OPPOSITION Leader, Phillip J. Pierre says that his but St. Lucia Labour Party has no intention of failing in its duties to the people of St. Lucia intends to bring its past experience in government in contributing to the proper governance of the country.
Pierre made the announcement yesterday at a press conference in which he introduced the opposition senators and the parliamentarians who won their seats at last month’s general elections.
All of them, along with those on the government side, will this morning be sworn in at the opening the new parliament following the June 6 election.
“The St. Lucia Labour Party assumes its role as the main opposition party after serving in government for the last term between 2011 and 2016. We are fully cognizant of the weight of the responsibility which we now carry and we have no intention of failing in our duty to the people of the country,” Pierre said.
Pierre, who on June 25 was unanimously selected by the National Council of the Labour Party to serve as its leader after Dr. Kenny Anthony stepped down saying it was the moral thing to do after losing two general elections as leader, says that the SLP knows and understands the rigours of opposition life.
“We have always taken our role of defending the workers, the poor, protecting our sovereignty, advancing our democracy and advancing our development through hard work and ethical business practices very seriously. The SLP, in and out of government has always done what is best for our country,” he said.
Pierre promised that the SLP will be vigilant and alert as it shadows and observe the government during what is likely to be a difficult and challenging time for St. Lucia.
“We have among our ranks experienced, committed men and women and we intend to pull all the available resources – in and out of parliament –to advance our work of defending the interests of all Saint Lucians,” he said.
Pierre, who has been the deputy political leader of the SLP for more than a decade promised that the SLP’s interventions and proposals will be based on the best available information and that they will be scientific, rational, well-researched, balanced, well thought out and well presented.
“We will not engage in lies, half-truths and innuendo,” he said, adding that the party intends to be the opposition for all the people of St. Lucia.
“We will bring all our training and experience to bear as we do the work on behalf of the people of St. Lucia,” Pierre promised.
But being the opposition party to all the people of St. Lucia does not mean that the party will abandon the 37, 000 plus St. Lucians who voted for its candidates at the June 6 general elections. Pierre said that those people expect the party to protect their interests and safeguard them against victimization and other hardship that the government may try to inflict on them because of their political affiliation or because they reside in constituencies that are represented by SLP Parliamentarians.
“For these reasons we eagerly look forward to the formal opening of parliament. Indeed, we note with some degree of concern that a full month has elapsed since the last election and we have not had the privilege of hearing formally, the legislative agenda which the government hopes to pursue in the new parliament. The election was won on some mind blowing promises and we expect the parliament to be the place where the legislative frameworks for the intended policy agenda to be established,” Pierre said.
The opposition, he added, pledges to provide careful scrutiny of all proposed legislation and to offer support for those that deserve support and to mount robust resistance against those that in its estimation will do harm to the people, the economy and the society.
“The SLP does not fear being in opposition. Nor do we approach out task as if we have a natural right to be in government. We have shown time and time again that the people of Saint Lucia may not understand or agree with our position on some issues. We have found that by explanation and by their lived experiences, the public sooner or later accepts that the SLP has always taken decisions to advance our country and improve the quality of life of our people and we are returned to government through the natural democratic cycles,” Pierre said.
He added that it was with these considerations in mind that deep thought was given to the roles and tasks that have been assigned to parliamentary members of the opposition as it forms itself into a shadow cabinet to serve as guardians and spokes persons in defence of the interests of the people of Saint Lucia.