Kerosene has long been associated with the lower income sectors of the society otherwise referred to as Malewe a sector which the SLP Government purports to represent. These persons who use kerosene in many cases as their main source of fuel (for their lighting, cooking, etc;) are now left to contend with the dramatic increase in price from EC $6.00 – EC $11.27 or lessen on their cooking activities and other uses of the fuel.
This latest onslaught by a Government which promised St Lucians “Better Days” can only lead to further hardship for the poor and indigent of Anse La Vedere, Barons Drive, Bruce Ville and Park Estate. The Government's action can best be described as unconsionable and anti-poor given that many of these persons have had to contend with expenses related the reopening of school, recent general trend of increases and projected further increases in food prices and further the impending increase in prices associated with the imposition of VAT.
The previous UWP Government kept subsidies on kerosene in place mindful of the fact that it was used as fuel by the poor and indigent. The Kenny Anthony Government must explain to these people its justification for removal of a subsidy which has been in place for the past nine (9) years.
We are now left to wonder if the next Government subsidy to be withdrawn will be that of the School Transportation as we note that bus owners/drivers who held contracts with the Ministry of Education were only offered a short-term three (3) months contract by the Ministry. Will our children be once again abandoned and exposed to the risk of finding their way to and from school as obtained during the tenor of the last SLP Administration.
We are clearly witnessing the rapid marginalization of the poor under the current SLP Government. Whilst the Government continues its approach of political patronage by the handing out of menial jobs through the Step program, the pockets of these persons are ravaged by increases in basic commodities and now the decision to put into effect a dramatic increase in the price of kerosene. The SLP Government through this latest action appears determined to diminish the oil that lights the lamp of hope for the poor of this country.