Ernest Hilaire shares 2023/2024 Budget highlights, says this budget puts people of Saint Lucia first


The Deputy Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, Ernest Hilaire, stated that the government had passed a budget that puts the people of Saint Lucia first. He shared the highlights of the 2023/2024 Budget Address, which was presented on April 25, 2023. 

While sharing the highlights, Minister Ernest Hilaire outlined, “A budget with needs of all Saint Lucians at its core. A budget that gives back to the people of Saint Lucia. Our government is committed to the success of all Saint Lucians, and this budget represents our core philosophy of Putting You First.”


He shared some of the main points from the presentation made by Prime Minister Philip J Pierre, which are as follows:

  1. The proposed removal of 12.5% VAT on plywood, lumber, steel, cement, and galvanising for two years 
  2. Tax Amnesty Programme to be extended for businesses and individuals until May 1, 2024 
  3. Excise tax on tobacco products will increase by 50% effective from May 1, 2023 
  4. $500,000 allocated for scholarships 
  5. Construction of the police divisional headquarters in Gros Islet has begun
  6. $25 million for Public Assistance Program
  7. Work on the Southern Police Divisional Headquarters (Vieux Fort) will commence 
  8. New drug squad building to be commissioned 
  9. Repairs underway at Canaries, Micoud, Richfond, and Marchand police stations
  10. The contract for the construction of custody suites will be signed this week
  11. Over $2 million was allocated to Swift Justice Project 
  12. First District Traffic Court to be established 
  13. Witness Protection Program to be expanded 
  14. Coroner’s Court to be established 
  15. Sheriff’s Office to be established 
  16. Crime Prevention Office to be established in collaboration with SSDF 
  17. Identification of available land for resettlement of some Vieux Fort residents
  18. Broadband width at Bordelais to be increased 
  19. Enactment of legislation to convert ‘proud’ into a statutory corporation
  20. Construction of an Administrative Complex and Cultural Center for the people of Vieux Fort and the South 
  21. Ministry of Health to establish Elderly Affairs Unit 
  22. Ministry of Health to Establish Cancer Registry 
  23. Plans to advance for construction of Soufriere Hospital 
  24. Maternal and Child Health Care Program to be the first stage of Universal Health Care 
  25. Food Safety Bill to be enacted 
  26. Ministry of Health to launch golden 80 Plus Medical Package 
  27. Ministry of Health to issue health cards to every citizen
  28. Over 1000 low-cost lots and houses for Massacre Social Housing Program 
  29. Ministry of Health and Millennium Heights Medical Complex to develop Castries Multipurpose Health Facility
  30. The government has provided national sprinter Julien Alfred with a diplomatic passport to facilitate her travel 
  31. $10 million for MSME Loan-Grant facility for this fiscal year
  32. Ministry of Health to refurbish Soufriere Health Centre 
  33. Semi-Professional Football League to commence this fiscal year 
  34. Ministry of Health to renovate La Ressource Health Centre 
  35. Works have started on the refurbishment of the Mindoo Philip Park 
  36. Improvements to begin on Castries, Dennery and Vieux-Fort fishing facilities 
  37. A contract has been signed for the Anse La Ra Ye bridge, and work will start during this quarter 
  38. Government to sign port development agreement once terms and conditions have met long-term government objectives 
  39. Plans to construct the Halls of Justice are underway and are expected to start in the second half of this year 
  40. $4.2 million has been awarded for the conversion of the old police building to a holding facility (custody suites)
  41. Repairs are expected to be completed at Vieux Fort Police Divisional Headquarters in 4 months 

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