St Lucia’s Opposition Leader Stephenson King who was prime minister until last November’s elections, insisted on Monday that a full inquiry be held to determined how government statisticians botched figures linked to the economic output measured by the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The call for an inquiry comes even as the man who replaced him, Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony, scoffed at the need for a probe and chided his predecessor for using figures in the election campaign that the government’s chief statistician, the Director of Statistics, had warned were unreliable.
“Having provided the 2010 GDP estimates one year ago, and upon the revelation by Prime Minister Kenny Anthony during his 2012 Budget presentation that the preliminary 4.4 per cent growth rate was incorrect, the Director of Statistics should now remove himself from the glare of the centre-stage spotlight, in the best interests of a full inquiry,”King said in a statement Monday.
In his budget presentation earlier this month Prime Minister Anthony disclosed that the GDP had been revised downward to 0.59 per cent. “Something must be fundamentally wrong that would have allowed such vital statistics to have been so botched, only to be conveniently revealed a year later without credible explanation,”King said.
During last November’s election campaign, Anthony took King to task for his widespread use of the figures having been cautioned by the Director of Statistics about their reliability.
But on Monday, King said that while it is not unusual that information on GDP originating from the Government Statistics Department is given with caution, “it is unacceptable that in this particular case the result of a revision was kept secret until the most recent Budget presentation”.