Opposition claims victory in St Lucia electionsTuesday, July 27, 2021
CASTRIES, St Lucia (CMC) – The main opposition St Lucia Labour Party (SLP) claimed general election victory Monday as St Lucian voters stuffed their frustration into the ballot boxes and rejected the Allen Chastanet administration after only a one five-year term in office.
In addition, voters created history in the Caribbean by electing two independent candidates to the 17-member Parliament, among them the former prime minister Stephenson King, who quit the ruling United Workers Party (UWP) to contest the Castries North constituency, which he has been representing for nearly three decades as an independent.
SLP leader Phillip J Pierre, speaking on Choice TV said that he was “elated”, and expressed gratitude to his supporters in Castries East who ensured that he won the seat for the sixth consecutive time, defeating Fortuna Belrose.
“Here we are, we have won the government and I intend to be a government for the entire country. A government of inclusion, a government that will listen to people, a government of tolerance and we are hoping to take this country all the way from…the division and conflict it is in now”.
Preliminary results indicate that the SLP, which was trounced 11-6 by Chastanet's UWP in the 2016 general election, could win as many as 12 seats, with Chastanet being among the three successful candidates.
Pierre told viewers that the priority of his administration will be health, education and the young people.
“The youth economy was the flagship of our party and I can assure you …we have to get our young people back on stream to feel included.
“So it is exciting times, we know there are challenges, the country has over four billion dollars (One EC dollar-US$0.37 cents) worth of debts,” Pierre said, adding “most of all the country is divided, it is unsettled.
“The country is bitter. There is a bitter taste in the mouths of the people of the country, so we have to sort that out. So tonight I will go celebrate with my constituents. They mean everything to me, they stuck by me, they have been maligned, but they stuck by me.
“This time is my sixth victory, I haven't known what I won by but it is a very huge margin,” Pierre said, “thanking my opponents …the better man won”.
Pierre, an economist, who served as deputy prime minister in the 2011-2016 SLP administration headed by then prime minister, Dr Kenny Anthony, said “it is good to have a life of continued service, you have to continue serving the people”.
Political strategist and director of the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Research Services (CADRES), Peter Wickham, said that the results showed a “significantly greater swing than I had expected.
“As it stands now, the swing is in double digits and the United Workers Party would have to do very well to try and contain that swing,” Wickham said.
He said that the UWP would have to begin a process of introspection as 'soon as possible' since the party has been unable to “find its footing since its founding leader, Sir John Compton had first quit active politics, only to return to lead the party to victory in 2006, one year before his death.”
He said the leadership of Chastanet “should also be placed on the table”, adding “I don't see him leading the party back to the promise land”.
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