FORMER PRIME MINISTER of St Lucia, Stephenson King, has addressed claims by Prime Minister Allen Chastanet that he betrayed the people of Saint Lucia after he decided to sever ties with the United Workers Party, which he has been a part of for the last 33 years.
King shocked the nation last Thursday, tendering his resignation from the Party and opting to contest the July 26 General Election as an Independent Candidate.
However, according to Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, the move by King was a betrayal to the people of Saint Lucia.
“Some people have called it a betrayal to the United Workers Party. I don’t! This is a betrayal to the people of Saint Lucia,” Chastanet said.
According to King, “I haven’t betrayed the people of Saint Lucia… I’ve betrayed corruption; I’ve betrayed oppression; I’ve betrayed victimization. I’ve betrayed a government that I believe was certainly not undertaking its responsibility in the interest of the people.”
King had been the longest current member of the UWP, serving in various positions and playing a crucial role in mobilizing the party after losing 16-1 in 1997.
He was loyal to the late Sir John Compton, founder of the UWP, who named King as Prime Minister in the wake of his death.
During his resignation address on July 8, King cited several reasons for his ‘divorce’, claiming that the current UWP was unrecognizable to him and had lost its way.
The latest move by Stephenson King has been dubbed the most significant political upset in Saint Lucia’s history since the crossing of the floor in 1987 by Governor-General Sir Emmanuel Neville Cenac.
After winning the Laborie seat for the Saint Lucia Labour Party in the General Election of 1987, Cenac walked across the House of Parliament over to the governing United Workers Party side, giving the John Compton Government a 10-7 majority in the House.
The First Deputy Leader of the Saint Lucia Labour Party, Dr Ernest Hilaire, has weighed in on the comments made by Prime Minister Chastanet.
“Stephenson King is proving to be a patriot, a person who can place country before self and Party interest, and it tells you a lot. Stephenson King is the ‘Godfather’ of the United Workers Party, and if he can say, look, guys, I’m prepared to give up the Party, give up any self-interest I have to put my country first, how can that be betraying the country,” Dr Hilaire said.
( St Lucia Loop News)