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Sunday, January 26, 2014


As Kenny prepares to address the nation tonight, let's try and second-guess what he is likely to say without necessarily stealing his thunder.

Will it be a "State of the Nation" address? Or will it be a general update/review of the post-trough recovery efforts and the challenges we face in that regard going forward, especially in the context of the severe economic constraints?

Because the “post-trough” recovery has serious “economic” implications and the two are so intricately intertwined, we would generally expect the PM to speak of “one” in terms of “the other”.

Hence, we look forward to a definitive policy statement and specific measures on the "post-trough" way forward. Who knows . . . perhaps, despite serious fiscal constraints, the PM may even announce his intention to extend the construction stimulus package, among other things, to allow St. Lucians to a further opportunity to retrofit their homes to make them more disaster-resistant. That may well be an excellent strategy for employment-generation as well as economic growth.

We look forward to the PM to give us a sneak preview of the current social and economic indicators that are likely to continue to inform his post-trough decisions. In that regard, we expect at least a broad-policy statement on crime and its impact on not just our economy but also our image as a proud country.

Patriotic St. Lucians (at home and in the diaspora) are very concerned about the increasingly inexplicable and senseless criminal behavior patterns which are apparently taking a heavy toll on our image as a peace-loving nation with a world record for the ratio of Nobel laureate per square metre.

I expect our PM to make a definitive statement designed to allay our fears by indicating proactive policy measures to specifically address the spiraling criminal activity. I also expect him to allude to the Pratt homicide and the potentially disastrous ramifications to our tourist industry.

If the PM’s speech is a “State-of-the Nation” address, I expect him to give us a snapshot - if not a mirror - of the fiscal, economic and social policies that are likely to underpin his 2014/15 budget.

Despite the obvious national sympathies for the erstwhile Leader of the Opposition, I don't expect the PM to “drop a bomb” on the badly wounded UWP. He won’t get marks for that.  I'm sure he would want to reserve any pronouncements in that regard for another forum.

If anything tonight, his focus should be on his desire to invent a "bomb" to drop on crime and other social economic problems facing St. Lucia. Now that he has had a good look at the demonstrated competencies of his cabinet, it is perhaps a good time to design that bomb around a major "Cabinet Reshuffle"!

Saturday, January 18, 2014


In a street discussion on the debacle facing the UWP, it was remarked that Chastanet may not only be politically juvenile, he may equally be politically “androgynous”! Is it his desperation in the pursuit of prime ministership that brings out those seeming idiosyncrasies in him? Someone should advise him that in politics, ego integrity is a far greater asset than desperation, for the latter generate perceptions that can easily relegate a politician to the dustbins of failure.

If I heard it right from Mr Chastanet, then the constitution of the UWP is not in sync with the constitution of St. Lucia. I have not read the UWP constitution, but I hoping if this is the case, then this anomaly is resolved (or at least rationalised) by the Emergency National Council meeting scheduled for on Sunday (January 19). To me, the resolution is quite simple: make the UWP constitution conform to the constitution of the land it seeks to govern. If this (or its equivalent) happens at Sunday’s Coco Resort meeting in Vieux Fort, then the UWP can give itself a pat on the back for laying a platform for unity. Irrespective of how tottering a temporary "truce" may appear to be, it may buy time for the UWP and temporarily stop the current public hemorrhaging. If the emergency National Council Meeting fails to achieve that result, then the dichotomy may well deepen and generate potentially more fatal ripple effects, bitterness and disorder within the party.

It goes without saying that the constitution is the supreme law of the land and everything must either fall in line or is secondary to it. In situations where there is a conflict between it and secondary constitutions, then it is logical that the former should take precedence over the latter.

But again, Chastanet was not sufficiently proactive. When he went up for the leadership of the party, he should have understand that the dichotomy between the two constitutions was a source of potential conflict; and when the conflict became manifest he naively invoked a controversial clause in the UWP constitution to hang King. He could have been far more magnanimous and diplomatic.

It’s simply a case of country vs party. The opposition leader went to represent his country at a national emergency disaster meeting after the passage of the Christmas Eve trough and for that he is being flayed by his party because he did so without approval from his party leader. King was fulfilling a constitutional obligation as the leader of the opposition. More so, Kenny did not invite the UWP party; he invited the leader of her Majesty’s opposition

Let’s look a hypothetical scenario. Suppose Kenny had given up the political leadership of the SLP; and let’s assume Claudius Francis was the one who held that position, then should Kenny succumbed to the dictates of Claudius?  That in my opinion would constitute an affront to our parliamentary democracy and governance.

Yes, governments are formed by political parties; but their roles and orientation are distinct! Political parties are interest groups with armies of supporters; but this “philosophy” stops when they form government. They govern the country by national policies for all the people not by the partisanship, sectionalism and tribalism of the political party.           .

Perhaps, we have to blame our respective speakers of parliament for allowing the negative tribalism to saturate the proceedings of the House of Parliament. Tribalism and sectionalism should be left at the doorstep of the House of Parliament.

I can only hope that constitutional reform has addressed or will address anomalies of that nature in a very profound way.

Monday, January 13, 2014


"Kenny is King; Chastanet wants to be King; but King would have none of it!"

 This is an "imperfect article" comprising my raw and perhaps illogical thoughts (perhaps, in raw language) about the "leadership imperfections" plaguing the UWP. Some take joy from it; some are embarrassed by it; some are stunned by it! Some even claimed that they had predicted it! How anyone looks at it is perhaps dependent on his/her "political frame of reference". The POWERHOUSE opinion is simple: it is good for democracy! If the raison d'etre of political parties is to seek to govern a country, then they cannot behave like underground, "freemason societies". In that sense, the playing of what's happening to the UWP (at least, some of it) in the public domain should not necessarily be seen  in a purely "negative term of reference". It's our right to know and to have a voice on what is inside a party, especially which has been in government for a number of years and may well be the next potential government of St. Lucia again. It is against this background that I have constructed my thoughts and have choosen to share them with you.

Soldiers vs hacks
Geographically, St. Vincent is St. Lucia’s closest OECS neighbour; but, politically, they maybe the furthest apart. While in St. Vincent, the Opposition Leader claims it was “unacceptable” that his party were excluded from an emergency disaster response (EDR) meeting, in St. Lucia, the opposition is “hard heels of an apparent meltdown” over the attendance of our opposition leader at such a meeting.

No matter how facetious it may sound, St. Vincent’s Prime Minister’s response to the opposition is not only a “master shot” but it is instructive: the country was in a war with nature and “soldiers don’t wait for an invitation to join the war; soldiers report for duty.”

In St. Lucia, UWP soldiers instead of reporting for duty were fighting among themselves over the attendance of the Leader of the Opposition to a meeting with the PM to discuss EDR.

The UWP literally flayed King for “reporting for duty”; but King may be a smart kid with the wisdom of his own precedent when he invited Kenny to report to duty during Tomas.  Perhaps, Kenny might have been guided by that precedent.

Is it a Tantalus story?
Perhaps Chastanet’s “reflect action” response to King’s “autonomous” participation in an EDR meeting may be a broader issue than we may have ever contemplated.

There is a school of thought that the sale of the Chastanet’s economic dynasty to Neal and Massy is linked to the preparation of Allen for the prime ministership of St. Lucia which (based on the economic tatters we are now in) seemed imminently possible; but King’s increased “affirmative action” is seen as a major stumbling block and it is beginning to look like Allen’s fortunes in that regard may have hit an unlikely speed bump and hence his pursuit of that “fruit” may have been sincerely intercepted, if not stalled.

In that sense, Allen may now be compared to Tantalus who sees the prime ministerial fruit hanging mere millimeters away from his power-hungry grasp but despite his overwhelming hunger, that fruit continues to tantalize and elude him.

Apparently, Chastanet's overwhelming hunger for the prime-ministership is balanced by an equal and opposite overwhelming disenchantment among a vociferous UWP crew in the diaspora.

In short, Chastanet may have won the battle for delegates; but now he has to win the internecine war within the party and ultimately electoral victory. The orchestrated euphoria at the convention has apparently been melted away by the heat of the war and washed out by a huge tide of disenchantment.

Goliath meets the Colossus
There’s a view that the ongoing battle between the two “Titanic” UWP leaders blatantly exposes the reliability of the convention results; the view goes further with the assumption while support within the “UWP community” for Chastanet is vociferous, it is far more numerous for King. The general result is an increasingly growing confidence of the latter - and more and more the Leader of Her Majesty's Opposition (LOO) is beginning to look like the de facto and natural UWP leader. A further view is: although the King is longer prime minister, he, in the prevailing circumstances, looks far more prime ministerial (in word, deed or thought) than Chastanet who seeking to “displace” him.

But the complexity of the internecine war happening within the Flambeau party goes far beyond the battle between King and Chastanet and the pontifications of the vociferous pro-Chastanet faction and their bland “Jook Bois” PR which are only increasing the magnitude of the collateral damage.

As was the case during reign of the Vaughan Lewis, the UWP again has two leaders. After Vaughn lost the 1997 elections, Sir John came out of retirement and “retook the leadership” and (as he had done in 1982), he returned the UWP to power in 2006. This time around the configuration is different but the storyline is the same: two leaders (namely “LOO” and a Party leader (PL) with their respective camps) juggling for power.

Let’s briefly turn our attention to the rationalization of the tension between the camps.

The pro-Chastanet rationalization of the tension between the two camps emanate from the LOO’s failure to succumb to the PL. That rationalization may well be a battle-weary indication, if not an open admission, of the extent of Chastanet's impotence as PL or equally of the extent of the “omnipotence” of the LOO within the UWP Empire.

The omnipotence of the LOO with the UWP Empire is a compelling argument in favour King. As LOO, does he really have to succumb to the PL, especially in the context of the St. Lucia constitution which is officially silent on recognition of the latter? Further, why did that dichotomy apparently worked so well for the SLP (during Kenny and Louisy) and why isn’t it working for the UWP under the leadership of Chastanet? Did the SLP have a policy of “separation of powers” which allowed the LOO to fulfill his constitutional function with autonomy, independence and integrity? Before the Chastanet faction went to work on King, it should have done its necessary research on the antecedents and weigh the "pros and cons" consequent.

Goliath vs the Colossus
If the electoral contest between Dalson and Chastanet was seen as a battle between David and Goliath, then the leadership struggle between King and Chastanet must be seen as a battle between Goliath and the Colossus with each is wearing his own crown; but despite losing the “political leader” crown, it looks like the Colossus (perhaps having taken a page from David's Book on how to slaughter Goliaths) is rapidly closing in on an unlikely victory; but despite the imminent possibility of Chastanet’s doom, the little victims like Arsene laugh at their fate.

Does Goliath lie so low?
The ongoing battle between Goliath and the Colossus has left many of us dumbfounded! After such an impressive first knockout round, how could Goliath who is endowed with all his faculties of brilliance allow the Colossus with a corresponding deficiency of those faculties make him “lie so low”?

Paradoxically, it must have been that impressive first knockout punch that paved the way for his downfall. As the UWP “FACTORS” suggested in their missive to the PL, the answer must have been in the PL’s convention game plan which must have been based on a case of mistaken identity. Because “Kenny is King”, the radioactive knock-out punch was probably designed for Kenny but thrown at King by mistake, resulting in irreversible internal division and bitterness within the UWP empire.

But like the Phoenix from the Ashes, the Colossus and his protective belt of underground soldiers miraculously rose again; no doubt, Tucker and the Lion Heart were/are the field marshals; and with them around, it won’t be a walkover the Colossus.

What is currently happening to the UWP is not without precedent in St. Lucia! During Compton’s reign, the SLP crumbled under its own anomalies until Kenny ushered in an era of rock-solid stability. Which new Flambeau leader will emerge to remove Flambeau from the doldrums? Chastanet has yet to demonstrate that he is that leader. If anything, he seems to have captained the UWP Titanic closer to the iceberg of political destruction than King ever did.

It is evident the Flambeau fracas has an irreversible fatal tone. The normally minor post-convention political cracks seemed to have become a major geological “strike-slip fault” and it does seem to represent a precursor to an imminent major 10.1 political earthquake coming UWP way.

If this were to happen, then does the party hierarchy have the requisite tension and compression to withstand the earthquake? If it does, then it surely would have passed a major structural litmus test. The question is: what would be equivalent to a “pass”? Would it be the removal of King as LOO?

Another question is: Suppose King is removed, then who and what? The tenacious Richard is definitely out! The popular assumption is: if you remove King, then you also remove Richard! Dr Gale Rigobert has said she's not interested. Mr Arsene James (a former Opposition Leader) said he is not ready yet. That leaves Guy and Estaphan for the job.

On the surface, Guy is playing an ambivalent game; but I believe his ambivalent posturing is just a smokescreen. I am sure that I’m not the only one who is of the view that Guy will do anything to please his master. Hence, I wouldn’t be surprised that he would allow himself to be railroaded into the position by default!

A downgrade from a King to a Guy may have catastrophic consequences for the UWP and I suspect the displacement of the King as LOO may well be a fatal faux pas that may well represent major moral victory for the Colossus over Goliath.

But whatever happens in the end will be good for democracy in the sense that it will give the spectator “voters” a sneak preview of a political party’s internal stability and readiness to assume the reigns of power.

Meanwhile and on top of all that is happening, Kenny remains King; Chastanet desperately wants to be King; but King would have none of it!”

Over the Calypsonians!

Thursday, January 9, 2014


Flambeau Activists Called To Service (FACTS)
St. Lucia

January 5th, 2014 

Mr. Allen Chastanet 
Party Leader 
United Workers Party 
Party Headquarters 
Rodney Bay 

Dear Mr. Chastanet. 

Members of recent vintage have introduced to, and subsequently infused our organization with a new and different ethos that has compromised our bedrock principles of Unity, Loyalty and Cooperation. It can be said without fear of contradiction that the United Workers Party has morphed into an organization without direction, embroiled as it is in division, materialism, internal wrangling, hierarchical disharmony and a preoccupation by a new cadre of members with position and entitlement. A laundry list of classless public confrontations and internal bullying has essentially stripped the organization of its remaining vestiges of widespread public adoration and support. 

The New leadership has seemingly mistaken a sense of frustration with the existing administration, as a surefire ticket to electoral victory, while simultaneously remaining oblivious to our obvious shortcomings. 

Activities leading up to the Party Annual Convention of 2013 and the management of the Party’s business in its aftermath have left an untold number of Party supporters appalled and disheartened. In many cases, we can describe the prevailing sentiment as one of outrage - without transgressing into exaggeration. A smug and overconfident leadership remains oblivious to the strong undercurrents of disaffection which currently render our Party unfocussed and ineffective. 

The following list is by no means exhaustive, but serves to highlight some of the major infractions without going into detail:- 

1. The newly introduced American format of island wide campaigning and the disparaging of members by members. 

2. The marginalization of long serving, long suffering and loyal delegates of the Party in a campaign intended to ensure that the outcome at the convention was favorable to a particular candidate and his team. 
The damage this has done in fermenting division and loathing amongst our supporters will be difficult to reverse. 

3. The non-existence of any hierarchical order within the organization which would allow for a structured ascension to positions of authority and decision making based on service, established loyalty, long term commitment and a proven track record of political and national service. 

4. A national convention at which outright hatred accompanied by the most disparaging of comments being leveled at Party members to the obvious delight of persons who hold positions of authority within the Party. 

5. The deepening of divisions within the organization following the Convention and the failure of the current leadership to correct this destructive development. 

6. There appears to be no clear strategy for governance. The focus remains one of consistent low value attacks on the Government accompanied by a slew of often ill-informed references to Sir John by the Party leader. 

7. No clear strategy for Opposition but rather a mish mash of irrelevant and poorly timed political comments which have exposed the soft underbelly of the Leadership. 

8. Finally, and yet again, an ongoing priority at reorganizing the Party with the objective of dismantling established and successful procedures and institutions. As experienced Party loyalist, this for us is a poorly disguised effort to cement the current leadership in its current position and establish a stranglehold on the Organization. This self-serving process has undermined our values and left many supporters disheartened and confused. 

No true UWP supporter should tolerate this situation; neither can it be allowed to fester for much longer. The Party does not control the timing of elections; and events following the Convention have left the Labour Party far more confident in their ability to salvage what was until then an unprecedented disaster in Office. The shine is now off the ball and only ability and experience will win the day. 

Noting the urgent need for reconciliation and sensible reform, a number of persons from various walks of life with a lifelong commitment to the success of our Party have formed ourselves into an organization under the rubric of FACTS- Flambeau Activists Called to Service. 

We uncompromisingly see this, not only as a call to serve our Party, but also to SAVE our Party from remaining indefinitely in the hands of anyone who neither knows, understands or is leading this Party in a sustainable way. We accept that there is need for reorganization; but not reorganization that is designed to strip the members of their democratic rights - including the right of constituency groups to choose their candidates. Not reorganization that allows a few recently minted “UWPS” with questionable motives and manufactured loyalty to obtain and retain a stranglehold on the operations of our dear Party. Not reorganization that seeks to erase the contribution of long serving members of this Party who are viewed as a threat to the narrow and soon to be exposed real objectives of a few well-disguised operatives within and without. Certainly the fifth columnists in all this will soon be brought under the spotlight of internal and public scrutiny in order to ensure political success and the long term survival of our organization. 

We believe the entire process leading up to the convention was dangerously flawed and the current situation clearly shows that we are correct. The most urgent priority of the current leadership was and remains the mending of fences and rebuilding of trust and cooperation. This has not been done and the obvious question is WHY. Why is it more important to reorganize? Moreover how can it be reasonable to reorganize without the benefit of the experience and attendant input of senior members of the organization? 

Might there be a desire to mold the organization in a particular way prior to inviting the participation of certain persons? What happens if the reorganization absents the input of persons who in subsequent conventions assume leadership positions? Do they then reorganize the reorganization? Obviously there are huge gaps in the planning process here and this is primarily due to the ongoing attempt at marginalization and the consolidation of power. It is not only short sighted; it is immature, neurotic and narcissistic! 

Clearly the repeated gaffes and apparent constitutional ignorance of persons involved in the ongoing attempts to compromise the stature and marginalize the authority of the former Prime Minister and current Leader of the Opposition are unwarranted, ill-advised and unacceptable. It is not difficult to understand the insecurities of the Political Leader given his inexperience and his obvious anxieties about finding a seat that he can win. Again, that’s comprehensible in a narrow self-serving context!  
We the FACTORS intend to assist in remedying these obvious defects that are compromising our ability at winning what should be a landslide victory in the next general election. The Leader needs a makeover - call it rebranding - and the Party desperately needs help and direction. We are here to assist through strict adherence to what has made this organization successful in the past. Our recent electoral failures were not caused by the self-serving finger pointing that has been the hallmark of those who sought to influence the thinking of Party members, but by far deeper and carefully orchestrated plans of action designed to take over our Party. 

We remain in very close communication as a group and our growing membership includes a wide array of supporters from diverse disciplines and geographic locations - most notably the established Diaspora that the Leader has so desperately sought to engage. 

Neither our values - which emanate from the traditional values of the UNITED WORKERS PARTY - or our resolve to do what is in the best interest of our Party will be diluted or in any way compromised by anyone. 

Our commitment is steadfast and the task at hand shall be completed!! 

We are watching! 

Your watchmen on the wall. 

Cc: Mr. Lenard Montoute, Deputy Leader 
 Dr. Gale Rigobert, Deputy Leader 
 Mr. Ezekiel Joseph, Chairman 
 Ms. Mary Polius, 1st
 Deputy Chairperson 
 Mr. Andy Daniel, 2nd Deputy Chairperson 
 Mr. Oswald Augustin, General Secretary 

 Branch Chairpersons