Sarah Flood-Beaubrun Makes A Come back.
THE Francis Brothers, Peterson and Hermangild, whose parting with the St Lucia Labour Party was widely publicised last year, have seen their dream of contesting the forthcoming general elections for the opposition United Workers Party fade away.
Peterson, who had been endorsed as the UWP candidate for Central Castries, threw in the towel this week and will be replaced by Sarah Flood-Beaubrun who won the seat on an SLP ticket in 1997, but has long broken off with the party and joined the Flambeaus.
Of course, Hermangild Francis lost the Anse la Raye Canaries run off to Dominic Fedee, but remains a key UWP operative, targeted as a Minister for Internal Security should the UWP win the coming elections.
Campaigning for the elections continues to pick up steam with the UWP returning to its favourite stomping grounds, the William Peter Boulevard for a major public meeting this evening. The party appears to be heading for a united front once again, following signs that former Prime Minister Stephenson King has buried his differences with the party and has fully returned to the fold.
King is expected to be a main speaker at tonight’s Boulevard meeting.
The ruling SLP is continuing to present its slate of candidates. Its next major event is the launching of its candidate for Anse la Raye/Canaries, John Victorin on Sunday, May 15.
A press conference today will reveal whether or not the ruling Saint Lucia Labour Party will make any changes in its campaign for the Castries Central constituency now that Peterson Freancis has been replaced by Flood-Beaubrun, widely regarded as a more formidable candidate, for the UWP.
JadiaJn Pierre, Communications Director for the SLP yesterday said that she was not aware of any changes to be made by her party as a result of the UWP switch.
Francis, a former SLP supporter, had been the caretaker of the constituency for the UWP for more than a year, receiving the nod as the party’s endorsed candidate lastr November whjen he won the run off by 36 votes to two for his only opponent, Bain Nathaniel
It came as a shock when on Tuesday, in a carefully worded press release, the UWP announced Flood-Beaubrun as its candidate stating that it did so “in its continuous quest to ready itself for the challenges of building a new Saint Lucia”.
“Endorsed candidate for Castries Central, Peterson Francis has notified the party of his decision, after careful analysis, to stand down as a candidate, but to support, wholeheartedly, the party’s nominee to replace him in that traditional UWP stronghold,” the UWP Press release stated.
The press release added that Francis met with the top brass of the party and was part of a delegation that later met with and persuaded Sarah Flood-Beaubrun to make a return to elective politics, and be the party’s standard bearer in the seat, she first won in 1997.
“Sarah Flood-Beaubrun has remained very popular among residents of Castries Central over the years and was last evening enthusiastically received by members of the UWP Castries Central Campaign Committee. She will later today be formally re-introduced to the wider party group in Castries Central by Mr. Francis, who will be at the forefront of her election campaign,” the release added.
Political Leader of the United Workers Party, Allen Chastanetpraised Francis for having first stepped forward, at a difficult time, to serve as a candidate and for now reaffirming his continued support for the party and especially for the election campaign of Flood-Beaubrun.
The UWP Leader said he was especially pleased to welcome Flood-Beaubrun back to elective politics, as her vast experience would be of invaluable assistance to the party both in the campaign and as a senior member of its soon to be formed government.
Flood-Beaubrun is seen as a much stronger and formidable candidate to take on the SLP’s candidate Senator Stanley Felix in Castries Central, which he lost in the last general elections to Richard Frederick, a former UWP member and Minister who has since been kicked out of the party.
Peterson Francis has said that he was not pushed to step aside as the opposition candidate for Castries Central.
Addressing a news conference Wednesday, Francis who had recently set up his constituency office on Chaussee Road , cited “strong family concerns “ as the reasons for his change of heart. He did not elaborate.
He said he was “extremely happy” that former Castries Central MP, Sarah Flood-Beaubrun, had come in and agreed to contest the seat in his place. He promised her his full support.
Flood-Beaubrun herself noted that it was in Central Castries that she had launched her political career two decades ago. She identified youth unemployment, helping the marginalized and the poor and assisting the business community as being among her priorities.