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Friday, May 18, 2012


Is development a function of chance?

Since the last elections, I have been pondering on two questions:

1.   Is our development a function of chance? or
2.   Is it a function of deliberate Gov’t policy?

I have been doing a lot of “scientific thinking” in that regard. Is our development truly a function of the processes which the political pundits claim to have framed? Or is it all hoax?

In any experiment – scientific or otherwise – we want our results to be a function of our experimental intervention; but we can’t always rule out chance or “serendipity” (that is, discovery by accident). Indeed, the theory of universal gravitation – one the greatest unifying scientific theories – started with serendipity, when an apple, it is alleged accidentally fell on Isaac Newton’s nose. That triggered – not just pain but - a whole gamut of thought which resulted in the discovery of the theory of gravity, which later became the basis for formulation of Einstein’s general theory of relativity – a masterpiece in the scientific world!

Economic transformation on the horizon?

Dr Kenny Anthony is no Isaac Newton or Albert Einstein. But I want to suggest that his development initiatives have some “scientific lines” which point us away from the doom, gloom and failure which so aptly characterized us over the last five years. I argue: If these initiatives are delivered according to expectations, then I daresay that we are all in for the beginning of an economic transformation in the midst of perhaps the most difficult economic period we have witnessed since the great depression.  

Intellectual honesty and growth

It’s unfortunate that we are now grappling with a “degenerating’” debate around a bogus 4.4% GDP growth which perhaps became the major pillar of the UWP campaign. The confidently dogmatic manner in which King postulated it almost convinced me that it was a conclusive fact. He owned it and took all the credit for it but with the loss of that monumental "4X4 luxury", he now has found himself waking up from perhaps his worst prime ministerial nightmare!

As is generally typical of dishonest leaders, when it turned out to be a “hoax”, he crouched in all sorts of undignified postures to repudiate it; even to the point of calling for the “head” of the director of Statistics.

During the tenure of the last gov’t, a lot of blame was cast on external factors for the non-performance of the economy. In fact King - reminiscent of a confused leader with a deep split-personality syndrome - was singing two contrasting economic tunes at the same time. In one corner of his mouth, he was doing a melancholy about  ‘exogenous’ circumstances and their debilitating impact on the economy; in the other corner, he was singing a happy song of a 4.4% GDP growth.

That juxtaposition of the two positions was logically untenable to the point of sheer ludicrosity; but none of his large protective belt of advisors provided him with insulation - or is it that in his bliss, he refused advice in the same way he ignored the caveats from the director of statistics. Who allowed the emperor to be exposed to the ravages of the elements?

If there’s one thing I am prepared to give Dr Anthony, it is his intellectual honesty when it comes to issues of that nature. (I know you will flash the Rochamel card in my face; but irrespective of Rick Wayne’s never-ending demonization of Kenny, he was thoroughly vindicated by the Privy Council  - the highest court of law – and subsequently also by the politically-inspired “Commission of Enquiry”.  So the Rochamel invention was relegated to a charade which certainly gave more “heat than light”; but it was extinct in both!)

Optimism and the prospects for growth

Right now, with Kenny at the wheel, there’s an optimistic frame of mind that pervades the country. Indeed, the dark clouds of economic doom and gloom now have a well-defined silver lining. I listened to the policy pronouncements in the budget presentation and indeed, they inspired hope. I’m particularly impressed with policy shifts and initiatives regarding the re-implementation of STEP, and the implementation of programmes like LEAP, NICE, NAEP etc; and side by side those, I’m heartened by the initiatives for the construction sector. Even in the context of our resource limitations, Kenny has launched an all-out WAR (We Are Ready) on unemployment and I expect a significant impact thereon.

If Lorne’s ministry can maintain a steady or increased momentum in the tourism industry, and the Phillip can keep the construction industry vibrant, then I see a real prospect for a 4.4% GDP growth.

Rallying for a better St. Lucia

So, let’s forget about King’s crudities of plot and sour grapes! I believe genuine and patriotic St. Lucians have the interest of the country at heart and are rallying behind Kenny’s experiment for a better St. Lucia.

For the first time in five years, I see development on the horizon which I believe will largely be a function of sound government policies!

Bravo Kenny! And Keep it up! You are on the right track for a sound economic recovery!

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