After three and a half years since the Chastanet administration assumed office the opposition and their cohorts remained in campaign mode up to this very day. As one who remains close to the leader, I elected to remain non-committal to the ongoing shenanigans, but after careful thought, I decided to make my views known. There are so many areas to be addressed so I have elected to address the most pertinent in numerical order that St Lucians can partially understand the facts. The areas which seem to have played out in public over the years are as follows DSH, St Jude Hospital, The National Trust, The Construction of The Police Head Quarters, The Condition of Our Schools, Wage Increases for The CSA, the Jeanine Compton – Antoine episode and finally the Appeal Court decision Hilaire versus Chastanet. It is not at all possible to deal with all these headings in full detail, but our brief findings will offer a fair assessment.
The DSH project was welcomed to St Lucia two years prior to the Chastanet administration with sufficient evidence to substantiate that the project would have taken place if the SLP were victorious, instead, what we witnessed was a total aggression towards the project. Could part of the details have been different under an SLP administration? Yes, perhaps, but different Prime Ministers share different reasonings.
St Jude Hospital
Again, could the reconstruction of St Jude Hospital have been handled differently? Of course, it could! But any sitting administration has the responsibility to follow their own intuition to ensure that the majority who placed them in office remain supportive of their decisions. The Chastanet administration adopted a long-term solution vis – a -vis to the Anthony administration regarding the longevity of St. Jude, hence the decision to construct a new wing to achieve their thinking.
The National Trust to date has not accepted the fact that the mandate of running the nation was given by the majority and not the minority. In that context the Trust must shed itself of the partisan politics and work in the interest of the country. Example of their double standards is based upon the fact that two dolphin areas were approved by the SLP administration, one at Canaries and the other at Pigeon Point and zero criticism emanating from the Trust. Once the current administration attempted to address the projects all hell broke loose. Can this be regarded as normal behavior? Similarly, the plans for the south of the island were also addressed in a combative manner instead of addressing the development in a conciliatory fashion. Using the good name of the Trust to create friction, fear, panic and refusing to understand that development and conservation go hand in hand is wrong.
Then came another bombshell by way of placing an injunction on the demolition and construction of the new police head quarters concerning the remains of 6 criminals interred some 40 years ago. Could the Trust not have amicably approached Government to address that concern, as based on a statement by a former Police Commissioner indicating that after each burial at the prison an amount of White Lime was spread over the bodies to ensure that they are fully disintegrated, hence despite searching for months, no remains have been found. The Trust demanded the Cannelles Project be delayed for suspected artifacts. At a cost of $300,000 and four months of investigations, by a French national chosen for the job, nothing was found.
Jeanine Compton – Antoine
In the light of all these contentious issues the Trust decided to bring in Jeanine Compton – Antoine an ongoing opponent of the current administration. The fact that legislation was implemented that the Minister overseeing the Trust must sign off on such appointments was done for a reason, consequently, the Minister has used his good office to protect a smooth working relationship between the two.
Endless criticism has been levelled against the current administration in respect to the condition of the school stock when in fact the SLP administration permitted the deterioration by providing $1,000,000 annually for over 40 schools on island. The current administration realized the absurdity of such a decision and quickly moved forward by providing $10,000,000 annually and this year this amount is likely to reach $20,000, 000. Strangely, nothing was said by the President of the Teacher’s Union during the period when little or no maintenance was provided.
Under the SLP administration, the CSA was given zero increase for several years and there was complete silence, but under the current administration the CSA demanded what they felt entitled to and persisted on their demands with little room for negotiation. Don’t lose sight of the unreasonable 14% demand under the Stephenson King Administration which took place and set the nation back by way of increased debt.
Decisions by the Appeal Court
The latest questioning by a cross section of St Lucians including Honourable Ernest Hilaire and others indicating that the decision of three learned judges is incorrect is simply incredible. No one questioned the one judge whose decision was turned over, but today, we have the same voices who appear to be undermining the administration now attempting to undermine the decision of our appeal’s court. How much longer will all this hatred continue?
The current administration found it fitting to reduce the VAT from 15% to 12.5% and during 2020 the VAT is likely to be further reduced, yet not one of the Nay Sayers have expressed their contentment, but instead have asked the irrelevant question where will government get the lost funds to run the country. This kind of thinking is no good for the country as it only creates fear and anxiety.
– Peter Weatherhead