Castries Central MP and Minister with Responsibility for External Affairs Sarah Flood-Beaubrun has fired back at criticism from Opposition Leader Philip J Pierre who cited a big increase in recurrent expenditure for foreign affairs. In her defense Ms. Flood-Beaubrun said Government was forced to hire consultants to review reports that have been sitting in the Ministry for ages without any follow through on their recommendations Here’s Don Nicholas
Opposition Leader Philip J Pierre pointed out that for the fiscal year 2017/2018 capital expenditure of 157 million fell 19 million dollars short of the estimates approved for the same year. In 2018/2019 capital expenditure of 143 million dollars fell short by 33 million. Mr. Pierre reasoned that if Government failed to realize smaller levels of capital expenditure for the previous two years it will not be able to implement the capital expenditure for this fiscal year totaling 246 million. The Opposition Leader took issue with a 1 million dollar increase in recurrent expenditure for foreign affairs.
In her defense Minister with responsibility for External Affairs Sarah Flood-Beaubrun explained that while there has been an increase in recurrent expenditure there is a decrease in capital expenditure – the reason for that being that the St. Lucia mission in Taiwan was transferred from Capital expenditure to recurrent expenditure. She also indicated that Government was forced to hire consultants to review reports that have been sitting in the Ministry for ages without any follow through on their recommendations
Prime Minister Allen Chastanet in comparing last years’ budget to this one says when he came into Government in 2016 the fiscal position was critical and that he was running a deficit government borrowing money to pay for money that had already borrowed. Mr. Chastanet pointed out that the financial sector lost confidence in the economy and that the Government was unable to get treasury bills. He added that very little money was being invested into improving health care, education and road repairs. Fortunately he says there was no global financial crisis like the one that shook the world’s foundations in 2008. Had that happened St. Lucia according to the Prime Minister would have been in dire strait. This year he says there’s been a turn around as Government has been able to reduce the overall deficit significantly
The Prime Minister says the Business community and the general public should be satisfied that the Government has been able to turn the fiscal situation around