“LABOUR Has Delivered” was the central theme coming from party faithful last Sunday afternoon when the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) held the open session of its 2014 Conference of Delegates in the Castries Comprehensive Secondary School auditorium.
Hundreds of party members, supporters and delegates crammed the venue to listen to speaker after speaker echo the party’s efforts at managing the economy while coming under heavy criticism for not doing enough. However, party members seem convinced that given the challenges the government has had to face in the three years of its current term, it had done remarkably.
In his opening remarks, Party Chairman, Dr. Julian Hunte, told delegates that government had been seriously challenged by an economic environment badly in need of a jumpstart. He blamed the past United Workers Party (UWP) and the global economic recession for Labour’s uphill battle to restore prosperity. Dr.Hunte said that while Labour “continues its extraordinary efforts to stabilize and improve our economy, we must never forget that it is easier to tear down and destroy than it is to rebuild.”
“It is essential for you to understand the nature of the mandate we have been given and the global, regional and national environment in which we are seeking to implement that mandate,” Dr.Hunte said, “It is imperative, therefore, for you to defend your party from the attacks of the other side. But, seriously, we must ask ourselves at this critical stage in our national existence, ‘Dare we place our country in the hands of the disunited workers party?’ ”
Dr.Hunte added that despite coming under fire from the opposition UWP and other Saint Lucians, the SLP had managed to stabilize the economy by embarking on strategic measures aimed at development. Had it not been for Labour, he said, worse might have been the case.
“We are being compelled by circumstances – both global and national – to make these sacrifices and adjustments and we have made significant gains. Party members and supporters, were it not for the policies that this Labour Party government is now pursuing, Saint Lucia would have been in a far more calamitous situation than it is today,” Dr.Hunte said.
With general elections due in two years, Dr.Hunte called on party members to rally for the cause of Labour, adding that Labour needed to build on its six-decade-long legacy of serving Saint Lucians and Saint Lucia.
“As we commence this 64th Annual Conference, let us be proud of our 64-year history of serving the people of Saint Lucia. Let us renew our commitment to work for social justice for all. Let us make this conference another successful milestone in our mission and that is of securing Saint Lucia’s future with Labour,” Dr.Hunte said.
SLP Political Leader, Dr. Kenny Anthony, told delegates that while criticisms continue to be levelled at his government, his party had delivered on its campaign promises in many areas. He said his government has ensured that work on physical infrastructure, education, healthcare, youth and sports, agriculture, labour reform and other social programmes had been undertaken to alleviate the concerns of citizens. Next year, he said, seems ripe for progress.
“The achievements of the Saint Lucia Labour Party over the last three years bear testimony to the truism that good government works. Despite the difficult economic times, the State’s resources have touched every single sector and every single constituency in this country. Jobs have been created alongside the transformation of our communities under the Constituency Development Programme (CDP),” Dr. Anthony said.
The Prime Minister said that government was on the right track, adding that Saint Lucians need to face the task of nation-building together in order to reap the rewards. Negative growth, he said, has now decelerated and he foresees a return to positive growth in the next financial year.
Dr. Anthony also revealed that come January next year, about 7,000 Form 3 and Four 4 students will be receiving laptops from the government for use in their studies. The laptops will be made available to the government via assistance from the government of Venezuela. The Prime Minister added that the ALBA Bank will over the next two years make available a US$10 million grant to the government of Saint Lucia to finance the NICE programme.
The closed session of the SLP’s 2014 Conference of Delegates will be held this Sunday at the Grande Riviere Secondary School.