Pierre Says UWP’s Reckless Financial Mismanagement Worse Than Initially Thought

The content originally appeared on: St. Lucia Times News

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre told parliament that the former United Workers Party (UWP) government’s reckless financial management was worse than initially thought.

As a result, Pierre explained that the country now requires prudent financial management to avoid falling into ‘a financial abyss’.

Addressing the state of the country’s finances when the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) came to power after the July 26, 2021, general elections, the PM said as of July 31, 2021, Saint Lucia’s debt was as follows:

Public Debt – $3.932 B
Local Payables – $154 M
Design Finance Contracts – $184.5 M (5years’ repayment)
Other commitments not accounted for
unpaid land acquisition – $60M
Due to the University of West Indies – $27M

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“Other balances due by Ministries e.g. Ministry of Economic Development is indebted for work done under the Constituency Development Programme (CDP) – $4.18M, even if the grant allocation by the Taiwanese was provided to cover CDP Payments,” Pierre stated.

He said the UWP government received five loans totalling $323.8M from four existing international creditors.

“As of July 31, 2021, the former government has used $301M meaning that of the COVID-19 Borrowings this government only benefitted from $19M of these loans. My government is able to draw down on a $10M US loan from the Republic of Taiwan,” Pierre told parliament.

“We have found a situation where government expenses have to be financed from revenue, rollover financing, and bond financing, and treasury bills. For the last three months and before the next budget cycle begins, we have no access to institutional lending as was available to the last government,” Pierre, who is also Minister of Finance, disclosed.

On the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) administration’s first 100 days in office, Pierre declared that the way the government has started is a fine indication of where it is determined to be before it reaches the halfway mark of the first term.

“It also underscores our sworn commitment, regardless of circumstances, always to put the Saint Lucian people first!” He stated.

Pierre declared that although these are challenging times, there’s room for optimism.
“Our tourism sector is on the up. Businesses are beginning to return to some normality. Investors are showing greater interest in Saint Lucia,” he noted.

In addition, he spoke of plans for some significant capital works while noting that according to the health authorities, the COVID-19 situation is trending well.

” I call on the Saint Lucian public to be patient. We are in government to work in the interest of the Saint Lucian people,” Pierre expressed.

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