In a few days, listen to hear the St Lucia Labour Party announce plans to “celebrate” the first anniversary of its election victory. Listen to hear it claim numerous “achievements”, claim that the people of St Lucia understand what it is doing and are supportive. Listen to hear how St Lucia is currently doing extremely well, with all cylinders firing and that the country is on the right track to better things.
It will, however, be nothing but, classic “Emperor’s new clothes” with all the imaginative pomp and ceremony, exotic jewelry and finery that only the Prime Minister and his entourage will recognize but which we, the masses, will see them parade with nothing on, naked as at birth.
The Prime Minister and his party will never admit that his first year has been a disaster and failure characterized by institutionalized dishonesty, careless disregard and gross irresponsibility. Despite the opportunity to present his first budget, Mr. Pierre has not been able to announce a single major new intervention that would have the effect of stabilizing the country’s economy, taking it forward from where he found it.
In fact, with no major new investment coming into the country since July 2021, with major United Workers Party-initiated projects (Hewanorra International Airport, St Jude Hospital, housing and roads etc.) all unceremoniously halted by his government, St Lucia has been starved of any serious investment that would have poured money into the economy and created employment for our people. In fact, Mr. Pierre’s government has made several hundred St Lucians unemployed for no valid reason except for the fact that the projects on which they were employed were created by the UWP.
Ironically, Mr. Pierre’s naivety and ineptitude as a leader, does not allow him to understand, far less appreciate the hole his government is beginning to dig for all of us. Why else would he be touting a US$10 million loan from Taiwan to help seamoss farmers and craftspeople, and to finance the still unexplained youth economy as “national development projects”.
If there was any declaration by the Prime Minister that exposed his inadequacies and unsuitability for the job, this was it. But there was more, which came out in some of the most ridiculous statements ever heard from any Saint Lucian leader. There were so many of these gaffes, like “the houses that were not for people to live but were for the poorest of the poor”.
It has not taken St Lucians too long to see that after all the fluff and bluff of his years in opposition when he paraded the stage and left everyone with the impression that he was the man with the ideas to take this country forward, that Prime Minister Pierre is in fact, nothing but a pretender, with no talent or ability, no ideas, imagination or vision, in other words a consummate fake taking this country down a path of destruction.
The inability, or is it refusal, of the Prime Minister to craft a serious programme of assistance to his people who he still claims to be putting first, at a time when they are big overwhelmed by rising prices, is another example of Mr. Pierre’s incompetence, During the last term of the United Workers Party, with the COVID 19 pandemic raging, we showed Mr. Pierre what assistance to a people in a time of crisis ought to look like.
With him throwing his hands up in the air and claiming there was nothing he could do, the United Workers Party announced a six point package of assistance he could have considered to help our people get by. He ridiculed and trashed it but only days later he announced a decision to invite stakeholders including the same UWP “to come up with solutions to the current economic challenges facing Saint Lucia as a result of the present global crisis”
In the meantime, he makes another utterly shameless statement calling on Saint Lucians to do what they can to make things better for themselves. In essence, the Prime Minister has thrown all his people into a train wreck. The real irony though was the fact that Mr. Pierre was reported to have made this statement in a message to mark Nelson Mandela Day, an occasion for all people and nations to take action and inspire change.
He observed that this year, the focus was on Food Security and Climate Change with the theme: “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” But while recognizing Mandela’s commitment to human rights. conflict resolution and reconciliation, Mr. Pierre and his government continue to wage a vile campaign against the UWP, especially its leader Allen Chastanet, a campaign that continues to have the very racist overtones that Mandela fought against.
Meanwhile, the government seems oblivious to the fact that there is increased suffering among the people, who are now regretting having turned their backs on the package of economic assistance that the UWP had offered them at election time a year ago: unemployment benefits, monthly assistance for the needy, ebooks that would have replaced textbooks in schools, a further VAT reduction and national health insurance for all.
Five years earlier, the same UWP had won an election on a “Five to stay alive” platform that saw us implementing all five major promises we had made to the people of St Lucia.
In nearby Barbados, the Prime Minister there this month announced a wide ranging programme to take care of her people. In St Lucia, our Prime Minister tells us to see for ourselves.
But it is the blatant dishonesty, reckless behaviour and acts of victimization and repression of the government that have stood out more glaringly for all St Lucians to see over the past year, especially in its failure to honour its promises to the people at election time to put money into their pockets.
With some well-known criminals within its ranks, the government has also tacitly endorsed criminal activity that might have unleashed the terror and violence that we have witnessed, especially in Vieux Fort town. With no solutions to that crisis, as usual, it has decided to bring in soldiers from the Regional Security System (RSS).
No one can miss the rapid physical deterioration of the environment that has taken place in just one year of Labour Party rule. People talk about Vieux Fort, but what about our capital city, Castries, that is now quickly becoming a giant ghetto that is turning off even those who live there. Look at the state of the business sector: Jeremie Street, Bridge Street and the William Peter Boulevard in particular. On the city outskirts young men assemble at most street corners simply passing the time away. The Prime Minister’s own constituency, Marchand in particular, continues to be a case study of constituency neglect.
Saint Lucia will be facing some serious economic and social problems caused mainly by the government’s reckless behavior and incompetence. After the 12.4 percent growth reported in 2021, we will be hard pressed to score any gains this year with the adverse economic impact that will result from the stoppage of such projects like Hewanorra International Airport, the St Jude Hospital, the housing and road works that together will deprive the country of several million dollars in investments and hundreds of jobs for our people.
Meanwhile, Labour’s notoriety for squandermania continues with the cult-like propping up with jobs to those who helped the party push “the big lies” and win the 2021 election. So a Press Secretary is not enough. One must also have a Communications Officer to reward a media person with a questionable reputation who campaigned for the party.
In fact, Labour seems to have developed a policy to woo to its ranks many persons with criminal tendencies. You can expunge criminal records, invade a church service, threaten to kill someone, be fingered for drug trafficking and money laundering, steal, intimidate a court, commit bold faced fraud, be accused of rape, and the Labour Party is the place for you. It is no longer perception because all of these have happened in our country in real time.
Is it any wonder then that crime is on the increase? It is because our people have come to realize that it pays handsomely. But even here the arrogance of the Labour Party shows, with its announcement to investigate our party for wrongdoing in office when it is they who gave us Rovergate, the Minister’s Account, Ada Inc., the NCA scandal, Grynberg and more.
St Lucia today, after just one year of Labour Party rule, again finds itself staring down the barrel of another bout of economic and social decline just as it did when that Party left office in 2016. Our people are again “re-beginning” (to use a word coined by the Prime Minister, much to our collective embarrassment) to exhibit signs of disillusionment and desperation while the cultists thrive, plundering the public purse.
And amid all of this, a very loud silence reigns over the land. Not even the organizations that claim to have an interest in the economic and social development of our country, have been able to find their voices to at least raise the alarm. Instead, we now have the effects of this year’s politics-driven carnival, along with Covid and FLUFF, BLUFF AND BLATA NT IRRESPONSIBILITY