Published On: Wed, Jan 16th, 2013

Ken-e-conomics, a failed gimmick

Maybe the prime minister of Saint Lucia New Year’s (2013) address can be described as the evolution from a hawk to a ground dove. But, I urge you not to be taken like a sheep to the slaughter, given the PM’s trouble with the past, and the current economic mediocrity of Ken–e–conomics.

It is no mystery that a new economic model is required for real change to take place in Saint Lucia. It is no mystery that the country needs to focus on creating quality jobs for a market economy that rely on entrepreneurs.

Suffice to say that the government is failing the present and future generation to provide a vision for the future, to stabilize long-term debt and make investments in human and physical capital for the future.

And, in the absence of an economic growth metrics there is a decline in the living standard of the middle class, jobseekers, the poor, and the elderly.

Meanwhile the political class is attempting to fill this void with deceptive Ken–e–conomics.

Further, with slow growth and the scourge of a welfare state, it seems that hypocrisy or perhaps the incompetence of the minister of finance to cube rising debt to GDP, through medium-term debt sustainability to give growth a chance, is nothing more than a fantasy to placate the powerful voting blocs of his current administration.

Somehow, reality have set-in and the government of Saint Lucia suddenly realizes that it is facing difficult choices, and made worse by the current turn of events – public service wage negotiation, IMF report, and the recommended 30% salary increase for ministers, in a dead economy.

The welfare programs help to create more red holes in a dead economy; the addition of $3.5 million to annual current expenditure to pay for political appointees, amidst the rapidly rising cost of the public service is a shameless act, more so, without an appropriate benchmark or concept to measure objectivity.

The enlargement of foreign services operations, at a time when much less is realized in economic terms, remains unexplained; not to mention tax policy reform, weak competitive issues and depleting productivity.

And, while policy initiative on investments is absent to address long-term debt and to achieve fiscal stability, the economy continues to decline.

To cube this economic sickness, deceptive Ken–e–conomics fantasy medicine will not do.

As such, Saint Lucia’s fiscal constrains require high quality sustainable performance, productivity, and a departure from complacency to competitiveness and strong global market presents for capital investments to revive new streams of revenue and growth.

Anything less, including ideological fantasy’s and band-aid fixes such as those in the prime minister and minister of finance 2013 new year’s message, is a political script, set to derail the country, and reduce it to being a fearful spectator, watching the world go by.

Ken–e–conomics, has failed to address with confidence the economic stewardship of the country and to advance the economy on a larger national purpose.

Clearly lacking is Ken–e–conomics in-depth analysis of the economic situation at hand, the management, and knowledge factors, including the political vultures of narrow ideological politics, that lack the capability to identify investments, create jobs, attend to bi-lateral trade and solve problems.

Saint Lucia urgently needs a framework to develop science, technology and energy towards an economic future.

Public-private sector partnerships to raise capital / investment and boost infrastructure, air and sea ports, have oversight, cost-benefit analysis and economic benefits that focus on growth; create a sustainable fiscal budget that provide confidence and optimism to restore faith in government the private sector and investors.

The strategy should be to restore competiveness to growth – politics into economics, and create an opportunity to generate new streams of revenue while curtailing expenditure within a national economic purpose.

But more importantly, resisting economic mediocrity of Ken–e–conomics, and the political vultures of narrow ideological politics and, the decision making by political clowns, in an economic theatre, is the first step to solving Saint Lucia’s economic position.

Let’s have a discussion on the economic growth metrics.

It’s about time we do as a nation!

 

Melanius Alphonse is a management and development consultant. He is an advocate for community development, social justice, economic freedom and equality; the Lucian People’s Movement (LPM) critic on youth initiative, infrastructure, economic and business development. He can be reached at malphonse@rogers.com

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