“Love is a small island surrounded by water and tears.”
The Corona Virus has become the Queen of the jungle. It has sent the world’s economy into a downward spiral. Saint Lucia, a Small Island Developing State (SIDS) was no exception to the rule and has felt the wrath of the pandemic, clocking thirty-two (32) deaths. Thirty-two deaths are one too many. Saint Lucia’s vulnerability as a consequence of this pandemic requires prudent management of limited resources.
Saint Lucians have witnessed unprecedented borrowing by the Government of Saint Lucia. This is considered Emergency Financing. This may sound alarming, however, Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) relies heavily on low interest or no-interest loans for their survival.
The Government of Saint Lucia does not have a choice when it comes to borrowing. Reality sunk in very quickly for the people and Government of Saint Lucia. Tourism accounts for 40% of the GDP is the main source of jobs and income. Many workers are going to be out of employment for a very long time. This is where the government has to step up creating an environment for new entrepreneurs: providing them with the financial resources and technical expertise.
This sad reality faces all Small Island Developments States (SIDS). They do not have other revenue streams to keep their economy afloat. Economic diversification is the process of shifting an economy away from a single income source toward multiple sources from a growing range of sectors and markets. Traditionally, it has been applied as a strategy to encourage positive economic growth and development.
Saint Lucia can’t survive this pandemic without adequate Development Finance Support.
What is Development Finance Support?
It simply means financial support received in grants or “concessional loans from international organizations such as The World Bank. In the earlier days of the pandemic, the World Bank loaned St. Lucia USD 5.0 M through the Saint Lucia Health System Strengthening Project.
Health System Strengthening Project
Loan: USD 5.0 million
Terms: Maturity = 40 years; Grace = 10 years
The objective of the project is to improve the accessibility, efficiency, and responsiveness of key health services.
- Increasing testing abilities
The island was not vigorously testing. The authorities were too busy selling St. Lucia as a Covid-19 free destination. Fatal error! The country is now at the highest risk level, Level Four.
- Building isolation Units
Still a far cry from what should have been. The Health Care System is on life support.
- Public Information Awareness Campaigns
Public was informed through print and media.
- Rehabilitation of Victoria Hospital and Medical Facilities
Works started after the outcry of angry isolation patients.
- Creation of Employment
After the fact
Five million United States Dollars in XCD is approximately 13,512,750.00 East Caribbean Dollars. This is by no means play dough.
Many of you can relate to the fact that when a loan is given and not used for its intended purpose, hardship follows.
Saint Lucia could have been in a better position if the loans were used prudently. The propulsion should have been massive testing, closure of our borders, and using funds received to save lives.
Covid-19 floored the world!!!
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