Blow­ing out some­one’s can­dle doesn’t make yours brighter!

The Star (St. Lucia) - - COMMENT - By William “Flakes” Cheddy

It is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly clear that for­mer Prime Min­is­ter Kenny An­thony may not be in con­trol of his am­bi­tions. His lat­est at­tempt to stall the devel­op­ment of Saint Lu­cia, by pe­ti­tion­ing the courts to stop the DSH project at Vieux Fort, is fur­ther proof he still has not learned that he will not help him­self by do­ing harm to the coun­try he once con­trolled as if it were his pri­vate back­yard— un­til the peo­ple said enough was enough.

True, he has fooled some of us on oc­ca­sion but by now he should have learned his gift for bluff­ing can only take him so far; that in the end the peo­ple have al­ways seen through him. His 'my way or the high­way' men­tal­ity has twice brought him to his po­lit­i­cal knees. Still he per­sists, like the scor­pion that pre­dictably does what scor­pi­ons do. What a way to re­pay a peo­ple that went so far as to ad­just its con­sti­tu­tion to ac­com­mo­date his am­bi­tion to be a sen­a­tor and gov­ern­ment min­is­ter—and a record-set­ting 16-1 man­date to move Saint Lu­cia for­ward with­out op­po­si­tion. Even with telling signs that the peo­ple may have over-es­ti­mated both his char­ac­ter and his com­pe­tence, they kept him at the wheel five years longer than they should have, with a sec­ond straight term, this time with a 14-3 man­date. He failed to see the writ­ing on the wall and con­tin­ued as be­fore: in­stead of ef­fect­ing so­cial and eco­nomic re­con­struc­tion in Saint Lu­cia, he con­cen­trated in­stead on projects that ben­e­fit­ted only his staunch­est blind sup­port­ers. In con­se­quence he fur­ther po­lar­ized the na­tion, set­ting Saint Lu­cian against Saint Lu­cia—es­pe­cially ev­i­dent in the civil ser­vice.

Along the way he placed our all-im­por­tant ba­nana in­dus­try in the hands of a clown, and chased away for­eign in­vestors with his loose-lips ut­ter­ings.

Gen­er­at­ing in­vest­ment and jobs have al­ways been among the hall­marks of the United Work­ers Party rule. Who can for­get the days when Vieux Fort was teem­ing with ac­tiv­ity thanks to the many fac­to­ries that op­er­ated there, enough to em­ploy peo­ple even from out­side the town? Most of Cas­tries did their shop­ping down south; imag­ine that! Mean­while the coun­try was record­ing 10 per cent in eco­nomic growth!

Un­der the Labour Party of 1997 to 2006 the econ­omy of Saint Lu­cia not only col­lapsed but also reg­is­tered a level of mis­man­age­ment never be­fore ex­pe­ri­enced. It was the pe­riod when Rochamel was born, when the agency op­er­at­ing STEP (the Na­tional Con­ser­va­tion Au­thor­ity) was em­broiled in cor­rup­tion (there is a re­port to that ef­fect), when a road from Soufriere to Vieux Fort cost nearly three times as much as was orig­i­nally es­ti­mated (a Com­mis­sion of In­quiry con­cluded that there was gross mis­man­age­ment). In dis­gust vot­ers kicked out Kenny & Co con­spir­a­tors. Nev­er­the­less they brought them back in 2011, a gen­eros­ity soon to be re­gret­ted. Three con­sec­u­tive years of eco­nomic de­cline fol­lowed, with a range of taxes that were anti-worker, anti-poor and all-around op­pres­sive. Then we dis­cov­ered our seabed had some­how been trans­ferred with­out our knowl­edge to an Amer­i­can named Jack Gryn­berg. We found our­selves sad­dled with the Lam­birds Academy fi­asco, the Juf­fali af­fair, the mis­han­dling of the IMPACS re­port that con­tin­ues to neg­a­tively im­pact our po­lice force and for­eign in­vest­ment.

But it ap­pears that An­thony and many oth­ers in his party are of the view that their cat­a­strophic fail­ure in of­fice should al­ways be re­warded with an­other term. So in 2016, af­ter run­ning the econ­omy into the ground, with record debt and record un­em­ploy­ment, Saint Lu­cians gave him the boot a sec­ond time. To say that An­thony has been one of the big­gest po­lit­i­cal dis­ap­point­ments in the his­tory of Saint Lu­cia is an un­der­state­ment. In 1997, with a mas­sive man­date un­der his belt, An­thony had a golden op­por­tu­nity to take Saint Lu­cia for­ward to a higher level af­ter the plat­form laid by Sir John Comp­ton and the UWP. So dis­mal was his per­for­mance that in the next elec­tion in 2001 he man­aged to lose the sup­port of 10,000 vot­ers who had sup­ported the Labour Party in 1997.

Did the elec­tion re­sult of 2016 sur­prise right-think­ing Saint Lu­cians? I think not. Even the once ad­mired An­thony was forced to scrunt for the measly 200-odd vote that saved him from per­sonal dis­as­ter. Did he learn some­thing? Ev­i­dently not. If he can­not win the game, says his at­ti­tude, then there will be no game. No sooner had Allen Chas­tanet and the United Work­ers Party taken of­fice on June 6, 2016 than Kenny & Co con­spir­a­tors set out with even greater de­ter­mi­na­tion to make war with “the Chas­tanets”, re­gard­less of pos­si­ble col­lat­eral dam­age to the rest of the coun­try, in­clud­ing SLP sup­port­ers. Week af­ter week Kenny & Co con­spir­a­tors in­sti­gated protest demon­stra­tions with­out cause. The voice of vi­o­lence raged from their pub­lic plat­forms, threats were made, fol­lowed soon after­ward by burn­ings, whether or not co­in­ci­den­tal. Des­per­a­tion showed its face in Septem­ber with the once “most fright­en­ing prospect for lo­cal pol­i­tics” shar­ing the same plat­form as his one-time ac­cuser. More proof that Kenny An­thony in­tended to stoop to the low­est level nec­es­sary in his war against Allen Chas­tanet. To­gether the “most fright­en­ing prospect” and fel­low des­per­ate ped­dlers of ha­tred, di­vi­sion and doom vowed that Saint Lu­cia will have “a new prime min­is­ter by De­cem­ber”. It comes as no sur­prise that many now see the bunch as en­e­mies of the state with only chaos on their minds. Al­most ev­ery in­vest­ment is im­me­di­ately fol­lowed by more ru­mours of war and re­tard­ing court ac­tion. It seems the old threat to frighten and dis­cour­age in­vestors away from Saint Lu­cia is alive and well in the Kenny An­thony-dom­i­nated Labour camp. The lat­est is an ap­pli­ca­tion for an in­junc­tion to stop im­pend­ing works in Vieux Fort and a ridicu­lous mo­tion of no con­fi­dence in the prime min­is­ter.

An­thony's cur­rent an­tics, like his ear­lier ones, are all doomed to fail. What will he do in 2019 when the devel­op­ment plans of the gov­ern­ment for this coun­try re­ally be­gin to take off? An­thony's real fear ap­pears to stem from the recog­ni­tion that much of this devel­op­ment will be tak­ing place in his con­stituency of Vieux Fort South that he ne­glected dur­ing 15 years as prime min­is­ter. Can any­one point to a project of sig­nif­i­cance un­der­taken by Kenny An­thony since his elec­tion 21 years ago? A leop­ard can­not change its spots; nei­ther can a loser!

Kenny D. An­thony: Does the for­mer prime min­is­ter know how heavy a bur­den he has be­come to his party af­ter squan­der­ing a record man­date in 1997 then fur­ther prov­ing he has nei­ther the in­cli­na­tion nor the tal­ent to move Saint Lu­cia for­ward?

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