By Alexis B. Montgomery
LAST Sunday, when the SLP converged on Cul de Sac to launch newcomer Joachim Henry it was obvious that Labour was all set to click the replay button. It was the same old song that they sang, hoping to play once again on the minds of the electorate with wit and cleverly arranged, enticing words and showmanship. When he finally came to speak, Prime Minister Anthony glibly mouthed off the same old lyrics of his past election campaigns, naively unaware that the disappointed electorate has received new truths and revelations about him and his party.
Bread, justice, freedom, transparency, accountability, young people, the poor. Have Saint Lucians not heard all those Labour adopted catch–phrases before? At Sunday’s meeting the Labourites repeatedly exaggerated the $500.00 allowance given to secondary school beginners, almost as if this sum of money can singularly put students through their entire five year secondary school lives. As for the laptops donated to students, this was an unending refrain and then they went back and forth between the old clichés of honour pride, transparency, accountability and dignity.
There is precious little that Labour could tangibly take credit for. This party is simply riding on many UWP projects that were left in a state of incompletion. The electorate knows that. For their five years of “great representation” apparently all they could muster was to call up the DJ to play Bravo’s “Champion” song to disguise the fact that this was a party with nothing impressive on their report card to show the people. So what’s the best trick to cover that up? Get different speakers to monotonously repeat the same sweet nothings.
Those who know better found it extremely difficult to associate the Saint Lucia Labour Party with much of the ideals espoused at their Sunday meeting. Indeed quite the opposite comes off in their actions.
The entire launch was riding on the euphoric wave of the West Indies double T 20 victory . Give it to Kenny’s camp, they know how to be opportunistic and ride a wave when it comes their way. Unfortunately Labour lacks the sensitivity to recognize that the mood of the electorate is more somber these days. That is because survival under Labour is much harsher. Unfortunately for them, they may have over-stated the mileage to be made from feting voters in exchange for their support, as happened very successfully in the last elections. The effectiveness of this strategy has decreased considerably because people feel disenfranchised and fooled under this government.
Team Labour even had the nerve to attempt to revive their “en rouge” refrains of 2011 when they seem to quickly run out of tricks in their bag. It was pellucid that the catch phrase which took the country by storm in 2011, just did not have any more appeal left to entice a suffering and jobless people.
Sunday was a night when the Saint Lucia Labour Party blatantly went shopping for Christian votes in Castries South East. The launch had a substantive “Praise and Worship” segment which blessed everyone outfitted in red but by all appearances, did not bless Guy Joseph and Allen Chastanet. One wonders what a Saviour who taught all to “love your neighbour as yourself “ would think of the wanton attacks on the characters of those two men and their families.
Denigrating Guy Joseph and Allen Chastanet will not erase from the minds of the people of Castries South East, that they have suffered gross marginalization since the MP Joseph has found himself to be one of two top arch–enemies of the Prime Minister. It is very doubtful that the very intelligent which populate this constituency will be so moved by a few gospel songs, that they shall proceed to vote Labour for another five year term of misery under Dr. Kenny Anthony and his regime.
The campaign has started, announced the party leader in his usual saccharine, coated tone of voice, stating the obvious; another example of having nothing substantial to say.
As for Joachim Henry, let us just say the Prime Minister wants Henry to be a better politician than he Dr.Anthony has ever been. The no–nonsense and wise counsel he showered on this freshman, suggested that the Prime Minister has higher expectations of the self-proclaimed service oriented Joachim Henry than he has for himself. As it appears the Prime Minister takes little or none of his own advice but he has given Henry a tall order to live up. We shall see.
When the convoluted mix of crusade and political rally was finally concluded the Prime Minister having the final word allegedly said : “ Go in peace” to his cavalry of red soldiers. But he refrained from announcing that “The mass is ended”. The speculation is that maybe he does not like things to end; example, the tenure of his party at the helm of this country.
Will the Prime Minister with the miracle performing ability to part the red sea be properly ordained and dressed in his priestly robes soon?