AT most Sittings of the House of Assembly, the battle lines between Red and Yellow are firmly drawn and the verbal volleys launched across the political aisle seem to go on without ceasing.
Last week’s Sitting was no different — until the occurrence of this hilarious moment between Leader of the Opposition Philip J. Pierre and Castries Southeast MP Guy Joseph, who was perhaps grateful that one of his political rivals had served up such an easy smash.
During his rebuttal, the Castries East MP [and former Tourism Minister] current Minister in the Tourism Ministry Dominic Fedee for taking undue credit — as he called it—for the upswing in the fortunes of St. Lucia’s Tourism sector.
“The Minister of tourism must stop behaving as if tourism started with him and his policies and [that] it’s because of him tourism is doing so well, or because of his policies.” Pierre stated, as he hit out at Fedee time and again.
Pierre went on to say: “I was the Minister who built the most hotels in the country.”
All of this time, the Opposition Leader had been fending-off heckles by Joseph, sending little barbs his way here and there, before ultimately resuming his criticisms of the current Tourism Minister.
He re-stated that it was during his tenure as Tourism Minister that the most hotels were built in St. Lucia and that the current Minister should not be so boastful after two years.
This time though, Pierre mis-spoke stating: “I [was the Minister that built the most hotels in the country] between 2006 and 2011. The most hotels came under me. And if you go to some of them now, you will see my name is there; so you don’t have to…boast about it. [Do] you ever hear me come and boast about it?”
But then, did you pick that up?
Did you notice that Pierre gave the time period of the last UWP Administration as his latest tenure as Tourism Minister, when in fact it was then Senator Allen Chastanet who was the Tourism Minister.
Joseph, perhaps not unsurprisingly, picked up on it immediately and once again heckled Pierre.
Pierre, who had hitherto been finishing his points, despite Joseph’s heckles, this time stopped to respond directly, thinking the Castries Southeast MP, was challenging the fact that Pierre had overseen the construction of the most hotels.
“Yes, yes!” he stated emphatically. It was upon restating the 2006-2011 time frame of his tenure; that he realised his error and with a big smile on his face, followed by a chuckle, conceded the point.
“Sorry, good one, good one, good one,” he stated.
He tried correcting the time period, stating “Between…” but he could never finish his correction before once more having a hearty chuckle with the rest of the House Members. He then credited Joseph — once more — for the verbal jab: “Good one, good one, good one, good one….”
“I yield, I yield, I yield because I have my dates wrong.” he stated, laughing at his misspeak.
“I have my dates wrong… You have me,” Pierre said to Joseph. “You have me one-nought.
“I wouldn’t do that to y’all you know, you score a point, you score a point.” he said, adding that he isn’t afraid to give credit where credit is due, even to a rival like Joseph.
It was nice to hear a bit of banter between both sides, especially at a time when political hostilities are at a fever pitch.