PM Pierre shares key areas to be featured during new financial year 2022-23

Prime Minister Philip J Pierre has shared some key areas that would be featured during the new financial year, 2022-23.

PM Pierre shares key areas to be featured during new financial year 2022-23
PM Pierre shares key areas to be featured during new financial year 2022-23

St Lucia: Prime Minister Philip J Pierre has shared some key areas that would be featured during the new financial year, 2022-23.

The points discussed by the Prime Minister are as follows –

1.) Economic Transformation:-

The PM mentioned that the government will pursue the expansion of export-driven sectors including manufacturing and business process outsourcing. Government will continue to provide support to the bureau of standards and export St Lucia and assist our local companies in finding new markets for new and existing viable products.

2.) Reform of Tax System:-

Pierre-led government during this parliament, will reform the income tax system to allow for easier collection and payment of taxes. The disposable income of the lower-income taxpayer will be increased through the granting of higher allowance and the current burdensome imposition of interest and penalties on outstanding taxes will be reviewed.

3.) Caribbean Court of Justice:-

This year, St Lucia takes steps towards accession to the appellate jurisdiction of the Caribbean court of justice. We are thus expected to become the fifth CARICOM members’ state to replace the Privy Council with the CCJ

“To this end, my government has appointed a committee under the chairmanship of Justice Dennis Byron to prepare the way for St Lucia’s accession to the CCJ,” PM Pierre stated.

The draft legislation for the amendment of St Lucia constitution to allow for accession has been prepared and will soon be available for public security.

4.) Agriculture Incentives Act:-

St Lucian government will continue to provide support to the food and agribusiness sector including the expansion of opportunities to access credit to youth and women. Recent amendments to the agricultural incentives act will encourage greater diversification, and quality of products. A total of nineteen new crops have been indentifying to receive support.

5.) Constitutional Reform:-

Prime Minister stated, “My government intends to reignite the discourse on what form and style our democracy should take, especially within the context of the technological era of ICT.

The Parliamentary committee created for this purpose will be revamped and mandate to consider specific areas such as prime ministerial term limits, a fixed date for General Elections, the appointment of a Deputy Speaker, and the matter of becoming a Republic.”

6.) Good Governance and Anti-Corruption:-

The government will appoint a Special Prosecutor and enact the supporting relevant legislation necessary to conduct investigations into acts of alleged public corruption. It is the intention of my government that these investigations will be completed during the life of this parliament.

7.) Local Empowerment:-

“My government will ensure that the outstanding Constituency Boundaries matter is resolved so that the aberration that exist with the disparate sizes of constituencies are resolved in accordance with constitution,” the Prime Minister stated.

8.) Education and Sports:-

Curriculum reform will proceed and include the teaching of St Lucia and African History. The Government remains committed to expanding access to tertiary education. The goal is one University graduate per household.

9.) Housing and Urbanisation:-

The housing deficit requires state intervention, particularly with respect to the need for creating affordable homes in safe, liveable, accessible, and green communities. St Lucian Government will introduce measures to promote affordable housing that meets the demands of our people and consolidate and rationalize where possible existing communities through better urban design and amenities.

10.) Youth Economy:-

The Government has already begun the rollout the youth Economy, which will see an expansion of opportunities for young entrepreneurs through skills development, access to finance, and business support measures will target at-risk and unemployed youth. The Youth Economy will be structured with its own agency and Board to provide greater autonomy and flexibility in decision-making.

11.) Tourism and Creative Industries:-

In the area of creative industries, the government will review the cultural Development Act to create a new enabling institutional and legislative framework that will formalize the cultural industries in Saint Lucia.

“My government believes that the cultural and creative industries are the new economic frontiers and that the time has arrived for deliberate and concentrated focus on nurturing and enabling that sector. The creativity of our people is beyond the mere constraints of geographic space and population and it must be allowed to blossom,” Prime Minister stated.

12.) Education and Sports:-

Modernisation of the school plant continues and by the end of this session of Parliament, fifty smart classes would have been installed across the island’s schools. In the pursuit of equitable, lifelong education, measures at building capacity in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) will continue.

13.) Health and Social Security:-

My Government will take steps to secure a better quality of life for all. How we achieve this requires that we make optimum use of our resources, even as we promote economic growth. My Government will initiate discussion on respectable living wages that promotes fair compensation for workers. In particular, our seniors, persons with disabilities, and single-parent households will be targeted for such measures.

He further stated that “My Government remains committed to the goal of Universal Health Care, underpinned by the principles of universality, accessibility, affordability and equity. A special unit will be established to refocus efforts in this regard.”

PM Pierre further mentioned, “Consistent with the desire to protect persons from sudden shocks due to unemployment, as had been witnessed during the Pandemic, my Government will task the National Insurance Cooperation with analysing the feasibility of unemployment benefits.”