Prime Minister Chastanet was caught with his proverbial “pants down” when he responded to a question as follows: “We’re the highest per capita GDP of Nobel Laureates in the world.”
By Peter Lansiquot
Prime minister Allen Chastanet at the World Economic Forum on January 30, 2021, said: “We’re the highest per capita GDP of Nobel Laureates in the world.”
Recently on Facebook, I had reason to say the following to my eternal friend and homie, Hugh Maitre: “Hugh Maitre, I thought about you as soon as the education aspect emerged during my writing.
Indeed, Allen is a grave “disappointment” but this is what happens when your ‘daddy’s money’ seemingly buys you the following:
- Seats in offices where you don’t belong;
- Positions of political power you are not qualified to understand or manage;
- The belief that you can just insult people you don’t like;
- The belief that the people’s land and their patrimony are just another part of ‘daddy’s plantation’.
This is the dilemma Saint Lucians placed themselves in when they voted Allen Chastanet into high political office.“He shall soon be removed and sent back to manage ‘Daddy’s hotels’.”
On Friday, June 12, 2020, I addressed an “Open Letter to prime minister Allen Chastanet, where I gave him the opportunity to “come clean” concerning his University Degree in Economics, among a few other matters. Naturally, the same prime minister, who is on record saying: “I don’t listen, I let the jackasses bray,” and “I don’t have to listen to every dog that barks,” etc., etc., has not bothered to address my legitimate concern as a Saint Lucian citizen, a concern that is shared by most Saint Lucian citizens, and also of course by his colleague prime ministers around the Caribbean region and other presidents and prime ministers all around the world.
When doubts arise about the veracity of a prime minister’s academic and professional qualifications, all prime ministers feel uncomfortable.
In my “Open Letter” I explained that Allen Chastanet, in 1988, sat among several economists in the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) of the ministry of planning and finance. I also explained that the basic requirement for membership in the EPU was a degree in economics. For the historical record, when the finance and planning ministries were separated, the EPU came to be known as the Economic Planning Section (EPS) of the ministry of planning, personnel, establishment and training, under permanent secretary Ausbert d’Auvergne.
The EPS was a team of nine economists, namely Anthony Severin, Adrian Augier, Marcia Jules, Rodinald Soomer, Francis Pappin, Jacqueline Emmanuel, Brian Louisy, Vincent Peter, and your humble servant. Lambert Nelson and Geraldine Monroque were economic assistants, who later became economists when they acquired their degrees in economics.
I further explained in my “Open Letter” that, 28 years later, listening to prime minister Chastanet present the National Estimates of Expenditure (National Budget) or speaking on other national development matters, it was impossible to believe that this was the same person who had sat among us in the EPU, 28 years before.
For one thing, you had to be well qualified and capable of quality output, to be in Ausbert d’Auvergne’s economic planning section. Ausbert gave us quality supervision and lots of advice, but you had to have entered with your academic and some professional tools of analysis, in the first instance.
I could not comprehend how Allen Chastanet could be so inarticulate: with all technical presentations as prime minister and minister of finance, he mumbled, bumbled, fumbled, and grumbled, with the simplest words, economic and financial jargon, and the most basic technical terms. It dawned on me then, and I remained in great shock when I realized that the Allen Chastanet who had sat with us in the EPU, reporting to our boss, Ausbert d’Auvergne, 28 years before, was obviously the furthest thing from someone with a degree in economics, or a master’s degree in anything for that matter.
It became very clear to me that Allen Chastanet, a former colleague, if only very briefly, had not a clue about economics, finance, or economic and financial planning. In other words, Allen Chastanet had been an illegitimate member of the economic planning section.
If I had any slight inkling of further doubt, such was erased finally and permanently [two days ago], during this year’s World Economic Forum (where ministers of finance and other officials and top economic development, business, and finance technocrats represent their countries and industries in discussions on economic development and numerous industrial issues).
Prime minister Chastanet was caught with his proverbial “pants down” when he responded to a question as follows: “We’re the highest per capita GDP of Nobel Laureates in the world.”
This statement has to be, by far, the nuttiest, most senseless, and most ridiculous utterance by any public official, anywhere in the world, in the entire 20th and 21st centuries. No economist, or political scientist, no matter how confused, or inebriated, could ever construct such a sentence. If there was any lingering doubt in the minds of Allen’s most charitable friends, colleagues or family members, about his complete ineptitude and incompetence to be the occupant of the chair of prime minister and finance minister of Saint Lucia, this most recent boo-boo, along with so many previous ones, too numerous to mention, should erase their last trace of doubt.
Yet, on the Caribbean Elections website under “Profiles of Caribbean leaders, politicians and other notable citizens who have made a contribution to the region,” I have read the following:
- “Allen Chastanet holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics and Political Science. He also holds a Master of Science Degree in Development Banking. He obtained these from Bishops University in Quebec and American University in Washington D.C. respectively.” He is also described as “an Economist” on the government of Saint Lucia website.
When an economist, or engineer, or doctor of medicine, or architect, or environmental planner, speaks or writes, their fellow colleagues know that they are in the presence and hearing of qualified professional colleagues.
When Dr Dwight Venner spoke, or Ausbert d’Auvergne speaks, or Adrian Augier speaks, or Rodinald Soomer speaks, or Percival Marie speaks, or John Peters speaks, their colleagues know that they are in the presence and hearing of economists and engineers and highly qualified professionals in their fields.
When Allen Chastanet speaks or writes, every economist or other technically qualified professional in economics or finance, knows instantly (and instinctively) that they are listening to an impostor, a bluffer, someone eminently unqualified to be speaking on economics or economic development issues, or finance issues, or anything remotely related to matters of a technical and developmental nature.
Chastanet’s colleague in Cabinet, Dr Gail Rigobert, in 2007, received a Doctor of Philosophy degree in International Relations from UWI St Augustine and is the author of the book, Bridging the Digital Divide? Prospects for Caribbean Development in the New Techno-economic Paradigm.
Dr Rigobert should know that Allen cannot be a holder of a degree in economics or a master’s degree in anything of a technical nature.
For the benefit of readers who may be unaware, GDP (gross domestic product) has absolutely nothing to do with Nobel laureate status. Just Google GDP for five minutes and remove any doubt. These words coming from the mouth of Saint Lucia’s prime minister and minister of finance, represent an immeasurable embarrassment to the people and the government of Saint Lucia, which will stay with us for hundreds of years, in this internet age.
Professors at universities around the world will be using this boo-boo from the prime minister of the Land of the Laureates, when they make reference to certain categories of political and development contradictions, in countries where inept and incompetent individuals, due to family and financial status, come to occupy such high offices as prime minister and finance minister, instead of more capable citizens.
Just imagine for a moment how many of our former bright, competent, talented sons and daughters of the soil, are rolling in their graves during the past few days. Imagine Sir John Compton, rolling like crazy, seeing that he also had great responsibility for the fact that such an incompetent person now occupies the seat of prime minister of Saint Lucia.
Allen Chastanet seems clearly ‘dishonest about his qualifications’, which are one of the fundamental factors that the population takes into account when they endorse and embrace a prime minister and minister of finance. Given the content of his Oath of Office, and the fact that he is clearly an impostor, Allen Chastanet must stop being an embarrassment to the people and government of Saint Lucia, and the Caribbean, and needs to immediately hand over his resignation as prime minister and minister of finance of Saint Lucia, to the Governor-General of Saint Lucia.
The Oath of Office that Allen Chastanet took in 2016, with a Bible in his hand, reads in part:
“ 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 …”