Montoute on Upcoming UWP Convention: “It’s an open contest”

By Marvlin Anthony
Lenard ‘Spider’ Montoute
Lenard ‘Spider’ Montoute

The United Workers Party (UWP) is gearing up for its upcoming convention expected to be held in March of this year, and despite reports of tension brewing within the UWP camp, former Member of Parliament for Gros Islet Lenard ‘Spider’ Montoute says whilst there are people in the party with conflicting views, it is merely democracy at work; the party is currently in the rebuilding process.

Following the convention, the party will settle the issue of leadership. And whilst no one has stepped forward to challenge the current leader, Micoud North MP Allen Chastanet, Montoute noted that it is an open contest.

“What is happening within the United Workers Party is democracy at work. Very often when there are conflicting positions, conflicting views and contentions, we seem to frown on it and look at it as a negative. I do not see it as all negative. I think at times we arrive at a best position from contending views… we are not all one homogeneous family. There are people in the party with different views but at the end of the day it is a democratic party,” Montoute noted, adding that “the prevailing view will stand.”

Whatever role it is that I can play, I will,” he said.

There have been calls for Chastanet’s resignation since the party lost the 2021 elections. But according to Montoute, ultimately the party will choose its leader. He told reporters the decision is not one he can make on his own and also encouraged others to step forward. Montoute says he supports the current leader, however.

“I’m hoping that convention will be held on time, somewhere in March or thereabout, and once that is done we will settle the issue of leadership and various executive positions and the party can move on with its work; providing Saint Lucians (with) the voice that they need in light of what is happening with the current government,” he said.

“No one has come forward to my knowledge to indicate that they will be challenging for the leadership but it is an open contest. All who think they have something to offer should step forward, and in stepping forward we analyze, evaluate (and) assess what that person is presenting and determine who is the best person. As to whether Allen Chastanet should step down that is not for me to determine; the party will determine who is its leader,” Montoute added.

Though he voiced his support for the political leader, Montoute made it clear that Chastanet has only been leader for less than a decade.

“He has not reached the stage of being a spent leader as far as I’m concerned. If there is someone else who emerges and the party deems that that person has what it takes then… it’s a democratic process and the Leader of the Opposition is open to the democratic process himself… whenever there is a contest in the United Workers Party since I have been a member (for) over 22 years now, I assess the individuals offering themselves and determine who I think would be the best candidate; I support that person,” Montoute said.

He added: “Whoever becomes political leader, I, in the spirit of democracy, accept the verdict of the majority and align myself in support of that person…unless it is an individual who has committed such egregious acts, who holds principles that are out of alignment with my own fundamental principles and so on, then I will do the honourable thing and resign from the party, but whoever becomes the party (leader) has my support.”

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