THE EDITOR: On Tuesday, I sat home, gripped to my TV screen and watched the members of Parliament debate a motion of no confidence in the Prime Minister Allen Chastanet.
I had of course heard the rumblings from the Opposition from December, but never paid it any mind because, frankly, I knew such a motion was unable to make it on to the Parliamentary agenda as it was a legal nonsense.
Such a motion can only be laid “against an Administration”. When I heard it was actually placed on the agenda, I assumed maybe a rogue Clerk of Parliament had done this in a deliberate act to embarrass the Government, the Speaker and the PM. What followed however, was confirmation from the Speaker Andy Daniel that not only was he aware of this item being placed on the agenda, but that in fact, he approved the right of the Opposition to bring this before the House.
This in my mind, displayed not only his own ignorance of the provisions of the Constitution but a resoluteness to proceed in spite of warnings by Rick Wayne, the Editor of the Star Newspaper the Saturday before, as well as other Facebook postings, that the tabling of the motion was not only unconstitutional but would display the Speaker and the Administration in a poor light by setting the precedent that such a motion could be tabled in the first place.
I will not offer my personal views here as to the competence of the Speaker or impute any motives to him, tempting though this may be and as widespread as those suggestions may be.
But I must offer my thoughts on the temperament and behaviour of our beloved Prime Minister and the pride I felt as he sat even-tempered and resolute throughout over 9 hours of personal attacks, wild and unsubstantiated allegations of every sort and a verbal tirade from 5 of the 6 members of the other side.
They feigned anger, as Bradly Felix aptly noted – “actors on a stage”, postured and posited all sorts of spurious assertions, playing to the uninformed and uneducated.
They made Allen Chastanet sound like the devil incarnate who was responsible for the imminent destruction of Fair Helen. Only problem – no facts to back this up. Our economy, for the first time in years, is moving, construction is happening island-wide, record numbers of tourist arrivals, reduction in unemployment and record levels of foreign direct investment.
Perhaps he is just confident in his ability, in his record and in his vision, perhaps he is confident in his team, perhaps he is confident in the people of St. Lucia, or perhaps he is confident in God. Maybe all of the above, but my God, the Prime Minister took it all. He never walked out as the other side is wont to do, particularly Kenny Anthony who more than once has not been able to stay through a Guy Joseph presentation.
But Allen Chastanet never once looked flustered, never wavered, never got angry, never seemed ruffled in any way. My admiration for him quadrupled by the time the day was over. Here was a man totally in control – not only of his emotions but of his country — admired and respected by every single member of his administration, who spoke in terms I have never seen before in such a public demonstration of unequivocal support.
What words have been unable to adequately convey in the past when he has insisted that he is part of a great and supportive team was unabashedly on display.
I have voted for both parties in the past, but right now I can say that I have never been prouder to be a UWP. This is a real team, a group of workers focused and determined, who proudly extolled the virtues of their leader and what the past two-and-a-half years have been like for them, headed by such an extraordinary man.
As they told of their accomplishments, those who spoke beamed with pride and were possessed of a fire I have never seen before in them – with the obvious exception of Honourable Guy Joseph, who is always a lightning rod and who “brings it” every time without fail.
I want to state, for the record, that this nation has not seen the likes of a leader like this since Sir John – though I would wager that as bad as the attacks against him were, they were never so targeted, so personal and so relentless.
I do not recall a time that a man’s family were threatened repeatedly by a sitting Prime Minister. And he has taken it all with grace, poise and a resoluteness that one can only admire.
This is a man with the brain, vision, determination and frankly, guts that this country needs. His new year’s address showed a Prime Minister with clear and well-articulated plans to develop this country, a man who puts the people of St. Lucia at the heart of all that does, a man with a heart. And after Tuesday’s House sitting, he showed that that heart, was the heart of a lion.
Go with God my friend.
(A Proud St. Lucian)