THERE are two pervasive sentiments seemingly working in concert, acting as a catalyst for sweeping political change in Saint Lucia. There is the public’s awareness of a cloud of frustration and resentment hanging over the island. In this atmosphere of growing anger, an aperture, however slight appears, and certain discredited UWP politicians and others, attempt to re-emerge. I refer to the politicians who stand accused of hastening the demise of Prime Minister Compton, and bringing down his last government.
These undesirables wish to ride the tide of frustration and resentment felt by many and to propel themselves ‘sans envitasion’ (without invitation) back onto the gravy train, riding on the backs of the people, to political office. There can be no other motive for these rogues than to further plunder the empty treasure which the present lot is sure to leave behind them. And true to form, such odious characters are in complete denial of the suffering and pauperization which they and their new-made ‘friends’ in SLP have wrought on the island.
These shameless politicians will use whatever and whomsoever to hoodwink the electorate, as they attempt to throw UWP political leader Allen Chastanet, under the bus. Chastanet has vowed to wipe out corruption from the UWP government he leads. The agenda of those trying to unseat him is obvious. These miscreants hide behind others ‘like the caterpillars of the commonwealth’ in hope of re-emerging to continue their misdeeds. But the electorate has seen through them. The unkindest cut of all is that these disgraced flambeaus are plotting with Mr. ‘Take-me-to-Court,’ against Allen Chastanet and Compton’s UWP’s. What a shame!
The pervasive frustration and resentment among Saint Lucians was well and accurately captured in the penultimate paragraph of The VOICE editorial of Saturday June 13, 2015. Few could have said it better. It summarized the mood of many at this time. I therefore deem it expedient to quote the relevant paragraph for those who may have missed it. In so doing I readily admit that I am breaking a principled stand which I have assumed since I began these weekly opinion pieces inThe VOICE some eight or so years ago.
As a rule, I do not reply or comment on any matter which has been dealt with by another. Those who, like The VOICE editorial perceive that: “There is a serious leadership vacuum in the country and the UWP with its various personalities and their own exaggerated egos and individual sense of self importance, refuse to come together and show they are capable of filling the breach” may be onto something. But be warned that all that glitters is not gold and that things are not always what they seem. My information leads me to be hopeful that good sense and fresh young legs with new ideas will prevail and make the UWP and Saint Lucia stronger.
The fact of the matter is that, there is now a process within the UWP of implementing party decisions. With the advent of Allen Chastanet as political leader some thirty months ago, the process and procedures within the organization have been tightened and the rules are now being followed to the letter. For example an executive meeting of the party has been held every month for the last thirty months, as the rules demand. There has been training of rank and file members and regular meetings of constituency chairpersons and public meetings have begun.
True, the rules of the party are as old as the organization itself but, these are now no longer observed in the breach. In addition, certain rules have been strengthened so as to give more power to the seventeen constituency groups. Each constituency group has first choice over the process of candidate selection for general elections. Allen Chastanet has been at pains to explain this to party faithful and well wishers.
Following an interview by the constituency group, every applicant wishing to be considered a candidate of the UWP in general elections is required to submit his or her name for selection by secret ballot by financial members of a constituency group, present and voting. A candidate receiving 75 percent or more of the votes cast will face the National Council for final approval. Once the baton has been passed unite and move on. Run and win the race! No more blood sacrifices!
Of course any competent political leader who is desirous of building a professional hard working team in office will support as many candidates who can contribute to the development of the island. In times past, the political leader exercised far greater control over candidate selection. Some persons are in fact pressuring Allen Chastanet to return to that process. But he has steadfastly refused. Instead, the people on the ground, (the constituency groups), have been strengthened in their mandate to decide their candidate. No rapist (or attempted rapist), no drug addict or dealer and no criminal need apply. Enough is enough!
The past has taught that a popular candidate can turn out to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing and a mischief maker. Such a one can turn around and embarrass the leader, the party and the country. Indeed, things can get so out of hand that such a person can be responsible for the early demise of their leader and his government.
Notwithstanding the pointed VOICE editorial referred to earlier there is very strong reason for the electorate to see the backs of this clueless Labour Government. In this regard the MP for South/East Castries, Guy Joseph has issued the challenge to all UWP’s and Saint Lucians to a protest march of the party next month, (July). Guy Joseph is a hard working young man who has single handedly developed himself. He has farmed the land, driven a mini-bus, and is not afraid to get his hands dirty, working. He has never asked for or, contested any executive position in the UWP. He does not therefore carry the burden on Allen Chastanet trying to placate inflated egos wishing to become Ministers of Government. Thankfully, Chastanet carries his burden with quiet dignity, grace and humility. The man speaks little; and that says much!
I have been deliberately harsh on those who disgraced the last UWP Government and helped bring it down. Let the SLP rejoice if they wish. In my criticisms I remind myself that justice ought also to be dispensed with mercy and compassion. My advice therefore to the UWP is to see whether there is validity in these observations or in that of The VOICE editorial of June 13, 2015. If there is accept them for what they are, learn to eat humble pie, make peace with your God, forgive yourself, and unite for the greater good of your party and country.
Those who have been touched by humility and who love this island must work to build the quadrant vision Sir John Compton left us. People are crying out for better, more compassionate government. They need someone to help them fight VAT, to explain IMPACS and Lambirds and to stop the handing over of Hewanorra Airport to complete foreigners – no matter what the World Bank says. The people want a new UWP Government which would help them stem the tide of rising frustration, resentment and anger.