By Caribbean News Global contributor
CASTRIES, St Lucia – Saint Lucia’s prime minister Allen Chastanet attempt to rule the island like a Kingdom with increasing acts of high handed actions was met with a historic march and rally by the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) last Sunday, the first in a series of actions in the days ahead – #We Are Ready.
A stern warning was issued with the support of a sea of protesters in Castries on Sunday, October 4, 2020, by the political leader of the SLP and leader of the opposition, Philip Joseph Pierre, and placed citizens on standby for uptake in persecution against the SLP following the successful march.
“This United Workers Party (UWP) will do anything to stay in political power, so I’m warning you, that next week you may hear something new about COVID-19 because we held our march this afternoon,” Pierre explained. “Citizens defied a coordinated scare-mongering blitz in parliament and on social and conventional media by the government, UWP operatives and trolls, who fell short of wishing that the public activity would cause a catastrophic COVID-19 spread. However, thousands turned out to register their dissatisfaction against the scary direction the country is taking towards a rogue government,” he said.
By their bravery, according to Pierre, protesters stood up against the government’s use of state power to harass the member of parliament for Castries South and SLP deputy political leader, Dr Ernest Hilaire, over false claims of improper importation of a vehicle; against allowing children to go to school without laptops (as a consequence of a decision to discontinue a free laptops programme by the SLP government); and against the waste on the St Jude hospital reconstruction project.
The SLP leader was grateful to protestors for behaving lawfully to bypass the UWPs bait. There were no known incidents with Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) who were out in numbers to ensure the good order of the activity.
Opposition leader Pierre, impressed with the proceedings and conduct of the protest march and rally said: “I am happy that you obeyed all the protocols; I am happy most of you wore your masks because when they come, sooner than later, to say something about COVID-19, you will know that they are lying and they are not speaking the truth as usual,” he said while urging protesters to keep the momentum for the long haul.
“This struggle will be a hard one. It is a struggle against the government that wants to have their way regardless of what the people say, it is a struggle against a government that will do anything to stay in political power. And that is why we are inviting all men and women of goodwill. And that is why you had this afternoon on this platform card-bearing members of the UWP who stood up for justice and against what is happening in this country.”
Key components of the march and rally were disaffected UWP members and former UWP ministers who appeared on the SLP platform to publicly stand-up to the high-handedness of the prime minister and the outrageous self-interest which had alienated traditional supporters of the UWP, founded by a small group of businessmen and professionals, including Sir John Compton.
The political leader of the SLP took the opportunity to welcome the disaffected UWPs and urged attendees to applaud them for standing up in defence of their conscience.
A prominent and disillusioned UWP member ( born in a yellow cloth) Antonia Pearl Alcindor made the point of ‘country before party’, itemized the dictatorial tendencies and corruption that has made today’s UWP unrecognizable in the eyes of followers and the founders of the party.
“Sa Pa Flambo”, she declared in Kweyol, to a crowd which delightfully chorused the refrain “This is not Flambeau”- referring to the common name for the UWP whose symbol is the Torch or “Flambo”.
The SLP leader expressed enthusiasm in a rejuvenated presentation on the Castries Central Market steps delivering a simple, yet powerful message – Put country first. Pierre cautioned supporters on matters to watch for leading into the general elections, orchestrated by a UWP regime know for victimization and vindictiveness.
The SLP leader emphasized that “marching alone would not bring about the end of this government” advised, that the people must vote them out in the next general elections, urged all citizens of voting age to ensure that they register to vote and get their ID cards; “This is how we will win that tough struggle,” he said. #We Are Ready.