TOMORROW’S planned protest march, though originally planned by the political opposition, appears to be taking a national form, where Saint Lucians — other than Labour Party supporters — will be marching as well.
Giving rise to this postulation is the expressed dissatisfaction amongst certain professional bodies with certain polices of the government.
For instance, the St. Lucia Medical and Dental Association (SLMDA) on Thursday sent a two-page letter to Labour Minister Stephenson King giving notice of industrial action.
Also on Thursday, Customs officers went on a sick out in protest of unclear comments by government, particularly the Prime Minister, on whether the new entity known as the Border Control Agency will be a statutory body.
SLP Leader Philip J. Pierre this week called on all Saint of all walks of life to register for the march.
“I am calling on all Saint Lucians regardless of political affiliations, class, creed or religion to join the movement for change from this uncaring, callous and vindictive government. This is not about politics it’s about our country’s future,” Pierre said.
He outlined, amongst other things, inadequate health care, reckless fiscal mismanagement, increasing debt and poor governance as reasons for the march. But the reasons outlined have been scoffed at by the government and described as erroneous by its spokesperson.
But Political Attache to the Prime Minister Norbert Williams yesterday explained that all the reasons outlined by the SLP for tomorrow’s march have been “deflated by government, over and over, week after week.”
Noting that “Saint Lucians have a right to express themselves, even via a march,” Williams said that the build-up to the march “is based entirely on propaganda spread by the Labour Party about things the government has repeatedly explained and shed light on to the people.”
The Director of Implementation in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), Nancy Charles, has accused the opposition leader and the SLP of creating the impression among Saint Lucians here and abroad and overseas agencies that there is ‘some sort of disarray and mayhem’ in this country.
Meanwhile, the SLMDA has served notice of intended industrial action at the St. Jude Hospital (SJH).
The Notice was officially served on Labour Minister, Stephenson King, as required under the Essential Services Act, which includes the island’s health services.
The notice was given in a September 6, 2018 letter to the minister signed by the association’s President, Dr Alphonsus St Rose.
No date for the industrial action has been disclosed or what form it will take, but the notice continues a long-standing stand-off between the medical professionals and the official policymakers regarding crucial health care decisions, ranging from National health Insurance to the future of the OKEU hospital.