Castries Central constituents and media at a town hall meeting on Tuesday
By Caribbean News Now contributor
CASTRIES, St Lucia -- The recent expulsion of former Saint Lucia government minister and current member of parliament for Castries Central, Richard Frederick, from the opposition United Workers Party (UWP) may have served merely to embolden him and set the pace for the next election campaign some 16 months away at the latest.
On Tuesday evening, the Castries Central constituency branch of the UWP hosted a town hall meeting at the Castries City hall. Hundreds of supporters and well wishers were in attendance, airing their support for Frederick for his service to the constituency. Others used the opportunity to vent their dissatisfaction and displeasure of his treatment in the party under the leadership of Allen Chastanet.
Following a celebrity welcome for Frederick, the town hall meeting opened with remarks by his sister, Lydia Faisal, a prominent local lawyer, who stated, “We fight not against flesh and blood but against wickedness in high places.”
Faisal alluded to the enemy from within the UWP, which decided in small groups in conference rooms and hotels the perceived destiny of “a little black boy from Micoud” [Frederick], who is not supposed to do well.
“Hon Richard Frederick has the ability to speak his mind without fear and favour. He has spoken the truth and taken a stand; and you know in Saint Lucia, whenever you do that you become public enemy number one. He will not run away from this fight, nor will he be the coward of the county,” said Faisal.
In campaign mode, Frederick spoke to his entry into politics by means of a successful nine-day by-election campaign against a sitting government.
Taking solace in Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding,” he reminded his supporters of all that is alleged against him and unable to be proven, including the reasons for the revocation of his US visas, which he believes will soon be reinstated.
Birds peck at the best fruit, Frederick said, pointing out that those who have conspired against him have fallen by the wayside, while others have left government.
“They have all gone, I am still here,” he emphasised.
Frederick spoke of his constituency stewardship and bemoaned the current conditions of the city of Castries.
Referring to the UWP’s general election loss of 2011 and the election of Allen Chastanet as political leader of the party, Frederick said, “Saint Lucians have made two mistakes in recent times … and that we must undo. Allen Chastanet is a gamble to the future and Oswald Augustine is a repeated failure.”
In another reference to Chastanet, who was born in Martinique not Saint Lucia, Frederick continued, “Nobody not born in my country can expel me. Allen does not care about black Saint Lucians.”
The country is missing the leadership of former prime minister and UWP leader Stephenson King, he said, adding that King, who was in attendance at the meeting, “will never run on a UWP ticket with Allen Chastanet as leader.”
There has been some speculation by local media that King and Frederick will now join forces to form a new political party, perhaps also absorbing or otherwise working with the centrist Lucian People’s Movement (LPM) which, although having no parliamentary seats, has been making an impact with its well thought out and articulated views and policy platform.
Furthermore, with the UWP having just six seats in parliament, the defection of one more sitting member along with King and Frederick would effectively marginalise the party, since its leader, Chastanet, has no seat himself.