The eye–opener that three years of Labour has produced
Labour’s thirty–six months in office have been very telling. It has shown that there is a vast distinction between what the government said they would do to implement change for the better; and what they have actually done over this period. It is time to bring under scrutiny the prickly – cactus type of governance this island has borne from November 2011 to the present.
Nothing is as futile as attempting to expel from the mind what a man has witnessed and experienced firsthand. This suggests that the so– called spin doctors will have to revisit Abraham Lincoln’s old quote that: “You can fool some people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.”
Unfortunately, labour followers have demonstrated great difficulty grasping that concept. Suffice it to say that citizens should be given a chance to tell their story. Indeed it is not the exclusive right of only one sector to express themselves. Only those with little or no respect for the principles of democracy seem bent on promoting a Saint Lucia Labour Party for life state of mind and one party state. They need to be cognizant that there are more moderate minded people in the country. Incidentally, should they wish to purchase a private lala land and go reside there to uninterruptedly coddle in their own particular brand of utopia along with mechanically programmed party hacks, then so be it. Until such time, let us respect the democracy in which we live, which is definitely not a one party state.
Even though it is well known that dissenting voices are not well tolerated by the incumbent and their supporters, let us trust that they still subscribe to the principle that this is a government by the people for the people and not a government by the people but for itself and the boys and girls club only.
Our analysis begins in 2010. Remember all the controversy that accompanied the relocation of the Ministry of External Affairs, to the spanking new offices at the Baywalk Mall. The ministry was headed by former Foreign Affairs Minister Rufus Bousquet. The SLP was livid and agitated about this relocation, pointing ostensibly to the mind-blowing rent which they claimed to stand at $135,000.00 per month although the UWP denied this figure saying the rent actually was just over $114,000.00. Whatever the strong concerns the Labour party had about this ten year lease, one would have thought that upon coming into office they would have exited the lease if not forthwith, certainly by now, as proof to the public that they are genuinely concerned about government’s expenditure on rental of office space. Alas these offices are still occupied by the said ministry and is said to be not only the envy of all in Cabinet but more so, is a wellappointed and personalized office space, well–pleasing to one particular minister. This was an issue SLP turned into a media circus and media tours had to be conducted to show the genuine reasons why these offices were being relocated. After kicking up such a furor about it, the same labour party now has no problem occupying the space on the fifth level of the Baywalk Mall for the past thirty six months.
Reference to the External Affairs issue, one of many, which Labour mischievously manufactured while in opposition was deliberate as it serves to illustrate a pattern of theatre and opposing for opposing sake, which perhaps the public had misread at the time. But the party has sustained this pattern of behavior as one of its strategic characteristics throughout their term in office.
Labour’s very first promise to Saint Lucians is still pending to this day and on their much lauded three year track record, it still cannot be pulled out of their hat of tricks. It is yet to come into fruition. For those who prefer to forget this epic promise, look it up in the 2011 manifesto. It reads: “Inject $100 million immediately into the economy for job creation and reconstruction activities.”
By May of 2012 when there were no signs of this massive cash injection into the ailing economy, the opposition decided to make its ramblings publicly, in regard to this now protracted and unfulfilled promise. A CMC article of May, 2012 records the UWP’s reaction.
“The main opposition United Workers Party (UWP) is reminding the ruling St. Lucia Labour Party (SLP) of its campaign promises including an immediate injection of EC$100 million (US$37 million) into the local economy.
The UWP said that the government cannot now renege on its promises making reference to statements by Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony and the SLP’s general secretary Leo Clarke that the funds would now be injected in phases.
“The Prime Minister and his government along with their operatives must be reminded that the St. Lucian electorate cannot be fooled,” the UWP said, noting that the government said the multimillion dollar injection into the economy was to create jobs and reconstruction activities.
“This promise is stated in clear and unambiguous language and can only be understood in one way. There is only one way to interpret the word “immediately,” the party said, adding that “this bold and glamorous promise,” was among a lst of 20 used by the SLP to gain the favour of the electorate.
The St Lucian electorate is eager to know whether the Prime Minister is now seeking to use the long hand of Value Added Tax (VAT) (coming on September 1), to intrude into the already shallow pockets of the citizens to raise the promised EC$100 million.” “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time” because now they see the Light.
Another promise by the government as stated in the manifesto 2011:
“Create immediate employment by undertaking the comprehensive rebuilding of our country’s infrastructure that was damaged by Hurricane Tomas.”
Thirty six months in government and the current Government cannot as yet bring into effect a full completion of post Tomas infrastructural works. Hurricane Tomas paid a solemn call on the night of Friday, October 30, 2010. By the next morning the UWP government was already being lambasted for not expediting the country’s recovery from the devastation and tragedy. As far as the SLP then in opposition was concerned, they should do so within a few, short impractical months. An unsympathetic attitude was exhibited by the SLP while in opposition. Now that they are in government they appreciate differently the scale of the damage unleashed by the category 2 disaster. They now know that Tomas had taken a significant toll on the local economy. The SLP is now aware that the UWP government had been seeking outside assistance which takes several months to a year to secure, in terms of meeting the formalities of paperwork, processing, due diligence and approval. In 2014, multi–million dollar bridges are still being constructed as part of post Tomas infrastructural works. As recently as in October the Government of Saint Lucia received authorization, to borrow approximately US$68 million from the International Development Association (IDA), for post-Hurricane Tomas recovery efforts.
The SLP, once at the helm of government, could not themselves produce the magic wand type results that they were bullying the UWP about, in order to make good on their overstated and overblown promises to the people of Saint Lucia. The people have been watching expectantly for three years now without much to encourage their quickly fading optimism, we might add. “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time” because now they see the Light.
(Next Week: more promises?)
t the SLP Conference last week in celebration of three year’s in office: L-R-Former political leader of the SLP Julian R Hunte, Guest Speaker
Denzil Douglas prime minister of St. Kitts, Nevis and Kenny Anthony political leader of the SLP.