February 26, 2010
Dr. Kenny Anthony: Do not forget your base!

Dr. Kenny Anthony, St. Lucia’s former Prime Minister, has challenged the Unity Labour Party (ULP) to rebuild relationships with former supporters who are disappointed or disaffected.{{more}}

“We may not succeed, at least in the short term, in persuading our historical detractors. We must never, ever, forget our base and who put us in power,” said Anthony to the ULP’s leadership.

He added: “The wounds of disaffection must be healed quickly.”

Anthony, whose St.Lucia Labour Party (SLP) was defeated on December 11, 2006, despite many achievements in government, presented a case study of his government’s downfall at the ULP’s convention. At the time, his Party was seeking a third term in office.

The SLP Political Leader said the lessons learnt can be applied to the ULP to avoid a reoccurrence of what happened in neighbouring St.Lucia.

Firstly, Anthony pointed out it is clear that achievements, no matter how magnificent or spectacular, are not enough to win elections. Fresh ideas of what you intend to do and how you will achieve this is what matters, said Anthony.

Another lesson learnt, said Anthony, is that prime ministers will always be labelled as arrogant. He said no prime minister is immune to this title, sometimes unfairly granted to them. In his case, he said, to date no one can pinpoint specific examples of his arrogance.

Anthony explained that his second term coincided with the rise in crime, particularly violent crimes. He said the way they were reported in the media, contributed to a sense of fear and insecurity among St. Lucians, especially the middle class. The consequence is that the middle class abandoned the SLP in droves, said Anthony.

In his address, Anthony challenged the ULP’s leadership to ensure that the electorate is made to understand this is not the time to gamble with the future of St.Vincent and the Grenadines.

Opportunities missed in the upcoming five years to make impacting changes will not return as the world will be a completely different place thereafter, he warned.

He challenged the large gathering to hold fast to the fundamental values that define the Party. On this note he told the ULP leaders to woo Vincentians to support the Party’s cause because supporters have a tendency to rest on the organization’s laurels and stay at home instead of voting.

Anthony asked them to draw inspiration from previous achievements.

He reminded the Party’s supports it is evident there is a well designed plan to target and destroy the leadership of the ULP.

While sharing his thoughts on the issue, the veteran politician challenged ULP supporters to protect and support the leadership of the Party. He noted there is a danger when the Party’s leadership is left in isolation. He expressed that Labourites have a political responsibility to build a wall around its leadership.

Anthony is, however, optimistic that supporters of the ULP can win the Party a third term in office.

He reminded the gathering that it was successfully done under the James Mitchell administration in St.Vincent and the Grenadines, the P.J Patterson administration in Jamaica, and more recently Roosevelt Skeritt of Dominica, and Denzil Douglas of St. Kitts.

Of the countries in the OECS, he pointed out that St.Vincent and the Grenadines is best poised to recover from the global economic meltdown. During the last decade, with the exception of Antigua, the Vincentian economy grew at a much faster pace than other countries in the region, said Anthony.

He acknowledged that losing the November 25 Referendum may well have been a blessing in disguise, because it allows the Party to take a fresh guard and provide an opportunity for introspection.

In order to be successful in the General Elections Anthony stated, the ULP will have to transcend psychological barriers that stem from the loss in the referendum.

“It is never easy to accept defeat,” said Anthony.

He was, however, confident that ULP can give the Opposition New Democratic Party a whipping of their lives.