St. Lucia’s budget 2005- 2006, just under one billion dollars

Elections fever in the mother country & Dominica

The world’s Catholic community has a new Pope – Pope Benedict XVI. Prince Charles is happily married to the love of his life. Citizens of England and the Commonwealth of Dominica go to the polls on May 5th. What a coincidence?

Here in St. Lucia, on April 19, 2005 in the usual ceremonial atmosphere, Dame Pearlette Louisy, Governor General gave the Throne Speech to both houses of Parliament with the theme “ Continue to Progress and Prosper” outlining her Government’s policies for the ensuing Budget year. Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable Kenny D. Anthony presented a budget just short of a Billion EC Dollars, the amount is EC$954.1 million with no new taxes. Information on the Throne Speech and the entire Budget can be found at

The Budget was presented under the theme “ Consolidating Gains, Developing a World Class Destination and Enhancing Human Resource Capacity” The presentation was upbeat with a wide range of fiscal packages. Multiple projects are in the making in the tourism sector, road network development, and other services to meet the demands that will be placed upon the nation as a result of the Cricket World Cup 2007.

Back to politics, both Labour Parties in England and Dominica are heading to the polls but not in comfortable positions. Prime Minister Blair has to deal with the Iraq war while PM Skerrit has to deal with the Economy. It is the latter situation that I would like to comment.

I made a trip to Dominica a few days ago and during my stay which was about eight hours but very intense, I met with a leading politician in the country with whom I discussed the possibility of taking a project to Dominica but as is expected politics was discussed. The Opposition United Workers Party (UWP) is calling the voters to remember how things were good under them and return of the UWP will bring prosperity to the nation. It is true that for some reason they were able to emit office without the state of economic despair affecting their government. But the question is, could they have prevented the situation which developed under the current government? The Labour Government in spite of losing two Prime Minister by death was able to come to terms with the economic crisis and the uneasiness within the country was quelled.

PM Skerritt, though a young politician who cannot boast of being politically experienced, is loved by the people and has been able to hold the party together. Will it be prudent to return the present government to office and have them continue their programme of recovery or to replace the current government with the UWP which has been more flambouyant? A billion dollar question is what has been the PM’s relationship with the youth of Dominica and as a result what about the youth factor in the upcoming elections? Will the youth be the deciding factor, the ones to give Prime Minister Skerret an opportunity to rule the country on his terms for at least one full term? This should be a youth campaign where the young people take the lead and take a stand on which party should win. A national youth conference is in order in the final days leading up the elections.

Should the Labour Party pull off the upcoming elections, there is one area that must be improved, that is their engaging of the citizens in the affairs of the nation. There is urgent need to improve communication. If they were to loose this election it would be due to their lack of engagement of the people to allow greater understanding and participation in their own affairs. It wouldn’t be long before the results of the elections will be known. The Billboards are very impressive and make the candidates come alive, the campaign managers are doing a great job in marketing their candidates. I pray that in the end the electorates will make the right decision and vote for a resounding victory for the party that will provide the nation with the best leadership at this time. Dominica the rest of the region is watching you. A friend of mine went so far as to suggest that a Labour win in Dominica, could send a signal to the rest of the region, especially the OECS, noting that St. Vincent and St. Lucia are up for elections within a year’s time.

This is an important election in the history of Dominica and will prove the level of political maturity attained by the citizens. If the information provided by the taxi driver who took me across the country from the airport and back is anything to go by, it is going to be one hell of a toss up at the polls.

We are a people who believe in the wonder working power of the Creator but the underlying this fact is that he gives us the desires of our hearts and gives us the leaders we deserve. We are warned that if we select leaders with no vision, we shall perish. It is therefore necessary for us as voters to have a spirit of discernment.

Keep the Faith – God is in Charge!!!

Edward A. Harris
Freelance Journalist: Business & P. R. Consultant: Realtor:
President of the Guyana – St. Lucia Association

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