Letters & Opinion

“Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!” (Sir Walter Scott, 1808)

By James Edwin

The 2021 General Elections have come and gone and the SLP achieved a stunning victory.  The people have spoken, and their decision is final.  This having been said, we must also take the time to revisit the decision made by the electorate, as there are always three sides to a story, HIS, HERS and THE TRUTH.

The Chastanet administration assumed office in June of 2016 as a result of a democratic decision both from the UWP members and subsequently endorsed by the nation.  Unfortunately, Chastanet’s victory was vehemently opposed by the SLP both before and after the elections, not to mention one talk show host who bombarded the Prime Minster for five consecutive years on a weekly basis.

During that period that talk show host was able to obtain sensitive government information for the sole purpose of undermining the administration.  Every decision made by the then administration was vehemently opposed thereby creating unnecessary and unwarranted delays. A six hundred-million-dollar Sandals Project had actually commenced when a most unusual court case emerged where the Development Control Authority was taken to court in respect to the design of the hotel.  This project would have created a four hundred room, seven-star hotel with some 300 construction workers fully employed over a period of 2 years.  This resulted in the project never being constructed as a result of this unusual litigation.

Her Majesty’s Prison in the heart of the city, remained an eyesore for 18 years, harbouring all sorts of illicit business, but once cleared up it would be the perfect home for our police officers, but unfortunately the SLP surrogates at the National Trust jumped on the bandwagon to disrupt the Chastanet administration by taking the matter to the courts and once again delaying the progress of the nation.

A major portion of land in the Canaries area which was expropriated by the SLP administration for the development of a Dolphin Park was brought to the National Trust for their advice, but instead of responding within an atmosphere of cordiality, they called a meeting of over 100 National Trust members and basically insulted the investors in a most disgraceful fashion.  Then came the DSH Project which was actually endorsed by the SLP administration and thereafter by the Chastanet administration, suddenly became the worst project for St. Lucia.  Despite the Prime Minister’s careful articulation that this investment would be a catalyst for the Southern Belt, his critics played no part whatsoever in even trying to understand the positive aspects of the project.

Unfortunately, the opposition was successful in getting their followers to buy into their misconceptions.  The St. Jude Hospital was not only left in an unfinished state, but the heart of the project was a physical nightmare which would take at least 100 million dollars to fix, and the end result would represent a half-baked hospital. Rightly or wrongly, the UWP administration decided the 100 million dollars would be better spent on a well-designed hospital which would have guaranteed the nation a top-class facility for the next 75 years. Whether the UWP administration embarked upon fixing the old St. Jude or constructing a new hospital, seeking 100 million dollars took some time hence the project either way could not have been instantaneously continued. The SLP was successful in selling their agenda to the public by highlighting that the government was putting horses before people, despite the fact that the DSH Developers actually put in US $31 million of their own money which was a separate project from the hospital.

The HIA Terminal was again consistently opposed, causing the public to buy into their unwarranted criticism and misconception, when in fact the UWP administration saved the nation from a catastrophic monetary decision by the SLP who felt it more appropriate to hand over the most valuable asset of SLASPA to a foreign company for 30 years.  The nonsensical reason was that the nation would be getting a terminal for free and unfortunately many St. Lucians fell for that gimmick.  Today, the terminal is well on its way and the additional head tax adapted is more than sufficient to pay off the investment in 12 to 15 years and St. Lucia remains in full control of this asset.

Ojo Labs and Intel IBO were criticized nonstop for all the wrong reasons and finally, the SLP realized the rationale for a solid youth and job creation decision. All these interruptions took a heavy toll on the administration who were forced to spend valuable time defending these accusations.  The incessant attacks of corruption was an area which persisted from the very beginning to the end of the UWP’s term in office.  One particular Minister was consistently targeted until the nation bought into the narrative without the hard evidence against the individual.

Despite the barrage of propaganda, it took the unfaithfulness of a most senior minister in government to jump ship, 14 days after the election bell was rung, to become an independent candidate and the extraordinary decision by a full-fledged Labour Party not to field candidates for Castries Central and Castries North to facilitate the success of two candidates who could be relied upon to form a government in the event it would have been a close election.  This act of faithlessness was further endorsed by some seven expired individuals who felt obliged to put the final nails into the coffin of the UWP.  As it turned out, St. Lucia was saved by the man above in giving the SLP 13 clear seats, thereby, neutralizing the impact of the two independents, as St. Lucia could not handle another 1979 fiasco. This was certainly a very unusual election, but there is a reason for change in our lives and we sincerely trust that St. Lucia becomes the beneficiary as the hatred orchestrated by some within our midst towards the former Prime Minster could have easily escalated in a form of unwarranted violence.

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