PHILLIP Joseph Pierre’s rise to the top has undoubtedly been challenging but his dream of becoming Prime Minister has finally come to fruition. Pierre took the Oath of Office at Government House on Wednesday, and promised to be a “servant leader”—one who can be trusted and who will serve his people faithfully.
It was a surreal moment for Pierre, who held back tears, during a moving speech. He recalled the hardships he encountered throughout his political career and thanked God for seeing him through. For Castries East residents and Saint Lucia Labour Party Supporters (SLP) island-wide, it was an unforgettable moment. And for those who did not support Pierre, until Monday July 26, that is, it signified a moment of change; a new dawn perhaps.
“It has been a long and difficult journey; one that began when a child was born to Auguste, a policeman and Evelyn a teacher. This child grew to be a man, always underestimated, sometimes ridiculed as a stutterer, but only this child knew that with the help of God, patience, dedication and hard work, he would one day rise to be able to serve his people with love and humility,” Pierre said.
He expressed his gratitude to those who rallied around him; those, who voted, not only for the SLP, but against the things they “thought were wrong about the direction we were heading.”
“I want to thank the people of Saint Lucia especially my constituents of Castries East for their support and show of confidence to lead this country over the next five years. I want to thank the members and executive of the Saint Lucia Labour Party and Team Labour 2021. We have run a highly organized, effective and clean political campaign remaining focus on the issues,” he stated.
The journey ahead will not be easy for Pierre but he’s up for the challenge. As he tries to find his footing, Pierre knows that many individuals are looking up to him; some have great expectations and they’re waiting for him to deliver. Then there are those who want him to fail… It’s a lot of pressure, still, he’s confident he can get the job done.
“Naturally not all of you voted for me and my party. Some of you did not, for whatever reason, share our views on the direction we should be heading. Thankfully, the majority were of a particular view, and that is, the country needed to be rescued from the abyss into which it was plunging. The majority of you accepted my offer to lead the rescue mission. Though I offered to do so with a team of 15 men and women, representing an excellent blend of experience and youthful energy, the full rescue team includes all of you,” he noted.
“I believe that our island can be one where dignity of the human person is preserved and respected. Where our citizens are treated equally and given the opportunity to grow and achieve their full potential. Where the poor and less fortunate and vulnerable members of our society are protected and assisted by the government to achieve a decent quality of life. Where human rights of all are guaranteed by the government to all citizens. Where there is equal economic opportunity for all and the resources of the State are used to benefit the majority of the people, Pierre added.
In 2016, the people demanded change. The SLP lost to the United Workers Party (UWP) but that was under Dr. Kenny Anthony’s leadership. Now, Pierre, is leading the charge and this time, things will be different, he promised.
“My sisters and brothers, this is the start of a new beginning for our country. The task ahead will not be easy, but, together with my team of able and experienced men and women, we will deliver to the people of Saint Lucia. I ask for your patience, in the coming weeks and months, as we try to assess the state of the country’s finances and capacity to deliver, as early as possible, the commitment made to the people of Saint Lucia. Saint Lucia, we cannot fail. I will not fail you. I thank you for the opportunity to serve. I won’t do it alone, I will seek the counsel of the wise, and if you stand firm with me, together we shall not fail,” Pierre said.
Pierre has a number of plans on his agenda and that includes stabilizing Saint Lucia’s economy, and repositioning the island for growth; he also plans to open St. Jude Hospital. How long will it take for this to occur? Only time will tell.
“We have to get St. Jude Hospital open, we have no choice. I know many people are speaking about how much money was spent at St. Jude, I will find out but my main objective is to get these people out of the stadium. These people have been in that stadium now for 12 years while politicians argue, while politicians make threats at each other, while politicians call the police to look for equipment and the people are suffering,” he told reporters.
“I have to bring some level of normalcy, some level of togetherness, some level of trust. In this country no one seems to trust anybody, you can’t trust the government. I always said that if a country cannot trust the words coming from its leader then something is wrong with that country,” Pierre said.