HOW often do leaders face up to their fears and learn to speak truthfully unafraid of consequences? From experience, the answer is … seldom! Instead Caribbean leaders often engage in reckless lies and wild speculation regardless who they offend.
In its couldn’t care less attitude, the St Lucia Labour Party (SLP) leadership deliberately sow seeds of discontent and disrespect. The party rode rough shod on the electorate, lying without compunction, promising what they knew they couldn’t (and wouldn’t), deliver. Their nonsense has not stopped. When it was thrown out of office in 2006, it knew that the world economy was slowing down and recession loomed. It was aware of the fall in revenue from the island’s banana exports. Competition from Latin American bananas and WTO rulings had added to the woes of banana farmers.
The SLP was also aware that Tourism, an industry which the party grudgingly supports, would not adequately fill the gap left by falling banana revenues. Still, they continued their reckless rhetoric, after they hi-jacked the 2011 elections. To add to the nation’s misery the SLP promised in 2011‘an immediate injection of some $100,000,000.00 (one hundred million dollars) into the national economy.’ Nothing specific was offered for agriculture or banana farmers. As far as the SLP leaders were concerned banana farmers had committed the unpardonable crime of supporting the UWP government by hard work and toil, in growing the island’s economy – its GDP. The SLP also promised to tackle lawlessness and crime.
Four and a half years later crime continues unabated, suicides claim more lives, violence against women is at an all time high and many farmers struggle with little hope. Promised road construction and repairs have yet to be fulfilled. There is little change even as elections draw near. There is still no sign of the promised injection of a hundred million dollars in the economy. People are finally realizing that they were lied to, and fooled by Anthony and his crooked mates. The economy has worsened with each passing month under the SLP. In addition there is no end in sight to the IMPACS report and secret deals. The people are still weighed down by VAT and other taxes, poor government services, including health.
SLP knew that their wild promises to the electorate would not be met. Some countries faced recession. The regional grouping CARICOM, began to stutter and slow down. Global and regional economic trends were well known to the leaders of the SLP. Listen to the SLP leader and Prime Minister addressing the Barbados Chamber of Commerce towards the end of 2012: Make no mistake about it, our region is in the throes of the greatest crisis since independence. The specter of evolving into failed States is no longer a subject of the imagination. How our societies crawl out of this vicious vortex of persistent low growth, crippling debt, huge fiscal deficits and high unemployment is the single most important question facing us at this time.
It seems strange that this same man can, at constituency meetings of his SLP speak in a manner which is so diametrically opposite to what he knows to be the truth. Rather than face the facts which he quotes so well at regional gatherings, Dr Anthony has unfortunately developed the personality of the mythical Jekyll and Hyde character when addressing his SLP. He says one thing when he is in certain company overseas, and says the opposite when he is with SLP on the Castries market steps. That man has no respect for his own supporters far less others. He obviously thinks the people are beneath his intellectual class, undeserving of respect.
The fact is that the SLP government of Kenny Anthony has failed. The prospects of meeting its promises fade with each passing day. Unfortunately, SLP leaders prefer to engage in elaborate scams and bluff presenting a new 15-point plan in an attempt to mask their failures. Diverting the spotlight from them to the leader of the United Workers Party (UWP), Allen Chastanet is a ruse. By attacking Allen and his family the SLP hopes to avoid facing their failures. They have attacked Allen for his skin tone, his former American citizenship and his family shares in a supermarket chain, in the hope of averting closer examination of their abject failure. Saint Lucians experience bitter days … not better!
Since the election of Allen Chastanet to the leadership of the UWP the vitriol of the SLP (and its government), has increased several fold. Ministers of the SLP government who ought to be searching for ways and means to create jobs and curb rising crime are instead content on monitoring every move Allen Chastanet, Guy Joseph and other leading UWP’s make. The SLP spends more time fighting Allen Chastanet than growing the economy which has stalled in SLP mismanagement. Two years ago the SLP Gros-Islet MP projected estimates of one and a half million dollars for road works in her constituency. Only a miserly three hundred thousand, a virtual drop in the bucket, was approved. The pattern of sporadic short term jobs and road-side bush cleaning is all the government has to show since 2011.
Remarkably, Allen Chastanet name is having a damaging effect on the psyche of the failed and fearful SLP regime. Allen recently announced a five-point plan to save Saint Lucia when the UWP returns to office. The first is the attack VAT, the most pernicious and vicious tax imposed by wicked SLP on the people of Saint Lucia. In their confusion, the SLP has forgotten they are not the opposition. In government, they have proven that wise management, long-term planning and hard work are not their cup of tea. That explains their preference for opposition. They have not apologized for destroying the banana industry. They are still hesitant and uncertain about tourism. But the loud-mouthed SLP government will not go peacefully and gracefully. That’s what gentlemen do!
In desperation the SLP foolishly attack the media and anyone not supportive of their party. Michael Chastanet, Allen’s dad, has been dragged into the SLP gutter politics because he supports his son. Politics was not Michael’s first choice for his son’s career. By drawing a man who has invested so much sweat, effort and money in the Saint Lucia economy, the SLP has antagonized a sleeping giant. They seem blissfully unaware of the number of persons who Michael Chastanet and his several businesses employ and help. Some of these people will do anything for him, sometimes without being asked.
Admitting failure is not easy for the SLP. It pretends to present a 15-point bluff as if to remind the nation of their 15% VAT disaster. The SLP refuses to speak truthfully on IMPACS, Grynberg, Saudi ambassadors, Nepalese students and many other national issues. These are the characteristics of a failed and fearful regime.