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Sunday, January 26, 2014


As Kenny prepares to address the nation tonight, let's try and second-guess what he is likely to say without necessarily stealing his thunder.

Will it be a "State of the Nation" address? Or will it be a general update/review of the post-trough recovery efforts and the challenges we face in that regard going forward, especially in the context of the severe economic constraints?

Because the “post-trough” recovery has serious “economic” implications and the two are so intricately intertwined, we would generally expect the PM to speak of “one” in terms of “the other”.

Hence, we look forward to a definitive policy statement and specific measures on the "post-trough" way forward. Who knows . . . perhaps, despite serious fiscal constraints, the PM may even announce his intention to extend the construction stimulus package, among other things, to allow St. Lucians to a further opportunity to retrofit their homes to make them more disaster-resistant. That may well be an excellent strategy for employment-generation as well as economic growth.

We look forward to the PM to give us a sneak preview of the current social and economic indicators that are likely to continue to inform his post-trough decisions. In that regard, we expect at least a broad-policy statement on crime and its impact on not just our economy but also our image as a proud country.

Patriotic St. Lucians (at home and in the diaspora) are very concerned about the increasingly inexplicable and senseless criminal behavior patterns which are apparently taking a heavy toll on our image as a peace-loving nation with a world record for the ratio of Nobel laureate per square metre.

I expect our PM to make a definitive statement designed to allay our fears by indicating proactive policy measures to specifically address the spiraling criminal activity. I also expect him to allude to the Pratt homicide and the potentially disastrous ramifications to our tourist industry.

If the PM’s speech is a “State-of-the Nation” address, I expect him to give us a snapshot - if not a mirror - of the fiscal, economic and social policies that are likely to underpin his 2014/15 budget.

Despite the obvious national sympathies for the erstwhile Leader of the Opposition, I don't expect the PM to “drop a bomb” on the badly wounded UWP. He won’t get marks for that.  I'm sure he would want to reserve any pronouncements in that regard for another forum.

If anything tonight, his focus should be on his desire to invent a "bomb" to drop on crime and other social economic problems facing St. Lucia. Now that he has had a good look at the demonstrated competencies of his cabinet, it is perhaps a good time to design that bomb around a major "Cabinet Reshuffle"!

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