St Lucia: Politicking begins in earnest in Britain

| October 8, 2013

St Lucia news. Those aware of the present state of affairs or in touch with relatives and friends back home in St Lucia, otherwise known as the Helen of the West, would know that all is not well.

The economy is on its face with an embarrassing and unsustainable GDP of 1.18 billion dollars realised by a population of just under 200,000 people, compared to that of the Bahamas a few miles north with a population of 371, 000, which boasts a GDP of 8.1 billion dollars some four times that of St Lucia. Much can be said of this troubling statistic given the well documented success of the St Lucia economy under bananas in the 90’s and Lucians have quite a lot of suspicions, beliefs and in some cases, well articulated theories of why the country is in serious and steady decline.

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In spite of the fact that the St Lucia economy regressed by 3% in the past year it is still fairing better than the economies of Grenada and St Vincent and the Grenadines. This knowledge serves as no comfort to a people who have long been proud of their heritage, socio-economic and cultural stability and several contributions to regional integration evidenced by academic luminary Sir Arthur Lewis, 1992 Noble Prize for Literature winner Derek Alton Walcott OBE and the much loved and revered former leader of the United Workers Party, Sir John Compton.

Given the increasing recognition of the economic value of the Caribbean diaspora around the world but more particularly in the United Kingdom politicians from across the Caribbean have been courting their respective constituencies to appreciate their value as essential to the general development of their homeland. The effect of the global economic downturn on the countries of the Caribbean has in large measure intensified the need for political leaders and their agents to appeal to their Diaspora family and friends to be steadfast with their remittances and consider investing and trading with the region as a means of ensuring the sustainability of the lands they call home.

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The St Lucia United Workers Party (UWP), represented by Political leader Mr. Allen Chastanet and Deputy Political Leader Dr. Gale T. C. Rigobert visited the UK and held a town hall meeting at the Crown Plaze Hotel, Blackfriars London last Sunday 6th October 2013. The main aim of this meeting was to apprise St Lucians in the UK of the goings on within the party and to establish a branch of the party in the UK which is part of the leadership’s desire to foster new relationships and to strengthen existing ties with like-minded political organizations.

St Lucians from all walks of life turned up and after much salutations and affectionate embracing with a smattering of verbal exchanges in patois (creole) the meeting was called to order by Dr Rigobert who introduced Mr Chastanet. The political leader set about providing the context of St Lucia political environment by providing a brief historical account of the journey of the UWP and the legacy of Sir John Compton. He also outlined the many policies and practices of the incumbent government that are not serving the best interest of St Lucians and noted the ALBA (ALBA Caribe Fund (ACF) and ALBA Food Fund (AFF)) scheme, a project set up and run by the late president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez was a recipe for international disaster.

UWP UK Town Hall Meeting 2013

Dr Rigobert followed swiftly with a most pragmatic approach to the issues of St Lucia, particularly the notion that every citizen is entitled to education and affordable healthcare, a situation that no longer exists in St Lucia. Her disclosure of the fact that poor people on the island are dying from curable diseases visibly hurt many attendees and prompted many highly emotive questions from the audience.

Many attendees expressed their disappointment and dismayed about the state of their beloved nation and offered solutions, not only to the leaders but to fellow participants to certain problems expressed, such as issues with Immigration and Customs & Excise.

UWP UK Town Hall Meeting 2013

This meeting was a resounding success and is the first of many meetings which will be held to engage the Saint Lucian diaspora throughout (Canada, USA and UK) assured part leader Allen Chastanet. Article and Photos courtesy David F. Roberts

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