HONOURABLE Allen M. Chastanet, I wish to congratulate you and your colleagues on this timely and overwhelming victory of the United Workers Party. You have fought hard and you have fought courageously to realise this dream. You have shared the vision of the party and we anticipate that now you have named your cabinet of ministers that you will get down to business.
I wish to share some thoughts with you:
1. Before you decide upon a course of action, do your research and seek the advice of those who can make a difference. These include the “uneducated, the poor”, they too have a story based upon their experiences. Practise the art of listening to your people. Stay close to the grassroots. Please resist the temptation to become arrogant.
2. Do not let the opposition set the agenda for you. Many persons will try to derail your plans and governance by being critical of your decisions or by always posing questions to evoke a response from you. Expect this and deal with it accordingly. Stand your ground!
Having said this, I hope that the members of the Opposition – The St Lucia Labour Party, in particular the members of Parliament, will not be vindictive and destructive in their approach to providing “ strong opposition” on behalf of “ the people of St Lucia”. Do not destroy St Lucia and St Lucians in your bid to gain political points. When you “malign” your country and its people, you stain their reputation forever.
3. Avoid at all cost, the practice of recycling persons who have gone on retirement at the expense of employing new, younger workers. We have a high percentage of uneployment and one way to reduce it is to employ qualified, serious, new workers to positions that have become vacant. I do not mean any disrespect to those who have served their country well and have earned their retirement. Having retired, they may be able to start enterprises that may provide viable opportunities for others.
4. On the question of tax relief – tread carefully. Do not just dismantle what is in place without seeking viable options. I am happy to note, that you indicated that you will seek the opinions and advice of the national, regional and international financial bodies as you try to alleviate our over-taxed selves.
5. On the issue of job creation, let us explore the possibility of making soft loans available to young entrepeneurs and small business people to create opportunities for themselves and others. Obviously, the government cannot provide employment for all St Lucians. Do some serious research on small and for that matter larger, successful countries to find out how they have been able to grow their economies and help themselves to become self sufficient. This will help break the dependency syndrome that we appear to be propagating in St Lucia.
6. Seek God above all else; let Him be central in your planning, your deliberations, and your life. I can guarantee you that all you do will be blessed beyond comprehension. After all, God is in control, not man.
7. Lastly, guard jealously, Sir John George Melvin Compton’s legacy and political party. May you and your colleagues, stand strong, unite in purpose and give the best service to this great country of ours. Whatever may happen, resist the temptation to dismantle the party. Behave like mature and exemplary statesmen and women; always stick together for party and country. Remove self and pettiness from the equation.
I wish you all a productive, fulfilling five year journey. God bless.