PRIME MINISTER PRESENTS $1.5B BUDGET..SAYS FOCUS ON PEOPLE, INFRASTRUCTURE & HEALTHCARE

Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Allen Chastanet, presented the One Billion, Five Hundred and Ninety-one Million, Five Hundred and Eighty-nine Thousand, dollars 2018/2019 Appropriation Bill on April 15th April 2019.  The Prime Minister revealed that the government policy direction will focus on investing in people, major infrastructure projects, restructuring debt and fixing the ailing healthcare system. According to Prime Minister Chastanet, the economy has grown by 8% since the United Workers Party formed the government in 2016; debt to GDP has been reduced, stay over visitors increased from 344,000 in…

PM ANNOUCNES NEW TAX RULES; THOUSANDS TO BENEFIT

In a Budget Address that centred on people-centric growth and bringing relief to Saint Lucians, Prime Minister Allen Michael Chastanet announced  Personal Income Tax Reform that would see thousands of low income earners pay less and in some cases no personal income taxes. This is a bold initiative and in keeping with the Government’s promise of less onerous taxes on the people of Saint Lucia. During his presentation to the House of Assembly on Monday April 15th 2019, the Prime Minister explained the challenges and disadvantages of the current system,…

IRD STAFF HAVE GRIEVANCES ADDRESSED INCLUDING RELCOCATION DEMAND

The General Secretary of the St. Lucia Civil Service Association says members at the Inland Revenue Department are happy with the government’s efforts to address their grievances. The staff had been complaining about air quality issues for over a year, and had given government an ultimatum to relocate the offices. The General Secretary of the St. Lucia Civil Service Association says the Union has had some positive meetings with the Management of the Inland Revenue Department and the Ministry of the Public Service both of which have met most of…

FORMER PM SAYS GUY JOSEPH SHOULD BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE IF ONLINE LETTER TURNS OUT TO BE LEGIT

Former Prime Minster Stephenson King says Guy Joseph should be held accountable if the supposed comfort letter to Pajoah Ltd. allegedly signed by the Economic Development Minister, committing the government to repaying a loan of US$62 million at 3.59% over a 15-year period for two projects is authentic. The letter which has been making rounds on social media has left many questioning whether Minister Joseph had the authority to give such a guarantee. The letter addressed to “Whom It May Concern” from the Ministry of Economic Affairs allegedly bearing the…

GOVERNMENT DEFENDS SPENDING ON CONSULTANTS

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…

PM SAYS MEDIA GOT IT WRONG. RAYMOND STILL A GOV. MINISTER

Prime Minister Allen Chastanet says Senator Dr. Ubaldus Raymond remains a minister of his cabinet pending the outcome of an investigation. Earlier this week Prime Minister Chastanet dismissed media reports that Dr. Raymond had resigned as Public Service Minister and a government Senator. Prime Minister Allen Chastanet stands by his decision to have Dr. Ubaldus Raymond remain a government minister and senator pending the outcome of an investigation into the latest scandal involving the minster. Raymond is thought to be the male in telephone conversations with a woman being circulated…

BISHOP ON RAYMOND SCANDAL “LEADERS SHOULD SET EXAMPLE!”

The head of the Roman Catholic Church in Saint Lucia, Archbishop Robert Rivas, says that every leader must be held to a very high standard. The religious leader spoke in light of the recent scandal surrounding Public Service Minister Dr. Ubaldus Raymond. The Roman Catholic Church leader says there are certain values and standards by which leadership functions. Transparency and accountability Archbishop Robert Rivas says are very important standards and values that every leader must uphold. The statements of the religious leader follow the latest scandal surrounding Senator Ubaldus Raymond,…

CASE MADE FOR MORE INVESTMENT IN YOUTH IN BUDGET

Gros Islet MP and Equity, Social Justice, Local Government and Empowerment Minister Lenard Montoute believes that a massive 1.7 million dollar increase In this year’s  budget allocation for youth empowerment programs should put a major dent in youth crime. Last year the allocation was only 376 thousand dollars. Last year the budget allocation for programs that targeted the impoverished was over $ 758,000. Of that amount only $158,000 was spent. The unutilized funds  will be transferred to this year’s budget for the same purpose. Last year the home care for the elderly…

OPPOSITION SUPPORTS NEW PAROLE PLAN

Parliamentary Representative for Castries South Dr. Ernest Hilaire has applauded the Government for moving to implement a new parole system that would allow qualifying inmates early release andreintegration into society. However Dr. Hilaire believes there must be support services in place for that to happen. During his throne speech  Governor General Sir Emmanuel Neville Cenac made reference to legislation to facilitate a new parole system that would make provisions for    inmates who qualify to be released early. The move is one way of addressing overcrowding   Castries South MP Dr.…

BREAK-IN PROMPTS CALLS FOR TOUGHER SECURITY AT GOV. BUILDINGS

Labour Minister Stephenson King says all government offices should be heavily secured and has called for a review of security protocols at those buildings. The minister’s comments come days after the Labour Department at Barnard Hill was broken into. According to Mr. King, the break in appeared to be an attack on an employee of the Labour Department. While he said there were a few personal items missing, minister King says the matter is in the hands of the police. Reports are that a number of important documents including passports…