WHAT is it about Allen Chastanet that has so many people so stupid, causing them to write and say so much nonsense? In the run-up to the 2016 general elections, we saw the same thing from the St. Lucia Labour Party, especially its then leader, Dr. Kenny Anthony. Now with the election long over, we hear it again from these losers, as well as others, who cannot accept the result.
Two articles by one Harvey Cenac and another by Dr. Tennyson Joseph, all published in The VOICE, expose the crass nonsense that is spewed from supposedly intelligent persons in the name of enlightened discussion.
Allen Chastanet is still a virtual newcomer to politics. He won three consecutive races for the leadership of his party by more than two-to-one on all three occasions. Then he led his party to victory in the elections of June last year. But after just a little over one year in office, he has had responsibility for the state of poverty in St. Lucia laid at his feet by Mr. Cenac, a self-confessed wannabe Member of Parliament for Soufriere. It is time to stop behaving as though Chastanet seized the leadership of the UWP by foul means. He was the party’s clear choice and later the people’s choice. That’s our democratic system.
Cenac’s “Economic Injustice of Allen Chastanet Towards The Poor of St Lucia” is a classic case of dishonesty and I am not sure that The VOICE, as a responsible newspaper, should have helped portray that dishonesty because to blame Chastanet for poverty in St Lucia is nothing but dishonesty. For him to also pat himself on the back and claim that the first part of his article could not have been more timely, reeks of arrogance.
His claim that the government is plagued by corruption without supporting facts is dangerous and without substance. In fact, were Mr. Cenac an honest commentator, he would have easily found who the real corrupt politicians in St. Lucia were.
Where was Mr. Cenac in the previous 10 years of St. Lucia Labour Party rule when the level of poverty in St. Lucia actually increased, according to published surveys? In its second term, the situation got even worse amid three consecutive years of negative economic growth, the effects of which are still being felt today and will continue to be felt for another 18 months to two years while new investments begin to kick in.
A lot of our people like Harvey Cenac are foolish to believe that once a new government is elected, prosperity begins to return immediately, but we are living in a fool’s paradise if we believe such. An economy that had died as St. Lucia’s died under Dr. Anthony’s Labour Party, will need at least five years to begin to show serious positive recovery. So if poverty levels are rising, Harvey Cenac cannot lay the blame for this at the doors of a one-year-old government. This is blatantly ridiculous and dishonest.
As a matter of fact, the point must be made that Allen Chastanet has done more than anyone else to ensure that the economic pressures on the pockets of St. Lucians were eased. This started with his party’s march against gas prices, which forced the Labour government to immediately reduce the rates. He then followed that up with cuts in various taxes imposed by Labour, including VAT.
When I went to pay my car registration fees this year, I went in with the customary $300, not realizing that the rate was now $225. Immediately, I was $75 richer. That was a direct result of Allen Chastanet’s policies.
Everyone by now will realize that the prices of goods have come down with the cut in the VAT rate. So why is Chastanet responsible for poverty in St. Lucia? Harvey Cenac behaves like someone who does not live here (or does he?) or understand what is going on here. He chooses to write an article in several parts and readers to The VOICE would believe that this gentleman has something important to say that had been properly thought out and researched.
Instead, we get a lot of flippant conjecture that is out of touch with reality and just plain nonsense. To top it all, Cenac has the gall to accuse the present government of massive borrowing. Truly, where has this man been? Why is it only after a year of Chastanet’s government that Cenac can make the statement about the widening gap between rich and poor? And, of course, he blames Chastanet, too, for the state of the economy.
Tennyson Joseph will never change. All of a sudden, he has this beef with businessmen who become political leaders. He, too, has been a Chastanet basher from day one. Julian Hunte was a businessman and leader of the Labour Party and once potential Prime Minister. But as far as Joseph was concerned, there was nothing wrong with that.
If Kenny Anthony were a businessman, I am betting that Tennyson Joseph would have no problem with him being Prime Minister because as far as I can see, it is ideology — not ability — that matters. One would expect that the ability to produce results would be the main calling card of any leader, be he a lawyer, educator or businessman. But Tennyson would have us believe otherwise to suit his own personal bias.
Imagine, Tennyson Joseph rekindling the 1980s ideological foolishness about “progressives”. I challenge him to show me where “progressives” have produced success in this region in terms of bettering the social and economic conditions of the people. All we have ever gotten from these people is a lot of ideas, hot air and rhetoric, nothing tangible to benefit anyone. We had them in power in St. Lucia — what legacy did they leave us? What has Tennyson Joseph done to benefit the people of St. Lucia?
The thing about ideologues like Tennyson Joseph is the disrespect which they have for the decisions our people made in free and fair elections and the belief that they and they alone know what is good for the people without even asking them. Small wonder that people like Tennyson Joseph have had a hard time winning an election in St. Lucia.
Dr. Anthony, while he was Prime Minister, frequently boasted that he was not afraid to take tough decisions that were necessary to improve the economy. The only such decision that we all saw was his reckless over-taxing of the people and his refusal to listen even when they groaned. It is Chastanet who has had the guts to take the tough decisions.
I would take Allen Chastanet’s style of leadership any day over what we got from Kenny Anthony: the arrogance, the refusal to communicate and be transparent, the superiority complex etc. Allen Chastanet comes across as a gentleman, one who is seriously concerned about the people of St. Lucia. I am prepared to give him his five years in office before I begin to criticize him.