Former Political Leader of the United Workers Party (UWP), and Prime Minister Stephenson King, has given his assessment of his party’s 38th Annual National Convention held last Sunday at the Gros Islet Secondary School.
Speaking to the media while votes were being cast last Sunday, King said he did not agree with many of the statements made by some of the speakers who addressed the delegates at the opening session of the convention.He added that much of what was said during that session was not appropriate for a convention setting but should have instead been dealt with as housekeeping matters.
“Obviously, some of the statements that were made were statements of internal issues that must be dealt with internally,” the Castries North MP said. “This is a convention in which you speak of being united. You speak of being strong and ready to govern and all these sorts of sound bites. Therefore, you must say how you are strong and united and ready to govern.”
While he would not identify the speeches and speakers to which and of whom he was referring, King said he had issues with at least two speeches. However, he did single out the party’s response to Castries Central Constituency Branch chairman, Mark Louis’s recent filing of a motion against the party as one that is “an indication of the state of the party”.
King said that while many party members, including the executive, are publicly stating the party’s readiness to contest the next general elections, careful attention should be made to avoid complacency. The work of getting prepared, King said, is still a work in progress.
“No one should comfort themselves in terms of the readiness of the party. There’s always work to be done even when perception seems to feel that the party is ready. So let’s assume the party is seen to be united today (but) there’s always work that needs to be done. Politics isn’t one where you can sit back, relax and say we’re ready,” King explained.
Nevertheless, King said the party does stand a chance of winning at the polls next time around. Seemingly reflecting on the UWP’s loss of momentum about a week before the last general elections, King said rallying the party’s base and leaving no stone unturned in the process are key factors to a victory.
“I’ve always been concerned when it’s so obvious that a party is within reach of victory but at the same time may be distance away from the reality of the situation. What it calls for, really, is for a concerted effort to get the machinery going and to do what is right,” King said.
King lost the leadership of the party to Allen Chastanet at the party’s 37th Annual National Convention held on July 28 last year, earning just 99 votes compared to Chastanet’s 264. He abstained from contesting the party’s leadership this year, with economist/long-time party strategist, Dr. Claudius Preville, being Chastanet’s lone challenger. Chastanet defeated Dr.Preville by a 266-101 vote margin.