Letters & Opinion

SLP Rules at a Most Crucial Juncture

By Reginald Andrew

Newly installed Prime Minister Phillip J Pierre is heralding this reign of governance ‘as a new beginning’ in the annals of Saint Lucia’s political development—and a definitive response to the ‘rallying cry’ of the people.

On the observance of Emancipation Day – August 1 the prime minister greeted citizens of “Fair Helen’ via an address to the nation.

Prime Minister Phillip J. Pierre (centre) being sworn into office.
Prime Minister Phillip J. Pierre (centre) being sworn into office.

He went out to meet his constituents from the Castries East constituency, with a ‘mini-celebratory mode’ concentrated mostly in the Marchand area and in the vicinity of the George Charles Boulevard; the  public responses was somewhat indicative of a ‘Freedom Day’ as the country charts its course for a challenging journey.

For the past four contested general elections held here, from 2006 to 2021 Saint Lucians have voted four respective governments into office. In 2006, Sir John Compton on the ‘comeback trail’ won the elections for the United Workers Party (UWP); and then in 2016, the Allen Chastanet- led team was elected to office.

The St Lucia Labour Party (SLP) registered victories in 2011 and this year, the SLP led by its veteran politician Phillip Pierre took over the reins of power.

“This is the start of a new beginning,” an emotional Pierre told the nation at the ceremony held, last Thursday, at the official residence of the Governor General Sir Neville Cenac and broadcast live across the island.

“As your servant leader, I shall serve all the citizens of the country regardless of their social class or station in life,” asserted Pierre.

Pierre was sworn in as Saint Lucia’s12th prime minister since independence in 1979, as he sort “divine intervention in fulfilling the hopes and aspirations of the people of St Lucia”.

In all of this, the SLP’s latter triumph over its arch political rivals- the UWP appears to be the more decisive of the battles for governance of the country. Political pundits agreed that this would be ‘An election for the ages’ and so it turned out to be, with all the intrigue and high intensity that unfolded.

The stakes were high and the battle lines drawn for the ‘political rampage’ that followed as the SLP swept its way to victory in a most  domineering and impactful manner

A wave of expectancy permeated throughout the country as voters waited for the opportunity to go out and exercise their franchise. On the eve of the July 26 polls the respective political leaders made a determined last pitch, while rehashing with their parties’ agendas  presenting their manifestos and teams of candidates to the electorate .

While the two main political parties in their respective presentations put forward alternate cases of ‘hope and redemption’ and for rebuilding the nation; the National Green Party rallied support in favour of a ‘government of national unity’ and constitutional amendment that would foster more parliamentary representation in the constituencies with the appointment of efficient senators to handle the mantle of governance.

And then to add more intrigue to a highly intensive political climate, the two independent candidates won their respective seats comfortably in the Castries Central and Castries North constituencies.

Stephenson King and Richard Frederick, both former UWP members and government ministers took on the challenge with the ultimate aim of ousting the Chastanet-led regime.

And now that the contest is finally over –the people await with bated breath to see what will unfold as the Phillip Pierre–led administration assumes office at a most crucial juncture that will undoubtedly determine the country’s destiny and overall developmental thrust in the years to come.

“The task ahead will not be easy, but together with my team and able and experienced men and women we will deliver to the people of St Lucia,” the prime minister declared.

Pierre has served as deputy prime minister in a previous SLP administration headed then by Dr. Kenny Anthony during the period 2011-16.

“I ask for your patience in the coming weeks and months as we try to assess the state of the country’s financing and capacity to deliver as early as possible the commitments made to the people of St Lucia,” Pierre said.

With such an overwhelming and definitive mandate to its favour, reminiscent of the 1997 victory at the polls by a margin of 16-1, the SLP once again takes on the mantle of governance.

The expectations are high and it will take the efforts of ‘all and sundry’ to rise to the occasion and work earnestly and harmoniously to restore ‘Fair Helen’ to its pristine position as a country to be reckoned with in the sub-region and within the wider regional and global forum.

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