By Caribbean News Now contributor
CASTRIES, St Lucia -- Following public bickering between the two main political parties in Saint Lucia over economic statistics, the Lucian People’s Movement (LPM) has called for an end to “childish political tactics” on the part of the opposition United Workers Party (UWP) and the current St Lucia Labour Party (SLP) government in their attempt to shift blame for which party has actually placed the country in enormous debt.
Lucian People’s Movement (LPM) leader Therold Prudent
LPM leader Therold Prudent denounced the “blame game” approach of both parties, especially the futile dispute over Saint Lucia’s actual debt-to-GDP ratio, and questioned whether this unproductive defensive behaviour may indicate that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) may soon intervene in Saint Lucia’s disturbing fiscal situation.
According to the LPM leader, “I have always questioned the inconsistent methodology that governments use to measure true GDP value (current value of GDP) and, in our 2011 LPM manifesto, we made critical recommendations on how Saint Lucia should proceed consistently in this respect.”
In its manifesto, the LPM recommended that the budget process be boosted by holding an annual public debate on the “Estimates of Government Revenue and Expenditure,” prior to the annual budget presentation, to give greater accountability and increase awareness regarding the tracking of previous financial allocations and new intentions to spend taxpayers’ money.
“An approach of that magnitude,” added Prudent, “is consistent with the democratic way of doing business and will serve as an official endorsement of public acceptance and resilience during these difficult times.”
Prudent further stated, “The bottom line is that our people need to know the truth, and when political leaders cannot get the facts straight on whether the debt-to-GDP ratio is 9%, 14% or 17%, all thoughts turn to the misappropriation of government funds, bad accounting practices and the loss of public confidence in the national agenda.”