If we learn any lesson from the St Jude fiasco, it is that governments are not good at project management.
In the first place, they tend to employ weak or unqualified project managers who give up trying to manage the performance of those close to ministers or political power.
Governments have done better as “regulators” that is why HM Customs & Excise have down so well over the years.
Therefore, can I recommend you focus on building a regulatory state instead of a project management approach to governance?
Corruption is too endemic in the society to expect anything from politically appointed “project managers”.
For the past 30 years, the National Housing Corporation (NHC) has effectively been a “project manager”, in that role all the lots at Choc that should have been sold at a premium were sold off cheaply, and so the less desirable lots could not be developed profitability. The outcome was a cancelled “80/20” deal and nothingness.
In the current operating environment of social housing, I don’t need to remind you that money is the name of the game. But you will not raise money if the financial institutions do not have confidence in your regulatory institutions.
So, can I recommend that to achieve better outcomes for social housing, you merge the St Lucia Mortgage and Finance with the National Housing Corporation? That will strengthen management and reduce the need for office space and “white elephant” office buildings.
The new Saint Lucia Mortgage and Housing Corporation (SLMHC) should be given the mandate to regulate a network of community housing associations and mobilize finance for affordable housing.
Concerning the role of the community housing associations, they will provide an opportunity for ordinary citizens to reconnect with the “state” at the community level. Giving them an opportunity to own asset and participate in managing their communities. That sense of community ownership and solidarity is vital for defeating the existential threat of “gangsterism” that all Caribbean states face.
Prime minister Pierre, this is your opportunity to rescue Saint Lucians from “persistent poverty”.
It is how social democracy now organizes to uplift citizens from the ravages of what Dr Tennyson Joseph calls “neoliberalism.”
It is what Raphael St Hill promotes as the “cooperative” approach.
Sir, please do not disappoint Saint Lucians for petty politics and the ego of housing minister, Richard Frederick.
Let’s work together and deliver a New Progressive Party, affordable housing and regeneration agenda, by building a regulatory state.
Let’s make the next generation of Saint Lucians proud of our actions on this 44th year of our independence.
May God continue to bless Saint Lucia and Saint Lucians.