LAST year I decided to contribute a column to The VOICE Newspaper, providing commentary on national and regional affairs. The column appears occasionally in the Weekend VOICE with the first edition being published on 11th January 2014. It is called “The Orange Banner” with the subtitle or caption, “Orange is a blend of red and yellow, uniting them in a vibrant new colour”, as it appears for this article.
I decided on this name because I wanted it to be clearly understood, that whatever political allegiance I may be perceived to hold, my commentary on developments in St. Lucia and the Caribbean was going to demonstrate independence of thought and unbiased analysis (and this has been a feature of my previous writings). This was to be particularly so for political events in St. Lucia, where it appears that political discourse and exchange on talk shows and the social media, are characterised by a disturbing and blinkered anger and venom which seems to have developed during the five years I was away in Haiti on a diplomatic assignment.
The name “ Orange Banner” was therefore meant to illustrate that the political analysis in the column was not going to blindly support either of St. Lucia’s political parties- the St. Lucia Labour Party (SLP) whose colour is red and the United Workers Party( UWP) whose colour is yellow. The views from the Orange Banner are from a different perspective- soundly independent, different and new, a disavowal of red and yellow blinkers, nationalistic and not partisan.
I was therefore surprised and intrigued when I heard the leader of the yellow UWP, Allen Chastanet, call on persons wishing to participate in the UWP march and demonstration against the SLP Government on Thursday 29th January to wear Orange or carry orange emblems as supporters of the UWP and the SLP should come together to show their dissatisfaction with the red SLP Government.
Of course, I cannot claim to have a monopoly of the colour orange in the context in which I am using it. Neither am I peeved that Mr. Chastanet seems to have borrowed the idea behind the Orange Banner for his march. That would be arrogance, particularly as I am not leading a registered political parry of that colour.
However for Mr. Chastanet to use orange as a symbol of disapproval of the red SLP is very odd because Orange in our political context is a rejection of both the yellow of Mr. Chastanet’s UWP and the red of the SLP and not of the SLP only. If he wanted St. Lucians of all political stripes to unite in his march against the SLP, it seems to me that it would have been more sensible if the demonstrators wore neither red nor yellow but simply turned up in all other colours; and they certainly should not be displaying orange as that colour buries both red and yellow. Perhaps Mr. Chastanet is turning the UWP into a new direction- a new force that has dismissed its yellow past. Who knows?
What is certain though is that if there are any persons who may have been thinking of establishing a new political party in St. Lucia, with Orange as its colour, Mr.Chastanet has handed them a boon of a launching pad. Then you may say, what’s in a colour? Well, if you are a St. Lucian voter, then it might just be worth your while to monitor the Orange Factor in St. Lucian politics.