Saturday, June 15, 2024
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HomeOpinionCommentarySquandered opportunities to decipher

Squandered opportunities to decipher

Amid Saint Lucia’s perturbing law enforcement and evolving social and economic strategy, the landscape in the past two weeks availed itself to the 2024/2025 estimates of revenue and expenditure and enthused discussions that observers, analysts, and potential investors may have gained additional useful insights.

However, talk shows, online portals and even parliamentarians either deviated or preferred to lead many away from gaining insights into Saint Lucia’s law enforcement, social and economic trajectory, and the 2024/25 fiscal year.

Instead, the traditional politics that upsurge potential conflicts and speculation of things not of basic equilibrium easily grasped the option.

Listening to a talk show host – revealing to the listening audience – that there is perhaps a reduction in the rate of homicides in Saint Lucia also registered on Caribbean News Global (CNG), research and development mechanisms.

Law enforcement

On review, Saint Lucia has recorded 24 homicides, respective of definitions, and subject to the proficiency of arithmetics.

On Tuesday, April 2, 2024, two bodies turned up at the island’s main garbage disposal facility in Deglos. This followed the discovery of a decomposing body in Laborie on Thursday, April 4, 2024.

The Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) targeted operations throughout the island executed warrants, conducted drug arrests, discovered fraudulent driver’s licences, confiscated firearms, and cash – EUR 31,000 and EC$10,000 – citing section 30 of the Money Laundering (Prevention) Act. Charges have been laid.

On April 5, 2024, an RSLPF operation is said to have yielded over 1,000 kilograms of what authorities suspect to be cocaine in Praslin, Micoud. (This is a developing story. No arrests were reported during the operation.)

Many can shed light on Easter Sunday, March 31, 2024, where gang-related combat at The Bordelais Correctional Facility (BCF) required inmates’ medical attention. No surprise there! The BCF is overcrowded! The gangs operate with willpower!

Security and leadership are better than none, plagued with staffing issues, equipment and the ease of infiltration (front door, back door, in the air, and the prison yard). The metamorphosis is the same. It’s a circus in a snake pit!

“One of our greatest challenges that we face at the facility is the number of persons from all over the island who hide in the lush, green, snake-infested vegetation to throw contraband over the unit or the facility,” Deputy Director at the BCF, Leonard Terrance explained. “The inmates are using increasingly sophisticated ways of concealing contraband.”

It should not come as a surprise if BCF inmates learn from their counterparts in upstate New York that ‘the April 8 lockdown violates inmates’ constitutional rights to practice their faiths by preventing them from taking part in a religiously significant event’ – watching the total solar eclipse.

Using commonly smuggled cell phones and legal proficiency, BCF inmates can adapt and file suit that argues constitutional rights for safety and security, and religious rights – from undue lockdowns from instruments that may facilitate altercations, fights and gang-related incidents.

However, these have not changed behaviour attitudes or prohibited understanding of the new normal. The available information requires enormous capability to navigate consistently, the trajectory of relevance and understanding of law enforcement direction.

Saint Lucia welcomed over 200 law enforcement officials to its shores for the Regional Security System’s (RSS) Unity Exercise 2024 (UNEX ’24), from April 2 to 13. UNEX 2024 is being co-founded by the RSS and the European Union, in collaboration with the government of Saint Lucia. Security officials from Antigua and Barbuda; Barbados; Dominica; Grenada; Guyana; St Kitts and Nevis; Saint Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines will be participating in the exercise. During this time, military and police officials from all RSS Member States, along with other regional and international partners, will participate in various training exercises designed to assess and enhance the interoperability, readiness and resilience of their forces, and to evaluate the application of command; control; communications; computers and intelligence (C4I).

But while it is still possible to collect insights and address critical questions concerning national security and law enforcement, the projected collection from the Health and Security Levy of approximately $35 million, designed in part to finance the security needs of the country; focus is required on the economy, financing innovation, cutting-edge technologies and a new quality productive police force.

Squandered opportunities

Benefits of road expansion project – Friday, August 14, 2015, by Office of the Prime Minister reads, in part:

“This investment is over EC$150 million and will be the largest investment in roads infrastructure to date,” said Dr Kenny Anthony. “While there will of course be some disruption and inconvenience, there can be no doubt that this expansion will yield tremendous benefits to commuters and businesses.” […]

“We pay a heavy price for our lack of foresight and vision. In nearly everything we do, we engage in partial, often half-baked solutions. The instance of this transport corridor is just one such example. In the first instance, when the highway was built in the 70s, insufficient right-of-way width was acquired. And over the decades, we have witnessed development after development, narrowing and constricting the free land available for road widening.

He continued: “Today, we are witnessing traffic volumes in excess of 24,000 vehicles per day, which in itself suggests that even an upgrade to four lanes will not provide completely free-flowing traffic conditions. This investment, however, will reduce the perennial crawling traffic and improve travel times considerably for commuters using this route.”

Let’s be honest! The economy will do better in reducing climate change, which should appeal to conservative-minded people. The opposite is true in the eyes of both allies and adversaries on the congested Gros-Islet dual carriageway that accommodates a mini roundabout.

A mini roundabout on the Gros-Islet dual carriageway

Coming from a long Easter weekend, the mini roundabout on the Gros-Islet dual carriageway – best suited for neighbourhoods/residential streets and intended to keep traffic at low speeds, caught the attention of motorists and passengers.

Markings, lane width and turning radius are vital in traffic circles. Ideally, the location of a mini roundabout is mainly at inconsequential and uncontrolled intersections with simple markings providing roughly 15 feet of clearance in the circle. A mini-roundabout contributes to curb appeal – beautifying the street and surrounding neighbourhoods.

In less than 30 days, the mini-roundabout has attained multiple distinctions in conjunction with a neighbourhood attraction of shared road markings and intersectional improvements; and a spectacular roadshow of vehicle prototypes.

The mini-roundabout craves more interpretation and information not disclosed. It warrants an explanation of what has become suitable for sightseeing in a high-volume transportation corridor.

Plenty to decipher 

There is plenty to decipher in Prime Minister Philip J Pierre’s 2024/2025 budget that holds value for public education, source of investment, revenue components and the future direction of Saint Lucia.

A focus on development to broaden domestic growth and deliver widespread benefits that contribute to economic stability is a long-term endeavour. And amid concerns for high domestic and foreign debt, institutional deficiency and risks become extremely important to navigate.

In 2024/25, without institutional reforms, investment and enhanced productivity in emerging and future industries, the expected economic growth for Saint Lucia will not be sustainable.

For a year-on-year expansion in tandem with GDP growth, a focus on factors of productivity, trade imbalance, investment in industries, cutting-edge technologies, finance innovation and private sector participation to leverage policy tools are reflective factors.

Based on available information, there are multiple possibilities to consider – many good options – to accelerate growth in Saint Lucia’s marketplace.

But with all the best intentions, the reluctance to act and to disband elements of frustrations over the lack of progress in implementing major recommendations and policy directives contravenes knowledge components.

Acknowledging the challenges and the need to implement a strategy to accelerate development and project goals will require new attributes and sectors conducive to robust accountability, and the removal of red-tape bureaucracy, to achieve expeditionary competence and macroeconomic outturns. The mechanisms for capital investment in the blue and green economies and strengthening support for innovation and technology are equally important.

@GlobalCaribbean  fav

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