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S.L.P. Goes To Vieux Fort For 65th Anniversary

SLP General Secretary, Leo Clarke.


Image: SLP General Secretary, Leo Clarke.
SLP General Secretary, Leo Clarke.

THIS year’s open session of the Saint Lucia Labour Party’s Conference of Delegates will be held in Vieux Fort tomorrow. The event will take on greater meaning, however, as the party celebrates its 65th anniversary.

The theme chosen is “The Passion, The Pain, and The Power: A New Journey Begins” and the party’s General Secretary, Leo Clarke, told The VOICE yesterday that the theme encapsulates the party’s life over the past 65 years.

“It is the passion of George Charles and his comrades of that time that made them want to come forward to fight for the downtrodden and the working class in the country at the break of the 1950s,” Clarke explained. “That passion has gone from generation to generation of Labour Party leaders up to this current crop of leaders.”

The pain, Clarke said, resulted from the party’s bouts of being out of office between the periods 1964-1979, 1982-1997, 2006-2011 and the party infighting of 1979-1982. Nevertheless, Clarke said, the party has managed to regain power and retain its commitment to changing the lives of Saint Lucians for the better.

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“We think we can celebrate that,” Clarke said. “We think we can celebrate what has happened for the country over the last four years that has now brought us to a (projected) 1.6% GDP growth. There’s a lot to celebrate and this is what we plan to do.”

Prime Minister and Political Leader, Dr. Kenny Anthony, will address the delegates at the Phillip Marcellin Ground where the formal programme will begin from 3:00 p.m. Earlier in the day, a church service will be held at the Our Lady of the Assumption Church. The Conference’s closed session will be held in early January.

Former Barbadian Prime Minister, Owen Arthur, will be the guest speaker at Phillip Marcellin Ground. Clarke said Arthur was chosen because he presided over a successful period in Barbados’ economic growth, citing the rewards that country was able to benefit from its Value Added Tax (VAT) regime.

Clarke said that following tomorrow’s conference, the party will be ramping up its political campaigning ahead of the next general elections due within a year’s time.

“We’re hoping to come out refreshed and ready to take on the political fight that will be emerging in the coming months,” Clarke said.

During an SLP public meeting held at the Castries Market steps last week Tuesday, the Prime Minister announced that some of the SLP candidates for the next general elections would be made public at this Sunday’s open session.

However, Clarke said yesterday that while candidates for Micoud South, Micoud North, Dennery South and Castries South-East have been chosen, it’s now left to Dr. Anthony’s judgment as to whether to make the names public at this time.

“There might be certain sensitivities relative to those people terminating their current employment in order to jump openly into the political fray,” Clarke stated. “We have regard for that sort of thing. We wouldn’t want people to flout the rules of their employment.”

When asked to comment on the recent IMF report that projected a 1.6% GDP growth for Saint Lucia this year, Clarke said full appreciation of such news must take into context the state of the economy when the SLP took office four years ago. He said his party had underestimated the full picture of the economy’s state but was nevertheless able to embark on a “serious all-round building process”.

“This projected 1.6% growth in GDP is definitely very welcome for our country,” Clarke said. “It is good news for our party and it is good reward for the hard work that has been put into restoring the economy of this country over the last four years.”

In the SLP’s four years in office, it has drawn criticism, especially from the business sector and the opposition United Workers Party (UWP) for recording negative growth in three consecutive years. That impact has been felt by many businesses and the unemployed.

Clarke said that while his party has received criticism about the nation’s high unemployment rate – nearly 24% — the government has done much to stabilize the increasing unemployment figures recorded during the past UWP administration. He said that under the last UWP administration, unemployment grew by close to an average of an average of 2% per year. The government, he said, is doing its best to reduce unemployment.

“We would have liked to turn the course of things around and be able to reduce the unemployment rate,” Clarke said. “But what we have done so far is to reduce the rate at which unemployment has been increasing. So there has been about a one-point-something increase in the unemployment rate in the four years that we’ve been in government.”

When asked how he rated the government’s overall performance in the past four years, Clarke said the government had done “a tremendous job.” He said Saint Lucia is now at the point where people have regained confidence in the island.

The tourism sector was cited as one of the main contributors to the projected 1.6% GDP growth for 2015 indicated by the IMF in its report released last month. Clarke said the performance of that sector had been “tremendous”, citing the record figures over the past few years. The public sector, too, he said, was responsible for that development.

“We cannot forget the work that was done in the public sector’s infrastructure to modernize it and restore it following damage caused by Hurricane Tomas,” Clarke noted. “There would have been some level of employment created in that field, so public service expenditure would also have contributed to that recovery process.”

Clarke said possible ventures via the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP) set to come on stream next month include “about two or three hotel projects that are pretty much sealed in relation to the commitment made by those investors.” He said the only formality left to do is signing them up in January. The ill-fated Le Paradis project at Praslin, Clarke said, is among projects that have attracted interest from investors. Projects are also earmarked for Choiseul, he said.

“We have great expectations and optimism about the benefits that will be derived when the Citizenship by Investment Programme begins. From the reports which have been shared with me, there are many reputable investors who are lined up to come to our shores and begin putting money into this country,” Clarke explained.

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...


    1. Those in the SLP today are like retards and savages in a rite of throwing maidens and eunuchs at the rim of a smoking volcano in order to appease their angry God.

  1. Are Saint Lucians really this dumb? Whenever was maintaining capital intact (i.e., the maintenance or the repairs of existing road infrastructure, which is just one part of the transportation sector) translate into economic development? Ask any accountant worth his or her salt, whether repairs constitute an increase in capital equipment per se?

    And since when does the development infrastructure of a nation relate only to roadways, highways and the like? Some dummies should really go back to school with no questions asked.

    1. The container boat- load of unalloyed drivel that this man has just delivered and aired in the public view, now more than ever re-enforces my view that the SLP is just a party of zombied shoot-shaters — everyone of them.

    2. Only country bookies like the make-up of today’s SLP do not know that the Fidel Castro, Kenny’s buddy, mentor and coach is a failure. His brother is now courting the USA to ease trading restrictions.

      Meanwhile, another one of Kenny’s other majority SLP misfits, square pegs in a wrong holes, does not have the intelligence to know that Cuba is a major competitor and an untapped market for a major source of our visitors. Therefore, this country-bookie and mentally diapered politician says that his ministry is going to pay no greater attention to the growing reality of an erosion of market share. I can see the tail of an ostrich pointing skyward. The head? Let’s keep this decent. I don’t know. There you have it . Just more SLP ministerial country bookie shoot shate as usual.

  2. SLP’s political numbskulls and political dinosaurs are living in an economic fantasy land. It is quite amusing to see them as they celebrate a NOMINAL projected growth of 1.6%.

    Because of their abysmal lack of understanding of basic economics, it does not ever get into their thick heads that the economy has not yet achieved that rate of growth, first of all. Not yet.

    Next, if that rate of growth were to be converted to real growth and secondly realized (first and second order conditions in economics, and … CRITICAL THINKING) the economy would be shown to be still bouncing on the bottom of the growth curve, and … in negative territory. This my friends is quite beyond the ken of 99% of SLP’s membership … from the tippy top, top to its very bottom.

    STEP workers have only been practiced and trained to thrash and cut grass. There is no export market for this. Therefore, they don’t count. Welcome to the La-La Land of SLP economics and its continuing better days!

    You want more? Re-elect the party of stooges, for stooges, and by stooges.

    “Those who have eyes let them see.” Thus spaketh the Lord Almighty. SLP’s hierarchy and those drinking all this revised SLP “Miracle January Capital Investments” flavour-of-the-month Kool Aid, from the very top to very bottom, most definitely need a lobotomy. Minimally … brain surgery!

  3. Angela, Febert et al; the great conceptual reality in Leo’s statement and I paraphrase( From its formative years anticipating a break with colonial yoke; SLP has had at its CORE, the sentiments, needs of the DOWN TRODDEN)
    Now I understand down trodden does not apply to you’ll HIGH MAINTENANCE wannabe middle class achievers living high on the proverbial hogs –and in reality ACTING like pigs in a cloistered mud pen.
    When the economy is fair to fine you guys do well and the aristocrats –which you adore for cues to your cultural roadmap –if not relevance- do fantastic detours to their covert OFFSHORE & Swiss Bank-
    While the downtrodden barely keep their heads above water
    When the global economy melts down, you guys can fall back on assorted reserves/resources, including the ability to RETOOL for alternative modes of income; the aristocrats merely dispatch a maid /servant or two , cut back on pre theatre martinis and globe trotting junkets- after all they have redeployed their investments to weather the perfect economic storm. But the down trodden now have the waves bob over their headsrubber in frentic hour to hour survival mode of daily living.
    Hey! I really don’t expect you’ll or Chas to be able to walk a foot –never mind a mile- in the rubber ‘catapult’ slippers of the down trodden.
    My RC rituals at the Minor Basilica was rote drill at best. Till I recall how my downtrodden models prayed and their humble yet dignified reverence for the Divine – beyond the dogma of religion- that’s when my spiritual development took off.
    That’s why the ambiance of God is more vivid –if not heartfelt in a HUT rather than a Castle.
    Now let’s draw a bottom line of rational analysis as per our neo colonial caste system:
    The aristocrats will always have much more than enough and then some for generations to come- they are but a hand full and a foot of toes to kick about. You in the middle are subject to the ebb and flow of economic tides-but you are well armed to weather the changes. You are about a third of any third world state population.
    The downtrodden are close two thirds or more of the population. Would you risk anarchy (a hungry man is an angry man- Mighty Sparrow) among the masses by imposing IMF; World Bank: Central Bank austerities welcomed by the aristocrats (increases their shares / portfolios/ dividends) –
    By adopting tea party style Reaganomics –heralded by UWP SECRET manifesto or
    The SLP mantr of WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER of spreading the global meltdown repercussions among all classes so that ALL CAN EAT –iNCLUDING THE DOWN-TRODDEN
    The USA had its STEP programs during its Great Depression called the CIVILIAN Conservation Corps
    And yes like OBAMA did just recently AMERICA did focus on INFRASTRUCTURE.
    The very great super highway system of America today was built in conjunction with its STEP program -during its worst economic depression
    DO YOUR RESEARCH before you criticize your own people who are trying to take care of true patriots.
    Remember it was the downtrodden who laboured in the valleys and docks to create GREEN GOLD!
    GO BIG RED for the people by the people

  4. James et al?
    Cuba trains doctors and engineers f-gratis, to Caribbean and Latin American nations.
    Vietnam humiliated a superpower , wheras Cuba had no choice but to give in to the dictates of the second super power (missile deployment)-
    and for this her punishment has been longer and far more severe than that of Vietnam-go figure.
    A university pal expert in cultural arts-Anthropologist by degree remarked that she found far more authentic African cultural arts expression in Cuba than in all the English Island nations -combined.
    They are more disciplined society than St.Lucia
    Literacy is higher
    Availability of medical services is better
    So what is your real beef with Cuba.
    If I were moneyed like you -I would invest in any real estate not too far from a good beach.
    Alas, you may have to MARRY one of their Sweetly luscious as a sour sop fillies ,n ‘est pas?
    Ha Ha, even Obama will buy a beach side Ranchero- the costs in Hawaii are prohibitive -even for a well heeled former president.
    Perchance the raison for quickly enticing the normalization deals.
    10 to 1 Las Vegas odds that Chas is negotiating for a boutigue hotel in a remote beachfront.
    In closing, I recently sat next to a very preety, Cuban female (25 or so years old) in first class international flight. She was on her way home via a series of connecting flights. My Spanish was below basic college mandated 1 year fluency. We exchanged sign and body language as fillers. What charm, what grace , what poise- and all so platonic as if a universal standard.
    And you advocate I should hate such people –
    Here in St Lucia –
    fluent in creole, Oxford lexicon, street urban idioms, jive, etc-
    communicating with those who shared the same exit cervix-uterus-if not fallopian tubes etc.,
    is far more difficult than climbing Mount Everest sans oxygen bottle.
    Good grief, are you jealous of humble , frugal Cuba or are you just a frustrated Capitalist eager to swoop down on Havana -like a reconstruction carpetbagger?

  5. For those who have not severed their tribal roots, either lost during the cross-Atlantic journey, or newly found, that is up to them. All I ask is to take any of that to supermarket and try exchanging that for rice and flour.

    For tall those enamoured with and too dumb to understand the gains made by Cuba because of Soviet capital injections for its surrogate warfare for the USSR, now that Cuba has been dumped, try getting all the freeness or transfers associated with that proxy super-power war era.

  6. Who the hell cares about African culture? What is African culture? Estranged Son of Deranged Man, explain that to that to ISIS.

  7. When will Kenny accept the invitation to visit North Korea? His pal Fidel is aging and the red-carpet visit did not help Maduro. That idiot was thrown out. Losers all round are falling. Kenny is next.

  8. Nathaniel/
    Garcon you just proved yourself to be the ideal prototype of what Son of Man labels “Misogynous SAMBO Neg – mawon:
    Europeans will laugh all the way to the De Beers Diamond Stockpiles- at your gross STUPIDITY- or as my yardee pals would say IDIOT!!!
    I am not in the mood to correct your abject IGNORANCE-

    1. Just another religious dumb ass. It is easy to see that you have no Gof damn answers. What the hell is African culture? Who needs African culture? If I cannot be used to make a material difference to improve my material wealth, why the hell must I bother with it, jackass? Why? We have our own Saint Lucian culture, its that not damn well good enough, idiot?

  9. Take it easy Frances/Francesca: Your gurlie tirades are indicative of Hysterical Neurosis bordering on obsessive compulsions.
    We are all tied to Africa -Since Pangea
    AsK Australia and South America.
    The hidden point of Africanism in Cuba was it’s viability as a tourist product:
    The Rumba and salsa still draw world class tourists with TASTE for authentic cultural products.
    The African religion florished in Cuba-germinating /incubating the modern art movement with SUBSTANCE
    Cuban music/dance /theatre is infused with AFRICAN SOUL
    It remains a rarity-thus valuable commodity-
    In a Carnival cruise class of quickee superficial tee shirted tourists;
    the deep pocketed old money tourists will go to Cuba in much the same way they financed lavish safaris to AFRICA for rare, authentic etc………………..
    Now, Frances You can smoke this cuban cigar from your warmest -if not torrid orifice 🙂

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