By Sons and Daughters
SO, the verdict is in: “It was one hell of a slam dunk!”
We’d gathered round the TV set in hopeful anticipation. Before he came on, we had already given him full marks for having his maiden Reporting to the Nation within the promised time period.(Calm down, Rick!). “Good start,” we said, “but, let’s wait for the real thing.”What with all the well-known setbacks arising from the inherited rotten situation… Well, were we ever super impressed and handily proud to have such a leader as Allen Michael Chastanet. It’s both what he said and how he said it. Though his reporting was rightly centred on down-to-earth matters such as policy, planning, current, imminent and future operations, one just could not miss its aspirational nature, the confidence, the simultaneous strength and humility exhibited, and the visible humanity shining through his words surely did not escape any of us.
For some of us, it was the welcome articulateness, the fluency which jumped out at us. We were brimming over with pride. We marvelled at it. He kept going and going, never once sounding or looking in the slightest bit uncomfortable, not missing a beat, and showing that he was on top of every inch of his responsibilities as leader. He fielded every question without any hesitation, but with solid responses and calmness. We appreciated his relaxed demeanour, his conversational delivery style.
Others pointed to his clarity, his thoroughness, never holding back, his transparency. He was totally forthcoming and none of his answers seemed shrouded in bluff.We got the facts and figures at every turn. He was sharp, he was logical, he was intelligent; he was on top of his game. There were as well the instances of humour. Say, who does not enjoy a bit of humour, even in the midst of serious stuff?
We were all thinking the same thing: What a refreshing relief from those painful, uncomfortable deliveries dropped on us from above by the high and mighty, omniscient, former P.M. Kenny D Anthony. What a difference, what a refreshing change. We asked ourselves when, in recalled history, have we had this pleasing, highly successful communication session between a P.M. and reporters. Not from our beloved Compie whose discomfort during interviews was very visible, who was not known for his communication style, who had difficulty looking one in the eye. And certainly not from Kenny and his over-inflated ego, his often sardonic attitude. One always got the impression that we were not getting the truth out of him. And, well, it turns out we weren’t. So, P.M. Chastanet, you hit a six. The nation was bowled over. Keep on that path. It makes us feel good even when the news is not at all so.
It is downright disgraceful that the former Prime minister of this country should deliberately leave you such an array of impediments to have to manoeuvre. The details are incredible. Was his hatred of you, which we saw exhibited at every turn from the time you announced your candidacy, so strong that he would not give a thought to what he was doing to our island, to the country, to the people, to the malaway of this land? To intentionally set in place these stumbling blocks in every direction, to tie the hands of the incoming P.M., to leave him, and by implication the country, vulnerableand defenceless in multiple areas, is undoubtedly criminal.
But, yet again, P.M. Chastanet came out on top, never wallowed in this ungodly act by his predecessor, never tried to score political points, was simply matter-of-fact in his narrative, even managing to show a healthy dose of optimism for the way forward. However, we the viewers and listeners are angrier than ever about the obstacle course that Kenny D Anthony constructed for his successor. This is not an individual who loves his country. A St Lucian who loves his country would and could never bring himself to conjure up such an indecent plot. Once again, we see the hypocritical, disingenuous actions of Dr Anthony.
P.M. Chastanet, we feel for you and the awesome responsibility before you. We thank the Almighty that you are blessed with focus, level-headedness and positivity. Keep it that way, and by the grace of God, you will succeed in conquering the forces of destruction which have put our beloved St Lucia in this dangerous situation. You gave us hope, even faith, when you told us that, despite the depressing situation, you are up to the challenge. We needed to hear that. And we can only wonder how far along we would already be, had you been dealt a decent hand by the last SLP Government, and were able to move as you want, not constrained on all sides by the enemies in your midst, not cash strapped, not having to take on persistent scandals and secret deals done out of greed and self-serving actions. What an egregious deed has been perpetrated on the people of our St Lucia!
Finally, we want to give kudos to the new Communications Director as well as the Press for the competent handling of their respective duties. We venture to say that the members of the Press, with their tough questioning, must have been heartened and relieved that those questions were answered so willingly and fully, and that the atmosphere in the room was so civil. We venture to say that this was probably the most fulfilling, least frustrating interview with any Looshan Prime Minister of our time. The one moment when you correctly showed some flashes of ire, you explained clearly why you did, and spoke to the quality of respect, something which you yourself showed throughout your interview, even when overtly assertive. What a difference!
St Lucians, let us rally wholeheartedly behind our P.M., knowing all that we do about the dastardly legacy bequeathed to us by Dr Kenny D Anthony. Allen Chastanet, you have gained many post-election admirers. Stay positive and continue to keep the faith, as you do what you need to do to fulfil your dream for St Lucia.