Being gay and Christian Story byLovely St.Aime Joseph
Reverend Stephen Parelli and his husband Jose Ortiz are in Saint Lucia hosting sessions for faith-based organisations and civil society on the issue of Sexual Orientation and Spirituality.
Parelli is a formerly ordained evangelical Baptist minister; Ortiz is a theology scholar. Their sessions are aimed at presenting diverse views, deepening the conversation on present progressive theological perspectives on the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender community in the Bible. Reverend Stephen Parelli says it is possible to be homosexual and be a Christian.
The gay couple who say they both attempted to “cure” themselves through the Evangelical faith, say they feel it is important to share their experience with Christians in particular.
Jose Ortiz who is a school guidance counsellor in the New York City Public School system says he struggled with his sexual orientation and what he had been taught about the Bible.
He says it took many years of self loathing and praying before he accepted himself.
His husband the Reverend Stephen Parelli says he too struggled with his Christian beliefs and with the attraction he felt to men.
After 18 yrs of marriage and four children he said he accepted himself as a gay man and a Christian.
Both men say they are aware change on the issue of homosexuality will take time. The Co-Executive Director of United and Strong, meanwhile asserts, “We are not here to challenge people’s doctrine, their theology, but to ask that they change from where they are; to give proper emphasis to the positive messages in the Bible.”
PM on economy Story byWinston Springer
Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony says Infrastructure Minister Phillip J. Pierre is absolutely right.
The Castries East MP at a recent SLP constituency meeting stated the government has had to borrow money to pay civil servants.
Dr. Anthony says during the tenure of the previous UWP King Administration recurrent expenditure exceeded recurrent revenue and the government had to borrow money to finance its operations which includes the cost of the civil service.
Lat year the King Government borrowed 33 million dollars to meet recurrent expenditure.
The Prime Minister points to botched GDP numbers, 24% unemployment and a fiscal deficit which grew from 1.9 percent to 7 percent of GDP as the legacy of the King administration’s failed economic policies.
He explains the budgetary shortfall which deteriorated under the UWP administration at the height of the global recession in 2009 continues today.
While he was reluctant to apportion blame for the record deficits, he says the situation requires forthright debate and not the political high jinks of lawmakers.
The Prime Minister who appears jaded by the belabored wrangling over fiscal matters again reiterated his call for a survey of the number of special advisors and consultants hired by the UWP and SLP administrations.
Dr. Kenny Anthony says the SLP administration has inherited a fiscal mess. In 2011 real GDP grew by only 1 percent, recurrent expenditure accounts for 48 percent of all revenue raised by the government, the Debt to GDP ratio stands at 68.5 percent.
And while it may sound counterintuitive, the Prime Minister believes fiscal stimulus and fiscal consolidation could cure the deficit and lead to economic recovery.
PM on VAT Story byWinston Springer
Prime Minister Dr Kenny Anthony says all the legislative processes have been completed for VAT and the country is on schedule for the October 1st implementation date.
Value Added Tax was initially announced for implementation on September 1st. The VAT implementation team meanwhile has continued with its mandate to get the country VAT ready with a series of workshops and road shows.
Dr Anthony acknowledges while there are still issues to be ironed out, he is confident the team is right on schedule.
Dr Anthony says the government and VAT implementation team continue to consult with various sectors to assure their needs are addressed.
He says like in many other countries that have implemented the tax, he does expect Saint Lucia to have a few teething problems that will be addressed in the initial phases.
The VAT office is said to be near completion, it will be located at Manoel Street in the former WIBDECO building.
A total of 14 new people have been employed to staff that office to ensure successful implementation.
UWP on delegation Story byCarmy Joseph
In a press release issued on Thursday - the main opposition United Workers Party says it recognizes the importance and significance of the established OECS Assembly and the pivotal role it plays in the advancement of the region.
However, the party describes as “a gross waste of the resources of the country and blatant abuse by an administration which says one thing to the public and practices something completely
different” in relation to the government delegation that attended the session. According to the UWP the SLP delegation comprised over ten party political supporters and affiliates of the Labour party.
UWP Political Leader Stephenson King was one of two Opposition Leaders who did not attend the inaugural session of the Assembly comprised of both government and opposition members of the OECS which was held last week Friday August 9th.
However - the UWP has called for an explanation from the Prime Minister; questioning the size of the delegation, the reason why the Press Secretary who they refer to as a political appointee was part of that group, the cost to taxpayers and the benefits to the country of attending the session.
Prime Minister Dr Kenny Anthony is asked to answer the questions in the interests of “accountability and transparency.”
Press secretary responds Story byCarmy Joeph
Press Secretary Jadia Jn-Pierre Emmanuel says the Saint Lucian delegation to the official opening of the OECS Assembly was consistent with that of other member states.
Emmanuel has also taken issue with government representatives being grouped as members of a Saint Lucia Labour Party delegation.
She says the delegation was on government and not the business of the ruling party.
Furthermore – members of that delegation such as former OECS Director General Dr Vaughn Lewis were invited to the ceremony based on protocol. The UWP also questioned the presence of Emmanuel at the official opening; referring to her as a “political appointee.”
Emmanuel says she alongside Voice reporter Stan Bishop were at the assembly which served as the conclusion of a media course held ahead of the meeting.
That workshop was convened to educate those who would be required to discuss the Assembly and its role to and in the press.
The Press Secretary also defended the presence of the OECS Ambassador and PS in the Prime Minister’s office at the session.
The Press Secretary accuses the UWP of deliberately attempting to mislead the public.
Emmanuel also states that by taking issue with the Saint Lucian delegation – former Prime Minister Stephenson King has demonstrated his regard or lack thereof for the regional integration movement.
Water interruption Story byCarmy Joseph
The water supply to residents of Anse-la-Raye, including Massacre, Au Tabor, and the surrounding areas has been interrupted temporarily to facilitate repairs to the pumps at the treatment plant which were damaged during the recent heavy rains.
So says WASCO whose electrical crews are working to resolve the problem at the soonest. Because the repairs are expected to last through the weekend of August
18 - 20, 2012, these areas will be without a pipe-borne water supply during that period. WASCO hopes to restore the water supply to the affected areas by early next week. The water company apologises for the inconvenience this interruption will cause and thanks residents for their patience during the process
Chamber VAT workshop Story bySant Justin
Eighty companies gathered at the Coco Palm Conference Room on Thursday for a VAT Readiness Seminar.
Program Manager of the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce- Karen Fowell says the one day workshop is part of the Chamber’s efforts to ensure readiness for VAT implementation.
The seminar was a joint effort between Price Water House Coopers and the Chamber of Commerce.
Tax and Corporate Services Manager of Price Water House Coopers- Richard Peterkin says experts from countries currently living with the Value Added Tax where invited to head the meeting and address various concerns.
Peterkin says while local small businesses under the threshold are not required to register, some may see benefit in doing otherwise.
The Chamber of Commerce says while it continues to dialogue with the government it has not met with the VAT Implementation Team.
The Chamber maintains also maintain the country is ready for the October 1st implementation date.
Super J assists crisis centre Story bySant Justin
The St. Lucia Crisis Center is embarking on its usual back to school efforts ahead of the new school term.
Managing Director - Antonia Jean says this is the third consecutive campaign.
Consolidated Foods Limited on Thursday contributed to the Crisis Centre program; a donation that was welcomed by the Crisis Centre management team.
The Crisis Center says continuous help is needed to keep the initiative going. Head of Category Management at CFL Linda Augier says the management team seized the opportunity to assist the center.
A cheque of $1,360 and school supplies were presented to the center. The ceremony was held at the CFL Head office.
Moi magazine Story byWinston Springer
The island’s latest Magazine hit newsstands in June, and features the islands best in Beauty and Hairstyle.
Editor- Delia Louis says Moi magazine is a directory; it will provide information on the businesses featured.
Louis says her love for cosmetology and media drove her to publish the magazine. She thanked all those who provided assistance in the production of the first issue.
Louis says the new issue of the Magazine will include a reality show called “the New Face of MOI”. The show will choose one lucky St. Lucian model to feature on the cover of its next issue, which promises greater content.
Drought in the US coupled with increase consumption of luxury goods in growing economies and a number of other factors have resulted in higher prices on supermarket shelves. While these factors may be occurring overseas – they impact Saint Lucian goods, the majority of them imported from the affected markets. Most notably, prices began to hike last year with goods like tuna fish and peanut butter being among the most affected. The phenomenon has led the Agriculture Minister, the head of a special Unit in that Ministry and the National Consumers Association to call for a move towards more consumption of local food. They say not only will the economy benefit since we will eat more of what we grow while also decreasing our import bill – the health of the country should also improve.
Has the escalating price of food led you to consume more locally grown food?