PM Allen Chas­tanet with Pre­de­ces­sor Stephen­son King!

The Star (St. Lucia) - - FRONT PAGE - By Toni Ni­cholas

A new prime min­is­ter, Allen Chas­tanet, was sworn in here in Saint Lu­cia on Tues­day June 7, 2016 by gov­er­nor gen­eral Dame Pear­lette Louisy. The brief cer­e­mony took place at Gov­ern­ment House just one day af­ter Chas­tanet’s United Work­ers Party (UWP) de­feated Kenny Anthony’s Saint Lu­cia Labour Party (SLP) at the polls. The UWP clinched 11 of the seven­teen par­lia­men­tary seats to the SLP’s six. Chas­tanet is now the sev­enth prime min­is­ter of Saint Lu­cia since 1979 (in­de­pen­dence) and only the fourth leader of a po­lit­i­cal party to have won the elec­tion and be­come prime min­is­ter. He is also the first leader, other than Sir John Comp­ton, to lead the UWP to vic­tory.

Prime min­is­ter Chas­tanet is ex­pected to name his cab­i­net on Tues­day June 14, one day fol­low­ing the re­turn of the gov­er­nor gen­eral who is cur­rently in the UK at­tend­ing cel­e­bra­tions to mark the Queen’s birth­day.

The STAR has been re­li­ably in­formed that the prime min­is­ter in­tends to de­vi­ate from the norm and make the event a pub­lic one. The nam­ing of cab­i­net and swear­ing in of new min­is­ters is ex­pected to be held at the Philip Mar­cellin grounds in Vieux Fort as an in­di­ca­tion to the peo­ple of the south that this gov­ern­ment will keep its prom­ise to give equal at­ten­tion to that area and de­cen­tral­ize gov­ern­ment busi­ness and na­tional ac­tiv­i­ties.

Ad­dress­ing the na­tion fol­low­ing his party’s vic­tory on Mon­day night Chas­tanet said, “The work to build a new Saint Lu­cia be­gins of­fi­cially to­day.” He went on to thank his fam­ily and the Almighty God for “al­low­ing His will to be done”.

“Elec­tions are over and so let us put all the name-call­ing, in­sults and per­se­cu­tion away; let us unite as a fam­ily, one na­tion un­der God. We all are Saint Lu­cians and we must all work to­gether to build this great na­tion of ours,” Chas­tanet de­clared.

“I cat­e­gor­i­cally state that there will be ab­so­lutely no vic­tim­iza­tion. As of to­day, we must see each other as Saint Lu­cians and not a Labour Party sup­porter or UWP sup­porter,” he em­pha­sized.

“You elected us to help all Saint Lu­cians and that is ex­actly what we will do,” said Chas­tanet.

Mean­while, for­mer prime min­is­ter Kenny Anthony, in a brief state­ment on Mon­day, said that he would be step­ping down as leader of the SLP and Op­po­si­tion leader. Anthony, who won the Vieux Fort South seat in Mon­day’s elec­tion, has con­firmed that he in­tends to con­tinue serv­ing the peo­ple of Vieux Fort.

In a state­ment given to some mem­bers of the me­dia on Mon­day evening and later posted on Anthony’s Face­book page he pro­nounced, “On be­half of the Saint Lu­cia Labour Party and also on my per­sonal be­half, I con­grat­u­late Mr. Allen Chas­tanet, Leader of the United Work­ers Party on his vic­tory at the polls . . . On all ac­counts, this was a con­vinc­ing vic­tory. It is clear there was a ma­jor na­tional swing against the Saint Lu­cia Labour Party.”

Dr. Anthony went on to wish the peo­ple of Saint Lu­cia the very best “as we em­bark on this new jour­ney” adding, “I am deeply grate­ful for the hon­our of serv­ing the peo­ple of Saint Lu­cia as Prime Min­is­ter for nearly three terms.”

“My spe­cial thanks to the peo­ple of Vieux-Fort South for elect­ing me as their Par­lia­men­tary Rep­re­sen­ta­tive for the fifth time,” he added.

Since then Anthony has not “of­fi­cially” ad­dressed his con­stituents, or met with mem­bers of his party, the STAR has learned. On Thurs­day June 9 the Gen­eral Sec­re­tary of the SLP ac­knowl­edged that the party had ac­cepted Anthony’s de­ci­sion to step down adding that the party’s Con­sti­tu­tion dic­tates that the first deputy leader as­sumes the post of leader in the in­terim. That per­son is Philip J. Pierre who re­tained his Cas­tries East seat. At the SLP’s next con­ven­tion, due Oc­to­ber/Novem­ber, mem­bers will elect a new leader.

Allen Chas­tanet (seated) signs the Dec­la­ra­tion Book, wit­nessed by Gov­er­nor Gen­eral Dame Pear­lette Louisy (cen­tre) and Cab­i­net Sec­re­tary Dar­rel Mon­trope, af­ter be­ing sworn in to of­fice on Tues­day.

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