Wednesday, 15 May 2013


St Lucia, Simply Beautiful
Dr Anthony didn’t want this surgery. He certainly didn’t want to be the one who would have to do it.

He had urged the previous physicians to take preventative measures.

Now, he had a patient on his hands who was consuming too much, producing too little and desperately in need of an intervention. He would have to surgically excise fats that might be useful in a healthier nation.

“What are we going to do, Doc?” the people pronounced in mid-April during the first stage of the debates.

“I’ll tell you what we have to do,” he said, picking up the microphone and signalling to the deejay to drop the beat. As the OG gangsta sound of Dr Dre’s ‘The Chronic’ faded in, the spotlight came up on Kenny D Anthony’s toughest challenge, his most impossible task. He was like Obama, cleaning up after Bush, but wishing he was Clinton. He was like Prometheus, trying to get out of his chains, when someone came to tell him that all the fires went out.

Here’s a very brief sample of the most important lyric sheet in St Lucia this year. In the coming days, there will be more detailed reporting and analysis of the most surgically incisive lyrics PMKA ever spit.
Jason, I'm confused. Am I a rapper or a surgeon? We can't afford mixed metaphors in these tough times?

According to the Prime Minister, there will be huge cuts in capital expenditure. The Infrastructure Ministry got a little over $25 million for capital works, which in any other year, would be considered a joke. But right now, in the words of the Wonder Pets, “This...Is...Sewwious!”

Structural reforms are supposed to help minimize waste, increase productivity and competitiveness.

There are a thousand little cuts everywhere in the budget, so that the Prime Minister could protect social programs while trimming fat. One impressive manoeuvre was to reduce subsidies on rice, flour and sugar so that prives would go up by maybe a shilling a pound, but to increase the Ti Kaka Dan pensions government grants to the poor and indigent by 25%. Government will save about more than half of the $18 million it spends on subsidies now, but will end up spending less than $2 million on increasing the subsidies. Nice move...


There is always a but.

All the things mentioned above won’t save St Lucia from the debt and deficit crisis it is in. And so, it all comes down the government’s wage bill. In the end, government spends 13% of recurrent expenditure on wages and salaries. That should be more like 9% in a healthy country.

The wage bill is exactly 4% too high.

Can you feel the irony washing over you. The Prime Minister was very subtle in making this point. (I would have bashed it into the heads of union leaders.) Four percent is almost exactly the increase that public servants recently fought for. It is as though we were in a bad situation but we were in exactly the right position to get out – AND WE BLEW IT.

Give yourself a pat on the back, wherever you are.

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