Letters & Opinion

Who celebrated what and why?

THE EDITOR: With most of us, our birthday celebrations are usually a big fanfare. Whether ‘blocko-style’ or quietly with family and friends, we generally always celebrate that annual milestone.

The same is true for this UWP administration: Even though the PM was out jet-setting again during his momentous victory celebration, the party and Cabinet loyalist took time to say thanks for all they had achieved. A few dinners here and there, one or two photo-ops to show how “popular” they still are; and of course, the church service.

And while yes, I heard the complaints on the talk shows during the anniversary celebrations, however, I totally understood the need for those who took time to celebrate two years in office. After all, if you are on the receiving end of all that is good from this administration, would you too not want to shout out in joy?

I mean, if the Prime Minister had kept his promises and gotten rid of the IMPACS nightmare, you don’t think the Police would have been celebrating as well this week? Or, if the PM had kept true to his word and eliminated VAT totally — or at least reduced the gas prices as he said he would – a lot more people would have been joining in on the UWP fun.

I am sure the culture and arts enthusiasts would have been happy to be merry with the UWP on this anniversary, had their budgets for the creative industry not been slashed to zero.

Without doubt too the legal fraternity would have joined that celebration, had they been able to break ground at their promised new court facility at Barnard Hill.

But instead of more of us celebrating, sadly, it was only a few people wearing yellow shirts doing so.

I think the celebrants of that anniversary, as evidenced by the news reports, were few and far between. From my vantage point, beneficiaries would have included only those who got the 24 tax exemptions and the project management training recipient who, in just two weeks, was able to earn an external degree from the $24,000 paid for by the state.

And I am sure if we looked hard enough in the audience we may have also seen the receivers of the over ten million sent to OJO labs and the CHTTI. Or, just maybe, we might have seen the thousands sent home from NICE — although if The Spider was the host of these anniversary events he probably would not have invited them.

But seriously though, all jokes aside: What really did this administration take time to celebrate? It’s been two years of non performance, saved only by the commitments to existing Labour projects/initiatives and an environment where only select ‘Friends, Family and Foreigners’ can benefit.

What is the real legacy of this administration two years later? Here’s my list: A Parliament operating without a Deputy Speaker, the largest Cabinet in our history, the irregularity (if not the un-constitutionality) of multiple Cabinet Ministers serving in one department, 1,000 acres given away to one foreign developer, a $20 million abattoir to be demolished to accommodate DSH, St Jude hospital stopped at 70% completion while $1 million is spent on a forensic audit, Soufriere square stopped at 70% completion, the Vieux Fort administrative centre stopped, the Castries Gros Islet road expansion funding of $150 million already secured was halted, the Wind Farm Project in Dennery (an initiative that would have powered 20,000 homes) also stopped, subvention of the National Trust pulled because they dared to stand up to the PM, the Jazz & Arts Festival destroyed and replaced with one which has reported dismal losses over the last two years, Radio St Lucia and Tourist Board dismantled and staff sent packing, schools in state of disrepair, over triple-increases in travel taxes (and even more on the cards) which will negatively affect locals and visitors – plus a whole lot more too numerous to mention.

And to top it off, the PM has broken the travel budgets of the Government every single quarter since 2016 and has exceeded the credit card expenses of any Prime Minister in Saint Lucia’s history, but has not delivered one project, one loan, one new investment from all these world tours. And what some of his regional colleagues have been saying leave us to believe that at last one of them might very well think that he’s ‘not too bright’…

Saint Lucians, are we ready for two or three more years of more of the same?

Yolanda O’Brien

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