It’s early days yet, but I think congratulations are in order to Prime Minister Allen Chastanet for the manner in which he is leading this country in this time of crisis.
It takes my mind back to the months before the last general elections when the Labour Party did all it could to tarnish Mr Chastanet’s reputation as being incompetent and lacking in leadership. The United Workers Party did not buy it and come election day; the electorate didn’t buy it either.
In fact, in the nearly four years since Chastanet’s party has been in charge of the affairs of this country, we have done much better than we did under the Labour Party, especially its tenure from 2011 to 2106.
But it is the Coronavirus pandemic that has really brought out the best in Allen Chastanet, the cool and methodical manner in which he has led our country at this most difficult time has been truly revealing. Mr Chastanet has shown not only his capacity to take tough decisions, but to do so at the right time. He has not done it alone and here I want to say “well done” also to our Chief Medical Officer Sharon Belmar-George and her team. They too have really led from the front and deserve the eternal gratitude of all St Lucians, regardless how this pandemic turns out.
The Prime Minister fell sick during that time, but still stayed on the job, getting tested and jumping right back into it. That’s what leadership is all about.
One of the ironies in all this was that the opposition from day one was busy selling the narrative about using the pandemic for political purposes even when they were the ones who started playing politics when Mr Pierre made his irresponsible statements in Dennery for which he has never apologized.
In this first assault, Mr Pierre sought to paint the Prime Minister as being irresponsible, claiming that he had “refused” (his words) to go to a regional meeting on the virus, that was held in Barbados. He also alleged that Mr Chastanet had been heard on the phone asking for a drink somewhere, as though that had anything to do with anything, but the objective was to make the Prime Minister look as bad as possible.
Earlier on, another former Labour Senator circulated what he called his “two cents” of advice on handling the pandemic but here again, the motive was clear, cautioning about “politics” but failing to mention that it was his party that was introducing politics into what was and still is a national crisis.
Even in the House of Assembly last week, Mr Pierre grudgingly supported the government’s state of emergency measure, claiming that his party would remain vigilant because of some silly unidentified suspicion.
But the Prime Minister has stayed focused and has exemplified his deep humanity once again in the manner in which he is leading St Lucia in this time, appealing for discipline among our people, urging them to ensure their safety and making it clear that this was his main priority. It has been something worth noting.
Vide Bouteille, Castries