The appearance of Opposition Leader Allen Chastanet at yesterday’s sitting of the House of Assembly was met with a roar of delight from supporters of his United Workers Party.
It was a scene not unusual in front parliament building in downtown Castries; one which has been replayed over and over when politicians appear for their first sitting of parliament after general elections.
Despite yesterday’s parliamentary session being the fourth since general elections last July 26, it was the first for Chastanet who has been soundly criticised by a certain section of the population for not appearing at earlier sittings. However, this did not deter his followers who celebrated his return to parliament after his party’s dismal showing at the July 26 polls winning only two of the 17 seats in parliament.
Despite the loss, Chastanet appeared rather excited as he made his way inside the parliamentary building, explaining to reporters how anxious he was to get to carrying out the business of the people.
“I always knew that the supporters were there. While it is 15-2 up here (in parliament), it was not 15-2 in the polls,” Chastanet said.
The former Prime Minister, who retained his Micoud South seat, said that the SLP had promised one thing while in opposition but had delivered something entirely different.
“And the evidence of the last hundred days of mourning and of misery is there for everybody to see and the opposition will do everything we can to hold this government accountable, and if we cannot hold them accountable in this parliament, we will hold them accountable in that parliament,” Chastanet declared referring to court of public opinion.
Supporters of the government of the Saint Lucia Labour Party, many of whom held placards aloft also assembled in front of parliament building cheering as each minister made an appearance, particularly Prime Minister Philip J Pierre.
The parties’ colours were clearly defined yesterday creating a carnival-like atmosphere equipped with old mas as displayed by Cuthbert ‘Trois Tinae’ Modeste, an old mass veteran.
Government supporters beat cooking pots and pans while opposition supporters banged away on drums, both sides creating a din for and against Chastanet as he made his way to parliament.
Pierre’s response to Chastanet’s return as expressed to reporters was that the opposition leader lives in a mirage hence his appearance today, meaning yesterday.