SOMETHING OLD . . . SOMETHING NEW
PM Allen Chastanet with Predecessor Stephenson King!
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.