OPEN LETTER TO PRIME MINISTER OF SAINT LUCIA, ALLEN CHASTANET
FRIDAY 12th JUNE 2020
Dear Dishonourable Prime Minister,
Long before the end of this letter, you, Mr. Prime Minister, will see why I follow others before me, including at least one distinguished judge, and categorize you for history as “dishonorable” and of course, you will not be surprised.
NOTHING PERSONAL AT ALL
Mr. Prime Minister, I am sick and tired of United Workers Party hacks saying that I have a personal “beef” with you. I can’t imagine what that is. The last time we spoke, about 28 years ago, we were cool. With me it’s never personal, only political, and I have two fundamental issues with you: (1) you cannot fully identify with Saint Lucian language and culture, and so you do not qualify to be Prime Minister of Saint Lucia. I will fight till my last breath for the introduction of a Saint Lucian law that obliges one to be a born and bred Saint Lucian before he/she can become Prime Minister. (2) you do not have the basic educational, technical and personal background and skills to be an effective and competent Prime Minister and Finance Minister, yet you refuse to prepare yourself adequately for your official duties. This second aspect really irks me. Everyone sees you mumbling and bumbling all the time, and the few honest supporters that you have admit that they are ashamed with that “laziness” on your part.
For the record and for the information of those hacks, and all my other Saint Lucian sisters and brothers, let me clear the air once and for all. Five days after I arrived to Saint Lucia with a Master’s Degree in Economics in 1988, I was interviewed by Dr. Dwight Venner for possible employment with the government of Saint Lucia. One week after the interview, I arrived at the Ministry of Finance & Planning – Economic Planning Section (EPS) – to begin my employment with the government. On my arrival there, I met you, Allen, in the EPS. Each Economist in the EPS reported to Permanent Secretary, Ausbert d’Auvergne, through the Chief Economist. The EPS was so vital to the coordination of the implementation of the Public Sector Investment Programme(PSIP) of Saint Lucia, that we were dubbed by some public servants, the “nerve centre” of government. The Economists were: Mr. Anthony Severin – Chief Economist; Mr. Adrian Augier; Mr. Francis Pappin; Mrs. Marcia Jules; Mr. Rodinald Soomer; Ms. Jacqueline Emmanuel; Mr. Brian Louisy; later, we had several new integrants, including Chief Economist – Mr. Philip Jules, Mr. Vincent Peter, Ms. Geraldine Monroque and Mr. Lambert Nelson.
Soon after my arrival in 1988, you disappeared. Today in 2020, in retrospect, and with the benefit of hindsight, having had the opportunity to observe your performance as a high level official over the years, and your obviously very dismal technical and functional incompetence as Prime Minister, I believe it has now become pellucid why you had to leave the Economic Planning Section so suddenly. From your very poor management and articulation of the issues, I now have very serious doubt about your academic qualifications. But to have sat in the Economic Planning Section, you had to have a university Degree in Economics, or related discipline. After four years as Prime Minister, there are still doubts all over Saint Lucia about your qualifications. This cannot be right! After all, your first entry into public service, in the Economic Planning Section, had to be based on your possession of the requisite qualifications.
In spite of my politics as a Labour politician, I initially defended you on Facebook, when someone suggested that you did not have a Degree. Why? Because we met in the EPS in 1988, and, as I said to my friend Barnett last night, you “had to have a Degree to open the door of the EPS.” When President Obama was challenged about his place of birth, he did the right thing; Do the right thing Mr. Prime Minister, and show the people of Saint Lucia your Degree. At this stage, every citizen of Saint Lucia should have absolutely no doubt about your academic qualifications. Whether or not you think we are “mendicants,” “barking dogs,” “jackasses,” or “niggas in charge of employment” (NICE), the taxpayers of this country are your employer, and your employer needs to know your qualifications. You need to clear the air immediately in this matter, or forever hold your peace.
IT’S STRICTLY PATRIOTIC AND POLITICAL
The “Oath of Cabinet Ministers” that you took, Mr. Prime Minister, when you laid your hands on the Holy Bible, in 2016, reads as follows:
“I, Allen Chastanet, do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Saint Lucia, that as a Minister of the Government of Saint Lucia, I will discharge my duties and perform my functions honestly, to the best of my ability, faithfully in accordance with the law, and always in the interest of the sovereignty, integrity, solidarity, well-being and prosperity of Saint Lucia…”
Let us now discuss the following 20 items, out of hundreds of very grave infelicities I could highlight, and I will leave it to you, Mr. Prime Minister, to tick off one of two (or three) boxes, which, based on your understanding of the Oath of Office you took, best describes the action. The boxes are HONOURABLE, DISHONOURABLE and COLONIALLY ARROGANT.
Prime Minister Allen Chastanet:
Based on your oath to the people of Saint Lucia, to discharge your duties “honestly, to the best of (your) ability, faithfully in accordance with the law, and always in the interest of the sovereignty, integrity, solidarity, well-being and prosperity of Saint Lucia…”;
I, Peter Lansiquot, a citizen of Saint Lucia and Cuba, by birth and nurturing, respectively, and a proud son of Fidel Castro, of Che Guevara, of Rosa Parkes, of Antonio Maceo, of José Martí, of Marcus Garvey, of Martin Luther King, of George Charles, of Nelson Mandela, of Walter Rodney and of Hugo Chavez, am of the firm conviction that you have treacherously and ignominiously squandered your mandate as Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, since your assumption of that function since 2016, but that conviction notwithstanding, I hereby proffer for your immediate attention, in good faith, the following issues, which I am certain the People of Saint Lucia would also wish to demand responses to, based on the Oath you took on the day of your swearing in as Prime Minister of Saint Lucia. I hereby inform the Saint Lucian nation that these issues are also squarely being placed in the palms of Minister Stephenson King, a former student of my Alma Mater, the SDA Academy, given his credentials and responsibility to the people of Saint Lucia, as a former Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of Saint Lucia.
- When you referred to Saint Lucian taxpayers – your employers – as “barking dogs,” what best describes your action, HONOURABLE [ ]; DISHONOURABLE [ ];
- When you referred to Saint Lucians – your employers – as “mendicants” (beggars), what best describes your action, HONOURABLE [ ]; DISHONOURABLE [ ];
- When you referred to Saint Lucians – your employers – as “jackasses,” what best describes your action? HONOURABLE [ ]; DISHONOURABLE [ ];
- When you walked proudly on the streets of Castries, at the side of a placard, which read: “NICE (NIGGAS IN CHARGE of EMPLOYMENT)” in reference to an SLP Cabinet of Ministers, all of them Saint Lucians, what best describes your action? HONOURABLE [ ]; DISHONOURABLE [ ];
- When you disrespect the members of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force, by implementing Fund-raising activities, in the style of some old colonial Massa, to raise “CACA-DAN” funds for the Force, instead of the proper and adequate budgeting in the National Estimates of Expenditure, what best describes your action? HONOURABLE [ ]; DISHONOURABLE [ ]; COLONIALLY ARROGANT [ ];
- When you said to the Saint Lucian public, descendants of African Slaves, who were enslaved by Colonial masters who looked just like you, for 400 years, that: “colonialism had a conscience”, what best describes your action? HONOURABLE [ ]; DISHONOURABLE [ ]; COLONIALLY ARROGANT [ ];
- When you deceitfully delayed the opening of the OWEN KING EU HOSPITAL, a gift from the taxpayers of the European Union to the taxpayers of Saint Lucia (your employers), to turn over this Saint Lucian gift to a foreign private company, what best describes your action? HONOURABLE [ ]; DISHONOURABLE [ ];
- When you deceitfully delayed – a continuing action to date – the near completion and opening of the SAINT JUDE HOSPITAL, a project of the taxpayers of Saint Lucia (your employers), and also partly financed by donations of friendly foreign governments and other entities, with the intention of handing over this Saint Lucian hospital to foreign private company interests, what best describes your action? HONOURABLE [ ]; DISHONOURABLE [ ];
- When your government collects millions of dollars from the sale of Saint Lucian passports, yet you refuse to appropriately report on the status of these tens of millions of dollars to the Parliament and to Saint Lucian taxpayers – your employers – what best describes your action? HONOURABLE [ ]; DISHONOURABLE [ ]; COLONIALLY ARROGANT [ ];
- When you high-handedly took over a thousand acres of Saint Lucian lands in Vieux Fort, spending tens of millions of the taxpayers’ passport sales dollars, without parliamentary approval, to finance a horse-racing track, purchase of horses, a road, destruction of Saint Lucian investments, etc, all for a Chinese so-called investor, while refusing to complete the Saint Jude Hospital, letting hundreds of Saint Lucians die needlessly at the ill-equipped and dilapidated so-called “Stadium Hospital”, what best describes your action? HONOURABLE [ ]; DISHONOURABLE [ ];
- When on Tuesday 26 May 2020, for the first time in the history of Saint Lucia, under your United Workers Party government, during the proceedings of the 11th Parliament, citizens were confronted by Police barricades, and therefore did not have access to the Parliament environs, where they would normally gather during sittings of the Parliament, what best describes your action? HONOURABLE [ ]; DISHONOURABLE [ ]; COLONIALLY ARROGANT [ ];
- Since the beginning of your Party’s tenure in government, in 2016, the loudspeakers and other paraphernalia that allowed citizens’ gatherings and their peaceful observance of House proceedings in the Parliament environs, have disappeared, and citizens have therefore been disenfranchised in this regard. This is dictatorial and disrespectful behavior. What best describes this action under your chairmanship of the UWP government? HONOURABLE [ ]; DISHONOURABLE [ ]; COLONIALLY ARROGANT [ ];
- About two years ago, you dismissed a Minister who was found to have engaged in sexual indiscretions with a minor on official government premises– the entire population, much to the unholy amusement of our Saint Lucian women, saw the disgusting photos of the physical evidence, including the associated unusually stunted anatomy of the perpetrator – and who was again subsequently embroiled in certain indiscretionary infelicities, aka WIPAY-GATE. The “sexual” issue, in particular, left Saint Lucia severely embarrassed regionally and internationally. You subsequently announced further investigations into the matter. Nearly two years later, you have said nothing on this. What best describes your action? HONOURABLE [ ]; DISHONOURABLE [ ];
- Your Minister of Economic Affairs, Dishonorable Guy Joseph, produced a letter (which came to be known as the PAJOAH Letter), whose effect was allegedly intended to authorize the government to effectively and arbitrarily guarantee tens of millions of dollars at taxpayersexpense, in the form of an open “slush fund” of sorts, to finance any manner of dubious projects that might be conjured up for equally dubious purposes. This constituted an outrageous and corrupt financial mechanism never before seen in the history of Saint Lucia. You, Mr. Prime Minister, rapidly and conveniently disassociated yourself with the outrageous attempt, yet to date you have not investigated the matter. What best describes your inaction in this matter? HONOURABLE [ ]; DISHONOURABLE [ ];
- At the height of your campaign in 2016, you promised the construction of “6 hotels.” Four years later, after the wastage of nearly $2 BILLION of taxpayers money on several wild so-called investments, not one hotel has been constructed. What best describes your action in these circumstances? HONOURABLE [ ]; DISHONOURABLE [ ];
- Your government has secured 30 million dollars of the pensioners resources, from the National Insurance Corporation, for the financing of the Cabot Cove golf course for a foreign “billionaire.” You said that he was “a Canadian billionaire.” Why does a billionaire need $30 million of the poor pensioners savings to Finance his sports club? But it is mind-boggling that while you will borrow from the poor Saint Lucian pensioners’ savings to finance the playground of a Canadian billionaire in Saint Lucia, you stopped the Distress Fund, which provided help to poor Saint Lucians, whose houses burn down in the middle of the night. These are the same Saint Lucians you have called mendicants (beggars). This is extremely reckless, criminal behavior!. What best describes your actions in this matter? HONOURABLE [ ]; DISHONOURABLE [ ];
- After you marched in an anti-government demonstration beside a placard that read NICE: NIGGAS IN CHARGE of EMPLOYMENT, you added insult to injury when your government got into power by firing the NICE (National Initiative for Creation of Employment) workers whom you said were SLP supporters. The NICE initiative was one of several programmes assisting with employment creation for semi, under and unemployed persons, a component of social welfare support and an element of a crime reduction strategy. What best describes your actions in this matter? HONOURABLE [ ]; DISHONOURABLE [ ];
- At the height of this COVID-19 pandemic, with unemployment at record-breaking levels, government income drastically reduced, and nearly $2 BILLION that you have borrowed since you came into power, with nothing to show for it, you are asking poor, struggling Civil Servants to accept salary cuts, while you and your Ministers are receiving a 55% pay increase. What best describes your actions in this matter? HONOURABLE [ ]; DISHONOURABLE [ ];
- Saint Lucia has seen absolutely no FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) since you came into power in 2016, although you promised so much during the election campaign. Do you remember these words, Allen?: “Kenny didn’t but I will;” “Kenny can’t but I can.” They have turned out to be all empty, hollow promises. Every single cent of the nearly $2 billion that has been “invested” in Saint Lucia so far has been at the expense of the struggling taxpayers of Saint Lucia. And we have absolutely nothing to show for it. No foreign investor has spent even one cent in Saint Lucia since you came into office; they have avoided Saint Lucia like the plague. Unemployment has increased by more than 20% under your watch, and we have had more murders than at any previous time in the history of Saint Lucia. The crazy increase in unemployment started from day one of your government, when you immediately begun to close down all the social safety net programmes of the SLP administration and when you immediately stopped work on all SLP projects, including wickedly, incredibly, the Saint Jude Hospital (which was at 90% completion). What best describes your actions in this matter? HONOURABLE [ ]; DISHONOURABLE [ ];
- And finally, Mr. Prime Minister, of the twenty items I promised for our discussion, here’s the one that has most offended my sensibilities and my pride as a born and bred Saint Lucian patriot. You have to be a born Saint Lucian to feel the shame I still feel on this matter. Of course, being an undeserving foreigner, who cannot speak our dialect, you won’t understand. That’s why you can call Saint Lucians “jackasses,” “barking dogs,” and “beggars” without batting an eyelid. I take this opportunity to remind you of the heartbreaking, shaming, excruciating lost opportunity for Saint Lucia, “Land of the Laureates”, to become the 4th Campus Territory of the University of the West Indies (UWI). About two years ago, when UWI invited Saint Lucia to join Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago, and Jamaica, and become the 4th UWI Campus, you declined that wonderful opportunity. You put shame into the eyes and the memories of our two Nobel Laureates, Sir Arthur Lewis and Sir Derek Walcott, when you bungled that once in a lifetime opportunity. Allen, you simply bungle everything you touch, don’t you? You put shame into the minds and the hearts of all Saint Lucia’s educated sons and daughters, our authors, artistes (singers, dancers, musicians, playwrights, etc.), doctors, lawyers, engineers, economists, police and other law enforcement officers, farmers, fishers, cab drivers, and other professionals of all categories. You shamed all Saint Lucians, here and abroad, including the ordinary man and woman in the street, who, deep in their hearts, are proud of our West Indian university. No patriotic Saint Lucian must EVER FORGIVE YOU and your inept, incompetent, myopic government, for that crime. It was criminal neglect on your part in particular, and on the part of your entire Cabinet of Ministers (including “Calbas,” “Poodle,” “Sinking,” and “Cockalorum,”) to have just sat there, reminiscent of “the silence of the lambs” and watch this “awful shaming” of the Land of the Laureates! What best describes your actions in this matter? HONOURABLE [ ]; DISHONOURABLE [ ].
So, dear Dishonorable Prime Minister, Allen Chastanet, how can you be called “Honorable”, with such a track record, which only adds to your written record of dishonour that was originally signed, sealed and delivered by learned judges, to the people of Saint Lucia, in the Tuxedo Villas case, and I quote: “Chastanet deposed in his affidavit that he was not at the meeting because he was scheduled to travel out of the state on that date. He said in cross examination that he was ‘one thousand percent’ sure he was off island. Yet the minutes of the meeting show on page 1 that he was present at the meeting, and on page 2 that three ministers are listed as being absent. Mr. Chastanet is not included in the list of absent ministers.”
Saint Lucian Patriot