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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

"UWP does not stand a chance of being re-elected to government"

Tuesday, 28 December 2010 07:01 cmc

CASTRIES, St. Lucia CMC - Leader of the main opposition St Lucia Labour Party (SLP), Dr. Kenny Anthony, is predicting that the ruling United Workers Party (UWP) will become the latest in a number of one term governments in the Caribbean in recent times.

Political observers believe that Prime Minister Stephenson King will call fresh general elections next year and Anthony said the UWP does not stand a chance of being re-elected to government.

 “We have had one term governments in the Bahamas, the British Virgin Islands, in Trinidad with the National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR) (and) even here in St. Lucia we have had a one term government as you know, so we are in a period of extraordinary political maneuverings of one kind or the other, so that it should come as no surprise if there is a change,” he said.

 But Anthony acknowledges that the SLP faces an uphill task in winning the next general election.

 “The St. Lucia Labour Party is highly realistic, we understand that there is still work to be done, we understand that we have to continue to rebuild bridges, we understand that we have to reshape policies, we understand the natural inclination of the electorate in the Caribbean to hold the view that if we give you a term and you squander it, we are going to get rid of you, and that has been the message coming out of several elections in the region,” Anthony said.

 He said that despite going through crisis after crisis during the first two years in office, the UWP government had been able to stick together.

 He said that the issues were similar to those that plagued the 1979-82 Labour government which became fractionalised and was eventually voted out of office, giving the country its first one term government.

 “The fact is during 1979-82 within the ranks of the then St. Lucia Labour Party there was a clear cut fracture where people took different sides but that was not the case within the UWP, where the politicians know they are engaged in wrong doing but they are clinging on to each other and making sure they remain stuck political glue because they understand what the consequences would be if they were to account in an election,” he added.

 Anthony, whose administration was voted out of office in favour of the UWP led by then UWP leader Sir John Compton in 2006, shrugged off suggestions that the SLP had been in effective as an opposition entity.

 “The fact is that the SLP has been careful to maintain a lid on the situation and not promote industrial unrest, especially at a time when people are going through exceedingly difficult times with the economy in turmoil and thousands of St. Lucians having lost their jobs.

 “In that kind of situation people have been looking inwards, there are obviously those who are very embarrassed by what the government is doing having voted for them the last time. They have to make an adjustment of one kind or another, but the fact of the matter is that the St. Lucia Labour Party has decided that it would take the democratic route which is to prepare for general elections.

 “I did not think that St. Lucians needed to put the country in total turmoil, I don’t think that was the right way to go at all. What must happen now is that the Labour Party must make adjustments to its policies, use this period very carefully to analyse where it went wrong and come up with new programmes and policies that will attract the electorate.

 “We have some bridges to rebuild as I think we lost the confidence of the middle class, with crime being one of the main issues, so we have to mend some fences, build some bridges and rekindle the confidence of the electorate but I certainly don’t think that the way we should do it is by putting people on the streets, they are suffering enough already and elections are not far away,” said Anthony.

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