By Nancy Nicholas
This is a two-part feature address delivered at the annual general assembly of the Soufriere / Fond St Jacques constituency.
I feel honored to have been given the opportunity to address you today and I bring greetings and well wishes as I tell you that it feels great to be back in your company, because brothers and sisters, we have a serious mission to undertake. We have a duty that must be fulfilled and a mandate that must be executed. And, we must do it boldly as we confront every challenge and overcome every obstacle as a united body, focused on our purpose and committed to the ideals of Bread, Justice and Freedom.
Before I delve into the substance of my presentation, I want you to clearly understand that a challenge is any situation that presents a set of difficulties which must be confronted in a manner that demonstrates that we have what it takes to resolve the problems and to emerge victorious. It is against this backdrop that I say to you, that our overall challenge will be to participate as willing custodians of our party, in the battle for the hearts and minds of the people of Soufriere and Saint Lucia.
In the end, the people will decide the substance of leadership and governance undoubtedly lies with the Saint Lucia Labour Party, (SLP). So, what are some of the challenges of our present reality within Fond St Jacques and Soufriere?
Our first challenge is the strategic organization of the constituency to put in place a structure and function that supports effective leadership. I am elated to note that we have recently elected a new executive, but it is still incumbent upon all of us to ensure the effective stewardship of the executive. Therefore, we must of necessity put aside any personal differences and gravitate towards that golden chord of unity to work in solidarity with all members to achieve one goal. And that is victory.
We must embrace the task wholeheartedly and become diligent in our support for the executive and the constituency, recognizing that as a chain, it is the strength of each individual link that will guarantee the superior strength of that chain. We must unite cohesively to ensure that leadership is steadfast as we march purposefully onward to the victory that awaits us.
We must carefully navigate the challenge of choosing the right candidate to contest the elections through a process that is transparent to the extent that everyone accepts the results and buys into the idea that the chosen candidate is the best (available). We must put aside our personal ambitions and commit ourselves to a victory at the polls by ensuring that we rally around the chosen candidate.
Commitment to fight
Ours will be a sublime commitment to a fight which must never be internal, but rather, all our energies should be geared towards taking that fight to the opponent and ensure that whoever is sent to do battle on our behalf, is strengthened by our collective resolve and is ready as a chariot driver is for battle, to sail swimmingly onto victory. It is now time, we must not wait much longer, to put our heads together to choose, with a sense of urgency, the one who is best able to bring home our victory. It may seem a daunting task, however, our duty, our purpose and our commitment to our great party should be paramount.
For the past few weeks, Soufriere has been in the spotlight. The Beach Park, Old Trafford, the Square, ( the fruits of our labour party), and while many on the other side refused to give credit where it is due, some of you here are beginning to get discouraged as if ready to throw your hands up and resign because it appears as if they are taking over. But the challenge will be to maintain a visible and persuasive presence within the community.
The SLP must not just exist but must be seen to exist. The SLP must be seen, heard and felt by all electors in the Soufriere community. We must never grow weary in well doing, we must never accept any defeat as permanent; but we must tarry on in the knowledge that any possible victory that is to be; must be ours. Our presence must become so strong that it imposes itself on everyone we encounter.
Therefore, we must plan our townhall meetings together. We must strategize our mobilization drives. We must undertake the sensitization of the public to combat the disinformation of the United Workers Party (UWP) and to bring to light the many transgressions of an uncaring government. Let us reach out to the needy, undertake community projects that will not only grow our base, but will also unify us as a labour family.
However, in all that we do, we must ensure that our message resonates, not just with us, but with all sections of society: the children, so that they too can grow in labour love to ensure that the red flag is kept flying for generations to come. Let us be visible and outstanding as the deepest red scarlet banner: We live…We die. ‘Dem haffu tyad fuh see we face, cuz dem cyah never run we outta de race”
In part 2, A concerted effort to spread the message of Labour.