NEWLY-ELECTED Chairman of the United Workers Party (UWP, Guy Mayers, issued a stern warning to party members at the party’s 39th National Convention held at the Gros Islet Secondary School last Sunday.
Mayers, who was elected to the post unopposed at the party Conference of Delegates a few days ago, said party members need to end the “side-shows” and unite for a common cause, that being the removal of the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) government from office.
While addressing the delegates, Mayers, who succeeds Ezechiel Joseph in that position, said the party now needs to stand behind its leadership in preparation for the upcoming general elections. Key to doing so, he said, is the need for party members to stop airing their grievances in public.
“From now on, we behave as a family,” Mayers told the hundreds of delegates present. “No more washing dirty linen in public. No member of the United Workers Party should be going to the media denigrating another member of the United Workers Party. This is forbidden.”
Mayers’ comments follow numerous incidents in which party members, including Stephenson King, Mary Polius, Lenard “Spider” Montoute, Keith Mondesir, among others, have made public statements regarding the state of the party.
In fact, public denouncements of the party and its Political Leader, Allen Chastanet, resulted in Castries Central MP, Richard Frederick, being expelled from the party on August 17 last year. Mayers told members that chastising the party in public was counter-productive and urged them to use the various systems available internally to resolve their matters.
“It is time that our United Workers Party understands that when you go to the media bad talking your members, you’re doing damage to the whole family of the United Workers Party. And this thing must stop as of today,” Mayers said.
“We have one mission and that is to take the Labour Party and Kenny Anthony off the backs of the people of Saint Lucia,” Mayers told cheering delegates. “My role as Chairman is to work with every constituency branch to ensure that we are ready.”
The new Party Chairman said UWP members need not adopt the approach of the Labour Party which in the 1980s and 1990s “consistently washed its dirty linen in public”, resulting in Saint Lucians losing confidence in that party. The present focus of the UWP, he added, is to ensure that the party’s seventeen candidates and constituency branches are ready should Dr. Anthony announce the elections date.
“It’s time that we get our act together,” Mayers, a former Senator and Government Minister in the last UWP administration, said. “As your chairman, I am pleading with every member of the United Workers Party who says you have the party at heart to get on that train.”
During a post-convention press conference last Sunday, Mayers was asked by the media to issue a statement regarding Mary Isaac’s unflattering remark to Stephenson King during her vote of thanks earlier that day. In his response, Mayers resorted to the new party policy on dealing with such party matters.
“If there is a matter pertaining to members of the party, we’ll deal with it internally,” Mayers stated. “I will not speak openly about it outside of the party. There are organs in the party to deal with those matters and we’ll deal with it that way.”