The UWP 2021 Manifesto Analysis

Reference: (Please note that links to all reference articles can be accessed via embedded links)

After much deliberation, and with less than one week before the polls, both major Saint Lucian political parties finally presented their respective manifestos. The Saint Lucia Labour Party presented their , followed by the United Workers Party (UWP) on . Finally, Saint Lucians will have metrics to judge both political parties on their plans for the next five years. However, the material presented below will review the current administration’s contract of faith.

Performance of The Economy

Page 21 of 2021 UWP Manifesto

On UWP 2021 Manifesto (Page 21), the current administration describes their economic performance: “The UWP during the period 2017–2019 cumulatively grew Saint Lucia’s economy by over 9% when compared to the dismal 2.7% of the SLP over 2012–2016 — three times that of the SLP.” However, from , Saint Lucia’s GDP has contracted over the current administration’s tenure by 3% over their 5+ year term. The UWP administration are the first to preside over an economic contraction and significantly worse than the prior 2012–2016 numbers referenced in their manifesto.

During our tenure unemployment fell to 16.8%, the lowest in a decade. This equates to the creation of over 6,800 jobs in a span of three years.” On the contrary, the manifesto’s writer is implying that we are still in 2019. From the , there are currently 6,500 less Saint Lucians employed in 2021 than when this administration took office in 2016.

The June 2021 report by CariCRIS indicates a stable outlook for our economy. It provides confidence to our lenders that our country is heading in a positive direction.” The is worse than the . CariCRIS rates Saint Lucia’s debt management in worse shape in 2021 than in 2016.

First 100 Days Promises

On page 18 of their manifesto the current administration makes the following . The subsequent material analyzes the feasibility of these 100 day “promises” made to Saint Lucia public. Several similar “promises” were made earlier and the current administration failed to deliver them in 5+ years.

Page 18 of 2021 UWP Manifesto

· Introduce a $3 million Back to School Programme, targeting the vulnerable and single parents.

o Why was this Back to School Programme for vulnerable and single parents not rolled out in 2020 during the height of COVID-19 when millions of dollars was borrowed for COVID-19 income support?

· Introduce consultation and prepare strategy for the introduction of unemployment insurance.

o Why was no unemployment support given when the number of employed persons fell by ? Despite, this being the biggest external shocks to the economy, the current administration provided only minimal support to the unemployed.

· Pass legislation in respect to national health insurance for all.

o Here is an excerpt from the : “Provide universal access to an agreed minimum standard of health care for all citizens. Ensure that every worker has a private health insurance plan (funded through NIC or private insurance) with determined levels of contribution.” The current administration failed to deliver this in their 5+ year term though they but now claim they will be able to deliver it in the next 100 days.

· Expand the E-Book initiative and pay the license fee for academic year 2021/2022

· Provide learning devices for all secondary school students

o What e-books are available on the devices? Will students be liable for the license fees in subsequent years?

· Provide learning devices for grades 5 and 6

o The expansion of the e-learning devices would be a positive improvement.

· Introduce a new tax regime for personal income and corporate tax

o A modified tax regime is a very significant undertaking and certainly not something that would be doable in the first 100 days especially if no progress was made on this over the past 5+ years.

· Further reduce VAT to 10%

o The reduction of VAT to 10% would reduce government revenue by tens of millions particularly after the contraction of the economy over the past 5 years. How would the government recover the lost revenue?

· Introduce Property Tax Reform

o Further details on this initiative would be necessary to evaluate this proposal though it is unlikely this is an area that can be covered in the first 100 days.

· Introduce Local Government Reform

o From the UWP’s 2016 Manifesto: “Introduce an inclusive system on local government which engenders the participation of all members of the community.” Did the current administration make any progress on this area?

· Complete land rationalization.

o No details were provided on what this included. Would it be further land transactions like the /

· Establish a National Youth and Sports Authority

o Will this Authority remember to ?

· Pass legislation in respect of cannabis

o The administration promised in the 2016 manifesto to “Introduce legislation that will grant reprieve to first-time non-violent offenders in cases dealing with marijuana possession in favour of restorative forms of justice.” They + years and now expect the public to believe they would be able to complete it in 100 days if reelected.

· Commence construction of new Police Headquarters in Castries, Regional Court in Bois d’Orange and Gros Islet Civic Centre

o Earlier on in the document “Commenced the construction of the new Police Headquarters.” What is the actual status of this project?

· Commence work on the Millennium Highway

o Earlier in the document “Initiated major works on … Millennium Highway.” What is the actual status of this project?

· Introduce legislation for Border Control

o Further details on this initiative would be necessary to evaluate this proposal though it is unlikely this is an area that can be covered in the first 100 days.

· Strengthen IBCs to include a residential programme

o Further details on this initiative would be necessary to evaluate this proposal though it is unlikely this is an area that can be covered in the first 100 days.

Conclusion

The current administration has made many “promises” to the Saint Lucian electorate in their 2021 manifesto. The voters need to review the feasibility of these “promises” given the current administration’s track record of failing to achieve very similar “promises” over 5+ years.

Please reach out to stlucia.analyser@gmail.com with any suggested topics for future articles or if you would like to help write or edit our blogposts. Like or or at or or . We also have our ongoing .

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The St. Lucian Analyzer

The St. Lucian Analyzer

Critical data-driven research analysis of challenges facing Saint Lucia.

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