Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony says St. Lucia has the largest fiscal deficit in the Caribbean as he prepares to address the nation on Sunday on the economic challenges facing the island.
"Where as other Caribbean states might have a fiscal deficit of seven to eight per cent of GDP (Gross Domestic Product), we are climbing up to 10 per cent. Thats a warning sign so we have really got to ensure that we bring it under some degree of control, and resolve those differences, he said.
So when you see for example I plead for understanding from our public service unions and others engaged in the negotiations, its precisely for that reason because we need to restore St. Lucia's financial standing, Anthony told a government housing development ceremony.
In his address on Sunday, Anthony, who is also Finance Minister, is expected to outline the economic difficulties facing the island amid calls from public sector trade unions for increased salaries for their members.
He cautioned that some order must be brought to the public finances through consolidation, and acknowledged that the country must be bold and brave in attracting investment.
Anthony had earlier said that the wage negotiation is not solely a matter between the government and the public sector unions, but involves the entire country.
"For this reason, I will lay out the full facts, review the performance of the economy, and the implications of any wage settlement for the future prospects of our economy," he said.
The unions are seeking a 16 per cent wage increase for the 2010-2012 triennium, and called for the intervention of the prime minister after government negotiators said they had no mandate to increase their offer of zero per cent increase and a one time payment of EC$1,000.