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CHASTANET WINS AGAIN

Image: Chastanet, Flood-Beaubrun and Dr. Rigobert thanking the delegates last Sunday. [PHOTO: Stan Bishop]

Flood-Beaubrun Pledges To Stay With The UWP.

Image: Chastanet, Flood-Beaubrun and Dr. Rigobert thanking the delegates last Sunday. [PHOTO: Stan Bishop]
Chastanet, Flood-Beaubrun and Dr. Rigobert thanking the delegates last Sunday. [PHOTO: Stan Bishop]
ALLEN Chastanet scored a convincing win over lone challenger, Sarah Flood-Beaubrun, for the leadership of the United Workers Party (UWP) at the party’s 39th National Convention last Sunday at Gros Islet Secondary School.

Chastanet’s latest win adds to his previous consecutive victories over Stephenson King and Dr. Claudius Preville at the party’s previous national conventions in 2013 and 2014. However, his latest win margin – 280 votes to Flood-Beaubrun’s 55 – is already fuelling debate among delegates as to the need for another party convention before the next general elections.

The convention began with a twist this year with delegates beginning to vote from as early as 10 a.m. Just after 1:00 p.m., the main session commenced with the presentation of written reports.

In his address to the delegates, Chastanet chided the current Labour administration which he accused of not doing enough to make life better for Saint Lucians. He said his party plans to revive the economy and improve on the country’s social and infrastructural landscapes should it succeed at the next general elections.

Chastanet also issued a warning to party members who are not united with the party’s cause, calling on them to step aside in the interest of the party. To ensure victory, he said, the party must have a united front.

“Those who do not wish to work with us in the pursuit of this aim, do not place the cause of the Saint Lucian people above their own (and) do not believe that the United Workers Party can achieve this victory, must declare this now or forever hold their peace,” Chastanet told the cheering delegates. “They must do the honourable thing and step aside for this modernized United Workers Party will not be deterred.”

Former Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines was the featured speaker last Sunday. Referencing instances in Canada and England where political leaders tendered their resignations after their parties’ failed bid in general elections, Sir James spoke to one of the issues that has plagued the UWP for years now.

“What’s wrong with us in the Caribbean? We don’t know how to pack up?” Sir James said to a resounding applause from the delegates.

Mary Isaac’s vote of thanks rubbed Stephenson King the wrong way, however, with the latter walking out of the proceedings after Isaac borrowed Sir James’ “pack up” phrase.

“I really like the part about ‘pack up’. And I, too, have a question for you: In what Parliament in the Caribbean or anywhere in the world do you have an ex-Prime Minister sitting as an ordinary parliamentarian?” Isaac said as she began the vote of thanks.

When asked to clarify her “ordinary parliamentarian” jab at King, Isaac told The VOICE that by virtue of King not being either the Prime Minister or Leader of the Opposition, defended her remark.

“What would you call him? An ex-Prime Minister is either Leader of the Opposition or does not exist. You understand what I’m saying? Look at your literature, go and research it. It’s not a mépwis; it is to cause people in the Caribbean to think of the things that they do. This is wrong,” Isaac explained.

Meanwhile, Flood-Beaubrun told the delegates that despite her loss to Chastanet, she remains committed to be of service to the party. In her brief address to delegates, the former two-term SLP parliamentarian said unity and peace are vital if the party is to triumph at the upcoming polls.

“We are united in common purpose,” Flood-Beaubrun said. “Brothers and sisters, what we need to do is to remove the Labour Party from government….That common goal has to be the catalyst for unity.”

During a post-convention press conference held on Sunday night, Chastanet said he was pleased that the delegates remained confident in his leadership and the hard work his team has been able to infuse into the party. He added that Flood-Beaubrun’s future role in the party will be on the agenda at a meeting the executive will hold this week.

“She’s obviously a great talent. I’ve said that from the beginning and I’m very happy that she’s committed herself to the party today. It’s only better for the party and, more importantly, better for the people of Saint Lucia,” Chastanet said.

Among the upcoming plans the party has in the pipeline, Chastanet said, are the setting up of a shadow Cabinet within the next two weeks and launching a party manifesto.

Delegates also gave their assessments of the party’s readiness for the next general elections, with one telling The VOICE that the party should forego the next convention. Stability, he said, is key.

“My feeling is that it wouldn’t be wise to change the executive of the party at this time, knowing that general elections are around the corner,” the delegate from the south said. “The fight isn’t within the party (but) really against the Saint Lucia Labour Party and its policies that are stifling Saint Lucians.”

Another delegate described last Sunday’s convention as “the most important in the fifteen years I’ve been a delegate”. She said the current economic situation has made her “distraught and displeased”. She called for major changes.

“I would like to see changes done on both political sides,” she told The VOICE. “I have grandchildren on the way. So even if it means that I must put pressure on my party, I will.”

Stan Bishop began his career in journalism in March 2008 writing freelance for The VOICE newspaper for six weeks before being hired as a part-time journalist there when one of the company’s journalists was overseas on assignment.

Although he was initially told that the job would last only two weeks, he was able to demonstrate such high quality work that the company offered him a permanent job before that fortnight was over. Read full bio...

10 Comments

  1. If Edward Seaga who was born in Boston, USA on 28 May 1930 can go on to become the fifth Prime Minister of Jamaica, from 1980 to 1989, and the leader of the Jamaica Labour Party from 1974 to 2005; I don’t see the fuss over Allen Chastanet becoming the leader of the UWP here in St.Lucia; after all, the man was the best tourism minister we’ve ever had.
    Therefore I say, cut the man some slack; give him a break, and if he fails, we’ll remove him come next election.

  2. How Sarah got her Groove back
    ===================================

    Every so often a politician makes a come back to the political arena after a hiatus for various reasons. However, more often than not, once a person decides to leave elective politics he or she usually makes a clean break or takes on light duty in the party.

    Such persons are usually called upon for advice on various issues due to their wealth of experience either as a parliamentarian or in electioneering. They are seen as valuable to the party to mentor the new comers and to share their expertise in their area of specialization or profession among other things.

    Sarah Flood-Beaubrun has had experience as an attorney, parliamentarian, government Minister, as well as in the areas of diplomacy, and parliamentary procedure. These are all areas that a struggling political party such as the UWP will need assistance in as they try to regain their composure and bolster their election readiness.

    Since her stint at the UN on behalf of the UWP she had not been heard of or seen on the local political circuit. One of the criticisms leveled at her, rightly or wrongly, by Mr. Chastanet’s supporters during her bid for the leadership of the party was the absence of any meaningful role on her part in the affairs of the party. It was this perception that might have prompted Guy Joseph to angrily and vociferously demand that she take the line.

    As a keen political observer it certainly presented a head scratcher for me when she announced, out of the clear blue sky, that she would challenge the indomitable and impregnable Chastanet for the leadership. Several conjectural theories for her motivation occupied my mind at that time, the most obvious of which was that she was prompted by one or both of the factions within the party. The other being that it was of her own volition. Let’s examine these a bit more closely.

    Naturally the supposed King-led faction would have every reason to encourage her to seek to dethrone Chastanet in order to affect retribution for all his actual and perceived transgressions against them personally and the party in general. That she harbored the perishable thought that she would be successful belies her intelligence, or to be charitable, she grossly underestimated the degree to which Mr. Chastanet had cemented himself in the position. “Fools have tried, wise men have failed.” Bob Marley.

    Of course the Chastanet-led faction could have asked her to be the final sacrificial lamb to bolster his legitimacy as the undisputed leader which would render all other pretenders to his throne essentially neutered.
    This hypothetical gradually shifted to the realm of possibility after seeing how overly magnanimous she was in defeat. For a while I thought she had won the silver in the hundred meters at the Olympics. No mean feat as a seasoned sprinter would attest.

    No sooner had she relished the shellacking from Chastanet it was announced that she will be playing a prominent role in the party. One wonders what that will entail. Perhaps she’ll be given the nod for Central Castries and make this constituency the most closely contested seat in the upcoming elections.

    We cannot discount the possibility that the decision to contest for the leadership was hers to make and she exercised the audacity that she is known to have displayed in the past.

    She is a very calculating individual and perhaps she thought that to challenge Chastanet would be the best way to make a noticeable comeback instead of sheepishly sneaking in. That way she would have elbowed a niche for herself in the party hierarchy with all its attendant perks should the party be returned to office instead of being a peon.

    For whatever her reason Sarah Flood-Beaubrun, a lightning rod, and feisty campaigner with a penchant for a good fight is back in full force and ready to provide a fillip to the beleaguered UWP. She’s got her groove back. We can’t wait to see how this plays out.

  3. she got her groove back right in between her grove. lol

    can’t trust that bitcccc5674h. in any political party.?
    she can’t win a shit in central Castries.
    a no show 4 her.

    S L P will shudder/shuffle those low-down killers of Compton bka U W P.

  4. The casualty of all the political theatre regarding these mock elections in both parties is national growth and development. It is all show and no substance.

    If you were go beyond all the noise, you will hardly find any mention of any of the criteria for selection of who can deal with the main issue confronting our nation now, and into the near future. Economic transformation is not on anybody’s radar screen. It is not even mentioned. It does not matter. Therefore, it is not addressed.

    Saint Lucians’ treatment of time, is to go back and remember the good times or the bitter times.

    Saint Lucians’ treatment of the present is to enjoy it. The risks do not matter.

    Saint Lucians’ treatment of the future is to do whatever it takes to take us back to the past.

    Our great, great, great grand parents treated the future in the very same way. They accepted a slave future, and not freedom when opportunity came. They preferred to live their lives as slaves, even when it meant a continuation of their bitter miserable past or what was their present .

    The re-election of Kenny as party leader, and the rewarding of Chastanet to position him to repeat his own sets of errors for which he, like Kenny has never repented of, is to choose to continue living in the past, as our grand “new” future.

    Stupidity + Mediocrity + Inability = An IDIOCRACY (our current state of government)

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