The Minister of Finance, Dr Kenny D. Anthony, has noted with surprise and dismay the recent Press Release issued by the Leader of the Opposition on the matter of the erroneous growth figures which he announced in the budget address of 2011.
When the former Prime Minister announced the figure on April 14, 2011, he was warned by the then Opposition Saint Lucia Labour Party as well members of the public, that the figures were wrong. The former Prime Minister therefore, had every opportunity between his announcement and the General Elections to take heed and correct the figure. He chose not to do so. Instead, he continued to cite the figure to support his claim that the economy had done well under his watch.
The Leader of the Opposition is correct that ”Saint Lucia’s image and reputation is at stake”. He acted recklessly in citing those figures because he was warned by the Director of Statistics that the growth figure may not be accurate. This is what the Director of Statistics wrote in a Memorandum dated April 02, 2012:
“While we bear some responsibility for ensuring the integrity of these data sources, we do not, however, directly control or supervise their creation. In addition, we do have some concerns about the quality of the data on imports and we will continue to work on ensuring that these matters are addressed. In the event that there are any issues with our data sources or if we receive updated data or data we believe to be more accurate, we reserve the right to revise the estimates of the GDP which we make accordingly.”
Any sensible, prudent, responsible Minister of Finance would have been cautioned by these words of the Director of Statistics.
In view of the fact that the Leader of the opposition has gone beyond the boundaries of Parliament and has made a public issue of this matter , the Minister of Finance calls on him to publicly apologize to Mr. St Catherine for impugning his integrity ,character and professional competence.