When the SLP is in Op­po­si­tion it op­poses; it’s what it does

The Star (St. Lucia) - - COMMENT - By Lu­cia H. Best

The Saint Lu­cia Labour Party ve­he­mently op­posed In­de­pen­dence so much that the march to In­de­pen­dence was al­most crip­pled and se­ri­ously set back by nearly a year be­cause of the per­sis­tent rum­blings, wild ac­tions and reck­less in­cite­ments of the party. Saint Lu­cia could have claimed In­de­pen­dence in 1978 if the SLP had been more lev­el­headed. There was vi­o­lence in Saint Lu­cia as a re­sult of this party’s in­cite­ments against In­de­pen­dence. There were rock-throw­ing in­ci­dents, nasty episodes of fae­cal mat­ter and eggs be­ing pelted on the UWP stage at their boule­vard meet­ings. There was de­struc­tion of stores and loot­ing in the city and the in­fa­mous tear gas in­ci­dent. There was the march on the prime min­is­ter’s res­i­dence; there was the march to and ston­ing of Mal­abar Beach Re­sort at Vigie when the Bri­tish rep­re­sen­ta­tives came to Saint Lu­cia. There was even the march to Gov­ern­ment House one evening in 1979 as the SLP re­mained per­sis­tently against In­de­pen­dence; not wish­ing to see Saint Lu­cia move in the di­rec­tion of progress and self­de­ter­mi­na­tion.

All the upheaval and law­less­ness that the SLP per­pe­trated through the ac­tions of the unions, Labour pun­dits, loy­al­ists and min­ions dur­ing that pe­riod, ne­ces­si­tated a war­ship be­ing dis­patched from Eng­land to keep the peace in Fair He­len. De­spite the fierce op­po­si­tion mounted by the SLP, Premier John Comp­ton proved him­self a leader of guts and grit and toughed it out with Labour un­til at last the Union Jack was fi­nally low­ered and the Saint Lu­cia flag hoisted at mid­night of Fe­bru­ary 22, 1979.

This episode of his­tory is be­ing re­vis­ited to il­lus­trate that Labour’s op­po­si­tion of Saint Lu­cia’s ad­vance­ment and progress is noth­ing new. This is its sig­na­ture style at work. This is re­veal­ing in­for­ma­tion about Labour that young peo­ple of this coun­try must be en­light­ened about as they seek to un­der­stand why the op­po­si­tion Saint Lu­cia Labour Party al­ways pro­ceeds to ab­surdly op­pose every­thing that is good for the coun­try. The SLP’s op­po­si­tion of the pro­posed Desert Star Hold­ings In­vest­ment is no iso­lated case.

The Saint Lu­cia Labour Party op­posed the devel­op­ment of the Rod­ney Bay Ma­rina project call­ing Prime Min­is­ter Comp­ton dis­parag­ing names at the time. The Rod­ney Bay area is now the tourism mecca of Saint Lu­cia. The SLP op­posed ve­he­mently the join­ing of Gros Islet and Pi­geon Is­land - the home of our famed jazz fes­ti­val, wed­dings, tours, hikes and so many other splen­dours for lo­cals and vis­i­tors. It op­posed the in­tro­duc­tion of traf­fic lights, as laugh­able as that one may seem now; it went on a tirade against it. One Labour Party stal­wart at the time, who is a for­mer min­is­ter of ed­u­ca­tion and now a le­gal lu­mi­nary, is re­called as say­ing that Saint Lu­cia did not need traf­fic lights, and could not af­ford traf­fic lights, there­fore Prime Min­is­ter John Comp­ton was wast­ing the coun­try’s money. That is not all by a long shot.

The Saint Labour Party op­posed the Hess Oil Project com­ing into Saint Lu­cia. It ped­dled lies that Comp­ton was sell­ing Saint Lu­cia to Hess; how­ever the pub­lic was not on the SLP’s side. The same Hess in­vestor blessed the is­land’s ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem with many pri­mary schools plus the Leon Hess Com­pre­hen­sive Sec­ondary School, among other out­stand­ing forms of con­tri­bu­tions to na­tional devel­op­ment.

The SLP threw a ma­jor tantrum about the con­struc­tion of the Mil­len­nium High­way. It called the route lu­di­crous and im­pos­si­ble. Again it be­rated Sir John for his vi­sion but he was used to the SLP’s ways and was not dis­cour­aged. So deep-seated was the bit­ter­ness of the SLP that we are told some work­ers on this road project were swayed into do­ing a less than pro­fes­sional job on a cer­tain rather un­sta­ble sec­tion of the road. The SLP ad­min­is­tra­tion for­mally opened the road when it came back into power and had the heart to not in­vite Sir John to the cer­e­mony.

The Saint Lu­cia Labour Party stri­dently op­posed the Waterfront Project known as the waterfront Busi­ness Cen­tre. When those build­ings were be­ing con­structed SLP mem­bers pre­tended to lament that the Con­way peo­ple were be­ing dis­placed and of course they re­it­er­ated that this was an ex­am­ple of Comp­ton’s pie in the sky think­ing. Saint Lu­cia did not need such an ex­or­bi­tant project the Labour party main­tained.

It op­posed the con­struc­tion of the Roseau Dam, stat­ing that Saint Lu­cia could not af­ford it and that it was one of the things that would push the coun­try into the hands of the IMF. Does this line ring fa­mil­iar? The Saint Lu­cia Labour Party ought to be pay­ing roy­al­ties to the IMF for con­ve­niently us­ing its name over a num­ber of years for the pur­pose of po­lit­i­cal ex­pe­di­ency.

There is noth­ing un­der the sun that the UWP will ini­ti­ate that the SLP is not ex­pected to op­pose. This ar­ti­cle shares a few ex­am­ples for the sake of the youth and the un­en­light­ened but the his­tory of Fair He­len is re­plete with many more sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tions.

One thing is for sure - when the SLP op­poses a project it serves as a good pre­dic­tion that the project will re­dound to the ben­e­fit of the coun­try over many years to come.

Dr Kenny An­thony do­ing what he does best - protest

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