people, call the community together, call the leaders
together and let us discuss the problem – tell me what the Law says that is acceptable –
and not acceptable and they had a whole day’s workshop dealing with that problem, and
that is a good example of what community policing is all about. I want to commend the
officers down there for this initiative. And that is what I want to see happening in other
jurisdictions right across the island.

There are a number of other initiatives, Madam President that we have undertaken in the
Police Force, but I do not have the time to go into all of them. But in recent times,
Madam President, there have been some serious crimes that have never happened in this
country before, and we want to ensure that we help our Police. Therefore, this year, one
of the things they are going to get is the automatic finger printing system and other assets
to assist with their work. We are also working on the establishment of a reward scheme
for our police officers. And this policy is designed to recognise and reward individuals
and teams who make an exceptional contribution to the overall aims and objectives of the
police department. And as we develop that further, we will be sharing it with our
officers, because we want them to go after those cold cases and get them solved. We
recognise that we need to keep our police officers motivated, if we want them to be in the
frontline of the fight against crime. This, we believe, can assist us in our crime fighting
efforts.

We are also going to put in place the protective services compensation board, so that
officers who are injured or killed in the line of duty will be taken care of.

It brings me to an incident that happened here, and the first of its kind in Saint Lucia
recently, when on Thursday the 8th of April, 2010, Magistrate Anne Marie Smith was
shot multiple times as she left her home in Marisule. The government has taken the
decision along with the police, and a reward is being offered for information leading to
the arrest and conviction of the individuals responsible for the attempted murder of
Magistrate Anne Marie Smith. The reward that is being offered is for EC$25,000. And
anyone with information on this incident should contact the major crime unit at the
telephone number showed on the screen or the Gros-Islet Police Station.




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We are very concerned about the attacks on our judiciary, Madam President, and we are
making every effort to put in place the appropriate protection measures for them. We
have met with the judiciary. Proposals have been submitted to government. They are
being analysed. They are being costed, and at the appropriate time, they will be
implemented. But it is not just the judiciary. It is also our police and law enforcement
and we had a similar situation where on Sunday the 10th of January, 2010, at about 9:25
pm Special Constable 104 Lucan Lesmond was also shot multiple times as he made his
way from his home in Marchand to work.

The government is also offering a reward of $25,000 for information leading to the arrest
and conviction of the individual or individuals responsible for the attempted murder of
Special Constable Lesmond. And anyone with information on this incident should contact
the major crimes unit or the Marchand Police Station. We want to show that the
government is serious about solving these crimes, and that we are serious about the attack
on law enforcement, and on the judiciary in Saint Lucia.

Madam President, I have spent a lot of time on the police and law enforcement because
this is one of the very critical areas, but I do not want to end before I touch on the
Bordelais Facility. How much time do I have, Madam President?


Madam President: Approximately 27 minutes.

Honourable Minister for Home Affairs and National Security: Twenty seven minutes;
thank you. I want to touch on the Bordelais Facility which recently celebrated its seventh
anniversary on January 15th 2010. The facility consists of nine residential units to house
450 inmates and details. But at present, Madam President, we are over the capacity at that
institution. But it is not only gloom and doom at that institution; there have also been
success stories there as well.

You will note that we currently have about 554 inmates in the institution, and the
majority of them, as you would expect, are our young males. But it is important that even
as we secure those persons who have fallen foul of the law, we implement an appropriate
rehabilitation programme for those persons. Because even if the department’s mission is
to protect society by providing a controlled, secure, safe, humane, productive and
rehabilitative environment for those assigned to that facility, it is not just about locking
them away and throwing the key. Most of these people are going to come back into the
society after they have served their time and what is it we want? Do we want them to
come out worse or better than when they went in? So we have to put appropriate
programmes in place. And, Madam President, let me list some of the achievements we
have had in that facility for the last year. We have undertaken four capital projects which
were funded during this period: the closed ─ circuit television security system and the
fencing of the farm at the facility. The fencing is complete. The folks who are putting in
the cameras and so one are here completing the installation, and within the next couple of
weeks, the entire new security system at the facility will be in place. This is going to help
us bring a certain level of control to what is happening at the facility. It will then allow


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us to let the inmates be on the farm and be productive inmates. The reorganization of the
prisons is taking place; we have purchased a commercial oven, because you would
understand that a hungry man is an angry man, and you want to ensure that people are fed
to prevent any disruptions at the facility. And we have undertaken some minor and major
repairs of the facility.

On the rehabilitation front during the period January to July of 2009, 51 inmates were
enrolled in the basic education programme. A total of 18 inmates received the National
Learning and Enrichment Programme (NELP) certificates in both Mathematics and
Language Skills. And during September to December 2009, the programme was
expanded to accommodate inmates at the CXC level and 65 inmates were enrolled, 20 of
whom are being prepared to sit the CXC exams. So we are working with our inmates to
improve on their skills and their well being. The remaining 45 inmates participated in the
basic education programme, and 17 of them are due to receive the NELP certificates in
Mathematics and Language Arts.

During the fiscal year, 2009/2010, the industries unit employed inmates in the areas of
garment construction, information technology, small engine repair, carpentry, joinery,
and agriculture. And the following specific projects were accomplished: the completion
of a poultry pen to house 3000 chickens. Now again, that is an ongoing project. But I had
to put a stop to it early last year, because we could not put a poultry farm on the outside
of the facility and unprotected. We have had thefts taking place in the piggery, and you
could imagine what was going to happen if we had all those chickens on the outside of
the facility without it being fenced. Now that the fencing is there, we will be having our
chicks and we will be improving on our piggery.

We also have the construction of a small abattoir, the completion of the farm irrigation
system, and the introduction of bee keeping. We have our piggery with a successful
breeding programme, which currently has 70 pigs. And, in collaboration with the
National Enrichment and Learning Programme (NELP), we accomplished the following:
Ten inmates were enrolled in the agricultural programme, and seven were successful and
attained certificates for their achievements. Ten inmates enrolled in tailoring and garment
construction, and two inmates have continued the profession on being released from the
Bordelais facility, and are working as apprentices in the sewing industry. So we are
giving those inmates life long skills that they can use to benefits themselves, so they do
not have to go back into a life of crime when they leave the facility. And with
information technology, for now, this programme was offered to the female inmates and
four of them are enrolled in the programme.

In the area of small engine repair, 10 inmates were enrolled; four inmates have since been
released from the facility and attachments are being secured for them within the industry,
and they are still currently employed in that sector. So, good things are happening in the
facility, Madam President. But I want to see a lot more. I want to see a lot more of our
inmates employed or engaged in those kinds of gainful activity within the facility, to
improve on the record of those leaving the facility.



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On March 5th 2010, 40 correctional officers graduated from the Police Training
Academy, and have joined the ranks of the Bordelais Correctional Facility thereby
allowing the Department to pursue, more vigorously, the inmate rehabilitation
programme, while simultaneously generating revenue from the farm and the workshop.
We want to continue, as a way forward, to increase the training opportunities for both our
inmates and our staff, because even while we put in place those rehabilitation
programmes for our inmates, we have to continue to work with our staff to help them
better prepare themselves for the work that they have to do and to help them overcome
the stress of that job.

The programmes unit will be implementing the anger management, substance abuse,
adolescent development programme, and sexual deviant counselling and training during
this first quarter, and will participate in the Entra ─ 21 programme as proposed by the
NSDC, CARE and Rise St Lucia Inc. The programme proposes to target issues of crime,
youth development and the reduction of recidivism.

Madam President, with the implementation of the security system, our correctional
officers and the new leadership team at the facility, the focus of the department will be on
the strategic priorities of security first, then changing the offending behaviour of our
inmates and detainees, while simultaneously generating revenue from the facility.

I will turn my attention now to the Fire Department. During the period under review the
Fire Service Headquarters was relocated from the La Toc Police Training School and the
Parliament Building, on Laborie Street ─ because they were spread about ─ to its new
location on Manoel Street in Castries. Among our areas of focus was training officers to
enable them to perform their duties effectively and in a timely manner. And as a
consequence, a number of officers received training in the following areas: Junior
Officers Leadership Course, Train the Trainers Workshop, Detroit Diesel Engine
Training all the way in Austria, Fire Prevention and Administration in the United States
and Fundamentals of Effective Communication. The fire service computer data base has
been completed and it is to be commissioned in this fiscal year. At present, the Fire
Service is in the process of creating a website which will provide information to the
general public and enhance the work of the Fire Department. Now, due to the prolonged
recent drought conditions in Saint Lucia we experienced, the department’s resources were
over stretched during this time as we had to conduct and combat a number of bush and
structural fires while at the same time responding to numerous ambulance emergency
calls. Madam President, the Fire Service has been under tremendous pressure during this
time and so I commend them for the good work that they have done during this time.

Our vision, our strategic priorities and our programmes for the Fire Service will continue.
The Fire Service medium term strategic priorities include the replacement of a number of
fire appliances, ambulances and pieces of fire equipment on a phased basis. Some of
those have outlived their useful life and we therefore have to modernise the equipment if
we want to continue to get that high level of performance from our fire officers. The
priorities are the construction of a modern Fire Service headquarters at Vide Boutielle. A
modern fire service headquarters will enable us to deliver a parallel service to the


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development of the country. We will also continue with our middle management
training, and training in other areas that are required by the Fire Service.

The Probation and Parole Department, Madam President, also had some achievements to
brag about. Eight probation officers were trained as mediators and seven officers
received certification. Additional programmes for rehabilitation of offenders were
introduced and they include life skill programmes, indoor and outdoor sports, remedial
education, drama workshops and community service. The Department maintained a low
rate of recidivism, and probation officers maintained a 100 percent rate of efficiency in
their submission of reports to the courts. So I want to congratulate the Probation and
Parole Department for the work that they have been doing and the work that they
continue to do with our probationers.

As we move forward, we will be establishing an attendance centre to conduct diversion
from court programmes for 12 to 19 year olds between the hours of 9 am and 6 pm, and
the centre would serve to expand the services provided by the Art Generation (Saint
Lucia). The project is directly related to the government’s strategic objective in reducing
recidivism among offenders. We will also be implementing an outreach programme for
schools and communities by probation officers. We are working with the Attorney
General’s Office on the introduction of new legislation in respect of curfew laws for
juveniles below the age of 16. Once we have done that, we will be in a position to
introduce a curfew for juveniles below the age of 16 and to curb the propensity for
criminal activities and deviant behaviour of children below that age in the city of Castries
and its environs and every other place where these young children engage in deviant
activities. Madam President, you only have to go to Rodney Bay on a Friday night, go to
Dennery, or go to Anse La Raye, and you will see the problem that I am talking about.
And like, the Independent Senator, I ask the question: where are their parents and what
are those children doing out there all hours of the night unsupervised?

We are also working in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of
Youth and Sports for the implementation of a supervised suspension programme for our
children. It cannot be that children are suspended from school; they leave home in their
uniforms as though they were going to school, with their ordinary clothes in their bags,
and their parents are not even aware of what they are doing, as they are out there trying to
earn a daily living to protect and support those children. And so a proper supervised
programme has to be put in place where those children will be able to continue their
academic studies while they are suspended from school, and appropriate remedial
programmes will be put in place including, depending on the nature of the offence, a
parenting programme for the parents of those children. We have to take the nurturing of
our children seriously. So, Madam President, as we deal with this situation of crime in
Saint Lucia – the Police and the Ministry of Home Affairs – we are doing what we can.

There is a list of equipment that the police are going to get during this period. Also, the
Fire Service will receive attention, and funds to be spent for the Probation and Parole
service. I cannot go through all of them here, because of the time, but millions of dollars
are going to be spent on behalf of these agencies. I want to thank the Commissioner of


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Police and the members of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force for the work they have
been doing in keeping Saint Lucia safe, but I want to stress again that the safety and
security and peace in our country cannot be left on the shoulders of law enforcement
only. All of us have to play our part in crime prevention – every Saint Lucian, young
and old. And if we can come together as one, we can fight that scourge successfully.

I want to thank the Correctional Officers at Bordelais, the Fire Chief and his men and
women and the Director and staff of the Probation and Parole Department for their hard
work during this year. I want to thank my staff, the Permanent Secretary, the Deputy
Permanent Secretary and staff of the Ministry of Home Affairs and National Security for
their support during this year, and I know that I can continue to count on them to ensure
that we monitor and give support as an agency to all of the Departments under the
Ministry of National Security.

I also want to touch on the work of the Regional Security System (RSS) which is another
very important agency in securing Saint Lucia and indeed the OECS and Barbados, and
of which Saint Lucia currently holds the Chair, giving us that extra responsibility. The
RSS itself has been a driving force in helping us secure our borders, and we want to thank
the men and women of the RSS who gave us the support that we needed.

So let me end the way I started by calling on all Saint Lucians, regardless of your
political persuasion, regardless of your race or colour, if you live in Saint Lucia, you
make Saint Lucia your home, you have a responsibility for all of us to come together to
fight the scourge of crime and to help make Saint Lucia a safe and friendly place for all
of us to live in, to work in and to invite guests to our country. Madam President, I thank
you for this opportunity.

Honourable Attorney General, Minister for Justice and Leader of Government
Business: Thank you, Madam President. I am sure that everyone is watching the time of
night – if their eyes are still open that is – so I will really try to wind up as quickly as I
can. A number of the comments which were made by the Independent Senators and the
Opposition Senators – questions which were asked – some of them have been addressed,
and my major role will be to touch on some of those questions or comments which have
not been addressed.

Among them was a comment by Senator Emma Hippolyte who said that as a result of the
5.2 percent negative growth, Saint Lucians are now much poorer. I am not sure, Madam
President that this is so at all. I say so, because, as I indicated in my address, inflation
was extremely low – unusually low – just about one percent as against 7.2 percent the
previous year, which means then that the price of basic goods was fairly stable in the year
2009 and the purchasing power of money did not change much at the local level. So
while there might have been some decrease in growth, in effect it was partly compensated
for, by the fact that inflation did not rise. The Senator also suggested that the 5.2 percent
negative growth was due to poor management. Well now that the Commission of Inquiry
has … I was going to say that no Commission of Inquiry has yet deemed our
Administration to be mal-administered. No, they have not; there have been no


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Commission of Inquiry. On the contrary, this is exactly what has been done in the case
of the Ramsahoye Commission of Inquiry.

I must also say that I looked at the tables in the Social and Economic report and I
compared three years in our government and a period of the former government when it
was in recession. We say recession, that is when growth diminishes, and in fact, more
specifically, I am thinking of the years 2001, 2002, 2003. In 2001, growth was -0.04
percent. There was a contraction in the year 2002; the growth was 4.12 percent, and in
2003 it was positive 0.57 percent. The average for those three years if, my mathematics
is correct, was -1.19 percent growth, negative growth for those three years. Now, if you
compare the last thee years of our administration, what to you find? We are talking about
the last years, all our three years. In 2007 when there was positive growth of 1.48
percent, the year 2008 when there was positive growth of 0.72 percent and the year we
are now reviewing, 2009, which was -5.19 percent or 5.2, and the average was negative, -
0.99 percent growth, just below one percent. So that even at our worst times this last
year, and if you look at the surrounding, the two years, we have performed better than the
three years that I have compared, when your negative growth was -4.12 percent and our
worst was 5.19 percent. So we have done better in that three year period than in yours.

What this says is that the former administration fared much more badly during that
period; and was the poor performance due to poor management? I suspect it was as well -
I suspect it was … Senator Emma Hippolyte - to some extent the Independent Senator,
Dr. Alison Plummer, emphasised the need for transparency, accountability and for audit.
Senator Hippolyte seems to be pleased with the statement in the Throne Speech as to
measures that will be undertaken to protect tax payers from wastage and loss of public
funds. We agree with the senator; we fully agree with the senator. This administration
was appalled by the fewness of audits of government expenditures under the nine-year
plus term of the last government.

We detected many irregularities in the financial administration of the previous
government. This is why we instituted the Ramsahoye Commission of Inquiry, and this
is why we have decided to enact certain laws as stated in the Throne Speech to protect tax
payers’ funds and to recover debts to government. These, I think, are the laws which
Senator Hippolyte is so pleased about, and of course they will come to pass before long.
She also talks about a high debt ratio. I think the Minister for Tourism has adequately
dealt with many of the matters relating to debt, but I will just say a few words on this.
We have heard what the debt to GDP ratio happens to be in some of the countries of the
regions, and he gave a number of them. Saint Lucia is nowhere as high as these
countries. In fact, if my figures are high we borrowed an additional – I am not sure about
the figure, about $81 million last year, and this increased our debt to GDP ratio by about
5 percent from 66 percent to 71 percent. Now, I would like the senator, if she has a copy
of the Social and Economic Report, I would like her to look at page 33 of the tables in the
Social and Economic Review.

The interesting thing there is, that somewhere in the table, there is reference to a debt to
the Royal Merchant Bank of Trinidad and Tobago. Now, the amount is so huge that the


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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
finest print had to be used to accommodate that figure, and, in fact, at this time, especially
when we are falling asleep, it is just not possible to read the size of that figure.

Yes, I do not think you will see it, but what I can suggest to you though is that if you look
at page 37, yes, well they have to blow up, then you will see what the amount is. Royal
Merchant Bank, $118,850,000. And you know what this Royal Merchant Bank loan is all
about? You talked about … We keep harping on the same issue ten years later, but here
is a living debt we have to pay as a result of the Rochamel scandal. So ten years later we
are still saddled with that debt on page 37. That debt will be with us for, I suspect,
another 25 years. So the question though is, if the $81 million or so which we borrowed
last year raised our debt to GDP ratio from 66 percent to 71 percent an increase of 5
percent, what was the result of this $118 million that was borrowed to pay the Royal
Merchant Bank? I am sure that alone must have increased the debt to GDP ratio to at
least 7 percent - that single Rochemel scandal.

A number of senators commented on the interest rate of a contract relating to the
construction of the Hewanorra International Airport. Well, all I can say is that the
question is quite irrelevant, for the simple reason that no contract has been awarded. Our
government values transparency, accountability, and so far and I can assure you when the
time comes - I am almost sure it will - we will be quite transparent in this forum here
right in parliament. We will give you all the details of the contract, including interest
rate. I think we can put this to rest at this point.

Madam President: Honourable Attorney General please direct your attention to the
Chair.

Honourable Attorney General, Minister for Justice and Leader of Government
Business: Yes, Madam President. Madam President, Senator Emma Hippolyte …I think
she asked quite few questions and she targeted them directly at me, and so I have to try to
answer them. She asked whether the sum of $1 million was advanced to a proprietor for
the rental of some premises by government. I have been advised that no such sum or any
sum at all has been advanced - I clarified this - neither am I aware of any lease agreement
that has been finalised. As Attorney General I would normally know about such a lease.
And so that answers your question. It is authoritative.

Madam President, Senator Hippolyte said that steps must be taken to protect NIC funds.
Again, as far as I know, government has not abused NIC funds - we have been here for
three years. The only loan that I know about was one which was guaranteed very
recently by the government in respect of a loan from the NIC to the Saint Lucia
Development Bank for on-lending to students and small entrepreneurs. I do not know of
any other new loan over the last three years. And so in a sense we respect NIC funds.
They are there for the pension benefits of our people, and we certainly are not
accustomed to abusing people’s monies. That is not relevant at this stage. Madam
President, I do think this is relevant at this stage.




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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
The senator also asked me whether the new regime on property tax involving a levy on
commercial value of property will affect retired persons. The answer is empathically no,
because the Land and House Tax Act exempts persons who are over 60 years from
paying property tax, so you do not have to worry about that either.

Dr. Alison Plummer, Madam President, said something I liked very much. She said it is
abuse of constitutional power for the opposition to pounce like vultures upon government
for any small mistake, for political advantage. Well said, well said Senator Plummer,
well said. As you said you are not out to make any political mileage in any of your
speeches, but I suppose you cannot beat the subconscious.

Madam President, Senator Silas Wilson tends to make judgments on cases which are
before the courts. I think he should have heard this. He talks about systemic impediments
to prosecution of cases. I would like to advise Senator Wilson that one should be
cautious in making such statement - very cautious. There is, in law, a principle which we
call sub judiciary, the sub judice principle which discourages public judgments on
matters which are before the courts. So I think he is going contrary to that very, very
valued principle.

Senator Everistus Jn. Marie made some very valuable suggestions relating to fuel prices
and encouraging the use of diesel and not legislating trivial issues such as one cent
increase. We thank you for this, and we will take it to the policy makers to ensure …
Senator Jn. Marie also made reference to crime rates. I visited Belize very recently and
was rather flabbergasted by the high murder rate there - really flabbergasted. I was taken
by surprise. The senator said that the rate is 32.7 homicides per 100,000 and that Saint
Lucia was not significantly below. In fact, he suspected Saint Lucia was number two,
and I spontaneously said this cannot be so. In fact, Saint Lucia’s rate during the past
three years - and I took advantage of the Minister’s figures - about 20 per 100,000. I took
an average of 35 over the last three years.

But anyway the homicide rate, Madam President, is about 20 per 100,000 for Saint Lucia.
I also know, Madam President that Trinidad has about twice our homicide rate. In fact,
just over twice. Yesterday, the homicide number was 168 and their population is about
900,000. Anyway, it is just about twice ours, and Jamaica is about three times ours. So,
if you want to make an assessment of what it might be in Jamaica for every 100,000, it
would be about 60 persons per 100,000 individuals in Jamaica.

In fact, I should give another statistic - and again, I look at the figures which my
colleague Minister for Home Affairs projected. When we compare the total number of
homicides in the last three years with those for the three previous years - the three
previous years are 2004, 2005 and 2006 - and you compare this with the three years that
we have been in power - that is 2007, 2008 and 2009, if you total the number of
homicides, you will get for the period 2004, 2005 and 2006, a total of 119, and for the
three - year period that we have been in office, 2007, 2008, 2009 – I totaled them; they
come to one hundred and seven – twenty-nine, plus thirty-nine, plus thirty-nine. So that
is a difference of twelve, and that works out to be 14 percent. What it means, then, is that


                                                                                        152
Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
the homicide rate over the last three years is 14 percent less than that of the three
previous years.

Senator Greaves made comments on our struggles at the Ministry of Justice. I thank you
for those comments. I want to take this opportunity to tell him that we have another
major problem at the Ministry of Justice. This morning, I was very much in a hurry to try
to wind up, and I regretted that I did not make that point, and I would like, if I may,
Madam President, to just briefly read what I should have stated this morning and it says:
As I conclude this review of the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General’s Chambers, I
must remark on the major problem of the Ministry at this time. The courts are too
scattered and too insecure. In addition, the congestion of files pose environmental
hazards, and I believe that it would be a great day when the court houses can move into
an environmentally friendly and a secure hall of justice, where justice can be properly
administered. We are indeed grateful to the CDB for granting the Eastern Caribbean
Supreme Court funding for an ongoing feasibility study on the hall of justice. It is as
important … I think one of the most important developments that will take place in the
justice system – the construction of a hall of justice. It will make justice efficiently
delivered. It will bring about security, and it will bring about economy in the use of the
resources. So I strongly support this project, and thank God CDB has granted the ECSC,
the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, an amount of $900,000.00 to carry out that
feasibility study. I wish it had employed me to do that study. That is a lot of money.

Sorry, Madam President… This time of night… I think I have covered the few points
that I wish to make, Madam President, but if you would bear with me for just a few
moments, I have to say this. This meeting this evening has been a very long one indeed,
but I think it has been gratifying. I have always enjoyed our exchanges in this
Honourable House. There has been mutual respect among the three parties around the
table. I have found our sessions to be very illuminating and educational. To you, Madam
President, I extend my congratulations for so successfully presiding over this, your first
meeting of Senate. The staff of the Parliament Office has been dedicated, ever willing to
assist. Even at this late hour, I cannot see through anybody here, but I have seen no signs
of drowsiness, even at this very late hour which is very, very commendable indeed. I
think the media have been extremely patient, and I want to thank them for the coverage
of these proceedings. And I want, on behalf of my colleagues all around the table, to
thank God for the health and the inspiration which he has granted to us to ensure that this
debate is completed.

Thank you very much, Madam President.

Question Proposed, Put and Agreed to
Bill Read a Second Time




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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
                                      COMMITTEE STAGE

Clause 2 Ordered to stand part of the Bill
Schedule 1 Ordered to stand part of the Bill
Schedule 2 Ordered to stand part of the Bill
Clause 1 Ordered to stand part of the Bill

Question Proposed Put and Agreed to that the Committee Rises and the
Bill be Reported
House Resumed
Bill Reported with no amendments
Question Proposed, Put and Agreed to that the Report be adopted and the
Bill Read a Third Time and Passed
Bill Read a Third Time and Passed

         COMMERCIAL CODE (BILLS OF EXCHANGE)(AMENDMENT)

Honourable Attorney General, Minister for Justice and Leader of Government
Business: Madam President, I beg to present for First Reading a bill shortly entitled
“Commercial Code (Bills of Exchange)(Amendment).”

Bill Read a First Time

Honourable Attorney General, Minister for Justice and Leader of Government
Business: Madam President I beg to move for the suspension of Standing Order 49(2) to
permit this Bill to go through its remaining stages at this Sitting.

Question Proposed Put and Agreed to
Leave Granted

Honourable Attorney General, Minister for Justice and Leader of Government
Business: Madam President I beg to move for Second Reading a Bill shortly entitled,
“Commercial Code (Bills of Exchange)(Amendment).”

Madam President, permit me to give, very briefly, the background to this Bill. I think
most Members are quite aware of its history. You will recall that it is one of a suite of
five Bills suggested by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank for stabilising the financial
sector. The history of this particular Bill, in a previous parliamentary session which just
ended, two of the Bills became law. The two that became law were the Payment Systems
Bill and the Money Services Bill.        The third Bill, the present one, that is this the
Commercial Code (Bills of Exchange) (Amendment) Bill went through all its stages at
the House of Assembly in the previous session. It was also tabled in Senate during that
session ─ the previous session ─ but an amendment was made to the effect that the date
of the cheque should be included. Briefly, a cheque constitutes one form of a bill of
exchange. Normally, when they are presented at a bank you will have to wait for
clearance for three days or thereabout, sometimes much longer if it happens to be an


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Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
overseas bill, but the purpose of the new Act is to ensure that it can be dealt with
electronically and instantaneously. So at the last Session of Senate it was suggested that
one feature of every cheque should be the date of the cheque, and that was accepted. The
Bill went through all its stages at Senate. However, because of the end of the session, the
Bill died, and so it had to be taken back to the House of Assembly and again taken back
to this place here.

So this is the history of the Bill. I do not think there is any need for any discussion on it
at this stage except for all of us to just say “aye,” and so Madam President I submit for
consideration of the Senate, the Commercial Code Bills of (Exchange) (Amendment)
Bill.

Question Proposed, Put and Agreed to
Bill Read A Second Time

                                      COMMITTEE STAGE

Clause 2 Ordered to stand part of the Bill
Clause 3 Ordered to stand part of the Bill
Clause 4 Ordered to stand part of the Bill
Clause 5 Ordered to stand part of the Bill
Clause 6 Ordered to stand part of the Bill
Clause 7 Ordered to stand part of the Bill
Clause 8 Ordered to stand part of the Bill
Clause 9 Ordered to stand part of the Bill
Clause 10 Ordered to stand part of the Bill
Clause 11 Ordered to stand part of the Bill
Clause 1 Ordered to stand part of the Bill

Question Proposed, Put and Agreed to that the Committee Rises and the
Bill be Reported
House Resumed
Bill Reported with no amendments
Question Proposed, Put and Agreed to that the Report be Adopted and the
Bill Read a Third Time and Passed
Bill Read a Third Time and Passed


     NATIONAL SAVINGS AND DEVELOPMENT BONDS (AMENDMENT)

Honourable Attorney General, Minister for Justice and Leader of Government
Business: Madam President, I beg to present for First Reading a Bill shortly entitled,
“National Savings and Development Bonds (Amendment).”

Bill Read a First Time



                                                                                         155
Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Honourable Attorney General, Minister for Justice and Leader of Government
Business: Madam President, I beg to move for the suspension of Standing Order 49(2) to
allow this Bill to go through its remaining stages at this Sitting.

Question Proposed, Put and Agreed to
Leave Granted

Honourable Attorney General, Minister for Justice and Leader of Government
Business: Thank you Madam President. Madam President, I beg to present for Second
Reading a Bill shortly entitled, “National Savings and Development Bonds
(Amendment).”

Madam President, just a little background to this Bill. Senators will be aware that we
have just gone through the Budget, and in this budget, the Prime Minister and Minister
for Finance proposes to raise the sum of $97 million in government savings bonds on the
Regional Government Securities Market, the RGSM, and that is to assist him with the
financing of government’s Capital Expenditure programme.

The ability to issue and pay savings bonds in Saint Lucia is regulated by the National
Savings and Development Bonds Act Ch.15.25. The Act provides the limit for issuing
bonds under Section 3, and the amount allowed under the Act is $800 million. But there
are some commitments to what is available. The total amount outstanding is only $770
million, and again some of the bonds will be maturing, so it will not be possible for
government to be able to draw down or to add to the available amount the additional $97
million that the government wishes. And so it is necessary, for the Act to be amended to
accommodate the $97 million which the Prime Minister intends to use to finance the
Capital programme. It is for this reason, then, that we are proposing that Section 3 of the
Act be amended to increase the limit for issuing bonds from $800 million to $900
million, so that the Minister for finance can legitimately carry out his Capital programme.

So I commend to the Senators, the National Savings and Development Bonds
(Amendment) Bill to allow for an increased amount which is permissible for the issuing
of the additional $97 million required by the Prime Minister.

Question Proposed, Put and Agreed to
Bill Read a Second Time

                                      COMMITTEE STAGE

Clause 2 Ordered to stand part of the Bill
Clause 1 Ordered to stand part of the Bill

Question Proposed, Put and Agreed to that the Committee Rises and the
Bill be Reported
House Resumed
Bill Reported with no Amendments


                                                                                       156
Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Question Proposed, Put and Agreed to that the Report be Adopted and the
Bill Read a Third Time and Passed
Bill Read a Third Time and Passed

Honourable Attorney General, Minister for Justice and Leader of Government
Business: Madam President, I beg to move that this House do stand adjourned sine die.

Question Proposed, Put and Agreed to
House adjourned at 11:44pm




                                                                                 157
Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
INDEX

A                                                  N
ACP-EU, 82                                         National Development Corporation
Appropriation 2010/2011, i, 2, 46                    (NDC), 129
Asphalt and Mining (A&M), 23, 29, 30,              National Enrichment and Learning
  31, 32, 98, 121                                    Programme (NELP), 104, 146
                                                   National Export Development Strategy,
C                                                    60, 61
Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), 15               National Insurance Corporation (NIC),
Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), 7,                 6, 23, 30
  153                                              National Insurance Property
Caricom Single Market and Economy                    Development and Management
  (CSME, 62                                          Company Ltd. (NIPRO), 31
CAT Unit, 12                                       National Savings and Development
CDF, 16, 17, 18, 20, 63, 92, 93                      Bonds (Amendment), 155, 156
Commercial Code (Bills of                          National Youth Council (NYC), 75, 136
  Exchange)(Amendment), 154
                                                   O
E                                                  Office of the Private Sector
Economic Partnership Agreement                       Relations(OPSR), 56
  (EPA), 62                                        Offices of Trade Negotiations (OTN), 43
                                                   Organisation of American States (OAS),
F                                                    19
Financial Intelligence Authority, 14
Florida Caribbean Cruise Association               R
  (FCCA), 112                                      Ramsahoye Commission of Inquiry, 150
                                                   Regional Security System (RSS), 149
G
Gross Domestic Product (GDP), 4, 27,               S
  29, 74, 77, 83, 90, 98, 121, 122, 123,           Saint Lucia Development Bank, 6, 151
  125, 126, 127, 150, 151                          SEDU, 56
                                                   Sir Arthur Lewis Community College, 6,
H                                                     24, 28, 104
Hewanorra International Airport, 5, 71,            Small Enterprise Development Unit,
  72, 88, 90, 151                                     SEDU, 55
HOPE, 7                                            Special Framework of Assistance (SFA),
                                                      57
I                                                  St. Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority
International Monetary Fund, (IMF), 24,               (SLASPA), 31
   28, 34, 67, 77, 81, 99, 122, 124                STRIDE, 55, 57
International Organization for
   Standardization (ISO), 59                       U
                                                   Universal Health Care (UHC), 25



                                                                                      158
Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010
                                                   W
V                                                  WASCO, 78, 85, 106, 124
Value Added Tax (VAT), 29, 77                      World Bank, 7, 85, 123, 124
VAT, 29, 77, 78, 79, 99, 130                       World Trade Organization (WTO), 61




                                                                                    159
Journal of the Senate of Tuesday, April 27, 2010

				
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