Opposition UWP Accuses Pierre Of Betraying Public Trust – St. Lucia Times

The content originally appeared on: St. Lucia Times News

The United Workers Party continues to raise its concern over a motion moved in Parliament on Tuesday, 13 February to borrow USD 42 million or EC 113 million dollars from the CDB as a policy-based loan.

The passage of this resolution has sparked controversy and concern since the Prime Minister in his presentation revealed that there are 8 conditionalities attached to the loan.

The main and first condition set by the CDB was to enhance tax revenue and support fiscal stability.

To do that the Philip J Pierre administration agreed to impose a 2.5% levy that they hid as a Health and Security tax.

The questions now being asked by the public are: why was this information not revealed last year when the government implemented the tax ; and why did the government LIE to the public of Saint Lucia to say that the tax was to help in Health and Security?

The question was answered On Tuesday through the Prime Minister’s own words. The 2.5% tax, purportedly for health and security purposes, was in fact a 2.5% levy that is a condition of the loan and not a genuine effort to raise funds for national security and health.

The Prime Minister hid the truth of the levy from the people.

Although there was no increase in the Budget for Health and Security, the Prime Minister prevailed upon the nation to make the sacrifice and bear the heavy load of a 2.5% tax for the benefit of the national health and security sectors. But this was not true.

The real reason for the extraction of funds from the pockets of the people was to satisfy the conditions to recover revenue, and not for the improvement of health and security.

How can we trust this government? Instead of providing clear and transparent explanations, the government opted for secrecy and evasion.

Furthermore, it is not surprising that such a significant financial decision, with far-reaching implications for our nation’s economy and future, was not subjected to debate by any member of the Saint Lucia Labor party.

They all sat there and were afraid to defend the motion. The question is why? Is it because all of them knew from last year that the real reason for the tax was not for health and security but a conditionality to secure a loan from the CDB? Is this lack of disclosure and debate reminiscent of the Rochamel ordeal that cost taxpayers so much?

This lack of engagement and transparency is irresponsible and undermines the principles of accountability and democratic governance.

The question therefore arises as to why would a government who claims that they are presiding over a supposedly thriving economy agree to such draconian conditions? The people deserve to know why such extreme measures were deemed necessary. Clearly the economic picture is not as rosy as the picture being painted by the government.

Despite attempts by the Leader of the Opposition to shed light on these issues, his efforts were thwarted by the Deputy Speaker of the House, Jeremiah Norbert.

The immaturity and inexperience of the Deputy Speaker was clearly displayed when he was caught up in his own self-importance rather than allowing the Leader of the Opposition to speak. Does the Deputy Speaker understand that he has a duty to fairness and protection of the minority?

The United Workers Party will continue to bring the truth to light and hold our government accountable for its actions.

We will continue to fight for transparency, accountability, and the best interests of our nation and its citizens.

SOURCE: United Workers Party

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