A major failing of the last SLP administration was the hopelessness that surrounded the country stemming from then Prime Minister Dr Anthony who in the latter years of his SLP’s term in office came off as uninspiring, lackluster and unable to motivate Saint Lucians and move the country forward. In essence, he appeared spent and one got the distinct impression that Dr Anthony had lost the capacity to make things happen, preferring instead to wait for things to happen.
But a government administration involves a team effort and Dr Anthony’s cabinet of ministers also showed a malaise and an indifference to the business of the country. Most remarkable would have been Mr Philip Pierre, Dr Anthony’s deputy who has been around for a long time. A pertinent observation would have been Mr Pierre’s inability to have stepped up and help change the face of the SLP administration and influence better governance, preferring instead to hide behind Dr Anthony’s coat tails and mistakes, most noticeable Rochamel and Grynberg. Even their choice of the election date seemed a mix up challenge for the SLP government. Essentially they were marooned and floundering and so, it was not difficult to see a change in administration was inevitable.
Mr Allen Chastanet on the other hand came across as a vibrant individual, inspiring and showing purpose. He appeared ready for the task of assuming office and reenergizing and motivating Saint Lucians. He had a vision and he offered hope and in him one saw much more confidence than in Dr Anthony. Mr Chastanet to his credit showed rank toughness as he was able to successfully ward off the barrage of often frivolous and denigrating remarks thrown at him and his family and unfazed went about his mission to rescue St Lucia with eager determination. That is what people expect of a leader.
While in this term of office the UWP government would not have gotten everything correct, one can see the new direction and thrust towards developing and uplifting the country. Realizing Soufriere’s touristic potential, just look at the aesthetic make over that has been accomplished in four years. A new order and change in the way of doing business has been a pivot of Prime Minister Chastanet’s approach in the furtherance of our development. We were hardly equipped for the pace of the times and to be competitive, and so mediocrity had to be replaced by standards and a better work ethic, hence the UWP’s current slogan, ‘while we work they sit and talk’ and a nonproductive talk it is designed to do what the SLP does best; push deliberate and unwarranted misrepresentations of facts and issues often in defense of the so called ‘malaway’ syndrome.
So isn’t it time the SLP stop flogging that ‘malaway’ syndrome? Isn’t it time they stop crying ‘malaway’ for convenience, when it is all about exploiting the ‘malaway’ vote? Isn’t it time to get the ‘malaway’ out of the ‘malaway’? This piece is not about being insensitive to unfortunate persons as it is about the insincerity of the SLP where rather than continuously lamenting the ‘malaway’, a better strategy would be to elevate them to better things, higher heights and independence. But no!
Every time a UWP government attempts to improve the life of the ‘unfortunate’ or raise the standard of how things are done in the country the SLP, true to form and without thought, prefer to oppose, criticize or make heavy any little accompanying challenges in the name of the ‘malaway’ and they have been doing that from the time of Sir John Compton. We remember Sir John’s early housing projects, the establishment of the Provident Fund now NIC where they claimed he was taking the people’s money, the entry of Hess into St Lucia, and the Millennium Highway tunnel, just to list a few of many, all of which the SLP either vehemently objected or stirred up confusion on.
But the ‘malaway’ too must fully wake up and see the tricks, and that they are being continuously exploited as a voter block and agree to stand up and support those who want to support and elevate them rather than those who believe their worth is an occasional step job or five dollars to block a hole, in exchange for a vote. The SLP has continuously failed to understand that when, just for their party’s convenience, they oppose sound UWP efforts and strategies intended for our betterment they are actually hurting the country and the very ‘malaway’ they profess to love. But do they really care?