Thursday, July 31, 2014

Building A Nation On Prosperity In St Lucia by Melanius Alphonse

The following is an extract taken from an article by Leader of the LPM.
The Political Facts:
 
EN ROUGE
  Two-and-half-years of labour shock and misery is a far cry from the high expectations of en rouge, better days and socialism dependency, having sold to voters what they wanted to hear, rather than what they need to hear. The fiscal deterioration that citizens are experiencing today was not expected and, as such, something they were not prepared for.
 Recently, in keeping with the hollow shell of Dr Kenny Anthony’s socialist government, he activated a delaying tactic to appoint commissions. This is a strategy used by governments when in doubt and need help. However, voters understand such and reward in kind with the power of the vote.

 Of late, the conservative ideology of change is coming is equally unbelievable. It is simply stubborn ideology that is in search of a policy of restoration and rehabilitation. Such dreamland thinking is also indefensible, since it is made up of a make-believe fabric that is worn out and more suitable for biodegradable use. Thinking and believing that change can happen without collective responsibility and a leader with nothing in common with Saint Lucian people
. The story line is that of two ideological parties are stuck in a generational style of pure old politics that is not authentic and does not rise to the current challenge to change the dynamics from a socialist government that is too fat, to a leaner government, and from decades of wasteful spending and corruption.
 Unfortunately, Peter pays for Paul, as both governments have developed annual budgets that are unable to signal fiscal management plans, set medium to long term goals and a road map for future reforms.
 Now that the rubber meets the road, water bills have increase by 66 percent, VAT is 15 percent, an even on ground provisions. We are paying more for electricity and public transportation. And fewer subsidies that unfairly hurt the working poor and create adverse effects on fixed incomes and the middle class’s ability to invest and grow.
 This is a government that does not have its priorities in order and is ill-advised, such as the Dr Kenny Anthony’s socialist government’s decision to stop abruptly all ongoing projects upon coming into office in 2011. Rather than completing them through tighter controls, closer monitoring and reporting, while taking the tough call and making the hard choices.
Instead, mindless populism and unguarded expectations gave way to irrational exuberance.
This hurts even more, now that not one major project is capable of creating an impact on job creation, and unemployment of 24.9 percent and climbing, or to improve revenue generation. The best gig government can muster is the routine maintenance and reconstruction of roads, sidewalks, (ti-canal construction) and bridges more comparable with local government operations of old time politics. And a heartless Dr Kenny Anthony’s socialist government that takes away 5% from the wages and salaries of the poor and vulnerable under false pretence of fiscal deficit reduction for political propaganda.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Are Choiseulians Proud of What They See?


  
View on entrance to Lorne's Village
  It takes a big chunk out of my heart any time I leave my abode and have to enter the Choiseul Village to do some transaction at the Choiseul Credit Co-operative.  The entrances to most of the village and towns round the island are blessed with large billboard depicting ' Welcome to ?'...the name of the district. Apart from the Credit Co-operative's billboard and another by some Security Services Company, which are strategically place a the Three-cross roads junction in La Fargue, The entrance to the Choiseul village coming in via the Police  station, is blessed with one of the most natural and creative sights one could ever imagine. Smh. (Don't believe a word of it.)
    Choiseul is blessed to have a Minister of Tourism, and one would have thought that with the Constituency Development Fund, which by the way is managed by the Rep's local office, the input of the Constituency Council, and the vigilance of the Rep's prided group, much more could/would have been done to make the entrance into Choiseul something to be proud of. Not to mention the ambiance it would create in the eyes of our overseas visitors who frequently pass through our village to visit historical sites as well as our Catholic church.
    
Delapidated building
Have not the Rep  and the relevant authorities seen this? The must have, and let me tell u why. As soon as you approach  that corner, the mashed up house looms before you, but you must slow down considerably as your vehicle maneuvers  HUGE and I mean HUGE pot holes, only  to prolong the pain of this unsightly thing before you. So don't even mention that this sight passes them unnoticed.
To add insult to injury as one travels deepen in to the village just at the corner before the Church is another gorge. What is wrong with the authorities......this is a pain it the A....!
    One may recall that the Councillors of 2011 -2012 did take  stand and had an eyesore [a garage] demolished....it was proving to be a hazard to motorists and pedestrians alike. This present council and the Rep must display some gonads and give Choiseilians a better deal than this.
  
A car in one of these pot holes 
In closing, Mr Rep, Tourism Minister are you proud of what u see when you enter Choiseul Village? Have u not felt the back and forth rocking of your vehicle as you manage this huge pot holes in the Village? The only reason that you may not have seen these two eye-sores could be that your Choiseul attendance register shows you absent, MUCHO.
   Finally with the Constituency Development Fund and the little subventions to the Constituency Council, please improve the situation of the roads and get this monstrosity out of sight.

MY EYEBALL HURTIN ME!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Plain Talking... And Truthful By Peter Josie.......

I have often been at pains to explain that my weekly contributions to The Weekend VOICE is a labour of love. It takes time and effort as all writing does. I do it because I derive some sort of pleasure as I share my thoughts with readers. A compliment here and there from a kind soul comes as an added bonus, and I am thankful for such blessings. I take it that they agree with certain things I say and, that those who disagree are either too inert or indifferent or both, to offer a comment.
Anyone who regularly reads these weekend pieces would have noticed that Prime Minister Kenny Anthony is not my favourite politician or my preferred Minister of Finance. The reason is quite simple. I think the man is inept, heavy handed, dictatorial and arrogant. And I am not the only person who thinks that way. Others, who share my sentiments unfortunately, keep their feelings to themselves.
Whilst mulling over this I came across the following quotation which captures my core sentiment – and personality.
Quote: “The soul God gave me isn’t of the sort
That prospers in the weather of a court.
It’s all too obvious that I don’t possess
The virtues necessary for success.
My one great talent is for speaking plain;
I’ve never learned to flatter or to feign;
And anyone so stupidly sincere
Had best not seek a courtier’s career.” (Moliere; ‘The Misanthrope’)
I pray to continue to speak plain. In this regard I must admit that the fault, dear reader, is not only in Kenny Anthony but, in ourselves that we are underlings. Neither can we blame anyone else after 60 odd years of adult suffrage - including 35 of independence! The fault is in the way we think; the way we see ourselves, in our refusal to face the truth even when it slaps us in the face. It is in our inability to accept responsibility and instead finding someone or something to blame for our shortcomings.
In 1997 Saint Lucians voted for change with a vengeance. But no sooner had new Labour taken the oath of office the first thing Prime Minister Anthony did was to hand over the biggest industry in the entire OECS to his political friend, Patrick Joseph; a minor auto-mechanic with a minor, minor in English Language too. In Anthony’s very first budget he raised airport and other taxes. He soon began refurbishing the offices of Ministers even though these were in good condition. Since then he has overtaxed and over spent! Cost-over-runs and financial embarrassments such as Frenwell and Rochamel were merely exclamation marks. His secretive nature has underpinned many important financial decisions of which the country knows precious little.
Secrecy and financial mis-management continues unabated. The present fiscal crisis exposes his abysmal financial management for all to see. It is nothing short of reckless buffoonery. But such reckless, frivolous and cavalier expenditures must be stopped. For this reason I submit that the matter, dear reader, is no longer in Kenny Anthony’s court. It is now in the peoples’ court. In some countries the man would have been tried in a court of law for wasteful expenditure.
“Only the people can save the people” must be more than political rhetoric! There are those who will sit back and allow public officers to stew in their own fat for their behaviour during the last negotiations with the King government. But it does no good to cut your nose to spite your face. The people are suffering and they need united action to rescue the country! People must put aside their differences with public officers and rally together to remove the common scourge which threatens their very livelihoods.
In other words the people must set aside the pervasive melancholy which blankets the island and cast away their old partisan prejudices and be reborn into a new spirit. Only such rebirth can save our island from the hell to which it has been placed by greed, incompetence and selfishness. And be warned that no cabal which includes Kenny Anthony can be part of the solution.
This week, the government mouth piece was doing its best to tie Allen Chastanet to Mary Isaac and to introduce politics into the workers struggles. But wasn’t it Kenny Anthony who used his proxies in the public sector unions to introduce politics into the last negotiations and demanded 14.5% wage increase from the former government?
Here are some more damning statistics. Kenny Anthony has been in office for twelve and a half of the last seventeen years! He has won elections with larger majorities than any other Prime Minister. He has also lavished more money on Ministers’ offices than any other Saint Lucian leader before or since independence. And now he comes crying to the oppressed citizenry with his handpicked committees to furnish him with a way out of the fiscal and economic mess which he created.
I say without fear or hesitation that Kenny Anthony is the problem. The narrative must therefore shift from ‘who can help me get out of this mess to how we got there in the first place.’ Unless we know what (or who) is the problem, we cannot fix it! The one who created the problem cannot be part of the solution. That’s why Kenny Anthony must go! He has become a liability. It’s now over to the people and the sooner they rise and raise their voices the better. This is simply plain talking and truthfully, with no animosity towards anyone.
Finally, for those who love metaphors: ‘The national cancer must first be cut off before applying chemotherapy and restoring the national economy to good health once more.’ Amen!

Source:www.thevoiceslu.com

 



Thursday, June 26, 2014

IS THIS THE BEST WE CAN DO?

Allen Chastanet
After a three-week period, the Choiseul Uwp Branch is on its way to electing a new executive for the year 2014 - 15. The process began with the deadline for new registrant on June 13, to be followed by nomination on June 22 and finally election on the 29th.
These persons were nominated for the various positions were: Gilbert Isaac - Chairman, Brian Charles - Vice Chairman, Enda White - Secretary, Ignatius Jean - Treasurer,  Stan Francis - Youth Officer, Elsa Jones - Women's Affairs, Anison Hunt - Pro, and Peter Philip - Welfare Office. 
What is interesting here is that none of these persons have any other person vying for the same position as them. Is that coincidence or a fait acompli?  Was this nomination honestly open as it should?  I recall vividly a convo I had with a member who wanted to run for the chairmanship and after a talk with the present chairman that's what he said, "
    • "I just spoke to Isaac and he said Hilarian is the Treasurer but he collects subs
    From what he said he is vying to be Chairman and only the positions of SEC - Tres and Youth officer are still available." [ for  nomination}
    This convo took place on June 11, 2014, eleven days before nomination day. so how could the present chairman say that only these three positions are available? ALL position must be up for nominations; not just three. In other words the Chairman, Vice Chairman, Women Affairs and Welfare Officer are not in the box for nominations. Who gave the Chairman this constitutional right to deprive the membership the right to nominate other persons for the said positions which he unconstitutionally withholds? Something smells there.

    Now, Enda, Stany and Ignatius have been nominated, the elections will take place. if these members are unopposed there is no need for elections in my view. so it is a done deal.

    Regardless of the method used to construct this executive, one would hope that the foolishness that prevailed is done away with. The young persons in the executive must at all times be on the backs of these partly tired men to put some enthusiasm into the supporters of the party.

    Their task is to get a candidate almost immediately. there are already rumors of the chairman not being on good terms with a prospective candidate and that the supporters of this persons are already up in arms. Food for thought.
    the relationship with top party supporters must be re-established if any meaningful progress can be made.

    The community groups have to be revitalized and given due recognition in playing a bigger role within the Branch.

    And last but not least, the polling division in Saltibus must be considered as the polling division that can bring the seat back to Uwp but the allegged chairman's attitude and relationships with persons there MUST be seriously reviewed if any progress can be accomplished. The young persons there and him are miles apart.

    This blog, in all fairness, wish the new executive well in their one year stint. And finally, it is a known fact that Peter Philip is a Tucker plant, so lets hope what goes on inside there stays there. Just words of caution.


Saturday, May 31, 2014

MORE THAN EVER, OUR POLITICIANS NEED PRAYERS

THE QUESTION 'What do you think of the politicians of today?' will, more often than not, bring negative responses. 'They are only in it for the money, the power, the position' and 'It is impossible to find an honest politician' are likely replies.


Seldom is there a positive or sympathetic thought for the politician and the challenges they face in their personal and family life while fulfilling a demanding public role on behalf of their constituents.
Meanwhile, the media makes us very much aware of the faults and failings of any politician. Yet, the Houses of Parliament have had a worldwide influence.
The government building at constitution park houses the debating chambers of the The Parliament and The Senate   may seem far beyond the influence of most citizens, yet, through prayer, it is possible to have a powerful influence on politicians and, through them, the Government of the nation. It was Alfred, Lord Tennyson, who said, 'More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.'' It is through prayer that we, as Christians, can reach into the House of Parliament building and have a greater influence than we can imagine.
There is power in the spoken word and to speak critically or negatively is destructive. To take our anxieties, concerns and desires to the Lord in prayer is constructive and opens the door for the Lord to move on our behalf.
As Christians, we have become more aware that laws that once reflected Godly standards are being eroded. Belatedly, we have become more concerned about the laws that have been passed or are under consideration.
Previously, we have been guilty of doing nothing or of failing to pray for our parliament and our politicians, Before praying for our politicians, should we not come to the Lord in repentance that we have failed to be obedient to his word? Today, there is a greater awareness of our need to pray, but has repentance been missing? How should we pray? Begin by praying for the politician that represents the constituency in which you live.
Pray for them according to 1 Timothy 2:1- 2. Try to imagine what pressures you would experience if you were an MP. Take a walk in their shoes, so to speak, then you will pray with greater understanding. Pray similarly for the Prime Minister. Pray for the parliamentary business of the day. Ask the Holy Spirit to presence himself in West- minster that he may influence day's business, 'The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, like the rivers of water: he turns it wherever he wishes' (Prov. 21:1). lt is also true that 'we have not, because we do not ask'.
What political party should we pray for? Let us remember that God is not a party member, Testimonies have been given by members of various parties of how God called them to be an MP. Truly it is 'in the multitude of counselors that there is safety' (Proverbs 11:14).

Within St Lucia, there are a number of Christian groups that meet regularly for fellowship. These groups have representatives from the two political parties and meet in fellowship as members of the body of Christ - while their parties oppose each other in the House! The godly members of both the Senate and Parliament do have a voice, and they do have an influence. Let us pray for them that God will open a way for their influence to be more powerful. it is through them that God can speak into the affairs of this nation.
Adapted from www.prayermagazine.net

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Which Way You Going Billy?

For the past weeks the Delcer Farmers' Association, the so called newly elected executive have been posting on social media complains which they say affect them grossly - the past executive has not relinquished its hold, one Brian Charles still goes about business as usual, though the new executive says he has no more jurisdiction, Brian apparently seems to be the only one with a copy of the constitution, a member of the association may have been evicted from a meeting which seems to have been called by Brian, the community District Officer being amazed at what transpired at that meeting, and the list of persons in the association is not being disclosed by Brian. Whooye! What a bouillon?
    To my limited understanding of this bouillon going on in Delcer, there seems to be a division - two separate sides that want to head the Delcer Farmers' Association. There are few questions that are lurking in my mind. Was Brian Charles' executive constitutionally voted out? That's the fundamental question. Because it beats me, knowing Brian Charles personally, that he would linger in an association that he has been voted out using the proper protocol. Did a group of over enthusiasts decide to take over the Association barring all protocol? Is there a concerted effort by certain persons who may have scores to settle between them and  the Farmers' Association seem the best avenue to do so? Whatever it is, it doesn't seem to be helping the cause of the true Farmers - just read that there is no water running for irrigation. Yet still the grumbling goes on.
       Though Brian is a son of the soil, and now lives in Reunion,  I am sure that he has given much dedicated service to this association, I would want to think that a president from the area itself would be more convenient for the farmers. Or does Brian foresee ulterior motives by certain persons that want to get into the association so he clings onto power for the sake of the association? Or is there something Brian is hiding?There appears to be more in the mortar than the pestle.
One should also take note that all these Delcer's Farmers' Association complains are being posted by Jimmy Haynes. It begs the question, is he the main man behind all this? Is he the one who wants to see the back of Brian Charles? Inquiring minds want to know.
     Choiseul on the Move have tried to contact Mr Charles by phone, but to no avail. mr Haynes has contacted me and asked why have I not posted the Farmers's issues on this blog? When I told him that I wanted to speak to Brian first to get his side of the story, he chastized me by referring to my piece on Sweet Boy Stan. I was not at all surprised.  Choiseul on the move allows for opinionated statements and as u will see much written here is of an opinionated nature.We will pursue Mr Charles to get his side of the story so our followers and readers can balance both sides argument.
    In the meantime, both sides - Jimmy's side and Brian's side need to come together at the table and get the the Farmers' business back on track.
Isn't it strange that Wibur Joseph a member on the so called new executive have not ushered a public statement? I spoke with him via whatsapp;
Dedan: Hey, just read a PS from ur farmers group. An issue with Brian's exec. Like you guys in a tussle for control of the farmers it appears to me? Any comments,
Wilbur: Lol. I think all of this is counter productive. We should all work together to advance this project n if I see no light, I may have to back out. It takes too much energy to bicker.
Dedan; Boy, I was shocked to read this release. Did you have a hand in this?
Wilbur: Nope. but what is it all about? Where can I read it?
Dedan: The usual.......... one-man show. Take care u are branded in this fracas
Wilbur: Lol. the people know me better. I can never be branded with that. And I tell you there is success in this project, when I put both feet into it........I promise you.
Dedan: I have all the confidence in you bro. Cause u are a no nonsense person. But I must warn you. Keep ur eyes open.
Wilbur: Ok
Well, at no other time than this, are Wilbur's  feet more needed.

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Imposition of VAT on Salt and the Removal of the Subsidy on Sugar are Insufficient

The LPM has come out and chastised the government for not "having enough balls" to go further to increase VAT on alcohol and cigarettes
Below is their argument.
 In reacting to the government’s decision to impose a 15% Value Added Tax (VAT) on sodium and to remove the existing subsidy on su.gar, the Lucian People’s Movement (LPM) opines that it is not at all opposed to these measures as deterrents to the overconsumption of these products.
 However, the LPM also wished that the government had the courage to approve new legislation that would effectively double the VAT on the importation and sale of alcoholic beverages and cigarettes in Saint Lucia. The LPM argues that the consumption of alcohol and cigarettes has not only reduced the life expectancy of most Saint Lucians but has also become one of the leading factors which have transformed the island into a major partying hub which lacks the focus or ability to respond effectively to economic challenges. 
 Moreover, with very little attention paid to underage drinking in Saint Lucia, the future cost of healthcare and juvenile delinquency could reach levels that have never been seen in the history of the country. 
 Notwithstanding the government’s decision to omit alcohol and cigarettes from its list of priorities for stiffer VAT rates, the LPM fully acknowledges that a reduction in sodium intake is likely to lower the number of Saint Lucians who suffer from strokes, acute myocardial infarctions, diabetes and other lifestyle-related diseases. However, the party remains unconvinced that these measures alone, in the absence of a national campaign aimed at educating Saint Lucians on the importance of making healthy lifestyle changes, will amount to much.
 While the mere imposition of VAT on sodium and the removal of the subsidy on sugar will increase government revenue in the medium term, it will have a minimal effect on the government’s long-term desire to reduce its public expenditure on healthcare for fellow Saint Lucians who have developed diseases and other serious illnesses as a direct result of overconsumption of these products.
 A more effective strategy, says the LPM, would have been for the government to go beyond the simple imposition of VAT on only two products that contribute to poor health. Rather, it should have sought to expand the list and embrace a serious national agenda or campaign to raise public awareness regarding the consequences of the overconsumption of these products. 
 The Saint Lucia Labour Party government should have also considered offering a tax relief for food companies which make it a priority to import sugar-free beverages as well as processed food and dairy products with reduced sodium content.
 In addition, the LPM concludes that placing a ban on indoor smoking and urging all restaurants and other food handlers throughout the island to adhere to a voluntary policy of reducing the amount of sodium and sugar that is used in the preparation of local dishes and drinks could have gone a long way towards preserving the health of the people of Saint Lucia.  

NB: cartorns, Mine