Budget Address [2017] -Building A New Saint Lucia

Madam Speaker, I am extremely honoured today to deliver the policy statement on the budget for fiscal year 2017/18 to this house. This is also a very special occasion for me as I am for the first time presenting a budget address to this Honourable House. I feel extremely humble Madam Speaker and I wish to place on record my thanks and appreciation to the people of Saint Lucia, especially the people of Micoud South many of whom are here today, for reposing their confidence in the United Workers Party when they voted our party by a landslide majority into office on June 06, 2016.

 Madam Speaker, I wish to inform the people of Saint Lucia that our Government will not let them down. This is why we began to work on the day after elections. We are confident that with the help of the people of Saint Lucia we will rescue our economy. Madam Speaker, Our Government has been in office for a little over 11 months, and now have a full appreciation of the state of the economy and the public finances. I must say, the situation confronting Saint Lucia, is far worse than we thought it was. 

Madam Speaker, the dashboard of economic and social indicators for Saint Lucia shows that we are trapped in a vicious cycle characterised by low growth, high unemployment, and high debt. This malaise has brought untold suffering on the people of Saint Lucia. We intend, with the help of the people of Saint Lucia to turn this economy around. Madam Speaker, much has been written about the state of Saint Lucia's economy and I believe we all know the problems very well. The myriad of reports written by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, the Caribbean Development Bank, essentially highlight the same set of issues and challenges faced by this economy. These include low growth, high public debt and fiscal deficits, high unemployment, low productivity, lack of competitiveness, structural problems in the labour market and the high costs of doing business. 

Madam Speaker, these issues have been discussed ad nauseum yet the problems still remain. We are determined to lift Saint Lucia out of this economic quagmire by taking the necessary tough policy decisions required to lead us back onto a trajectory of higher growth, sustainable debt, high levels of investment, low unemployment and an improved standard...[Download PDF]