DEAR MR. EDITOR:
Someone needs to tell the UWP government that unless it does something about its image and public relations it could find itself out of office overwhelmed by the might of Labour Party mischief and propaganda.
Only the blind will not see that the UWP, under the much-maligned Allen Chastanet, is doing much better in office than the Labour Party did.
In fact, that has historically been the case. St Lucia has always done better under the UWP. The evidence is there all around us and can easily be identified. It is the Labour Party — especially the governments of Kenny Anthony — that has messed-up our country and has no legacy of achievement they can point to.
But we do risk getting another dose of Labour Party governance, with all the suffering it has produced in the past, if we do not watch it: the taxes (VAT, WASCO etc.), abuse of state funds for the exclusive benefit of their supporters, abuse of power (Grynberg, Rochamel, IMPACS), corruption (remember the National Conservation Authority?), ineptitude and lack of accountability (Juffali, the hospitals etc.), deterioration in the health and education systems, the justice system, the record debt and unemployment levels, inability to attract investment etc.
That is the legacy of the Labour Party that we are now trying to recover from and in the face of their dismal performance we have the same Labour Party, with the same failures in tow, running all over the country and creating all kinds of mischief. Sadly, though, the UWP seems content to let them do it.
But are we going to allow another Labour Party led by either Kenny Anthony, Phillip Pierre or Ernest Hilaire in the seat of power again, so soon after the havoc that they caused, destroying every sector of endeavour in our country?
Why is the UWP allowing the Labour Party, the single biggest contributor to the fiasco that is now our health sector, to take the high ground to the point of pressuring the sitting government to resolve the very issues that they themselves created and failed to address?
The Labour Party had five years to deliver St Jude. St Lucians collectively put their tails between their legs and kept their mouths shut while this inefficiency went on. The cost escalated to astronomical proportions. The same way the Soufriere to Vieux Fort Road had tripled in cost under another Labour administration. That scandal became the subject of a Commission of Inquiry.
For some strange reason, St Lucians have always feared the Labour Party. It started from the time they assumed power in 1997. There were so many people defending Labour, especially in the media, criticising those who dared complain that save for a handful of journalists, nearly everyone was intimidated. Look at the change today, everyone has a voice to protest. There are more mischief makers than ever before, especially in the media and in the public service.
The crusade against Allen Chastanet that started from the day he assumed the leadership of the UWP, a crusade that failed miserably given the June 2016 election result, continues this day and gets more intense because Labour has not accepted its defeat. It will create unrest and mayhem in the country until it gets back into power.
It’s a crying shame that the UWP is allowing Philip Pierre, who is partly responsible for the mess that his party left this country in, to parade around the place, proposing this and that, calling for this and that. What is it that Mr. Pierre knows now about running the country that he didn’t know before?
Imagine Musa Jn. Baptiste telling us what we should be doing about St Jude, which is located in his and his former leader’s constituencies. What did they do about this hospital during their last five years in office? These people have no shame.
But it is information that will stop Labour — and here is where the UWP is failing. It has no information machinery to counter the lies and blatant mischief of Pierre and his team.
Does anyone remember the intensity of the Labour Party’s propaganda machinery when they were in power, one that was financed with state funds?
I am not for one moment suggesting that the UWP does the same because a lot of what Labour did was distasteful and mischievous. But shouldn’t the UWP be doing better for itself in bringing its achievements to the attention of the public? Should it not be exposing, with facts and figures, the blatant hypocrisy of the Labour Party that was a total failure in office but now wants to dictate how the country should run?
In two years under the UWP, we have had a reduction in some taxes, reduction in unemployment, attracted new investment — and there are plans for more – and a massive works programme about to unfold (Hewanorra International, roads, housing).
Above all, there is a greater sense of optimism in the country compared to the despair that we had under Labour. Chastanet, with all his inexperience, comes across as a better leader than Pierre, one who is more believable, more candid and above all, more gentlemanly. But, there is no UWP information vehicle that is visible anywhere touting these credentials and achievements. Instead, it is the same useless Labour Party with the same useless leadership that is on the high ground, claiming to have answers to very problems that they created. This is simply ridiculous.
It is time for the governing party to speak out for itself and defend its legacy as the party that has consistently worked to develop our country and is poised to do it again. This is what Labour fears — that the UWP succeeds where they failed, so they will do anything to cause chaos in the country.