Thursday, March 29, 2012


By Clifton St Marthe

The St Lucia Labour Party came into office campaigning under the banner and promise of “BETTER DAYS”. Many St Lucians may have fell for this promise with the hope that there will be more jobs, more business, more money and a more vibrant economy. The lure of power induced the SLP to make wild and reckless promises which for many though were certainly unrealistic given the current global financial and economic climate.
Nonetheless the SLP strategist and leadership persisted with their utopian ideals to replace reality with glamour and false hopes and to take us to a promise land painted in red. A promise land which was captured by the slogan: “En Rouge”. Today instead of realizing “better days” we are perhaps beginning to reap the revelation of “bitter days” in fair Helen. It appears that we are beginning to experience the blight invoked by that voodoo chant – “En Rouge”.
It is now evident that the Zombies which were laid to rest following the 2006 General Elections have now awoken once again. The Zombies of STEP, the Zombies of affirmative action, the Zombies of administrative excesses, the Zombies of “Job for the Boys”, the Zombies of Communist China, the Zombies of Mal-administration and yes “cost over-runs”. We take solace in the recognition that the Saint Lucians electorate have matured and will keep close watch and vigilance along with the Opposition.
Having recognized that the promise of “better days” will remain a fleeting illusion, we can now critically examine the performance of the first 100 days of the Kenny Anthony Administration. Our examination can perhaps begin to give us a sense as to whether the Leopard has changed its spots.
Prime Minister Anthony promised the nation during his campaign for office that if elected to office his Government will spearhead the “immediate” injection of EC $100 Million into the economy. We have yet to see him use his “magic wand” to bring this to fruition. Dr. Anthony should explain to us his failure to meet one of his major commitments given to the electorate. We have yet to see the creation of jobs, jobs, jobs. Instead what we have witnessed is a STEP programme which is an insult to the dignity and pride of our people. The STEP projects involving clearing of road verges were undertaken even when there were existing contracts with “Caretakers” to do the same work though the Ministry of Communications and Works. It would have been more appropriate for these STEP workers to be deployed in assisting farmers combat the ravages of Black Sigatoka or more meaningful projects within the respective communities.
While we still await Dr. Anthony’s Code of Conduct Manual to guide the conduct of Cabinet members, we observe that the Prime Minister has saddled the Country with a Government that is both bigger and costlier than obtained under the United Workers Party. In addition Dr. Anthony extends his largesse even further by creating jobs for an Advisor on National Security and an Advisor on External Affairs. Given the frightening inexperience of his Government we may well see the appointment of more Advisors for Tourism, Health and Agriculture perhaps.  We also note the appointment of an additional Permanent Secretary for Special Initiatives. My understanding is that these excesses cost the people of Saint Lucia an additional EC $100, 000 each month. On the matter of the code of conduct Dr Anthony promised the nation during the Swearing In ceremony for his Ministers on December 6th, 2011 that this measure would be put in place within the first month of his Administration. We are yet to hear anything further about the “book of rules”.
Soon after the current Government assumed office a directive was issued for persons serving on all Board to submit their resignations. This was the first step by the current Administration in their attempt to paint the entire machinery of Government in red. Known supporters of the SLP were appointed to the boards and leadership of key agencies and institutions. None was more blatant and shameful than the appointment of a former Deputy Chairman of the SLP and a leading political “Spin Doctor” to the Presidency of the Upper Chamber of Parliament.
Whilst the Government has been busy finding placement for its supporters on the various boards and institutions it has failed to date to make a decision on the appointment of a Police Commissioner. Having concluded its “sweet heart deal” with former Commissioner Regis, Saint Lucians expected the Government to do the obvious and to act with haste to appoint a Commissioner of Police. With the previous legal impediment now out of the way the Government appears to be dragging its feet on the appointment of a Police Commissioner and has instead decided to extend the stint of the current Acting Commissioner.
I wish to call on the Government to bring an end to all the public speculation and anxiety within the St Lucia Police Force by immediately confirming the appointment of a new Police Commissioner. It is my view that the required quality and human resource capacity does exist within the current leadership of the Force to make such a decision possible.
The process of victimization and affirmative action has once again reared its head with the return of the St Lucia Labour Party to office. We have since witnessed a deliberate approach of issuing contracts only to known supporters of the SLP thus enforcing the policy of “jobs for the boys”.  Saint Lucians may have taken note of a recent directive issued by the Minister of Social Transformation and Local Government to the Castries City Council that copies of all contracts issued by the Council be submitted to his desk for review. This statement made by the Minister during the swearing in ceremony of the new Council is as an unfortunate display of Ministerial arrogance and an unnecessary attempt by the Minister to politicize the operations of the Castries City Council. The role of the Minister is at the policy level and not in operational matters.
After taking sometime to make an appointment to the critical office of Attorney General, Dr. Anthony’s eventual choice appear to once again reflect the disdain and contempt that he has for the sons and daughters of this land of two Nobel Laureates. Has Dr. Anthony by his actions suggested to us that there is none of our own capable of holding such a sensitive office? This trend on Dr. Anthony’s part is taken a step further as demonstrated by the appointment of the Mayor for the City of Castries, our nation’s capital. Saint Lucians should note that both of these appointments carry historical significance. It is in fact the first time that native Saint Lucians have not occupied either of these two offices. Our sons and daughters must be encouraged to see themselves being capable of holding high public offices in the land that gave them birth.
Since the advent of this Administration we have witnessed attempts to impress the St Lucian electorate with the use of subtle political psychology in the work of Government. Instead of focusing its efforts in generating much needed revenue to finance public sector projects the Government is instead instituting measures such as a tax amnesty which will result in the lost of millions of dollars from the Government treasury. Whereas such actions may appear to be politically expedient it cannot be in the best interest of our country especially when the real motivation for such policies may be to “bail out” business friends of the St Lucia Labour Party who owe millions in tax arrears to the Government. One particular case in the south of the island stands out. The employment of tax amnesty measures especially for the private sector is a model which has been tried before with little impact on the economy. We are living in tough economic times in which business people are naturally conservative. The responsibility is therefore that of the Government to stimulate economic activity through public sector investment.
Saint Lucians are anxiously awaiting the plans of the current Administration with respect to implementation of the Hewanorra International Airport Redevelopment Project. After relentlessly criticizing the Government of the United Workers Party for its pursuit of this worthwhile and extremely important project, the SLP Government must now let Saint Lucians know whether it will be abandoning or pursuing the project. Hundreds of Saint Lucians especially in the south of the island are awaiting the opportunities which the implementation of this project would deliver to them. The Government by its inaction has failed the people of the south and is seriously compromising the development prospects of our tourism industry for the country as a whole.
The matter of Government’s Foreign Affairs policy is one which has generated much anxiety on the part of many St Lucians. The electorate remains curious over the failure of this Government to express what for most St Lucians should be an obvious decision to maintain diplomatic relations with Taiwan. It is clear for the majority of St Lucians that our country has and stands to benefit far more from relations with Taiwan as compared to China. The question is why then is the Government of the St Lucia Labour Party continuing to drag its feet on this matter. When we observe the stance of the Government to date coupled with its machinations with the ALBA groupings there is every reason for St Lucians to be weary of the foreign affairs policy direction of the Government. Reports stemming from a number of international news sources confirmed that during the just concluded ALBA summit in Venezuela a special resolution incorporating Suriname, Haiti and Saint Lucia as “permanent guest members” was unanimously approve. One should be extremely concerned over the implications of such posturing on relations with our traditional friends in the democratic world.
Finally St Lucians are no doubt very mindful of the promise by the St Lucia Labour Party of “better days”. Already for many the experience has been one of BITTER DAYS. I think it is important that the Opposition wakes up and begins to exercise the vigilance promised by its leader. Perhaps before concluding my commentary I can remind St Lucians of some of the projects being undertaken by the current Administration without credit to the last Government that were negotiated and contracted by the United Workers Party whilst in Government. These include: the Bois d Orange Bye-Pass Road and Bridge Reconstruction; approval of an annual subvention of EC $25,000.00 to the National Consumer Association; Remedial works at the Barre de Lisle; Introduction of Jet Blue Flights and Securing Supplies and inputs for Farmer to combat the threat posed by the Black Sigatoka Disease.
It is important to note that we were not treated to the usual cry of an “empty treasury” by the Government on their entry to office. Indeed the Government was able within days to implement two cycles of the STEP programme and pursue other programmes seemingly without any hiccups due to the absence of required financial resources. This confirms the fact that the Government inherited an economy that was relatively healthy state. As we move beyond this initial period of assessing the performance of this Administration I am confident that Saint Lucians will continue to remind the Government of its elaborate promises and hold them to their commitment to provide “better days”.  

Editor's Note: Pic produced by blog

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Roblot 'STEP' exhibits favoritism?

Earlier today a caller to newsspin expressed her disappointment with the STEP program and how it seems that she is being sidelined by the persons who select workers for the program.
The third round of the program got underway in the Roblot community yesterday. The previous two rounds according to the residents went to their satisfaction except this round which has raised some eyebrows.
She waned to know whether the post of supervisor is reserved for one person only? The current supervisor has held this position for all three rounds of the STEP program so far. (There are rumors of in-fighting among the so-called top  Slp hacks in the community for the job of supervisor.)
The caller went on to ask whether, or since when it has become legal for 14 year olds to be employed in the program?
    That caller still wanted to know the rationale behind the employment of the husband of the very supervisor of the present program?According to the caller two pay packets goe in one home where as heer three children and her are left starving.
One would think that one member per household would do justice to the program.
      Through its observation of the program thus far, this blog must commend the quality of work done by the workers of two previous programs. However the number of hours on the job per day leaves much to be desired, not to mention the amount of sitting down done during these shortened periods of work.
      Is this program a form of handouts to the Party's supporters? I am sure that better can be done and an honest day's work produced.
   Finally a proper and unbiased method to select workers must be adopted to avoid double wages per household, and child labour should never be allowed to continue if it exists.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Gail spells it out to Kenny

The following is Gail Rigobert's contribution to the debate on the Constituency Council's Act.
"Thank you Mr Speaker. I have sat and I have listened to what I think to be a very useful debate but I cannot help but wonder what the viewers and listeners at home must be thinking, that while we grapple with what is largely legal language and perhaps to the average listener the use of "shall" versus " may, " may very well amount to a little more than nomenclature. But there are fundermental issues that they must be pondering on.
As a representative of the people I urge them to ask some very pertinent questions Mr Speaker, on their behalf. And while I think that there is a general appreciation for the spirit of this bill, one must ask questions pertaining to the mechanics of it.
To the viewers at home, who would have given me the oppurtunity to represent them in this honorable house, wondering whether I can make fair representation of their concerns and desires in a constituency that happens to be in the opposition, while I would have been handed a Council hand-selected by a minister.
And the question must be, can they be assured that this hand-selected Council will act in the best interest of the community at large versus to operate in the interest or percieved interest of any political party?
I'm sure that is the question that is going through their minds right now. Mr Speaker, we on this side well appreciate the need to build capacity in the various constituencies. We appreciate even more the need to nurture leaders of tomorrow. We are in accordance with that, though the mechanics may raise some questions in our minds. Mr Speaker, we all can appreciate the extent to which good governance hinges on the principles of accountability and transparency. But how can we juxtapose that with a hand-selected seeming political entity that we only trust, hope and pray will act in the best interest of them all.
The people at home listening and viewing, if they can be assured that those Councils albeit hand-selected by a minister, understand that their first obligation is to the people of that constituency, then one would not be surprised therefore, if this bill be evolved into law. Whether the assurances the people are looking for, therefore Mr Speaker, people all need to know that not withstanding the seaming colour of these very persons who sit on these respective Councils that they understand participatory democracy and all that needs.That they understand the core developmental needs of the respective communities. That they understand openness, and most importantly, that they understand that the voice of the Parliamentary Representative is the voice of the people. And therefore, and therefore, in the establishment of any given Council that the voice of the people must be heard from the center and that voice is the of the Parliamentary Representative speaking on their behalf.
Mr Speaker, I know all too well what tribal politics can do albeit I'm very young in the game, and I would want to believe that the Honorable Prime Minister in his wisdom, will pay carefull attention to the construct of these various, various Counclils to ensure that we're not deepening political tribalism in our country.
I trust that the voice of the people will resound through these entities, and that it won't be the voice of a selected few. So as I stand here andspeak to what I understand to be the spirit of this Bill, I want Mr Speaker to ask on the behalf of the many thousands who voted for a particular representative who may very well happen to be on the opposition benches right now that they can be given the assurance that their socio- economic their human needs will be met through this entity and this will not at all disintegrate or resemble any mechanism that somehow is the extension of any given political party.
I have a responsibility to do so Mr Speaker, [because this law] and as I begin to understand the beauty of the revolving door of politics, I can appreciate that one day, just one day very soon I may have to deal with this as well.
So let us speak to this in a very simple dispassionate and clinical way to ensure that the interest of the people are safeguarded, to ensure that coloured politics does not poison this entity and that the spirit that I sense which is being reflected here is up-held. And I trust that the honourable members of government will see to it that the spirit is up-held and they will move to correct the mechanics to ensure that it does not fall prey to political tribalism.
I thank you."

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Lorne makes impression in the House

Give jack his jacket. Lorne was superb in his delivery to the debate on the "Constituency Councils Act Bill." He was eloquent, sharp, consistent and to my mind cunning.
The bill seeks to empower at most fifteen persons from the various contituencies to manage the affairs of their constituency. In the case of Choiseul it will be known as the Choiseul Village Council. The bill seeks to give autonomous powers to the Councils to manage the affairs of the constituency. They are to report all matters to the House and also an audit report to be conducted yearly.
The Councils are to invite the rep to meetings and are to have two annual public meetings where the rep may speak or not.
In his support of the bill our rep brought up the issue of funds being used by a district rep of a certain constituency for purposes not intended. Though very cunning and not mentioning the constituency or rep by name, when asked by a member opposite whether it is Choiseul, he remarked, "may be Choiseul."
Lorne maintains that such allegged misconduct cannot ever happen under the construct of the Councils in the bill.
The opposition in their debate argued the intention of the bill. They seem to think that the bill is some form of revenge and seeks to sideline the opposition parliamentary reps. Another arguement brought forward is that the Councils should be elected by the people and not by the minister for local government. Richard challenged the wording in some of the paragraphs while Gail thought that the intent of the bill may be genuine but there must be room for more participation by the district reps and constituents.
What was remarkable at the House was the fact that while members threw remarks at each other across the chamber (Richard and Moses the two main culprits) at the end they all sat down like civilized men during the committe stage to amend the Act and make it into law.
Wasn't that wonderful.
Taking into account the autonomous powers placed into the hands of the councils it will be very interesting to see who our rep recommends. According to the bill councilors must come from national interest groups, special interest groups, one person from each of the political parties in the house, a public servant, and persons from other area such as health, agriculture, tourism and other area that may arise as the constituency grows.
This blog would like the rep to consider Maura Minvielle, Augustin Charles or John Mathurin as the chairperson and no other person than Sonia Thornille as the secretary. Automatically either Anslatus Joinsville or Mc Arthur Phillip will be on the Council.The councilors will be paid an honorarium for their work.
This blog will monitor tha appointment of the Council and comment on the merits and demerits of each councilor.
Dedan C. G. Baptiste

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Decision between Taiwan or China Should be based on Moral and Economic Factors

Saint Lucians have witnessed the horrific daily accounts on the relentless and brutal attacked waged against the people of Syria by the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. Saint Lucians along with the democratic world shared the collective grief and disappointment at the fact that the recent United Nations resolution on the situation in Syria was crippled by the shameful veto actions of Russia and China.

Whereas these developments may appears to be far removed and unrelated to our situation locally, I am of the view that these developments bear direct relations to the current deliberations of the Government of Saint Lucia with regards to Saint Lucia’s foreign Affairs posture i.e. diplomatic relations with Taiwan or China. The position taken by the Communist Government of China in its veto of the UN resolution on Syria is consistent with the inhumane stance which they have adapted through their support of the Sudanese regime which has perpetuated a process of ruthless genocide against the defenceless natives of the Dafur region of Sudan since 2003. That regime through the support of the Chinese has been responsible for the slaughter of over ½ million people with over three (3) million made into refugees. The regime in Khartoum has been able to benefit from the supply of Chinese military hardware, China being Sudan’s largest supplier of arms. China is thus a knowing and willing accomplice in the Bashir regime’s genocide in Darfur.
     China’s human rights record is well documented and stands out as the country with one of the worst human rights records internationally. Today any country which is in trouble at the UN over abuses of human rights can always rely on a Chinese veto in the Security Council. China is the best friend of the military regime in Burma – one of the world’s most oppressive regimes – and of Robert Mugabe’s bankrupt dictatorship in Zimbabwe.
   Saint Lucians have had the benefit of comparing the economic and social benefits derived through diplomatic relations with Taiwan and China over the past fifteen (15) years. I am convinced that the majority of Saint Lucians understands where our nation’s best interest is provided for. Our people are all too aware that the interest of our nation has been best served through diplomatic relations with Taiwan and that ordinary Saint Lucians and communities have benefited directly by far through the friendly relations and goodwill of the Taiwanese Government over the past five (5) years under the Government of the United Workers Party. The Taiwanese through their cooperation assistance have impacted in a phenomenal way on our overall development process. Over the past five years they have registered meaningful contributions to our nation’s development in the health, agricultural, education and technology and sports sectors. In addition they have brought direct benefits to thousands of Saint Lucians through their “grass-roots projects” which included developments initiatives such as: drainage, footpaths, sidewalk, public facilities, bus shelters, community centers, multi-purpose Courts, road and water Projects to highlight a few examples. The Taiwanese contribution over the past five years under the United Workers Party Administration by far outstrips that made by the Chinese over the ten years of Labour Party rule between the period: 1997 – 2006.
   It is therefore critical and imperative at this time that Saint Lucians demand that the Government of the Saint Lucia Labour Party adopts a foreign policy position that is consistent with the will of the people of this country. Saint Lucians must also maintain a vigilant stance in monitoring the foreign policy direction of the current Government to ensure that the image of Saint Lucia as a country which upholds democratic values along with the relationships with our traditional friends is not compromised. The recent posturing of the Government through alliances with the ALBA grouping is a cause for concern. Only recently the Prime Minister of Grenada issued a call on regional Governments to focus their efforts on strengthening Caricom instead of flirting with ALBA. Individual members of that grouping and the grouping as a collective have taken some positions recently which must be a cause for concern. We note for example Cuba and Venezuela’s support for the regimes in Iran and Syria. Only recently Venezuela shipped an estimated US $50. Million worth of diesel to Syria in a show of defiance to the international community. Such support can no doubt be used by the Assad regime to fuel the continuation of bloody attacks which the regime has unleashed on its citizens whose only offence is to express their will to be governed by a democratic political system.
   One is forced to question the silence of the current SLP Government or its failure to condemn the atrocities being committed in Syria. Is our Government fearful of offending the Chinese and its ALBA comrades? Are our humanitarian and principled values being compromised on the altar of some strange political ideology that is foreign to our culture and Christian traditions? These are questions that should occupy the minds of curious Saint Lucians at this time. I dare say that we Saint Lucians should remain vigilant and not allow our Government to prostitute and damage our international reputation and image internationally. 
I take this opportunity to calls on the Government of Saint Lucia to take the necessary actions to remove the current anxiety of Saint Lucians and its obvious procrastination on the issue of diplomatic relations with Taiwan or China. The ultimate position of the current Administration should be guided by the sentiments and will of the people of Saint Lucia in maintaining diplomatic relations with the Republic of China on Taiwan.

By Clifton St Marthe

Editor's note: Pics  inserted by blog management

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Open letter to the Rep

The following is a letter sent to this blog for publication.

March 10, 2012

Mr Lorne Theophilus
The District/Parliamentary Representative

Dear Sir,
       I am a student from the Choiseul Secondary School who wish to bring to your attention the condition of the public facilities in my community.
During the passage of hurricane Tomas the roof of the multi-purpose centre in Roblot was blown away. Since then the authorities have paid no attention to what is left standing. Actually the remains are at the mercy of the elements of the weather.
    The public library which is housed in another section in the same building was not seriously affected. However there is a security risk as the partition separating the library from the roofless building is weak and rotting.
   We the young people, as well as the Roblot Development Committee, have no place to assemble to hold meetings. ( You are very aware of this since during your campaign you could not use the centre for an indoor meeting and had to use a rum shop not far from the building)
 The citizens of the community need you to use your authority and influence to get our centre renovated.
Also our multipurpose court is in a delapidated condition. You will of course be aware that the topography of my community does not lend to the construction of a playing field. Therefore we the young people have only the court. We have no netball, and volleyball poles. The court surface needs fixing, and the fence is falling. We would appreciate if the Ministry of sports officials would visit our area to take note of what is urgently needed.
   As a young person yourself, we hope that you will see the need to improve the facilities for the youth.
Please do not let our young people down because it was one of your campaign promises to elevate the standard of youth and sporting facilities in the constituency.

Concerned youth

Editor"s note: Pic provided by blog.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Will our constituency feature in the Budget?

 This year's budget address is one to look forward to. It will be presented against the backdrop of global economic hardships and campaign promises spelt out in, according to the Straight Up host "The blue print for development."
One will be eager to hear how the government expects to raise $1m to increase employment among the youth. Also the strategy adopted to create these employment oppurtunities will be of importance to the nation.
The banana industry surely will feature in the address as well as concerns over our ability to feed ourselves bearing the fact that the uncontrolled black sigatoka may have done much harm to our crops.
    But what about Choiseul? One would be on the ball to say that our rep is and has been lobbying to get a cut for his constituency in the Budget. It would be safe to say that Rufus has done all the infratructural work in the district and so Lorne's job now is to get programs and initiatives in the budget to see after the develoment of the constituents. Rufus fell disappointingly behind when it came to human development in the constituency during his tenure - an area for the present rep to improve on.
 The Fisheries Pond will continue to be a headache for the authorities; unless some form of study be conducted to investigate this recurring sand compilation in the pond, the rep will find himself being unpopular with the fishermen.
The rep will agree that something has to come out of this year's budget for the Saltibus people - the road resurfacing, road slippage rehabilitations and of course a public library.
   Being the Minister for the Creative Arts, developing the potential of the Handicraft Centre would go a long way in empowering the youth. And talking about the youth, the Caffiere/Dugard communities are in dire need of a place to meet.
It is not the aim of thia blog to remind the rep of his committment to the people who put him here, but rather to bring forward issues to be considered. It is most likely that the people that are around him make be more for themselves than seeing after the people who put Lorne there. (20 years involved in politics taught me so)
  However, Lorne will be able to do much for the constituency in five years if he puts the necessary structures in place. And mind you, with the right persons.
Until the budget address the constituency continues to "STEP" in style.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

What next for the UWP?

   Today the High Court will be hearing the challenge put forward by the UWP against the 2011 election results in three constituencies: Babonneau, Gros Islet and Choiseul. (Choiseul appears not interested)
According to a lawyer friend of mine the cases were wrongly filed. He said that cases cannot or should not be filed against the winning candidates but rather against the Electoral office or to be more specific, against the Returning Officers for these constituencies.
    But you know, as usual another booboo again. Does that ring a bell? Remember all the "fopars" the previous government did, illegal firing and tranfering of persons all from the advise of their attorneys general. So it is not a new thing that another "fopar" is in their face again.
It is allegged that Dodee filed the cases.

   Aren't you anxious to find out what may happen at today's hearing? This blog thinks the status quo will remain the same and these matters will be thrown out of court.
Bousquet says he is done with politics and is not interested in this challenge by the party. News reaching here suggests that he never agreed to challenge Lorne's victory. As a matter of fact he told this blog that he did call Lorne and congratulated him on his victory.
    UWP should now do some serious reflection and put their act together with the hope of giving SLP a good run come 2017.Leadership for them is a crucial issue and they should stop throwing stones at the  moon like this useless challenge previously mentioned.

    Come next convention, will King run for leader, or will Chastnet, Rigobert, and Flood (not Jouk Bois) also throw in their hats for the position?
    Something to look forward to? Keep your fingers crossed.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Choiseul Credit Union "Plusing" away.

     The Choiseul Co-Op Credit Union was the brain child of Parish Priest, Rev. Father Ludovic Chauvet who served in Choiseul as a French Missionary from 1953 to 1965. In 1960 Father Chauvet called a meeting at the now demolished presbytery with at least twelve parishioners to discuss creating a credit union.That same year the Credit Union was started but it was not officially launched until 1963. 
     However, the Credit Union had to secure itself legally. All Co-Operatives/Credit Unions need to be registered under the Co-Operative Societies Act in order to gain legal status and government approval.
      When a society has met the law's requirements it is issued with a certificate of registration. The Choiseul Co-Op Credit Union was registered by law on October 6th, 1970.
   Approximately 42 years latter, the Co operative has come a long way. A more structured and customer friendly staff, numerous benefits to members, high interest rates on savings, larger loan disbursements and the list goes on and on.
 Recently the Credit Union introduced an innovative plan to take care of the future needs and commitments. They have introduced "FUTURE PLUS."  What is Future Plus? According to a brochure it is, "A savings plan set out to take care of your future needs." " Future Plus" is categorized into three sections namely: Future Pension Plus, Education Savings Plus and and Asset Savings Plus.

Future Pension Plus 
 This plan is a masterpiece. it offers one the opportunity to save for their twilight years. One cannot help but feel pity for the numerous person of age that have nothing to rely on except the hand outs" from other persons in the society. If the Future Pension Plus (FPP) been in place surely these senior citizens would have taken advantage of this plan and be better off today. Most likely it must have been this thinking that the Board of Directors had in mind to come up with this plan. Bravo!
 Our present generation should take full advantage of this plan as well as the other two. 
A brochure spelling out the plans reads:
Future Pension Plus 
This is an opportunity to save for your pension.
This way you can put aside any amount you can afford for a minimum period of 10 years
 in our pension plus account specially designed for NIS Contributors, Government
Employees and in particular, self employed members at an attractive rate of 5½ percent.
The higher the amount saved and the longer the term the greater the
pension (benefits) to you. 

Education Savings Plus

Here is an opportunity to save for your Children’s Education.
As a Members of Choiseul Credit Union you can save for your Children’s
Secondary, Tertiary or University Education at the rate you can afford.
The Education Savings Plus plan must be established for a minimum period of 5 years
and is rewarded with an un-comparable interest rate of 5½ percent per annum.

Asset Savings Plus

This is a Savings Plan which allows you to save now for a specific purpose
later in your life. You can save to buy land or for the deposit to get your mortgage
when you will be ready to build. This is also an opportunity to save for a minimum of
five years  for this dream car upon retirement, for this special birthday or even an
anniversary treat at 40, 50 or 60. You can also save for your dream holiday/cruise too.
We offer a very special interest rate of 5½ percent on all Asset Savings Plus
Accounts so the more you save the truer the dream will become.

What is really great about these plans is that your savings' interest is compounded. eg  An average mason say 25 years and putting  a monthly contribution of $40.00 towards his Pension Plus Plan would at the end of 10 years have in his account $6,520.08.
 A sentence that is really befitting of these plans read:

At Choiseul Credit Union “We Make Your Life Better”

Monday, March 12, 2012

Inquiring minds want to know

   In an earlier post this blog asked of the rep to let his constituents know which way he would like to see his government lean when it comes to diplomatic ties with Taiwan or China.
The post also made note of the contributions the Taiwanese government has made to the constituency in the ares of health, education, sports, infrastructure and more or less employment.
While this government drags its feet on the diplomacy issue another debate is taking the country by storm. It is being allegged that the timing and interests demonstrated by Dr. Stephen King is highly suspect. It is beyond the scope of this post to delve into the alleggations.
However the debate has reached the rep's domain. Pockets here and there, the watering holes, teachers during lunch breaks, students at secondary schools etc are involved in the discussion - decriminalise prostitution or not.
   The women in certain communities are not for deriminalizing. Their stand arise from a biblical stand point as well as lack of informationon the topic.
This is where our rep, our political leader, who will have to take a stand on the issue when it reahes the legislative stage in parliament let us know his position. Like a strong campaigner of his wrote in a song, "Inquiring minds want to know?"
   By the way, did the rep recognize our constituency women/girls on International Women's Day? Yes he did, but en passant. Lorne was more or less on tv to send birthday greetings to his mom Mrs. Lusca Theophilus, a dynamic and no nonsense woman and my past tutor at Teachers' College, who's birthday coincides with International Women's Day. However after sending all the wishes a beloved son would send to his mom he took the opportunity to wish women all over the world a happy IWD.
This blog thinks that the rep should do better than this. The rep should give special mention to the WOMEN of his constituency. This blog is also of the view that after giving kudos to his mom he should say something like this, "..............I would also like to take this opportunity to wish the women in my constituency, my country and by extension, the whole world, a happy International Women's Day..........."
   This blog thinks that making special reference to them, would show respect, love and concern for the women in the constituency. As anything else it was was the women that finally brought the seat home for him.
Filmed at 11.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Our girls and International Women's Day

    International Women's day was first proposed a hundred years ago to improve women's rights in the areas of pay, voting rights and discrimination. International Women's Day alright but what have the women academics in the district done to bring to the attention of our young girls the significance of this annual event. Are they too busy seeing after their own personal development than seeing after the improvement and welfare of our young girls who are in dire need. Can't blame them anyway.That's the nature of most women towards their other women friends or counterparts.( a woman's worst enemy is another woman. so says an old adage).
  Our influential ladies in the district must now take the lead to advance the cause of the girls in the district. Persons like Maura Minvielle, Clara Edwards, Elmira Joseph, Ms Chalon (Tita) and others surely have brought the girl's generation before this one a long way. Kudos to them.
What is to be done now? Other influential women in the communities - principals,business managers, church leaders, bankers and community women should come together to see what can be done. They must work with the young girls where they are at to make a change. They must also learn to be non judgmental of persons.
  Most of the older people tend to think that the present generation of girls are undisciplined and do not portray the right attitude towards work.Sex life  and morality they say are at its lowest ebb.Lack of employment opportunity in the district  adds, "have driven the girls away to the bright life in the city. Even to the point of prostituting.Still the old folks believe that the young girls have no respect for their bodies because of the way they dress. A veteran woman politician Mrs. Rock adds, "having a degree or a certificate does not make you a perfect woman."
      Most of today's parents have to realize that they are living in a different time than tha theirt of children  and the children will not behave like them in their youth  The influence of Tv, and the electronic media have had its impact on our girls.
It would make good sense if the concerned women in the district would combine their effort to put together an organisation to see after the welfare of women in the district. may be we can look forward to seeing such an organisation in place to honor some of our women for next year's IWD.
   Our girls I'm sure, have untapped potential to drive the economic development of the distrct. Girls can drive economic growth and social stability.


Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Decriminalize it, Don't Legalize it

   I've been wondering whether decriminalisation or legalisation of prostitution is the right way to go. Legalisation officially would make prostitution legal and remove any prohibitions; whereas decriminalisation removes criminal charges from prostitution however there are still laws surrounding it.

  The Catholic, Seventh-Day Adventist Church, and a number of Churches on the island have also publicly opposed the ‘moral degeneration’ of the country.
      What sexworkers have to say? Some believe that decriminalizing prostitution will have no affect as women will still be raped, abused and violated nor is there a guarantee that working conditions will be improved. Others view legalization as less of a strain on the resources of government and police services, as it is expensive and, at times considered futile.

On the fence, are some persons and organisations who advocate for reforms to laws governing prostitution. They do not believe that criminalisation or legalisation the answer but aims to provide counselling and support for sex workers, in the hopes that they can find better employment.
    Dr. Stephen King is one of the primary leaders of the defence of sexworkers rights. He believes that sexworkers should have access to health and services as well as be respected within society. He and his supporters are for the decriminalisation of sex work and the recognition of sex work as work in order to extend labour rights to sex workers.

     In my opinion, there is no way that a ban will eradicate poverty. All humans have the right to food and housing in this country, and if put in a situation where unemployment is ridiculously high and government and corporations alike can’t be held fully responsible for the bleak situation, a woman has got to do what she has to do. It is dire circumstances that drive someone to prostitution but taking someone’s means of survival away is not a means to an end.
There is a possibility of an increase of HIV/Aids if prostitution was legalized. Government has been urging people to stay safe for years. If prostitution was regulated, so could their policies and ‘behavioural code’, where it becomes mandatory for sexual protection.
    So perhaps the real question is, ‘does prostitution rob you of your womanhood?’ Some hold the opinion that prostitution exploits women, is surrounded with violence and a patriarchal dominance over a women’s body and has awful psychological and traumatic after-effects. In this line of thought, a sex worker doesn’t consent to sex; she is coerced because of her situation.
   Prostitution has been going on since ancient civilization; you cannot claim to be uninformed. A dire situation can be summed up into a basic survival of the fittest. What will you do to survive? Personally, if there were an option between death and sex work, I am sure a woman would choose the latter. If she finds herself in financial debt with no work opportunities and need to feed her kids, she will choose the later. She is not glamorising it, but  making an active choice.
   Someone recently told me,"Our bodies are treated like objects, unappreciated and tossed aside when there is no use for them. Now we cam view our bodies as our own tools, to use what we have to survive. Why must I be a good girl and keep my legs closed? Why do I have to be any type of girl?" recently told me  Our bodies are treated like objects, unappreciated and tossed aside when there is no use for them. Now we cam view our bodies as our own tools, to use what we have to survive. Why must I be a good girl and keep my legs closed? Why do I have to be any type of girl?Our bodies are treated like objects, unappreciated and tossed aside when there is no use for them. Now we cam view our bodies as our own tools, to use what we have to survive. Why must I be a good girl and keep my legs closed? Why do I have to be any type of girl.
St. Lucians will have to decide.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Better days are coming? - Labour's first 100 days

The present administration came back into office on November 28, 2011 which means the March 6, 2012 will make it 100 days since deing elected to office.
Labour's campaign on the theme "Better days are coming" and the promise that one hundred million dollars (whether US or EC) will be immediately injected into the economy to help with job creation, and the "en rouge" slogan coerced Lucians into bringing them back into government. Granted.
But what do they have to show for the first 100 days in office? 1. We have seen two weeks of a step program which to my mind was mere trickery to soothe the staunch supporters. 2. The firing of boards and installing new members instead.What's up with the CVC?
3. Kenny's reluctance to confirm diplomatic ties with Taiwan because of pride due to his irresponsible statements while in opposition. 4. The banana industry continues on a downward slope while Kenny drags his feet on the diplomatic tie in spite of the Taiwanese offer to help.
5. Corruption and Visa revocation scandals continue to haunt them because of the aggressive approach they took while in opposition. Lucians still await the top cop,s name to be released. (Remember how they were all over Frederick's case?)
6. Where is the one hundred million dollars to create employment for the youth? Have you seen any form of employment in Choiseul since after step? Where was Kenny suppose to get this gift or whatever you call it? Tom Chou is a politician and so is Kenny. The same way Kenny  while in opposition prevented the labour MPs from accepting Taiwan's money, so too he seems bent to do this to our nation. Tom Chou to the rescue - Kenny will have to put this in his pipe and smoke it.
7. Better days are coming alright. Hotel works are being laid off every day, businesses are on the brink of closure, persons continue to dig into their little saving to make ends meet, parents can,t even afford to pay the little allowance for the schools' feeding programs, more students going to secondary schools continue to fleece for rides to and from schools, and persons in the communities await with bated breath as to when a little project with come to their community to compliment the little they get off the land. Sad story.
8. Lorne's visit to the constituency it has been allegged is less than acceptable. It has been rumored that his relationship with his local top brass it not what it used to be. Hmmm! Favours not met? Lorne is green and will be used, but in time he will learn, I'm sure.
9. The issue of decrimalising prostitution is one that will divide this nation and cause it much pain. Remember during the time of Sara Flood when this same administration slipped the abortion bill into parliament? Keep your fingers crossed. They may try to do the same with this prostitution bill. Oh yes, better days are coming for the morals of this country.
The global economy is sick and is chewing at the achilles heels of the country, so when all these propaganda and empty rhetorics are spewed on political platforms and comes up as no show, who suffers?
May be there is still hope. Let's see what the budget brings - better or bitter days?

Sunday, March 04, 2012

International Women's Day

While I lay in bed this morning and contemplating what position to take on Choiseul's Women with regards to the IWD it suddenly struck me that I should ask for the names of some prominent women in the district and have the readers of this blog recommend one lady they think have contributed most to the development of Choiseul - of course with three reasons for their choice
The blog will coin that post " The people's choice for "IWD 2012"
In tomorrow's post a poll will be set up with some names for readers to choose from.
In the meantime send you choices to with the subject "IWD choice"
This blog sends out invitation to interested persons who may have an article and wants it posted on this blog. Note that the blog 's management reserves the right to post or not post the article if it deems it libelous.
Articles can sent to the email mentioned above with the subject " article". An article on " Our girls -what the future holds?" would be welcomed to mark IWD 2012 which I'd on March 8.
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device from LIME.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

China or Taiwan? Which way Mr. Rep?

   It is quite clear over the electronic media, except for Earl Bousquet and his self-serving motive that St.Lucians wants to stay with Taiwan. St.lucians have seen the tangible results for the five years the last administration had Taiwan onboard.
   It's an island wide sentiment that Taiwan must stay. Residents of Choiseul/Saltibus constituency have benefitted immensely from Taiwan. In fact the whole landscape of Choiseul has changed because of Taiwan funds. Thanks to Rufus for this. The living standard of Choiseul people has changed dramatically. Don't you think so?
   Now Choiseul would like to see the continuation of progress and as a result would rather stay with Taiwan. The point here is 
what does our new Rep thinks? This blog shares the view that it will be politically correct for Lorne to vote for Taiwan. He must do what is right for the people of Choiseul if he is to survive politically.
   However, it is very scary what may become of him should he go against the grain of this Government if they choose China in place of Taiwan.
  Should we then say that Lorne is treading a thin line, in that Choiseul wants Taiwan and supposing Kenny (don’t mind the Vaughn Lewis masquerage) wants China.
   The district Rep should organize a few town hall meetings to get the people's feel.
Like a song of the 60's "Which way you going Billy?"

Friday, March 02, 2012

Summer Employment for our Youth

  Every year the government offers employment to young persons 16 and over to enable them to earn some cash to further their studies the following school year. Employment is being offered on a two month basis from July to August.
Persons who are interested  an download the application form from and click on vacancies in the side bar. This is what the program is all about.

SUMMER EMPLOYMENT APPLICATION PROGRAMME Please read the following information carefully.
3/4 To assist students in financial need, meet the financial cost of their education
1. Students are required to complete the application form and submit it to the office of the Ministry of Public Service and human Resource Development , 2nd floor Greaham Louisy Administrative Building, Waterfront, Castries on or before March 31 on the calendar year which you seek summer employment.

2.       Incomplete applications or applications containing misleading information will not be considered.
3.       Applicants are required to be at the minimum age of sixteen (16) years on or before June 01, of the calendar year in which they apply
4. Students will be employed for a maximum of two (2) months during the period June to July or July to August.
5. All applicants are required to obtain an NIC number from the National Insurance Corporation, as proof of meeting the minimum age of sixteen (16) years.
6. Secondary School students applying for the programme are required to provide proof of enrolment in the final year of Form Five (5) of their programme. All other applicants are required to submit proof of registration
7. Students are requested to ensure that all information including mailing address is accurate
8.       Applications submitted after the deadline date of March 31 will not be considered

The application form is in pdf format. Students interested can download the form or can write to this blog at thesaltofchoiseul@hotmail .com with the subject  "form" and it will be sent to them in Word format

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Were the police killings extrajudicial: a strictly opinionated perspective

  With the recent revocation of the top cop's US visa and the fact that America is not furnishing any reasons speculations are flying left right and center. Frederick's visa was also revoked  and one could not help to hear the kind of accusations that were being hauled at the ex-minister for the revocation.America was not bulging.
  Yesterday an ex-minister suggested that the revocation of the top cop's visa may be due to the recent police killings that had taken place over the past months. He said that because of these killings the USA has been seeking answers but to no avail. He went on further to suggest that  someone may have given the US officials information suggesting that these killings may have been a cover up for government ministers or top police officials.
  Five alleged criminals were shot at Vieux fort during an attempted robbery. Other killings of top criminals have also taken place. At one time  a number of criminals' pics were posted all over the world wide web. It was rumored that the names came from a hit list from the police.
  Inquests have been scheduled to take place and until this is done St. Lucians will continue to thrive on speculation.