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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.

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