Chastanet, who returned from a four-day visit to the United Kingdom on Sunday, told reporters Monday that he had taken the opportunity to meet with nationals in the European country to outline the new policies of his administration that came to office in June last year.
He said the primary areas in terms of building a new St. Lucia include dealing with the current financial situation where a deficit government is being run.
“We have been borrowing quite substantially to be able to finance that deficit. The fact is that we are raising more tax monies than everybody else, but the areas in which we are investing that money are not generating any rate of return. So it’s how we are going to restructure our balance sheet in order for us to make something that is more sustainable,” Chastanet said.
He identified public sector‘re-engineering’ as another area of focus for his government.
“We have a public service which I do not believe is running as efficiently as it possibly can,” Chastanet said, noting the appalling conditions of police and fire stations across the island.
“I think that you would be appalled to see the conditions in which these people are having to work – new buildings, or semi-new buildings in which electrical wires were put in and now they have electrical wires running through the hallways,” Chastanet said.
He spoke of attempts to put ‘temporary fixes’ on rusted furniture, windows that are not working, washers that are not functioning, inoperative gyms and termite-infested desks – among other issues.
Chastanet revealed that the problems have existed for years.
“You go to the schools – you see the same thing, sewerage systems not working, lights falling down where young people are,” Chastanet said, recalling that there have been reports of persons being electrocuted in some of those schools.
Chastanet said the third area of focus for his administration relates to investment.
“There is no way that the current size of our economy can yield the revenue that we need to be able to modernise St. Lucia, to make St. Lucia a world class destination,” Chastanet told reporters.
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