Our Readers' Opinions
June 14, 2016
Congrats to Allen Chastanet

Editor: This country’s Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves congratulated St Lucia’s newly elected Prime Minister Allen Chastanet on his success in winning St Lucia’s 2016 general elections. Sometimes I wonder how many Vincentians paid close attention to the St Lucia elections, and what was said by Dr Kenny Anthony and the St Lucia Labour Party about Mr Allen Chastanet and the UWP.{{more}}

The reason I mention this is because in recent times, Dr Gonsalves cautioned us about our comments to each other in and around the Caribbean. I sometimes wonder if Dr Gonsalves’ caution applies to us only or does it apply to him as well.

The comments made in St Lucia about Mr Allen Chastanet and the UWP, while of a political nature, were truly frightening; they made me think about where we are heading in the Caribbean with these harsh comments.

Allen Chastanet and the UWP stood their ground and St Lucians elected them to office because they were convinced that the UWP would bring a difference to their country. Is there anything we, as Vincentians, can learn from the St Lucia 2016 general elections? I am of the opinion that there is much to be learned. From listening to Dr Gonsalves, former Prime Minister of St Lucia Dr Kenny Anthony is an accomplished man; he did well by Dr Gonsalves standard, yet St Lucia said no to Dr Anthony.

After doing so well, he called early elections to ensure that peace, stability and certainty exist in St Lucia. The question is, are we suffering the same fallout here in St Vincent & the Grenadines? Some may say yes! Indeed there is some level of uncertainty in our island and that is why our country appears to be politically unstable. At the Campden Park Secondary School where the ULP held their convention, Dr Gonsalves said he isn’t afraid of elections. By acknowledging that statement, I am of the opinion that Dr Gonsalves is considering fresh elections, but after the defeat that Dr Kenny Anthony faced do you think that he is having a change of mind? Yes, I think so, because Vincentians can be influenced by what took place in the St Lucia elections.

Dr Gonsalves at his press conference said that the UWP is affiliated with the NDP and he will do all within his prime ministerial power to build his friendship with the newly elected government of St Lucia. While the NDP has some sort of relationship with the UWP that doesn’t mean that they can win elections if called in St Vincent and the Grenadines; it’s a very different situation here.

Kenny Anthony and the St Lucia Labour Party made all sorts of remarks about Allen Chastanet, but he (Allen Chastanet) demonstrated leadership and that’s the difference between the ULP and the NDP. The people of St Lucia wanted change and they placed their country before party, not like the voters in St Vincent and the Grenadines who put party before country and that is the reason why Dr Gonsalves continues to be victorious. It was very pleasing when I heard Dr Gonsalves state that he didn’t play any active role in the St Lucia elections. “Good for you, it wouldn’t have made any difference.”

St Lucians’ minds were made up and it was very clear that they decided to vote the UWP. St Lucians under Dr Kenny Anthony were struggling: no growth in their economy for four years, their banana industry continues to decline and there is unemployment. It’s very astonishing that it’s the second time he called early elections and lost. So, I’m taking this opportunity to congratulate Mr Allen Chastanet and the UWP for winning St Lucia’s 2016 general elections. A job well done! Mr Allen Chastanet stated that he would make good on the promises he made: “to rebuild St Lucia, put people first, encourage investors so it would help with the state of economy.” The entire Caribbean would be paying very close attention to Mr Allen Chastanet for the next five years. So, I’m hoping that Dr Gonsalves would show Mr Allen Chastanet the same support he showed Dr Kenny Anthony.

Kingsley De Freitas