News, Politics

UWP Says More Protests Are Likely – ‘DO IT NOW’

Opposition Demonstrates Against Fuel Prices

UWP Political Leader Allen Chastanet leading the protest march last Thursday afternoon. [Photo: Stan Bishop]
UWP Political Leader Allen Chastanet leading the protest march last Thursday afternoon. [Photo: Stan Bishop]

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UNITED Workers Party (UWP) Political Leader Allen Chastanet says more protest marches similar to last Thursday’s are likely if government does not reduce fuel prices “with immediate effect.”

Scores of protesters, many bearing placards and shouting “Enough is enough”, began the march around 5:15 p.m. near the Red Cross building at Vigie last Thursday, making their way along the John Compton Highway en route to William Peter Boulevard. By the time the procession got to the Castries Market, the carnival-type atmosphere had built up and the number of marchers had swelled appreciably.

By 6:15 p.m., the protesters arrived in the William Peter Boulevard, the UWP’s traditional stomping grounds. Sporadic loud chants and singing erupted as music speakers blasted Herb Black’s “Do De Maths” and Gypsy’s “Soul of the Nation” during the ensuing 4-hour-long public meeting.

Twelve speakers addressed the thick crowd, including Party Chairman Ezechiel Joseph, First Deputy Leader Dr. Gale Rigobert, Second Deputy Leader Lenard “Spider” Montoute, Guy Joseph and Party Leader, Allen Chastanet.

In his 20-minute address to the crowd, Chastanet said the protest march signified “a giant leap” on the party’s journey to “provide leadership for the people of Saint Lucia.” He accused the government of not doing enough to alleviate the plight of ordinary Saint Lucians.

“I can tell you that today is the beginning of a change,” Chastanet said. “Today is the first time in many, many years that the people of Saint Lucia have stood up to Kenny (Anthony) to say ‘enough is enough’. This is only the beginning of the fight.”

Chastanet said his party’s chance of unseating the current Saint Lucia Labour Party government “is not going to be easy”, but that the protest march was “the first step”, adding that the current party in office should be on alert.

“I want to put Kenny Anthony and his Cabinet on notice tonight,” Chastanet said. “We are not here only to march to reduce the price of gas to the same prices as in the rest of the Caribbean. We’re not asking you to bring it lower than the other places in the Caribbean. Just bring it to the same price that the rest of the Caribbean is enjoying — $10 or $11 a gallon. That is where we want to see the gas prices. We’re saying to you to not allow bus fares to go up. And if you allow bus fares to go up, the crowd that is going to come here next time will be three times as large as this one.”

Despite the Prime Minister giving his government’s commitment last week to reduce fuel prices further when the next fuel adjustments are made in April, Chastanet is calling for immediate reductions in both diesel and gasolene prices. Dr. Anthony cited a continuous downward trend in the prices of both commodities on the international market, adding that the current three-month pass-through mechanism being revised to an eight- or six-week period is being mulled by government. Chastanet says he is unmoved by Dr. Anthony’s pronouncements.

“I want to say to (Dr. Anthony) – do it now,” Chastanet said. “We don’t believe you that you’re going do it tomorrow. Do it now. I say to the minibus drivers: do you really believe that Kenny Anthony is going to give you a fare hike on March 5? We don’t know. We have no idea.”

Speaking to The VOICE minutes after the public meeting ended, Chastanet said he felt the protest march had achieved its purpose. He said it would do the government a great deal of good to listen to the protestors and respect their views by “doing the right thing”.

The National Council on Public Transportation (NCOPT) met with Minister for Transport, Philip J. Pierre last Tuesday to discuss a likely fare increase for bus drivers. During that meeting – deemed by Pierre and NCOPT president Godfrey Ferdinand as a “win-win” on both sides – the NCOPT presented a new proposal which Pierre agreed to bring to Cabinet for perusal before making a determination on the matter. Chastanet, however, is calling for immediate closure on the discussions.

“I expect the government to reduce the gas prices immediately and make sure they bring the bus drivers back to the negotiating table now and tell the people of Saint Lucia what they’re going to do. We’re not expecting to wait until March 10 to figure out what the outcome of that meeting is going to be,” Chastanet said.

When asked by The VOICE how soon he expected the government to act on his party’s demands regarding the fuel prices and bus fare matters, Chastanet replied: “Next Cabinet meeting.”

“We will continue escalating this protest march until the government does the right thing,” Chastanet said.

Stan Bishop began his career in journalism in March 2008 writing freelance for The VOICE newspaper for six weeks before being hired as a part-time journalist there when one of the company’s journalists was overseas on assignment.

Although he was initially told that the job would last only two weeks, he was able to demonstrate such high quality work that the company offered him a permanent job before that fortnight was over. Read full bio...


  1. Yes, keep the pressure up and keep it up if you want change or else things will get out of hand. The poor people of St. Lucia cannot afford more for bud fares not when salaries remain the same, there is just no need for an increase whatsoever. Let them go on strike or introduce public transportation instead. Enough is enough!

    1. Do you copra-eating natives have any shame?? you look like you’re in a real Tarzan movie; except this is live. I heard Allen has ordered an African Elephant that he intends to ride into the Boulevard, while you mad Witch doctors Zulus pickup the excrement after the elephant ridden by Allen, who has the balls to call your Black men “NIGGERS” – placarded in the front of this funeral march. In case you missed it; THERE IN YOUR FACE!!



  2. The governments, past and present do no yet know how to manage a budget under conditions of reduced demand for our NATIONAL products which are tourism and weakly bananas, and you expect a better showing with a national bus service. This requires knowledge of so many things. Not just borbol, my friend.

    Come on! Look at the “pass through” pricing creation. We have one jackass politician after another falling over others trying to show that they know what is going on.

    When you look at VERY CLOSELY at what all the PhDs, the trouping of the usual shysters, and our regular borbolists, are saying, NOBODY, just nobody can tell us HOW, and why we are getting to pay at the pump, that particular price.

    The ENTIRE Ministry of Finance, the entire Ministry of Finance, from the very tippy top to the bottom, is behaving as if all the personnel concerned are on medication, taking Bram Bram’s moo-moo tablets.

    Does anybody understand the mechanics of the calculations supporting that price? The goodly PM never tires ever, of trying to play all of us for fools. Man, it’s a blasted shame., if you should ask me.

  3. We just have to look at the travesty that unfolded in Greece as the liberal elites in Brussels and Germany imposed their austerity on the Greeks, to understand how St Lucia is also failing.
    Like Greece we also have unemployment over 40% for the youth.
    Like Greece our unemployment is around 25%.
    Like Greece we have a feckless liberal elite sucking up government funds in wages and perks and payoffs to supporters.
    Like Greece we have a clueless political elite that borrowed recklessly and spent without any return on investment.
    We cannot continue to have our lives degraded without any idea as to what possibilities are available going forward. This was the same conundrum facing the Greeks. Austerity but no silver lining.
    There is no sense in imposing VAT, suffering through massive layoffs, paying unnecessarily high fuel prices to pump money into government coffers, unless you can show options for job creation and growth in the future.

  4. So the question is asked. Where do we get the investment necessary to create jobs and improve the economic climate?
    Contrary to the belief of the average low information voter stoned on weed and/or rum borrowing money and creating more debt to fund NICE or STEP does not
    constitute ‘job creation’. This is just non sustainable debt creation that results in more interest payments.

    Therefore what can create jobs and investment. Tourism , agriculture, medical schools, manufacturing including agri manufacturing.
    We keep hearing that tourism figures are going up but yet we are not feeling it on the ground? Why? We need to address that. Maybe it has to do with the fact we have not had any new investments so how can we improve the climate to create more investments.

  5. What are investors going to put their money in ? Is it in more hotels? Is it in more hotels like a jackass keeps on repeating, that will bring down the occupancy rate and reduce the profits of existing hotels? Is it more hotels to pollute the surrounding waters and destroy the adjoining beaches like they had in Antigua and Barbados? Don’t our jackass politicians ever get tired of shooting stinking shate?

  6. More Protests are likely ?
    yes its a democratic right to protest but it will create civil unrest. When 2 people have different opinions all they can do is to respect the other opinion even they not agree.
    Allan “if” you win the next election don’t be surprised the ghost you called will drown you.

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