Castries, St Lucia: Prime Minister Philip J Pierre outlined some key areas which will feature during the new financial year, 2022/23, on Tuesday, March 29, 2022.
PM Pierre also presented the estimates for revenue and expenditure on Tuesday in the speech.
Further, Acting Governor-General delivered the Throne speech under the theme “Securing Our Future Together.”
Prime Minister Pierre outlined various areas, which include being as follows:
PM Pierre stated that his government would pursue the expansion of export-driven sectors, including Manufacturing and Business Process Outsourcing. They shall continue to provide support to the Bureau of Standards and export St Lucia and assist their local companies in finding new markets for new and existing viable products.
Reform of Tax System
“My government, during this parliament, will reform the Income Tax system to allow for easier collection and payment of taxes. The disposable income of the lower-income taxpayer will be increased through the granting of higher allowances, and the current burdensome imposition of interests and penalties on outstanding taxes will be reviewed”, underscored PM Pierre.
Caribbean Court of Justice
This year, St Lucia takes steps toward accession to the appellate jurisdiction of the Caribbean Court of Justice. He noted that they are thus expected to become the fifth CARICOM member state to replace the Privy Council with the CCJ.
To this end, the Government of St Lucia has appointed a committee under the chairmanship of Justice Dennis Byron to prepare the way for St Lucia’s accession to the CCJ.
The draft legislation for the amendment of St Lucia’s Constitution to allow for accession has been prepared and will soon be available for public scrutiny.
Agricultural Incentives Act
PM Pierre said, “My government will continue to provide support to the Food and Agribusiness sector, including the expansion of opportunities to access credit to youth and women. Recent amendments to the agricultural incentives act will encourage greater diversification and quality of products. A total of nineteen new crops have been identified to receive support”.
Education and Sports
Curriculum reform will proceed and include the teaching of St Lucian and African History. The government of St Lucia remains committed to expanding access to tertiary education. The goal is one university graduate per household.
Modernization of the school plant continues, and by the end of this session of parliament, fifty smart classes would have been installed across the island’s schools.
In the pursuit of equitable, lifelong education, measures at building capacity in Technical and Vocational Education and training and Information and Communication Technology will continue.
The Government of St Lucia has already begun the rollout of the youth Economy, which will see an expansion of opportunities for young entrepreneurs through skills development, access to finance, and business support. Measures will target at-risk and unemployed youth. The Youth Economy will be structured with its own agency and Board to provide greater autonomy and flexibility in decision-making.
Health and Social Security
“My Government will take steps to secure a better quality of life for all. How we achieve this required that we make optimum use of our resources, even as we promote economic growth,” underscored the prime minister.